I wrote the following blog just after we arrived in New Zealand last November. This past weekend we watched our first ever All Blacks game. The season is just beginning and the words I wrote below seem even more true now than seven months ago. Perhaps it is that our understanding of what it takes to be a team is deepened once again by the experiences of the 1,006 days we have now spent together as a family. We have a shared purpose and passion for what we are doing which is why we find ourselves jumping into the unknown yet again. This time, Australia is the playing field, but the All Blacks will always be our team.
We landed in New Zealand just days after the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup. The All Blacks are the most successful international rugby team of all-time. With a winning record of 76% over 526 Tests in the course of their history, they are recognized as one of the most prolific teams across any sport. It was incredible to see and feel an entire country in celebration.
As we were sitting on one of the three legs of our flight to get to the Southern Hemisphere, we were talking to a gentleman who was asking a lot of questions about our traveling lifestyle. He, like many others, wanted to know if the kids missed sports, friends, and the rhythm of everyday life as we knew it before this journey. As the victory bells were ringing across New Zealand and many questions were still fresh from our transpacific dialogue, we realized something profound …
- It takes cooperation for us to get from one state, one country, one continent, and one hemisphere to the other.
- We do our best to learn and understand the rules for each new destination, and we play by them.
- How we approach each obstacle is relevant whether we are on the “field” or not. Good sportsmanship transcends the game.
- Approaching each new challenge with grace and humility is essential to our success.
The All Blacks story has reminded us that every team that has achieved the unimaginable has the ability to work together, play by the rules, and challenge themselves as they reach new levels of success. They also, however, have something more – a passion that is a result of their “coming together.” It is something that builds over time as people commit to one another day after day to leave it all on the field. It is a powerful alchemy that has a good deal of a hard work mixed in but that alone is not enough. Understanding what each person contributes and celebrating those differences while focusing on a shared vision driven by core values is the foundation for greatness.
If we were sitting next to that gentleman now, looking down over the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean, we would smile knowingly as he fired questions. We would reflect on the fact that we have spent every moment of the past 825 days together as a family, spanning three continents, 23 countries, two hemispheres, many oceans, and unthinkable time zones. There are no medals or ribbons or spectators but there is a huge sense of accomplishment, celebration, and gratitude. We would acknowledge quietly that at times we miss our past life, and question our future as everyone does, and we take those thoughts as indicators that we need to refocus and have a “team meeting.”
It is a gradual “coming together” that is taking us places we never imagined. Jonah Lomu, a legendary All Blacks player who recently passed away, said it best; “ The biggest thing for me is just to get out on that field. Just to do that will be incredible.”
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