Battalion Chief Paul Lepore
At age 42, I find myself back in school working toward a goal of a Bachelor’s degree. When Fire Chief Dave Ellis promoted me to my current position of Battalion Chief three years ago, he made me promise to complete my education. This was the first time in my career that anyone had encouraged education. This was the best directive/advice I have ever received. Returning to school has made me a better employee, a better writer, more marketable, and most importantly it sends a great message to my children. Thank you Chief Ellis!
While many people do have goals and aspirations, experts say that over 95% of the population does not write down their goals. Writing them down keeps us on track and holds us accountable. It makes us think about how we are going to reach our goals, and also makes us reevaluate our plan along the way.
Sharing our goals with family and friends helps keep us on track. You will find that when people know your aspirations, others with the same goals will begin to align themselves with you. I have found that I am surrounded by people who have the same professional and personal goals. They hold me accountable.
I am a believer in telling people about your goals, whether personal or professional. How many times have you heard a firefighter talking about the upcoming promotional exam? The most common type of statement is a casual one, such as, “I am going to throw my hat in the ring.” I believe that he or she does this because of fear of failing. If the firefighter commits to the exam and then doesn’t perform well, he or she will lose face in the fire station. How about the one who says, “Yes, I am studying. I have set a goal to become an officer.” I know which one I would put my money on.
I encourage you to sit down and put your goals on paper. Outline your short and long term goals. Develop a plan of how to reach them. Take the risk of sharing them with others, such as family and friends. Most successful people did not end up there by accident. They have a history of success and hard work. For those who are in a leadership role, I encourage you to identify the goal setters within your organization and help them develop a road map to success.
Paul Lepore is the author of the best-selling series of career how-to books for firefighters. You can buy them directly from the FireLink Bookstore