Why me?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Stuart Allison
  • 509th Mission Support Group
Until now, I have only highlighted success strategies without going into too much detail about how they work in my own life. Throughout this commentary, I will show you how I went from an average career to one filled with excitement, passion, and energy.

Until recently, I have always questioned my success. One question kept coming back to me, "Why me?" Throughout this last year I have been on a quest to figure out what steps in my life I have taken to become so successful.

Throughout the journey, I captured and documented the reasons for my success. The question of "Why me?" has changed to, "The reason I'm successful is ... ?"

Without question my success is directly linked to my daily rituals. I'm not sure who cultivated my daily rituals; it might have been my parents, or teachers. I do not really know. I have always had positive rituals but I have not always been deliberate. I know luck has been on my side.

Many instances of success or failure are achieved through luck. But when I started my career, I did not have a clear picture of what it took to be successful. I used goal setting sporadically through my career and some of those goals were not aligned with my life's purpose and mission. I stumbled on positive success strategies along the way. I figured it out through luck. I do not want you to make my mistakes.

Luck can be just one pathway to success; however, success leaves clues and success can also be mirrored. For those who want to achieve greater success, you can disregard luck and take steps to lead a deliberate life. With a deliberate daily plan, success can be yours.

Of course there will be many who say, "Chief, I just don't have the time to make meaningful changes." I am not asking you to change everything at once. Rather, start with just one thing to improve and build from there.

In the last year I have re-energized my career and I now charge through each day with passion, drive and focus. I have made small adjustments and they have drastically affected my performance. By making small deliberate shifts, you will not be leaving success to luck.

To fuel my daily actions with laser focused growth, development, and performance I now use a personal strategic plan. Personal strategic planning is a method that will help you determine not just who you want to be but why. It focuses not just on goal setting but also on determining the most important values to you.

Even if you get out of sync with your goals, your plan will be there as a way to get back on track.

Here is a look into my personal strategic plan. Afterwards, I will provide an exercise where you can construct your own personal plan.

"A daily call for specific action."

I start with a theme that is a single sentence that encapsulates how I want to be successful: Success does not come from a few actions but rather a series of small ones built up day by day.

Personal vision and mission statement: I have a personal vision and mission, just a like a business, that governs all of my actions and drives me towards my goals.

I will inspire, promote, and celebrate a daily call for positive action. I envision the creation of an ever expanding network of high quality people. I will work with others to inspire, promote and celebrate a culture that continually raises standards.

I, Chief Master Sgt. Stuart Allison, know that my purpose is to passionately live life to the fullest, grow and develop daily, inspire and motivate others, and treat all people with dignity and respect.

Personal legacy statement: When I reflect, I remind myself of what I want to be remembered for:

I will look back knowing that I served living life to the fullest, growing and developing daily, inspiring and motivating others, and treating all people with dignity and respect.

Personal philosophy: This mantra always runs through my mind Actions speak louder than words.

Values: I have two sets of values. I move toward one set and away from another. They provide the basis for my daily reflections. It is not enough to simple ask, "Am I reaching a set of positive values?" You must also ask, "Do I practice values that derail me on the path to success?"

"Toward" values: This set of values provides concrete guidance for the values I want to live each day of my life.

- I value integrity. I only set goals and take on commitments that I know I can achieve. They might be challenging but I must be honest and clear with myself that I can succeed.
- I value loyalty. I'm loyal to my commitments, values, and relationships.
- I value success. I focus on achieving success daily and sharing success strategies with others.
- I value excellence. I strive for excellence in all I do.
- I value fitness. I exercise daily.
- I value daily growth. I read daily and reflect.
- I value role models. I utilize role models...they provide a view to what is possible.
- I value teamwork. I develop a culture that promotes positive teamwork.

"Away" values: These values are ones that I do not want to be part of my life.

- Ruthlessness. I will never again indulge in the debilitating attitude of ruthlessness.
- Negative attitude. I will never again display a negative attitude.
- Humiliation. I will never again indulge in the debilitating attitude of humiliation.
- Jealousy. I will never again indulge in the debilitating attitude of jealousy.
- Hate. I will never again indulge in the debilitating attitude of hate.

Daily roles: As a leader, I must develop myself, become a role model to others and remain a faithful servant to the leaders above me.
I will be a world-class athlete daily.
I will be a strategy scholar daily.
I will be my commander's ambassador daily.
I will be a driven, zealous, reflective Leader daily.
I will be an animated energetic Air Force communicator daily.
I will be an ultimate peak performance coach daily.

Your turn:
Use the steps below to create your own personal strategic plan.

With the steps below, you will be able to create a plan like mine above. The steps are not in the order of the actual plan; they are in the order that will best help you develop your plan. The foundation of the plan starts with your values. From there, you set your goals. Finally, you create your encapsulating mission and mantra statements.

1. What are five to seven values you want to live each day?
2. What are five to seven values that you don't want to live each day?
3. Create a personal code of ethics. Write out how you will accomplish them.
4. Create your personal legacy statement. For what do you want to be remembered?
5. Write down your daily roles -- e.g. leader, role model, parent, athlete, etc. Set high level goals of what you want to achieve in each role.
6. Create your mission statement. Write a paragraph that brings together the ideas from steps one to four.
7. Create your own personal mantra: What is one statement that you will repeat to yourself to remind you about achieving all the parts of this plan? This can also be a quote that you like, too.

I wish that I had a plan like this when I started my career in the Air Force. It would have saved me many false starts and journeys down wrong paths. Some success is due to luck, but the vast majority of it is planned. A personal strategic plan will keep you grounded and focused on your goals. You will know whether or not you are moving forward on the path to success.