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NEWS | Feb. 26, 2013

Self-Mastery

By Chief Master Sgt. Gigi Manning 315th Airlift Wing command chief

Aristotle once said, "The hardest victory is over self."

How many times have you procrastinated over an issue because you "just didn't feel like it," didn't complete career development in a timely manner, or maintain or attain fitness? I'm sure we've all done some of these things at some point in time. Now ask yourself, of those times in which you fell short, did you end up with a negative result for yourself or your customer, for example a supervisor, peer, spouse, child, or friend?

We all value our time, but do we always use it wisely? How often do we end up going down rabbit holes on the internet that have zero to do with a subject we're researching, or getting caught up in a conversation in the hallway or on the flightline when we could be finishing a project? These are examples of how we don't effectively use our time. We look around and the week or weekend is gone and we haven't accomplished the goals we set for ourselves. The task list continues to grow and we begin prioritizing things from the week before that wouldn't be on the list if we had completed them as scheduled.

When it comes to professional development, be it career field specific, professional military education or civilian education, do we get out of our own way? One of the things I stress to my newcomers and the command chiefs brief at Airman Leadership School is 'don't be your own hold-up.' The point I am stressing is that fantastic opportunities don't come along every day, and if you're not ready for them, they will pass you by. If you haven't done the work, the person next to you or behind you will pass you by and you can't blame anyone except yourself.

Thinking of fit to fight, everyone has an opinion on the program, but we all know it is non-negotiable and a condition of employment in the military. We are an all-volunteer force. Some have to work harder than others to maintain the standards, but maintain the standards we must, and everyone should be held to the standards regardless of status. When there is even a hint of inequity, morale is affected and leadership is questioned. Everyone is responsible for their own individual fitness and no one should attempt to put anyone else in a position to have their integrity questioned.
All of these areas ... procrastination, time management, career choices and fitness ... are victories we have to win over ourselves. Some will win more than others, but the ultimate goal is to strive for those small victories and not look outside of ourselves to make them happen. The larger victories will be that much sweeter!