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NEWS | Feb. 2, 2017

Seven steps to '17

By Col. Casey Eaton 89th Airlift Wing

Team JBA, first and foremost, thanks to everyone for what you do every day to push the various “no-fail” missions around this awesome installation!  It strikes me that even being a few weeks into the new year, I’m still stumbling across various lists of things we should all try to do to improve our lives in 2017.  I figured it might be nice to translate some of those into things I think we should all do as Airmen.  One particular article I liked was by Dr. Keith Ablow, so to give him full credit, these seven things are “Airmanized” from some of the items on his list for 2017.


1.  DREAM--Recall one dream you had about the Air Force before you entered, and take a step in that direction.  Whether you entered to learn a skill, get an education, travel, meet like-minded people, or whatever propelled you to join. I challenge you to remember that dream, and do something about it this year.  I think it’s easy to step into a “just another day at the office” mindset.  Challenge that mind-set and remember your dreams and passions and chase them!

2.  MENTOR--Send a hand-written note (an email will do only if no one can read your hand-writing), to three people in your Squadron, Group or Wing whom you admire.  I want you to reach a bit on this one.  Even if it’s someone you don’t know well or who significantly differs in rank.  Tell them what trait it is you admire about them and ask them if you can meet for 15 minutes for mentorship.  I’m telling you, they’ll respect you for it, and will undoubtedly offer you some great advice.

3.  VOLUNTEER--Find an opportunity to volunteer, but don’t do it for a performance report bullet, rather do it because it’s a subject you truly care about.  I know we’re all really busy, but there is nothing better for the soul than helping others.  You can find the time, and even if it’s something small, you’ll make a difference – and you’ll feel really good about it.

4.  GET ANGRY--Here’s one you won’t hear all the time: get angry about something you think is unfair and do something about it (professionally of course).  Anger or frustration over a bad process, facility or service, is not all bad.  It’s so much better than just looking the other way with an attitude of “oh well, that’s just the way it is.”  Every single one of us can make a difference, so next time you get angry or frustrated, take a second look to make sure you’re not missing something, and then engage, professionally and persistently, to work towards a solution.

5.  SPIRITUAL--Try praying or meditating at least once. Taking time to deeply think about, reflect, meditate or pray about those things that are important to you is a great reminder of what defines you.  It clears your mind, calms you down and gives you focus.  One of the pillars of our Comprehensive Airman Fitness is the Spiritual Pillar.  At the core of that domain is our sense of purpose and meaning.  Give it a try, it’ll help.

6.  CHAMPION--Stand up for another Airmen.  This is pretty straight forward if you know of someone dealing with an injustice – find an opportunity to praise another Airman or peer to your supervisor.  This does a few things: it forces you to find the good in other people, and also shows other people that you care about them.  Finally, it shows your supervisor that you’re a team player – win, win, win!

7.  PURPOSE--The last one is a soap box I frequently step up on…always challenge yourself to think of the purpose while you’re cranking out a process.  Sometimes we can all get lost in the daily grind of what we’re doing and we can forget the “why.”  Next time you’re serving a customer, checking ID’s at the gate, maintaining or flying an airplane (or helicopter), dealing with patients, maintaining a network, or whatever your military duties entail, challenge yourself to stop every so often and think about the “why.”  We all have a vitally important “why” our job is essential to the base…you should never forget it. 

As always, thanks for you all do and I’m proud and honored to be part of this team!