Firefighters: Ask the right questions for a better life

I have lived much of my life in ad hoc chaos and though it has made my journey through this life exciting and adventurous, it has lacked a certain fulfillment

By Art Goodrich
May 14, 2010
Updated June 13, 2014

We have no fear of going into a burning building, entering swift water to rescue a victim, rappelling down a 200-foot cliff or going out in bad weather to spot tornadoes. And yet when an opportunity comes along that has life-changing potential, we are too scared to seize the moment.

Did any of you have a master plan for how your life would go?

I know many firefighters who planned on it from when they were very young. So, if you are one of them, did you plan on becoming an officer?

Was your goal ever to rotate off shift to an administrative position working Monday through Friday? Or, were you planning to rotate to another station house?

When the decision is made to stay where you're at, is it because you have grown comfortable there? Is it because there would be too much upheaval to change it?

Are we concerned with how the change would affect the ones around us? Or, are we looking for an excuse, so that we won't have to confront our own fear of change?

Self-imposed barriers
Many of you who follow my stuff know that I don't ask questions for the sake of discussions. I don't ask if I already know the answer — most of the time.

No, I ask because I want to know the answer and to learn.

What impediments do we put in front of ourselves that denies us the opportunity to further our success and when we do, is that in effect, failure?

We know that we don't like failure, but what is it called when we don't challenge ourselves to reach new heights and simply show up and do our jobs.

There isn't a more challenging occupation than firefighting.

Six questions
Well-planned pre-plans can quickly turn into ad hoc chaos in a New York minute and we have to rise to the challenge and live to tell about it. We are so focused on our tasks that we don't have time to be scared and it begs many questions.

  • When does training become skill?
  • When does work performance become experience?
  • When does knowledge become wisdom?
  • When does student become teacher?
  • When does craftsmanship become leadership?
  • When does change become essential to our personal growth?

My spiritual adviser, Baziman, did not pose these questions to me. Rather, he asked me other, more introspective questions and made some personal observations of me that led me to ask those questions.

Not only am I asking them of my readers, but I am also asking them for myself.

Though we may not get together, I want us to get to the same place. Do you hear me, Baziman?

I have to ask questions to get to my answers. More specifically, I have to ask the right questions to get the right answers.

I have constructed pre-incident plans in meticulous fashion, leaving no doubt and little to chance.

A new mission
I have lived much of my life in ad hoc chaos and though it has made my journey through this life exciting and adventurous, it has lacked a certain fulfillment.

Now, I am on a new mission — a new pathway that has already revealed that I stand in the way of me.

I am not going to go back and take a more cautious route.

No, I am going to remove the obstacles and continue my journey. Hosting FirefighterNetcast isn't a beginning or an end. It is but a destination along the way.

Baziman will be my wing man, my GPS and co-pilot.

And we will split the gas.

The article is written and submitted by Art Goodrich aka ChiefReason. It is submitted under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella. It is protected by federal copyright laws and cannot be re-produced in any form without the expressed and written permission of the author.

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