Are we fulfilling our commitment?

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What is commitment? According to the dictionary, it’s defined as “an act of committing to a charge or trust.” I look at it as always working hard, keeping my word and giving my best at all times regardless of the task at hand.

This is true for me whether applied to my personal or professional life. While your definition may differ, I feel safe in saying we all made a commitment to our service and our country the day we enlisted or commissioned. Our commitment to the success and protection of both should not and cannot end there.

In order to remain the greatest country and Air Force this world has ever known, we must maintain the highest level of commitment in every aspect of our service regardless of how mundane or grueling the task.

Ken Blanchard, an American author and management expert states, “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something you accept no excuses, only results.”

We witness this all the time in our day-to-day interactions with others. If you are interested, you show up sometimes. If you are committed, you show up all the time. If you are interested, you allow things to just happen. If you are committed, you set specific goals and monitor your progress. If you are interested, you leave yourself an “out” so when the interest fades or the task becomes too difficult it’s easy to move on to something else. If you are committed, you let no obstacle stand in your way pushing through when the interest dies or when the task becomes boring or inconvenient. As leaders in the profession of arms, we must show our commitment to the mission and the people under our charge every single day.

Throughout my career I’ve heard the adage, “Someone is always watching.”

It’s true whether you realize it or not. It might be your leadership, your peers or your subordinates, though I will tell you it’s likely all of the above. As leaders, we must set the tone and be an example to them all. We must model to them the behaviors we desire from them. Whether demonstrated by staying late to finish award packages or performance evaluations, addressing poor performance on the spot, or taking responsibility for the team’s failures while deflecting praise for their successes. Leading by example is a must as it builds trust, fosters teamwork and influences minds.

Vince Lombardi said it simply, “Individual commitment to a group effort is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

I believe we all had a desire to be a part of something greater than ourselves when we chose to serve in the Air Force. The day we took our respective oaths, we took on a great responsibility.

So now ask yourself, are you committed or just interested?