Imagine a room full of individuals mad keen to get into the Fire Service. Picture what they may look like. In some respects it’s easy to imagine isn’t it? There is usually one key thing which they will have in common which you may not see in people applying for many other jobs. (Clue: they don’t tend to be the scrawniest bunch of people we’ve ever seen).
Similarly, think about a group of serving firefighters looking for their next promotion. What might you see? It might not be obvious from a visible perspective, but what you are likely to have is a room of people who have registered their interest in progression, had a word with their boss or are keeping their ear to the ground about when the next selection process might be. Then they wait.
Now, if you had entered a marathon, would you register your interest then wait? Or would you register and then get started on making sure you are up to the task?!
Fitness doesn’t just mean one thing
When we run our Firefighter Bootcamps we spend a few minutes going round the room asking what people have done so far to prepare for this demanding role. 100% can detail, at length, the physical fitness activity they have committed to for the last year or more. They list team sports and individual training, extreme activities and strength building. They would not dream of waiting until they got a letter through the post inviting them to attend their fitness tests, and THEN start thinking about getting in shape. That would be crazy!
But then, if we asked ‘and what have you done to prepare for the selection tests? What training have you been doing for your brain? What focus have you given to your attitudes? What about your behaviour?’ We would be met with pretty blank looks. Because honestly, who does prioritise this? It’s easy enough to go for a run or hit the gym, but anyone properly interested in becoming a firefighter should know that this component is only a fraction of the selection process. And more important than that, it only accounts for a fraction of the role of a Firefighter.
Sticking with your comfort zone? So is everyone else!
You might approach firefighters to talk about the role, go into your local station or contact friends or acquaintances who can fill you in. You join a gym; you know that you have to show willing, so you volunteer for a few extra duties. These things take commitment, but are still relatively straight-forward, and lots of people do them. And all these people tend to get the same results.
Remember, for most of us it is easy to fall into the trap which limits the steps we are prepared to take to the ones we feel comfortable and familiar with. But these may not be the only steps which will get you to where you want to be.
Take a deep breath, and step outside the box
It’s far harder to step outside the box and see what else you may have to do. When you don’t know where to start, it is a lot more straightforward to stick to what you know, but in order to achieve your goals, there is a lot more you need to do.
Whether you are limbering up for the big jump up the corporate ladder or getting in shape to be suitable firefighter material it is vital that you think of your ‘fitness’ from several perspectives.
To be selected or promoted you need to learn how to prove yourself. You need to learn how to present EVIDENCE. You need to start to train your brain and review your behaviours.
Fit on the inside and out
It’s fairly easy to spot if someone has been working out and fine tuning their physical fitness. It’s not so obvious what you have been doing to prepare yourself on a deeper level. But this does not mean it is any less important. In fact, it is the one big difference between those who will succeed, and those who will be disappointed.