I am on a flight returning from Rhode Island where I have spent the last ten days working with the Leapfest Association and alongside the Rhode Island National Guard to produce the 29th Annual  Leapfest.

As always when I take a trip I meet new people, make new friends and learn new things.  My travel schedule of late has been somewhat rigorous, but I always look forward to the new adventure that awaits me. 

This trip did not disappoint.  I was able to see the same ethos represented in every Leapfest participant regardless of what country he/she was representing.   I had the great fortune of spending time with paratroopers from other countries and observe their same zest for life and free spirit. 

However, my greatest lesson was when a new friend asked me how I would describe myself or my spirit.  I believe this was a question out of curiosity in how I became involved in all that I do.  This is not necessarily an easy question to honestly answer without a great deal of thought.  However, it did not take me long to be resolute…..I am like a Mustang.

By definition a Mustang is a free-roaming horse of the American West.   They are often referred to as wild horses. In 1971, the United States Congress recognized Mustangs as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.”

So, you might ask yourself why I characterize myself as a Mustang?

To answer simply:

-          From the time I can remember I have always marched to the beat of my own drum (and literally as a snare drummer)

-          I am my most comfortable when I do not have to follow rules, guidelines or restrictions

-          I have a sense of adventure that inspires me

-          I am not intimidated by much.  I simply forge forward

-          I prefer to work independently although I am capable of working with a team

-          I have a spirit of wanting to add value and enrich the lives of everyone around me.

I wonder if this is just a type A personality and/or simply goes hand-in-hand with my ISTJ Myers Briggs indicators?  It really does not matter because I find extreme comfort in formally recognizing myself as a Mustang. What a beautiful animal that sustains itself, goes where it wants to go and blazes a path for itself.  The only downfall is that folks feel like they need to tame a mustang. They believe that the horses beauty will still shine even if it is controlled and guided. I believe that a Mustang’s true sense of beauty is in its spirit. Not necessarily how many miles it runs, but the spirit that makes it want to run.

So now I ask….How do you describe yourself or your spirit?

Now, as a I sat and really thought about this over the past week. Is that Mustang spirit not the same that I see in each one of my RANGER buddies?  So, was I born with it or did they show me the way?