How Will the Value of Your Days Be Measured?
How do you want to be remembered; by whom and for what?
These questions are more important than you can know right now. If policing is not just a job but a calling for you, these questions will matter when you are no longer on the field of play.
Dr. Kevin Gilmartin, a psychologist, former police officer and author of Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement Officers and Their Families, once described being a police officer as, “having a front row seat to the greatest show on earth.” It’s so true! What I learned during my career as a police officer is that you will see things you shouldn’t have to see, and you will do things you shouldn’t have to do, but that is the price you pay to play in this league.
There will be good times and bad. The highest of highs and lowest of lows. You show up everyday prepared to give it your best effort, and if you’re lucky, really lucky, you will be able to look back over your 20 or 30 years and realize that you lived your life and it mattered.
You will have memories and war stories that you will tell endlessly to anybody willing to listen. But what will matter the most is all those times when you helped people who couldn’t help themselves. I know this sounds crazy because we spend our careers reveling about our best arrest or our most exciting car chase.
However, nothing can compare to the feeling you get when someone (whether it is a follow police officer or a citizen) comes up to you and tells you made a difference in their life – that because of you, their life is better. Nothing!
After it is all over and you are enjoying your retirement, what will matter most are the incremental things you did over time that added up:
What will matter is not what you have, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered – by whom, and for what.
What will matter is that you lived a life of meaning, purpose, and happiness.
As always – stay safe and live intentionally.