Challenge to Airmen - 'Do your best and do what's right'

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jamie Rhone
  • 62nd Contracting Squadron commander
More than a decade ago, a mentor challenged me to "Do your best and do what's right." I was amazed at his ability to simplify many of life's lessons into one easy-to-recall statement. Fast forward a decade or so and I find myself as a husband, the father of a teenager, and a commander who repeatedly reminds those around me to "Do your best and do what's right."

Brig. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins recently opined to an audience of contracting commanders that they must encourage their Airmen (officer, enlisted and civilians) to either "... be progressing or be out-processing!" Today's Air Force mission requires nothing short of our daily best, driving us to progress. Our challenging mission requires not only our individual bests but the synergies derived from similar contributions of our entire team. Doing your best means that regardless of how you're feeling today, you're committed to giving your all.

When it comes to "Doing what's right", I find myself facing more "right vs. right" decisions than "right vs. wrong." Right vs. wrong decisions such as "Don't drink and drive!" and "Don't steal that book!" are easy to make. The higher-level question is, "How to do what's right when both outcomes are right?" When faced with this dilemma, I challenge myself to identify which option is harder and then do the more arduous option. This model is indeed counterintuitive, but it has seldom failed me.

Combining the commitment to give your best with the steadfastness to do what is right will put one on a path for success. Keep in mind that this model will not always result in the "path of least resistance" nor will it make you immune to mistakes. Following this model will, however, ensure that the mistakes you do make, when doing your best to accomplish the mission, will be the type you can work through and recover from.

My challenge to you today is to do your best and do what's right.