From time to time some of the newer Executive Protection Specialist’s ask me questions about how to excel quicker and create opportunities.
As such, I always tell them that starting out in a career in EP can be challenging, more than likely it’s going to be slow going at first. The reasons for this are plentiful, some within your control and some that are not. The good news is that as I look around the industry, a greater number of specialists are entering our craft and being hired with greater frequency. Having said that, critical mistakes are also being made with nearly as much frequency.
It’s as if some have thought that because you have gone through your initial training and exceled, that you are immediately qualified to be the body man next right next to the Principal. Not true. There are many variables as to an agent’s success or defeat in EP. The keys discussed in this article are what work for me, and I hope by the end of the article you can put them to use as a tool for you as well.
The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.
Let’s break down that definition a little bit further and see how this key directly affects your career in EP. So, “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay” this is a component that most will encounter during the initial stages of EP, Delay. The reason for this, as I stated earlier, is the expectations you have coming out of training, don’t match the availability of work. Most people (like myself) initially had a job to support themselves while they pursued a career in EP, because full time work wasn’t readily available. All cases are different, and some are fortunate to gain employment right away, but for the majority it’s a waiting game so you must have patience.
The key, however, is during this time while you work doing something else to keep the bills paid, is to also start doing things to get noticed in the industry. You have to learn who the “movers and shakers” are, learn whose agencies are doing the type of protection work you would like to do (corporate, VIP, celebrity etc.). From here you may want to associate yourself with different EP groups online, in person, or agencies that have consistent work and/or clients.
Next, start building a “network” of your own, people that can help you excel. I always encourage folks to find a mentor that is willing to guide you and teach you the craft as they are priceless. Lastly, encourage others that may find an opportunity before you, even if by appearances they are less qualified. Karma is real, and the ways you unselfishly promote others and wish them well, comes back to you many times over.
Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
Here is where the “rubber meets the road” and if you are not persistent you will fail. Persistence is a key attribute you must possess in order to compete in this industry. This business is 24/7 and your mindset, commitment, skill level, willingness to learn, and willingness to make it happen are subsets of persistence you will need to determine your fate in the field.
Long hours, travel, client needs, family needs back home, different attitudes, fans, managers, are all part of this craft. If your persistence is lacking, you will fail. On the flip side, if you can be persistent in all aspects of your career in protection work, there is a great chance you will find an abundance of success.
The conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.
In this profession, it’s not enough to simply say you are one, you have to prove it, time and again. Think about it, we don’t get “do overs,” or extra chances, if we get it wrong, someone could lose everything. In fact, your professionalism oftentimes determines your length of service in this industry. We are the ones who are up in the morning, last ones to go to sleep at night and prepared to drop everything in case the Protectee calls. This is the area where many give lip service until it’s time to do it at a high level over and over again. No matter the amount of repetition, professionalism cannot be replaced with compliancy, if you do, your time will be short.
I hope you see how these keys to success complement each other, and why I personally believe they need to be combined to be successful. While these keys represent my opinions. I believe anyone can take them and use them to develop long and successful careers.
Three Keys to EP Success
By: Mark Roche EPS
Mark Roche works full time as a US-Based Executive Protection Specialist and a graduate of multiple close protection programs.