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Never underestimate the power of BELONGINGNESS

I love great teams – I love everything about them. Who wouldn’t. And I am not talking about being the ‘rah-rah’ team member who gets up into everyone’s business. But rather, the team member who knows that they belong, are part of something much bigger than themselves, and are getting things done – in any and every capacity possible.

I particularly cherished and protected my tenure in Tactical Section. Or just Tac as we referred to ourselves as. Honestly, there wasn’t a day that I took for granted – not one. Even when things were really S&^%$# - I never did because I had my team with me throughout. If there was one thing that I loved better than being a Police Officer, that was being a Tac Operator. I had surrounded myself with great cops, great citizens, great moms and dads and most certainly great supporters of me and my success.

Going it alone based on merit simply doesn’t work. And it’s not enough. Great achievement requires a network of great people. Surrounding yourself with greatness is critical. You need people, you need your people. Let’s face it, when you get recruited, the organization isn’t just hiring you but your whole network, your background, and your family. It is who you have surrounded yourself with makes the most difference. Let me ask you…who is flying your flag when you aren’t looking? Who is holding that mirror up in your face? And yes, even when your hot buttons are getting pushed?

Who knows you to push you to do more – to achieve more? Experience, wisdom, and knowledge will get you in the door – for sure. But your network of flagbearers will keep you in the room. Solid teamwork is the essence of everything that is important and deserving.

“This place is a hard place to get to – but it’s a harder place to stay.”

Some years ago, as I earned myself closer to the selection phase for Tac, I was reminded that “this place is hard to get to – but it’s a harder place to stay.” At the time I didn’t fully appreciate the message but I would soon learn. Who did I have in my inner-circle that believed in me without question? Always keeping me grounded in knowing where I came from and who I need to become. Reminding me that everything is possible, and that I deserve a great career.

When I’m asked, “what does it take to get recruited?”, “what skills do I need?”, “how fast should I be running at for training?” These questions and more I found difficult to answer then – I still do. The reason? Because the answer isn’t what boxes that need to be ticked off to recruitment (selection or promotion) but rather who is out there holding that mirror up while you are realizing your goals.

If there is one message that you get out of this is that “Great pilots hang with great pilots, great teachers hang with other great teachers, and great candidates hang with great Candidates.” As you navigate your way towards this amazing career and through the recruiting process, who is your vital friend? What team are you membership-ing on? Being on your great team should be a hard place to get to and even harder place for you to stay.

Lonnie Croal

Chief Advocate of you


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