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 What comes to mind when you hear “The Pursuit of Happiness?” For me it’s a lot of things, first would be finding what makes you happy. What makes you feel fulfilled? What brings you joy? What defines success to you?
Success. That’s what we feel defines true happiness. Be that as it may, than what defines success?
The word pursuit is defined as an effort to secure or attain with synonyms like; striving toward, chasing, hunt, quest etc. The word happiness is defined as a state of well-being and contentment, a pleasurable or satisfying experience with synonyms like satisfaction and contentment.
We can attribute pursuit as our life’s goals. In the fire service this can be setting goals like joining the volunteer Fire Company or becoming a Professional Firefighter. In your profession it can be things like aspiring for a promotion, the eagerness to lead etc. In life our goals are typically to get married, to buy a house and to become parents. But what comes along with pursuit? Time is one thing. In order to truly achieve a goal (to pursue it) you must invest a ton of time. From time comes discipline, our pursuit for something we truly want is only achieved by being disciplined enough to put in the work, the training and the studying, its being dedicated to making sure you achieve that goal.
Happiness is a little different, it’s easier to understand pursuit because it seems as simple as setting goals and achieving them. There are thousands of people who have the appearance of success but oddly enough still aren’t happy. There is a struggle with how deep we bury ourselves into the pursuit of something that we never get the time to truly enjoy what it is that we are achieving. 
Thomas Jefferson wrote two important words before adding the pursuit of happiness, Life & Liberty. Life is the opportunity to live a fulfilling life, one that is full of dreams, aspirations, failures and successes. Liberty is the ability we are given to pursue those goals, the freedom that gives us the choice to become something better or to attempt to make a difference. So many great leaders in our young country have used those core values in their pursuit of living a life of fulfillment while striving to make a difference, a positive impact or an improvement in how we operate.
It can be argued that those core values; Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness may not exist within some of our organizations, it can also be argued that they no longer serve true to their meaning anymore as a country and sadly that they no longer stay true in our hearts as people striving to make a difference. I can assure you that focusing on negativity will only make you negative, our brains function off of repetition so therefore if we surround ourselves with the ideas of negativity we in turn will become negative. We will no longer set goals, we’ll stray from aspirations and become pessimists. With a completely new generation of people coming up and running our organizations and one day running our Country we need to hold true to those values. We need to make them a part of our lives, so that the people who we are supposed to be shaping to take over will too hold those values. We need to continue to improve on the vision that those who came before us created, we want our Fire Service to still be that one thing that is so very special. We want to make sure that the legacy we leave is that of a service that holds true to values and is dedicated to its commitment to its communities and the people that live in them. We need to impress on that fact that goals are meant to be set, a desire to lead and the willingness to inspire others to set goals is not taboo, it’s what makes our Country great and makes our Fire Service be perceived as the example of values, service and success.
Live a life that has aspirations to make a difference, live a life that sets goals, achieves them and is able to look back at the journey and truly have happiness. Through the hard days I am able to find happiness in knowing how hard I’ve worked to be where I am and then to be able to have my family cheering me on to set the legacy that they deserve which is one that holds true to those values, living a life of happiness. My pursuit is a never ending journey because as I achieve something I set a new goal, but my happiness is knowing that the labor and time invested was for a good cause.

In all that you do, God Bless Take Care and Stay Safe!
Happy Independence Day!

Dave McGlynn
Passion in Leading, LLC

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