Never again

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Brian Sporysz
  • 420th Munitions Squadron

Perspective comes in many ways. When I was at a previous assignment, I thought my 45-minute bus commute to work was horrible, but then I PCS’d and had an hour plus drive to work every day. Turns out sitting on the bus, being able to read, listen to music, or even sleep a little wasn’t that bad. I just needed an experience to give me a little perspective.

As in life or specifically your time in the Air Force, every opportunity provides some form of learning or chance to gain some perspective. Good or bad, it is important that we all utilize these opportunities to grow as Airmen and leaders. I’ve had many learning opportunities over the years and one of the best lessons I’ve learned is to apply two simple words…Never Again.

These two words, while simple, can be a phrase on which change can happen. Look at any situation and think about what you could’ve done differently by applying, “Never Again.” For example, arriving to the United Kingdom after an inspection failure made it easy to translate my message and direction by utilizing that phrase. I dug into the situation and was able to go beyond the overall understanding that “we will never again fail.” I was able to break that phrase into pieces: Never again will we be in a position that failure is an option. Never again will we not be prepared to accomplish the mission. Never again will our training standards fail us. Find what you can change and change it.

There are many ways to be a leader, and if you ask one hundred people you’d probably get one hundred different answers. Everyone has their own interpretation on what it takes, and you can go to the bookstore to see the thousands of books telling you how to be a leader or what it takes to be a one. So here is my two cents: These are all good references and tools to help, but only you can decide what type of leader you are going to be.

I’m sure at some point we have all had a leader or supervisor that we can point out and say that they were great, good, bad or even horrible. These experiences can help shape what you want to become or give you a chance to self-reflect and apply a “Never Again” philosophy to some of the things you are doing. One thing is for sure: Don’t be someone you’re not. Be true to yourself.