Take the time, effort to make a memory

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Imagine the year is 2048, sitting around the back porch with your family and friends talking about the "good ole days" back when you were an Airman. What will your Air Force story be? What will you remember about your time in our Air Force when you are 60? Will you remember the inspections, long temporary duties, deployments and pins in your map? What memories did you make during your career or more importantly, what memories did you enable those around you make?

When I am 60, with grandkids on my knee I want to be able to talk about my time in the Air Force using my "Three Be's" of memory making--be passionate about people, be courageous when giving feedback, and when practical, be selfish about making my life better.

Be passionate...our Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, eloquently states that "you can't lead the Airmen if you don't know the story." When you're 60, how do you want to be remembered? I remember every supervisor who took the time to know me as a person. I remember the peer who showed a genuine concern for my well-being. Those people have become my best friends, people I can count on no matter where I live or where I work. I challenge each of you to strive to make that kind of impact on your subordinates and peers. Make time be memorable.

Be courageous...if you are a supervisor of Airmen, think back to your favorite supervisor...the one you try to emulate. What made them different? I'll bet it had something to do with how they gave feedback. Too often we leave our Airmen hanging and they don't know where they stand in relation to their peers until they see their enlisted or officer performance report. You are cheating your Airmen--give a complement, give a critique, hold your people and yourself accountable. This is not easy and it takes courage to look at someone in the eye and give them feedback. Don't waste that opportunity to enable a memory.

Be selfish...I know how this sounds, but stay with me! By definition, by taking an oath to serve, we are not selfish and the Air Force rarely gives us an opportunity to focus solely on ourselves. When you have the opportunity to really take care of YOU, make the most of it. What could you be selfish about this year to make yourself or your family better? Is it time to finish your Community College of the Air Force or master's degree? Is it time to focus on promotion testing this year or concentrate on your instructor upgrade? For me, this year I am being selfish with my kids' homework. I plan to sit at the kitchen table with my kids as often as possible to ensure I make an impact and more importantly a memory. You have the power to set priorities in your life--make a memory for YOU!

It is 2013. There is still tons of time to make memories. Don't miss an opportunity to enable a memory--when you're 60, I hope you have plenty to talk about!