Step out of your comfort zone, make the magic happen
By Master Sgt. Tiffany Lewandowski, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron first sergeant
/ Published May 04, 2012
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., --
Since I was a young Airman, I have always shied away from any recognition and seemed to always take the traveled road. I never sought out new adventures and mostly followed the crowd. I was happy in my bubble, but for some reason I knew there was so much more out there and I was ready for the challenge. After I pinned on MSgt, becoming a first sergeant was a no brainer for me. But I was still hesitant because some of the responsibilities would put me out of my comfort zone.
Well, little did I realize just how often this job would throw me out of my happy little bubble. However, in the last two years I have learned more about myself than I have in the 35 years prior to becoming a Shirt. In fact, I love it so much I just requested to continue another three years. I capitalize on every opportunity to encourage Airmen to seek out their potential while still young. I don't like to use the word regret when it comes to my life; however, I know I missed a lot of amazing opportunities because I was too "comfortable."
So here is what I ask everyone to do, especially if you feel you need something more in your life. Challenge yourself every single day, even if it's to smile when you feel "less than happy." It will make such a difference not only to you but to the people around you. Face your fears, not necessarily the big fears like snakes, heights, or tight spaces, but the little fears that keep you from fully enjoying an experience. The little things could turn into adventures or funny stories if you allow yourself to deal with a little discomfort. Release the expectations; focus on enjoying whatever it is your doing...live in the moment. Enjoy the unknown; do something you don't understand or take the untraveled road. You might find the mixture of anticipation and anxiety is just what you needed. Most importantly, be yourself. Don't let the titles or roles in your life define who you are. Believe in who you are and it will define those titles and roles.
No matter what it is in life, you should always try to "one-up- it," but you must do it for yourself. Don't just shoot for a 75 on the PT test. Shoot for a 100, and then you will find yourself striving harder to make that happen. If you hate public speaking, volunteer to emcee your next commander's call. The simplest way to think of it is, are there areas in your life where you set goals so realistic that you are sure you can accomplish them? Take a look around and see where you are hiding from your potential, then step out of your comfort zone and start living up to that potential. I would encourage you to look at places in your life where you can push a little harder than you ever thought possible. Once you experience the feeling of getting to the edge, you will never want to go back.