In this episode, Traver gives me strict instructions to punch myself in the crotch. But more on that in a second…
In law enforcement, we have a lot of variables that are beyond our control.
– Do you know what calls you’ll handle when you get to your next shift?
– Do you know that the next car you stop has a parolee with a gun?
– Can you control how your spouse is feeling, alone at home while you’re working night shift?
– Do you know that tonight, you’ll get held-over and miss your workout, and be left without breakfast nearby?
– Do you know that you’re going to get woken up by the UPS guy after 3 hrs and not be able to get back to sleep, dragging yourself into the locker room scattered and sleep deprived?
– Do you know that tonight is the night when you have to make the most important decisions of your life?
No…no you don’t. None of us do.
So much of our life is beyond our control. That’s true for anyone, but doubly so for us as we navigate the world’s most challenging job, interjecting ourselves into the worst moment’s of other people’s lives.
So, we need to be mindful of these challenges. Sure, there are plenty of other people who work shift work and share those struggles with us, but very few also share the mix of danger and stress that we face.
We need to remember that some days, progress is defined not by the advancements we make, but by the ground we hold. Honestly, some days successes might be measured by the scale of the retreat (i.e. “it could’ve been worse).
That’s okay. But are you okay with it?
I’m a father, husband, law enforcement officer, podcaster, friend, brother, son, amateur CrossFitter, surfer, neighbor, supervisor, blogger, avid reader, and probably a dozen other titles I’m sure I could come up with if I thought more about it. Do I do each of them equally and perfectly every week? Of course not. No one can. The quality and/or quantity of my focus on any combination of these ebb and flow not just from week to week but from day-to-day, maybe even by the hour.
So, I have to cut myself some slack – and so should you.
“Better is Better” is a phrase Traver used with me during a phone conversation while I was bemoaning the difficulties I was facing in being awesome at everything, every time. It struck me, calmed me and also inspired this episode.
What he means, is that simple progress – however slight – is still progress and we must shake our Type A insistence on perfection at all things, and dismiss the need for linear progressions in our improvements.
To date, I’ve lost 20 pounds. But, the first 15 came fast at the start of this project. That’s only 5 pounds in the last three months, which isn’t impressive and frankly demotivating until you see the other perspective.
– I’ve been on night shift for 3 months, and I usually gain 5-15 pounds during a 4 month rotation to nights.
– I have maintained many of my good habits, and added some new ones too that aren’t seen on a weight scale in the bathroom but are felt in my head and heart.
So, considering that I’m usually up 15 pounds around this time, and in fact, I’m down 5 more so I’ve practically lost 20 more pounds! Ok, that’s fuzzy math that only Wall Street gets away with but you get my point.
Accept the wins you’re given, and be a gracious loser when you aren’t perfect.
I’m progressing because I’m not regressing.
Oh…so back to Traver’s desire to see me self-flagellate my groin.
I’m under strict orders that I am not to set foot in a Taco Bell again…ever. Ouch.
See, if I don’t plan my meals correctly, I get caught off-guard and my brain starts craving fat like I’m dope sick. I know it’s my sleep deprived prefrontal cortex making poor decisions because it’s inhibited, but I can’t help it.
Traver’s assertion is that Taco Bell isn’t food. I’m sure the Taco Bell PR team would be willing to respond but c’mon, I think we all know he’s right. So, if I eat Taco Bell I’m under strict instructions to — in his words — “punch yourself in the dick.” Kinda harsh for a motivational coach but I get his point.
This episode should encourage you to see the wins that are out there and now to mitigate some of the losses. They may not be big, but it’s still a win. We suffer so many losses, many that effect us but are far beyond our control, so we need to embrace the wins both small and large.
Sometimes progress just means holding your ground.
Just don’t mistake motion for progress.
Stay safe, and take care of each other.