4 Things You Should Do Every Day to Succeed in Law Enforcement
So you are, or want to be, in law enforcement. Awesome! Whether as a sworn officer or as a civilian employee, you want to make a positive difference in the world. You aren’t doing this job to become financially wealthy, but you would like a successful career, be able to progress, help your community and take care of your family. Accomplishing all of this is absolutely achievable by you, and here are four things you should do every day to help you get there.
1. Remind yourself why you chose this career
It might sound cliché, but you want to make a difference, help people, serve your community or be the person people turn to in difficult times. In law enforcement, whether in person, by telephone or e-mail, we often encounter people at their worst. They aren’t always nice to us. Sometimes they resist our attempts to help or even try to verbally or physically hurt us. It is easy to become frustrated or callous after a long day of encounters like these. Remember why you chose this career, and remember that when you are handling a difficult individual, you are helping many other people avoid an encounter with them, not to mention the potential bad things and/or crimes you are preventing. You are making a difference!
2. Build solid, genuine relationships
Law enforcement is a people business. Get to know people… your community, your colleagues, your supervisors. Build genuine relationships, be honest and be approachable. You will be amazed how often a problem is solved before it becomes a real issue simply because someone felt comfortable approaching you or picking up the phone to call you.
3. Move your body and minimize the shift work snacks
Yes, you hear it all the time…exercise! Even if you aren’t a triathlete or bodybuilder, you can’t help people very well or for very long if you don’t take care of yourself. Use moderation when giving in to the munchies. Go for a walk, jog or bike ride, and try to do it consistently, several days each week. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel every day, how much more energy you have and the patience you’ll be able to employ when encountering stressful situations. You’ll even make better split-second decisions when your body is in better shape.
4. Spend quality time with loved ones
When you’re an over-achiever, this is one of the first things you can forget to prioritize. When you finally make it to retirement, don’t be in the position of looking back and regretting the times you missed with your spouse, your kids or grandkids sporting events or dance recitals. Take a vacation and relax. If you want to be successful in law enforcement, a hero to others, you need balance in your life. Be a hero to yourself and your family as well as to your community.
While there are other very important things you can do to succeed in law enforcement, these 4 basics will never steer you wrong. Stay focused, stay safe and enjoy the rewarding career and journey!