Blue Courage for CDCR

Had a great time teaching Blue Courage for the California Department Of Corrections and Rehabilitation with Michael Nila and Ian C Edwards. Incredible group of professionals.

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Serving the community and Girl Scouts of America with Self Defense

Another incredible opportunity to serve the community and Girl Scouts of America with a self defense seminar. Great group, and had a great time. Leaving people, places and things better off than the way we found them. Safer, happier, healthier and stronger! 💪🏽👊

The Corrections Formula – 9 Principles That Optimize Success As A Correctional Officer – Principle 1: Officer Safety!

https://www.correctionsone.com/officer-safety/articles/482546187-Principles-for-success-as-a-CO-Officer-safety/


By Brandon Anderson, C1 Contributor

In what is the first of a nine-part series, I outline what I call the “Corrections Formula,” an easy way to remember nine principles to optimize your success as a correctional officer.

The formula is designed to guide your thoughts, decisions and actions so you develop an operational mindset where officer safety is your top priority, professionalism is your foundation and legality is your path.

There are three elements of the corrections formula:

  1. Safety;
  2. Legality;
  3. Professionalism.

Each of these three elements contain three principles that make up the nine principles for success:

CorrectionsOne image
  1. Officer safety – Your top priority and your duty to yourself and your coworkers.
  2. Facility safety – Your duty to the communities you serve.
  3. Inmate safety – Your duty to those you have been entrusted to protect.
  4. Federal law – The U.S. Constitution, which shapes state law, major acts of congress and case law.
  5. State law – The laws and statutes of the state, which guide your facility’s operations and practices.
  6. Agency policy and procedure – The guardrails that keep you on the path of legality and in compliance with the law.
  7. Guardianship – Your purpose as a correctional officer and why you do what you do.
  8. Health and wellness – Maintaining both physical and mental wellness.
  9. Firm, fair and consistent –The golden rule in being the same professional every day.

This month we look at the first principle, correctional officer safety.

PRINCIPLE 1: CORRECTIONAL OFFICER SAFETY

Officer safety is your number one priority. It is the one thing you should always run through your head. If you compromise your safety, you compromise the safety of your fellow staff. Below are some strategies that will assist you in maintaining good safety practices in correctional facilities:

Distance: Maintain a safe distance from inmates staying properly postured, positioned and aware of your surroundings. You should have your hands up in a non-threatening, bladed stance, making eye contact and close enough to hear and see, but far enough away to be safe.

Awareness: During routine operations, you should be relaxed but aware. This means your mind and body are at ease, however, you are vigilant and aware of what is going around you.

Resilience: Be fit for duty by maintaining physical, mental and emotional resiliency. Each domain is like a battery – for you to be at an optimal state of coherence, each battery needs to be fully charged. Each domain will deplete and renew, working for and against each other, so you must do your best to keep them working in harmony.

Respect: One of the easiest ways to create an unsafe environment is to be disrespectful. Respect gets results, whereas disrespect creates conflict. Many people feel respect is earned where you have to get (feel) respect to give (show) respect. As a professional, you should reverse that formula, meaning you operate with dignity and respect because you respect yourself, the profession and the situation. This path of respect starts with taking a suspicious mindset and turning it into a curious mindset. A suspicious mindset leads to hostility, whereas a curious mindset will typically lead to cooperation.

Ego: Leave your ego at the door when you go to work. Ego can damage relationships and cause you to personalize conflict. You can personalize cooperation, but don’t personalize conflict.

Communication: The way we communicate will either escalate or de-escalate situations. It is critical to keep communication professional, treating people with dignity and respect even when it is hard. Do not let ego get in the way. The way we communicate with others is a prime reflection of our character and our integrity.

Communication is also how we gather information we need to make decisions. While there are benchmarks to consider when communicating with inmates, your conversations should flow and be genuine. Here are some tips for effective communication:

  • Ecology: Know your environment and who you are talking to. Stay safe.
  • Conversation: Initiate the conversation, establish rapport and actively listen.
  • Information: Respond to feeling, suspend judgement, ask questions and validate what is said. Remember the who, what, when, where, why and how.
  • Decision: Be reasonable. Know the rules, policies and procedures. Exercise practical wisdom. Decisions should be legal, professional and safe.
  • Solution: Know your scope of authority and consider all possible solutions. Be able to explain your decision and solution.
  • Notification: Inform your supervisor and the appropriate personnel with pertinent information, as well as your plan of action.
  • Documentation: Always document the incident, your actions and your decisions.

Remember that tone and body language play a huge part in how we effectively communicate.

Choice model: When dealing with negative behavior, use the choice model. Present choices: the negative, the positive and the consequences of both. Take the threat out of the consequences, depersonalize the conflict, personalize cooperation and try to end on a positive.

Emotional intelligence: This is the ability to recognize your feelings and other people’s emotions; to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately; and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. This involves:

  • Perceiving emotions: The ability to identify your own emotions and process emotional information (faces, voices, pictures, demeanor).
  • Using emotions: The ability to harness emotions to facilitate cognitive activities (problem-solving).
  • Understanding emotions: The ability to comprehend and recognize emotional language and appreciate the diversity in various emotions (empathy, patience).
  • Managing emotions: The ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and other (self-control, awareness of emotional triggers).

An example of good emotional intelligence would be walking into a unit of inmates who are tense and recognizing that something is off and that the inmates are collectively upset about something. An example of poor emotional intelligence would be walking into that unit with an abrasive demeanor and further escalating that tension. Pay attention to the tension.

Trust your gut: If something doesn’t seem or feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust your intuition.

Searches: Know the principles of quality searching. Be thorough, consistent, systematic, curious, professional, safe and objective. The principles of searching never change, only the methods do.

Breathing: Stay in a coherent state of mind by practicing heart-focused breathing. An example of this would be to clear your mind, inhale for several seconds, hold it for several seconds, exhale for several seconds and hold it for several seconds. As you do this for several minutes, try to focus only on your heart.

Threats: Know your threats, your areas of cover and your routes of escape. Don’t be paranoid but stay prepared and ready.

Blind spots: Know all the blind spots in your facility, because the inmates do.

Manipulation: Familiarize yourself with the manipulation tactics inmates use such as:

  • Taking your kindness for weakness and trying to become too familiar;
  • Trying to have long conversations and grooming your emotions;
  • Giving you lots of compliments;
  • Asking for favors and breaking the rules to see how much they can get away with;
  • Using the “us vs they” or “you and me” method where they say to you, “You’re not like them other COs.”

