If you have ever explored my partners/associates page, you'll know that for the last five years I have worked in partnership with Mark McGregor, helping with leadership trainings, coaching, resource creation and his book ‘Being on Mission’.
I have known Mark since we started high school together in 1974, so yes, it’s been a while! In most of the years between when we graduated from MCI in 1978, and July, 2010, we have had very little contact with each other. But time works her magic, and the world brings us the people we need to reconnect with and the lessons we need to learn in due time.
I am one of the ones that said over and over to him that there must be a simpler way of explaining his principles than to go through the work of building a story in which to share them. The process of writing that story, the book ‘Being on Mission’ was in it’s 10th year, and umpteenth revision, and people were waiting!
I, like others around him felt that if he wanted to tell a story, the story of his own life would be so powerful! That story of a kid growing up in MacGregor, Manitoba with the NHL dream in his heart, but the slow death of his father to cancer sidelining that dream when we were 17. The completion of his education degree before the call that took him to play hockey in Europe. Not the NHL he had so long dreamed of, but the next best thing! The life that he and his wife Faye have built over the course of the last 30 year in the raising of two world class athletes in their children Ryan and Kaitlyn. Of building the international leadership business from the ground up. Of the training centres he now has around the world, teaching his principles and his coaching techniques to enhance the skills of other leaders around the world.
But Mark would hear none of that. Instead, he maintained and shared his belief in the power of story to teach, and looking back today, seeing the feedback and the impact of ‘Being on Mission’ i think I finally understand.
'Being on Mission' is the story of Michael Weber. Michael is an ordinary man, a person like you or I, who gets caught up in the expectations and challenges of corporate life, too often at the expense of all that we hold dear. Michael, in his effort to rise to the top of the ladder in his sales business, does so at the expense of his marriage, his health and his integrity. Also, like many of us, he only sees the damage he has done to himself and others when he has a life altering and near death accident. How often is it something that is that devastating happening before we begin to wake up to what is most important?
Michael works throughout the book to rebuild his life, learning lesson after lesson through role models and mentors that come into his life. He experiences a leadership seminar that teaches many of the common sense things that his long time friends have been trying to share with him. He begins to see the bigger picture in life, the reality that a vision remains but a dream if we do not take the steps and do the actions that will create change in our lives. As Mark repeatedly tells us, ‘to know and not to do, is really not to know.’
Throughout Michael's journey, in ‘Being on Mission’ we have to opportunity to experience one of Mark’s leadership seminars through the character of Gregory Marks. We get to learn and participate in activities and discover tools that will help us to see our vision and be on mission for ourselves through tools like the ‘My True Calling’ tool, or the 'Social Roles mapping'. There are pearls of wisdom and messages throughout the book that leave us thinking more deeply about what is truly important to us, forcing us to ask the question, how do I want to be remembered? What will my legacy be? Am i making a living, or am i making a life? All necessary, although scary questions that we need to explore, but often don’t until tragedy alters the trajectory of our lives.
I’m honoured and thrilled to have been part of the process for the past several years, and I believe in the principles and messages that Mark shares through the book. I have been his student myself since we began our work together in 2011, just as the story and lessons in my life has made him a student of mine. That is life, isn’t it! Exploring the lessons and learnings that we each have to share, taking what makes sense to us and imbedding it in our own lives, questioning new or different ideas so that we too may begin to broaden our understanding and our belief system of what might be possible in our life. I have experienced the benefits of his 10 Principles of Leadership and Life, and have seen the positive outcomes that embracing them have made in my life. I believe that those principles will have an impact on your life as well, and hope that as you work towards being your own best self, exploring what your own deepest purpose and mission in life might be, and creating a vision that will lead you to that, that you’ll give ‘Being on Mission’ a read. I believe 'Being on Mission' it is a powerful leadership book that will make a difference in your life, and in the lives of those around you!!
'Being On Mission' is now available in paperback, Kindle and as an audio book on Audible.
Click to set custom HTML
If you know anything about me, you know that I am no stranger to grief. Grief and I have travelled this road we call life together more times than I care to remember. At times, as we've journeyed, grief has been the one in the driver's seat. At other times, I have managed to take the wheel. The thing to remember, is that at any time, the roles can once again switch. They have many times, and in the reality of life's context, they will continue to do so.
When I use the word 'grief', I am not just talking about the grief caused by experiencing the death of someone I loved, although it has arrived as a result of that too many times. Grief comes wearing many masks. There's the grief that comes with the end of a long term relationship, whether it was amicable or not. There's the grief that comes with loss of trust, as when our faith is placed in the hands of another only to be lost or disregarded. There is the grief that comes with changes in life such as moves, employment changes or the end of long term friendships. There is the grief that can come when medical issues change our lives in ways that were not expected or foreseen. Grief comes to us with the loss of beloved pets, divorce and bankruptcy. Grief comes to all of us....he/she is the universal equalizer that all of use will see ourselves faced with at one point or another. So knowing that, how do we prepare ourselves to deal with grief?
