Episode 51: New Adventure, New Opportunity (A Stressful Couple of Weeks, mixing it up with Muay Thai, and Learning How Small the World Really Is)

February 21, 2021

Happy Sunday afternoon VFOT fans and followers. It is a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon in Western Mass. I’m having a little difficulty getting started today. It’s sunny but cold, and the weather has me thinking that I should be outside. On the other hand, I’ve got a lot of stuff going on and catching up to do, so I’ve been inside all day. Maybe I’ll get out later this afternoon.

This has been a rough couple of weeks. I’ll get into a little bit of the why later, but wow…this has been exhausting.

Pro-Reading

I finally finished It’s Our Ship: The No-Nonsense Guide to Leadership. (Abrashoff, D. Michael. It’s Our Ship: The No-Nonsense Guide to Leadership. 2008. New York: Hachette Book Group.) Like I said previously, I really enjoyed this one. I think the Captain has written 2 more books, and I’ll definitely be adding both of those to my reading list.

After finishing that one, I flipped the script and went completely old-school. While I did not have the opportunity to study with Professor James MacGregor Burns while I was at Williams, I have read a couple of his books during my leadership journey. A title that I had not read, but that has been on my bookshelf for awhile was Transforming Leadership (Burns, James MacGregor. Transforming Leadership-A New Pursuit of Happiness.  2003. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.)  I’m a fan of Professor Burns and I’m eager to get into this one. I’m just getting started and am only a handful of pages into it. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Other Reading

Due to some of the work and personal pressures that have occurred over the past couple of weeks, I needed something mindless to distract me. I’d already completed Pratchett’s Thud, so I went back to another of his old standbys. It had been a while since I read Guards! Guards! (Pratchett, Terry. Guards! Guards! 2009. London: HarperCollins.) This is one of the earliest books in the series, and I was prompted to revisit, because I happened to catch an episode of the BBC television show, The Watch. This show is loosely based on the Discworld series and the character of Commander Vimes. Pratchett is always a good distraction. I needed it.

Other Learning Opportunities

Over the past couple of weeks, I did have the opportunity to participate in several online training classes, including finishing up my current in-service rotation. On the other hand, the biggest learning opportunity was presented when I was asked to present a block of instruction to the local District Attorney’s Office on Hate and Bias Crimes. Preparing for that required me to go back and refamiliarize myself with my Academy curriculum and get up to speed on some recent developments. That was a worthwhile exercise, and I took a lot from it.

On a completely different note, I also decided that it was time to mix up my physical training a bit. I traded out one of my evening jiu-jitsu classes for a morning Muay Thai class. The first one kicked my ass. Wow. I thought I’d been working out. That one made me hurt for days.

Some Stuff About Me

Over the past couple of installments, I’ve shared some stuff about the steps that I’ve taken to normalize my work on mental health and resiliency. On the 1st Monday of this reporting period, I had a session with my therapist. As we were wrapping up, he commented that I’d never taken him up on his offer to text him between sessions if anything came up. I reminded him that I actually had, but only once. Early on in the 1st time that I chose to work with him, I did have to reach out. Of course, since we discussed it, the following night I nearly had to again. I’m not going to get into any details. Let’s just say that both my professional and personal lives threw some curve balls at me. It was a near thing, but I made it through without sending the text.

This week, Police1.com posted an article entitled, 19 Things Cops Wish They Knew Before They Joined Law Enforcement. That article prompted some flashbacks for me and let me to write a FB post about some memories. When we study memory recall, we’re always told that our sense of smell is one on the most powerful stimulus to recall a memory. Olfactory triggers can rip memories from the distant past. I never stopped to think about how many strange and unexpected scents I’ve been exposed to because I chose to work in law enforcement. Again, I’m not going to go into any detail. Suffice it to say, I’ve smelled some pretty unbelievable things in the past 26 years. Some of them will never go away.

FUN

I’ve already mentioned my slow return to Muay Thai, so I won’t say anymore about that here.

Last weekend was Valentine’s Day and the President’s Day holiday weekend. We had a fun exchange of gifts for V-Day and a lovely dinner on Saturday. On Monday, we got out for a beautiful show-shoe hike right in our own neighborhood. We happen to have a municipal Conservation Area right across the street and up the hill from our house. It’s very convenient.

This week, we had a great Date Night. Delivery dinner was from Smokey Diva’s Barbecue. We hadn’t eaten from there in a while. Their food is always delicious.

I’m continuing to make some additions and improvements to my home gym. I’ve invested in enough equipment now that C has even started grabbing some of the gear and incorporating it into her workouts. That was a wise decision early in the pandemic.

