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NEWS | April 24, 2019

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Embrace Change

By Command Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly

I welcome change with a vision of understanding that change will bring a positive transformation in the way we define leadership.

Socrates once said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

There are some of us who have been hurt, taken advantage of or just mistreated by a supervisor, a friend or a family member. To those individuals, I say…I’ve been there. Sometimes we don’t know if change is your friend or not. I am here to tell you change is your BFF.

Thomas Aquinas said, “If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he (she) would keep it in the port forever.” You are that ship, my friend. You need to take charge and feel comfortable taking risk.

We all need to take responsibility of who we are and where are we going. Remember, when we take our lives or careers in our hands, we have no one to blame.

Your goals should not be casual; otherwise, it will be too easy to walk away and give up. I remember wanting to learn Italian. I went as far as downloading a free app, but I was not committed.

Learning Italian was not a priority and it was not important. Any distraction moved me from my goal. I am here to tell you that effort lasted a week or so and I gave up.

Sometimes we don’t want to change because we are afraid of failure or of what others might think or say about us. Roddy Galbraith, one of my mentors, shared with me that “if you take a chance and fall, you can get back up. You will learn from the experience and you’ll become an example for others to follow.”

Don’t let fear hold and keep you in darkness! As we make choices in life, we become aware of options, situations and circumstances. This awareness will allow us to select the best outcome for each situation.

The process of change is also to understand every decision has a price. When I accepted this job, I knew I was sacrificing my home life. My sons ended up with the responsibility of taking care of my special needs brother and their grandmother, whom is a total-care patient.

In his book “Go Out and Make a Mess!” Galbraith tells us a few key points I would like you to think about. The list is as follows: We are all perfectly imperfect; no one is any better than anyone else, no one is any worse than anyone else; we are all doing the best we can; we can all do better; well all have the opportunity to learn and grow.

As we learn and grow, we make better decisions. As we make better decisions, our lives improve. Please do not pull away from life by being afraid. Change has to start with you. This will allow you to stretch yourself outside your comfort zone.

Winston Churchill once said “I can sum up the success of my life in seven words. Never give up. Never, never give up.”

As you change and develop, be patient. It is a daily effort for the rest of your life. Do not be impatient. I promise you if you have the persistence to keep going, your character will form a great foundation to keep growing.

You are great Citizen Airmen and I thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you. This time I am asking for you to welcome change in each experience of your amazing life.