Commentary

June 21, 2013

Filling squares

Senior Master Sgt. Vincent Miller
Barksdale AFB, La.

As Airmen, we are more than familiar with the need to fill the proverbial squares as we strive to progress in our military career.

To be competitive for awards and promotions, we must commit ourselves to goals such as education, passing the fitness exam, and community service. It is through completion of these expectations and requirements that we become better leaders, managers and Airmen. However, somewhere along the way, we fail to internalize the importance of why we fill these squares.

In reality, the squares are designed to make us better and provide a separation between the willing and unwilling – the committed and uncommitted. The squares help identify Airmen who are motivated and willing to go the extra mile to better themselves, their team, and the Air Force. It is this drive towards self-improvement that separates one from the masses and establishes his or her true identity.

One square that requires a great deal of commitment is the pursuit of education. As we continually strive to become that “whole person,” we must challenge ourselves intellectually and work toward attaining a certification; associate, bachelor’s, or even a master’s degree. Attending school is not easy and takes sacrifice. It means spending your time writing a research paper, while everyone else is enjoying the weekend. It means taking your textbook on the flightline and studying every chance you get. It means being the security forces Airman I saw reading a biology book while eating breakfast in the dining facility.

At this moment some of you are saying there is no time to attend school; high operations tempo, 40-hour work week, and spending time with family are a few reasons†that prevent you from taking classes. Additionally, some of you may feel we should be evaluated solely on work performance.

Honestly, these excuses are hindering you from progressing and improving yourself. If you continue to hide behind them, like I once did, you will never take yourself to the next level.

It took a long time to realize that fear and toxic excuses prevented me from seeking an education. Constant mentorship and a few one-way “conversations” from a chief†master sergeant†propelled me down the road of education.

Dedicating yourself to filling the squares is a decision only you can make. By filling them you demonstrate the willingness of constant self-improvement and unwavering commitment, which directly benefits you, your team, and the Air Force. Filling the squares also establishes separation from your peers and it is through this separation that you are most likely to fulfill your career aspirations and goals.

The choice is yours and yours alone. Be willing to accept the consequences. Don’t say, “He/she only got Senior Airman below-the-zone because he went to school.” Rather, you must say, “I lost because I chose not to go to school. I chose not to fill the squares.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- Less than one percent of today’s U.S. population has ever served in the military, and that one percent has carried the weight of America’s longest military engagement. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a recent book that “for too long too many of us have paid scant attention to the commitment of the brave few...
 
 

Getting to the roots of the matter

An effective safety program means getting at the roots of the matter. Spring has sprung! Coming recently from the East Coast, I was full of desire to get out and see what damage the long and severe winter caused. Cleaning and raking, picking up broken limbs and the normal debris that winter brings. And then...
 
 

2015 Memorial Day message from 412th TW/CC

Team Edwards, Thank you for the outstanding welcome!†These past two months have been dynamic and exciting and I am honored to work with each and every one of you.†I truly appreciate your dedicated service and tireless efforts spent developing the needed capabilities for our Air Force and joint partners. This is my third assignment here...
 

 

This Memorial Day, reflect on true meaning

It was nearly 150 years ago that our nation first observed a day of remembrance for those who died in service to the United States of America. Over the years, more than one million American Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and Airmen have given their lives in defense of our great nation. We owe our...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- Memorial Day is a time to remember the men and women who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.  These brave Americans are part of a tradition of sacrifice, a theme highlighted in a recent book by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran called “For Love of Country: What...
 
 
Untitled-1

What’s your social thumbprint?

U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jessica Hines Just as you would lock the front door of your home or secure your wallet, social media users should aim to lockup and secure their online personal information and do regular ch...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>