If your occupation involves the possibility that you could get killed or that you may have to save the life of someone else, you don’t have a job. You have a profession. Being a professional is a term that gets thrown around quite often, and it is usually reserved for that person who does not accept mediocrity, but instead puts in the extra time and effort to be the best. Even in fields where everyone should display those characteristics, like the military or law enforcement, not everyone is a true professional. There will always be those that are content with maintaining the status quo, that don’t have the drive to better themselves, which may be due to them enjoying the respect earned by having the title of Marine or Soldier or Police Officer. They aren’t willing to go the extra mile to separate themselves from their peers. This blog and site is not for them. This blog is designed for the true professionals.
If you think about your favorite NFL team and the professional football player who is starting at quarterback this Sunday, you think of a professional. You can prove this if you ask yourself what you will think of him if he performs absolutely horribly on game day. As you watch him continually fail to read the defense and be sacked play after play because he is making bad decisions, you shake your head and ask, did he not spent the entire week studying the defense? Why doesn’t he know the routes his wide receivers are taking? Why isn’t he prepared? He is supposedly a professional, yet he has not fulfilled the expectations laid out for him and his position.
In the military, law enforcement, and security fields, we are held to a similar standard. The biggest difference, however, is that when we fail, people can die. Accountants don’t have this problem; if the numbers don’t synch on the profit and loss statement, no one dies. If a restaurant manager does not spend his off time studying the industry to ensure his restaurant is positioned in a manner most preferential for its success, no one dies. The stakes for us when we do not spend the time preparing ourselves for what is ahead is costly in a potentially fatal way.
In my career I have run into a number of these professionals. I had a company commander, Major Dane Hanson, who is a professional. He spends an absolutely incredible amount of time studying military history, military strategy, and tactics. Why does he do it? Because he leads Marines into battle, and to not spend his time learning how the great commanders of the past succeeded or failed would be putting the lives of Marines on the line because he wasn’t prepared. That is a professional.
I have an instructor in my team who is an activated reservist Marine who is in the LAPD as a civilian. If you see SSgt Brandon Valdez in his off time, you will find him studying pictures and videos that he has from the neighborhoods he works as a police officer. Why? Because when he deactivates and returns to LAPD, he doesn’t want to be a step behind. He doesn’t want the gang bangers to have a leg up on him because he has been out of those neighborhoods for an extended time. That is being a professional.
This is just a rumor, but I have been told that General James Mattis, the Marine CENTCOM Commander, doesn’t own a television. I have never met the man, but there is a reason he has become the Marine Corps’ “Leonidas.” It is because he is not watching American Idol, sitcoms, or Border Wars. He has spent his time reading and studying our enemy. He is the ultimate professional.
America needs smart warriors. America needs Professional Warriors. What does that mean? Not only must he be a master of the weapon in his hand and be in an outstanding physical condition, but he has to be capable of “outthinking” the enemy. Our enemies both at home and abroad have gotten incredibly smart and adaptive in the last few decades. With the last ten years being spent fighting throughout the Middle East, and with the growth of drug cartels and their grip on America and their influence they have had on the gangs in our cities, our enemy is evolving to ensure not only their personal survival, but also their financial survival.
We find ourselves reacting to them instead of having them react to us. The more time spent being reactive to these criminals and terrorists, the more time they have to develop themselves and solidify their foothold in the world. The professionals amongst us don’t accept this. They see the impact this will have on our future and are tired of reacting to the enemy. There are a number of things we can do to reverse this and regain the upper hand in this fight. Profiling is one of the ways, but it isn’t everything. The Professional reading this understands that fact and is probably the reason you are reading this now.
Profiling requires professionals. It takes time to develop this skill to the point where you are identifying your enemies every day. It takes practice to do this and be so unwaveringly confident in your skill that you don’t doubt your conclusions. It takes the mindset of the professional to succeed.