Failure

I think back to my childhood, and if I’m correct, the same people that told my generation you can be whatever you want to be!, also told us failure is not an option!

Both: Complete Bullshit.

EMBRACE YOUR FAILURES

Failure is how we learn, how we improve and how we learn to improve. If you want to succeed in life you have to fail. You have to make mistakes. If you think business owners, and CEO’s are born lucky, I’ve got news for you:

Most have made more mistakes, and have failed more times then your average employee.

The big difference is, they utilized their failures to grow and/or put their failures behind them.

As an example, I’d like to use my career. I choose to use my career, because there isn’t a Firefighter that hasn’t made a handful of mistakes. Of course, in my industry the margin for error is much more thin then average. Push the wrong drug, turn your back to the fire, run code 3 through an intersection without looking, and it can be oversville for good.

LEARN

That doesn’t mean we don’t learn from our mistakes. It’s crucial to learn from our mistakes. If you don’t embrace your failures, own them out right, then it becomes impossible to learn. Every failure is a teachable moment. Use that moment to perfect yourself just a little bit more.

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

Once you’ve recognized how and why you failed, set yourself up to succeed. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Come up with a game plan to get you to that next level.

DEVELOP YOUR HABITS

  • Put your wallet in the same spot every night.
  • Put your keys in the same pocket every time
  • Drink a gallon of water a day
  • Make your bed in the morning
  • Do your laundry
  • Pack your lunch the night before
  • Pick out the next day’s outfit the night before

Simple little things like the aforementioned not only make your life that much easier, it can also lead to larger scale organization.

REMEMBER THE THREE STEPS

  • Own it

Shit, I forgot my ID

  • Fix it

I’ll put it in my wallet when I get home, and I’ll never take it out again.

  • Move on!!!

Well, I wont do that again. Oh wow!, Miley Cyrus and Hanna Montana are the same person; MIND BLOWN!

Own it. Fix it. Move on. It works on everything from petty failures to huge “I got fired today” fuck ups. Of course, the repercussions are vastly more different and have extremely different consequences, but the the three steps are still the same.

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To Change Your Body, Change Your Life. To Change Your Life, Change the Way You Think

Working in the medical industry, there is one thing I can tell you that there is absolutely no lack of. That one thing is so profound, it has garnered quite a religious-like following, and that one thing is bad medical advice. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times people have waited to go to the emergency room or to call an ambulance because they read on the Internet, or they heard from a friend that what was wrong with them can be cured with some silly homeopathic concoction. Look, I’m not trying to sound like I’m questioning anybody’s intelligence because I’m not, what I’m trying to convey is there is a reason doctors, nurses, EMT’s, CNA’s etc. are required to go to school, why they are only allow to act within their scope of practice.

The reason I am bringing this up, is because honestly, I used to kind of be one of those people. It wasn’t until I got into the medical field myself that I have any true understanding of how anatomy and physiology worked.

This led me to an epiphany of sorts, it made me reevaluate whether or not I actually knew what I thought I knew. The truth of it is, is that I didn’t know. I thought I did, I wanted to, but in the end, I had to take a step back and tell myself that I had to change my way of thinking if I wanted to succeed in Emergency Medical Services.

This also had a domino effect on my mind. I started to realize that maybe my way of thinking was a little off and I wasn’t seeing things for what they were. I had such a negative mindset about everything.

So, here’s my shortlist of stuff that would beat around my brain, that, overall had absolutely no bearing on my physical and mental health unless I let it:

Politics- Delivered straight to your face via your smart device, is politics and all the anxiety that comes along with millions of political “experts” that take to social media. Overall, engaging in heated political debate did nothing to better my inner circle. All it ever did, was make me more angry and more frustrated about a situation I couldn’t change. Think about this, how does one believe they can change the world with their opinion if they cant change themselves.