Training: Training is your life insurance and the investment should never stop. Keep your knowledge and skills sharp, and remember that as laws and standards evolve, so should policies and practice. Sometimes current practice isn’t best practice, and policy isn’t the law.

CONCLUSION: SURVIVAL TRIANGLES

The three things you need to stay safe and survive are:

  1. Training;
  2. Physical fitness;
  3. A winning mindset.

The three things a predator needs to attack you are:

  1. Desire;
  2. Ability;
  3. Opportunity.

You cannot control the attacker’s ability and desire, but you can control opportunity. Never put yourself in a vulnerable situation that leaves you open to attack. Again, don’t be paranoid, but be prepared.

Next month: Facility safety.


About the author

Brandon Anderson is a sergeant/frontline supervisor with a large regional jail in Washington. He joined the Marine Corps in 2007 and started working in corrections in 2012 at a small county jail. He has worked both indirect and direct supervision as a frontline officer and frontline supervisor. He spent two years as the training coordinator and primary TAC officer for the Corrections Officers Academy in Washington State from 2015-2017. As a Master Defensive Tactics instructor, Blue Courage instructor, Emergency Response Team instructor and use of force instructor, he is passionate about training and optimizing the best out of those in our profession. He was the vice president of the Washington State Jail Association and now provides tactical, wellness and consulting services for his business On Mission Services-LLC, with his business partners, Justin Poe and Dennis Echols. Follow their blog online at onmissionservices.com

A Great 10 Minute Full Body Calisthenics Routine – The 20 / 20 Warm-up

This is an excellent warm-up before any workout. If you are short on time, it might even suffice as a quick workout. Only takes 10 minutes. Full-body, cardiovascular, spinal, large joint, small joint…gets the blood flowing and some sweat going. I call it the 20/20 Warm-up. It’s 9 different exercises interrupted by a set of 20 situps followed by 20 pushups.

I understand we all have different preferences, but for me, I have to get a good warm up before I can get a good workout. And I don’t like to stretch cold muscles.

Anyways, here it is:

20 – 3 count overhead jumping jacks

This should flow right into the next exercise:

20 – 3 count seal jumping jacks

20 situps / 20 pushups

30 – 3 count cherry pickers

20 situps / 20 pushups 

30 body Squats

15 lunges each leg

10 one legged toe touch each leg 

20 situps / 20 pushups 

20 – 3 count Flutter Kicks 

20 situps / 20 pushups

10 Burpees

20 situps / 20 pushups

Arm Circles -Forward big / Backward big / Forward small / Backward small

NOW YOUR READY TO GO!

Let me know what you all think in the comments. I find this to be a great warm up especially for boxing, martial arts and any kind of defensive tactics training where the joints and body are going to be manipulated.

Take Care and God bless!

Brandon Anderson

The 21 Day P.A.R.O.L.E. Leadership & Wellness Challenge

21 day wellness challengeBelow are 6 elements for total wellness referred to as “Life On P.A.R.O.L.E.”. However, it’s a different kind of “parole” which actually lets us live free from the restrictions we often placed on our own lives. These are strategies that we can apply to optimize our wellbeing both personally and professionally, getting us ON MISSION through a life of service and accountability. The whole idea is to make each of these steps a habit and ultimately a way of being. Doing this will require both disciple and consistency, and will also require taking ownership of your life. However, in the end it will be worth it. There is no greater way to live, than to live ON MISSION for God, your family and yourself. Make no excuses, start taking ownership of your life today, and get ON MISSION through P.A.R.O.L.E. What you feed and nurture will grow, but what you starve and neglect will die.

Below are the 6 elements of P.A.R.O.L.E.

PUnderstand and stay rooted in PURPOSE:

Purpose is the foundation of “why” we do what we do. It is easy to explain to someone “what” you do and “how” you do it, but it takes deeper thought to explain to someone “why” you do what you do. The “why” is the driving force that makes life worth living, provides us with meaning and value, and keeps us grounded in knowing the greater purpose in life. When you ask yourself “how can I help” and make it a daily goal to leave people and things better off than the way you found them, as simple as it is, that alone is enough to drive your “why” each day.

Constantly evaluate your purpose, and whenever you think about giving up, fall back to remembering why you started. Living ON MISSION for God is incredibly noble, and even though it may be implicit, you are making a difference each day you serve God and serve others.

As much as you should take pride and be committed to a successful career, it should never take priority over your faith, your family and your home life. It is critical to keep your home life and work life separate. Purpose runs deeper than just your career, however, it is not unlikely that if your purpose is to make a difference, it is fitting for both realms. Yes you should view success as retiring when and how you want to, looking back at an honorable career of service, but if you fail to go home and love your family, you are missing the bigger picture of success itself. The destination of success is only one part of purpose, so don’t miss the journey. Ultimately, the true value of life and success is measured by how much of life itself you are willing to give away in service.

A – Find ACCOMPLISHMENT through ACCOUNTABILITY:

At the end of the day, we all look for a true sense of accomplishment, and people often over complicate it. It’s not about being better than others, it’s about being better that you were before. It’s also about making others better. In fact, the more it is about doing unto others, and the less it is about personal gain, the more fulfilling that sense of accomplishment is. The little things really matter when it comes to fulfilling purpose, value and accomplishment, and they come in all shapes and sizes. You do not need to move mountains to make a difference. Sometimes a random act of kindness makes the largest impact. There is also a deep intrinsic sense of accomplishment when you help someone out in need. As you recapitulate at the end of the day, a random act of kindness can be the very thing that you find gratitude in, which you can then express, and in turn strengthens relationships, promotes positive thought and emotion, and makes life truly fulfilling.

This doesn’t mean stop setting goals for yourself. Just don’t make those goals the defining factor of accomplishment. Also, each time your brain has a success, do not change the goal post for what success is supposed to look like, just continue to set realistic goals, and stay disciplined in accomplishing those goals one step at a time. Find accomplishment in the present, don’t define it just by the future.

The quickest way to tear down the bridge between goals and accomplishment is both a lack of discipline and a victim mentality. Discipline, consistency, and having an “I can” attitude despite the circumstances is what bridges the gap between goals and accomplishment. This takes practical wisdom in knowing the right way to do the right thing, with particular people at particular times. Cutting through the black and white, and into the grey of situations. It’s knowing how to play and win the game, placing principle before rules, without compromising safety, integrity and honesty. When you learn to master this craft in doing not only the right thing, but the wise thing as a servant, you start to find victory in even the smallest successes.

