Preparedness and perseverance two of the more important traits you may not consider daily, but two traits you need to grasp fully in my opinion, to be successful in Executive Protection.
To prepare is to, make (something) ready for use or consideration, to persevere, is to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. Among the many skill sets we must attain, practice, and master over time, preparedness and perseverance are two less talked about traits of a solid EP practitioner. There are many reasons why the focus on these skills are over shadowed by wrist locks, positioning, being the body man, fancy martial arts, and firearms. What’s a significant reason you ask? Well, in my opinion it’s because there is no immediate gratification, or “look at me” moment(s). There are plenty of instances where all of the before mentioned skills are useful, however, how and when they can be used start with being prepared.
Secondly, what is your mental fortitude like? How do you prepare, (there’s that word again) a plan that includes persevering difficult operational hurtles? Staffing, weather, and environmental, hurdles? You must have a mindset to persevere no matter what, even if you know it won’t be a total success or the exact outcome you want.
Being prepared is the downfall of many potential EP professionals, young and old, experienced or amateur, corporate or celebrity sector. To some, being prepared is having a working phone number and a Facebook page with “bodyguard” in the employment status. To others being prepared is, “I have a suit, sunglasses, $25.00 in cash, and I know what time to be there.” I continue to see on a daily basis the un-preparedness of many EP practitioners (not to be confused with a specialist) in the way they prepare daily. Being prepared is a DAILY fundamental whether you are on a detail or not.
How many times have we seen EP hopefuls say, “call me if you got something” then you call them and you hear, ”well I’m waiting for my license(s), “I’m waiting to find childcare”, “ I can help out on one of the five days you’re asking me to work” “are you flying me there? Because my car probably won’t make it the 100 miles.”
How deep does preparation go? To the individual measuring success in the field by saying, “One day I’ll fly on a private jet,” what do you know about private aircraft? What does decompression sickness look like? What is a flap, what is an aileron? What’s the maximum operational weight capacity of the aircraft? Being prepared is being an EP professional every day, of every month, of every year, there are no exceptions. Your health, your physical strength, your daily intel gathering, your current events in the region you live or visiting, your professional demeanor, practices, and behaviors etc. Where in the items listed did you hear guns, karate chops, ninja moves, or cover and evacuating under fire? The most egregious thing you can do to yourself, the agency you may work for, or the client, is to show up unprepared.
As many have found, even myself early in my career, in the beginning you don’t get the regular taps on the shoulder that more experienced specialists may get. You may find yourself having to have a fulltime job in a different field while waiting for your chance to answer the call. You may have certain restrictions on the amount of time you have to dedicate to this profession or “Craft” as we like to call it. You may find yourself low on monetary funds to dedicate to your preparedness to work. Maybe you live in a region where EP is not an everyday occurrence, how do you maintain the perseverance to continue to follow your interest in protective services?
Sure, it’s easier when you have fewer personal restrictions, but there are plenty of family men and women performing EP daily, so what is stopping you? Here’s the answer, Preparedness. If you prepare for longevity, accept, and practice good discipline while bracing yourself for the lean times, when the lean times come, you’ll be ready.
In February as you know, the United States along with most of the world were hit with a global pandemic that shut down almost every industry including most of ours. Many in our craft were taken by surprise and unfortunately were grossly unprepared to persevere. Some are fledgling specialists, and some are experienced EP professionals. What is fascinating to see, is how different specialists react, and the differences in behavior that both displays. I found for those that practiced good discipline during the good times, they were prepared, and for those who didn’t, it was a crushing blow. For the former of the two, creativity, for the latter, you start to hear excuses and anger. So, while the prepared folks say,” this will pass, and I’m glad that I never stopped bettering myself for the potential loss or slowdown in opportunities”, the others complain.
The unprepared have languished in the “look at me stage” they have cared more about being relevant, than being a security minded, educated specialist. The open display of political comments, the dislike of the current pandemic rules and requirement’s, the dislike of one political party over another, the sly remarks about colleagues, these all come from the ill prepared. Worst off, they fail to realize the gravity of what the spew until it’s too late. These remarks are harkened back to being knowledgeable, and having the foresight to consider what these comments and opinions bring with them.
In the end, preparedness and perseverance go hand in hand, and in my opinion, one cannot happen without the other. Your individual dedication to excellence will lead you to being a valued, experienced, specialist on a team with the same goal, namely maintaining your professionalism, and keeping our client’s safe.
Preparedness & Perseverance
By Mark Roche EPS
Mark Roche is a US Based, full-time Executive Protection Specialist who works full time with a HNW Family. He is also a FAA Licensed Drone Pilot, specializing in EP related uses, and a graduate of multiple close protection programs.