Planning to succeed

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Joseph M. Bystedt
  • 934th Maintenance Squadron
There's an old saying that goes, people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan.  In our Air Force I've always found this to be a valid concept.  Don't be one of those cursing your fate and blaming others for your lack of preparedness.  For those looking to move up through the ranks, preparing for the next challenge is akin to making your own luck.

I have found that as a supervisor it is a constant struggle to not only find the right people to assume positions of leadership but to ensure the gifted leaders we have also have the necessary blocks filled.  The Air Force has changed the playing field over the last few years.  The Fit to Fight program has teeth.  A CCAF degree is becoming a necessity.  The old days of PME and time in grade being the only hurdles are long gone.  Gone also, hopefully, are the days when the next stripe gets bestowed upon the one who has been there longest and is next in line.  For us all to succeed we must recognize that hiring the best person for the job regardless of any other factors benefits us all.

Make these rules work for you.  Don't fail to plan.  List the mandatory items required for your next promotion and put them where you can see them daily; then start knocking them down.  Satisfy yourself with controlling that which is in your power to control.  Give yourself a fighting chance and don't self-eliminate.

Communication of your aspirations may seem obvious but do not leave this stone unturned.  Do not assume leadership knows where you want to go.  Plant the seed with your supervisor, let them know what your aspirations are and ask their advice about how to get there.  Don't just sign a form when it comes to mentoring, demand it.  Show up for your mentoring armed with a well thought out plan.  Voice your concerns and wishes and request the help necessary to help you achieve your goals.  It is your career, who better than you to chart its course.