Hey man are you okay? These are the words heard on the other end of the phone as a brother firefighter calls to check on another after a very late night fire in which a mistake was made. The is response I hate making mistakes, but I have learned from it and will not make it again, but that is not the purpose of this writing. As the discussion went on the brother went on to tell that the firefighter was being ridiculed for giving a good size up and wanting to be precise. My question to you is when did striving for excellence become bad? I have noticed for quite some time that firefighters whom strive to do their best take on a lot of ridicule. Firefighters who go that extra step to be on committee’s or purchase equipment often face ridicule by firefighters who either want to collect a paycheck or lack the know how to get the same job done. It lead me to ponder was this criticism because the firefighter was bad at their job or as I heard it stated they just wanted to be that guy, or is it fear that if in their same position they would have made the same mistake, but dismiss it by belittling firefighters efforts. So how did we let this become a standard practice of taunting firefighters wanting to be the best and striving for that goal? Ambition can be a great tool if harnessed early and guided in the right direction. Unguided and misdirected ambition can be trouble also, but how did it get that way? Was the ambition there to seek excellence but was not given any attention so now it is headed down the path of selflessness and Glorification? I used this story to point out the condemnation that is going on in the fire service today of one another. Often times firefighters are cutting each throats thinking that they are elevating themselves only, the real truth is they are showing everyone that they can not be trusted. We ( The Fire Service ) have enough people trying to tear us down and apart why are we doing it to one another? I encourage all the next time you encounter a firefighter striving for excellence help them along because it is the right thing to do; Even though they may have made a mistake be honest and tell them the truth, but also highlight what has been done right and encourage the continued success in that area. So again, I asked when did striving for excellence become a bad thing?
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