Holding the Line
Bringing the best of who we are to each meeting
“Every interaction we experience as human being is a meeting of sorts.”
By Michelle Vincent
I find this to be an interesting and yet very accurate statement. When you think about it, you get into your vehicle and engage with traffic — this is a meeting. You go to the grocery store to pick up groceries and multiple meetings involving other store patrons and the checkout clerk occur.
Have you ever asked yourself: Who do I bring to these various meetings? What were the results of these meetings?
We have an opportunity to bring the best of who we are to each meeting, which will have a direct impact on the outcome of said meeting. Here’s an example:
You get up a little later than usual for your shift. Perhaps you start at 6 a.m., which means you want to be at the station for 5:30 a.m. to kit up, check emails and be early for parade. You jump into your vehicle with a commute ahead of you. You are already 10 minutes behind schedule and the traffic is heavy. You dart in and out of lanes attempting to be in the fastest lane. You get right up close to the vehicle in front of you. Your stress level is through the roof. You can’t be late — not in this profession. You are relieving the night shift and they need you there to take over. The vehicle in front of you has at least two car lengths in front of it and you are trying to figure out how to get around. Your movements are jerky and you cut people off, though not on purpose. You finally get to the station and immediately start snapping at those around you. You aren’t interested in taking over an arrest from the night before and think of all the work you have ahead of you.
You are 10 minutes late, however you had a meditation prior to jumping into your car, as is your practice. You notice how nice the seat warmers feel and the heated steering wheel is almost as soothing as a hot coffee. You jump onto the highway and notice traffic is heavy. You have some great music or audio to listen to and think to yourself how nice it will be to have the opportunity to listen to a few extra songs as a result of this longer commute. You are far enough back to realize you might as well sit in the right-hand lane, not needing to switch back and forth in order to get ahead. You finally arrive at the station and you are refreshed and feeling good about being able to take over the night shift’s late call so they can go home.
Both of these scenarios are identical, other than the “person” who attended the meeting. Every day we have a choice as to who we bring to every interaction and experience. Do we learn to incorporate mechanisms that support a rested, happy, healthy and peaceful individual in order to effect the safest execution of our duties as police officers every day? Or, do we allow life’s glitches — which are inevitable — to taint our experience and paint the rest of our day with that same brush?
Every experience can be seen from a positive or negative viewpoint. We can choose to see traffic in our commute as stressful and ruin our drive with negativity, or we can choose to see this same scenario through a positive lens in that we have an opportunity for extra time to create lists for the day, listen to our favourite audio or simply have that peaceful time to oneself before we jump into the shift’s unpredictable calls.
Attending each meeting with a clear and peaceful approach has a domino effect on subsequent meetings so, for example, one you were initially not looking forward to has the potential to become a more positive experience for all.
Michelle Vincent is a 15-year York Regional Police officer with a Masters Degree in Arts in Counselling Psychology and a background in equine assisted therapy, workplace reintegration and teaching. Her counselling practice is supervised by a psychologist with a specialty in addictions and trauma. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.