Last night, at about 1 in the morning, I was rudely awoken by the sound of a low flying helicopter. My eyes ripped open as I shot out of bed, only to realise that this wasn’t Team Leadership Training and I didn’t have to rush to deliver a SMEAC. I still think about every situation at TLT 2 weeks later. This is probably because of the way sleep deprivation helps you to remember stressful situations.

It took my friends and family seconds from returning home for them to exclaim “You’ve changed!”. My eyes were dark and weary, and my spaghetti-noodle neck hardly held my deadweight head upright. Although, my feet were firm in place and I stood with purpose. I was ready at any moment to respond to a scenario and get to work.

Luckily, the training was over and I had time to relax. After a 13-hour sleep, I reflected on the previous week with deep appreciation. One person in my team stated about halfway through the week “Every hour I feel more and more prepared to lead in country”. I support this 100%. With every stressful situation, as much as it tired us out, we could all recall something crucial that we learned. The lesson could have been as practical as using the call-script properly, or as experiential as “get your sh*t together quicker”.

This may be the Peacock talking, but the highlight of TLT is the people. I’ve never had a job where I go home to my girlfriend and only talk about the people I work with. Every single person I met during the immersion period was driven, focused, and compassionate, to everyone around them. It was such an unexpected thing to see, with everyone surviving off 3 hours of sleep and still being able to crack jokes and smile throughout the day.

The stand-out moment for me happened during the most intense part of TLT. I’ll try to recount without giving too many spoilers for future TL’s. We gathered around in a large circle, quietly shaking in the cold, pitch-black field. Tink spoke to us about commitment to the “person to your left, and the person on your right”. We were told that we were about to endure a long night of hunger, frustration and discomfort, but we were doing it for the people that were around us. As he continued to lecture us about comradery, I felt a comforting pat on my right shoulder, and a resting head on my left shoulder. That exact moment illustrated that these people around me are the reason to work hard and live the values of PE.

I don’t mean to downplay the level of learning during TLT, either. As a commerce student, I froth the application of business models to real situations that I’m going to apply in-country as a TL. Being able to develop a successful business is the entire reason I’m studying at University right now on a Monday morning rather than sitting in my undies at home watching cartoons. However, personally, I’d rather be in Fiji applying everything I’ve learned, meeting people and seeing a direct impact on their lives rather than just reading from a textbook.

Blake Pearson
Consulting – Fiji – January 2017
Bachelor of Commerce, UOW 

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