Leadership Preparation (When do you start believing in yourself?)
The first step to believing that “you are the one” is to know yourself. No one can answer that question for you. Yes there are a lot of critics, but you must be your most ardent critic. No one can be harder on yourself than you. If you can be your worst critic and stand up to your own scrutiny then others people’s opinion is just that. We were raised to be open to the opinion of others from birth. Teachers, Guidance Counselors, Peer Pressure, Parents and all segments of society will be your judge. You must learn to keep all that in context. Sure, at each level of the process of advancing your career you will be judged by others on whether or not you should advance to the next rank. Your preparation period will get you through that.
During my career I heard many people say, “I didn’t study hard to prepare for the exam.” I knew they were in essence saying they did not believe the effort was necessary in their minds. They may have been their harshest critic and decided they were not the one to lead. Many people expressed they did not want the responsibility of the lives of other people in their hands. As I climbed the ladder some people decided that I was not “the one” and pronounced their judgement in various forums (promotional tests, firehouse banter etc.) One thing I had going for me was access to great leaders who could guide me through the process and others who I could model and learn from.
Talking to those who are where you want to be is key achieving great success. Of course these photos are of great men who demonstrated visual success but obviously, I had great examples throughout the ranks that contributed to my success as well. The point is that I could examine the professional life of great Fire Service leaders and figure out what characteristics I needed to cultivate within myself in order to rise to their level. I could see that I had what it took to be chosen as a leader.
I am encouraging those who desire to elevate through the ranks to examine yourself to not only consider the opinion of the naysayers but consider those who encourage you to move forward. People on a regular basis point out that they have to prove the naysayers wrong. I focused on those who said to me “Yes you can.” I wanted to be brave and fearless like those I saw in life who believed they were “the one.” In the end you must answer that question for yourself. Improve your inner conversation and most of all communicate with God on your decision in becoming the one. After all, every great leader says, …So help me God when entering Public Office.