The 3 P’s to Success

Even though the Fire Service is ever changing and ever growing do you ever feel stuck? Do you ever feel like no matter what you do you just aren’t going anywhere? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I turned 30 this year and entered my 12th year in the fire service. I have often asked myself what am I doing, where am I going, is this all there is? It’s funny, a guy on my shift and I were finishing up a squad call the other day and started on the subject of our career’s and what is next for us. He is the same age and has the same length of service as I do so it was a great little chat. We talked about when we first started and how we had no clue what we were doing. We talked about being on the fireground, following orders, and accomplishing tasks not really realizing why we were doing them. We talked about how finally, after 12 years that we get it, we understand the why now. It made me realize that there are most likely a lot of us out there that have the same thoughts and feelings. I laid in bed that night trying to sleep, my mind wandering as usual. I thought back to a conversation I had with my Chief a few years ago about the fire service and it really got me thinking.

I remember sitting in the bay, sipping on some coffee, and shooting the breeze with Chief. He laid some straight up wisdom down on me that day and it will be something I will never forget. He told me that a successful career in the fire service boils down to the 3 P’s. Of course, my mind started racing trying to figure out what the hell the 3 P’s were. He let me stew for a while, I think he enjoyed it actually, then he smacked me with the knowledge of a 30 plus year career. He said, “Tommy, the 3 P’s are patience, persistence, and perseverance.” It clicked for me right then and there. It doesn’t matter who you are, how long you’ve been in the profession, what knowledge you have or don’t have, or who you know. All that matters, is that you take the time to acknowledge the existence of the 3 P’s and what each one of them mean to you.

Ever hear the expression you can’t have your cake and eat it too? This saying rings forever true in every aspect of life. As humans, it’s inherent that we want what we want right now. PATIENCE is a virtue and boy that’s the truth. When am I going to get hired fulltime? When am I going to get promoted? When will it be my turn to lead training? If you’ve ever thought about any of those examples, you know that patience isn’t always an easy concept. You will fall, you will struggle, but in the end, you will learn an important lesson is patience that you will be able to pass down to generations to come.

Remember that guy you worked with that just always went above and beyond? Yeah, the one that kind of annoyed you and pissed you off because he was a go getter. Yeah, we’ve all seen that guy. Now, we have a choice to make. Do we want to hate him? Do we want to dismiss him? Or, do we want to emulate him in everything we do? The answer is simple, be a decent human being and if you want something go get it! If you want to sit on your rump all day that’s fine, but you aren’t going to get anywhere in your career by being a passive bump on a log. You and only you control your destiny and where you will end up. That guy, the one that went above and beyond, he’s more than likely your officer now. He chose to be PERSISTANT and it paid off big time. He wanted something and he went out and got it. If you want to be the guy that does just enough to get by that’s fine, but you will miss out on what could have been.

You will get knocked down! Your patience will be tested, your persistence may falter at times but, you will succeed. PERSERVERANCE is hard but its payoff is huge. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your fire service career. We all start out the exact same as a probie in the firehouse. Some of us wash out after a short time. Some of us struggle but eventually make it. Some of us excel quickly and succeed early on in our careers. Which one are you going to be? You have the knowledge, you have the chance, are you going to take it?

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