Holding the Line
The magic in saying “yes”
As police officers, we tend to walk the line of caution and “investigate” before we proceed into any endeavour or line of action. This is understandable, as everything we do on the job can be related to life and death as a result of our decision-making process.
By Michelle Vincent
Naturally, we take this into our personal lives, failing to realize not all experiences require this high-level cognitive processing. We don’t even notice our minds are working at this high level of processing from an emotional and intellectual capacity — and then we wonder why we are exhausted most of the time.
From shift work to the critical incidents we experience on a regular basis, we bring this necessary high-level of decision-making into our personal world without a thought. We are taught from the onset of our careers in policing that we will be police officers 24/7 and to some degree we are. But do we have to be?
The answer to this lies in challenging ourselves by saying “yes” to any — if not all — opportunities presented to us in life. I have a throw pillow on my couch that says, “always do what you are afraid to do.” To me, this equates to always being ready to say “yes” when on my life’s journey.
I notice that in everything I have said yes to, I have not only been successful, I have loved it and it has been a significant contributor to the person I have become. When we say “yes,” we open so many doors in our world — doors we were never even aware of in the first place. Think of that time you said “yes” to something you were afraid of or thought you would not be successful in. It is like the old adage: “failure is only present if you don’t attempt the task,” meaning you may or may not be successful, however if you at least give it a try, it will feel good and energizing.
For me, the biggest piece is saying yes to opportunities outside of policing. Examples are: writing and continuing my education in a topic I am passionate about that is not necessarily related to policing. So, if you’re thinking, I am interested in architecture, accounting, mental health, nutrition, physical fitness, it is time to go online and explore what opportunities await.
Short on time to commit? You will find that time when you have the inspired passion for the right opportunity. Time will appear, whether it is while you are watching one of your children at their sporting events or during your lunch break at work.
The magical piece about saying yes to opportunities that come your way is the rich learning experience of the journey; self-discovery and innate happiness overflow into our work and family lives. The pride we feel in having taken on the opportunity, in having boldly said, “yes!” is a gift that keeps on giving.
Give yourself the gift of “always doing what you are afraid to do.” Should the opportunity arise, say a clear “yes” with the understanding that you do not need to know the details of how it will unfold. Just know that the opportunity came your way for a reason. Looking at the details slows down the inspired action of the “yes.” Just take the leap and trust that the opportunity would not have presented itself if it was not meant to be available to you.
Trust that everything around you is there just waiting to support you in your success. When that golden opportunity, perhaps disguised as a challenge at first, comes your way, will you be ready to say yes?
Michelle Vincent is a 17-year York Regional Police officer with a master of arts in counselling psychology and a background in equine-assisted therapy, workplace reintegration after a critical incident and long-term leave, as well as teaching. She is in the process of implementing the first non-profit treatment centre that will be occupationally specific for first responders and is working towards her PhD in Forensic Psychology/Crisis Response. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.