I have known John for nearly twenty years. Our relationship started before he retired from his previous company and delivered his experience and wisdom to the larger world through consulting. He was an excellent coach and trainer with a strong internal reputation in the large Canadian bank where he worked. And his storytelling skills were always a key part of his communication effectiveness.
“Hi Jim and greetings. Really enjoyed as always your newsletter and wanted to add a little story on courage for your files.
Years ago, I was a coach for a little league baseball team. One of the boys on that team was a catcher named David. He was a quiet leader of sorts, never one to brag about his accomplishments on the field but rather all too eager to add encouragement to others and help them with aspects of their game. One day during a routine visit to his doctor, a small lump was detected on the back of his skull. Tests determined that an operation at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto was necessary. It turned out that the lump was cancerous and a good portion of his skull had to be removed. Months of chemotherapy and radiation would be necessary and then, if all went well, reconstructive surgery to repair the skull itself. I was with David at the hospital shortly after he woke up from the surgery and was told about the ordeal that lay before him. It was undoubtedly one of the hardest moments in my life watching this ten year old facing such a tremendous ordeal. I looked at him and said “David, Coach would do anything to be able to switch places with you if he could.” David replied, “That’s OK Dad, I’ll deal with this, don’t you worry.”
That was close to 20 years ago, and today, my son David is doing great and is a successful film production coordinator here in Toronto.
What David taught me, however, was that courage means a lot of things but probably most of all, it means taking ownership of both your wins and losses in life.
During my career of over 35 years in banking, and when I look back now at the leaders who inspired me, they were the ones who had that same type of ownership. Never ones to shirk from the fallout of a negative situation, but rather taking ownership and not casting blame onto others.
When we think of courage Jim, we can come up with several adjectives that fit. I just thought you might enjoy my perspective on this wonderful topic.
Keep up the great work and providing us with much needed inspiration.”