Just the sound of that single word “success” can make most feel accomplished, fulfilled, strong-willed, and advantageous.
The word success by its definition means: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; the attainment of popularity or profit. While it seems simple enough, there aren’t too many other words in the English language that can mean so many different things to so many people.
How do you define success in the executive/celebrity protection industry? How do you know when you are a success or successful? Is your success helping move you forward or is it hurting you? As I stated earlier, success has a different meaning to every individual, including myself.
“Success is 1% Inspiration and 99% perspiration”
Without inspiration there will be no success. Inspiration is one of the things that drives and motivates us. You must be inspired by someone, something, somehow, to embark on this journey in EP. For most, if not all of us, this profession is either totally new to us, or one in which we got into after another, similar career. Everyone has a different reason for joining our ranks, and every individual has the chance to become a member of a group or team bigger than our individual selves.
Here’s the question: “how do you inspire an individual to lay down $1,200 – $3,000 for training with no promise of fulltime employment? The answer is, “you can’t!” How do you inspire someone to lay one’s life down in defense of another? Again, you can’t! If the inspiration is not deep rooted in you when you embark on this journey, then you are already defeated.
Your inspiration or aspirations have to be well defined for you to be successful. Only then, can you start to put in the preparation and work needed to meet your goal. Because in this industry, it’s in the doing, not the dreaming.
“Success in life could be defined as the continued explanation of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals” ~
Fresh out of the training academy or school, you get a few gigs because of your understanding of the craft or the networking you conducted. You got your feet wet. As they say, “nothing too spectacular,” but you are learning and becoming more competent in the understanding of all the different movements and motions that take place on a detail. You’re feeling good and starting to learn the lessons of what it is you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. You start to feel a part of something bigger and are eager to get to the next detail.
Then the phone doesn’t ring for 6 months. Now how are your feelings of success? Still inspired? Happy with what you’ve accomplished? Then you start to feel the pressures of your family, friends, spouse, all telling you that this is going nowhere fast. You take menial jobs to make an income while you wait for, “the call.” Is this success or not? I say yes because it puts you closer to being, not a success, but successful.
Then the phone rings: a big detail, you have to fly to another state to work with an agency that has a well-known artist that’s doing a concert! Your amped up, nervous, you’re the FNG (effin new guy) and you want to do well. You get the plan from the Detail Leader (DL), and you start the movement getting the principal from the hotel to the amphitheater. The crowd is massive, and you can hear and see them from backstage.
It’s now “GO Time.” You’re moving, winding your way through the darkness of backstage with your client, up the stage stairs and BOOM the crowd goes crazy! As you stand stage left, every hair on your body stands up and you take it all in. You say to yourself, “I made it! I’m a success!”
Are you? Or is it just a “realization of a worthy goal?” Don’t get the two confused, because more than likely you will be going home to await yet another call and this is one of the pitfalls to beware of.
“Sometimes success can be your worst enemy, because it makes you think you’re smarter than you really are”
If you are afraid of failure or afraid to fail, how are you going to win? We are taught coming into this field that ‘failure is not an option.” While I agree with that statement as it pertains to our protection of our clients, not all failures are fatal. For instance, (I don’t know why I’m sharing this!) I had a detail early in my career where I was a security driver. I brought three suits and accompaniments with me. Driving for the weekend, I changed suits every day. On the second to last day, I decided to wear a black suit. The problem was it was a tuxedo! (Minus the bow tie and cummerbund). At the end of the detail that night, the DL said, “by the way, tomorrow leave the tux at home!” Epic failure on my part, Not knowing fully, the ins and outs of this profession and the attire expectations for that particular detail, I got it wrong. What I did do though, is to learn and each through my mistake. And while that experience while painfully embarrassing, it drove me to be better the next time.
Another example, you may have applied with an agency for a job or had an interview with a potential client and didn’t get the contract. While you may consider this a failure it’s not because it strengthens you to be better next time. I was once told, “every NO puts you that much closer to a YES” and I believe that. This profession is not for the faint of heart. Nobody is going to hold your hand. And nobody is going to feel bad about telling you the truth, good or bad. This is why practice and repetition are vital to your success because you will fail. You will be unsure. You will be stepping all over yourself at times. And that’s what makes you better.
How you handle your success can be very fulfilling or it can cause you to crash and burn. We’ve all seen them: the “successful ones.” The I’m better than you guys, the “super ninjas.” The guys that are on the detail that like to give instructions even if they don’t have any no more authority than you. This is where you go from success to failure in short order. Why? Because anyone worth his or her salt in this profession knows that it is an ongoing learning process. For anyone to stand up and say or act like, “I know it all or I’ve done it all” is just flat out wrong.
It’s much more than, who your clients are, how many of them you have, how long you’ve been in this industry. I personally know some of these types, and if I had to work alongside of them, I would pass if given a choice. You can be successful while empowering others to be just as successful as you are. There will always be the “haters,” and the ones that never want you to be as successful as them. But they are the same people that will be calling you one day for help. Trust me.
In order for us to reach our goals, we must adapt, we must find a way to internally remain on a relevant course to success. There is one thing in this business that you have full control of one thing that nobody can take away. Something that you, and you alone, can control and that is your effort.
You level of effort and how you use your successes will determine your success rate. Use what you’ve had by helping another brother or sister in the industry. Success in the profession shouldn’t be used to stand on your soapbox and brag. It should be used for the greater good, pushing the craft forward and just by its sheer velocity, carrying you along with it.
Success In EP, What does it mean to you?
By Mark Roche
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.