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I hold myself to a very high standard, I strive for perfection day in and day out.  It gets a little exhausting and can be defeating chasing an unattainable bar, but I would never consider lowering it. The problem with aiming so high is that I expect those around me to hold themselves equally accountable.

Time after time I'm told not to expect so much out of others, that I will only be disappointed. You know what's disappointing? Being "good enough." Lowering the expectations for yourself or others because it's too much work to reach farther. Meeting the expectation is acceptable, but is it really the best you can do? If I think I can do better, I strive for that. If I see that in others, I expect them to do more also.

There are people who don’t like to see others rise above them because it means they have to exert a little more effort as the standard inches higher.  They expend their unused energy tearing others down, on the thought that if they can lower the high achievers just a little, they will feel like they are keeping up.  I've dealt with more than my share of nay-sayers.  The ones who are there to tell me all the reasons I can't succeed, they fuel the fire inside and provide me motivation to prove them wrong.  When I do overcome and achieve, they are there on the sidelines well-rested, telling everyone else why I don't deserve what I've earned.

To the detractors, those comments you make - they’re just whispers in the breeze blowing behind me.  When you tell others that I’m not good enough for what I’ve worked hard to accomplish, it only proves that you will never know what it takes to get there. I pause, just for a moment, long enough to wish you could see your strengths, not just the weaknesses you perceive in me. Then I’m off, facing whatever the new day has in store for me, or better - what I have in store for it.

If you find you have arrows in your back, it means one thing - you're leading the pack.  When you're out front you're an easy target.  Remember they want to knock you down a little so they can keep up.  Identify the allies running alongside you, protect each other from the back of the pack and forge on, doing great things. 

Continue to strive for the best in yourself and encourage greatness in others. Help others identify and reach their goals.  Inspire others to do things they may not think they were capable of and pretty soon you'll have more leaders running alongside you.

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Comment by Richard Jordan on April 24, 2014 at 7:46am

Excellent piece. Very inspiring. When you think why try anymore? this article.

Comment by Mark vonAppen on April 23, 2014 at 9:13am

Arrows in your back means you're leading the pack!  Yes!!!

Comment by Frank Lipski on April 22, 2014 at 10:30pm


Great post!  As an instructor I feel it is our responsibility to find the strengths in our members even when they themselves can't, or just don't want to.  The interesting thing about the real teachers in the fire service... We will pick up the arrows that missed us, and tomorrow we will help those members learn to be a better shot.  Keep being an example for what is right.

Comment by Susanna Schmitt Williams on April 22, 2014 at 1:19pm


Thank you for writing this.  It could not have come at a better moment for me.  The arrows are deep here lately but reading your blog put it in perspective.  My favorite is your comment "If you find you have arrows in your back, it means one thing - you're leading the pack.  When you're out front you're an easy target.  Remember they want to knock you down a little so they can keep up."   :-)   Keep at it, sister!!!! 


Comment by Eddie Buchanan on April 21, 2014 at 4:27pm

A hater is going to hate! (If you think the fire service is bad, you should check out the music business!)  The upside is they are extremely predicable.   I figure it keeps them occupied while I'm working on the next move!  Good job! 

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