If you have read my book or heard me speak, you will know that my personal development journey started when I was invited to attend a Rotary Leadership Program called RYLA. It’s one of their youth development programs that has been going for over 50 years for 18 to 28 year olds. Well, 30 years ago I attended my first RLYA as an awardee and over the past 30 years I have been so appreciative that someone believed in me more than I did and provided me with that opportunity.
Over the last 29 years I have been going back almost every year to present a two hour workshop on goal setting, only missing two years due to my travels or flooding. If you have ever watched the movie Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow, the story is based on showing two parallels of a life. What if I chose to take this action rather than pursue another path, what would have happened? For me I wouldn’t be writing this blog, I would not have written the books I have written, I would never have joined Rotaract or moved to Brisbane, met my loving wife, have two beautiful daughters and so on.
The sliding door moment between two parallel universes in Sliding Doors
WHAT IF I CHOSE TO TAKE THIS ACTION RATHER THAN PURSUE ANOTHER PATH, WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?
If you are not familiar with Rotary, they have an award named after the founder of Rotary International, Paul Harris. To give this award to someone a Club or Rotary District must make a donation of US$1,000 to the Rotary Foundation, which has been responsible for so many great achievements and virtually ridding the world of polio. In 1990 I was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport for my contribution to Rotaract. A couple of weekends ago I spoke to 350 Rotarians from District 9500—which is all of South Australia and part of the Northern Territory—where to my surprise I was awarded another Paul Harris Fellow for the work I do for RYLA. I need to say it is quite unique to receive one award if you are not a Rotarian, which I am not, but to receive two is beyond belief.
Now enough about me, I wanted to share my heart-felt gratitude to Rotary for not only the work they do but the impact they had on my life. I encourage you to go along to a Rotary meeting. Their motto is … Service Above Self. But there is so much more to Rotary than community service. There will be a club near you that either meet for breakfast, lunch or dinner and I know you are busy, however, the time you give will come back to you tenfold. If you are aged 18 to 28 get yourself on RYLA, or if your children are this age encourage them to attend—it will be life changing and you will make friends that will stand the test of time. I am so grateful for all that Rotary has done for me and for this prestigious award, it should be me who is giving the gifts to you.
Thank you Rotary International!