Commentary by Lt. Col. Kevin Williams
50th Civil Engineer Squadron commander
“Excellence in All We Do” is one of our core values. While I strive for excellence, I sometimes find myself not being excellent in every area of my life. For example, I’m in pretty good shape but I’m not in the best shape according to Air Force fitness standards. While I scored 95% on my last fitness assessment, I didn’t score 100%. This may seem like a small thing, but we’re talking about being excellent. And it’s relative for everyone. Some may be thinking, “I’m having a hard time scoring 80% so why is he tripping over a 95%?” The point is, the challenge for me is that last 5%. My challenge is not your challenge and vice versa.
So, how do we achieve excellence? Three things come to mind: goals, consistency and accountability. We’ve all learned the importance of setting goals, both short and long, to chart a path for completing objectives and tasks. Without goals, you don’t know what you’re aiming for and why. You’re shooting from the hip hoping to hit the target. Setting goals involves planning and figuring out the intermediate steps to help you reach your goal.
While attending Air Command & Staff College, I set a goal to max the fitness test. Sit-ups, push-ups and the abdominal circumference measurement have never been problematic for me. But the run is a real challenge. Although I ran track in high school and college, I really didn’t know the first thing about running long distances. So I bought a book to gain an understanding of what I needed to do. I began by running approximately 10 miles per week to establish a good base. About three months out, I began to increase my mileage every week until I was running 20 miles per week. In addition to running long distances, I mixed in sprints of 100, 200, and 400 meters every other week or so. One thing I learned is if you want to run faster, you have to run fast! After three months of running sprints and long distances, I tested and maxed the fitness test, primarily because I maxed the run portion of the test. I set my goal, planned each step, followed each step and in the end reached my goal.
Many of us are eager to start a task or project, but we don’t finish strong or don’t finish at all. We’re inconsistent. Consistency is steadily and constantly doing what’s needed to obtain your goals without fail. If I would have continued with the training regimen that I started at ACSC, I would have scored 100% on my last fitness test just as I did before. In this instance, my lack of consistency is what prevented me from being excellent in this area. If you find that you have a difficult time in being consistent and disciplined, you may find that an accountability partner may help.
One thing that helped me to max my previous run was the fact that I ran with someone who knew more about running long distances than I did. That person helped me to achieve my goal by motivating and pushing me. He held me accountable to the goal I set. If you’re not accountable to someone, I encourage you to partner with someone who will hold you accountable. You have several resources at your disposal: your co-workers, the HAWC, fitness center staff or if you’re in the 50th Mission Support Group, come out to PT every morning at 6:15 a.m. and Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Winfree, Mission Support Group superintendent, will whip you into shape!
I challenge you to be great, be excellent. Set goals, be consistent and find an accountability partner. Allow them to challenge you if you’re not meeting your goals. Our AF requires the untapped potential that lies in you. And if you see me around, ask me if I run a 9:30 mile and a half yet!