Additionally, you must also have accountability in your life. Someone or something has to hold you accountable to the accomplishment you set for yourself. You must acknowledge and own the problems and challenges that occur, as well as your current circumstances. If we have nothing to hold us accountable, we tend to cheat ourselves. Accountability requires courage, discipline and consistency, which in turn pave the path to accomplishment. You must do the best you can, with what you’ve got, in your current circumstances, leaning on friends and mentors for support, wisdom and accountability. It’s perpetually reminding yourself that as long as you’re breathing, you never lose, you either win or you learn.

R – Maintain meaningful and authentic RELATIONSHIPS:

As social animals, people were made to be in relationship with one another. Relationships and healthy human connections are one of the most vital aspects of life, as they enhance trust and unity amongst each other. It is easy to feel isolated and get caught up in the tasks demands of the day. However, tasks do not override people and relationships. You need strong, healthy and meaningful relationships and those do not exist without trust. While you should trust carefully, you should also keep a mindset of curiosity rather than suspicion, looking at intention over perception. Make it a goal to acquire trust from those you interact with and especially those you live life with. This requires practicing good emotional intelligence in recognizing and regulating emotion. It’s okay to have bad days, but be able to own it and recognize it. This falls back to servanthood and purpose, in asking “who and how can I help?” Negative and broken relationships can not only cripple the flow of a fulfilling life, but also affect your wellbeing. However, strong, meaningful, positive and authentic relationships can be the driver in flourishing life and a thriving culture.

Again, relationships at home are the most important. Your family always comes first, so don’t neglect them. Go to work, work hard, then go home and love your family. Family needs constant investment and nurturing. Nurture positive, meaningful and authentic relationships, remembering they are one of the most important aspects of life.

O – Stay perpetually OPTIMISTIC:

It’s easy to look for the negative in everything, but it’s not productive. The difference between pessimism and optimism is the same comparison as a victim and a survivor. One loses, the other either wins or learns. So don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

Yes, the small things matter, and it is important that you pay attention and do not compromise the small things. However, that does not mean you should sweat the small things, just fix them. You have to surround yourself with positive relationships but not expect everyone and everything to be compatible with you all the time. We must remain flexible, empathetic, and open minded in how we harmonize with the flow of life and our relationships. Optimism starts with managing positive thought and emotion and staying mentally and emotionally fit. This is paramount in solving problems. You have the choice to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Gossip, complaining and pessimism are all cancerous vices that will pollute a culture and damage relationships. However, being part of the solution fills the void of achievement and accomplishment, and is the easiest way as a leader to humbly set the example in solving problems. Ideas are important, innovation matters, and having a creative mind will not only promote positive thought and emotion, but create safer and more effective operations. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

L – Live with LOVE and gratitude:

Life is full of both battles and blessings, so we have to stay strong, fight the good fight and live with gratitude and love.  Love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves. Gratitude is one of the most powerful and healthiest emotions we have and it is one of the purest forms of love. It is incredibly contagious, and the more gratitude we identify and express, the more that expression of gratitude becomes a daily way of being. Despite any circumstance, there is always something to be grateful for. It is a matter of perspective, and when we are rooted in purpose, and realistically optimistic, gratitude is literally the cherry on top to our mental and emotional wellbeing. Make it a habit to journal 1 to 3 things you are grateful for at the beginning or end of each day. You can learn to relive positive experiences. However, do not just capture that gratitude, but express it as well. It is not enough to just feel grateful, but the expression of gratitude completes the circle for meaningful and successful relationships, and successful relationships complete the circle of a successful life.

Gratitude stems from thought, so you must also manage your thoughts and emotions. With the millions of operations it performs each second, and the 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts it has each day, your brain is one of the most powerful tools you have in determining the course of your life. Many think that it is the circumstances themselves that define happiness, when in reality, you hold the key to almost every situation. Your thoughts are the very thing that shape your subconscious, and your subconscious that ultimately shapes your reality. Sure genetics and circumstances can definitely be factors in your state of happiness, but approximately 40% of that happiness is your choice. Be mindful and perpetually optimistic of the past, present and the future. Also, be very careful where you spend your thoughts and energy. Unmanaged depleting emotion and unhealthy thought will only cripple relationships and a fulfilling life.

Keeping a glass half-full perspective will not only improve your view of work, but your relationships, creativity and performance. Studies show that humans are actually 31% more productive in the positive, than in the negative, neutral or stressed. In a work environment, not only are you more productive in the positive, but safer as well; and safety is always the top priority. James Allen said it in this way a man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all of his thoughts.” While God has ultimate control over all, He gave us control over our thoughts, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. It is okay to have depleting emotion such as anger and frustration, but we must recognize and regulate that emotion so that we can use it for good purpose. Our own mind can sometimes be our biggest enemy. So as you go throughout your day, look at things through a positive lens under Gods will. As you practice emotional intelligence, don’t just be good at recognizing emotion, but master the regulation of your emotion and use it appropriately. Constantly ask yourself “how do I feel, and how do I make others feel?” Constantly ask yourself “how and who can I help?” Constantly ask yourself “is the lens in which I am viewing things the right lens?” If not, change it. Remember that love and gratitude are not based on conditions or compatibility, they are base on principle, choice and action.

E – EXERCISE and find flow:

Living in vitality means staying resilient, coherent and fit. Often when people think about the term fitness, they think salads and treadmills. Bottom line is that your physical health is only a quarter of your overall resilience in being fully fit in life. There are 4 domains to resilience, and they should all flow with one another as they deplete and renew throughout the day. Below are the 4 domains of resilience:

  • Physical – nutrition, proper rest, exercise
  • Mental – positive thoughts, optimism, proper rest, exercise
  • Emotional – positive relationships, positive thoughts, flexibility, patience
  • Spiritual – faith, morals, values, tolerance, servanthood, PURPOSE!

