To say that there's no shortage of issues, challenges and problems that we as fire chiefs and chief officers continually face is stating the obvious. Just as obvious is that we understood what we were signing up for when we pursued and accepted positions as fire service leaders.
With the demands on our time and attention, we often overlook or fail to consider other equally, if not more important, things in life. Therefore, just as I have to remind myself on a regular basis to consider such things, I thought I would share my thoughts about these things with you, my friends.
Take Time to Reflect
Set aside some time away from your desk, computer and phone to allow yourself to think about the good things in life: family, friends and career and your fondest memories of all of these. Take out old letters, emails or photos to help you. Reflecting on these things is a great way to gain some healthy perspective.
Take Time to Connect
The obligations that most of us in our positions face can often interfere with our relationships with the most important people in our lives. Obviously family is always our first priority, but also make time to connect (or reconnect) on a personal level with the members of your department or community or a special friend or colleague that you haven't heard from in a while.
Take Time to Protect Your Health
Many of us are strong proponents of firefighter health and wellness, but at the same time, we neglect our own physical and mental health. The rigors and stress associated with being a chief officer can absolutely take their toll if we allow them to. We can't serve or perform at our very best if we aren't in good condition. So let's take the time to be more fit and to eat and sleep better.
Just as we value the members of our departments as our most important resource, remember the crucial role you play as a leader and take care of you.
On behalf of the IAFC board of directors and staff, have a blessed, happy and safe holiday season!
G. Keith Bryant
President and Chairman of the Board