If you’re one of the many that have a chance to work around me operationally over the years you know one thing, I can be pretty intense and leave very little margin for error and excuses when it’s, “GO Time.”
Yet as a counterpoint to that, I think those same people will also attest that I frequently give praise and recognition to those I see excelling in the craft. This is not just limited to whether you work for me or have attended one of my training programs. If I see something good, I say it; if I see someone excelling, I recognize the accomplishment.
I try and make it a point to recognize individuals who I see doing things the right way. I’m sure some have seen my public declarations and have met with rolling eyes, saying to themselves (but never to me), “so what?” Then there are others who also likely say to themselves, “why this guy and not me?” And it’s from there that a personality trait starts to emerge that no one ever wants to own up to – namely envy.
What is it about the human condition that says that the recognition of one person lessens the standing of others? Never do I see it more readily than in the world of social media. Spend some time amongst the post and message boards, and you will see a quantifiable trend emerge. Negative posts get lots of engagement, while those that have a more positive slant traditionally get acknowledgment from the same individuals but never reach the critical mass that locks in the attention and gets the blood flowing.
With that said, shouldn’t inspiration and not condemnation be the thing we aspire to? In the executive protection community, you can barely walk 3 feet without the word “professional” being thrown around, but in truth, how professional is it to spotlight only the losses, yet ignore the wins of others? Perhaps it’s the mindset that if someone else is winning, then you must be losing. If everyone is in competition, then the goal is never to give up the tactical advantage. No one can be saluted or applauded because that gives them an edge on the playing field, which they might use to convert into even more wins.
However, there is one exception to this mentality – when someone dies. When that unfortunate occurrence happens, out of the woodwork, people will come running with stories of how much of a good person the deceased was and how they have always supported them. There will be online memorials and eulogies, and in some cases, even tears, but there is also something else that may accompany those feelings …regret.
The regret that comes from knowing that you could have done more to support a person in life, even if just by offering a kind word or two. Some might think a topic like this has no place in an Alpha industry like Close Protection but consider that a large part of our ranks are pulled from both law enforcement and the military. We can all see how helpful positive reinforcement has been for those stressful careers. What does it cost us to type a few sentences, drop a quick voice note, or just give a fellow protector a quick handshake when you pass him at an event?
The world will always be full of people that don’t want you to win; however, many do; the problem is that vocally they are the minority. Perhaps a challenge is in order, and one aimed specifically at those power-users of social media. If you find yourself on a platform daily, be it Facebook, Linked-In, Instagram, or the like, make at least one comment directed at a person that inspires, uplifts, or motivates. You would be surprised how an agent who’s been on a crappy detail for the last two months, away from friends and family, and stuck with a problematic client, might find renewed strength from even a few simple sentences. Inspiration can come from the strangest places, but it can never reach the person once they are gone.
Keeping Your Edge – Flowers For the Living
By: Elijah Shaw
Elijah Shaw is the National Director of the North American Bodyguard Association and the CEO of ICON Global, and International Executive Protection Consulting Firm. Elijah, who has been featured in international publications such as Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, and Portfolio, runs the ICON Academy, an EP Training Program specializing in Celebrity & VIP Protection. He also currently sits on the Board of Directors of Executive Security International (ESI), the United States oldest Executive Protection Training School. His book, An Introduction to Executive Protection & Touring: A Guide to Mastering the Business of VIP Security, hit the Amazon best sellers list, and is available now worldwide.