No One Can Tell You Who You Are or How Successful You Can Be, Besides Yourself

Success can often give the illusion of something that is out of our control in this profession, something that is controlled by everyone but ourselves. I will make the attempt to argue otherwise.

I’ve brought it up in past articles that our advancement and relative success in this profession can often be influenced (not controlled) by outside forces such as departmental availability of funds, room for advancement, department size, etc. I still believe this to be true, as these are things we cannot ultimately control. There are many things in this profession that we cannot control and that falls into the reality of the job and another topic in and of itself. The only thing we have complete control over is ourselves. Our profession and workplace can be inundated with individuals who may be content and stagnant, perhaps even slightly disgruntled (read “very disgruntled”). It is our responsibility to sort the good from the bad and surround ourselves by the people who are going to aid in our own ultimate success.

Success in this profession is relative. It is relative in the sense that what one person considers advancement and success may not be the same for you or me. We all have our own goals and aspirations and we cannot assume that, just because we want to achieve a certain goal, everyone else is striving for that same goal. We are all like-minded individuals in this profession but we all hold on to our own individual characteristics and goals. It’s what makes this profession as unique as it is.

Recent events in my own professional life have brought me to the realization that we are too often willing to believe the negative rumors than the positive facts. Without going into too much detail, I was recently expecting one thing to happen in my own professional advancement, when the opposite seemed to become the immediate reality. I was assured that the original, intended outcome would still be the eventual outcome, but just at a date further along down the road. As an immediate response I became disappointed and slightly demoralized. I think this was a natural and appropriate reaction. I allowed my own negative thoughts to permeate my mind and become a sense of reality. I allowed negativity to manifest into reality. I figured that my original goal would not happen altogether. In seeking input from coworkers and supervisors, I was given a mixed reaction, ranging from “it’s never going to happen” to “it will definitely happen, just give it some time”. I found myself latching onto the individuals who said that “It’s never going to happen”. I was doing this without much conscious thought. I allowed the positive input to flow in one ear and out the other, while the negative input went in one ear and stuck in my thoughts like tough glue.

It wasn’t until yesterday morning that I woke up and asked myself why the negative input would stick with me and the positive input was bouncing off of me like rubber.

The fact of the matter is that the positivity that was given to me was from people who are credible and reliable sources of information. The negative information stemmed from rumors, past disappointment and assumptions that bad situations can only get worse. The responsibility to sort out which I am going to believe lies with no one but myself. I am responsible for my own peace of mind, my own well-being and my own success. Like I said before, negativity will manifest itself into reality. Why can’t positivity manifest itself into reality as well?

It can, and it will.

I believe it to be our human nature to believe the bad over the good. In our profession we see a lot of “bad”, if you will. Yesterday, a coworker asked me how it is, in my writing, that I am so often able to just pass off the disgruntled officers in our profession and focus so much on the good. My answer to him was that I force myself to consider the negativity a non-factor. I am not perfect at this, as I found myself in a situation where all I was believing was the negative. It is a constant battle for me, it is also a constant battle for you. We are battle proven in the field, why can we not be battle proven in our own thoughts and minds?

We have a huge choice to make every single day. We can allow ourselves to be brought down by negative thoughts and rumors or we can allow ourselves to thrive on the successful and positive thoughts of others. Never allow the responsibility of your own success to lie in anyone’s hands but your own. Realize that we work in an extremely competitive and volatile profession, where advancement and success will not always come easy. Many factors come into play in our own personal and professional success, the largest of which is your own effort and mindset towards your end goal. Ultimately your own positive thoughts will manifest their way into reality. Coworkers will rely on you for your positive attitude and it will all continue to build from there. No one, in their right mind, looks down upon a positive person. If you take a step back and look at your workplace, you will realize that the people you consider successful are also positive people who don’t allow themselves to be wrapped up in negative rumors and thoughts.

I challenge you to become the model of positivity in your department. If you allow yourself to be a positive cop, you can only become a successful cop.