Liam’s Story

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Liam is an interesting and complex man. He has strong likes and dislikes and is not afraid to use his voice which sometimes lead others to misunderstand his good intentions. Most people don’t know that Liam is a passionate and incredibly observant person and is actually very shy and quite introverted. He is not alone in being read as “a book that has been judged by its cover”. Sadly, many people have a hard time letting others in and what the world too often sees as opposed to the actual person is a host of defense mechanisms disguised as ‘boorish personality traits’. It is these traits that led Liam on his quest to learn basically all things aviation related. You see… Liam is a bit of an airplane scholar in comparison to most.

His passion with all things that fly began years ago while he was taking regular flights back and forth between Powell River and Vancouver. Liam describes his time on these flights as some of the most enjoyable experiences he’s ever had. He would position himself as close to the cockpit as possible on each flight, often taking the emergency seat purposefully in order to hear directions clearly and commit them to memory. Liam would then set about absorbing any and all things happening around him, taking in the experience using many senses especially when he lucked out and was seated near an OPEN cockpit and had a bird’s eye view of the pilot and co-pilot. When asked how he became so interested and educated in aviation he describes his flights in enthusiastic detail. What got him started was watching the pilot’s hand movements with dials, switches, levers and gauges, intensely listening to interactions and announcements then going home and applying the knowledge he’d absorbed to video game simulators and movies.

So it made perfect sense when Liam came on board with Building Caring Communities (BCC) because a community connector could support him in mapping out the steps to fulfill his dream of becoming a member of the Westview Flying Club. Why not just join the club you ask? Well… for some people it just isn’t that simple. Social interactions can be challenging, frightening and overwhelming to a point that without support it becomes a distant dream one feels can never be attained. This was certainly the case for Liam. When you sign up with BCC a connector can become your “project partner” which allows the opportunity to make such endeavours more user friendly so to speak. Everything’s better when you don’t have to go alone the first time, right?

And so the journey began for Liam. The ‘service blueprint’ generally includes planning a path that walks one down stepping stones we call modules which are chosen to suit each unique individuals’ personality and needs. For the most part there is a getting to know each other phase followed by goal recognition, a decision regarding module use, an overall plan, regrouping along the way if needed and then goal achievement. Eventually the connector fades out of the process ideally leaving in their wake a more resilient individual or capable of conquering more than they initially thought possible or at the very least – a person who has enjoyed a new experience.

Liam, despite his seemingly bold personality, is actually a person that struggles deeply with public situations and change. Walking into a room full of strangers was not something he was just going to do nonchalantly one day. Just wrapping his head around going out of the house was tough enough for him often causing him enough stress that he was lashing out in anger, physically shaking and his mind would be racing between negative thoughts and fears of all the things that could go wrong.  Building up and working on self esteem, self efficacy, autonomy, courage, trust and confidence was a very large focus for Liam. Within the modules of trust/courage, relationships, allies and community connections Liam and his connector were able to help him achieve a more positive outlook overall and expose his interpersonal skills such as verbal and non verbal communication, self management, listening, social awareness, manners, responsibility and accountability. Liam also did a lot of work in the area of political correctness, empathy and public speaking. Over time his resilience has grown and he has changed how he shows up in community, what he see’s as imperative to put into a relationship and he has even developed a couple allies. More importantly Liam is happy with these changes within himself however challenging they were and often continue to be.

Liam and his connector’s plan involved a number of steps which led to him becoming an auxiliary member of the Westview Flying Club. These were small steps and executed over a long period of time. He has maintained and built his affiliation to this group over two years and he is proud of his status as an auxiliary member. Liam says his journey was long and at times very difficult. When he felt like giving up he would call on coping mechanisms to get through the tough times – like envisioning how far he had come, thinking about what he would do after the meeting, using his memory to recall lessons he’d learned about public speaking and ‘turn talking’ along with little tricks he has crafted for himself such as having a drink on hand so he could focus on the cup in his hand and slowly sipping his drink to assist him in utilizing proper meeting etiquette. He prides himself in being a valuable member of this group and looks forward to “putting I his two cents at the meetings”.

Liam says being connected there makes him feel good about himself, that it feels nice to be accepted and to do what others do. He also feels it helps him aspire to higher things. He feels encouraged being around “cunning adults, real pilots with real life experience” and it helps him to have a reference point for his games too. Liam said his BCC connector “got me involved in a way I really wanted to be and I am happy about that.”