Be a firehouse Gandhi: Love your job, inspire others
You would be amazed at how attitude and disposition would change if you emphasized positive aspects of your job
By Dr. Kim Alyn
"Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and success will come naturally." — David Frost
There is something incredibly inspiring about watching people doing something they love. When you show people that you love what you do and have a passion for it, you fire them up to be more, reach more and achieve more. Unfortunately, a lot of managers and leaders in the fire service are burned out in their jobs, and it shows at all levels in the organization.
How was Martin Luther King Jr. able to lead the largest non-violent revolution in American history for the civil rights?
What allowed Joan of Arc to lead the French army to several critical victories during the Hundred Years War?
How did Winston Churchill overcome a speech impediment to become one of the world's greatest orators and political figures?
How did Mahatma Gandhi, a man with no title, no wealth and no desire for fame, bring freedom to millions of people?
How was Mother Teresa able to launch the Missionaries of Charity and grow it to more than 600 missions in 120 countries with thousands of volunteers when she had no money herself?
What made it possible for Mary Kay Ash to launch a business with only a $5,000 investment and turn it into a $2 billion-a-year company with nearly 2 million cosmetics consultants worldwide, earning her the honor and title of "Leading Female Entrepreneur in American History"?
What empowered Nelson Mandela to spend 27 years in prison for standing up for what he believed in and then serve as the first black South African president in a newly formed democratic environment?
All of these people and countless others who have inspired millions around the globe share a common thread: Passion and love for the job. When you have this, you inspire.
Passion motivates. Passion drives you to press on when others give up. Passion shows that you care deeply about something, and that draws people in.
What is rewarding about what you do that makes it all worth it? When you start to focus on these aspects, you will find the difficult ones much easier to endure.
If you focus on the negative, that is all you eventually see. You would be amazed at how your attitude and disposition would change if you emphasized the positive aspects of your job.
The fire service is currently one of the most highly esteemed professions, and there are countless people across the globe lining up to get into this industry. If you're already in the fire service, do you appreciate what you have, even in the midst of the difficult parts of work?
One of the ways you can encourage people to focus on the positive is to do this yourself. Here's one way to do it: Type up on a piece of paper a title that says, "Things I love about my job." Then make a long, bulleted list.
Print it out, enlarge it, frame it and hang it near the area in which you spend the most time. This will remind you of all the things that make your job worth it. It will also remind others to consider the things they love about their jobs.
It will inspire people to be more positive.
You might be thinking, "I don't have a list of things I love about my job." Then here's my advice to you: It may be time to consider a new career.
The negative state of mind from being in a job you absolutely hate is detrimental to your health and well-being. It also hurts your followers, the public you serve and the fire service in general. It might just be time to move on to something else.
For the rest of you who have to put up with day-to-day irritations on the job, try to refrain from taking a brush of disdain and painting over your entire career. Everyone has elements they hate in their jobs. But we put up with those things for the opportunity to do what we love.
If you want to increase morale and make the fire service a better place, the quickest and surest way to accomplish that is to show people that you love what you do.
Dr. Kimberly Alyn is a best-selling author and an international fire service speaker. She is the owner of Fire Presentations (FirePresentations.com), a company dedicated to keynote presentations and training workshops for the fire service. Dr. Alyn has conducted the largest known fire service study on the topic of leadership and works with fire departments across the country on firefighter and officer development. She is the author of 11 books and a variety of CD/DVD productions. Dr. Alyn holds a bachelor's degree in management, a master's degree in organizational management and a doctorate in management with a specialty in leadership. Dr. Alyn can be reached at 800-821-8116 or email Kim@FirePresentations.com.
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