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When your number is called

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

I love watching sports and admiring the stories of athletes who are, or will for sure be, a first ballot hall-of-famer. What they all have in common is their tremendous will to win. We see it on ESPN all the time when they make the last winning shot, touchdown, putt, goal, homerun or whatever it is. But what we do not see is the work they put in behind the scenes. It is very common for these legends to do two, sometimes three-a-days (three trainings in one day), waking up before everyone else and not wasting time mastering their craft. Above all these athletes, who I admire the most are those who were waiting to get an opportunity to compete and went from zero to hero. Those folks are the ones who did not stop working and preparing for the time they got their shot. And when it was their turn, they dominated.

Very rarely do we get perfect timing, which is exactly why we need to work hard and be ready to compete when the opportunity is given to us. We know what we need to do to succeed, if not, then we have to find ways to learn it (i.e. find a mentor, ask, research, etc.). Occasionally, we just can’t control the outcome but we can at least influence it one way or another. I understand that we are flat out busy and there is just not enough time to complete every single task, which is why we need to take advantage of the free time we get, ensuring that we master our craft and not wasting time doing something that does not move us toward our goal.

We might not get that perfect timing but we can at least guess when most of the opportunities come, such as a promotion cycle, renewal of fiscal year Tuition Assistance funds, board application or convening dates, etc. Not to mention, there are resources in just about anything we need. It’s just a matter of time when it is your turn to shine, so do what you need to do, work hard and prepare the best you can. After all, most, if not all, of us want to be a hall of famer in our own way.

The good news is that our Air Force provides so many opportunities to be successful in our personal and professional life. Education (TA, grants, etc.), promotion (e.g. BTZ, Awards and Recognition, commissioning), finance (TSP, Blended Retirement System), travel and leisure to name a few. It’s literally too many to list. Go and check the benefit fact sheet in the AF Portal in case you haven’t seen it. It shows a quick summary of benefits and opportunities, and learn about things that we didn’t even know existed. 

I encourage everyone to ask yourself these questions. Am I working hard and not wasting time to master my craft? Did I prepare enough to make that game winning shot? Am I ready to dominate when my number is called?