Work- I used to take my day home and hold onto it like a million dollar piece of glass. I would let that shit eat me alive. One day I was stressed as as hell at my job (pre-firefighter), and my boss told me to stop stressing, it’s only work. At First I thought, he’s got to be out of his mind! I told him I was stressing because people have to work, I have to pay my bills, I have to pay my rent! He then said to me: we all have an expiration date, no ones job is 100% safe 100% of the time. Do you know what? He was absolutely right! Not only did I get laid off from that job, but I ended up getting laid off from several jobs afterwards as well. Looking back at all that stress I used to hold on to from work, all it did was take away time I could never get back. I believe it’s important to take your job seriously, and to try to do the best job you can. However the fact of the matter is there’s no guarantees you’ll still have that same job tomorrow, no matter how hard you work, and, no matter what a great employee you are. Leave your day at work, and enjoy your time at home.

Weight Issues- I struggled bad with being overweight. I bought pills, books, exercise equipment etc… Finally, I had the realization that what I really needed was 100% free: A new mindset. First thing I needed to do was reiterate to myself over and over again: My goals are within reach. Second thing I had to do, was get rid of what was making/keeping me overweight: Dessert, soda and everything fried. Third, I had to quit trying to lose weight. I’m absolutely serious. I needed to focus on being healthy. Once I quit worrying about being fat and started concentrating on my health, everything fell into place. Okay, I’ll admit, this did have an affect on my mental and physical health, but once I had the realization that I was in control of the situation, it lost it’s grip on my mindset and no longer affected me unless I let it.

Reinventing Myself: Becoming an Firefighter/EMT

When I first ventured out in search of a career change, I wasn’t really sure what the hell I was going to do, not an Inkling of what was out there. I had been laid off from my job (which was working behind a desk), my first daughter had just been born, and my living expenses were through the roof due to the cost-of-living of Orange County California.

Before I became a firefighter, I became an EMT. Starting off as an and EMT is actually required by a lot of different fire departments and the fire authorities, however it was not my goal. Seriously. As a matter of fact, becoming an EMT wasn’t my goal either, allow me to ‘splain:

I had been laid off and taking unemployment for several months, doing a full time job search. I was sending, literally hundreds of resumes out a week trying to find a job to sustain the lifestyle that I could no longer afford. I don’t remember how it came up, most likely a mail flyer, but the state of California was offering reduced cost tuition for various vocational programs to help get people back in the workforce. I read through all these different programs and decided the one that was probably the best fit for me, was auto mechanic. Truth be told, I chose mechanic because I literally knew nothing about vehicles. Check the oil, put in gas, kick the tires. That was literally the extent of my automotive knowledge. It was at that point, I decided I was going to go be an auto mechanic, open my own auto shop, make millions of dollars and retire at 35.

I remember there was a specific time frame that you had to show up to the regional occupational program office to enroll in the state offered classes. I got up at the butt-crack of dawn, went up to the regional occupational program office, getting there around two hours before they opened. To my surprise, there was probably already 300 to 500 people already lined up and fighting over spots. If somebody stepped out of line, the person behind moved forward and fights would ensue. I planted my ass in line and didn’t move a muscle.

As soon as they open the doors it maybe took a total of 10 minutes for them to shut down the auto mechanic program. They had only had a few openings available in that program, so when the lady said is anybody here interested in any other programs?, I decided that I would be one of the few that actually went up to look at what they had. I remember most the programs were very basic, and would lead to jobs that paid just a hair above minimum wage; I honestly had no idea EMT wages weren’t much different, I mean, the job is dangerous and you save lives…… Little did I know

After glancing at the sheet of vocational programs over and over again, I literally just picked EMT. No deep thought behind it, no rhyme or reason. It was very cheap, and, it involved ambulances. I guess being a new father, also made me want to learn some basic medical skills, God forbid anything ever happening. To this day, I still have the most anti-climatic “why I became an EMT” story I have ever heard.

Like many jobs, your first days are your worst days. For me, my first years were my worst years. To be completely honest with you, I was a terrible EMT from the get-go. I spent the first month sitting outside on the steps, thinking to myself “holy shit this job blows!” Seeing that I graduated my EMT course at the very top of my class I thought I was completely unstoppable. My demeanor changed real quick my first couple days on the job, and that’s when I realized what people meant when they said “you look good on paper, but…..” I worked as an EMT for about four months and then quit for an entire year. As a matter of fact, when I quit, I had absolutely no intention of ever going back into EMS. About this time, we decided to make the move to Colorado.