Looking back over my life, I realize there are very few sources of grief that I have not experienced in my time, and for the most part have felt I've managed it fairly well through the years... or so I thought. So a couple of years ago, when a friend asked me if I could help a friend who was struggling with the loss of a child, just as I had, I looked at options that might help me help her, and at that time I discovered the Grief Recovery Method.
I bought the book, and signed up for a training that was being offered in Winnipeg to get my certification to be a specialist. I read the book, and readied myself for the course, but at the last minute the training was cancelled due to lack of registration. I continued to read the book, and even though the book does tell you that reading without action will do nothing, I simply read...no actions taken. I read to understand the method, but I did not do the needed work.
Fast forward 3 years, and while driving across the country in our move from Manitoba to British Columbia, I get an email from the Grief Recovery Institute that once again caught my attention and triggered my interest in looking further at the opportunity to train once more. As luck would have it, while we were only taking possession of our new home on April 15th, the training would be in Vancouver on April 21. The timing wasn't the greatest, but the opportunity couldn't be missed, so I plunged in.
One of the greatest things about the training is that as participants who are there to learn, experience and grow, we must go through the process and take all the necessary steps to complete a loss we've experienced, so that we can move forward ourselves, better able to help those that come to us for recovery.
I surprised myself by choosing to work on the loss of my first husband, Greg, rather than the loss of my son Shane, that in honesty, I felt would be my focus. I wasn't sure that I would find much that I needed completion on, as Greg's 18 month battle with cancer left us more than enough time to say the things that needed to be said to each other.
But in working through the method, and completing the communication that is so often the source of grief, I came to the realization that there were still many unfinished conversations. Surprisingly, through the process, I became aware of many things that I hadn't addressed for myself either during our marriage or in the years after his death.
When faced with the loss of a loved one, too often we either end to enshrine the person we lost, or demonize them...never seeing the true balance and reality of the relationship we lived with. I see now that in this situation, mine was a case of 'enshrinement'. The GRM supported me to see that relationship in a more holistic way.
It was both an eye opening and heart opening experience, that has brought me to a clearer, more settled and happier place than I have been in the last 15 years, and the completion freed me from things that I hadn't even realized were holding me back.
After going through my own loss history graph, then having chosen Greg, going through our relationship graph....I found that I had both many things that I felt the need to apologize for...but just as many things I needed to be able to forgive for.... That was truly an unexpected outcome in a situation where I really had 'enshrined' him for the past 15 years.
To be able to look at our relationship and our life together openly and say...'I apologize for....not better understanding the reality of life for someone living with a bi-polar diagnosis....for the amount of time that my focus on our son's needs took away from yours...for pushing your boundaries of comfort further than you were able to accept...
Then the forgiveness....that was harder! I forgive you for...not giving me the detailed answers to questions that we both knew would be issues for me moving forward..ie water, hydro...and on. For leaving me to explain your final bequest decisions..decisions that I understood through our conversations..but that I should not have had to be the one left to explain to others..nor should I have had to live with the fallout from.... that. Forgiveness for the unspoken pressure to live your dream for a future that you wouldn't be here to experience...but a dream that was not mine, but rather yours.
But after the apologies and the forgiveness that defines the process, comes the 'SES"...Significant Emotional Statements....and I won't go into all of those...but suffice it to say, they did go on and on. Having truly seen his downfalls as well as my own, I also say the picture of the life that was our's, in all it's magnificent glory. and its challenges. there are not words to describe that.
In having gone through that and completed what I had to so I could become certified to help other's work through their own losses, I know first hand the benefits of spending the time and taking the action steps necessary to move ourselves forward can move our lives forward. In experiencing the changes and growth in myself having completed just one loss, I am excited to see what other possibilities will open up as I continue to work through and complete the losses that have caused me to experience grief throughout my life.
If you suspect that grief may be holding you back from living your life more fully and joyfully, this process could be a first step to your own healing and recovery. Remember, grief is the normal and natural emotional response to loss, but most of the information we’ve learned about dealing with loss is intellectual. Effective Grief Recovery must deal with your broken heart, which requires emotional support instead of intellectual explanations. Let me help you begin to heal your own broken heart.
It takes time and energy to become who we truly are! In life, so many things can get in the way of our figuring that out..but the time comes in each of our lives where we need to be able to do that if we're going to live happy fulfilling lives that are authentic reflections of our best selves. These are just things I've learned along the way. I hope that they might help you in your own journey into being Truly You!