Planning for change sets stage for success


Most of us understand the term or the meaning of "change" and the implications that change brings to our lives. You have heard various terms and phrases such as "things change," "you can't stop change" or "it's better to ride the winds of change or get run over by it!" There are countless books, articles and lectures we've all seen on television that try to convince us that their tried and true methods are the magic of managing "change." My simple advice is that we all manage our own "winds of change" and I'd like to pass on a few I've learned over the years. 

As a wing, we have over the past year seen our fair share of change with our current deployment, personnel coming and going to the Area of Responsibility, reassignments and a good share of retirements. For example, you can understand that with the up-coming Operational Readiness Inspection and Unit Compliance Inspection that there will be a great deal of planning or "change" coming over the next year or so. Understandably, we want everyone ready to go and to do it in a smart and planned fashion to meet the changes ahead both personally and professionally. Setting yourself up for success is the best way. 

1. Sit down now and write down a one-year and five-year plan. Each plan should have steps built into each goal to get you there. Think of every goal as an investment and update it every year. A one-year plan will be your short-term goals that can be obtained in a short period of time. For example, start or finish school, buy a car, finish your Professional Military Education, work on your programs in the unit, invest time in your community and invest in your family and your fellow reservists. On the professional side, plan for training or mentorship. A five-year plan involves goals and change that build upon themselves over time. Doing all you can to put yourself in a position or job you want to be in five years or sooner. For example, going to and completing school, Air Force Specialty Code training or taking on technical skills training. Find out what you love to do and do it! 

2. Have a financial plan. Save for the present. Financial advisors recommend six months worth of household savings in case of an emergency and a retirement plan or Individual Retirement Account or maximize your contributions to your retirement plan. 

3. Be open to new ideas and experiences. Get out of town and see new places and people. Some of the best experiences and exposure to new ideas is to volunteer or go on an Air Expeditionary Force tour or short term assignment. 

4. Stay healthy, eat well, exercise and get a good night's sleep. 

5. Lastly, as hard it as it is to balance all that you are doing, remember your family and friends. They say that as a reservist we are a house balanced by three pillars and a roof - yourself, your family, your employer, your Air Force Reserve. Paying attention and being ready for change will keep your house maintained! 

Make a good sail (or plan) for your ship and point it in the best direction you want to go and then let the "Winds of Change" blow all they want. It takes preparation and planning to weather the storms ahead! I leave you with this quote to ponder: 

Whosoever wishes to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details.
Knowledge is not intelligence.
In searching for the truth be ready for the unexpected.
Change alone is unchanging.
The same road goes both up and down.
The beginning of a circle is also its end.
Not I, but the world says it: all is one.
And yet everything comes in season.
Heraklietos of Ephesos