Seven years have passed since Mr Perfect was born and I picked up those shiny tongs.
But almost a decade since the thought was conceived.
At the time, "Classic Terry" spoke up and did his very best internally to tell me this was possibly the stupidest idea I'd ever had (more so than escaping to Australia in the darkest depths of depression, attempting to run-away from the storm).
But over time that voice took more regular holidays and when it returns now for some admittedly intense interactions, we are mere acquaintances, no longer mates for life, and no longer am I mesmerised daily by its dark charm.
Of course Mr Perfect was, and is, helpful to many men and beyond, giving them a comfortable, easy-access space to get outside and go chat over one of the greatest Australian pastimes of barbecuing.
But honestly, it was also the perfect distraction. For I had yet to truly get to grips with my own mental battles, and as I tend to do, didn't feel worthy that it was me that deserved help, that I needed to be well to help others be well.
But as Mr Perfect grew, so did I. Even as the accidental and reluctant CEO. My public speaking is now average, I can look people in the eye, I rarely have a panic or anxiety attack or blush at the slightest attention to me.
Since the idea sprouted, I've fathered three beautiful sons, that will be 1000 times the man I am, and, I believe, will have a toolbox of options available to them, AND the ability to talk openly about their mental health with zero shame, knowing dad will be the first person they can chat to.
I have accepted there are countless ways, strategies and complex challenges that all men face. And that giving advice and fixing is overrated. My (and our) biggest strength is the ability to open my ears and heart.
I have learnt that asking for help is not weakness, whether that be for your health, or for advice running a charity. As my Psychologist notes, being stoic has its time and place, but it's not a good life plan.
Seven years of wearing every hat conceivable has taken its toll: Founder, President, CEO, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Bookkeeper, Business Development Manager, Web Developer, Fundraiser, BBQ Host, Graphic Designer, Delivery Driver, Operations Manager, Social Media Manager, Copywriter, Blog Writer, Grant Writer, Spokesperson, Ambassador, Producer, Operations Manager and more.
At times I’ve tried to shake off the persona and identity of Mr Perfect, and pretend to myself that when I finally separate completely it will just be a distant chapter in my life.
But that would be unfair, and disrespectful, to not wear that badge with pride, and would surface one of my quirks of dismissing the truly big stuff and not allowing even the lightest pat on my own back.
I am scared, big time. That my "baby" (unofficially my first child) may not thrive. But, conversely, I can feel the intense burden of holding this organisation back and cannot wait to pass over the tongs. Dedicating a few hours a week to it in the wee hours is not fair on anyone (including my family, my employer and I).
I have managed to secure some modest security for the charity. Mr Perfect now needs a leader that can dedicate a few days a week to the cause, with a defined goal, and be paid and rewarded for it.
The organisation needs to creep away from being 99% volunteer led and a boot-strapped approach and take some more calculated risk (however, "lean" is my favourite word so expect bang for your buck always if anything rubs off from my influence).
I know the foundations we have built mean Mr Perfect will go where it's meant to go, whether that be the next Movember, or continue to be the grassroots community organisation that punches WAY above its weight.
A community organisation connecting men across Australia over a relaxed free BBQ to chat about all things life (and even providing high-quality online resources too).
To every human that has supported me, your combined words, gestures, belief and fuel has powered so much more than just a charity that runs some BBQs.
And I know you will give the same priceless support for our new CEO come mid-2023.
From the bottom of my heavy, snag-shaped full heart, THANK YOU.
If you see yourself as the next CEO of Mr Perfect, go grab a tea and reflect on our Job Advert by clicking here.
All applications will be treated with the respect they deserve.