What does it really take to make a life in the bush of Alaska as a Professional Wilderness Guide? It takes the determination to do the best job possible, faith, a deep love and respect for the wild that surrounds us and grace.
Folks ask sometimes, how it is possible that a little farm girl like me could have ended up sitting at the same table as Alaska’s old-timer Outfitters and Master Guides and their sons.
I could say it was simply a decision. A single decision, to never quit and learn everything about this world that I found myself in. That isn’t really the whole truth. Oh, the decision was made, and over twenty years later, I am still learning. But there is more, if someone is looking for the steps to be taken to reach the position I hold as a guide.
It is grace. It is a pure love, given freely. It is the utter acceptance and understanding of what is and has been. It is the dedication and support that is as natural as breathing.
“A great leader needs to love and respect people, and he needs to be comfortable with himself and with the world. He also needs to be able to forgive himself and others. In other words, a leader needs grace.”- Leo Hindery Jr
Grace is understanding that the most important aspect of Leadership is service, to others. To accept the responsibility of other people’s efforts to be better, to be more, to learn more. To understand their strengths and how to help them build endurance, to understand their weaknesses and how to help them past, around or through those weaknesses.
As we ride out, I will be leading you into the wilderness with grace. As a Leader, I am called upon to lead people through dangerous terrain, to teach them how to stay safe in the wilderness, how to keep others safe and how to find and stalk dangerous game. I believe the best way of doing this is with grace.
How did I come to a position of Leadership living this adventure of a life? Through grace. The willingness to give all to become everything I was born to be. To learn something from each moment and to pass it on. To be content in the moment, to listen carefully and respond only to offer help. To always admit my mistakes and to be willing to accept help and recognize whom it comes from.
“Humility means knowing and using your strength for the benefit of others, on behalf of a higher purpose.” – Alan Ross
To move and speak softly and only when needed. To be alert and aware. To understand how Nature and the wilderness ebb and flow. To encourage another step, another mile. To reward and to focus on the whole, not my own effort.
Living and leading with grace is to not be judgmental, but not to loose sight on the purpose either. It is to be open to understanding and right.
It is into the Wilderness with grace we go, because it is in the Wilderness we will find grace in everything from the clouds drifting across the sky, the powerful rise of the mountains, the symbiotic relationship in each living critter and the force of the tiniest stream.
It is with grace I lead others, learning from each and sharing of my own experiences and revelations. Understanding that with grace, I will safely lead others to the dream that brings them to a land so foreign and dangerous. Understanding that what we do cannot be done alone and we are all necessary to each other. The brighter any one of the Team shines, the brighter we all shine.
Grace, is to me, the beautiful canvas our purpose is written on.