It was after my freshman year in college at Maine Maritime Academy when I went on a Navy summer deployment to fulfill my NROTC commitment and scholarship. This deployment was a two week excursion on a 42' sailboat that a Lieutenant (LT) and six Cadets sailed from Newport, Rhode Island to Castine, Maine. I had sailed before with my family and had taken sailing for a Physical Education class in my first semester. I knew how to sail, but I had never experienced anything like what I did off the coast of Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.
Are you comfortable with risky or edgy situations? As a leader, should you be? If you were, would it help you become a better leader? I have to say that I love a good challenge and if there is risk involved, then I love it even more. I don't know why I love risk so much. It could have been the influence of my brother when I was young as we repelled out of 70-foot oak trees. It could have been the influence from my time in college when I jumped off of 40-foot cliffs in Horseshoe Beach, Bermuda. It could have been the influence from my time in the Marine Corps where we did all sorts of training with guns and explosives. What I do know is that all of this "risky" experience has helped me understand that when you take risks, there are rewards that come with them. This not only helped prepare me for life's risks ahead, but also for taking on risks when I think it is most important: when I am leading people.
I read an article the other day while sitting in the Dentist's office. It was called "What If Humans Had Eagle Vision" by Natalie Wolchover. I would have to say that it was interesting and was not what I had ever thought about when I had seen many eagles on my adventures. The article talked about how the eagle's eyes would allow humans to have a sharper focus, a central magnifier and also superior color vision.
The last few weeks have been a challenge for me since I only have a short amount of time left at my current workplace. It has been a challenge setting up my team to be in a position where they will be successful, but even more challenging has been the times of saying good bye to those people that I have worked with for six and half years. While it has been a challenge, it has also been a blessing. It has been amazing how many people have communicated to me how I have influenced them in their leadership. I hope that I don't come across as egotistical, because I am not trying to, but I want to share with you my intrinsic joy that I have felt as dear friends and co-leaders have thanked me for inspiring them. This has allowed them to lead their people in new ways, and then (this is the awesome part) seeing their people lead the same way.
Sometimes it amazes me who inspires another person to live, to lead, or to win. What is amazing is that it doesn't have to be someone who has incredible attributes of physical strength. It doesn't have to be someone that has the ability to even use all their physical body parts. My experience has been, in almost all circumstances, that what inspires people are actually attributes that you did not initially see.