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Listen to the doctor!

  • Published
  • By Col. Donald Adams
  • 90th Maintenance Group commander
One of the greatest memories I have is reading to my children when they were younger. Their favorite books were always from Dr. Suess. Two of my favorite Dr. Suess quotes are, "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go" and "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"

I believe our Creator put us all on this earth to do great things and stand out in a crowd. So I ask you, are you living up to your potential, or do you just go along and fit in because it is easy?

I recently had a conversation with an airman first class who was frustrated because his supervisor didn't see things the way he did. In his eyes, his boss clearly didn't have his best interest at heart with the decision at hand.

As I listened to the Airman, a picture clearly emerged of the path the supervisor wanted this Airman to take. The supervisor wanted to set him up for a leadership role and to do so required him to get out of his comfort zone. The Airman was so focused on his own desires he couldn't see that the supervisor needed him to step up and be more than he thought he could be. More importantly, the airman failed to see the supervisor was showing him the ultimate confidence by pushing him beyond what he thought his limits were because he believed he would succeed.

Where will you go? How far do you plan to go in your career? If you set your sights low, I can assure you that you will probably live up to your expectations. Are you completing your Career Development Course material on time? Do you have your associate's degree from the Community College of the Air Force complete? If you are an officer, do you have your master's degree complete? Do you have the appropriate level of professional military education done?

These are just a few of the things you need to do to stand out. If you do not have all of these things done at the appropriate time, you will also stand out but for the wrong reasons. As many of my mentors and commanders have told me throughout my career, it is not the Air Force that requires you to do all of those things, it is the other Airmen who are doing them and raising the bar.

Many master sergeants have told me over the years "I don't want to get promoted again so I am not going to waste my time doing all of those things." Do you fit that mold? Do you really only want to do only enough to get by?

I challenge you to make yourself the best, to use the brains in your head and steer yourself in a positive direction and decide that you will go higher and farther than you ever thought possible, just because you were born to stand out. I will leave you with one more quote from Dr. Suess and it speaks for itself. "Only you can control your future."