Forget Facebook: Be a real-world friend

“Worry not that no one knows of you. Seek to be worth knowing.” — Confucius


In today’s world of Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn, people are seemingly so caught up in who knows of them — the number of friends or followers they have — that they’ve forgotten to seek to be worth knowing. 

For some in the law enforcement community it is all about who knows their name, what awards they can get, who they have had their picture taken with, and who they are “friends” with on social media sites. It is difficult to have a conversation with these officers without them dropping the name of some well-known trainer and implying they are close friends because they were “chatting on Facebook last night.”

My challenge to you is to seek to be worth knowing. 

Seeking to be worth knowing is a philosophy focused on:

•    Working on your personal growth and development
•    Understanding that knowledge is potential, not power
•    Focusing more on being interested, rather than interesting

Personal Growth
What are you doing every day to ensure you are always better tomorrow than you are today? What books are you reading? What audio material are you listening to? 

What conferences do you attend? What courses (online or live) are you taking? What are you doing to better yourself? Who are you spending times with -- not so you can have your picture taken with them, but so you can learn from them? 

When it comes to personal growth, if you are the smartest and most talented person in the room, you are in the wrong room.

Knowledge is Potential
For years you have been told that knowledge is power. I am going to suggest knowledge is not power; it is potential. Knowledge has the potential to change beliefs, change attitudes, change lives and change the world. 

That change can only occur, however, when you do two things with knowledge:

1.)    Put knowledge into action
2.)    Share your knowledge

You can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you do not share it or transform that knowledge into action, it is of little value. The challenge then is to find ways to share the knowledge you have. You can share knowledge by becoming a trainer for your agency, developing brief roll call training sessions, writing a blog, writing articles for online or print publications, or presenting at conferences. 

You can forward to your fellow officers email links regarding informative articles, book reviews, or inspiring TED talks

You can also post these on your Facebook page so you can add real value to your online ‘friendship.’

You can give books or audio recordings as gifts, or as a sign of appreciation to people in your life.

Interested v. Interesting
Focusing on being interested means asking more questions when you are with other people. Ask questions to learn about their lives, their interests, their pain, their passions and their dreams. Being interested is about asking more questions of other people and talking less about you. 

The result is that you will make the other person feel important and you will learn a great deal about them, and yourself in the process. 

Focusing on being worth knowing will help you develop into a better officer, leader, spouse, parent, and person. You may even find that more people know of you. 

About the author

Brian Willis is an internationally-recognized thought leader, speaker, trainer, and writer. Brian serves as the Deputy Executive Director for the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) and is President of the innovative training company Winning Mind Training. Brian was a full time police officer with the Calgary Police Service from 1979 to 2004. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution and commitment to Officer Safety in Canada and was named Law Officer Trainer of the Year for 2011. He is also editor of the highly-acclaimed books W.I.N.: Critical Issues in Training and Leading Warriors , W.I.N. 2: Insights Into Training and Leading Warriors, and his latest work, If I Knew Then: Life Lessons From Cops on the Street , are all available through (www.warriorspiritbooks.com). Brian is a member of NTOA, ITOA, IALEFI, and the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Brian can be reached through his website at www.winningmindtraining.com.

Brian can be reached via e-mail at brian.willis@policeone.com.

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