You have control of your life, career

  • Published
  • By Maj. Charles Trovarello
  • 445th Security Forces Squadron Commander

Own what you can control.  This is the single most important thing to glean from all that follows.

I want to focus on three aspects in particular that EVERYONE has control over both in life and your military career: personal attitude, education, and fitness.

Other facets such as promotions, assignments, equipment, etc. you may be able to influence, but often these are controlled by someone else.

The number one aspect you can control is your personal attitude.  This factor is the drive and discipline engine for the other two, and influences multiple facets of your life both directly and indirectly.

Right now, you may be thinking that what others do determines your attitude, and to some degree you are correct. The take away here is that YOU CONTROL the way you respond to situations.

This is one area I have personally struggled with over the last 14 years of my military career.  Your reactions and personal demeanor are products of nature and nurture, so change won’t occur overnight. You can do it though, and there are multiple avenues of approach which can help.

Mindfulness exercises, meditation, asking a friend to help keep you accountable, and a journal of positive things about the day are all small things that can lead to attitude changes.  Start small and press! Find a motivation for change and stick to it.

The second aspect has to do with personal growth and the need to never stop seeking knowledge.

Push to complete your Professional Military Education, degree, or professional certifications. No one else is going to take your test, this is on you.

Multiple times I have seen individuals seeking advancement fall short because they didn’t complete the required schooling/PME.

With regard to education, remember that your core tasks and daily activities are also part of your required knowledge to be effective.  Continuously review and refine what you may already know.  No one is a master after the first time they complete a task and with that even masters refine and continue to grow.

The final aspect is one that will likely irk some, but nonetheless it is an important part of not only the military, but also everyday life.

You must make physical fitness a priority as it plays a part in medals, performance reports, school selections, and a host of other things outside of the military such as health and health insurance. 

Much like education, no one else can get out there and run for you, so you must find ways to make this a priority.  In 2017, I was aggravated with my performance and started looking at PT as a personal discipline challenge. Not eating cookies wasn’t just about sticking to some plan; it was a demonstration that I could stay disciplined.  In the end this worked for me and helped me lose 20 pounds and score a 96 percent.

In conclusion, focusing on what you can control will not only help you succeed in the areas mentioned above, but it will set the example for those around you.  Every one of us is influencing someone: be it a peer, family member, boss, or just the guy at the gym that sees you killing it every day. I challenge each of you to take time to think about those aspects you can control and avoid getting caught up in those you don’t. It will take a solid effort in order to recognize those things that are wasting your precious time and energy. Stick with it though! You’ve got nothing to lose (expect possibly some stress) and everything to gain!