Prince Albert Voice
Many years ago I discovered the benefits of spending more time outdoors. I grew up with a father who took a healthy interest in survival skills and being prepared but I didn’t understand this fully, nor appreciate it, until years later as an adult. It became very clear that my Dad did his best to guide our family toward a life more connected to the land - I feel somewhat I should continue moving forward that way in appreciation of the path he was following.
I spend a lot of time focused on firearms - let’s be clear - I spend most of my waking hours thinking about firearms. I’m probably one of the few women you will ever encounter who thinks and talks about guns as much as I do. So what am I focused on? It’s not just about selling or shooting them; although firearms are my main source of income, but I often ponder on firearm education: where did it go and why? Why aren’t we teaching our children about them? Why are many people afraid of guns? Where did the perception of “guns are bad” come from?
A while back I started up something new in Prince Albert called Ladies Range Days. This week I’m going to spend a bit of time writing about this valuable opportunity within our community. When I tell people I’m hosting these events, I am presented with two responses: 1) a raised eyebrow and “What’s that?” or 2) two raised eyebrows and “Wow that’s awesome!” I am happy with both.
After being absent from the Saskatchewan Penitentiary for quite some time now, I’ve taken lots of time to reflect. It took a long time for me to “de-escalate” from my experience there. While the opportunity gave me plenty of skills to build on, it also was the root of many other issues that created internal and external conflict. There is no easy way to spend your time in a prison. Staff are also doing time. Let’s face it though - work isn’t easy nor is it supposed to be. Whether we have our dream job or not, in order to maintain what we have or progress forward, a healthy attitude toward work is required because the only way is through. Simple things demand practice in order to master: following through with obligations, taking initiative, being on time, and working well with others - all positive work-related skills that produce results. Only through my own experiences am I able to see the value of work; unfortunately some people don’t find their way through and that is where problems start to brew.
Recently I was tasked to think about leadership and what it means to be a leader. I understand I’ve achieved a level of success which results in my own immense satisfaction; on the same note, only I can understand how much it took to get here. With 42 short years under my belt, it didn’t happen without support from many people who loved and love me as I am. The whole time I wasn’t thinking about myself as a leader but took charge of my own life as I needed to. Although discipline is important, I recognize that in order to get to where I am now I had to be persistent and remain consistent. Persistent in my own fulfillment of goals and desires; persistent in letting go. Consistently growing, consistently learning. Were mistakes a part of the journey? They are for everyone. I realize this will always be a part of life. As we all know, growing and learning will be met with obstacles that can create a sense of overwhelming impossibility - but that’s where one must rise to the challenge and stretch beyond the comfort zone. Along the way there will be many sacrifices and the only thing that will change is the type and level of sacrifice that is chosen in order to move forward. So what is a leader and how do I get there if I still don’t quite feel like I am? The thought of this quickly brings me to my senses and makes me think about the times I remind my children to be leaders themselves. And so I must be. This is where I especially need to focus on myself and the qualities I need to work on that will help to guide my people through. After all, the best way to learn to lead is to be lead. Read that again. After much thought on the topic I believe it’s best to describe a leader by reflecting on some important people in my life who provide mentorship and support and inspire me to become a better person than I was yesterday. Not according to anyone else but me.