I recently completed my third 4th Musketeer, Extreme Character Challenge in the Drakensberg with a bunch of great men. During those 72 hours, more than 220 men were challenged to bridge the 250mm gap between their hearts and their heads. What I took out of this round is different than from the previous two, and that is that every face has a pool of tears, and that every man (and woman) has a story that makes them unique, if we just take time to engage. The larger population grew up believing that personal problems are to be sorted out privately and men in general are ashamed to ask for assistance. “I'm the man, I don't need help! I have this sorted!” We believe that asking for assistance show signs of weakness, allowing others to step on and walk over us.
In fact, the contrary is true. Acknowledging that you need help puts you in the space where you realise it is not just you in the world. That place where you can put aside your selfish drive to make it to the top, no matter what. That place where your "knowledge" gained will be for the better of this world.
Help is just a call away, and somewhere, someone has somehow overcome the same problem in the past.
I realise that in industry we sometimes find ourselves at the exact same crossroads of needing help but fearing our pride. We are fast in having "bad" case studies go public, but we do not come to the front with "good" stories. If successes are also more broadly shared, your learning experience could help others who face the "same bad ground conditions" and more than often, prevent future tears.
As the President of the 2017–2019 SANIRE council, I would like to extend a warm invitation to the "senior" members to raise their hands and commit to imparting their experience to the willing, younger generation. This invitation then, also reading it from the other side, encourages "junior" members to seek help from their peers and seniors in areas of uncertainty.
I would like to believe we can make the Rock Engineering industry go from GOOD to GREAT by being a community where we look out for each other, regardless our race, gender, age, home language and even the commodities we mine.
I’m looking forward in serving you as President in the next term. Till next time, God bless.