Chief's Corner: CMSgt. April Brittain

  • Published
  • By CMSgt. April Brittain
  • Forrest L. Vosler Non-Commissioned Officer Academy

As Guardians, we often talk about our “domain.” As an Airman, I spent almost 26 years studying the art of war within the air domain. Now as a Guardian, my focus has shifted to the complexities within the space domain. I think it is fair to assume whatever branch of service you call family; you are a tedious student of your respective mission domain. I am certain you can easily rattle off a list of known threats to that battlespace.  But where are you within your own life’s domain? 

Last month, my best Chief-mate, Michael Rozneck, dropped his pro-tips about being a compassionate, yet blunt, authentic leader. Never did he mention chasing likeability, and yet often we do! Society has trained us to seek comfort, convenience, and likeability over anything that may lead us to pain, struggle, conflict or discomfort. Social media is a great demonstration of this. We put self-worth's stock into frivolous posts attempting to gain instantaneous scores of likeability, then feel hurt and unseen when we don’t get the volume of reassurance we hoped for. We avoid needed, but potentially confrontational conversations. This is because we worry about the possibility of not being liked when we come out the other side.

We set boundaries, or at least tell ourselves we do. However, we then allow people to cross them out of fear we may push those away that want to be around us.

We worry about perception in fear that we’ll be seen as unpleasant or disagreeable if we set perimeters around our own time, energy, mental health or emotions.

Yet, none of this behavior unlocks personal evolution, or inspires growth of any kind…none. Every time we misplace our energy into these worries, we outsource our power to others and give away our own ability to grow. 

In the book, “You are a Bad***” Jen Sincero teaches that what we have on repeat becomes our reality. She goes on to recommend 15 minutes a week, force yourself to sit with yourself in a quiet space where you are not stimulated. Turn off and set aside your phone as it’s likely the biggest culprit. Now ask yourself;

What do I have on auto-loop? 
What do I look at, listen to, talk about, read each passing day?  
Who do I talk to and allow in my inner circle? 
What are they feeding me?  
How do I talk to myself? 
What does my inner voice say to me?

I like a good challenge, so, here’s my challenge to you. Take inventory following the guidelines above of what you have on auto-loop, and then assess it. How is it serving you? Is it serving you at all? 

Once you’ve taken inventory of your life, I recommend you do these three things:

1. Set intentions. Practice does not make perfect, practice makes progress. Set intentions and focus on progress. I caution you that any other approach will more than likely set you up failure. 

2. Set boundaries. Boundaries at work and in your personal relationships decide what your non-negotiables are and draw a perimeter fence around them. In order to maintain these boundaries, you must be unapologetic about guarding them. Trust that if your intentions are good, others will take notice and begin to respect both you, and the boundaries you have set. Show your teeth if you have to, then keep it moving forward. 

3. Seek self-discovery. Most people do not take the time to truly get to know themselves. Spending time with yourself is the only way to truly understand who you are and what’s important to you. Self-discovery is continual, but only after you commit to starting! Do this, too, with intentionality.  

And wah-lah, that’s it! Doing those things is sure to make your life a bit more easy, peezy, lemon squeezy. Or, don’t do any of it, and you’ll be stressy, depressy, lemon zesty.  

Success isn’t static, nor should you be. Start today.