The Mission, The Men, and Me

As a commander of Delta Force-the most elite counter-terrorist organization in the world—Pete Blaber took part in some of the most dangerous, controversial, and significant military and political events of our time. Now he takes his intimate knowledge of warfare—and the heart, mind, and spirit it takes to win—and moves his focus from the combat zone to civilian life. In this book, you will learn the same lessons he learned, while experiencing what the life of a Delta Force Operator is like—from the extreme physical and psychological training to the darkest of shadow ops all around the world. From each mission, Pete Blaber has taken a life lesson back with him. You will learn these enlightening lessons as you gain insights into never-before-revealed missions executed around the globe. And when the smoke clears, you will emerge wiser, more capable, and better prepared to succeed in life than you ever thought possible.

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Table of Contents

Why and Where I’m Writing This Book


What is the “Common Sense Way”?


Chapter 1
The Journey: The Common Ground upon Which We Stand


Chapter 2
What’s Wrong with “the Way”?


Chapter 3
The Journey (Part II): The Biology of Sense-Making


Chapter 4
Learning Emotional Intelligence from the School of Fish


Chapter 5
Identification Friend or Foe: How to Make Sensible Choices in Complex Unfamiliar Situations


Chapter 6
Freedom of Choice to Learn: How to Go With the “FLOW”


Chapter 7
Climate Change: How Common Sense  Leaders Create a Healthy Leadership Climate


Chapter 8
Asteroid the Way: “The Way” versus the “Common Sense Way”





Why and Where I’m writing this book

I’m writing this book from an off-the-grid cabin at 6,700 feet in the rugged alpine wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Steep, cross-compartmented ridges cloaked in a canopy of old-growth Ponderosa and Jefferson pines surround the cabin. The terrain, altitude, and lack of road accessibility combine to provide for and protect a wildlife ecosystem that has remained mostly unmolested by man and machines in modern times. Trail cameras offer my only visual evidence of its stealthy inhabitants: large, lumbering black bears, muscle-bound mountain lions, schizophrenic pigs, and condors to name just a few.

Off-grid Cabin in Sierra Nevada Mountains

Not a day has gone by over the past six years while working on this book that I didn’t pause to appreciate the wildlife, the wilderness, the land we call America, and the principle of freedom upon which they all stand.  

Staring out the front window as the sun’s first photons touch the tops of the tree-lined peaks, it is with the same frame of reference that I reflect on my own life and leadership journey as I write the final chapters of this book.

I am the fortunate benefactor of what I have come to believe is one of life’s most esteemed privileges: that of leading fellow humans across continents, cultures and contexts.  

Leadership, like life, is a privilege. Not for those we lead, rather for those of us who are fortunate enough to experience and learn from it. I’ve had the privilege of leading inter-agency and international teams while serving in the military; and leading Manufacturing, Sales, Marketing, and Research & Development teams while in Business. With privilege comes the responsibility to pay something back. If reciprocity is the currency of human interaction then knowledge is the gold standard that determines its worth. The value of what we give or what we get from any human interaction depends on the knowledge our brains learn from it.  

The stories and lessons shared in this book were learned, implemented, and vetted by the living laboratory of real world leadership: from combat operations on five continents, to the boardrooms and back offices of cutting-edge Global corporations, and through the collective wisdom and knowledge of some the greatest leaders in human history. Everything I know about leadership is the byproduct of all of the brains I have had the privilege of interacting with and learning from throughout my life and leadership journey. I point this out up front to ensure I give credit where credit is due and to ensure I tell each and every one of them, “Thank you.”

Although the culture of my former military Unit is one of quiet professionalism that values humility over self-aggrandizement, that same culture also instills an innate sense of responsibility to contribute to the Greater Good of our country and species. I believe that the best way to balance this tension is by sharing my experiences and the corresponding lessons on leading, learning, and living life to the fullest via this book. Accurately understanding and sharing lessons from the past is an essential step for gaining insight into and preparing for the future. 

The stories that follow are mine; the lessons belong to us all.