Stay with it My Friends

In a firefighter's line of work, failure has some extremely serious consequences. The following statement is simple, but quite direct: If at first you don't succeed, try again.


It has been my good fortune to have been accused of having common sense. My wife loves to hear this statement because she knows the real at-home me. However, I go back to my statement about asking questions to gain a situational understanding of what is going on around me. My late buddy Jack Peltier of Marlborough, MA, taught me about this skill. He was the master of the simple, direct question. His questions taught me a great deal over the years. 

Let me assure you that you will need to develop patience to deal with the circumstances which surround the delivery of fire protection in this the 21 Century. In this era of diminishing resources, you need to step up your efforts to operate in a reasonable manner. Reasonable means, to me, that you must understand that your team will not always win.

However, they are still your team and you will do all you can to support them and their efforts. My pastor is a New York Mets fan and serves as a living, breathing exemplar of this philosophy. He takes a lot of flak from the New York Yankees fan who are quite abundant in our area of New Jersey, but he is consistent in his support of the gang from Queens, NY. 

That is the point of this visit with you. Success is a goal and you must understand that a great deal of hard work, sweat, and tears lie between you and the goals which you hope to achieve. Worse yet are the people who have taken it upon themselves to see that you never get to enjoy the organizational success that you seek. These are the organizational roadblocks that can create real havoc. 

I have never been able to explain why some people choose to place themselves at cross purposes with the very organizations they have chosen to serve. So not only must you work hard but you must outwork and outthink those who are working at cross purposes to you. This is a particularly tough thing to do. It is an area where perseverance and patience are most necessary indeed. 

My friends, there is no guarantee of success in this world. Like my dear, departed Dad used to say, "…you win some and you lose some." But I can guarantee you one thing. If you fail to keep trying, when others about you are surrendering to the pressure, you will fail. Let me assure you that I am not a fan of failure. 

In our line of work, failure has some extremely serious consequences. Let me suggest that the conclusion to this visit with you was set down a long time ago. The statement which follows is simple, but quite direct. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Please consider adopting this as part of your personal and organizational toolbox. You will do better.