I’m Back!

2 Aug

Hello Everyone!

I am back from phase 1 of Officer Candidate School. It was a grueling two weeks, but the sense of accomplishment you take from an experience like that is overwhelming, talk about motivated! The class was slated to have 120 candidates. 98 made it to day one and 76 of us graduated. I met a lot of new people and hope to keep many of them as friends for a long time down the road. One of the coolest things about being in the ARMY so far has been the bonds you form with your fellow soldiers. It is rare that a 24 year old self proclaimed rock star like myself…(i’m kidding) and a 40 year old father of two form a great relationship.

We were given a “gut check”, are we ready to be responsible for the lives of 30 – 40 young men and women? Can we operate, learn and make decisions on little to no sleep all whilst walking 6 – 7 miles a day, and running 3 to 4 miles every morning? I really got a sense of what it means to be a leader, and I performed very well. The unique experience of serving in the National Guard is relating the lessons of your training to civilian life. It is eye opening to walk around in the city the day after you return and see the petty things we make such a fuss about.  You truly see the importance in the “real” things, relationships, family and since we’re here, health.

So with today’s post I want to relate a few lessons I learned over the last two weeks to the everyday life of someone trying to improve their health, sound good? Consider this a lifestyle post and I promise if you take it to heart your overall well being will be greatly improved.

1. Planning andPrioritizing: So much of being a leader in the ARMY depends upon your ability to plan quickly and effectively. We are slated with a number of tasks to accomplish every month, week, and day. Everyday in the ARMY follows a schedule that is developed well ahead of time. In the ARMY the end result is a  mission and mission crucial tasks are imperative to accomplishing the mission. Your mission can be as simple as to make sure all your men arrive ready for each training event with functional gear. Therefore, as an effective planner you must develop a plan by prioritizing what needs to get done in order to make this happen. You need accountability of your soldiers, you need to check all their gear, and you need to mentally prepare them for the obstacles and hazards of the days training. Winging it just isn’t an option. You can’t have everyone show up for a Map Reading class and have 4 soldiers without pencils and 3 without maps. These things all need to be squared away ahead of time.

The same goes for civilian life, especially when trying to improve your health. Everyday you should have a schedule. If you need to get four things done today, you should have them planned out ahead of time. I have said it again and again but planning is a necessary step to changing your body. You need to perform checks on yourself just as an officer performs checks on his soldiers. Do I have the raw ingredients with me to eat 5 or 6 healthy meals today? Do I have the means to get where I need to be on time? Have I scheduled out my time in order to make time to workout? If you haven’t completed the mission crucial tasks such as grocery shopping, getting gas and scheduling out your day you will fail.

2. Communication: Communicating is the foundation of success for a leader. If you need to get things done as a team you need to be able to disseminate information through the ranks. If one soldier doesn’t get the information the whole team will fail. One topic they really drive home in the ARMY is “Commander’s Intent.” What is the intent of the commander? Say I want 60 people to get out of class and outside in a hurry. That is my intent. There are a number of ways for this to happen. People could flow out of every door way and even the windows, mass chaos could ensue, but if everyone gets out of the room and outside quickly they have met my intent. The day will not always unfold smoothly but if you fulfill the intent you will succeed.

Communicating effectively WILL change your life. Too often we are unable or unwilling to communicate our desires, and goals to people. A lack of communication ruins relationships, stops progress and leaves people in a stand still. Make a conscious effort to communicate more effectively. In your job, and at home, start expressing your intent and your feelings. The more information you keep locked away the less support you have. When you are trying to make physique changes you need to communicate your intent.

3. Command Presence and Military Bearing: This is a big one. As a leader you are under constant display. When the shit hits the fan 40 pairs of eyes are looking at you. If you run around like a chicken with your head cut off you can be pretty sure your subordinates will do the same. You might be in panic mode, scared and tired but you must always keep your head about you. Like wise when it is time to act you need to do so confidently. It is more important that your troops believe in you than believe in your plan of action. The plan can change but if you come off unsure you have already lost your men.

The same goes for civilian life. Keep a constant cool about you. Things go wrong. Every damn day, something goes wrong. Instead of making a fuss, stay calm and go forward confidently. With the same token, keep a commanding presence. I don’t care if you’re Poindexter, act like your freakin’ Brian Urlacher. You should never let anyone step on you, pay attention to your body language and tone of voice. Stand up straight pull your shoulders back and speak clearly. People will listen to you and you will start making a positive change right away.

4. Make Decisions: A lot of OCS is about making decisions, not making the right decision or the perfect decision but making one right away. Whether you’re picking out dinner at a restaurant or deciding whether or not to workout in the morning or at lunch, choose one. As soon as you make a decision you can start moving forward. A lot of the time one decision isn’t any better than the other. In fact, the sooner you make decisions the sooner you can start getting everything else to fall in line and start making progress. So from here on out you be the one that decides. What movie should we see? Do we go right or left? You will find that most people are scared to make a decision and will willingly follow the person who is able to make decisions right away. The more you employ this concept the better your decisions will be. Furthermore, by following many of the other aforementioned concepts (i.e. communication and planning) you will find these decisions are much easier to make.

5. Multi Tasking / Delegating Tasks: Task driven people are one dimensional. You need to become multi dimensional, and be able to focus efforts on a number of different things at once. Part of this relies on the ideas of effective planning and communicating. Likewise, you must be able to delegate tasks to others so that everything can get done. Either you will be too weighed down by trying to do everything yourself or you will never get everything done because you are solely focused on one thing at a time. Plan accordingly and make sure you are addressing multiple things at once. Use your resources to help accomplish tasks.  Do you need to bake chicken when you get home? Call ahead and ask someone to preheat the oven. That’s an example of having multiple balls in the air and delegating a task out to someone else so you can accomplish the mission, easy as that.

6. Stay Physically Fit – This is a good one to end on. The stresses of day to day life whether you’re a mother or a Lieutenant are more manageable when your body is able to handle the stresses placed upon it. I knew I had an undeniable advantage over my peers at OCS because I was stronger than them. Sleep deprived and worn out my body was still able to function. Hell ya I hurt, but I wasn’t close to demobilized. Eating well and staying fit gives you a leg up on any task you set out to accomplish, mentally and physically.

Take these six lessons to heart. Become multi dimensional, Be ready to make decisions, stay physically and mentally strong. Communicate and plan effectively.

I look forward to getting the Blog going full swing again this week, check back in and leave your comments!

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2 Responses to “I’m Back!”

  1. Elise August 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    Great advice Greg! Thanks!

  2. Brad August 24, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    I enjoyed the read Greg. Glad to see you enjoyed OCS. Congrats on finishing it as well. I bet it made you feel like a natural born leader.

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