What Legacy Will You Leave Behind?

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Tom V. Johnson
  • 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron First Sergeant
From the moment you entered the world, since you inhaled your first breath, spoke your first word, or took your first step, you have been building a legacy you'll leave behind for those who follow after. You may not realize it -- most of us don't think that far down the road -- but your actions or inactions have lead you further down the path towards your D.A.T.E. with destiny, your opportunity to change things for the better.

Ultimately, the legacy you leave behind won't be determined by the type of car you drive, how much money you make or by the number people who called you a friend. It will be determined by how you reacted when it came time for your D.A.T.E. (Desire, Attitude, Teamwork and Excellence) with destiny.

Everyone has in them the ability to do great things. Granted, not everyone possesses the athleticism of Michael Jordan, the business sense of Bill Gates, or the visionary mind of Col. Billy Mitchell. But the traits that resided in those men that allowed them to achieve greatness can be found in all of us. What allowed that greatness had little to do with "special skills." It had to do with how they chose to face the challenges life threw at them.

Each of those men chose to embrace their D.A.T.E. with destiny rather than shy away from it. They had the Desire to achieve their dreams, an Attitude that gave them the courage to learn from and accept their failures, an understanding that Teamwork was essential to reach their goals and the drive for Excellence that forced them to make sacrifices necessary to achieve greatness. They embodied these attributes, applied them to their lives, and in doing so, left behind a legacy that speaks for itself.

Each of us are faced with decisions daily. Large or small, these choices build the legacy that we will leave behind. When you face challenges, how do you choose to react? Do you quietly step aside and let those challenges slip by, or do you embrace your destiny and face those challenges with the Desire, Attitude, Teamwork and Excellence that have led others to greatness.

Are you willing to do what's necessary to leave our Air Force better than you found it? Steve Prefontaine, a world-class long distance runner who lost his life at an early age once said, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." Don't waste your gift.