Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – Thanksgiving 2019
As always, I want to give another thank you to all who forward this message to your departments and staff. You trust me enough to share my message to others, and I strive to not make you regret that decision.
At one point in my life when I was having a deep struggle, I had a wise mentor give me some amazing advice. Since you are reading this today, it is something I’m going to share with you. He told me “Most problems aren’t because of something you don’t know, they are because of something you know and aren’t doing.”
Holy cow, that was big for me. I began to look at my life and the struggles I was facing, and it was mostly true across the board. I began to look at my job, my relationships, my friendships, my personal growth time and other areas that were a struggle for me. I wasn’t doing the things that I already knew to make those relationships and those areas of my life successful.
For example: my relationship with my family. That didn’t need another seminar. I didn’t need to learn new “tactics”, new skills, etc. I needed to put into practice the things I already knew to do. My family needed my time. They needed that time more than Facebook and Twitter did. So one of the changes I made was that I would set one night a week aside as family time. No meetings, no ride alongs, no phone calls that night. If something urgent AND important came up, that day was then moved to compensate that. (I say urgent AND important because sometimes things are urgent but are not significant at all. I had to use the skill of prioritizing that I had already learned and apply it.). I did things I already knew and was not doing and it made a HUGE difference.
Another example: I was often VERY ANGRY at the slightest irritation. I often wondered “Where did that come from?” But I looked at my schedule and habits and noticed I was not getting near enough rest, nor was I getting time to exercise. So I began to cut some things out of my life that I knew were “time wasters”. I made rest a priority. I made getting out and hiking a priority. Then I began to notice a SIGNIFICANT change in this area in my life. (I could also talk about my eating habits too). Again, I did things I already knew and was not doing and it made a HUGE difference.
So are there areas that you are struggling in? Are relationships in your life that once were flourishing and brought joy to you now going in the other direction? Maybe being at work is a source of frustration when it used to be challenging and exciting. Identify what isn’t working, then develop a plan to do something about it. Trust me, playing the ostrich and sticking your head in the proverbial sand will not help you in the long run. I know through experience.
”But what if I don’t know where to start?” you may ask. That’s an easy one. Find someone who does. Peers can sometimes be a source of information (we all know that person who is enamored with their spouse after being married forever. What do they know that I am not considering?). Sometimes we have to turn to counselors (I know, some people in Public Safety avoid them like they all have a contagious disease) , and chances are you know one and you wont need 10 years of sessions to figure out what you need. Maybe even consider chaplains, ministers and clergy in (or out) of your jurisdiction. The point here is this: Why should your life be any more stressful, anxiety-filled or painful than it needs to be. Make 2020 better than 2019, and start that TODAY.
I always add this in for the holidays. We all know that the holidays can be a time of sadness, anger, frustration extra stress or depression. If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, other supervisors, clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. I’ll make myself available to help you (my contact information is at the bottom) in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, or send an email. Reach out if you need to. Life is a battle, and it’s most successful when fought alongside others.
In closing, as always, thank you so much for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again: You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.