It is easiest to think of each of these 4 domains as rechargeable batteries that all sync with one another, and require balance and charge. The heart, the mind, the soul and the body all require exercise. When you exercise physically, generally you feel better mentally. When you think positive, you generally feel better emotionally. Staying rooted in purpose, thinking positive and expressing gratitude as listed earlier, are just practicing habits that keep your mental, emotional and spiritual batteries charged. This leaves the one domain that people often neglect, and requires discipline and consistency in eating healthy and exercising. Unfortunately, “I don’t have time” and “I don’t have a gym” is not a valid excuse. All you need is 10 minutes a day to get up an move. Remember, exercise is also a contributing factor to your mental and emotional wellbeing. Below is a simple Tabata exercise that requires no equipment and only takes about 10 minutes of your day depending on the number of sets you decide to do:

THE TABATA:

  • 20 Seconds: Exercise (push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, burpees, planks, body squats)
  • 10 Seconds: Rest
  • Repeat 8 times (4 minutes total)
  • Do at least 2 sets (8 minutes total)
  • Rest 1 minute in-between sets
  • Try to alternate between exercises (push-ups, rests, sit-ups, rest, body squats, rest, repeat)

Life can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, so stay disciplined and keep those batteries charged. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, and get adequate rest. Most importantly, don’t forget to breathe. Heart focused breathing is the quickest and most effective way to align the heart and mind, and come back to a state of coherence. When safe to do so, clear your mind, close your eyes, find that feeling of inner ease, breathe in for 4-5 seconds, hold it for 4-5 seconds, exhale for 4-5 seconds and hold it for 4-5 seconds. Focus on your heart as you do this for 1 to 2 minutes. This is like the CTRL, ALT, DELETE for the human body, and we all need a reset every once in awhile.

Remember that there is a deeper meaning to the term “fit”. Fitness and vitality requires balance, discipline and consistency, and when you become engaged with life and find your flow, you’ll realize that a body in motion stays in motion. Get out there, get moving and start fighting the good fight.

It’s important to also remember that practical wisdom and a survival mindset play a critical role in not only your metal and emotional wellness, but are key players in finding daily flow. This doesn’t mean choosing the path of least resistance, it means learning how to improvise, adapt and overcome while staying balanced and in control.

Bottom line is, your wellness matters, so take charge of the life God has given you. Each day is a gift and tomorrow is never promised. These are steps that you can apply starting today that will help you change that pattern and lens through which your brain perceives reality, and help your body, mind and soul harmonize with the current flow of life. A happier and healthier you, means a happier, healthier and safer work culture, more effective operations, a happier family and an overall better life. You have to take care of yourself because you cannot pour from an empty glass.

Getting ON MISSION starts with you.

MY WHY / PERSONAL MISSION

The first step of this packet starts with defining your WHY. Write out a person mission statement that you can live by and reflect on each day, and bring you back to the WHY of your life, helping you stay rooted in purpose.

My WHY and personal mission is:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

RECAPITULATION AND EVALUATION

It is critical to take time to recapitulate and re-evaluate at the end of every day. Along with taking time to journal thoughts, problems and ideas, mentally replay your day and your interactions and ask yourself:

  • what happened today?”
  • so what did I do?”
  • now what do I need to do?”
  • “Is my attitude productive and beneficial to me or others?
  • “Am I giving my best, or is my best yet to come?”
  • “ Where and how can I do better?”

Re-evaluate your purpose, your attitude towards life, friends, family, and your career. Do you need to control alt delete? I think we all do every once in awhile.

21 DAY CHALLENGE

  • Find flow for 21 days in a row by going through each of the following steps:
  • Start your day early and thank God for it. Each day is a gift to be grateful for, so own your current circumstances, smile and find flow with the day. Reflect on your purpose by asking yourself “what’s my why?
  • Spend some time in prayer, asking God to guide your thoughts, words, actions and decisions for the present day.
  • Journal 1 thing about the day that you are truly grateful for, and ask yourself “how can I express it?
  • Ask yourself “how can I serve, and who and how can I help?
  • Serve through a random acts of kindness with anyone or everyone. Maybe it is simply expressing your gratitude to someone and letting them know they are appreciated, whether it is verbally, or through a letter or text.
  • Find a safe, quiet and calm place of solitude; sit down, relax, close your eyes, and practice 2 minutes of heart focused breathing, or several rounds of power breathing. Meditate on the promises of God and your purpose according to his will, and the positive emotion that puts you at ease.
  • Complete at least 10 minutes of physical exercise even if it is simply getting out to move.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water and maintain a healthy diet, the mind and body need it.
  • Journal all thoughts, ideas and problems that come to your mind. All ideas are worth writing down, and all problems have a solution. Ask yourself “where and how can I do better?” Journal the “what” about the day, then ask yourself “so what, and now what?” Put words into action.

The whole idea is to make each of these steps a habit and ultimately a way of being, turning 21 days into everyday. Doing this will require both disciple and consistency, but in the end it will be worth it. There is no greater way to live, than to live ON MISSION for God, your family and yourself. Make no excuses! If you miss a step or even a day, just pick up where you left off and get back on P.A.R.O.L.E and back ON MISSION.

RELATIONSHIPS AND ACCOUNTABILITY

If you thought you were doing this on your own you were wrong. Getting through P.A.R.O.L.E. will also require support, encouragement and accountability.

Identify 1 to 3 friends and mentors that you can surround your self with and lean on for support, wisdom and accountability.

  1. _________________________________________
  2. _________________________________________
  3. _________________________________________

It is encouraged that you make time to meet with one or more of the above people mentioned. Discuss simply how things are going, and be honest with each other. Build each other up. Go over one or more of the promises of God that have really stuck out in your current circumstances, and pray for one another. Heck, maybe even find time to exercise together.

The final step of this challenge, is planning a serve experience with no other intentions in mind than to serve a person, a family in need or the community with the individuals listed above. This might be giving back to the community through volunteer service or simply helping a family or person in need. Plan it, organize it and make it happen. You will be glad you did.

SERVE EXPERIENCE

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You’re not given a good day and you’re are not given a bad day, you are given a day, and it is up to you to make it good or bad. Each day is a gift and tomorrow is never promised, so be grateful for the present day and own it. Stay disciplined in fighting the good fight, love God, love people, and let everything else fall in place according to His will.


Below are 21 Bible verses you can bring to memory, and God will bring them to your mind when you need them most. Meditate on these promises of God, loving God himself, and loving His people.

GOD LOVES YOU

JOHN 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

GOD IS FOR YOU

ROMANS 8:31 – What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

ALL WHO CALL UPON THE NAME OF JESUS ARE SAVED

ACTS 2:21 – And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

YOU CAN’T SAVE YOURSELF, HIS GRACE IS A GIFT

EPHESIANS 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can.

