Strategies for a successful military career

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Charles Bell
  • 62nd Force Support Squadron
I'm approaching completion of a 30-year career in the Air Force and have found it not only very challenging, but also extremely rewarding and would like to share a number of key strategies that could help each of you to also have a successful military career. 

Goals -- You may not be able to achieve your career goals without first establishing a strategy for success built around several interim goals. Setting goals for professional and self improvement will help you achieve personal success and also gain the confidence to ensure progress in your military career. Don't underestimate the significance of pacing yourself by maintaining balance in key areas of your life. 

Healthy Relationships -- The significance of maintaining healthy relationships and gaining support from co-workers, subordinates, supervisors and family members must not be disregarded. Viewing these relationships as part of a partnership for success will pay dividends as you help each other navigate the extensive path to a successful career. You must also take time to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships with friends and family and recognize these relationships require time and effort to maintain. 

Health -- It is very important to maintain your health through regular exercise and also include good eating and sleeping regimens. A solid exercise program will help alleviate mental stress, maintain mental alertness, easily pass fitness evaluations and ultimately help you maintain a constant state of mission readiness. In addition, we must always keep safety in mind since this principle contributes directly to our overall health! 

Finances -- Controlling your finances will help alleviate stress and allow you to take even greater advantage of military or other retirement plans you may be aiming for. Consulting a financial planner early and throughout your career could avoid costly mistakes and minimize stress. 

You will be better prepared to handle the unexpected by remaining open and flexible at all times. Expect and prepare for possible complications to better handle situations without disrupting your overall career plans. Life's unexpected moments require us to broaden our horizons and grow in ways we never would have otherwise, giving added insight into our abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Countless valuable leadership traits are cultivated through adversity. Tackling unplanned challenges with a determination to learn, grow and succeed makes us more confident and stronger as Airmen. 

Completing a successful military career depends on proper preparation and planning. The plan needs to include setting goals, maintaining healthy relationships, balance and staying flexible. These strategies will help you stay on course towards achieving your career goals.