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Today is the day

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeanette Spain
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
"Make yourself better today." These are the words I utter to myself each morning. As a woman, wife, mother, and Airman, I find there are ample opportunities to apply this mantra throughout my day. All I have to do to achieve success is have the internal desire and the courage to act.

I desire to be a good role model for all those around me, so when I was given the opportunity to attend the 25th annual Joint Women's Leadership Symposium. This is the largest gathering of women in uniform nation-wide, held Mar. 5-6, 2012, at the National Harbor in Washington, D.C., I jumped at the chance knowing it will assist me towards my goal of making myself better.

"We may not always have a choice in what life brings but we do have a choice in our attitude and how we act or react," said Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, who was recently nominated by President Obama for promotion, making her the first female four-star general in Air Force history.

Although Wolfenbarger is labeled a trailblazer, she does not see herself as one. In 1976, at a time when women in the military went against cultural norms, Wolfenbarger, with desire and courage, started her Air Force journey. She, along with her female classmates, were the first class of women to endure the Air Force Academy experience and proved women are far more capable than they, or the nation, ever thought.

Breaking through cultural norms and changing the nation's opinion on women did not happen over night. Over the past century, more opportunities have presented themselves to women because of proven competence and willingness to step out their comfort zone.

"To grow, one must push pass their perceived limits. The weakest muscle is in between your ears," said Wolfenbarger.

Our mind, not our physical ability, is often what keeps us from acting. More often than not, we choose things because they are easy, but in reality, we should choose the things that are hard, for the difficult tasks aid our growth.

"Fail big or win big, just put yourself out there,' said Courtney Lynch, a Marine veteran and co-author of the best-selling business book, Leading from the Front, which delivers a much-needed message: All women can be leaders, no matter the given circumstances of their lives. "There is nothing off-limits when it comes to your success."

We all have a different definition of success. For some, success is defined by their organizational status or worldly possessions. I define success as the steps I take each day to make myself better, such as gaining first-hand examples of how to be a better leader during the Joint Women's Leadership Symposium, making no excuses to keep up my physical fitness, or getting to attend a parent-teacher conference for my child who loses focus easily. A common theme at the symposium was to seek opportunities to positively progress as a woman, wife, mother and Airman.

As lifelong learners, our potential for growth and success is endless. By coupling our potential with an internal desire and the courage to act, we will be well on our way towards accomplishing our goals and achieving our dreams.

With nothing to lose and everything to gain, today is the day to make you better.