Chief asks: Who is keeping you on track?

  • Published
  • By CMSgt Jeffrey Kallas
  • 71st Flying Training Wing
We all have goals of what we want to accomplish in life but take a moment and look back just over the last two years of your life and answer this question, "Did I accomplish the goals I set for myself?"
The answer for 95 percent of us is probably "no." So, why is that?
It's obvious our military commitment plays a huge part in the accomplishment of our goals, but does it really? Pull out the list of goals you've set for yourself and look it over. If you actually have a list, you can stop reading this article now; you've already "passed go and can collect your $200" since you've already mastered the ability to be self reliant in setting and adjusting your goals.
But if you're like me, there is no piece of paper, no written list of realistic, specific, measurable or challenging goals. Even worse, there's no completion date, other then "I'm going to ..."
This is not meant to be a depressing article. Even without having specific goals, we are pretty good human beings. We sustain and operate one of the best training wings in Air Education and Training Command through the combined efforts of everyone on base whether it's the military personnel flight member who in-processed you, the security forces on the gate or the maintenance personnel on the flight line. We are the best at total force!
The reason for this accomplishment is simple. Specific goals were achieved. Starting with basic training, we were given goals that were realistic, specific and measurable, with a "no kidding" deadline. We either did or did not accomplish these goals. If we didn't, we were washed back, and tried again until we accomplished these goals. We all check marked this goal or we wouldn't be here right now, and we got to be the best because someone kept us on track.
My "someone" came at multiple times in my career. The first was after my two-time Career Development Course failure. Faced already with a withhold on my senior airman stripe, I had the fortunate experience of having two SrNCOs sit me down and lay out my life paths if I was to fail again. From there, I did great. I had set goals and was achieving them, until I became a master sergeant.
Now, don't get me wrong, I was a hard charging master sergeant, especially as a first sergeant, but as noted, I failed to match my goals with the Air Force's expectation of completing a Community College of the Air Force degree. Who came to the rescue? A group of people this time. My wife who was tired of my excuses, my wing senior enlisted advisor (now my duty title -- command chief master sergeant) and my then group commander, Col Ron Surman. Yes, it took all three to collaborate on the plan but the day I was called into the group commander's office and given the "I've never done this before, but you won't go any further ... and you will ..." speech from the colonel was my opportunity to set a goal.
Have I "passed go and collected my $200" since this last episode? The answer is still "no" for a few personal goals. But that's ok, because I know what I'm missing ... someone to keep me on track.
So what's the lesson? Find someone or be the "someone" to keep another member on track. Whether it's working out, completing your educational requirements, losing weight, becoming financially stable or working on a relationship, we all need someone to keep us on track.
Steps to setting specific goals:
- Be realistic: Set goals that are actually obtainable
- Be specific: Describe what to accomplish with as much detail as possible.
- Make them measurable: Describe the goal in terms that can clearly be evaluated.
- Make them challenging: They should take energy and discipline to accomplish.
State a completion date: Break longer-term goals into shorter pieces and clearly specify target completion dates.