Black Hawk Down @ SuperZoo 2015!

I’m having an amazing time at SuperZoo, #SZ15! Today started on a very high note thanks to Keynote Speaker, Keni Thomas.

“Keni Thomas is an engaging speaker whose story captivates audiences from beginning to end. The highly successful movie “Blackhawk Down” is based on his Army company’s mission in Mogadishu, Somalia. His presentations focus on leadership, teamwork, and the importance of training. From the motto of “Train as you fight. Fight as you train,” Keni shows how an emphasis on training and continuous improvement plays a vital role in the survival and success in battle and in life.”

I feel so fortunate to have been able to listen to Keni speak about his experiences, and the wisdom he gained through adversity. The room was set up beautifully!

I had an entire table to myself :-)
I had an entire table to myself 🙂
They did such a wonderful job putting this together!
They did such a wonderful job putting this together!

I’d like to share just a few thoughts that resonated with me during his presentation.

  • Take care of each other. The reality of the situation is so much more difficult than the training. You can’t prepare yourself for the pressures and stress of a situation gone wrong. You’d think that some of the Rangers would freeze up or crumble under the pressure, but they don’t. Nobody quits or freezes up because they all care about each other so much. They know that the lives of their brothers are at risk if they do not do what they were trained to do. “Train like you fight, and fight like you train.”
  • When you see a wounded vet, don’t feel sorry for him/her. They don’t need you to feel sorry for them. He doesn’t need sympathy, he needs a purpose. Put him to work and tell him to lead the way. Give him a purpose! (As groomers we create joy and happiness to be experienced by others by the work of our own hands. This gives me a sense of purpose and pride – and it should for you as well.)
  • 25 men were left behind in the Black Hawk Down mission. It’s not right, it’s not fair – it never should have happened. But so what?? What are you going to do about it right now? Don’t look for blame, look for solutions.
  • When things fall apart, we start skipping steps – SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). The Rangers wouldn’t follow the proper steps before crossing intersections, for example. One soldier, named David Floyd, followed SOPs and saved a lot of lives that day because he chose to do what he was trained to do. No matter what others are doing, we can always choose to follow the proper steps. Set the example for others to follow.
  • David Floyd was considered “the weakest link” out of the group. However, he was the only one who stopped at the intersection like he was supposed to because he chose to follow SOPs while all the others didn’t. Because he stopped he was able to see an enemy with an RPG aimed right at the group. Just before the enemy shot the missile, David fired at him and caused the missile to fly over their heads. He did an extraordinary thing by doing an ordinary thing at an extraordinary time. We all have the ability to be extraordinary by doing ordinary things when things are falling apart. “Lives are affected by your example.” We all have someone to our right and to our left – whether we think we do or not. We all have a responsibility to choose to do what we know we’re supposed to do. No one wants to have to do something extraordinary. They do it because it’s the right thing to do. Be Extraordinary!

He finished with one of his songs that he wrote called, “Hold the Line.” It’s such an inspiring song! The message, “We gotta stand together and hold the line.” Please take a minute to watch the music video:

After the song he said, “Congratulations for choosing an honorable and noble profession… The impact we have on the lives of others is so big and can have such a lasting effect. By making a positive impact on the lives of the dogs we groom, we actually make a positive impact on the lives of the dog’s owners. By doing what we know is right, even when things fall apart, we are making a positive impact on the world. Like the Rangers say, “Rangers lead the way” we can also take pride in our work and say, “Groomers lead the way!”

This should apply to us all. Groomers, lead the way!
This should apply to us all. Groomers, lead the way!

There’s so much to see and learn here at SuperZoo! I’m so thrilled to be able to share my experiences with you! I will continue to blog about the event, and highlight certain products and services that stood out in my mind. Thank you all so much for all the support!

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