Commentary by Lt. Col. Jennifer Grant
2nd Space Operations Squadron commander
I recently heard a woman at a hair salon remark, “Can you believe it is already April? Where has the time gone?” Good question! As a commander, wife, and mother I am sensitive to the limitations of my time. Each day carries with it the opportunity to influence my family and my squadron in a positive way — how will I make those moments count? Balance and perspective determine where I invest my time, and I submit the following recommendations for your consideration.
Differentiate between what is urgent and what is important — they are not always the same. Make time for what is important. Make time for mentoring people. Make time for family. No one ever looked back on a career or life and regretted not working longer hours. Invest time to make a difference. Don’t sweat the small stuff. When I start to get stressed or see my Airmen getting stressed, I ask three questions: 1) Are any of our satellites falling out of the sky? 2) Is anyone losing life or limb? 3) Has the Earth stopped rotating on its axis? These questions help in determining if I’m dealing with an urgent issue requiring my immediate time and attention.
Watch and listen to people. Notice who may need a little chat time, or a “How are you doing?” Then take the time, even five minutes, to talk. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes. This is true at home and in my squadron. Watching and listening to my husband and my son are important parts of my day. I arrive to work early so that I am available to spend time with my son in the evening and have a quiet dinner with my husband. Weekend family time is necessary. Balancing family activities and work is not always easy, but it is important.
Take time to help others. Our squadron has made simple meals for Airmen on convalescent leave and for squadron spouses who have just had babies. We have sent care packages to our deployed members overseas and brought holiday meals to our crews on the operation floor. I have also witnessed some amazing examples: An Airman, en route to his shift, who stopped to administer first aid to an injured man wandering on Interstate 94. He ultimately saved his life. Another Airman witnessed a head-on collision and stopped to assist the victims until the medics arrived. Both are examples of people on their way to work, investing time in others…making a difference…even if it meant being a little late.
A hundred years from now the size of my bank account, what jobs I have held or how many hours I spent at work will matter little; however, the time I invested in my family, friends and squadron will have had some influence and made a difference. Invest your time wisely. Make a difference today.