Bloom where you are planted

  • Published
  • By Maj. Damian Wilborne
  • 39th Contracting Squadron commander
Early in my life and military career, my mentors impressed upon me the value of taking advantage of every opportunity. They opened my eyes to the concept of not worrying about the next job. Always plan for the future, but never lose sight of your most important job: the one you are currently doing.

This means a lot more than do your best; it also takes into account you were assigned to Incirlik by a force much bigger than yourself. Some people volunteered to be stationed here, while others were involuntarily sent here. Whatever the reason for being at Incirlik, you have an incredible opportunity to operate and excel at one of the Air Force's most unique and rewarding assignments.

We all share a common purpose and live by a common creed...Air Force core values: Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all we do. No matter what our individual job is, this should always be the starting and ending point of how we carry out all of our duties. But with those concepts as our foundation, you'll find there is always room to improve ourselves and continue to be a valued member of our big Air Force team.

There is no magic formula to this concept, but here are a few steps to help get us or keep us moving in the right direction:

Self reflection - no matter who you are, there is always room for improvement. Start with yourself and be honest. Look at your strengths and figure out ways to continue to capitalize on them. Make them part of your mission's success. Next, dig deep to find out what you can get better at and work everyday to improve on them until it becomes a strength.

Seek the advice of a mentor - There are a lot of people out there who you can look to such as commanders, first sergeants, supervisors, etc. Listen to their sage advice and apply it in a balanced way to help you be a better person.

Education and training - Never stop learning. There are extra career field-specific training and college level classes at your disposal. These will widen your perspective and also augment the skills and knowledge you already possess.

Goals - Continuously set high, achievable goals. After you achieve one, move to the next. You'll find that if you challenge yourself with things that may be out of your comfort zone, you will be shocked at the satisfaction, appreciation and self confidence you'll gain over time.

As one famous Civil War leader, General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson once stated, "You may be whatever you resolve to be." Make sure when you move from one opportunity to the next, you found it within yourself to do the best you can. You'll only get one chance to do exactly what you're doing right here, right now. Believe in yourself, invest in yourself, and make this job and assignment the best ever.