Kevin Bailey is one of those guys you would never forget if you had the chance to meet him face to face. Like most people who have served in the Armed Forces, he carries himself well in a positive and self-assured manner and yet in a uniquely Aussie way, is very laid back.
Kevin has an infectious sense of humour, a quick wit which he doesn’t’ mind using and a razor sharp intellect. In all of this he is a genial and humble man, hardly the sort of guy you would imagine could kill you with his bare hands in 30 seconds. They tell me that most SAS men are like this. You don’t know what they are really like until it is too late, which is the whole point of the SAS strategic approach to warfare.
The men who join the SAS are the best of the best of the best. Kevin shared with me that when he applied for the SAS, he was one of 2,000 applicants from the Army, Navy and Air Force. From those applications 127 were selected to take the 21 day training course. 89 of those men withdrew over that period and a further 12 failed the ongoing training process, which left only 26 men still standing, or should I say hobbling.
Kevin remembers going to sleep at 1am after a particularly brutal training period and then getting woken up at 2.45am for a forced march with full kit. This sort of physical and mental process separated those who wanted to be SAS soldiers from those who would give their all to the cause.
During this endurance phase of the training Kevin lost toe nails from both feet and the skin on the soles of his feet wore down to the bone. On top of this the men had to run everywhere with logs on their shoulders, and in tandem. This taught them team work.
Each day Kevin had to wash the blood out of his socks, but he stuck it out. He related how they had to abseil down from a 150m high vantage point. The regimental Sargeant Major went first to show the team how it was done. Unfortunately he miscalculated and came down too fast. He hit the ground with a thud and snapped the bones in both legs which were now sticking through his bloodied uniform.
While the ambulance took the Sargeant Major away Kevin had to climb the vantage point. Thankfully he didn’t come down too fast and survived a further seven years in the SAS, widely regarded as the best special force battalion in the world – right up there alongside the Navy Seals in the USA and the British SAS.
Kevin Bailey will be one of the speakers at our Dads4Kids Train the Trainer Weekend on 16-18 May 2014. Kevin is not just a highly regarded SAS soldier but also a very successful businessman – one of the founding directors of the financial planning company Shadforth Financial Group.
More importantly Kevin Bailey is a very committed father of seven children from 25 to 7 years of age, 4 girls and 3 boys. Better still he is still deeply in love with his first bride. Such men are few and far between and actually quite rare. Knowing he would be one of our presenters at our Train the Trainer Camp, I asked him for his top three tips on being a successful father.
Character has to be number one. If you haven’t got character you have nothing. Fathers need to step up to the plate as servant leaders in the family. Your children won’t follow you unless they believe in you. That’s why you must be believable first. As a father you must have integrity and the courage to have moral convictions and not back down.
To give you an example of what I’m talking about let me tell you a story. Recently I took my wife out for dinner. The meal cost $48 but when I got home I realised that the restaurant manager had misplaced the decimal point and put it down as $4.80. I rang him and he was very surprised when I personally brought around the refund before I went to sleep.
You see honesty is a disappearing trait, but if I’m not honest, how can I ask my children to be honest. Part of my job as a father is to work out ways to get my children to see me doing the right thing. “Character is what you are in the dark.” If you haven’t got it, you can’t give it.
Secondly you have to be sacrificial in your commitment to your family, just as I was committed to finishing my SAS training with or without toe nails. Fathering and staying married to the woman who is the mother of your children will require that same level of courageous and sacrificial determination.
Thirdly you have to open yourself up to the creator of the universe. As a father, I haven’t got all the answers but I know who has, and as a father you have to humble enough to get on your knees and ask.
As St Catherine of Sienna said, which I recently tweeted, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire”.
It’s hard to argue with a guy who can kill you with his bare hands in record time, so let’s just all agree with him and put Kevin’s advice as a former SAS soldier and father of seven into practice. Of course, the trouble is, it is easier said than done. Happy doing!!
PS. We are still taking applications for those who want to attend the Dads4Kids Good to Great ‘Train the Trainer’ weekend. The best way to excel as a father is to train others. Download a copy of the Prospectus here.