WE ARE ALL BROKEN AND NEED HIS GRACE

ROMANS 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY

JOHN 14:6 – I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

WE ARE A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST

2 CORINTHIANS 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

TIME IS LIMITED, LIVE WISELY

EPHESIANS 5:15-16 – Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

PLAN YOUR LIFE BUT TRUST IN GOD

PROVERBS 16:9 – In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

FEAR NOT

2 TIMOTHY 1:17 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.

STAY DISCIPLINED AND FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT

1 TIMOTHY 6:12 – Fight the good fight of the faith.

KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT AND LIVE FOR THE KINGDOM

MATTHEW 6:33 – But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.

CONSTANTLY ASK FOR WISDOM

JAMES 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.

MAKE WISE DECISIONS

PROVERBS 15:22 – Plans fail for a lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.

GUARD YOUR TONGUE AND SPEAK KINDLY

EPHESIANS 4:29 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

RESIST THE TEMPTATION

1 CORINTHIANS 10:13 – The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

STAY HUMBLE

PHILIPPIANS 2:3-4 – Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

DON’T WORRY OR BE ANXIOUS

 PHILIPPIANS 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

STAY IN SCRIPTURE

JOHN 14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

LIVE WITH LOVE

1 CORINTHIANS 16:14 – Do everything in love.

A NEW COMMAND I GIVE YOU: LOVE GOD AND LOVE PEOPLE

LUKE 10:27 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.


Below is a checklist template for tracking your progress:

21 Day Wellness Challenge Checklist

21 Day Challenge

on mission

The Nobility of Corrections

THE ROLE OF A CORRECTIONS OFFICER – A GUARDIAN AND A WARRIOR

 As a Corrections Officers, we take pride in the profession we work in and the cause in which we serve. Corrections plays a vital role in the realm of law enforcement as the final step of the criminal justice process. We have been entrusted by the law, to uphold the law behind the walls. This runs deeper than being a “guard” or “jailer”, which is often what we are referred to as. Also, we are not JUST Corrections Officers, WE ARE Corrections Officers, and we are proud of that title. We don’t treat our career as a stepping stone job into law enforcement, or a fallback job for washed out cops who couldn’t cut patrol. 

As Corrections Officers, our role in Law Enforcement is unique, and our career should be recognized for the noble professional it is. Understaffed, overpopulated, outnumbered, and managing over 70 plus inmates without the reliance of a firearm. It is us, the inmates, and our ability as leaders to manage them through the power of influence, practical wisdom, respect, courage and effective communication. It’s no easy task, but it is a necessary one that takes a special character with a unique skill set to do the job safely and effectively. 

Our job isn’t to impose punishment, that’s for the courts to decide. Our role is also not to demonize and mistreat anyone, instead hold them accountable, keep them safe and perpetually attempt to influence change. Our role as a Corrections Officer is one of many hats. We are the first responder to every crisis that occurs behind the walls: suicides, suicide attempts, assaults, fights, homicides, overdoses and sometimes riots. The list goes on as some are daily occurrences. We are at times the fill-in mental health providers and the only medical staff on site. While we are at times disciplinarians, we are also teachers, role models and counselors for individuals who have lacked that kind of figure in their life. We are not just guards, rather guardians. Defenders, protectors and keepers, and not to forget warriors, who are tactically sound and equipped at all times to always win every fight for a good cause.

The risks and rigors of our ever-evolving profession continue to rise, while corrections remains out of sight and out of mind. Our training and skills continue to adapt, fighting to stay in compliance with the changes and demands of our evolving profession. The rise in mentally ill inmates has risen to over 60% in our jails and over 50% in our prisons across the country. The heroin and opiate epidemic has created a revolving door to our jails with heightened risk for overdose and death, and now we are facing a synthetic drug rise that is bringing officer safety to a completely new level. However, the nobility of our profession is just as strong, if not stronger than it has ever been. We continue to serve objectively, reasonably and honorably. 

Everything we do in the glass house we work in is scrutinized by the public; our words, our actions and our decisions. However, as Corrections Officers who believe in perpetual optimism and values that are unwavering, we continue to stay rooted in the purpose in which we serve, and operate in a way that is legal, professional and safe. We are committed in training to win as warriors of a noble cause, and all of our skill and strength is used with good purpose. Conflict is never personal, and all of our force is objective, reasonable, necessary and justified. We are not paranoid, but always prepared, guardians first and warriors always. The safety of our staff, officers, inmates, and facility are always the top priority. Everyone goes home — that is our motto.

We continue to watch over and care for all who have been kicked out of society, to include the most manipulative, dangerous and violent individuals. We continue to protect their rights, protect them from each other and protect our communities from the most damaging members of society. We do so because we believe in justice and accountability, and that people who commit crime should be held accountable for their actions so that our communities can live at peace.

While it is easy to fall victim to the jaded cancer often preying on us within the walls, we recognize when it is time to detach, look at the big picture and reevaluate. We have the right to be human, but purpose keeps us reasonable. We remain objective and empathetic, never to be confused with sympathetic and compromised. We know that a wise decision is the right decision, meaning we know the right way to do the right thing, with a particular person, in a particular circumstance and at a particular time. Every person and situation we face is different. There are a percentage of inmates that are truly evil, but the majority are not. Most of the people that walk through our intake doors are at the lowest points in their lives; struggling addicts frequently making poor decisions. However, they are still people, and sometimes people we know and love. Every person has a story, so we meet people where they are at.

DIGNITY AND RESPECT

Through deliberate practice, we have learned that treating people with dignity and respect is not only vital to safe and effective operations, but also a true reflection of our character. We do not demonize — we leave our ego at the door, as we know that ego and disrespect is one of the quickest ways to create a dangerous and unsafe situation. The formula of our respect as Corrections Officers is that we don’t expect respect in order to give our respect. We operate out of respect regardless, not because we respect the crime or the behavior, but because we respect ourselves, our values, the situation, our agency, the badge we wear, the profession and purpose we serve. We know a person cannot give what they don’t have, and when an inmate doesn’t even have respect for themselves, we can’t expect them to give it when we demand it. Instead, with tact and strategy, we work to create trust with each interaction, finding what motivates that person and what is important to him/her. We are less suspicious and task focused, and take an active approach in being more curious and outcome focused. This is the foundation of influence and positive change, and it is only possible through actually caring. As a result, we then have the first step of reentry. Yes, corrections and the Corrections Officers who work courageously behind the walls are the beginning of Reentry. Ultimately, it starts with the person behind the badge, making a difference, leaving people better off than the way we found them and fulfilling our intrinsic value of purpose and accomplishment for the greater cause. Purpose is the root of it all, in “why” we do what we do. Sometimes giving people some dignity and respect who are at the lowest point in their life, dealing with addiction, have mental health issues, or both, just may just be the shift in true reentry that the criminal justice system needs. We try to correct through influence, helping individuals become safe and productive members of society once again. 

