Boot camp was everything the young man expected and then some! Grueling, exhausting even what some might label abusive at times but he embraced it all. Small in stature, the young man went above and beyond to prove that there was more to him than just size. He excelled in all the physical tests except one; he had not been able to successfully vault over a wall that was part of an extensive obstacle course. In every attempt, he always fell short of being able to grab the top of the wall and propel himself over.
The night before the final tests of boot camp, he was awakened by his Drill Sergeant and ordered to go outside. Sure that he was about to be chastised for his failure on the course that day, the young man stoically waited for what was to come. Instead, his instructor led him to his nemesis: The Wall. Then the young man was given an odd instruction: feel the wall. Disciplined to respond to orders, he did as he was told. He slowly walked the length of the wall as he ran his hands over the rough surface. Thoughts tumbled about in the young man’s head. This wall stood between him and his long held goal of becoming a Marine. If he wasn’t able to get over this wall tomorrow, he would fail and be sent home.
The graveled voice of his Sergeant barked at him.
“Find a way over that wall!”
The young man pressed closer and breathed a silent prayer, “I gotta find a way.” and then he felt it…. a small niche, a lip in the face of the wall. Stepping back, he marked where the lip was and then began the circuit of the obstacle course which included running, belly busters, slide for life and swinging from ropes. He smoothly managed through each of these and then the wall loomed darkly before him. Heart pumping wildly, he raced towards it. In one fluid movement, he leaped on the wall, his boot instinctively finding the lip. Pushing up with strong arms, he grasped the top of the wall and sailed over! As he hit the ground on the other side, excitement surged and tingled. He’d made it! He knew in his heart that he’d be able to repeat this performance the next day and he did. But what thrilled him even more than that accomplishment were the words he received from his Drill Sergeant after graduation: “Good job Marine.” He’d successfully become one of the few and the proud.
(November 10th Marine Corp Birthday – Happy Birthday Marine Corp! Semper Fi)
This story inspired me to find my own LIP. Life presents us with obstacles every day and often they seem to be just as daunting as that wall appeared to be to that young man. But I learned 3 things from this story that I want to share with you.
- Get yourself an accountability partner. Someone who will challenge you to do what’s in your heart and not let you back away from it
- Be willing to face the obstacles that stand in the way of your goal. “Feel the wall.” You may find your answer in the midst of your problem
- Understand that your goal is worth every ounce of effort you have to expend to get it. Don’t back away from the challenges of reaching what you really want