When I joined the military I was just a normal girl. There wasn’t anything special about me. I had the same fears about the military everyone else has, but I had a desire to serve my country. To be something more, but I wasn’t actually sure I could do it. But I am a doer and I just do things and see how it works out. In one way it is good because I do take that first step. But in other ways, it can be a flaw because I don’t do the research and come into situations with confidence. Trial by fire is how I live life.
Going to Training
When I went to Field Training (similar to boot camp, but for officers) I was terrified. I lacked the one thing I truly needed. Self-confidence. I knew what I needed to do and did the work to prepare for it. And even so, I wasn’t sure I could do it.
Looking back, I realize that fear often paralyzed me. I didn’t volunteer to step up because I might mess up. That is the point of the program. Stepping up and often failing. I was so afraid of failing that I got stuck in a mode that didn’t allow me to jump up when I actually could do the task needed. Somehow I survived this month-long training. But instead of coming back a stronger leader my self-confidence was left in shambles. It took a long time to recover.
Fears about the military
When I went on active duty two years later. I still had a lingering fear. But as I went to my first training assignment I actually improved and gained confidence. I had the encouragement from my supervisors and the team around me. The leadership not only pointed out my flaws but also my strength. It helped me realize I had a lot more to contribute than I ever thought was possible.
This training environment was different. Field Training had stripped me of all the self-confidence I had built up. And at one point I even thought of walking away. The fear that paralyzed me didn’t let go until years later when I attended a new training environment that was focused on growth and success.
Active duty helped me overcome my fears of the military
Active duty helped build me into the leader the Air Force needed me to be. It also helped me grow in my confidence. And when it was time to leave the base behind and climb into a combat vehicle, I did it with confidence. The fear was there, but different. It was a fear that was warranted and real. But as for my job I knew what I was doing and was able to succeed.
Fear once overtook my life. But through my time in the military, I learned to use the fears about the military to propel me forward.
What is fear stopping you from doing?