Here’s a quick story of parallels that I find in my post-military life and the changes that I’ve been trying to make.
Anybody that knows me knows that I’m pretty stubborn at times. It isn’t so much that I am unwilling to change my point of view or my ways of doing things. It is that I am (hopefully one day I can say “was” instead) pretty unwilling to let people help me do things. I want, or need, to give more than those around me so that they don’t have to. I’m the guy that, when a aircraft has pressurization issues, will help a group of people get their O2 masks on and then pass out immediately afterward because I was too narrow minded to realize that I could help with even more if I had gotten mine on first. I don’t know if my subconscious is stuck with the negative core belief that I have to be able to do everything for everybody when needed or what is going on.
Fast forward past the years of forcing myself into a role of ensuring that my wingmen and Airmen are ALWAYS provided a means to do things “better” and faster. Fast forward to the days of “Mr. Jones” or this “Jeremiah” guy that people keep calling me. This is the time where that stubborn mindset needs to be relaxed a bit.
It still seems like I almost constantly run into ways that I can try to make the environment around me run more smoothly. In some ways, changes are quick, easy, and make life easy at the same time. Other times, I have to learn to step back and ask myself if the work and stress is going to really bring about a change that is at all really that necessary.
Nowadays, at least at my “work”(volunteering), I don’t have to change anything. I’m not there to improve processes. I’m not managing or supervising. I’m assisting. While there are times that this can be tough for me to accept, I honestly feel that riding in the back of the van (quite literally) has helped me understand the necessity of balance. Sure, I can, and have, put in my two cents. The difference here is that I don’t HAVE to. I don’t have to solve any complex problems. I have to do small, seemingly insignificant tasks that help a big picture. I’ve learned a bit of restraint. It is helping me understand that I don’t always have to fix things. Some things I can’t even fix, others are fixed by those much more qualified to do so. This might sound pretty “no duh” to some people, but it wasn’t to me.
In the end, just lending a hand when needed is teaching me to let go of some control. Yes, it scares the hell out of me, but I truly believe that it will help.