Saturday, November 1, 2008

True Grit

Last weekend at the same hotel in which I was staying in San Diego, I had a chance to see courage up close. I spoke to a few wounded warriors. These were men and women who had made more of a sacrifice than most of us will ever know. These were soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who had fallen in battle, losing limbs and "normal" life along the way.

They had fallen...and gotten back up. These troopers were in San Diego to take place in a training camp for "Paralympics." As one young man remarked to me, it was a chance to see that life goes on, that they could still compete, and that there were others like them. They were racing, playing sports, and pushing themselves to new heights. It was truly inspirational to see these young people and their zeal for life.

I saw this same spark when I visited the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio a few years ago. This amazing place was funded through private donations to make the finest technology available to help wounded soldiers get their lives together. I learned that the progress we are making in prosthetics is incredible. These kids were running, surfing, climbing walls, competing. They were getting the lives back, restoring their confidence, rebuilding their dreams. They were learning that there is no "I can't" in a warriors life. They were demonstrating that true courage is seen in those who fall...and get back up.

I am always humbled to be in the presence of these warriors. No doubt they have all struggled with the transition that their injury has forced upon them. But to see the commitment to full recovery as they grit their teeth and keep trying...that puts me in my place. To see them smile, to laugh, to sweat -- and be missing one or both limbs -- that helps with my perspective.

You see, I complain about how tired I am. I whine about little aches and pains. I moan about the difficulty of my tasks at work. I say, "I can't" way too easily. And then I see these kids. And I know I need to suck it up! I know I've got it good. I know that I need to be a better role model, a better example to others, a better leader.

I know that these kids represent what true courage is all about. It is seen when one puts everything on the line, knowing the risk, and never hesitating to do the right thing. And it is never more evident than when one falls...and gets back up. Those are warriors. Those are leaders!

That's Leader Business.

*****If you are interested in learning more about the Intrepid Center or the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, please visit their site! Hooah!

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