I consider retired Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Robert Gaylor, to be one of my mentors even though I have never met him. As an Air Force First Sergeant, I frequently attended ceremonies where Chief Gaylor was the keynote speaker. So, I had many opportunities to listen to his three keys to success: Aptitude, Opportunity, and Attitude. His message made sense to me, so I’ve applied it in my life and have even passed it on to others.
It’s what we have learned thus far. But more important, it’s what we are going to learn. We must never cease being a student. Once we stop gaining knowledge, we die. Today, information is literally right at your fingertips. It’s tough to make excuses in today’s world. Another mentor of mine taught me that if your last formal education is more than five years old, you’re outdated. Wow! That’s a very high standard.
We must view opportunity differently. Most of the time, opportunity is prefaced with great or wonderful. We hear people say things such as, “That assignment is going to be a great opportunity”. There are times, however, when opportunity involves a great deal of sacrifice and hard work. It may even include moving to another city, or worse than that, taking a pay cut. We must look at opportunities for personal growth, even if it means taking a step back. In the end, these will help you reach your goals.
This key is probably the most important one. Attitude is the glue that holds everything together. Without a positive attitude, you won’t find many opportunities. Take it even further, someone with a negative attitude won’t know what an opportunity is if it slapped him or her in the face. That person will be too busy complaining and playing the victim. Be better than that. Show others, especially in turmoil, that you will still have a positive attitude.
I added this to Chief Gaylor’s three keys. I’ve learned that I must invest in myself to become successful. I can no longer depend solely on others or my organization to teach me new things or send me to different training seminars at their cost. I now view everything I do as an investment to my future. Yes, that means having to spend my own money on formal education, seminars, books, and the like. It’s up to you to develop yourself. Invest your money, time, and energy— you’re worth it.
If you’re reading this blog, you are probably already doing some or all of these things, but perhaps you can do one of these better. Don’t stop growing! Continue the journey towards success.