Commentary by Shane Furuta
Passion (paSHən): NOUN – strong and barely controllable emotion.
Perhaps you have heard the phrase “Do what you love, and you’ll love what you do…” I believe what this is saying is to find your passion in life. Growing up I was taught that if you are going to do anything, do it well. This comes fairly easy when you are fueled by passion. If you are reading this, it is safe to say that you are probably 1. In the fire service, and 2. passionate about the job. All of us were rookies at one time in our career and if you were anything like me, you couldn’t wait to go to the firehouse, put on that uniform, checkout your equipment, catch a fire, or go to a call where you get to “practice your craft” and help your fellow neighbor. That feeling, the feeling you had your first shift on duty is what passion is all about… Hold on to it.
So how do we maintain that passion? Sometimes as we go further in our fire service careers, we lose that fire which burned so intensely in the past. There are many reasons for this, a lot of times it is a direct result of poor leadership within our organization. If you feel like you are no longer passionate about this amazing profession, perhaps we can help you rediscover and rekindle that fire deep within.
So, what can you do? Surround yourself with good people. I am sure that there is someone within your organization that is hungry to learn, untainted, and still enjoys “talking shop.” These are the people that feed passion. Passion is contagious, just being around like-minded people can rekindle those flames.
Where can I find these people? For myself it started back in 2006. I had the opportunity to attend my first fire conference. On that first day I had the great fortune to sit in some amazing lectures. These instructors captivated me and made me realize how much I love the fire service. Interestingly enough, the three instructors that made such a huge impression on me that day are still teaching and motivating others to be their best. These three instructors were Battalion Chief John Salka, Captain Mike Dugan, and Captain Mike Gagliano. They are extremely passionate about the fire service and continue to preach the good word. If you have the opportunity to attend a fire conference please do so. It is a time for us to be amongst like-minded people, charge our batteries, and fuel our passion for the year to come.
Perhaps you cannot attend a fire conference, then what? Maybe there is a local F.O.O.L.S. Chapter in your area? If you are unfamiliar with the F.O.O.L.S., do yourself a favor and look up your nearest chapter. It is here where you can find people right in your area that share the same passion as yourself. It’s a great group to surround yourself with, and learn from each other. Years ago, when I went looking for a local F.O.O.L.S. Chapter, I was disappointed to learn that there was none in my area. So we did the next most logical thing: we found a few passionate people and we started our own Chapter… the 50th State F.O.O.L.S. (maybe you’ve seen our logo? It’s pretty amazing if I do say so myself)! Till today I turn to the Brothers in my F.O.O.L.S. Chapter to keep that passion alive. You will be amazed at how much you can charge your batteries when you are amongst like-minded Brothers. When others try to tear you down, When the Mutts come barking, surround yourself with good people to refuel that passion for the job.
With all this being said, remember to have a healthy balance within your life. Have a passion for Family, because at the end of the day Family is everything. Have a passion for the job. The brotherhood is an amazing thing, I hope that you have the opportunity to experience what it truly can be. And last but not least, have a passion for fun. Hobbies are a great way to combat burnout and keep that fire burning on all aspects. Remember, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it well!
Lieutenant, Federal Fire Department, Hawaii
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