Vision Quest

So here I am in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida, spending a few days getting my head together by camping and kayaking in lovely Anastasia State Park.  Only the weather is nasty, there's a serious wind blowing in off the ocean, it is raining sideways, and the temperature has dropped enough to be less than comfortable.

I'm not complaining though.  There are things to be done, like a long overdue post to FHZ to talk about things like this.  Things like going out of your way to do something, having plans, and being thrown a whole different set of circumstances just after you have put your mind to doing whatever it is you planned on doing.

Leaders must be resilient.  Leaders can not, for whatever reason, throw their hands up in the air and say, "Okay, things have changed, we can't do anything about it, pack it in, let's go home".  The difference between leaders and the rest of the mere mortals is that when we are faced with adversity, we roll with it.  We adapt.  We come up with a solution.  Or we at least try to look like we know what we are doing, if anything, to provide confidence to those around us, and maybe one of them will pull us out of the situation.

I have constant frustration with "officers" who have a problem and their first course of action is…? If you guessed, "Call the Battalion Chief", you nailed it.  Fortunately my esteemed officers know better.  But there are others.  But my point is that leaders see challenges as just that.  Faced with a changing set of circumstances, they pull things together, they make a sarcastic or funny remark to lighten up the mood, and they pull forward, only this time, harder, to show everyone THIS is the way forward.

In one of my favorite books of all time, "Gates of Fire", Steven Pressfield tells a story about the Spartans trying to decide how to fortify the pass at Thermopylae by building a wall.  The engineers are arguing the wall should be sloped to slow the advancing Persians and to provide a better tactical advantage.  Others argue that the wall should have other aspects to create a better killing field.  While they are arguing, someone looks over and cries out: Impatient, Leonidas, the Spartan King, is picking up a boulder, carrying it to where the wall should be, and putting it down.

When faced with a situation different than what you anticipated, face it down.  Leaders do not permit obstacles to be placed in their way.  They see them, understand them, and overcome them.  They appreciate what resources are necessary to overtake them and they apply the resources appropriately and effectively.  When faced with a problem, don't complain about it, fix it.  Create circumstances that you control and never let the circumstances control you.

  • Jeff Mrwik

    Down in my neck of the woods. That cool weather rolled in this afternoon. Hopefully it will be a little nicer for you tomorrow.

  • Michael “Mick” Mayers

    Got out there today.  Figured I've braved harsher conditions for less payback.  Had a blast.  Apparently tomorrow (Friday) at least the wind will die down a little, but we'll see.  Thanks for reading!

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Michael "Mick" Mayers

Deputy Fire Chief - Operations Division for Hilton Head Island (SC) Fire Rescue and an Emergency Response Coordinator with the United States Department of Health and Human Services  National Disaster Medical System Incident Response Coordination Team.

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

The Annapolis Mansion Fire, Investigating, and of course, The Haters
Well said. The general public has no idea of all the hard work involved. What a difficult task this has to have been for all involved. Prayers for all, especially the family.
2015-01-27 04:06:00
Frank S. Brewer Jr.
The Annapolis Mansion Fire, Investigating, and of course, The Haters
Well put Mick. After 44 years in Fire/Rescue/EMS I am always amazed at the civilians telling me how it should be done. Fire investigation is hard work and never rewarding, having worked for a private fire investigator, who died due to exposure to the scene environments, the satisfaction you get is finding cause after that…
2015-01-25 15:55:00
Mick Mayers
Someone I Would Have Liked To Have Known
Ruth, Thanks for the comment, although like Tom said, you missed my point. What I was saying is that I am honored and impressed that someone who not so long ago would not have been given a chance - for reasons of race and gender- was given those accolades. She is someone I would have…
2014-12-12 11:24:00
Tom Bouthillet
Someone I Would Have Liked To Have Known
There are plenty of white males who don't deserve to be firefighters. The most qualified individual should get the job regardless of race or gender. That doesn't always happen for a variety of reasons that don't need to be hashed out here. But way to miss Chief Mayers' point entirely.
2014-12-11 12:08:00
Ruth Phillips
Someone I Would Have Liked To Have Known
I've heard of all of these "substandard candidates brought in to fill a role" taking the jobs from those who truly "desire the job and are willing to embrace the lifestyle of a firefighter." Do you mean people of color and women taking the jobs from the more deserving, uh, white male? I'm baffled as…
2014-12-11 04:21:00

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Although I am affiliated or employed by certain entities, I in no way speak in this forum or others on behalf of those entities unless I have specifically stated such. Any implication otherwise is doing so contrary to my agreements with those entities. The result is that the observations and opinions by myself or on behalf of Firehouse Zen are not sanctioned by any other entity other than Graffiti Train Sherpa Publications and are protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America.

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