In my life I have had a few new beginnings. This latest one is triggered by the end of my career at the Federal Government of Canada igniting a new chapter of my life. Every new beginning comes with lessons learned, as a young teen, I joined my high school soccer team, and like all teens, I was excited about this adventure, I went at it with all my heart and soul. I attended every practice; I was in shape and ready! Then came the first unforgettable game, we wore our new uniform, all keen and revved up!   We fought hard, gave it all but the game ended way too soon and we lost 3-1. I thought it was the end of the world! All bruised, bloodied and dispirited, I was, lying down with the team dejected on the sideline, our coach came and rather than hitting us to the back of the head, he said: “I think you all did your best, thank you! Next practice is tomorrow, we’ll focus on how to work together as a team, one force! That’s all!”

When you are young the distance between feeling bad and feeling good is rather short. So walking home, I was delighted that our coach made us feel good so quickly, but I was anxious to get to the next day. “He was onto something,” I thought. Was he teaching us how to lose or how to win, are these two concepts intertwined and one drives the other? I was too young to figure that out. All I knew is that losing felt bad and winning felt good and that was the end of it.

The next day the coach did not get us on the field which was another surprise! He spent the day with us where we shared all sorts of stories about ourselves and he shared all sort of stories including how a wise Prophet taught his twelve children how to work together by asking them to come before him and each to bring two sticks, then asked each to break one of the sticks which they did easily then he asked them to combine the other sticks into one bundle and no one could come close to breaking them. This seemingly simplistic story served me well all my life and luckily helped me, early on; understand the power inherent in working together as one team.

This remarkable coach taught us in order to become one team, we need to know each other as much as possible, laugh and cry together, win and lose together, care about each other as human beings, and if we stand together, united no one can break us! What a fantastic lesson! We all seem to know, but for some reason we often isolate ourselves and work alone and carry the burden of the challenges that lay before us which require all of us to work together.

So as I leave the Feds, a new beginning, I come with this lesson intact and hopefully I will define everything I do by working with others, respecting others, and enjoy others. I think the way you interact with people will define the quality of your life, irrespective of what the interaction is. Whether it is business or leisure…buying or selling something, being served or serving someone … The bottom line is together no problem is too big.

When I was young I wanted to change the world and now I am a little older and a bit wiser, but I still want to change the world!  However, I realized that I can start by continuously improving myself and how to better work with others, because only when we work together, Christians, Moslems, Jews, and others, will we change the world for the better. There is no other option.

So my new journey will be about promoting these principles- no matter the conflict, reconciliation is always better than retribution and unity is always better than division and peace will always come with social justice, for all… Let’s make it a better world together, let’s make it a Poifect World for all.