We were at the farmers market one day, and there happened to be a fire department with a little booth and a ladder truck there, looking for part-time and volunteer firefighters. I didn’t have much going on at the time so I decided I would give it a shot. I went to work part time for this fire department, and during that time I became IV certified, I got my Hazmat certification, and I also got my Firefighter 1 certification. I lasted there for two years. Unfortunately, at that time, I still greatly lack the confidence to be a good EMT.

I ended up getting hired at a hospital in the ER and that was the best fucking move of my career. I learned more in 6 months working in the ER then I did in 3 years of EMS.

In 2017, the opportunity for me to once again get on with a Fire Department came up. Needless to say, I was shocked when I got the call asking when I could start. In my first year so far, I’ve moved into a command position, as well as taken on the EMS training and coordinating portion of my Department.

I know this is an awfully long story, and for that, I apologize. However, I believe that we tend to miss opportunities because we feel we’re either too good for something, or not good enough. In this case, I felt both. I believe that I should be paid a wage where I could sustain a lifestyle that allowed me a Mercedes-Benz and a luxury living apartment, and at the same time, I saw how amazingly good other EMTs were at their job and wanted to be that good as well. I believed I would never be that good. Well, here I am, six years later, working alongside some of the bravest and most honorable people I’ve ever met in my entire life. Mortgage is paid, there’s food in the fridge, and my children are happy. I had to work hard for it, but so far it’s been totally worth it.

Tardy, and Why it Doesn’t Mean What it Should to Me

I know what tardy means. I’m not dumb. However, when I was a teenager working my first job for gas money and a God-awful thirty-rack of the cheapest/worst beer money could buy, the word Tardy almost cost me my $200 every-2-week livelihood.

I was working the counter at a well-known fast food franchise, when I saw an older model, fairly beat up green Honda something-or-another pulled up in the parking lot. The bass coming out of that car was literally rattling my chest as well as the windows. The person gets out, tosses his cigarette and starts walking towards the door. He stops maybe 3 feet from the glass door, reaches his hand in his insane baggy and low wasted pants and pulls out a pager. He held this pager over his head, and stared at it for probably 5 minutes without moving a muscle. He finally holsters his pager and proceeded through the doors. In walks this caucasian male with his pants wayyyyy below his belt line, his hat on sideways, and the most ridiculous fake gold chain around his neck. He limped up to the counter (I don’t know why, he was walking fine literally seconds before), look directly into my face and said “Sup G? Y’all got fish up in here?”. I responded by telling him that we had a fish sandwich. He then looks at me, and says “oh hell yeah dog! Fix me up one of them, and slap a tonna tardy sauce up on that bitch!” I looked at him and said tardy sauce? To which to my surprise, he responded “Did I stutter?” in a pretty aggressive tone. I had to go into the back and laugh, and while I’m back there, this girl “Kink” I was working with at the time, asked me what was so funny. I told her to go take the guy up fronts order. She walked up there, and he told her that he already put in his order but since I wasn’t listening, he wanted a “fish sandwich”, and once again said he wanted “a bunch a tardy sauce slapped up on that bitch!” Without missing a beat, Kink said:

Wonderful, so a fish sandwich with extra tardy on it, your total is……

By this time, I am just rolling! I can’t hide my laughter anymore. This guy, new exactly what I was laughing at. and since where I worked customers could “have it their way”, his way was to try to come into the back through the side door so he could have a word with me or as he put it “throwdown with my punk ass”. The manager on duty caught wind of this, and once again this was a restaurant where the customer was always right, so she gave me the option of either termination, re-training with this stack of horrible VHS training videos, or I could go home for the day. At the time I needed the money, I think a 12 of Meister Brau was almost within my reach at this point during my work week, so, I decided to watch the training videos again; I think I had to watch those videos on at least 4 separate occasions. Anyway, got my paycheck a week or so later, and not once since then, have I heard the word tardy and not thought of that green Honda whatever-it-was.

