Championship Safety

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Ever meet someone famous? One of the joys of what I do is being able to travel and attend conferences and functions.  I'll admit it, I still get excited when I meet someone who I have read about or who's work I have admired.  Occasionally I get to me a celebrity from outside the comp and safety world, such as the case a few months ago when I had the chance to meet Seth Wescott. 

I was particularly awestruck to be able to meet Seth. As a long time fan of extreme sports and the X Games (Seth has won seven X Games medals), I watched Seth at the 2006 Winter Olympics with great enthusiasm. To see Snowboard Cross be included in the games and for Seth to display to the world the excitement and athleticism of the sport I have followed for years was a great moment in Olympic history.

To meet Seth is to meet charisma personified. He lights up the room by entering, you are drawn to him simply by his presence. He is confident without being cocky, generous without being overbearing. It was obvious from meeting and talking with him that he as a passion about him. A passion for life, a passion for his personal relationships, a passion for his sport, and for athletic competition at the highest level. It is this passion that has elevated him to the most elite fraternity in the world, that of Olympic medalist.

I have to wonder what you or I might be able to accomplish as safety professionals if we carried the same intense and infectious passion with us. Do we see our chosen field of work as a calling or as a simply a job? A fellow trainer told me many years ago that a "job' is nothing more than an acronym for "Just Over Broke" where a career, no matter what the occupation, was a fulfilling life calling. This has proven true more than once over the years, as I have worked with people in a variety of occupations. Those how have a passion and love for what they do tend to rise to the occasion and find success.

Imagine the intense passion we would release if we viewed safety as a passionate calling and strove every day to bring the best we had to our craft. What if safety was an Olympic event? What medal would each of us stand a chance at winning? Seth had the passion for a sport of snowboarding long before it was popular or mainstream, let alone included in the Olympics. It is that passion that drove him to continue against the odds and the critics with the ultimate goal in mind - that of Olympic champion.

What is your passion level today? Are you willing to tap that passion so you can work at times against the tide of popularity seeking our own prize that of a fully accepted safety culture in your organization? Do you see yourself in a job or a career? Being a safety champion is not always glamorous; however, with constant passion for our work we can raise our craft to world champion heights.

Clark Phinney, STS, WSO-CST is the President and CEO of The ALZASA Consulting Group an occupational health, safety and workers' compensation issues consulting firm.   Please visit our website at www.thealzasagroup.com.

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