Would have, should have, could have

  • Published
  • By Col. Eric Brandes
  • 934th Maintenance Group
In our current times of deployments, economic turmoil and leadership changes, emotions and stresses sometimes take control of our lives, often times not for the better.
Service Before Self is one of our Air Force Core Values and is worth living by however you can be of most value in the service to our country if you take care of you first.
That may sound contradictory but let me propose this. I've been in and around aircraft maintenance for over two decades and I can attest to the fact that aircraft are safer, more reliable and perform better when well maintained, so do you. No, this isn't a "push" for the Fitness Program, but more a proposal that extends beyond. 

So what can you do to take care of you so when needed to perform you are the best you can be? To begin with don't be a "would have, could have, should have" person - unhappy, unprepared and regretful. Do something now! Well what?
First of all there are always opportunities to volunteer on projects within your church, unit or charitable organizations like the Veterans Administration, Red Cross, Big Brothers and Big Sisters. 

Why volunteer? In my opinion not much can be more rewarding than when you do for others without any selfish motivation. You can meet new friends and acquire skills that may be beneficial now or in your future.
Second, complete a degree, take a course, or audit a class and of course make it a priority to complete your Professional Military Education.
I will take this opportunity to "push" the Community College of the Air Force for either an associate or bachelors degree. The school gives credit for much already accomplished at other academic institutions or even throughout your military career. Of course there are numerous other methods either local, on-line or some combination to build upon and increase your knowledge. 

Education stimulates thought, opens the mind and as many have stated, "Education is something nobody can take away from you". Everyone is busy and seem to have no available time but "if not now, when"? 

Third, embrace change. It's not that you have a choice anyway. That may sound harsh but let's face it, change is going to happen, "resistance is futile." I've been quoted as saying "Change is the status quo" - what do you think?
Admittedly there is no guarantee any given "change" will be an improvement but not trying to improve will definitely not make things better. 

While trial and error is often frustrating, waiting for the perfect solution is the same as doing nothing. If you don't improve ahead of, or at least at the same pace as your enemy, competition or peers, what will happen to you?
Think of self-improvement as becoming better able to adapt to external change by making internal changes to you. 

Fourth, be happy and smile. It's often tough, but remember we all have our blessings and challenges and there has never been an assurance that life would be easy. The Word would be to: "seek harmony; be sympathetic; express brotherly love; be compassionate; live with humility."
Why? Because the opposite will harvest bitterness, regret and unhappiness, and you also won't be much fun to be around. Your family, co-workers, and fellow Airmen will appreciate it as well. This may all sound a bit too "touchy-feely" particularly coming from a maintainer. 

The bottom line - do something now to take care of you. Don't worry about what you haven't done. Don't become a "could have, would have, should have."