Why Do You Take The Hard Road?
Why do you take The Hard Road? This a question people ask me and one I ask people all the time. What makes you want to embrace the suck? What makes you want to do the uncomfortable things in life? Why don't you just do the bare minimum? Why don't you just do enough to get by and just be lazy like so many others? There are many reasons why I choose to take The Hard Road as often as I can, but the point just before I started this company is what made it very clear for me.
If you know me, you know I work as a police officer full time. I have been doing this for just under 10 years now. It has brought me some amazing experiences and some terrible ones. I have always believed in doing the right thing and holding people accountable for their actions. In 2018, I was involved in an incident that I cannot go into detail about as it is still being litigated. You can search my name and you will find plenty of information on it.
This incident brought my name out into local news more than once and it was not in a good light. Many people were very upset. They called me a racist. They said I was brutal. They wanted me fired. They wanted me charged with crimes I did not commit. This all came to a head after the tragic incident that caused George Floyd his life. Our police department dealt with protest after protest, vandalism, and a large encampment outside our police department that would surround us every night. They were signs that stated myself and 2 other officers should be fired and charged. When we would go to calls for service or just walk outside we would have people drive by or walking tell us to go kill ourselves.
This felt incredibly unfair. I had only ever done my job the correct way. I followed all rules and regulations. I hate and hated corrupt cops or anyone who caused people to look on the profession of policing poorly. Now, I felt like I had wrongly been labeled as a bad cop. I removed my name from the internet through a company. I kept quiet. I went to my calls for service and avoided rocking the boat. I didn't get fired, but I felt like I was absolutely useless and the scum of the earth. Maybe all these people were right. Maybe I shouldn't be a police officer. Maybe I should just go quietly into the night and not bother anyone ever again.
As a cop, you see a lot of other officers who work for the department who have been disciplined or just wronged in some way by the administration or the city. Many of them become retired on duty. They go to work, collect their paycheck, and go home. They seem miserable all the time. They seem stuck in this endless loop of unhappiness just waiting for the day they can collect that retirement check. I sort of assumed that was where I was heading and that was my fate.
I had two roads in front of me.
The first road was become retired on duty. Don't bother anyone. Do not grow. Do not get better. Just be miserable and wallow in self pity for 15 or more years and eventually collect my paycheck. Never prove anyone wrong about what they said about me. Just fade away and give up.
The second road was the exact opposite. The second road was to get back to work. The second road was to continue to provide the best service I could while at work. Grow from this experience. Get better at work. Be better at home. Challenge myself. Be happy in spite of what people may say about me or try to accuse me of. Make myself incredibly visible. Prove them all wrong.
The first road may have been miserable, but it was easy. It offered no change, no growth, no work.
The second road required more pain, substantial change, and more work than I could even imagine.
In the end, I chose The Hard road. I went to college and earned my Associate's Degree. In that process, I decided to start this company. I began running for the first time in years along with weight training. I entered different races and challenges to push myself. I continued to find ways to improve at work and step out of my comfort zone.
I wanted to help people who wanted to better themselves. I wanted to help people who might be lost or felt like giving up. I wanted to give them a community where they could begin to push themselves and get better. I forced myself to get stronger, smarter, and to never allow myself to give up again.
Now, I have shortened the details of this story for this article and one day I will most likely go into greater detail in some other content form. But, this is why I started taking The Hard Road and why I will continue to. I hope that you will join me on this journey.