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Compassionate Leadership

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I was reviewing an article on Forbes.com about compassionate leadership today. While I tend to resist what is “trendy” regarding leadership, the traits that author Margie Warrell shares as a best practice are really time-tested ones. Her article points out that mindful and compassionate leadership actually expands your own creativity, memory, and attention, and decreases stress. […]

Real World Leadership

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A zen saying goes roughly like this: “The use of the wheel is where all the spokes form to make the hole.” Another: “The most useful part of a bowl is the empty space within.”  As a leader, my role hasn’t been to necessarily build things, but to facilitate the best in the people I […]

Ending or Beginning?

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I was given an opportunity to retire after 35 years on the job and pursue some new challenges. “Retirement” is nebulous to me.  All that term means right now is closing this chapter and moving to the next. But the timing is such that I found myself questioning, “When do I really pull the trigger?” […]

Just Be Brave

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What is bravery? As a firefighter, we understand that our first act of bravery is accepting the authority and responsibility of the badge, and everything after that is just part of the job. We serve as role models to our community because our watchwords are “integrity”, “honor”, and “selflessness”. In these times where self-centeredness seems […]

Thirty-Five

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This year makes thirty-five that I have been a career firefighter and thirty-seven since I first walked into a firehouse as a member. That doesn’t take into account the years I spent growing up in the business, with my father, uncles, grandfather, etc. all serving in various roles and departments. I was asked the other […]

Seeking Better Answers – Introspection and Listening

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Heuristics are valuable in permitting us to make quick decisions. In 2005, Malcolm Gladwell (in his best seller, Blink) described this ability as being a very powerful tool in decision making.  If we can trust that the information is reliable, we can act on it with some certainty.  Conversely, acting on information when we lack […]

Jeep Wave

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I own a Jeep and there is a tradition among Jeep owners to wave to one another when we pass each other on the highway.  I don’t know many of these people, if any at all, but what brings us together is a love for a vehicle in which many of us express our lifestyle.  Mine […]

Get Over Yourself

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As a Jeep owner, you find yourself in a community of others who like the Jeep lifestyle.  However, I happened to go to a Land Rover website and found Jeep owners bashing the Land Rover owners. “Hate” doesn’t always come from fear, but it most certainly comes from a lack of understanding. I doubt the […]

Aware

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Just as things go badly in life, they go badly on emergency scenes. The problem is, people are geared to being optimistic- either hopefully so or blissfully so – and don’t anticipate bad things happening. Whether rolling through life with rose colored glasses on is our thing or not, I have a belief that if we […]

Vulnerability

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By failing to understand our weaknesses, we permit their exploitation. Their exploitation by others isn’t what we have to worry about though- it is our own hubris that will be our downfall. We are all vulnerable to ruin and it is our ego that sets us up for failure. A rock is subject to the […]

Excused Absence

Hi, and welcome back.  This summer has been an interesting one.  Lifetime achievements and catastrophic failures in arenas personal and professional led to an amazing amount of stress and an overall reluctance to even sit at the keyboard. The passage of some “me” time hasn’t done anything to totally eliminate the highs and lows, but at least […]

Reaching Out – Talking About Suicide to Prevent It

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NOTE: I added a few other resources at the end of the post.  Please share these if you know someone who needs help. In the very first week of November  in 1993, a week I remember well, a fellow responder of mine put a bullet in his head.  He, along with many of my friends, were supposed […]

Consider Diversity

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I happened to read Chief Matt Tobia’s piece on racism in the American fire service the other day (and you can read it here at FirefighterNation.com). The United States has a long and embarrassing history of discrimination.  This is not to say other nations have not, but given that the United States of America was […]

Pay To Spray Redux

This is going to be an article about fire service funding, or the lack of it. If you are easily distracted, don’t read the title and start spouting off. There is ALWAYS more to the story than just your perspective.  Tragedy doesn’t begin to describe this situation, but in Saskatchewan a few days ago, two […]

Constant, Stable Spirit

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There is a tenet of Eastern philosophy, heijoshin, that translates to maintaining a “constant, stable spirit”.  The premise is that while we are constantly buffeted by distractions and emotions and other tumult, the true master lives in a constant and stable spirit, considering that nothing is permanent, that nothing is sacred, and that everything and […]

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