This year I decided to do some training, in fact a ten week course that has taken me away from my home and my family and keeps me away until my wedding anniversary!
It is a chance for me to improve on my personal fitness level, grow in leadership skills and better my ability to work with teams. These are all good traits to work on, but frankly it has been a challenge and continues to be.
Like an adventure (which it really is) you try to prepare yourself mentally and physically. The problem, unlike a physical challenge, is that you don’t know how to prepare. What type of coaches/mentors will you be introduced too? How much free time will you have on the course? What style of leadership will they adopt? How will you get on with a broad spectrum of personalities that you are working with? I didn’t know the answers to these questions so mentally, the course has proven to be challenging, but in a positive way. One thing that I have always believed in is that there is always more to learn. If you don’t believe that, I believe you have given up on life’s journey.
Physically, I am not too concerned, I know my limits now, and I know how far I can push my body and also the signs of when it is starting to break. Let’s face it, I am no good to anyone if something breaks, so occasionally, backing off the physical throttle a little to make sure you get to the end or the objective is the better option.
The course is a pass or fail course. There are a few motivations to get it completed, one of the biggest being the fact that I told my wife I would! Not really a big compromise for me. I have left her with a whole pile of unfinished business, on her own for ten weeks to solve various jigsaw puzzles I started.
So while I may grumble a little about the course I am on, which is physically and mentally demanding, the truth is my wife Jackie is on a much bigger and much more challenging adventure.
Every time I endeavour to do something like this, it is always the same. The unsung hero is Jackie! The constant up-lifter and encourager is Jackie. The glue that keeps the household working is Jackie. As a couple we have spoken about this to a few audiences. The point is that there are people who lead and take on audacious tasks and attack them with reckless abandon (similar to the approach I perhaps take) and then, there are people like Jackie – many of them – who can be considered leaders in their own right, but who lead differently. Their style is to make it easy for their partner/boss/colleague to complete their task seamlessly with as little effort and distracted focus as possible. Often, it is an unrecognised leadership, but it requires a similar skill set to be successful. In my mind, Jackie is a leader.
In an ideal world, my goal is to provide Jackie with the ability to run our charity as seamlessly and effortlessly as possible. That can only be done by overwhelming it with corporate support (which is my goal) so that she can take out a small stipend that does not bear comparison to the work she puts in. I am not there yet, but Jackie faithfully continues to support my efforts to “spread the word” and grow what we have started. Rally4Life Charity will continue to grow and help people around the world. It will grow because of the same selfless determination that Jackie displays day in and day out towards helping other people accomplish their goals, reach their destination, live a life that was never promised to them because of their circumstances or simply live with hope because they now know that someone cares about them.
You see, Jackie is my hero! I have no right to complain. She has constantly devoted her life to helping her husband, raising her children, loving her parents (and mine) and generally giving much more than she takes.
It is hard to say this on a cell phone, and for those of you who know her or me well, know the truth. For those of you who don’t – Jackie is an unsung hero. She is my unsung hero and I can’t wait to see her again on our wedding anniversary on August 17th when I finally arrive back in Kelowna.