On April 4th, 1990, my Dad drove me to the airport to head off for Bootcamp in the Air Force. I had no idea what the future held; however, I knew it was the best thing for RJ. The AF changed me in so many positive ways.
First, it gave me a sense of purpose, which carried over into my business life to be driven and find a purpose.
I learned discipline, work ethic, and personal responsibility. While these are all things instilled in me while growing up, the AF put in all into practice. It also taught me, the more you achieve, the more responsibility they give you, and the higher you go. I liked that!
Self-control. You can’t just act on every impulse or every feeling in the AF - you can’t just lose your shit at the first sign of trouble. Sometimes you realize the things that seem huge and life-threatening in a moment (LIKE NOW). If you can keep it together long enough, you find a way through, and the more you do this, the more control you have.
I analyze problems and situations to get a quick assessment and figure out the best way to resolve them. I don’t go into long drag out meetings where everybody wants to talk and discuss things at nauseum. I work closely with a few central players who figure things out with them and then act on it. Actions speak louder than words.
However, the biggest learning from the AF is my worldview. I grew up relatively sheltered in a middle-class white neighborhood. I had no exposure to any other races, classes, or ideas that people do to each other. I had no concept of racism, or true poverty, even widespread ignorance or intolerance because I had no exposure to it.
The AF taught me how to deal with, get along with and accept everyone as a human being - I definitely would have a completely different world view and not be able to work with and accept people the way I do. I can go into any job I get and deal with pretty much anyone and get my job done because of what the military taught me.
Like David with a rock in hand, I exited ready for giants because of this foundation! Thank you, United States Air Force!
The second piece of the foundation was set in the United States Air Force.