I hate the term “New Year’s Resolution”. That is why I intentionally waited until now to post this. New Year’s Resolutions are those things we wishfully tell ourselves that we are going to do to make our lives better or more wholesome while we are drunkenly celebrating the turning of the calendar.
No this post isn’t about resolutions, it is about goals.
Do you have any specific goals for your professional development this year (and yes, even volunteers can have professional development too)? Or are you like the masses that continually spout the non-specific, non-committal “yea, I’m gonna train to be a better firefighter throughout the year”?
If you look at any successful person you will find that they are goal oriented. They have a set timeline laid out for achieving the results they are after. The same holds true for us in the fire service. Yes, training is good and we should all attend our regular department training but is that enough? Is there a set focus and plan in place for the training your department has or is it just a hodge podge of skills that are thrown together to give us something to do on a Thursday night?
I am of the mindset that we need to take our own training and education into our own hands. Yes, by all means take advantage of the regular training at your department, but along with that figure out where you want to be and what you want to accomplish. Write it down and set a timeline for achieving it. See what opportunities are being offered by neighboring departments or from your district. Look over the classes and seminars offered by the state fire schools. See what leadership, communication or marketing classes your community college may offer that you can apply to the fire service.
So my challenge to you is to seriously think about where you currently are and where you want to be. Then come up with a road map to get to your destination. Focus, planning and commitment are necessary in this endeavor otherwise we will blindly travel around without getting anywhere.
So what are my goals for this year?
The first one I completed last week. Becoming certified in Ice Diving.
March I am attending a Fire Service Leadership Seminar.
The summer months will be spent working with our dive team training and setting up protocols.
Towards the end of summer I will be enrolling in a Paramedic course. (To prepare for this I have been studying the textbook for the past 4-5 months)
In addition to these few things I’ve already detailed I will keep my eyes and ears open for other classes and seminars I can attend. I will attend and also help train neighboring departments (what better way to get to know your mutual aid partners than to train with them).
So forget about resolutions, but DO SET GOALS and make sure you keep them.
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