With the recent bushfire activity here in Sydney, I thought it was timely to share some of the exemplary leadership I’ve witnessed in my time within the NSW Rural Fire Service.
In late 2017 I was on a Hazard Reduction burn, an HR. Before we go any further, can we please stop calling these back burns. Back burns are where you use fire to fight fire (which is what happened down at Holsworthy / Menai), and a hazard reduction burn is where you burn off as much of the ground fuels as you can ahead of a bush fire season.
Perhaps there’s a lesson here already. “Do the easy questions in an exam first, so you get your mind warmed up”. Maybe the lesson is that “You’re destined to fail as you’ve only aimed low!” Perhaps there’s no secret author’s meaning at all and it’s just the last book I read since starting the blog.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check out my previous post titled What’s it all about? for some context. When you’ve done that, come back and we’ll continue.
I first heard of Hal Moore while trail walking at the back of the Cherrybrook Rural Fire Brigade station. I’m a member of the brigade and when I can, I walk the fire trails and single track around the station, partly to better learn the trails that we may one day need to fight fires from, but mainly just for the exercise and the momentary solitude. Hal Moore was not on the trails that day. Hal Moore is in fact, quite dead. He did a lot of living though. A decorated member of the US Army, he was considered one of the countries’ finest fighting commanders and spent just over 30 years in service. No, Hal Moore was not on the trails that day.
I was listening to my favourite podcast, Jocko Podcast, by a guy named Jocko Willink. We’ll cover more on what I’ve learned from him in the coming weeks.
The sound grab that quite literally stopped me in my tracks was “If there’s doubt in your mind, there’s no doubt at all”. I rewound 30 seconds and listened again. “If there’s doubt in your mind, there’s no doubt at all”. I rewound 30 seconds and listened again. I couldn’t quite get my head around it, so I listened again – you get the picture.
It wasn’t that the hills of the Blackwattle Trail had given me an aneurysm, but when I stood there and thought about it, it’s simplicity and elegance was startling. I had to know more.