Constantly Try to Improve

There is a lot of change in the Casa De Anchorpoint recently. My wife is in nursing school and my oldest daughter has to pick between two really good high schools. Of course Firefighter Basics has some great people to thank for keeping the site going while I tend to these things. But Let me share a quick life lesson I received by accident. It is one that I recently told my wife and daughters, one that changed my life and continues to be a model for me to this day.

When I was in high school I was good at one Track and Field event. That’s it, one. I was actually REALLY good, State Champ and everything. But since I was not very good at motivating myself to work out at the level I thought I needed during the off season I decided to join other sports for the workouts. I didn’t expect much from them, and that’s exactly what I got out of them. One year was Cross Country; the joking included how they would have to hold the bus for me after the meets. Another year it was wrestling. I was known as the Light Counter. Because when a wrestler is on their back getting pinned they have a clear view of the ceiling.

My very first wrestling match I had to go up against a two time state champ. He manhandled me. It wasn’t pretty. I was so out matched it was scary. He didn’t pin me, but did win by points. I fought my ass off and the best I could manage was not getting pinned. He ended up getting frustrated at my dumb luck and ability to absorb the mountains of pain he was serving up so he took a quick breather. The referee blew his whistle and made us stand up. He charged the champ with stalling and uttered a phrase that changed my life; “If you aren’t constantly trying to improve your position, you are stalling.” I got a point on the champ! The champ then gave me a quick class on some more painful wrestling holds and the match was over.

Every now and then this pops into my head and I use it in the Fire Service. I need to improve, I need to be better. Sitting on the couch does nothing to move me forward. As a firefighter ignoring all the information available does not move you forward. Pretending your opinion or choice of actions is the only way that works does not improve your position. I’m not some single minded, motivated machine, but the phrase comes to mind when I am being exceptionally lazy. I related this story to my daughter. I then asked her which school is going to help her get to where she wants to be in life, even if those desires change. She chose the more difficult school.

With this in mind I bid for and won a transfer to what is currently the busiest truck on my department and one of the busiest in the country. I’m nervous, of course, partly because I haven’t been on a truck in 8 years but also because I have never been on a company that does 5k+ runs a year. I think it’s necessary if I want to improve my knowledge, skills and abilities as a firefighter and officer. The crews at the new firehouse have a really good reputation and I hope I can keep up.

I’m definitely going to miss my current crew, they trained me well. I can only hope to get a crew half as good as them in the future. Thanks guys.

If you are not trying to improve, you are stalling.

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