Sunday, February 16, 2014

Keep Right

By Mark vonAppen

If being a driver means you are doing your job and working as hard as you can to be the best you can be every day then what is the problem?

I'm serious.  

I always get a big belly laugh out of the politically correct approach to how we communicate.  We dance around touchy subjects in order to protect feelings rather than talking honestly.  When all is said and done, a lot is said and little is done.

If we continue to defend mediocrity we will never truly move forward.  We can create the illusion of progress by telling lies because they are easier to hear, but everyone knows there is no substance in them.  Let's face it,
honesty, vision, and drive are scary to people who lack these traits. 

We spend more time protecting the feelings of those who are more comfortable staying inside rather than those who are getting outside and progressing.  The focus should be on celebrating those who give back to the profession through passion, learning, teaching, and leading.  We must hold up those people whose personal tools include drive, high standards, and lofty expectations.

Anyone who gets their feelings hurt by people who are fired up about the job is way off base. Those who speak out against us do so because they are angry at themselves for who they are, rather than at us for leading.  It is an anger that is misdirected and projected upon us.  The complainers have an ear because they squeak, we don't talk about what we're going to do, we do it.  We must go around it all and continue with our way.
"We can't change the past, but we can shape the future by focusing on right now.  Focusing on now keeps us right."
It is ridiculous to say, "These people are trying too hard to be great at their jobs. They must be stopped!"  Instead of saying to the drivers, "Pump the brakes," management needs to tell the noisy, complaining people to "get on the gas."

Reality is a bitter pill for some to swallow. The truth has no anger.  It simply is.  Open minds are required on both sides. Unfortunately, it feels like the cards are stacked against those who care the most about the craft.  

Continue to lead by example and communicate your passion. We need to focus less on who gets their feelings hurt by a message (The BIG4) that has no downside and get on with doing our jobs.  We don't engage in jealous fantasy.  We are free when we are outside training and doing what we love with our brothers and sisters.  

Maybe we're dreamers for life.

Working hard at being the best we can be is all we can control, so we work tirelessly to achieve perfection.  We know that the journey is the destination.  We can't change the past, but we can shape the future by focusing on right now.  Focusing on now keeps us right. 


  1. I'm still fairly new to the Fire/EMS world, but I've found all your articles to be incredibley inspiring. It's excellent to read a veteran of this world sharing a lot of the same views I have, as a naive, young medic fireman. It is comforting to know that maybe I have the right idea, and I'm not JUST naive about work ethics and standards.

    Thank you for writing, and for putting into words a huge number of great thoughts and ideas, much more eloquently than I could ever manage. This blog is a nice chunk of inspiration.

  2. James "Doc" ThompsonFebruary 17, 2014 at 7:06 AM

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has the same drive, ambitions, love for this JOB. Even when the cards are stacked against me, helps me keep " making the turn!! " Thanks brother.

  3. It's absolutely amazing the focus and determination that others have to derail our passion and enthusiasim for the job. I truly believe that they are just covering up their own flaws and know that you can not grow with dealing with your insecurities! Turn that focus to better yourself and leave our ambitions out of your agendas! Thanks Mark for your blog and look forward to attending one of your classes in the near future. Do you have any that will be in the central area anyyi me soon?