Commentary by Lt. Col. Vincent Fisher
50th Security Forces Squadron commander
“Of all the things a leader should worry about, complacency should head the list.” John C. Maxwell
In my last article, I wrote about the need to have priorities in life. My hope is that you identified those priorities and now it’s time to make a choice and take the initiative to act! My grandfather, Ben Wiley, uses the quote, “Don’t watch the camel, load the hump!” My grandfather uses this line when we go fishing and he’s catching all the fish; usually as I’m sitting there admiring his skills with a fishing pole. He would basically be motivating me to get busy doing something, either help put the fish away or catch my own fish! So, don’t just sit back and watch others, get to work making the right choices in life. For those of you who are about to make a decision about continued service, I have some advice for you, as you wonder why you should serve — “Load the hump!”
Now is the time to determine, are you a thermometer or a thermostat? Thermometers reflect their environment, they react. Thermostats control the environment and regulate the energy required to affect change. I know some of you may be thinking… “I don’t want to stay in this situation; these people I work with are unbearable.” Don’t make your decision by reacting to what you consider a bad assignment, boss/or supervisor. Become a thermostat, and control your environment or situation. Self control helps you avoid a sense of vulnerability, anger and conflict. Strive to be disciplined in everything you do — your appearance, attitude and duty performance. This leads to personal success and fulfillment about your environment and will help you stay on track with your goals and aspirations in the Air Force.
Consider the people, places, events, struggles and victories in your life. Your peers, bosses and family are probably the most influential people as it relates to your career. People come and go much like the seasons…some good, some bad. If someone isn’t a positive influence in your life, release them and only surround yourself with those who will inspire you to be successful or achieve your goals. Again, have goals and priorities to help you focus. If you came in the Air Force to serve, get more education, travel — then don’t let complacency or negative people get in the way!
Recently, I had the absolute honor to reenlist one of my noncommissioned officers for several more years of service in the Air Force. This particular ceremony was special since it was my 100th reenlistment in 19 years of service. The privilege to officiate a reenlistment is one that I have always held close to my heart because I recognize that it takes initiative on the part of the member to continue to serve. Making the decision to stay or get out of the military can be overwhelming. It’s almost like signing a major league contract with signing bonuses, time lines, waivers and extensions. But signing up for the Air Force way of life is more than just the act of signing the bottom line, it’s making a choice to serve and give your life, if need be, in the defense of this great country!
So, as you make the decision to reenlist in the Air Force, consider the benefits the Air Force offers: health care, education, esprit de corps, travel, and family support programs. Have you really taken full advantage of the things that made you join the Air Force? Make the choice to serve, “Load the Hump” and do something with your career. Be empowered and choose what’s right for you and/or your family! Remember, the Air Force is the most powerful air power in the world…your service is why we can say that without reservation!