De-Stressing in a Stressed Out World, Part 4: Stop and Smell the Roses

Boy oh boy, I feel like a tool bag. So, I got this comment from Em, stating I was nominated for a mystery blogger award on her blog. Well, instead of reading in depth, out of excitement, I scanned the post, completely missing all the important directions, shot straight down to the comments section and started filling in the blanks from questions to the nominees in the the original post. Then, after I figured out what I was actually supposed to do, I jumped down to the comments section to delete my comments and do it the right way; and thats how and when I learned you can not delete comments on a blog post.

You know what though? Lesson learned, and, it came with an even bigger lesson: quit rushing! Stop and smell the roses!

What are you racing for? Our lives are this big stress-fest of trying to meet deadlines- Mortgage deadlines, phone bill deadlines, relationship deadlines, weight loss deadlines- We give ourself so many deadlines, and for what?

Let me clarify something here, in no way, shape or form, am I condoning anybody shrugging their responsibilities. That will end up causing more stress then just about anything. What I’m trying to get across, is why not take a more systematic approach to your life? A lifestyle that allows you to slow down a little.

One again, I can’t stress the importance of balancing your budget. Figure out how much you need to survive, but not necessarily “sustain” your lifestyle. Take the extra money you’re spending on sustaining a particular lifestyle, and put it away. When you have an extra month, 2 months, 3 months-plus of bills and expenses to fall back on- It. Feels. AMAZING! You become so much more confident about asking for things like time-off and raises. The confidence shows in all aspects of your life as well, it’s far easier to relax when you don’t have that stress running through your head when your head hits the pillow.

I’m looking at these poster boards thinking “if they’re really buying this, they are going to spend the rest of their lives working, stressing to attain these unrealistic goals, and never stopping to smell the roses”

I’ll never forget this time I was watching this self-help motivational speaker getting the audience riled up. He had everybody doing this exercise, making this collage on a piece of poster board. They glued the things they wanted from magazines clipping on this poster board. He had them convinced they would eventually own everything on this poster board if they bought his program. People are putting Lamborghinis, yachts, private jets, mansions, beautiful women, healthy and fit men, dinner plates with steak and lobster on them…. and I’m looking at these poster boards thinking “if they’re really buying this, they are going to spend the rest of their lives working, stressing to attain these unrealistic goals, and never stopping to smell the roses”. It also got to me that people weren’t posting pictures of their families, friends, homes they already live in, cars they already own. Granted, I do believe in working towards something better, but it’s so important to work for what you already have. For me thats my wife and little girls. It’s the home we already have. It’s our vehicles, our groceries.

When it comes to de-stressing, focus on what you can change today, not what you may or may not miss out on in the future. Set a realistic goal to work toward i.e. getting out of debt, having a savings account, 100 sit-ups. Whatever it may be, make sure it’s based in reality. Once you start achieving those simple tasks, those larger goals will become more realistic. You will naturally start working towards bigger and better. You may even decide bigger isn’t for you, so you work towards better.

More importantly, remember you are in control of your approach, how you handle, and the outcome of every situation.

Now STOP. Look back at a time in your life when things seemed like they just couldn’t get any worse. Maybe your relationship went south, maybe you lost your job. Think about the stress, anguish, pain, fear, you felt. Hopefully you’re not in that place now. If you are in that place right now, remember, it will pass. Throughout life, you will have a lot more light then darkness. You will have bad moments, but make them moments and not days. More importantly, remember you are in control of your approach, how you handle and the outcome of every situation.

Now STOP….. Again. Look back at a time in your life when things got better. You got a new job, you found a new partner, you had plenty of food in the fridge and/or all your bills were paid. Did you take a step back and appreciate that time?, or did you move on to the next stress point in your life?

In closing I just want to say Slow down, stop and smell the roses!

Destressing in a Stressed Out World, Part 3: Let That Shiz Go!

