The last 6 episodes have been pretty lighthearted stories. I’ve tried to share what goes on with firefighters that we don’t want anyone to see. I hope you’ve been laughing as you’ve listened to all our antics.
As I was talking to my friend John (who used to be a wildland firefighter himself many years ago), he suggested that all the stories don’t necessarily need to be funny. I have many serious, sad, exciting and kind of terrifying stories but I worry that will lead to the public getting those Hero ideas in their head. And as I explain a little in this story, I hate that label. Firefighters are professional and hard working. We just happen to be put into the position to help when things go wrong for people. We’re the ones you see and it is our job.
So then what about this story? I always thought this was a funny story. I always laughed when I thought about it or told others. Often times my reaction wasn’t the same as those listening to me tell the story. I wasn’t sure why that was. When I told John what the story was about, he said “why do you think it’s funny?” I was perplexed. I just did. When you get towards the end of the story, hopefully you’ll see what I mean.
Now what is the point of this story? I’ve known that we rarely understand how we’re impacting those friends, family and co-workers around us. How do people perceive us? How do the words we use impact on those who are observing us? We might just nonchalantly say or do something without thinking too much about it. When I became a Deputy Chief on a unit, I realized that everyone was watching me and paying attention to my words and actions. It took me awhile to learn that lesson. It is a basic point of leadership but sometimes lessons come hard. So the bottom line for me was… our actions and words sometimes have unintended outcomes. Be deliberate, be aware and be positive. Hope you enjoy the story and find the humor in it too. The next story will be a funny one. Thanks for listening!