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Commentary Search

February Chief's Perspective

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. James Revels
  • 169th Maintenance Group

Excellence in all we do. This is one of the three pillars of our core values. According to Air Force Instruction 1-1.3, "Our core values define our standards of conduct. Our standards of conduct define how Airmen should behave when interacting with others and when confronting challenges in the environment in which we live and work; Excellence in all we do directs us to develop a sustained passion for the continuous improvement and innovation that will propel the Air Force into a long-term, upward vector of accomplishment and performance."

Excellence in all we do is often overlooked and misunderstood. Some may ask, "How can I achieve excellence in everything I do, especially today?" The likelihood of achieving excellence in all areas may seem like a difficult objective at best. Rather, think of "excellence" as a path or a target where you are aiming. Think of excellence as setting high standards, and looking for those individuals that set high standards for themselves to help mentor and provide guidance to you.  You should always seek to do your job better, not necessarily easier, but better.

At some point in our lives we have encountered someone either at work or school who exuded so much confidence and was so proficient that no matter what that person attempted to do they found a way to be successful. How would you say that type of individual has impacted your life?  I know in my situation it always energized me to be better, and to try harder no matter what it was I was doing. I can recall a personal experience early in my Air Force career. At the time I was a senior airman at about my two-and-a-half year mark. There were two staff sergeants who tested and made their rank the first time they tested. They were both very good at their respective jobs. As I became more acquainted with them, I discovered a common attribute. They both worked extremely hard, they both were always learning about their job, and their efforts paid dividends in how well they accomplished their jobs. As a young senior airman, I admired their efforts and accomplishments and started to mimic the way they handled their careers. I asked specific questions on how they prepared for their promotion test (WAPS) and merged different aspects of each of their preparation approaches into my own. I incorporated their thirst for knowledge into my everyday routine by reading through the regulations and technical orders, and then began preparation for my promotion test six months ahead of my scheduled test date. I suppose you could say that they became my mentors. This of course was long before mentoring became a catch phrase. It was not the easy way, and you could say it was a lot of work. I spent every evening after work studying, three to four hours a night, up to when I tested. I took the test and finished the test feeling like I should have prepared more, but the results I received three months later proved that I had been successful.

Be selective in who you choose to be your mentor, or who you choose to follow. Because if they don’t strive to achieve excellence in all they do, the results you achieve may not meet the goals you have set for yourself.