Vegetation fire operations involve inherent risks which cannot be eliminated, even in the best of cases. Incident management and response is a competition between humans and the forces of nature; leaders find it difficult to manage the effects of forest fires and other natural or human-made events. The environment can quickly and unexpectedly switch from normal to emergency conditions to end the chaos. (Leader of the forest fire service, p. 10)
The above statement reflects what every wildland firefighter knows about the risks inherent in the job. It is during these moments of chaos that leaders are put to the test. Do these leaders have the courage and presence of command to calm the fears of those they lead or do they contribute to fear? Do they know who they are in the face of chaos?
During the training of a battalion of Ft. Hood to help with forest fire suppression efforts, I learned a huge lesson on the prospect. The soldiers I spoke with found great fear in the unknown world of forest fires. I told them that our number one priority was safety of life and that their mission was a mission that they did not have to fear. Their fear intrigued me because they were soldiers in wartime and they did not fear the enemies they had trained to defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq. They knew this enemy perfectly, but the image of the forest fires portrayed by the media stirred something deep inside them.
We train to mitigate risk; and yet we all have fears.
Face enemies inside by Jim Rohn
We are not born with courage, but neither are we born with fear. Maybe some fears arise from your own experiences, from what someone told you, from what you read in the newspapers. Some fears are valid, like walking alone in a bad part of the city at two in the morning. But once you have learned to avoid this situation, you will no longer have to live in fear.
Even the most basic fears can totally destroy our ambitions. Fear can destroy fortunes. Fear can destroy relationships. Fear, if not controlled, can destroy our lives. Fear is one of the many enemies hiding in us.
Let me tell you about five of the other enemies we face from the inside. The first enemy you must destroy before destroying yourself is indifference. What a tragic disease it is. "Ho-hum, let it slide. I'm just going to drift." Here's a problem with the drift: you can't head to the top of the mountain.
The second enemy we face is indecision. Indecision is the thief of opportunity and business. This will rob you of your chances of a better future. Bring a sword to this enemy.
The third enemy inside is doubt. Of course, there is room for healthy skepticism. You cannot believe everything. But neither can you let doubt take over. Many people doubt the past, doubt the future, doubt each other, doubt the government, doubt the possibilities and doubt the opportunities. Worse still, they doubt themselves. I tell you, doubt will destroy your life and your chances of success. It will empty both your bank account and your heart. Doubt is an enemy. Go for it. Get rid of it.
The fourth internal enemy is worry. We all have to worry about some. Don't let him conquer you. Instead, let yourself be alarmed. Worry can be helpful. If you get off the sidewalk in New York and a taxi arrives, you need to worry. But you can not worry like a crazy dog that leads you to a small corner. Here's what you have to do with your worries: drive them to a little corner. Whatever awaits you, you must get it. Whatever drives you, you have to push back.
The fifth internal enemy is too cautious. It is the shy approach to life. Shyness is not a virtue; it is a disease. If you let go, it conquers you. The shy are not promoted. They do not progress, do not grow and become powerful in the market. You should avoid excessive caution.
Fight with the enemy. Fight with your fears. Build your courage to fight what holds you back, which prevents you from achieving your goals and dreams. Be brave in your life and in your quest for the things you want and the person you want to become.
Article by Jim Rohn, the most important American business philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2010. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn has touched millions of lives in the past from his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of a positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal success resources, visit https://www.jimrohn.com/.
Pam McDonald is a writer and editor for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and a member of the NWCG Leadership Committee. The expressions are those of the author.
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