During my 31 years as a law enforcement trainer I have come to the realization there has not been an original thought or original material in several hundred years (maybe longer). Everything is recycled. As trainers we take the knowledge and information that is out there and we repackage it, reframe it, and retool it in original ways to put existing information in context for a particular audience and for our profession. We come up with unique and creative ways of interpreting and applying existing information. In reality it is the application, interpretation, packaging and delivery of material that is original, not the information itself.
In the book Be Excellent at Anything the author Tony Schwartz quotes George Keller as saying “One of the paradoxes of creativity is that in order to think originally, we must familiarize ourselves with the ideas of others.” Schwartz goes on to point out “Information, in short, represents the raw material from which original thinking emerges – and the more knowledge ones has, the better the base.”
If you attend an ILEETA Conference (www.ileeta.org), and you should, one of the things that becomes apparent is people’s willingness to share. They willingly share their time, share their knowledge, share their experience, share their information, share their material and share the credit. ILEETA is an organization of peers and the majority of members are very willing to share everything they have knowing two things:
- Everything they have they first learned from someone or somewhere else.
- The people they share it with will give them credit when they use the material themselves.
Professional speaker and trainer Joe Calloway talks about Becoming a Category of One (I would recommend reading his book by that title). His premise is that you need to focus on becoming a category of one by setting yourself apart from others through your preparation, your presentation, your content, your relevancy, and your style and stop worrying about people stealing your stuff.
I am certainly not the only trainer to present on the topic of mental preparation, personal responsibility, instructor development, leadership or imagery. What makes my presentations unique and different from other trainers is the manner in which I deliver the material, the stories I use and / or the way I use them, the way I connect different ideas and concepts, the way I apply the research, the manner in which I use video and other visual aides and a myriad of other elements that make up my training style. All of that augments the material I teach in an effort to create a positive learning environment and help the participants think differently, and learn, retain and have the ability to apply the information covered.
It is the same for you. You bring your unique voice, experiences, stories, analogues, metaphors and examples to your training making it different from training on the same topic delivered by every other trainer provided you are true to who you are. If you try to mimic any other trainer it will come across as insincere. Be yourself and continually strive to improve your mind, body and craft. Seek to make yourself a category on one and set yourself apart from others.
We all got our stuff from someone else, from a book, from a podcast, from a presentation or webinar, from a conversation, from a movie, from an article, from Instagram, from a class we took, from research, from Sir Robert Peel, from the Stoic’s, from famous coaches, from pop culture, and from our experiences, and from the experiences of others.
Do not plagiarize other people’s work. Do not take someone else’s speech, article or PowerPoint and claim it as your own. Do not violate Copyright laws.
Do learn, study, read and borrow from others and always give credit. Doing so helps to spread the important messages and reinforces what should be the bottom line for all of us, which is keeping officers safe.
Winning Mind Training – Providing practical training to law enforcement professionals in the areas of instructor development, Performance Enhancement Imagery, leadership and mindset.
The Excellence in Training Academy – A membership site for law enforcement trainers seeking to invest in their ongoing professional development. Join Now.Dare to Be Great Leadership – Providing practical leadership training.