We are not soft and naive nor hard, ignorant and arrogant. As guardians we are both warriors and scholars, strong, skilled, knowledgeable and wise enough to use discretion to know when we are dealing with violent, hardened, manipulative and evil criminals, versus those who just made poor decisions. We fully understand that many aren’t going to change their ways, however, without hope, optimism and purpose rooted in service, we are only part of the problem. That is where faith in knowing we serve something greater than our self comes in to play. We let integrity, purpose and the nobility of what we do drive us towards our destination of success.

LEADERS OF INFLUENCE

As leaders of influence, each and every interaction has an impact and the opportunity to make a difference. With each mindful interaction, we’re curious, humble, confident and tactically sound without getting that confused with being judgmental and egotistical. We leave our ego at the door. We know that one interaction can cause damage to the entire profession and discredit all we do. However, one simple interaction can also make positive difference and impact the profession as a whole, helping us restore the trust and confidence that has been lost from some of the communities we serve. Even if we reach just one person out of one hundred, and help change their life, we are making a difference, making our communities a better place and moving our profession in the right direction. Empathy, dignity and respect go a long way. Not only does it make operations safer and more efficient, but it reminds offenders that their past and current situation does not have to define them, it can only remind them.

We have the power of control which is necessary at times, but more importantly our power of influence is the most powerful tool we have. Our power of influence is built off of a desire to solve problems and leave people better off than the way we found them. We never miss a moment to make a difference and impact a life, as this is the heartset of many Corrections Officers. An under recognized, yet unconditional form of public service. We are proud to be a Corrections Officer, and proud of our profession. Life is all about making a difference, and that just so happens to be what corrections is all about. No kid ever grows up wanting to be a Corrections Officer, but almost every kid grows wanting to make a difference, and there are Corrections Officers out there making a difference every day. 


Brandon Anderson is a Police Officer for the Sumner Police Department in Washington State. He has spent the last few years as a sergeant/frontline supervisor with a large regional jail in Washington. He joined the Marine Corps in 2007 and started working in corrections in 2012 at a small county jail. He has worked both indirect and direct supervision as a frontline officer and frontline supervisor. He spent two years as the training coordinator and primary TAC officer for the Corrections Officers Academy in Washington State from 2015-2017. As a Master Defensive Tactics instructor, Blue Courage instructor, Emergency Response Team instructor and Use of Force instructor, he is very passionate about training and optimizing the best out of those in our profession. 

Corrections Wellness – A new meaning to life on P.A.R.O.L.E.

corrections wellness

Below are 6 principles to live by that will optimize your safety and wellbeing as a corrections officer.

So much of corrections related training and demands are focused solely around the tasks, liabilities and things that help move the organization towards achieving “its” mission. This is very important, unfortunately, it can often be forgotten that it is “the people” that make operations run and that relationships require just as much investment as operations. The people are a priority, and investing in them is not a task, as “life” itself is the core of all core values. We owe a service to our communities, and we cannot serve and protect our communities at full potential if we do not take care of ourselves and take care of each other.

Corrections officers walk one of the toughest and most challenging beats out there as first responders behind the walls, with the risks and rigors they are faced with each day. They spend 8, 12, sometimes 16 hours supervising those who have literally been cast out of society, responding to suicides, fights, assaults, overdoses and other crisis. With the challenges of such a noble and necessary profession, taking care of “self” is probably one of the most critical elements in truly optimizing the best out of the person, the people and the agency.

A corrections officer can train significantly on how “not” to become a victim to inmate manipulation and assaults, but if they fall victim to themselves, they have already been compromised. Sometimes a corrections officer is his or her own worst enemy. Our corrections staff deserve better, and they also owe that duty to themselves to look after their own personal health and wellness.

Below are 6 elements for total wellness I refer to as “Life on P.A.R.O.L.E.”. However, it’s a different kind of “parole” which actually lets you live free from the restrictions we often place on our own lives. These are strategies that you can apply to optimize our wellbeing both personally and professionally, getting you ON MISSION through a life of service and accountability. The whole idea is to make each of these steps a habit and ultimately a way of being. Doing this will require both disciple and consistency, and will also require taking ownership of your life. However, in the end it will be worth it. There is no greater way to live, than to live ON MISSION for your faith, your family and yourself. Make no excuses, start taking ownership of your life today, and get ON MISSION through P.A.R.O.L.E. What you feed and nurture will grow, but what you starve and neglect will die.

Below are the 6 elements of P.A.R.O.L.E.

PUnderstand and stay rooted in PURPOSE:

Purpose is the foundation of “why” we do what we do. It is easy to explain to someone “what” you do and “how” you do it, but it takes deeper thought to explain to someone “why” you do what you do. The “why” is the driving force that what makes life worth living, provides us with meaning and value, and keeps us grounded in knowing the greater purpose in life. Many entered this career with a service heartset and mindset, and that is where you should stay rooted. When you ask yourself “how and who can I help” and make it a daily goal to leave people and things better off than the way you found them, as simple as it is, that alone is enough to drive your “why” each day.

Constantly evaluate your purpose, and whenever you think about giving up, fall back to remembering why you started. Corrections is an incredibly noble profession, and even though it may be implicit, you are making a difference each day you work behind the walls.

As much as you should take pride and be committed to the profession, it should never take priority over your faith, your family and your home life. It is critical to keep your home life and work life separate. Purpose runs deeper than just your career, however, it is not unlikely that if your purpose is to make a difference, it is fitting for both realms. Yes, you should view success as retiring when and how you want to, looking back at an honorable career of service, but if you fail to go home and love your family, you’re missing the bigger picture of success itself. Success is only one part of purpose, so don’t miss the journey. Ultimately, the true value of life and success may simply be measured by how much of life itself you are willing to give away in service.

