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Success needs a solid foundation

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Education has not come easy for me. It's been a worthwhile struggle and a life long journey which has taken me farther than I ever imagined. Oh, trust me, I have made my share of mistakes (maybe we'll talk about that in another column), but I have triumphed as well.

Traveling down the Year of Leadership (YoL) road we find ourselves making a pit stop at Training and Education as next month's theme. Some may ask how does Training and Education fit in with the YoL? I'm glad you ask, because Training and Education are a perfect fit with YoL as they are core foundations to successful leadership.

Ever met anyone who wished they had NOT furthered their education? Probably not. How about someone who wanted to be less trained? Doubtful. Met anyone who didn't want to be a little bit smarter? Didn't think so. You get the picture.

In my opinion, Training and Education are key foundation pieces for success. Take a look at your current duties. Would you be able to do your job without training? Whether it's tinkering with rockets, securing the airfield, or (your job here); we ALL need training to do our jobs...properly, and we all benefit from education.

Want to take a ride in a manned spacecraft readied by one who was not properly trained? Would you want our Security Forces Defenders to employ the Use of Force without the respective training? How about the airman in finance dealing with your pay? All jobs require training and education.

Your goal may not be a Ph.D., or even a bachelor's degree but it should be life long learning. And don't think book learning is the only method of furthering your education: it's not. Getting a PhD from that prestigious institution of "hard knocks" is education as well; there's also wisdom from the "been there/ done that" crowd. And learn from your fellow Airman, that's free too!

While technical expertise is vital in making you more competent, there are other skill sets that are needed. The term most often used to explain these are Soft Skills. Why are soft skills so important? They help you deal with people. Since people are our most valuable resource you must know how to effectively do business with them, train them, and lead them.

Leadership is the application of knowledge and experiences. In this YoL, do what it takes to bring your leadership game to the next level because today's learning is tomorrow's successes!

Be the ultimate example during this Year of Leadership. Be trained... be educated... be successful!