Sunday, September 8, 2013

Robert Boyd: Life is a Mission

Embracing Opportunity While Serving Your Country

I recently met a young gentleman who was a prior member of the Canadian Forces Army Reserves. As several times he referenced the value of this experience, I asked him to share some notable memories of this period in his life. Robert suggested that being part of the Forces helped him to become a more confident, articulate and critical thinker, and he summarized five strengths the Military personally brought out in him.   

Robert Boyd's 'Top 5' Countdown

5. CONFIDENCE:   From the moment you begin your military career, you will be challenged to reach beyond your comfort level. This helps to foster a greater level of self-confidence. For instance, within a group learning atmosphere, anticipate unexpected questions and be prepared to proactively contribute to group discussions and learning; this may be uncomfortable for some who are more ‘reserved’ (pardon the pun on military terminology), especially when you are not prepared with an answer as will likely happen! Becoming both comfortable and confident in such situations can take time, but when you have been in the Services even a few weeks, you may find yourself more relaxed and confident when interacting with new people and taking on new challenges.

4. PATIENCE:   As a member of the Canadian Forces, you will learn that timing and self-management is an expectation in everything you do in order to accomplish assigned tasks and goals. It is critical to remember that all around you, others are also expected to meet this high standard. You will each be given tasks with target timelines which must be achieved either independently or as part of a team. Some tasks admittedly require great patience, concentration and precision to accomplish effectively. It is important to remember that your actions are a vital ‘piece of the puzzle’ in an overall goal that has been set in place.

3. COURAGE:   As a soldier, it takes courage to do what one does in the face of adversity 

Courage, Respect, Confidence 

and uncertainty. Robert does not see courage as a ‘born trait’ but rather, one an individual develops as he or she grows both in confidence and within their military career. Upon entering the Reserves, a person generally accepts the potential and chance of an overseas assignment to protect others who may be in immediate or imminent danger. Through both formal and hands-on training as well as a value driven dedication to serving one’s country, a member of the military develops and embraces the courage required to meet such challenges.

2. RESPECT:   Fitting into a military command structure offers a bevy of unique challenges and opportunities. You must work respectfully, supportively and effectively with those above and below your rank, but you will also interact with soldiers and staff members from many areas of service (e.g. in Robert’s case: Army, Navy and Airforce; Royal Canadian Artillery, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), Electrical Mechanical Engineers and Royal Canadian Engineers, Canadian Forces Health Services, MP Military Police and more).  Robert mentioned that sometimes, one’s perception and reality can be different and that no two people will see the world through the same lenses, but it is important to find a way to work together despite differing outlooks. As a member of the military, it is advocated that respect for one another’s particular talents and rank could in fact mean the difference between mission success and failure, as well as life and death.

 1. HONOUR:  As a young soldier, Robert experienced some amazing opportunities and honours. One was to be a part of the Changing of the Guard (Ceremonial Guard - Ottawa, Summer 2008). He also enjoyed the honour of serving as part of the Canadian Forces Security Element in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. But most importantly, the honour to serve one’s country either domestically or internationally alongside those who share his vision and values he would consider the greatest honour of all.

In closing, Robert suggests that people need to look outside the box and sometimes outside their comfort zone, in order to choose a life path that will lead to fulfillment.

Make it your mission in life to choose your journey both consciously and wisely.

Written by Catherine Stewart-Mott, Forward Momentum Services
Contributions by Robert Boyd 

Do check out my other blog topics while on here!  I love writing about people and what inspires them.  I also discuss various career and employee development topics, usually with a dash of humour or a grain of salt! I welcome you to join me, and to leave a comment!

Catherine Stewart-Mott; Forward Momentum Services