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Today is important.

Today is a benchmark for new year resolutions.

One week of the new year is ending.

Here’s what it means historically:

  • A whopping 28% of new year resolutions already failed.
  • 50% of all resolutions will fail by the end of this month.
  • 80% will fail by the end of March.

Pretty depressing stuff, right?

The failure rate with new year resolutions isn’t new. It’s well documented with failure rates so high that you can Google articles about why you should never set new year resolutions.

The risk to your self-esteem is simply too great. Failing could cause permanent damage to your ego and sense of self worth.

The concept reminds me of a quote from Homer Simpson:

“You tried your best and failed. And the lesson is, never try.”

What If EMS and Air Medical Never Tried?

Can you imagine a world where EMS and air medical gave up so quickly?

It’s scary to think about.

“Chest compressions seemed to be working, but I got concerned my ego might not be able to handle failure, so I just stopped CPR.”


“I followed the checklist, shutdown the engine and was on a shallow approach to a running landing, but wasn’t sure it would be as smooth as I prefer, so I just quit and crashed the helicopter”

Said no EMS or air medical professional, ever.

The truth is EMS and air medical professionals don’t quit. Period.

EMS never quits. EMS never even thinks about quitting. That’s the secret I want you to leverage to make 2017 your best EMS year ever.

Imagine applying your warrior-like EMS focus to all areas of your life. Think what you could accomplish.

This article will get you started.

Here Are 10 Ways To Keep Your EMS Soul Alive In 2017


1.) Be an EMS Warrior, Not an EMS Worrier

Stop wasting time worrying about things you cannot change.

Comparing your situation to others and then complaining about it, gets you nowhere.

Be a warrior.

Stop judging other people’s performance and work ethic, and turn your focus inward. Focus on what’s really in your control.

Give your best effort for its own reward. Help your peers and co-workers whenever you can. And then be at peace with whatever result it brings.

2.) Be A Better You

Stop settling for less.

Think back to when you started EMS or aviation. Remember the thrill and excitement of going to work and doing something you love.

Remember how EMS changed you for the better. Remember how you felt the first time you saved a life.

Harness that energy. Pick an area of your life you know needs improvement and apply that laser-like focus to accomplishing a self-improvement goal.

3.) Stop Going It Alone

Make an effort to expand your circle of friends and professional contacts.

In today’s world, you can’t escape social media anyway. So why not use it to your advantage?

Be proactive and reach out to others. Help them succeed and I assure you the benefits to you will greatly outweigh the effort.


4.) Count Your Blessings

How many people do you have to watch die until you truly appreciate your own life?

It’s not a rhetorical question.

At least not for EMS or air medical professionals.

So answer it for yourself right now. And if you don’t like the answer you’re hearing, make changes right now.

If you’re on the fence about cherishing every moment and every breath you’ve been given, then you’re doing it wrong.

But here’s some good news: you can start doing it right this very second.

Pull out a pen and paper and write out your personal gratitude list. Make a list of all the things in your life that make your life worth living. Carry your list around with you. Pull it out and take a look the next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself or thinking about giving up.

5.) Keep Your EMS Soul Alive

Choose happiness.

Think about how you prefer to serve the world.

Start by defining your perfect EMS shift.

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. Robert Louis Stevenson

Then do everything in your control to work that shift every work day.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to be happy or to love your job. You simply need to know what you want and consciously pursue it.

Avoid negativity traps and gossip and anything else that might bring you down.


6.) Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

Ever notice how some days you get a ton of stuff done? And other days, almost nothing gets done? Even when you work the same amount of hours both days.

The reason is that productivity is more about managing your energy, than managing your time.

When stuff doesn’t get done, management typically recommends some type of time management solution. That’s why there are a ton of books on time management.

But in my opinion, energy management is a much smarter approach. The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz is the best resource I know of relating to energy management. It’s a quick quick read, and it’s excellent.


7.) Be Kind

Civility is becoming a lost art in America.

It’s almost like manners are dead. Sad, but true.

Need proof?

Think back to how some of your most respected friends acted toward others during this past election cycle.

Ugly, right? At times, really ugly. And their behavior isn’t unique. It’s everybody’s friends and everybody’s collective behavior.

That’s why kindness matters. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s something to distinguish yourself from the masses.


8.) Stop Letting Others Define You

It took me almost 10 years to ‘crack the code’ on how air medical really works.

I’m not a slow learner, but I am a little naive.

Here’s the super short summary version:

Everyone in EMS and air medical has an agenda.  Flight medics, flight nurses, chief pilots, ground providers, government agencies, health systems and helicopter companies…. everyone.

All agendas are self-serving.

Sometimes what’s best for others is also best for you. But not always.

If you want a long and happy EMS career, you have to define what is best for you. And you have to define it quickly. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re completely dependent on others.

Here’s an example:

If you’re a new line pilot counting on your chief pilot or check airman to look after you–you’re making a huge mistake and things will not end well for you. In fact, you might as well quit now, save yourself some time and frustration, and start your new career as a dental hygienist (or whatever) now.

What’s the best way to define things for yourself?

Know EVERYTHING about your job and the rules about how to do your job well. Know it so well that others come to you for advice.


9.) Measure Results

“That which is measured improves.” -Karl Pearson

It’s true.

And it’s true in both your personal and professional lives.

Want to lose 20 pounds? Start by measuring (and recording) everything you eat. Want your continuing education credits done early this year? Start by measuring how many you have left to complete.

Every time I meet with a medical or aviation sales manager looking to increase performance, I ask to see their sales board.

Often they don’t have a board or visual display of all the salespeople on their team with their current year to date sales. So we create one. The result is immediate and sometimes dramatic. Sales improve when we measure sales.

10.) Think Big

What are you going to do in 2017 to make it your best EMS year ever?

My advice is to think big. Really big.

Is 2017 the year you’re going to finally start your home business? Or become a flight medic? Or pass the ATP exam?

Set a big goal and get to work at making it reality.

The only thing holding you back is you.


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Troy Shaffer
Troy Shaffer

About the Author: Troy is an Air Medical Career Expert passionate about a team approach to improving air medical safety from the ground up. Troy is a former Army medic, Army pilot, Coast Guard pilot and EMS pilot. Troy has taught hundreds of wannabe flight medics, flight nurses and EMS pilots the exact steps needed to launch air medical careers.

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