If you feel you are in a bad spot in life, I guarantee, there is probably nothing unique about your situation. Maybe you’re angry that you’ve been replaced at work. Maybe you feel like you’ve been unfairly judged by someone- your boss, coworker, friend, family member. Maybe you’ve tried to stand your ground, knowing you were right all along, but they just won’t let you own it. Maybe you found some unsettling messages on your kids or your spouses phone. Maybe you’re afraid you won’t have a place to live tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe, being in that spot is self-inflicted but you haven’t realized it yet; You are 100% in control of your own feelings and emotions.

You’re holding on to all this anger and hurt. What exactly is it doing for you? What are you accomplishing by being hurt, pissed off, vengeful and vicious? Give me one example of how this attitude has helped you in life. When has lashing out at someone helped you pay the bills? Tell me about when harnessing that work stress has led to raises and promotions. When has being miserable to be around actually improved your marriage, family, social life? When has sitting on the edge of your bed, with your face in your palms helped save your home from foreclosure? How is waking up stressed and going to sleep stressed helping your life?

Forgiveness is letting go of the hope for a better past.

Probably one of the most profoundly impacting one-liners that has been thrown at me is “Forgiveness is letting go of the hope for a better past”. Anyone that is or has been married, or even in a long term relationship can relate very well to this, however it truly is an all encompassing quote not just limited to relationships. Forgiving others is tremendously empowering and liberating. Sometimes you have to forgive people more than once for the same thing, but every time it pops in your head, and you start feeling the anger build, forgive your ass off! Forgive, Forgive, Forgive! Now get it out of your head that they don’t deserve forgiveness, they deserve the whole entire wrath you’re raining upon them in your mind. When you believe it’s going to make you feel better to hate them day in and day out, you lose. First of all, it’s going to make you feel far worse, because you’re “stewing”. You’re building up your anger into rage. You’re giving up your chance at happiness, peace and good health…. For what? For who? You don’t own that situation, that situation or person owns you. Even though the situation has ceased to exist and who ever wronged you isn’t giving 2 shits about you, you’re keeping it on life support in your head. At some point, if you want to be happy, realize it’s time to pull the plug.

True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united -Wilhelm von Humboldt

Run that crap out of you. Lift it, bike it, hike it, ski it, snowboard it out of your system. Exercise not only helps refocus your mind, It produces endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that act as natural pain killers. They also help you sleep which in turn reduces stress. No less than half hour of cardio a day does it for me. I would go into more detail, but a quick google search of “exercise and stress” can give you a literal information overload. Check it out!

Here is my short-list of different stressful situations and my scripted, generic approach to each one

People’s useless opinions

If they don’t pay my bills, put food on my table, keep a roof over my head or wake up in the same house, their opinion Just isn’t that important.

The small stuff

Did they get your order wrong in the drive through? Do they not have what you need at the store? Is it a day where it seems like every asshole with a car is on the road? If this is the worst thing that happens to you today, then consider yourself extremely lucky. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anybody. To give a little perspective, 6,775 people will die today in the USA alone. Thats 282 people an hour that do not have tomorrow to start over. Don’t spend today pissed-off over 15 seconds of irritation.

Betrayals

Not a whole hell of a lot sucks more than being betrayed by someone you care about. Even if it’s someone you’re not that close to, being betrayed cuts deep and leave a painful wound. No matter how much it hurts, you can’t let that wound leave a huge scar. What helps me in this situation, is remembering this too shall pass. I think back to my first real heartbreak. It was so many years ago, I can hardly recall what she looked like. I remember dwelling and obsessing, crying and being in a perpetual state of hurt, but overall I survived and it doesn’t control my life one iota. Think Forgiveness.

Relationships

Does 1+1=24? No, so why let one bad moment with one person ruin twenty-four hours of your life? Take a walk, get it out of your system, then kiss and make up, or avoid each other and move on.

With all that said, and as important as it is to learn to let go, if you have encountered a situation that you are struggling with letting go of, there is nothing wrong with seeking professional help. If you’re at a point that you feel you’re going to hurt yourself or others, I beg you, please seek out a mental-health professional. I’ve done it in the past, and quite frankly there are just some situations that need one-on-one deep analysis. Don’t dish out permanent solutions to temporary problems.