A career as a Firefighter is the most rewarding and gratifying career on earth. I’m a little partial; I’ve been a Firefighter for 19 years and have loved every minute of it. A career as a Firefighter is one of the few careers that you actually look forward to going to work in the morning.
The pursuit of becoming a firefighter is challenging, competitive and at times frustrating. Don’t get discouraged, you can and will be a successful – if you truly want it. This is not a career choice that you sort of want, or kind of want – you have to really want it. The competition is tough, but the people who put in their heart, soul and hours of preparation are the ones who come out on top.
To truly be successful you must have a plan. No team can win without a plan, a business cannot succeed with out a plan, and no individual can reach his or hers dreams with out a plan.
Goals are the backbone of our life plan. You must focus on what your wants and desires are, make a decision to change, and take action. You must keep trying and changing to have success.
Goals must be well defined, written, have time lines, be written in a personal format and must have reason.
Any area in your life can be driven beyond your dreams through goal setting and determination.
There are several killers of success. The number one killer is procrastination. All of us find that we tend to procrastinate when things get uncomfortable.
To accomplish any goal in life we must conquer procrastination. We must take daily action.
Right now I want you to write down six items that you have put off completing. Maybe it’s a work or school project. Maybe it’s a phone call to a client. Maybe it’s something as simple as mowing the lawn.
Jot down six items that you have put off:
Next, I want you to act on two of these items right now. Make that phone call, write that paper, and yes you need to get that lawn mowed.
DO IT NOW!
Don’t go on until these two items are completed. If you can’t complete the task today at least do something to move towards its completion.
“Decisions without actions are worthless.”
Here is any example of some goal setting I did after I moved to a busy station after a few years of the “easy life” at a slow station:
After a few busy nights and some working fires I realized that I would need to make some major changes in my physical health! And I needed to do it fast. The thought of not being able to perform and slowing the team down was too much for me to bear. I’ve always taken great pride in being on top of the game in the area of firefighting. After all I’m to be part of the solution, not the problem!
I set a goal to get back into top shape in 3 months. I set daily action lists, as well as weekly and monthly goals. I had the support of a young aggressive crew, and a drive to serve at the highest level possible.
¨ Primary Goal
Get into top shape in 3 months.
¨ Daily and weekly goals
1. Workout at least 5 days per week
2. Meet with the Department PEER fitness instructors to design a better work and nutrition plan
3. Increase running distance to 3 miles per day
4. Eat healthier
5. Enlist a workout partner to keep me motivated.
This is a short list of some of the short range and long range goals I set for myself.
Realize that two things must happen to reach my goal to get back into “fighting shape”, or any goal:
First, define your reason for the goal. It must be a burning, driving reason. If my reason is to simply “look” better, this would not give the motivation to succeed. However, if my reason is to; “Enable me to give my best on the fire ground for my fellow firefighters and the community.” Well this reason will surly motivate me!
Second, build smaller goals that always are in line with the primary goals and evaluated them often. You will notice for example one goal I had was to meet with the PEER fitness Instructor. Once this is accomplished I can mark it completed and then add goals from want I learned from meeting this goal.
I did accomplish my goal of getting back into top shape. Through completing this goal I also accomplished other goals in my fitness and health.
My process of goal setting has served me well, and will continue to serve well.
“Dare to aim high”
I like to set weekly and monthly goals and place them in my Day-timer. I am firm believer of some type of daily planner. I place my daily action lists, as well as short and long term goals into my day planner so they are always inform of me and reminding me. Through the use of my day planner I can track my progress and stay focused.
Again let’s look at our Fitness goal:
Some of my weekly goals maybe:
· Join a health club
· Hire a personal trainer
· Build a workout schedule
Now on my daily action list I would put:
· Run 30 minutes daily
· Track daily food intake
· Read one fitness article daily.
· Workout 5 days a week.
Get the idea, simple, but effective. Goals and daily actions are driving us to our primary goal of getting into top shape.
So you maybe asking how this applies to quest to becoming a career firefighter? Well, pretty much everything! The pursuit of a Fire Service Career is demanding, competitive. You need to place yourself in the top of pack by giving everything you can and being best candidate.
I believe in accomplishing something new toward my goals everyday. I continually review my short term goals and build on them during my weekly review of my goals.
An example of this might be adding 5 minutes a week to my daily run.
The key to success on truly anything is:
1. Daily action toward your goal
2. Evaluate your progress – feedback.
3. Change our ways
Action -If your daily goal is accomplished it will keep you moving toward your primary goal. All actions create a reaction. All progress, however small, guarantees success.
Evaluate progress – I like to call it feedback. This is an important step in the progress. We must assure or actions are moving us toward our goal. Feedback from weekly and monthly reviews will help us to stay on track. Remember that a ship or a plane never stays on course without constant adjustments make from feedback. We must do the same to also stay on course with our goals.
Change our ways – In order to reach your dreams there needs to be a change in what we are doing now. Sometimes we may view this as sacrifice. We need to change our life in little ways to change our life as it is now!
Our goal of becoming a Career Firefighter requires planning, action and sacrifice. My completing daily and weekly tasks the guaranteed outcome is going to be success.
Nothing is free. But everything is possible. Set your mind to a dream and it will make it so.
Live tomorrow – today!