Having spent more than twenty years involved in the investigation of serious and major crime, I accept that the nature of the work could be pretty taxing. The felons involved in committing these crimes often operated outside of office hours and more often than not, when the general public, including me, were asleep.
Sharing some stories of the crimes that I investigated early this week, I commented that it was more good luck than good planning that we survived given the nature of the work, the hours we spent at those scenes and for the country forensic investigators the thousands of kilometres we would travel per week in between crime scenes. One minute you were pulling bodies out of mangled crack wrecks, the second investigating the cause of death of a decomposed body, then returning home expecting to operate as per normal. Come to think of it many good people did not come out of this too well at all, far too many.
Personal resilience was not something spoken about and it didn’t come into my vocabulary till I had left the police and started attending conferences and listening to other speakers before it was my turn. Even during the weeks on end that we spent in disaster and crisis zones surrounded by death and destruction which was on unprecedented levels, there wasn’t a lot more than lip service paid to resilience. We were aware of the need for sleep and restraint in the use of alcohol in coping (awareness does not equal compliance) but that was the extent.
I started to become aware of the importance of resilience from people such as Dr Sean Richardson who speak of the importance beyond physical but mentally as well. Then I started observing the coping mechanisms of people such as Khru Prateep Unsongtham Hata and Suthasinee Noiin (Mae Thiew). Khru Prateep and Mae Thiew adopt not only physical and mental resilience into their life but a third layer of soulful resilience. Without the science behind them to reinforce the value based upon experiments conducted over years, they include these three elements into their lives. I’d suggest it’s why they’ve survived for the time they have.
An understanding of the challenges that they have faced from birth, helps to understand that for them to survive, do what they do today, and fight the fight they have fought for their entire adult lives, they needed multiple layers of resilience because if it wasn’t them there was no one. There was no one looking out for them, there was no one they could hold responsible for the exposure they faced, no employer to fall back on, but above all of that no one to do the work they did that so many depend on in a very life or death scenario.
I have very much become a student of what they offer in life and how to face the challenges we do in life and with a resilience of body, mind and spirit meet and overcome the challenges, which enables us to continue in the pursuit of what we seek.
They don’t win each day.
They have more losses than wins, but their resilience enables them to keep going.
Their individual and collective feats are hard to comprehend and represent a life or serving those less fortunate, those who rely upon them not just for food and shelter but to sustain their life.
As I have benefited and changed as a person from my time with them and which I continue to do, I will be taking a group in July to spend time with both Mae Thiew and Khru Prateep. We spend the week focusing on leadership and development of ourselves as individuals, parents, leaders and community contributors. As a personal favour to me, both ladies open their lives up to my group so we can share and learn. The Social Venture Program takes place in Thailand once a year.
The leadership program is from the 23rd till the 29th of July. The group is small, my requirement is that we have to be able to all sit at the one table for dinner. I have three spots left for this year and I am extending this invitation to you. If you would like to spend a week feeding your soul, focusing on yourself and personal leadership or if you as a leader would like to provide a unique development opportunity for someone in your team, someone whose personal resilience matters to you please contact me for further details or follow through for more information and registration.