'Join' ... for success

  • Published
  • By Maj. Will Manley
  • 56th Services Squadron commander
It's the New Year and many of you have made resolutions to make 2009 the best year of your life.

Making resolutions and keeping them are two separate and distinct actions. While it's possible to make significant changes in your life, it's not easy - that's why they're called resolutions. You'll need a lot of resolve to see it through.

Instead of trying to "go it alone" this year and risk losing heart, I recommend we add one more resolution - to JOIN an organization that will help us achieve our goals. That's right - go through the effort of committing yourself, and your time, to another organization ... in the pursuit of your goals.

Simply put, groups are the best way to achieve success - that's why fish school, wildebeests herd and people form governments. Groups give novices the benefit of veteran experience, pool resources for the common good, hold individuals accountable and bring a degree of safety to their members.

However, groups are only as good as their membership, so find a winning team with a good track record. But, it won't be a "free ride" - members are expected to contribute to the overall success. So, while you may not meet the grade going in, you'll be expected, and encouraged, to make progress - which is what you want anyway.

For instance, if you want to become a better athlete, consider joining an intramural, varsity or city league team. Joining the team won't make you a better athlete - but showing up and putting in the practice will. You'll learn from better athletes and be held accountable to practice by your coach and peers.

Likewise, joining your child's Parent-Teacher Association won't change a thing for your kid -- unless you go to the meetings, make your voice heard and put in a little elbow grease. Groups are the framework for individuals to excel within. You're already a member of the world's mightiest air, space and cyberspace force as part of the U.S. Air Force. We've earned that reputation through the efforts of the individuals within our group.

Below are some ideas to help you branch out and improve other areas of your life:

·Professional development: Join one of the organizations on base -- Company Grade Officers Council, Top 3, Focus 56,
LEAD, or go crazy and get involved with the Dorm Council. It's your life, and your career -- get and stay involved.
· Spiritual growth: Contact the base chapel, a downtown church, or another philanthropic organization -- there are tons of local mission projects and small groups to get involved with.
· Fitness: Sign up with a trainer at the base fitness center, or volunteer to be a physical training leader in your squadron. Also, capitalize on the competitive nature of CrossFit in your unit PT sessions to push yourself to higher fitness levels.
· Fraternal organizations: Learn from the old-timers and your peers alike. No need to re-invent the wheel within your armed force - see what benefits belonging to great organizations like the Air Force Association, Military Officers Association of America,
Air Force Sergeants Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars is like.

While you're at it, join the club and have a beverage with your comrades Friday afternoon. That's my challenge to you this year -- find an organization that will help you accomplish some meaningful goals, and join up.