I finally decided to order my new Gi through the dojo. When Professor Mark emailed me to confirm that the order had been placed, he shared with me that he’d had a phone chat with the school’s account rep. Reading that e-mail, I realized that our account rep at Origin is a woman that I’d met while I was at Camp. I messaged her to confirm and sure enough, we’d met at Camp and become FB friends. What a small world. The Gi I wanted wasn’t in stock, so she’d agreed to have it custom made. A fortuitous turn of events. I didn’t even have to take advantage of the new Associate program. However, I did make a referral to a friend for some Hypnos…and I got to take advantage of my Coupon Code when I re-upped my supplements this week.

Remember, if you need supplements, Jiu-jitsu gear, jeans, or boots, check out Origin’s offerings here: (https://originmaine.com/?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF&utm_source=affiliate) for 10% off.

Well, that’s enough for this week. See you soon. Until then…be well, stay healthy, and be kind to one another.

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*

If you train jiu-jitsu, utilize dietary supplements as part of your fitness routine, or simply want to support a great American company that’s doing amazing things to bring manufacturing back to our country take a look at the requirements to become an ambassador and register at this link (https://origin.goaffpro.com/create-account?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF).

“Victory Force Options Training is a participant in the GoAffPro Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the partner site.”

Comments Off on Episode 51: New Adventure, New Opportunity (A Stressful Couple of Weeks, mixing it up with Muay Thai, and Learning How Small the World Really Is) Posted in Development, Fun, Leadership, Learning, Training

Episode 50: New Adventure, New Opportunity (What I’m reading, that time I didn’t crash my cruiser, and I go full on fan-boy for Origin)

February 7, 2021

Good Sunday afternoon VFOT fans and followers. It is a cold, snowy day here in Western Mass, and it is Superbowl Sunday. I’m not actually that excited for the game. For a variety of personal reasons, I haven’t watched any professional football at all this year. While I have no real interest in the game, I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what this year’s commercials will bring. After the year we just had, I’m hoping that there are some really solid messages of hope. We shall see. I can’t believe this is Episode 50. I really didn’t think this project would have lasted this long.

Pro-Reading

I finally finished Power and Restraint: The Moral Dimension of Police Work, by Howard Cohen and Michael Feldberg. (Cohen, Howard and Feldberg, Michael. Power and Restraint: The Moral Dimension of Police Work. 1991. Praeger Publishers: New York.) After finishing it, I reached out to return it to Dr. Feldberg and he told me to consider it a gift. That’s awesome. I didn’t mark it up while I was reading it, because I thought I had to return it. I’ve lent it to a resident to read, so I’ll have to wait until I get it back to go through it again and highlight it and make some margin notes.

Dr. Feldberg gifted this book to me.

I’m also making my way through It’s Our Ship: The No-Nonsense Guide to Leadership. (Abrashoff, D. Michael. It’s Our Ship: The No-Nonsense Guide to Leadership. 2008. New York: Hachette Book Group.) This one rehashes a lot of the lessons and stories from the 1st book, but it extends them to a wide range of industries beyond the military. I am really enjoying this one.

Other Reading

I’ve had a lot going on for the past couple of weeks and have been a little stressed. As I’ve said in the past, when that happens, I need to pull-back from the pro-reading and do something a little more mindless. It had been a long while since I had read anything from Terry Pratchett. So, after finishing Power and Restraint, I grabbed my Kindle and went browsing. I finally settled on one of his older titles, Thud. I’ve read many titles in the Discworld series, but I’ve never focused on reading them in order. That may not have been wise, because many of the books that I have read reference events from this one, and I had no idea what the significance was. I might need to go back and read them in order. We’ll see. (Pratchett, Terry. Thud! 2005. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.)

Other Learning Opportunities

During week 1 of this period, I was scheduled for my regular in-service day. Of course, we’re still working under COVID protocols, so all of our in-service is virtual. Unfortunately, I didn’t closely read my training notice. I spent all day doing 4 virtual classes. 2 of them weren’t the scheduled classes, so now I have to go back and make them up. It pays to read the notice.

This week we held our 1st Supervisory Roundtable of 2021. We got into some pretty interesting topics. I’m looking forward to the rest of this series. I think we’re going to make some good changes this year.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I had 3 virtual classes. The 1st was on Injured on Duty claims…fascinating…not. The 2nd was on how to prepare to submit reimbursement requests to FEMA for vaccine clinic expenses…not that interesting, but really important. The last 1 was on what we can learn about homeland security from Israel. This one simply made me nostalgic for my trip to Israel. I’ll have to figure out a way to get on another trip over there.

