My younger brother has been a Los Angeles City firefighter for over 10 years. Though he has always enjoyed adrenaline and the physical challenge of various sports, for the longest time, I would never have guessed that he would select firefighting as a career.
Well, let’s just say that when he was very little, the sight of flames terrified him. I remember our first family trip to Disneyland, going on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and him screaming in horror at the sight of fake burning logs as our little ship passed through the ride. This fear remained until he was nearly a teenager, at which point, it became more of a curious obsession. Of this, I remember him rushing out of the house whenever he’d hear sirens to get a good look at where they were headed, and to make sure that the flames they might be reporting to were nowhere near our house.
In his late teens and first adult years, he had little career ideation, but one major event helped him transform a fearful obsession into a lifetime passion. In the early 90’s, Los Angeles was beleaguered with fires, so much so, that firefighters everywhere called on community members for volunteer assistance. This random event (though fires have been common in the area), gave my brother the opportunity to face what he once feared, helping put out flames and saving horses and livestock.
The message here is that we all have the potential to transform. My brother has always had a fascination for fire, but the way he perceived it drastically changed. How can you change your perspective so that what you fear most becomes a welcome challenge that you can conquer and proceed further toward actualizing your dreams?