I feel truly blessed.
I received a very detailed thank-you message on Facebook today, from one of the Marines I served with in Okinawa. To be honest, it was out of the blue and I didn’t expect to read what I did. The timing couldn’t have been perfect, as well, seeing that today is Christmas Eve. :]
I’ve had the opportunity to serve along-side-of some amazing individuals and I’m proud of the title that I’ve earned. Enlisting into the Marine Corps was probably the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself and for my Life. One thing I knew going in was that I had a sincere desire to serve my country and challenge myself in a means that I couldn’t fathom.
The Marine Corps helped me realize my true potential. It also helped me understand who I truly am and what I am truly capable of accomplishing. I’ve always strived to do the best that I can, in all that I do. Naturally, I think this carried-over into my mentality when it came to leading Marines, with the instinct of never making or taking exceptions.
Life has also given me the opportunity to understand people and scenarios, through a plethora of unfortunate events that have occurred in my life. Without all of the events that happened, I don’t think I would be the analytical person that I grown to become.
Most people like to make me out to be a person that never and/or rarely makes mistakes, but that’s far-from the truth.
I think that’s why I believe it’s important to voice that making mistakes is normal. It’s similar to tripping or stumbling while you walk. If you do it enough times at inopportune times or moments, you come to learn to pick up your feet. If you choose not to learn, then it becomes obvious not-only to yourself but to people around you that you’re missing key fundamentals or are lacking proper coordination.
I like to think that I am a very effective leader, but I think there’s more to-it than that. It has more to do with your ability to follow instructions, apply problem-solving skills and understand others. Some other keys strum from having confidence in yourself and your decisions, taking responsibility for your individual and groups’ actions and finding the right mentor(s).
Sure, there are plenty of other aspects to leaders; After-all, there isn’t ONE leadership style, but an infinite amount. I think the key, however is just being able to follow instructions. Then from there, branching out to other aspects. As I was told before enlisting, while at boot camp and even hearing it in the fleet – You can learn from anyone.
Whether you have a horrible leader or a great one – they’re both leaders. From the bad ones, take the traits you like and run with them – but also take the traits you dislike and ensure that you don’t apply them. Then, naturally with the great leaders, you apply virtually everything you can possibly learn from them and apply it to your own leadership style.
I have to say that I am truly proud of every Marine I’ve had the opportunity to mentor, serve with and work along-side of. Sure, I was probably a hard-ass, stubborn and difficult to work with, but I can tell you that I worked my ass-off to take care of my Marines the best way I knew how. If they lacked discipline, you can be rest-assured that I would do my best to teach them – even if it meant making them feel uncomfortable.
I also tried to constantly keep myself and my group, in a combat mindset.
If my Marines weren’t capable of listening to me in garrison, then I highly doubt they’d do the same in theater. I think that’s why I took a liking to those Marines who were hard on their Marines, because you could see how devoted they were; Not just to the Marine Corps, but to their individual Marines.
I mean in all honesty, if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have taken time out of my own day or schedule to make any necessary corrections. Anyway, enough of this jibber-jabber.
To all of the Marines (and Sailors) I served with in Okinawa, it has been an honor and a privilege. Thank you for all of the kind words, to those of you that have voiced your opinion(s) about me. I truly take it to heart and will help me to apply myself in all that I do.