I’ve met many Army Officers who thought their next duty assignment would make them great.
Heck, I’ve been guilty of this myself.
We think that if were selected for that prestigious command position or a certain staff position, our talents will shine and we will be recognized as great leaders.
Let me tell you, things seldom happen that way.
You see, the position seldom makes the person.
Instead, it reveals the person.
And if you don’t believe me, think about that new power hungry person who has never been in charge before, but is now placed in charge.
What do they do?
They belittle their followers.
They bully people.
In essence, they are ineffective leaders.
Their true colors shine through.
And they were probably the same way before they got the position, they just didn’t have anyone to order around.
If you want to be successful in life, you must take a different approach.
You must realize that every job you do is important.
And you should realize that your job performance doesn’t change much, regardless of what you do.
You see, most Generals were good Lieutenants.
And most effective Company Commanders were effective Platoon Leaders.
Sure, there are few exceptions to this rule, but not many.
If you don’t take pride in your current job or aren’t very good at it, there’s a good chance you will repeat the same thing in your next job.
Whenever I used to interview people, I always asked them what they thought about their current job.
Whenever they told me it was unimportant or boring, I normally wouldn’t hire them.
You see, I didn’t want them to feel that way about their new job too.
I knew that if they didn’t have “pride of ownership” now, they wouldn’t have it in the future.
I’ve always encouraged young officers and NCOs to dare to be great.
Even if your job is to clean the latrines, you should take pride in what you do and have the cleanest latrines on base!
And if you are a cook, make sure the food you cook is done at the best of your ability.
This advice applies to any job or MOS.
Simply put, dare to be great.
When you do great things, you will get noticed.
It might not happen right away, but it will happen.
Most people do the bare minimum.
There is always room at the top of any organization for people who go above and beyond what is expected.
When you dare to be great now, you will become great later on!
One of my favorite authors is Russell Conwell.
He is the famous author of Acres of Diamonds.
In his book he says “You think you are going to be made great by an office, but remember that if you are not great before you get the office, you won’t be great when you secure it. It will only be a burlesque in that shape.”
I don’t know about you, but I think that is spot on advice.
Once again, the job doesn’t make the man.
It reveals the man.
My advice to you is to be great right now.
Take pride in what you do and strive to make a difference.
People will notice.
And even if you think your job isn’t important, it is.
Every job is important.
This includes leadership positions, staff positions and any other job the military gives you.
We are one BIG TEAM.
We rely on each other.
So don’t underestimate the difference that YOU can make!
One of my former Battalion Commanders used to say “Dare to be great!”
His advice inspired me to be the best me.
He inspired me to take pride in what I do and strive to make a difference.
I hope it will have a similar impact with you.
So now is the time….be great at whatever you are doing.
Lets here your comments, how will you be great in the position you are in?
You can tell us below.
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4 thoughts on “Dare to Be Great: Advice from My Former Battalion Commander”
You should always be the best at whatever job you are doing. If you are working at the dining hall that is still an important job. I'm sure Generals think they are the most important thing in the world and the front line troops share the sentiment, but the truth is the whole machine that is the US military will not move if every section isn't working.
Don't be the squeaky wheel… be the grease.
Great advice Jeff. Whatever you do, be good at it!
Wow, I love this post and this quote from you, “You must realize every job you do is important.”
The fact is: if the Army has the job available, it is important. No matter what, every job in life is important. If we do that job considering it the most important job in the Army at that time, we will do it great.
Many self-help books talk about this, including the greatest self-help book of all: the Bible. The whole body is important. The nose needs the left toe and vice versa.
Like Chuck says: no matter your job, dare to be great!
Nothing irritates me more than a person in a leadership role should be great just because they have that title of a leader. True leadership is excelling and inspiring no matter what position you are in. The quote “dare to be great” that you reference here is spot on. Sometimes people lack the confidence to fully come into their greatness. The more you try things and succeed, the more easily that confidence will come.