I met Jack Gallacher a year and a half ago. He was sitting in a class at the Career Centre at the Bayfield Mall. I think it would be safe to say that Jack was pretty low on life.

He’d lost his job. He and his wife have three young children. Jack’s anxiety level was through the roof. He’d been trying to get back into his lifelong machining career. No luck.

Get a machining ticket! That was the advice for Jack around his childhood dinner table. And, it’s good advice if you love tool & die and the precision of cutting tools.

Somehow during his job search Jack found his way into a class at the Career Centre. It was called Exploring a Business Idea and for three days its participants were tossing around their skills, their real enthusiasms in life, their home pressures, their dreams. For three days these complete strangers trusted each other enough to share ambitions they’d never shared anywhere else.

Each told a story about a significant time in their lives.

Jack was busy developing an idea to start a machining business. And then... And then... He was asked to pretend the world was perfect. He could do anything he wanted. Anything. What would that be? It takes alot of courage to put your dream on the table, especially when you’re a critical part of a family of five. “I’d like to fly. I’d like to teach others to fly.”

And where are you right now, precisely? “I have almost all of my commercial rating. I have my instructors rating. I’m very close. But nobody makes a living teaching people how to fly. In Barrie.”

Toss out that self-defeating self-talk, Jack was admonished. Dream a little bigger. What else do you love to do? What else?

“I love building things. I love building decks. I love taking an empty basement and completely finishing it. I love moving rooms around, seeing the vision for things. I love making things better.”

And could you do both?

“Both?”

Flight instruction. Contracting. Maybe some snow removal in the winters on the days when the snow is preventing you from flying... you know, maximize the enemy and make money from it.

“Could I?”

You could. You can build a business that’s sustainable--really sustainable--as long as you love what you’re doing.

And One Sky Aviation and Contracting and is about to celebrate its first birthday. Jack teaches Ground School and individual flying lessons. He takes people for sightseeing flights, introduces them to the feeling for flight. He takes them over their cottages, over their homes, lets them marvel at Kempenfelt Bay and all that Barrie has become.

He’s building some very creditable backyard deck systems. He’s got a few finished basements to his credit. He’s going out at night to make estimating and sales calls. He comes home to add up his receipts, write out his contracts, keep track of his payables and receivables, for both companies.

Jack’s message? Life doesn’t have to be what other people think would be best for you. Sometimes when something doesn’t feel right, it’s because it isn’t. Jack’s job loss was actually his hole in the clouds. On the other side, the sun beckoned, free, searing in its brightness, bold, and welcoming. All Jack had to do is believe he could soar through it.

Congratulations, Jack. It’s taken courage. It’s full of fatigue. It’ll have more fatigue ahead. And your heart soars.

Thanks, Jack. Thanks for believing in yourself.

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