No time like the present

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- "I'll do it tomorrow ..." "I'll get to it later ..." "Just one more minute ..." "The inspection is not coming up for months..." 

We've all said these things at one time or another. However, when it comes right down to it, how well do we accomplish that "thing" later? And do we always do what we say we were going to do? 

As a young officer, I remember hearing the phrase, "You'll never have more time later than what you have today." 

As I recall, I thought that was a crazy statement. Of course I can take that PME test later, start my master's degree a year from now when things aren't so hectic or complicated in my life, or make my unit compliant within a couple of months. 

However, as time goes by, you realize you get increased leadership responsibilities, deploy, get married, have children, and finally, you PCS to a new assignment where you start learning new processes and new personnel. 

We've all known of very good officers who have not finished their PME in time to make their next promotions. I'm positive most of these officers did not make a conscious decision not to finish their PME before their boards met. As in most cases, one thing led to another. The officer found himself on deployment, then on R&R, and then he PCS'd. 

We've also known those officers and enlisted members who didn't get around to getting their master's degrees and CCAF degrees before their boards met or Senior Rater Endorsement eligibility. Again, these individuals didn't just decide not to take care of their education just before the requirement dates. From a mission standpoint, unit preparation requires early lead planning to ensure there are processes in place for long-term organization execution. All organizations are going to have their problems when you scratch beneath the surface, so the earlier you recognize your issues, the faster you can address them. You simply cannot "wait and see" in finding out where your unit's deficiencies exist. You have to seize the day, and make today count for all it is worth. 

If ever there was a time to start something, it is right now. Life will always present you with hardships and obstacles; it is how you deal with life's complexities that set you apart from your peers. As I've told my personnel in my squadron regarding the UCI preparation, and I believe this in all facets of life, I'd rather give myself time to move at a fast jog all the way than have to sprint to the end and miss something.