Parkinson's Disease -
Challenges and Encouragement
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The Power of Personal Mission Statements by People with Parkinson's Disease
The "Zuiderdam", a Holland America cruise ship, pitched and rolled in the confused seas, making walking, eating and even sleeping a challenge. It was the first morning of our law firm retreat and the 19 team members struggled to put on brave, though somewhat green, faces as they entered the meeting room for our 3 hour business session. The retreat theme, "Building Our Team", seemed a hopeless cause as staff and lawyers alike were in various weakened conditions, some clutching sea sickness bags as evidence of at least a tentative commitment to be there. Leading the interactive session as I had planned would not be easy.
But despite the ship's drunken movements reminding each of us of the incessant threat caused by the diagonal swells striking the bow, we all remained. Even the fog horn blaring into the mist every two minutes did not cause anyone to bolt. It was tangible evidence of our commitment to the team and its common purposes. Meaningful discussion followed, during which both recent imports and 12 year veterans testified to the unique foundation upon which our team was built; its Mission Statement and Core Values.
The Mission spoke of our commitment to care for our clients, serving them as trusted problem solvers, while the Core Values affirmed how we as a team would serve each other in the process. Without exception there was wholehearted endorsement of these fundamental principles. Clearly, this affirmation evidenced the value of every person in the firm. Each person was much more than a functionary. They were not just doing a job. Each one was a missionary with a purpose to fulfill, an ambassador for the team's values.
I could not help but think of my life as a person with Parkinson's disease. Staggering along life's corridors, fighting the fear, toughing out the times of weakness, I needed to be reminded of my mission through all of this. My commitment is to grapple with the giant of PD every day and, whether I stagger and fall or stave off its incessant attacks, to grow through each battle, fighting so as to encourage others. There is power in that purpose.
What is your personal mission statement that will see you through when your boat is rocked about in rough waters?
Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2006, I was 53. I currently serve as the President of Trinity Western University, of which I am an alumnus. I remain engaged as a lawyer who practices as general counsel to a wide variety of clients, primarily in the Vancouver region of British Columbia, Canada.
Married for 40+ years (to the same loving and long-suffering woman), with 3 grown children, and one grandson. Besides my wife and family, my passion is living the adventure called life as a God-given gift, which includes motorcycle riding, scuba-diving, blogging, Scrabble and looking for the treasure hidden in each day.