JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
A few months ago, I accidently hit a bunny rabbit driving to work. It was still dark outside and I did not notice it until my headlights shined on it right before impact. The bunny darted across the road, but hesitated in the middle of the road for a fraction of a second, uncertain whether to continue or turn back. The look in its eyes before impact showed fear. My initial thought was, “Slowest. Bunny. Ever.”
Since that incident, I encountered many other animals during my morning commute. The most recent was a mother raccoon crossing the road with her two offspring following her. Just like the other animals, she too hesitated when the headlights got closer. The band of raccoons quickly turned around and made it safely off the road. It was moments like these life continues to remind me a valuable lesson – be decisive in what you do!
As a young Airman, I shied away from being a leader. I was still learning how to be an adult, how to make responsible choices like paying my bills and learning how to do my laundry. The last thing I wanted was to be responsible for someone else.
The day I earned my line number for staff sergeant promotion, I found myself at a crossroad, similar to the animals I described earlier. Instead of crossing the road like I needed to, I seemed to be stuck in the middle — hesitating. Followership is easy; leadership is intimidating.
The time had come where I needed to change my perspective in life and accept the responsibility I was now being given. Promotion was the most difficult transition period in my military career. I fought the responsibility and took almost a year to change my perspective: “Slowest. NCO. Ever.”
Looking back, it feels like I just woke up one day, put on my big girl pants, and finished crossing the road.
Life is a series of choices: decisions made today impact our future options. In the moment, some of those choices are scary, fear may tempt us to hesitate. Often it is much later before we are able to appreciate those decisions.
Today, the Air Force continues to help me grow my leadership skills by allowing me to teach leadership principles to others. It is ironic that the one thing I avoided the most in life, leadership, is now the thing that brings me such great joy.
As leaders, we must remember to be decisive. The choices we make impacts others. If we waiver or hesitate in our choices, just like the mother raccoon, we put those we lead in danger. We have to set the example. We have to teach Airmen how to commit to their decisions, regardless of the results. Airmen cannot wait in the middle of a crossroad. If we do not make a decision, someone else will make it for us. Life’s roads are full of flat creatures who weren’t decisive in what they do.