Using Your Minds Eye

Ever had trouble looking for the right word?You are in the middle of trying to describe the perfect moment. The word you are looking for, however, is evading your memory. Here is a thought; maybe you shouldn't be looking for words. If not words, what else would you be looking for?

Take a min and think about a great moment in your life. It can be anything. The birth of a child. A wedding. A promotion. Whatever great moment that is tattooed in your mind. Think about the sights and sounds of the moment. Can you remember any of the smells?Can you remember the texture of the things you touched? I'm willing to bet that in the process ofremembering that moment, it did not appear as the text you are reading now. Your memory didn't appear as words being typed on a word document. That memory instead appeared as an experience of the senses.

People can remember words, but nothing compares to anexperience. No wonder we can't find the right word; we are trying to describe an experience. What are the implications of understanding this? Have you ever had an ideal or thought you wanted to convey to someone?

A seed of information, that you are looking to plant into the mind of another individual. A teaching moment. A vision of what could be. Over time, you water the soil and allow the bright, warm rays of enlightenment to beam down. The hope is that thoughts and deeds will sprout up from the soil. It would be as if a tree of wisdom has taken root. If this happens to be what you are trying to do, perhaps you should consider the PPE that you use. Not Personal Protective Equipment. Instead:

P - Paint a Picture

• When explaining something new, from a leadership vision to a new learning point, help your audience see what it is. Describe with detail what it is you are thinking. Use analogies that are relatable for the person. In a class once, I was struggling to wrap my mind around how the heart sends blood through veins and arteries. Then the instructor explained to me that understandinghow the heart pumps blood is similar to how the pump on engine pumps attack lines. I now have a picture in my head of a driver operator on a major fire with fire hose sending and receiving water. Learning has occurred.

P - Produce a Movie

• “Imagine this…” Beginning an explanation like this gets your audience into the mind set of being in the front row of a 3D action movie. It’s like being at Disney World and riding one of the movie rides. The person is there at the event, watching things unfold first hand. How easy is it to remember new ideals when an instructor or leader has helped you feel like you were there when things were being formed?

E - Experience the Moment

• This step takes producing a movie one step further. Instead of being at the event; you have a starring role in the event. Years agoI wrestled for the Air force and practiced at the Olympic Training center. We had a trainer that had us do this thought exercise. Wehad to imagine being in a future wrestling match. In our mind, we had to think of everything we could expect. How exhausted we would be. Being ahead in points. Being behind in points. Feeling the strength of the other competitor and fighting them off. What I understand now is that doing this exercise prepared me for possibilities I had not thought of. If you can imagine the hard times, you can push through to the good times.

When I teach students about hazardous material response, I explain that to be effective, one must have the proper level of skill and proper equipment. Everyone has some ideal worth sharing. Now you have the proper PPE to help ordinary people do extraordinary things.

About the Author  

 NICK BASKERVILLE has had the honor of serving in the United States Air Force for 10 years, followed by 4 years in the United States Air Force Reserves. He attained the rank of Technical Sergeant (E-6). Nick also has 16 years of fire service time, with 13 years of that being in a career department in Northern Virginia. Nick has had the opportunity to hold positions in the Company Officer's section of the Virginia Fire Chief's Association (VFCA), The Virginia Fire Officer's Academy (VFOA) staff, and in the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) as a chapter president, a Health and Wellness committee member, and one of the IABPFF representatives to the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance.