I was working out in a local park recently when I crossed the path of a large dog being walked by two individuals. Initially, the dog concerned me because he was so large and near to me. As I continued to look, the dog was old, gray, and hobbled. And as I passed even closer, he turned, stared, and snarled, but I soon lost my fear.  You see, I realized this dog had no fight left – not even a bark – not even a whimper! I was saddened – I love dogs.

How many of you have lost your fight and bark for safety? How many of you have dialed back your efforts because you are tired or have been beaten down over the years? And just maybe you are saying to yourself, “good enough is good enough – this is all they want – I’m tired.”  But don’t you owe yourself and others your best – or a new best?

Dial it up

Well, I say to you, start to dial it up, because people are depending on you! In fact, their future, their health, their safety, and their families are depending on your efforts, so don’t dial back or give up!

How can you dial up your efforts? By getting stronger mentally – by getting tougher, mentally, and by gaining a new perspective and new “personal vision for extreme success in safety.” I’ve highlighted three proven ways that address behavioral, cognitive, and affective dimensions that will help you to get things juiced-up and re-energized for safety!

The shape you’re in

1. Get in shape – that’s right – get in great shape so you’ll have more energy. Start eating healthier, get regular exercise, and push yourself, physically. When you do, you’ll have greater energy and better focus on-the-job. See your physician and get regular check-ups. My closest friends and colleagues, who are doing outstanding work, have really great energy. Many of them work long days and get lots of things accomplished because they take care of their physical health and wellbeing. So if you’re not there yet, take the first-step and get in great shape!

(Editor’s Note: A good example of what David is talking about is Tom Brady, the five-time Super Bowl champion quarterback of the New England Patriots, age 40, who recently announced he plans on playing another seven years. Obviously, he keeps himself in excellent shape mentally and physically.)

Positive psychology

2. Re-frame your efforts, mentally, by understanding that you can have a lot to do with various successes and failures related to safety. Changing your view or perspective can allow you to better understand how your efforts impact the lives of those around you. Just because you don’t always see the positive outcomes you are having, doesn’t mean you aren’t saving lives, and improving the everyday attitudes and actions of others. Keep going – your job is more important than you realize, and re-framing your efforts will help you to re-energize “your personal vision” for safety. Having a more positive self-perspective will affect how you relate to others and how you engage them in improving safety-related performance, within their own work groups.

Focus up

3. Develop open and honest relationships with others or one particular person who is more successful and brighter than you. Everyone should have someone who can serve as a personal coach or mentor. Contract with someone who will challenge you to do more, or to do things you’ve never done before. Unless you are regularly challenged you will never improve personally or professionally. You will never have the kinds of impact that you should be having.

An inspiration

Reading about the very recent passing of Dr. Thomas Starzl, a Pittsburgh-based pioneer in liver and organ transplant surgery, reveals how he was driven by a personal mission and a great form of accountability to save the lives of others. I’m certain he took good care of his health, after his heart surgery earlier in his career. I’m certain that he continually re-framed his mission and work – his personal vision for success. And I’m certain others challenged him directly and indirectly to reach new levels of achievement. Starzl was reading, researching, and writing, up to four-hours a day, until his death, at 90 years of age. Starzl should inspire both you and me.

You may have all kinds of degrees or certifications or successes, but if you aren’t in great physical shape, if you aren’t continually re-framing your personal mission, vision, and efforts, and if you aren’t regularly challenged by someone – you’ll simply remain in a state of comfort and complacency.  And that isn’t good for you or your organization.