My day job is a lot of fun. I spent the past few days all over New Jersey looking at my work…I work in the high end surveillance industry, consulting and teaching governments about their security. Mainly transportation departments, transit departments, municipalities. I specialize in helping them create integrated solutions for surveillance for a variety of tasks, using a variety of technologies.
I enjoy and love what I do and get to work with some amazing people around the world…all over the US, Europe, etc. I love technology and I love surveillance – the cameras, thermals, sensors. Equipment that protects lives, property, helps people get to work or home faster, and provides forensics when incidents do inevitably happen. I work with a great company filled with some of the brightest engineering minds I have seen. Trucks, poles, jeeps, subways, tunnels…I’ve designed systems for them, built products for them down to assisting with the soldering of boards, the installations…I’ve done it all up to going up 80 feet in bucket trucks to assist with products I’ve gotten into projects and sold.
When I look at security, I don’t see a camera…I see the situation, the purpose, the bits and pieces that create the need for monitoring. I love solving problems.
In that industry, there are major players who are dedicated to the jobs and projects, and the people who utilize their craft. At 11pm last night I was walking Hoboken station with the people who utilize these systems – learning the architecture, the routes, the people, the transit police, knocking on the old wood for the ferry docks, looking at every aspects down to the conduit. Walking with the man who for 30 years has made the decisions on everything security related from that station to the bridges you cross when you are on a train. I dedicate a lot of time to it and build the relationships to make what I do better.
And then you have what are called the trunk slammers – the people who show up after, drop off their information, try to go around the relationships and just try to put in inferior designs and products to win a job, win a design, and end up putting security at risk because they have a million things they do and they try to fit that million into one. A square peg into a round hole.
I see this in the martial art world as well. There is a tendency to be all things to all people – you want self-defense, they teach it. You want MMA, they teach it. You want cardio kickboxing – they teach it. You want conditioning, they teach it.
You’re a police officer – they know a police officer they taught. You’re military – their uncle was a Ranger. You do close protection – they drove a guy one time on a detail.
Everyone has to earn a living – but I’ve always seen martial art as a project to dedicate my life to. To surround myself with people I learn from, to see it from their eyes, ally myself with them in common interest…and most importantly: know my experience and my role, and be humbled by learning from those outside of it.
The trunk slammers – they are the guy that we can’t get mad at, as much as try to assist in finding their lane and helping them recognize that their skills are better focused so that as an industry we as individuals do not try to be all things to all people – but we are everything to one set of people. I know the science, it’s what I do – and when I can share it, I do until I’m exhausted. But, I never try to go outside of my competency where I can find people to work with who can teach that competency along side what I do. It’s a ‘win win win’ as I win, the person who I am teaching wins, and those who come with me are better to utilize their skills.
When it’s just you, out there in the lonely world – do you become an expert in a field and strive to better that field, or do you try to be all things to all people?
When we look around this industry, we see the best and brightest, the people with the most followers, contracts, clients…these are the people who focus and better their part of the family that is the overall tree that is martial art. And the trunk slammers, we see their schools close after 6 months for lack of students.
It was never lack of students – it was lack of focus.
Stay focused on the goal – bettering people’s lives with what you know, and you can never go wrong.
You may never be rich, but you’ll be successful and that’s a richness in itself.