Recently I went through a negative life experience. ( How is that for politically correct, Eh?)
As with all of these I reached deep within and found something worth sharing and some positive that I could learn from. I chose to share this thought with some new fire officers just graduating from officer training class and I will share them with you now.
Life and your fire service affiliation will occasionally challenge you in many different ways. You may have to discipline a close friend you may be challenged in some way by a person or a group, you may have suffered negative publicity or some other negative experience. Nothing will fully prepare you for these events but what I offer you today might help a little.
Just imagine and concentrate for a minute on the strength you have in your dominant hand. (Right handed or left handed doesn’t really matter) Now as you read this page open your hand palm up, and place into your strongest hand the following items: Your personal integrity, your entire capabilities and talents, and your inner passion and love for your family, friends, and career in the fire service whether paid , call or volunteer. Mentally place all of these items in your hand and close your hand and grip them tightly and place them in your pocket.
This symbolic gesture I just described will do you no good if you never reach into your pocket and pull them back out when you need them. Also because they are in your strongest hand, nobody can take them away from you ever, unless you decide that they will.
Someday you will be faced with an opportunity that will challenge your personal integrity. Maybe someone will question your truthfulness, or ask you to do something you know is wrong. When thrown back on your heels and somewhat taken back by this, think of this blog post, reach into your pocket and look into your open palm and see if all of your integrity is still there. Have you lost any, given any away? Some times you will witness a perceived injustice and the easy way is just to turn away and turn a blind eye. I offer you this analogy, while you are turning a blind eye to a perceived injustice, you may not notice just a little bit of your personal integrity slipping away. If you do that enough times, when you reach in to use your integrity you may find it is all gone, and nobody will believe anything you say, even though you might just be right this time.
Hold onto your personal integrity with all of your might ! Never let it go!
I hope when you put your capabilities in your hand, you included them all and even left room for more. As human beings we are all multidimensional and we have talents at work, we have a variety of human skills, we have varying degrees of education, artistic and creative talent and a myriad of other talents that make up everything that actually defines you as a person. Those capabilities that you hold onto and protect with your dominant hand are very special. They can only be given away and used by others when you allow them to be. Oh, sure people might try to diminish and minimize your capability. They may even challenge your capability. When people do that and your feel bad about it because you have been hurt by someone not recognizing and appreciating your talents and abilities, go to a quiet spot by yourself, open your palm and look at and list all of your personal skills. It can bring a smile to your face when you take personal stock of your value and worth regardless of what anyone says about you. It also is a good time to wonder about yourself if someone did not recognize your capabilities because you did not share any of yourself with others. That is also something to take stock of and decide how much others will know about you.
Take stock of your personal and professional capabilities often and never let anyone diminish or reduce you or your capabilities in any way!
Remember that I asked you to put your passion in your dominant hand as well. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is never to let it go. I do not care what your passion is and whether it is family, friends, and professionally fire service related, never let anyone stand in your way and prevent you from feeling and believing in what you believe in. Do not let anyone, or any set of circumstances take your passion from you or diminish it. You have to examine your passion every once in a while though to see if it is still there, and if it still is for the right reasons.
The second reason for putting your passion in your dominant hand is so that you may have some degree of control over it. You may have days and periods of time when your personal passion escapes your control and becomes a detriment or impediment to what you are trying to control. Do not give up on your passion, do not diminish your passion, but use all of your strength to control and redirect into areas in which you can become more effective.
Your personal passion is the most powerful tool you have. If you have lost it along the years of your career, then try with all of your being to get it back. Because it is the most powerful tool you have it is the first thing that the naysayers and detractors try to attack. Your passion will overwhelm them and in fact diminish those that are really impostors and talk about passion rather than know how to demonstrate.
It has been my practice not to “talk” about how passionate I am about the fire service, I have been told that people know it when I speak to them. I don’t have to remind them or prove to them as some impostors need to do.
Keep your passion very close to you and always within reach. Never let anyone diminish reduce, or try to break the passion you have. Keep your passion under control!
The above three tools I have just given you are very important tools. Like any other tools in the fire service they must be maintained, inspected and checked frequently, and they must all be used for the right reasons.
The next time you are having a difficult situation either personally or professionally reach into your pocket, sit in a quiet place, and look into the palm of your hand ….you might just find the right tool to fix the problem.