Protect your reputation and go places

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- I have a friend who passed on a bit of information when she had the opportunity to sit in on a developmental team. She said people don't realize how important their reputations are, and that your reputation alone will take you places where your feet never have. Now, I'm sure nothing I am about to say will be new, but I found this particular tidbit useful and something I share with those I mentor.

If you really think about it, it is so true. How many times have you landed a particular job because someone, who knew someone, provided useful information about your job performance, your character or your loyalty? Probably more than you realize. So how do you either develop or maintain the reputation you want? Simple. The Air Force has already provided the road map to your success - the Core Values of Integrity, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. If you follow those, everything else will fall into place.

What else can you do to develop that reputation? First, do the best every day in whatever job you're currently in. Don't look for your next job before you have even stepped into your current one. Focus on being the best medical technician, or launch officer, or maintainer you can possibly be. Job knowledge, in my mind, is the number one criteria for success. Also, remember to pass that knowledge on. This can be done by mentoring the next generation of Airmen. After you leave, someone is going to need to step into your shoes and the mission has to continue. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure the baton is passed successfully and progress moves forward.

Second, have a can-do attitude. Are you the type who sees an opportunity in every challenge? No task is too small or too big for you. Being known as someone who can get the job done is one of the qualities leaders are looking for because they know you can handle anything which comes your way. Leaders know, when things start hitting the fan, you're the person they can count on and want on their team. That positive attitude is what will be remembered and desired. So go take that hill and if you don't know how, find out. Be the one who leads the way.

Finally, have fun and be passionate about what you are doing. What's the use of coming in every day and hating what you do? Life is too short to be unhappy so make every day count. Think about the example you are setting and what message you are sending to those around you. Knowing you are making a difference and making an impact is a worthwhile endeavor. Identify and make the changes which need to be made to provide a better work environment or improve the process. Believe in the mission and the people who are charged with accomplishing that mission. Have loyalty to yourself, your subordinates, and your leaders because we are all in it together.

In the end, just follow the Air Force Core Values and like I tell my daughter, follow the Golden Rule. Do the right thing, even when nobody is looking, everything else will fall into place and good things will happen to you. Just remember, your reputation will take you places where your feet never have.