A – Find ACCOMPLISHMENT through ACCOUNTABILITY:

At the end of the day, we all look for a true sense of accomplishment, and people often over complicate it. In fact we sometimes tend to overcomplicate corrections itself. It’s not about being better than others, it’s about being better that you were before. It’s also about making others better. In fact, the more it is about doing unto others, and the less it is about personal gain, the more fulfilling that sense of accomplishment is. The little things really matter when it comes to fulfilling purpose, value and accomplishment, and they come in all shapes and sizes. The little things are especially relevant in corrections. You do not need to move mountains to make a difference. Sometimes a random act of kindness makes the largest impact. There is also a deep intrinsic sense of accomplishment when you help someone out in need. As you recapitulate at the end of the day, a random act of kindness can be the very thing that you find gratitude in, which you can then express, and in turn strengthens relationships, promotes positive thought and emotion, and makes life truly fulfilling.

This doesn’t mean stop setting goals for yourself. Just don’t make those goals the defining factor of accomplishment. Also, each time your brain has a success, do not change the goal post for what success is supposed to look like, just continue to set realistic goals, and stay disciplined in accomplishing those goals one step at a time. Find accomplishment in the present, don’t define it by the future.

The quickest way to tear down the bridge between goals and accomplishment is both a lack of discipline and a victim mentality. Discipline, consistency, and having an “I can” attitude despite the circumstances is what bridges the gap between goals and accomplishment. This takes practical wisdom in knowing the right way to do the right thing, with particular people at particular times. Cutting through the black and white, and into the grey of situations. It’s knowing how to play and win the game, placing principle before rules, without compromising safety, integrity and honesty. When you learn to master this craft in doing not only the right thing, but the wise thing as a servant, you start to find victory in even the smallest successes.

Additionally, you must also have accountability in your life. Someone or something has to hold you accountable to the accomplishment you set for yourself. You must acknowledge and own the problems and challenges that occur, as well as your current circumstances. If we have nothing to hold us accountable, we tend to cheat ourselves. Accountability requires courage, discipline and consistency, which in turn pave the path to accomplishment. You must do the best you can, with what you’ve got, in your current circumstances, leaning on friends and mentors for support, wisdom and accountability. It’s perpetually reminding yourself that as long as you’re breathing, you never lose, you either win or you learn.

R – Maintain meaningful and authentic RELATIONSHIPS:

As social animals, people were made to be in relationship with one another. Relationships and healthy human connections are one of the most vital aspects of life, as they enhance trust and unity amongst each other. In corrections, it is easy to feel isolated in a POD surrounded by inmates, working 12 hours out of sight and out of mind from the rest of the community. It is easy to get caught up in the tasks demands and operational needs of the day. However, tasks and operations do not override people and relationships. People first, mission always. You literally depend on strong professional relationships with your peers and supervisors, and strong professional relationships do not exist without trust. Fostering and maintaining a culture of trust and transparency can sometimes be an obstacle in itself. While you should trust carefully, you should also keep a mindset of curiosity rather than suspicion, looking at intention over perception. Make it a goal to acquire trust from not only the peers you work with, but the inmates you supervise. This requires practicing good emotional intelligence in recognizing and regulating emotion. Corrections can be an emotionally challenging and depleting environment, and it’s okay to have bad days. As a peer, it is important to not only recognize this, but be supportive of this as well. This falls back to servanthood and purpose, in asking “how and who can I help?” Think of your peers as family, not just-co-workers; family united behind the walls. Negative and broken relationships can not only cripple operations, but also affect your wellbeing. However, strong, meaningful, positive and authentic relationships can be the driver in flourishing operations and a thriving culture.

Again, relationships at home are the most important. Your family always comes first, so don’t neglect them. Go to work, work hard, then go home and love your family. Family needs constant investment and nurturing. Nurture positive, meaningful and authentic relationships, remembering they are one of the most important aspects of life.

O – Stay perpetually OPTIMISTIC:

It’s easy to look for the negative in everything, but it’s not productive. The difference between pessimism and optimism is the same comparison as a victim and a survivor. One loses, the other either wins or learns. So don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

Yes, the small things matter in corrections, and it is important that you pay attention and do not compromise the small things. However, that does not mean you should sweat the small things, just fix them. You have to surround yourself with positive relationships but not expect everyone and everything to be compatible with you all the time. We must remain flexible, empathetic, and open minded in how we harmonize with the flow of life and our relationships. Optimism starts with managing positive thought and emotion and staying mentally and emotionally fit. This is paramount in solving problems. You have the choice to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Gossip, complaining and pessimism are all cancerous vices that will pollute an organization and damage relationships. However, being part of the solution fills the void of achievement and accomplishment, and is the easiest way as a leader to humbly set the example in solving problems. Ideas are important, innovation matters, and having a creative mind will not only promote positive thought and emotion, but create safer and more effective operations.

L – Live with LOVE and gratitude:

Life is full of both battles and blessings, so we have to stay strong, fight the good fight and live with gratitude and love. Gratitude alone is one of the most powerful and healthiest emotions you have and it is one of the purest forms of love. It is incredibly contagious, and the more gratitude you identify and express, the more that expression of gratitude becomes a daily way of being. Despite any circumstance, there is always something to be grateful for. It is a matter of perspective, and when you are rooted in purpose, and realistically optimistic, gratitude is literally the cherry on top to your mental and emotional wellbeing. Make it a habit to journal 1 to 3 things you are grateful for at the beginning or end of each day. You will relive those positive experiences. However, do not just capture that gratitude, but express it as well. It is not enough to just feel grateful, but the expression of gratitude completes the circle for meaningful and successful relationships, and successful relationships complete the circle of successful operations.

Gratitude stems from thought, so you must also manage your thoughts and emotions. With the millions of operations it performs each second, and the 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts it has each day, your brain is one of the most powerful tools you have in determining the course of your life. Many think that it is the circumstances themselves that define happiness, when in reality, you hold the key to almost every situation. Your thoughts are the very thing that shape your subconscious, and your subconscious that ultimately shapes your reality. Sure genetics and circumstances can definitely be factors in your state of happiness, but approximately 40% of that happiness is your choice. Be mindful and perpetually optimistic of the past, present and the future. Also, be very careful where you spend your thoughts and energy, especially in your facility where many would label as a negative environment. Unmanaged depleting emotion and unhealthy thought will only cripple operations, relationships and a fulfilling life.

