The time is now to prepare for the future

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Linnes Chester and Capt. Anthony Tate
  • 882nd Training Group
Preparing for the future is something that all of us should do, but too often delay or never get around to it.

Are you in that category? The one who will do it "tomorrow?" The one who says, "It's not the right time?" Well, make tomorrow today and the time right.

Get ready for the future now. Improving your communication skills and sharpening your leadership edge can help you get started.

The ability to communicate is something we take for granted. Many of us assume what we say is understood completely, but that is not always the case. Frequently what is intended is not carried out due to poor communication skills, written and verbal.

With job demands that seem to increase in number and complexity, everyone should do what is necessary to ensure that messages are accurately received and executed.

If you discover that your writing skills are not what they should be, take a refresher (or even first-time) English class, volunteer to take meeting minutes or write the squadron newsletter. It can be painful at the beginning, but will pay dividends throughout your career and beyond.

Also take full advantage of the writing areas that are found in professional military and civilian development courses.

Another important communication element is speaking, particularly in public. Most of us have heard that one our greatest fears is public speaking ... there's not much disagreement. Taking a speech class, joining Toastmasters, briefing your office, squadron, group or wing, chairing a committee, talking to students at all levels, etc., can help this problem.

Preparing far enough in advance to rehearse multiple times what you plan to say will boost your comfort and confidence.

Strengthening your leadership skills will also help you prepare for the future. There are those for whom leadership seems natural. If you are not in this category, don't despair.
Leadership ability can be improved in a number of ways.

Volunteering to take on challenging projects that involve several people is helpful. Heading up the Combined Federal Campaign, Air Force Assistance Fund, squadron fundraisers, fitness programs, community groups, visits by distinguished military and civilian members, etc., offer many opportunities for leadership building. Many don't step forward to lead activities out of concern they will fail or be ridiculed. Get past it. Take a chance and lead.

Regardless of your present or future career choice, all organizations are looking for people who can communicate by writing and speaking. They also want those who can lead. They want those who want to do it today. They want those who know that now is the right time.

Let it be your day and your time. It's up to you.