Core values impact personal, professional life

  • Published
  • By Maj. David Borden, 87th Aerial Port Squadron commander

The Air Force Core Values: Integrity First, Service before Self and Excellence in all we do are taught when we join. 


Have you taken the time to think about how you apply them in your daily life? We all come from diverse backgrounds and for the most part are taught integrity by our parents, grandparents and adult figures in our lives. Doing what’s right when no one is looking and having the understanding of the difference between right and wrong fits this bill as well.


How do you apply this in daily life though? Do you sit back and think of integrity first in your civilian jobs?  It sounds rather silly, but how many of your co-workers really understand the core values you have sworn to uphold? Do you teach or instill integrity in your kids? It matters, in everyday life because our future leaders require it.


How often do you think about Service before Self and what it means in your everyday life? Whether it’s serving your family, spouse, organization, church or military commitment. Do you go out of your way to make a difference? Every day I try to do just that.


Over the past 25 since I enlisted, I have strived to live by this core value. Even volunteering at church, I aim to help others, not for my own benefit but for the greater good. Likewise with my employer, I work to make things better than when I arrived. I always evaluate and determine where I can make a process stronger or introduce something I have learned elsewhere to improve the product.

I practice these same views as a commander in my squadron. My goal is to have all pieces of the machine streamlined through a small tweak or a complete overhaul of an entire program. I want to make it better for those following me. I work constantly to instill this within my sons especially the importance of being a contributor to their organization or employer.

Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller, Chief of Air Force Reserve Command, stated it best in the recent Citizen Airman magazine article, “Developing leaders requires that we enable the full potential of our Reserve Citizen Airmen. Unleashing their performance potential increases mission effectiveness and retains their operational talent. Rotate individuals through different jobs and challenge them with unfamiliar ones. They will gain exposure to different experiences and obtain new expertise and skill sets. Let your Airmen take risks, but mentor at every opportunity that presents itself. Even failure offers valuable leadership lessons that can add new skills, improve confidence and refi ne decision-making processes. Empowering them with trust will produce great dividends.“

This is where we can best make an impact in mentoring our airmen, giving them the tools and get out of their way!



Excellence in all we do, in my opinion is self-explanatory. Why do anything if you’re not going to give it your best?

Be mindful that there is a reason for everything. Be a positive influence in your personal and professional life, very rarely does excellence come from negativity! Negative leadership is not leading by example, how do you expect our future leaders to learn through pointing out only fault vs the success?

Giving your best in any situation can often times change an outcome. Be the answer and not a cancer in any situation! Giving your best can change your personal and professional life.

One of my expectations is if you are going to bring me a problem then you also need to have a solution to back it up and make the change.


Our core values are invaluable for us all!  It impacts our personal and professional life!