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8. Directed Down Time – Introspective Growth

Hello!  This week’s contribution is posted during the holiday season known for road trips.  Some find road trips excruciating, while others truly love them.   It is really all about your perspective.  Being stuck in a car, unable to get out for hours on end is similar to a shift in a 911 center where you are tethered to a console.   You may see the tether as restrictive, but you may also see it as an opportunity.  During busy times, the tether is the connection to your craft.  During down times, the tether allows you time to influence your environment and direct personal growth, introspectively.

Introspective Growth is inward-looking, self-examining growth.  This is growth that occurs out of internal drive to self-improve and down times while tethered at work are perfect for Introspective Growth.    Tethered time is a great time to begin to identify your personal strengths and weaknesses.  Once you have a list, organize weaknesses into acceptable and unacceptable categories.  The acceptable list is the one that you are comfortable with.

Wait – is it ok to have weaknesses that are acceptable?  Yes.  It is natural to have weakness.  As much as we strive to be great at everything, it is really impractical.  What is important is that we recognize and acknowledge weakness, for in the acknowledgement, you can create a mitigation strategy.  The mitigation strategy may be a peer that is strong where you are weak, or a tool that allows you to overcome the weakness – like using reminders to keep you organized or Excel to do math.

Unacceptable weaknesses are those that are holding you back or diminish your effectiveness and where you want to focus your time and attention.   One area of unacceptable weakness in our career field is interpersonal communication.  Our work requires us to communicate verbally and in writing and to work effectively in a team environment.  A weakness in interpersonal communication could result in workplace conflicts and prevent you and your team from doing your job effectively.

Objectively analyze unacceptable weaknesses and create a plan to improve in those areas.  Your plan should involve an end goal and several smaller benchmark goals along the way, with strategies in how to meet the benchmarks.   Next, create a plan to get to each benchmark and a timeline to complete them.  Consider sharing your goals with someone else as a way to hold yourself accountable.  You can also set calendar reminders

Think of ways that you can drive growth while tethered.  One great way is through reading.  In a future post, we will discuss developing a Reading List.   Next week we will continue to look at Introspective Growth through a professional GAP analysis.

Until next time, use your tethered time wisely.  Remember, look for joy so that it can find you,

Content Contributed by AZ APCO-NENA Executive Board Member Kimberly Clark, ENP “The 911 Maven”

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