Last week I wrote about The Suck Factor and advocated that as trainers we need to tell people during basic training about it and arm them with tools and strategies to help them Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to Be Great.
Reading the list of all the Suck Factors you might be thinking, “That is a lot of suck. How do we embrace that and find the good in there?” Like so many other areas it is a matter of stepping back, looking at it differently and reframing the challenges.
It sucks that the haters, anti police people and special interest groups get a lot of time on the evening news, but they do not speak for the majority of people in your communities. The Gallop polls continue to show that law enforcement is one of the most trusted professions across all demographics. It sucks that the majority of people who support the police are also the silent majority, but that is ok. If you teach officers to get out of their cars and have a few non enforcement interactions with citizens in the community every day they will likely discover there are a lot of really good people in the patrol areas, most of whom will never come into contact with the police.
It sucks that you will miss some special events because you are working shifts, but shifts also mean that you have time off during the week to hang out with your kids and go do things while all the other parents are at work and their kids are in daycare or school.
It sucks that you will be exposed to so much pain, suffering and trauma in your career, but that does not have to break or destroy you. It is an opportunity to help those who have been victimized and traumatized. It is an opportunity to serve your community with empathy, compassion, professionalism and humanity. You will have the opportunity to help people during some of the worst times of their lives. By implementing the self-care strategies you teach, creating a culture where wellness is a priority, looking out for and reaching out to your brothers and sisters, you can build resilience and experience growth as a result of these experiences.
It sucks when you have a bad boss, but there is something to learn from every supervisor. You will also have the opportunity to work for some great leaders throughout your career. Learn from then, appreciate them and thank them. Understand that ‘leadership’ is never about rank, position or title. Those things put you in a formal leadership position; they do not make you a leader. Accept that you are in a position to lead, so step up and be the leader that you always wanted to have. Become a student and a practitioner of leadership.
It sucks when you have to work with and around toxic employees, but you do not have to become like them. You can choose to Embrace the Suck, Look for the Good and Dare to Be great. If you strive to create a culture of wellness, self care and buddy care in your agency you can help prevent people from sliding into the toxic mindset.
It sucks that professional athletes get paid such outrageous sums of money compared to what law enforcement and other public safety personnel get paid., but you did not get into this profession to get rich, you got into this profession to make a difference, to help others and to protect and serve. Not many athletes will ever get the opportunity to save a lot or to change a life. You get those opportunities on a regular basis. If you are a member of the Excellence in Training Academy community go and listen to interview #196 with Nick Doughtery and learn how you can build financial wealth and freedom on a cops salary.
Go back to last week’s The Suck Factor post and continue down the Suck Factor list and take the time to figuratively step back and look at each of them with a new lens and reframe each of them to find the good. This will be a valuable exercise and one you can pass on to the people you train.
Note: For members of the Excellence in Training Academy make sure you listen to today’s interview with Jeremy Wade on Building Resilience in Your Officers and Your Agency and go back and listen to the interview with Dr. Stephanie Conn on Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel. If you are not a member of the Excellence in Training Academy, join today and use the code eitblog to get the first month’s membership free.
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