During this entire time, I managed to keep up with my jiu-jitsu and make it to several classes each week. Continuing to train in the time of COVID has been an incredible form of stress relief.

Some Stuff About Me

In past installments, I’ve alluded to some of the work that I’ve been doing regarding my mental health and resiliency. While I am certainly not going to go into any detail about that work in a publicly viewable blog post, I do think it’s important that I acknowledge some of the milestones. Early in this reporting period, I had a virtual session with my therapist. It was a hard one. We went deep into some incredibly old stuff. I’m not going to get specific, but what I can say is that after speaking some stuff out loud in the session I haven’t experienced any of the persistent stomach issues that have plagued me for years. It’s too early to conclude that these 2 things are definitely related, but I find the timing intriguing. I’m keeping an eye on this.

On the other hand, I have shared in prior installments about how this work over the past year has caused some tough memories to resurface. The combination of the session and last week’s snowstorm unearthed a memory that I hadn’t thought about in a really long time. I’m not sure why I suppressed this one, because it was actually a Christmas miracle.

Early one Christmas morning, I was on patrol in a snowstorm. Earlier in the midnight shift we had cleared a reported domestic and left all of the participants at the residence. We really were trying not to take anyone in custody on Christmas morning. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to work out. The disturbance had broken out again and we were being sent back to the location. I was annoyed and angry that we had to return and were probably going to have to arrest someone. I was driving too fast for the road conditions with my emergency lights activated. As I responded, I hit a slick spot in the road and completely spun my cruiser out. I’m not sure how many times the cruiser spun before it left the road, but it was more than once. When I did leave the road, the cruiser came to a stop, perfectly positioned between a fire hydrant, a utility pole, and the guidewire from the pole to the ground…without contacting any of them. As I sat there, facing the opposite direction, lights flashing, with my hands white-knuckled on the wheel, there was a tap on my window. I put the cruiser in park and rolled the window down. There was a gentleman standing beside the car. He looked at me and said, “Officer, I don’t know where you’re going or what for, but it can’t be worth dying for on Christmas Day.” Then he walked away. I got the cruiser back onto the road and proceeded, much more slowly and cautiously to the call. I hadn’t thought about this “crash” in years. Last week, it came flooding back.

FUN

This blog is already longer than I wanted it to be, so I’m not going to go into any detail about date nights or training, because I have something else to share here. Earlier this week, I was listening to the latest Hands and Daylight Podcast by Pete Roberts and Brian Littlefield from Origin. In their concluding remarks, they made a quick passing reference to becoming a brand ambassador for the company. I almost missed it, but I was curious. I went to their website and found the link. I read the requirements to see what it entailed. After I read them, I had a quick conversation with C. I asked her if I technically qualified as a “blogger” and if she thought I qualified as a “social media influencer.” She kind of laughed and basically said that when it comes to Origin, I do. So, I filled in the form. I was surprised the next day to find out that I’d been accepted.

Some of my Origin gear.

If you’ve read previous installments, you’ve heard me talk about Origin. I buy my supplements from them. My 2 newest Gis are from them. I’ve bought their jeans and their boots. For the past, several birthdays and Christmases I’ve received Origin products as gifts. I have some of their fitness equipment in my home gym. I am an enormous fan and supporter of this company. On the other hand…if anything, this little “ambassadorship” is at best, a side-hustle. I’m not dependent on this for my livelihood. So, before I share the details, I have to provide this caveat. My dojo, or jiu-jitsu academy ZenQuest Martial Arts Center, is an authorized Origin distributor. If you are local to the Berkshires, and you’re looking to purchase Origin products, please consider making that purchase through ZenQuest. They have a great relationship with their account representative and can get any Origin products at a really good cost. However, if you’re not local, or if you’re looking to purchase a product online and have it delivered as a gift, I can get you a little discount. Use the Coupon Code WYNN10 or this referral link (https://originmaine.com/?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF&utm_source=affiliate) for 10% off. If you train jiu-jitsu, utilize dietary supplements as part of your fitness routine, or simply want to support a great American company that’s doing amazing things to bring manufacturing back to our country, take a look at the requirements to become an ambassador and register at this link (https://origin.goaffpro.com/create-account?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF).

Origin’s ambassador program

That’s enough for this week. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy and be kind.

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*

Comments Off on Episode 50: New Adventure, New Opportunity (What I’m reading, that time I didn’t crash my cruiser, and I go full on fan-boy for Origin) Posted in Development, Fun, Learning, Training