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In your comfort zone? Get out!

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Being promoted means you are ready to take on the next level of roles and responsibilities, but how do you prepare for the next level of responsibilities?

One tactic that has worked for me is to step outside my comfort zone. By doing this, I've learned more about the Air Force and experienced more situations than if I had stayed safe within my comfort zone.

My most recent step out of my comfort zone has me performing first sergeant duties. When you're ready to try something new, you can prepare yourself to take that step by following three rules -- watch your step, research and ask questions.

Watching your step is important if you want to succeed. The last thing you want is to take on more than you can handle. If you have never been part of an awards banquet committee before, you probably don't want to be the committee president. Instead, start off as a committee member, and then work your way up.

The next rule is to research. After being told I was going to be the acting first sergeant, the first thing I did was read the corresponding Air Force Instruction. The AFI told me exactly what was going to be required of me and what to expect. Whether it's putting together an awards banquet or running a fundraiser, you will find some sort of guidance that will point you in the right direction. This will lead you to the final step -- asking questions.

Find a coworker, family member or a friend that has experience in whatever task you are about to perform and ask them questions. Find out what worked for them and what didn't. Before I started my first sergeant duties, I spoke with other first sergeants and asked them the questions I had developed from reading the AFI.

Next time you see a volunteer email or feel that you're ready to take on more responsibilities, remember the three rules. Start off small, do not take on more than you can handle.
Research guidance to see what will be required of you. Finally, find others who have performed that task and ask questions. If you follow these rules you'll succeed at whatever task is before you.