Everyone has a story to tell

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- We tend to believe that just because we haven't won a Nobel Prize, or survived a horrific event, that our stories are not worth telling.  This notion is false; your story is worth telling.

We often get caught up on other peoples' stories, whether it is that of a famous actress or a war hero.  Their stories draw us in and provide us insight into their lives, as well as our own.

You may be asking yourself why telling your story is important or relevant to the military lifestyle?

I guess I hadn't originally understood the vast implications, but it does matter. I recently had the opportunity to attend a mentorship seminar where the speaker talked about how all Airmen could be better mentors. He said that we often believe that we do not have the time to connect with our co-workers and truly get to know them.

If you are like me, you avoid sharing your story for one reason or another.  I always felt that people didn't care to get to know me or that they would dismiss me. While I pride myself on keeping my business close to the chest, I was surprised on numerous occasions about how much people didn't know about me.

That wasn't their fault, it was mine. I felt vulnerable about sharing with others, and I never gave people the opportunity to get to know me.

One of the best ways to connect with those around you is by listening to their individual stories.  Learning about their upbringing, their families and what is important to them allows us to be a better mentor and wingman.   In order to be good mentors, we need to know what motivates Airmen to excel and use that knowledge to work with them to improve themselves and ultimately reach their goals.

This same concept could be applied to wingmanship. By knowing your Airmen well, you are more likely to notice changes in their behavior or other signs of trouble in their lives. As wingmen, we can ask the questions and connect with each other to lend a hand or ear.

I challenge you to share your story. 

Sharing your story with co-workers or friends opens the door not only for you to grow, but also to open yourself up to more meaningful relationships.  Your story may inspire others to take on new challenges, or give them the hope they need to persevere through life's many struggles.

I have found that what has inspired me the most in my life is the people around me and their individual stories.

The job that each of you do each day is far beyond anything in the civilian world, and with Airmen being moved every few years, it makes it hard getting to know the people around you. Make the effort to tell your story and genuinely listen to others, you may be surprised of what you learn about them; and about yourself.