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Are you really having a bad day?

09 December 2022

I slept in today, the car wouldn't start, that meeting was awful, I've missed a deadline….. whatever constitutes a bad day for you pales into insignificance when you realise what a 'bad day at work' could mean for someone in the armed forces. This is a world I know nothing about really but I was recently invited to a talk by two young men from the British Armed Forces, Mike Duffy and Jaco van Gass, both of whom had experienced a bad day at work.  

For them, though, this meant sustaining life-altering injuries in combat situations in Afghanistan.  Both had been hit by rocket propelled grenades, both had fought back from the brink of death, and each had embarked on a tough road to recovery and an entirely new career trajectory.  

Why was I there?  The talk was focused on motivation and resiliency, two topics we are currently exploring ourselves at Link and ones I wanted to hear more about. The audience was diverse and it was a fantastic opportunity to hear from, and speak to, people out with my usual circles and to listen to their perspective on resilience.

I was bowled over by the motivation and determination of these two young men not to be defined by their injuries, but to go forth and be the best you can be.  When I look back at all the 'motivational' speakers I've listened to over the years, I have never been so inspired - or so humbled - as they talked openly about their time in the army, the passion and commitment to their roles, the days that changed their lives forever, and the journey through recovery and beyond.

The key take home message was that 10% is what life throws at you and 90% is what you do about it.  Mike now works with kids helping them to build resilience and Jaco went on to scale Everest as part of the Harry's Arctic Heroes expedition.  This group of wounded soldiers became the first of its type to stand on top of the world and raised £1.5m for the Walking with the Wounded charity. As if that wasn't enough, he then trained to become a top level cyclist, bringing home a gold and two bronze medals in the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year!

So, what do I say to you as members of Link?  Do be motivated to grasp those networking opportunities that come before you.  You never know who you might meet, what you might learn, or how you might change your thinking and become more motivated by listening to someone else's story.

This event was organised by Futures Sales Factory and Walking with the Wounded, hosted by Baillie Gifford in Edinburgh.  

Future Sales Factory is a sales training organisation at heart, but also provides conference speakers of any type for any event. We are proud to also help the veteran community, particularly those injured whilst in service and for this, a few years ago, we received the highest civilian business honour that the MOD Award, the GOLD ERS Award, and are proud that we are the smallest company in the country to hold this award. If you need a speaker for a conference or event, please get in touch.

Established in 2010, Walking With The Wounded ‘WWTW’ is a leading military charity which recognises that those who served, deserve. Whether mentally wounded, socially wounded or physically wounded, they deserve the care, support and means they and their families need to function in society, serving in the communities in which they live, reigniting their sense of purpose and making a positive contribution again. Walking With The Wounded gets those who’ve served – and their families - back on their feet. We do four things: employment, mental health, care coordination and volunteering which are saving jobs, homes, relationships and lives for the veterans who are struggling since leaving the military.

To access insightful content and hear about our events and other initiatives, sign up to DWF's early careers network.

Written by Louisa Langley

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