Leadership Lessons: Season of change

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Joshua Yanov
  • 319th Air Base Wing Judge Advocate General
With summer comes change in the Air Force.  As we all know it is a huge PCS season and change is in the air.  Personally, we may be uprooting our lives from one base and reinstalling them in another. As organizations, our commanders, supervisors and coworkers are changing. It is a time where there is a natural opportunity to reevaluate what we are doing, what is important to us as individuals and organizations, and where our focus should be in the days ahead.

Air Force leaders at every level naturally take advantage of this golden opportunity and ask such questions as: What should be the vision, mission and goals of the organization? How can those be made relevant to the individuals within those organizations? Where do we go from here?

In contemplating these questions and being around discussions of these matters, I began to think about my own life and those around me. What are my vision, mission and goals? What does that even mean on an individual level? Is that the right question or is there something even more fundamental? Does any of this really even matter? I was also drawn to the wing's recent discussion about how our purpose is to defend the American Dream, a dream which can be seen as the combination of our individual dreams as Americans.  It made me think that as individuals the goals and purposes of our lives are propelled by our spoken and unspoken dreams--the quiet ideas of our hearts and what we believe to be true for our lives. These things truly do matter because they can be a source of guidance and strength for us as individuals, Airmen and organizations; strength that can help us to overcome obstacles to personal success and mission accomplishment.

If our dreams are important we should take them seriously, both in ourselves and in those around us. We should take some time to reflect on our lives to determine what is truly important to us, how we are spending our time and what we can change so that who we are at our core is what we are spending our life doing. And as we are thinking about our dreams, we need to dream about the remainder of our time in the Air Force serving the United States of America. We should consider those areas in our respective organizations that could be better and that we are personally motivated to improve. We should dream about how we could harness our own passions, desires and abilities to help the Air Force become an even more professional fighting force.

Focusing on our dreams and not dismissing them can pay big dividends for us personally and professionally. If we have a dream around which we focus our lives it can sustain us when life gets hard and is full of challenges. It can give us a source of strength when other things are pulling us down. It can be a guiding principle when we face many choices about how to invest our limited time and resources.

So maybe you have some big audacious dreams, or maybe you had to really think about what your dreams even are at this point, and you only came up with what seems like small ideas that really don't matter. What do you do with that? Find someone you trust and share your dreams with them over a cup of coffee or lunch and in return ask them about their dreams.  If you're a supervisor, mentor, co-worker, or friend develop real relationships with each other so you can naturally discuss your dreams and take practical steps to help each other achieve them. If you're relating with someone with small or crushed dreams, encourage them not to give up, to keep thinking big and that you are on their side.

In the final analysis, we all have a very short time to make a real impact with our lives in the people and world around us.  Let's not let our short season here at Grand Forks Air Force Base pass us by. Instead, let us help each other live out our personal and professional dreams so that we are truly alive to overcome every obstacle.