If you’re going to give...give your best

  • Published
  • By Maj. La Tonya R. Kelly
  • 341st Comptroller Squadron commander
How do you answer the question, "What is your purpose for being part of the greatest Air Force in the world?" Is your answer: love for country; it's a family tradition; it was a way out; educational opportunities; a steady paycheck/benefits; the need to belong to something greater than yourself; or something totally different?

Regardless of your answer the outcome should be the same, you giving your all to be the best Airman -- all day, every day both on and off duty.  The Department of Defense mission is simple, "To provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country." Here at Malmstrom we are at the tip of the spear of that mission. However, in order for us to be successful it takes all of us giving our best.

It sounds like an easy concept, but as we all know it's not. We have all had moments where we lacked clarity in our judgment; but that should not be the norm. In my opinion there are five key nuggets that help you with performing at your best -- integrity, attitude, communication, mentorship and team.

Integrity is the foundation of our core values and goes without saying. However, I am going to say this; adverse news is not easy to deliver and it never gets any easier. So the best thing to do is deliver it and figure out how to move forward from that point. Besides, you learn more from failures than you do from successes, just don't ever allow your integrity to be one of your failures.

Attitude will determine your altitude. A positive, can-do attitude will take you places that knowledge and money will never be able to afford you. I know not all situations are great and we all have our moments; however, if you woke up this morning there is still the opportunity for you to make a difference. I'd like to think there is no such thing as a bad day there are only bad situations that might happen that day. Remember, "Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change." Dr. Wayne Dyer, very smart man.

Communication is the key to all relationships. Just because you open your mouth and words come out of your mouth...does not constitute you being a great communicator. What it does is offer you the opportunity to hear sound. Effective communication involves not only what you say and how you say it, but ensuring your audience receives the message the way you intended. Do not be afraid to ask for feedback. Likewise, if as the receiver you do not get it ask questions.

I did an informal survey of about 30 millennials and non-millennials on the way they prefer to communicate. For the most part face-to-face communication was preferred. So, next time you have a question for the individual sitting three or four feet away from you take the opportunity to walk over and strike up a conversation. Even if you are an introvert this can be done...live outside your comfort zone.

As far as mentorship goes, we each have a responsibility to share past experiences, whether failures or successes, with those individuals who will follow us. If we don't we miss an opportunity that is so valuable for ensuring the iron is being sharpened. For me personally, if it wasn't for my mentors, I can honestly say I would not be where I am today. I started off as "the know it all" airman basic back in the day. If it was not for strong leaders like Senior Master Sgt. Marty Barber who took the time to breathe Air Force life into me, I probably would have been dishonorably discharged. Likewise, individuals like Maj. Gen. Al Flowers, Air Force's longest serving Airman, was part of the reason why I am on my second command right now. These individuals took time for me and saw things in me that needed to be nurtured and developed.  No one told them they had to do it, but they knew it was necessary so they did it. I am eternally grateful for them and their time.

Lastly, if there is one thing I've learned it's that you cannot do anything in life without a team. Whether it's family, wingmen, coworkers, leaders, friends, etc. you are going to need someone at some point throughout the day. I am so fortunate to be able to talk to my mom and sisters every day. Likewise, I don't know how it happened, but I have the greatest network of girlfriends right here at Malmstrom. They have encouraged me through those bad situations on the good days, mentored me, and provided me with so many laughs. Some call it luck, I call it a blessing.

All in all, it is my team not just the aforementioned, but everyone I come in contact with, loved ones and "enemies," that undergird me so that I am able to give my all every day.

This is your Air Force!  What you see today are the results of the sacrifices and hard work of yesteryear. What will be seen tomorrow are the results of the sacrifices and hard work we accomplish today. So give it your all!