When opportunity knocks, answer door


Throughout our time in the Air Force, whether for four years or 30, we are presented with many opportunities. The places we go and the duties we learn to do all lend themselves to new experiences that most Americans will never get. Those opportunities can be a key component to your success in the Air Force.
The biggest reason people miss or fail at the opportunities that come their way is their attitude toward them. Maybe you got the assignment everyone tells you is horrible, or you were selected for a developmental special duty that deep down you really didn’t want. Or maybe you were just selected to run a project or ceremony. If you approach each of these opportunities looking for the positives you can take from them, you will be successful.
It doesn’t matter the situation, you may learn something new and grow as an Airman. The new assignment could teach you about a new system or way of doing things. The DSD could expose you to parts of the military you never knew existed. The project or ceremony could help hone your leadership skills. Or maybe it isn’t what you can get out of it to make you grow, but it is what you can do for those who work with you to help them grow. Over time, succeeding in these opportunities will define who you are.
I can speak to a lot of this from experience. As a young senior airman I received orders to Fort Hood, Texas, as a weather forecaster. For a while, everyone told me how sorry they were for me and how horrible an assignment it was. It wasn’t until a prior-enlisted lieutenant told me how great Army Support was that I became excited to go. In my nine years at Fort Hood, I was tapped to be the expert on our tactical equipment, train new members on field skills and equipment, be our unit’s training manager and backup, and step in occasionally as deployment manager in addition to being a forecaster. Each of these positions had manuals and Air Force Instructions I had to learn, and each one came with different expectations of me. Working in these positions has expanded my knowledge and helped me to be more effective as a senior NCO and flight chief.
It took a positive attitude toward each opportunity for me to come away with everything I did. If I had started my time at Fort Hood with a negative outlook or treated my opportunities as a burden, I likely never would have been asked to take on the later ones. Without the knowledge I gained from those later ones, I likely wouldn’t have made technical sergeant and master sergeant when I did. I would argue those opportunities are why I am a first sergeant today.
You will be presented with opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone while you are in the Air Force. By looking at them positively, giving your all and learning everything you can from them, you will be successful. And by giving those opportunities to your people, you can help them be successful as well.