Keeping a glass half-full perspective will not only improve your view of work, but your relationships, creativity and performance. Studies show that humans are actually 31% more productive in the positive, than in the negative, neutral or stressed. With corrections, not only are you more productive in the positive, but safer as well; and safety will always be the top priority. James Allen said it in this way “a man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all of his thoughts.” While God has ultimate control over all, God gave us control over your thoughts, even though sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. It is okay to have depleting emotion such as anger and frustration, but we must recognize and regulate that emotion so that we can use it for good purpose. Our own mind can sometimes be our biggest enemy. So as you go throughout your day, learn to scan the world for the positive. As you practice emotional intelligence, don’t just be good at recognizing emotion, but master the regulation of your emotion and use it appropriately. Constantly ask yourself “how do I feel, and how do I make others feel?” Constantly ask yourself “how and who can I help?” Constantly ask yourself “is the lens in which I am viewing things the right lens?” If not, change it. Remember that love and gratitude are not based on conditions or compatibility, they are base on principle, choice and action.

E – EXERCISE and find flow:

Living in vitality means staying resilient, coherent and fit. Often when people think about the term fitness, they think salads and treadmills. Bottom line is that your physical health is only a quarter of your overall resilience in being fully fit for duty. There are 4 domains to resilience, and they should all flow with one another as they deplete and renew throughout the day. Below are the 4 domains of resilience:

Physical – nutrition, proper rest, exercise

Mental – positive thoughts, optimism, proper rest, exercise

Emotional – positive relationships, positive thoughts, flexibility, patience

Spiritual – faith, morals, values, tolerance, servanthood, PURPOSE!

It is easiest to think of each of these 4 domains as rechargeable batteries that all sync with one another, and require balance and charge. The heart, the mind, the soul and the body all require exercise. When you exercise physically, generally you feel better mentally. When you think positive, you generally feel better emotionally. Staying rooted in purpose, thinking positive and expressing gratitude as listed earlier, are just practicing habits that keep your mental, emotional and spiritual batteries charged. This leaves the one domain that people often neglect, and requires discipline and consistency in eating healthy and exercising. Unfortunately, “I don’t have time” and “I don’t have a gym” is not a valid excuse. All you need is 10 minutes a day. Remember, exercise is also a contributing factor to your mental and emotional wellbeing. Below is a simple Tabata exercise that requires no equipment and only takes about 10 minutes of your day depending on the number of sets you decide to do:

THE TABATA:

  • 20 Seconds: Exercise (push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, burpees, planks, body squats)
  • 10 Seconds: Rest
  • Repeat 8 times (4 minutes total)
  • Do at least 2 sets (8 minutes total)
  • Rest 1 minute in-between sets
  • Try to alternate between exercises (push-ups, rests, sit-ups, rest, body squats, rest, repeat)

Corrections can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, so stay disciplined and keep those batteries charged. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, and get adequate rest. Most importantly, don’t forget to breathe. Heart focused breathing is the quickest and most effective way to align the heart and mind, and come back to a state of coherence. When safe to do so, clear your mind, close your eyes, find that feeling of inner ease, breathe in for 4-5 seconds, hold it for 4-5 seconds, exhale for 4-5 seconds and hold it for 4-5 seconds. Focus on your heart as you do this for 1 to 2 minutes. This is like the CTRL, ALT, DELETE for the human body, and we all need a reset every once in awhile.

The Kansas Highway Patrol have a saying that goes “when you chose law enforcement, you lose the right to be unfit”. The only thing to remember, is that there is a deeper meaning to the term “fit”. Fitness and vitality requires balance, discipline and consistency, and when you become engaged with life and find your flow, you’ll realize that a body in motion stays in motion.

It’s important to also remember that practical wisdom and a survival mindset play a critical role in not only your metal and emotional wellness, but are key players in finding daily flow. This doesn’t mean choosing the path of least resistance, it means learning how to improvise, adapt and overcome while staying balanced and in control.

Recapitulation and evaluation

Finally, it is critical to take time to recapitulate and re-evaluate at the end of every day. Along with taking time to journal thoughts, problems and ideas, mentally replay your day and your interactions and ask yourself:

  • what happened today?”
  • so what did I do?”
  • now what do I need to do?”
  • “Is my attitude productive and beneficial to me or others?
  • “Am I giving my best, or is my best yet to come?”
  • “Where and how can I do better?”

Re-evaluate your purpose, your attitude towards life, friends, family, and your career. Do you need to control alt delete? I think we all do every once in awhile.

Bottom line is, your wellness matters, so take charge of the life you have been given in such a noble profession. Each day is a gift and tomorrow is never promised. These are steps that you can apply starting today that will help you change that pattern and lens through which your brain perceives reality, and help your body, mind and soul harmonize with the current flow of life. A happier and healthier you, means a happier, healthier and safer work culture, more effective operations, a happier family and an overall better life. You have to take care of yourself because you cannot pour from an empty glass. Getting ON MISSION starts with you.

I challenge you…

21 day challenge

Find flow for 21 days in a row by going through each of the following steps:

  • Start your day early and be thankful for it. Each day is a gift to be grateful for, so own your current circumstances, smile and find flow with the day. Reflect on your purpose by asking yourself “what’s my why?
  • Journal 1 thing about the day that you are truly grateful for, and ask yourself “how can I express it?
  • Ask yourself “how can I serve, and who and how can I help?
  • Serve through a random acts of kindness. Maybe it is simply expressing your gratitude to someone and letting them know they are appreciated, whether it is verbally, or through a letter or text.
  • Find a safe, quiet and calm place of solitude; sit down, relax, close your eyes, and practice 2 minutes of heart focused breathing, or several rounds of power breathing. Capture and hold on to that positive emotion that puts you at ease.
  • Complete at least 10 minutes of physical exercise even if it is simply getting out and moving.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water and maintain a healthy diet, the mind and body need it.
  • Journal all thoughts, ideas and problems that come to your mind. All ideas are worth writing down, and all problems have a solution. Ask yourself “where and how can I do better?” Journal the “what” about the day, then ask yourself “so what, and now what?” Put words into action.

Here is the simplified checklist you can use to take you through this new journey of P.A.R.O.L.E. and get you ON MISSION:

☐ Own the day, your current circumstances and smile / “What’s my why?”

☐ Gratitude / “What am I grateful for and how can I express it?”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

☐ Random act of kindness / “How can I serve and how or who can I help?” ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

☐ Get out and move! (At least 10 minutes of exercise)

☐ Hydrate (8 glasses of water)

☐ Heart focused breathing / Meditation (At least 2 minutes)

☐ Thoughts, problems and ideas / “Where and how can I do better?” / What, so what, now what?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I hope this helps, because your wellness matters.

God bless,

Brandon Anderson