Good morning from Jumpseat Training.
Warningâ€¦.. the followingÂ is nothing but a true RANT!!!Â Proceed with caution, feelings may be hurt.
Often I receive emails, text, phone calls, and fall into a pit when dealing with the people around us. From superior officers to the snot nosed probationary firefighter that is greener that fresh cut grass often they create hostility, frustration, and just pure anger. All three of these are responses to people who do not have the same values, work ethic, morals, and passion that many firefighters consider valuable.
We all know the firefighters who show up one minute before shift change, but yet leave thirty minutes early when the relief firefighters arrives Â when he/she is suppose to. The same firefighter can also be the one hanging back in training, bolting from training before it is complete, and is the one on the cell phone during every waking moment of the year. These folks are the ones who show up for the t-shirt, paycheck, or some motivation that does not reflect the true essence of our fire service.
But here is a newsflashâ€¦â€¦â€¦.
YOU CANT CHANGE THEM!!!!!Â
Outside the roll of a direct supervisor directing a behavior change, most of the above frustrations will not be influenced by YOU!!!! Periodâ€¦.
A quote from Robert Heinlein sums it up best: â€œNever try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.â€
My mentor Dr. Rich Gasaway uses it often when I approach him frustrated, mad, and ready to throw in the towel.
With the rant out of the way,lets offer a solution.Â Ready?Â Are you sure?Â Here goes?
THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON YOU CAN CONTROLâ€¦. YOU!!!
Unable to scroll that statement across your screen, fly it over your house, or tweet it around the world this newsflash is one that we all should be smacked across the face with every dose of reality.Â We can not control other people’s motivation, work ethic (or lack of), feelings, discipline, or actions. We need to control our response to each.
When things are getting you frustrated with the slope of downward facing performance, concentrate on your performance. When you see a lack of ethics, focus on how to improve yours. If you see the negative Ned dragging their feet down the hallway of the fire station, walk past with a spring in your step.Â You see where this is going.
Trying to teach a pig to sing is pointless, the same holds true with trying to hold others to your values. You can’t force a firefighter to do the right thing. Unlike the days of the jedi, your mind tricks will not allow you to float your ethics into their brains.Â It’s just not going to happen. Your are just going to drive yourself insane and tick of the pig.
I see this constantly in our beloved fire service. From left to right coast firefighters everywhere get bogged down with these issues on a day to day basis.
When faced with these situations it is time to refocus on the positives and the things you can control
Your work ethic,attitude, morals, spiritually, education, ethics, and assigned duties. In the book Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill talks, at length, about over delivering performance at your current pay grade and how it will pay HUGE dividends sooner than later. The same holds true to the fire service. If you over deliver at your current rank the benefits will soon emerge. Holding yourself to a standard higher than others, working hard, and being the example could even save a life. Talk about repayment.
Next time you are in the firehouse and notice the attention going to others stop, we don’t want to frustrate the pig. Redirect the attention of increasing your value in your â€œpay gradeâ€™ If you in the jumpseat, mop that floor to its cleanest ever!Â If your riding the seat, mop that floor the cleanest it has ever been, then lead your crew to greatness. Five bugles?Â Mop that floor to the cleanest it has ever been then lead your department by being the example of values that any department would be proud of.
More than anything take your frustrations and turn them into FUEL!!!Â Fuel to get that promotion, task completed, of just kick butt on the fireground!
If you would like to hear more from this rant tune into the last Building the Unbreakable Firefighter Blog Talk Radio show where my brothers John Dixon and Chief Bobby Halton talk truths.Â Click the link below