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“Get like you was before you got like you is.” Earl D.

Sometimes in life and in our work we wake up one day and we look back and we find that somehow we have slipped away from the real and important things that bring worth and value to our lives and to our work.

I like to describe the changes that seem to sneak up on us as creeping gradualism because that term describes the deceptively low speed way that positives or negatives enter into our lives, our families, our departments, our fire companies and our fire company shifts.  

The GOOD NEWS is that creeping gradualism is reversible and so is the loss of the feelings of completeness, fulfillment, excitement and enrichment.

“Get like you was before you got like you is.”

What brought you to the Fire Service and what makes you stay? Do you still possess the excitement for providing service and for doing so a bit better or a bit quicker each time? Does the making of a stranger’s bad day better still fit into your service model? Is a call for service still a cry for help to you or has it become a nuisance call or an annoyance that pulls you away from your day to day me, me, me world?

I never waited for inspiration or motivation to fall down from the sky upon me and nor did I ever place the expectation or the burden upon any Administrator to provide me with everything that I required for development, well being, contentment or to define for me a worthwhile mission, a set of unwavering core values and principles or a vision of what the Fire Service was, is or can be. I got all of that from the good feeling of serving, a respect for those who served before me, caring about those who currently serve with me and from the appreciation of those who were served.

Some would say that I write IN THESE BOOTS and that I talk and live from a silver spoon position and that I don’t understand. I do understand and my life and my career in the Fire Service were filled with the same challenges that you face today or will face tomorrow.  I made and still make mistakes, I suffered personal tragedy and then personal tragedy again, I was skipped for promotion and I was assigned to crews that made me wonder if the circus had left town and forgot to take their clowns.

I always pulled up my boots as best I could, I tried to only make new mistakes and eventually the clowns stopped clowning or they boarded the next train in search of someone with a higher tolerance for their bovine scatology and their silly jokes and their lack of personal pride and appreciation for a job well done.

The importance of understanding balance in life and in work is paramount to enjoyment and success in both. It is the finding of our balance that causes us to self examine, to fight off gradualisms and to make the YOU turns and adjustments as often as necessary to maintain it.

By simply trying to take care of a small piece of the pie, I hope that I left each place a bit better than I found it. If I did accomplish that, everyone had a better balance and an understanding of Get like you was before you got like you is.

Do you know what your piece of the pie looks like?

Are young people watching you as an example and what do they see?

Attitude isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

If you interviewed today, would you be hired, would you be promoted? Get like you was.

Has success crept in or are you still looking up and waiting for someone to do it for you?

Are people laughing with you and your clown troop or at you?

How was it when you found it? How good is it now? How great can it be?

Have you become tired of feeling good?

Get like you was.

Have a great day – it’s a GREAT day for it.

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Comment by Heath Smith on May 22, 2015 at 2:51pm

Great post Warren! I have been to both ends of the spectrum. I have been like I was, and I have been like I was before I went back to the way that I was. I spent many years in a house with those same clowns and I allowed them to drag me down. However, I have made the change to get back to the enjoyment of this wonderful profession. I hope that many more hear this message for what it is, and to sum it up leave this service better than it was when you started. Have a great attitude and remember we are here to serve the public. I enjoyed reading your post and what a great message.

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