Mentored to the path of success Published April 8, 2021 By Senior Airman Seth Haddix 81st Training Wing Public Affairs KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- As a brand-new one-striped Airman straight out of high school there was much for me to learn heading to the 81st Training Wing Public Affairs Office. There was so much in life that I had yet to experience and a future of possibility ahead. I was only sure of one thing; I wanted to succeed. Approaching new situations in life is a challenge that one must overcome to reach their true potential. Experiencing these new challenges allows us to grow as people and as Airmen but having a mentor there to help you along the way can make the process easier. This process is not easy. Whatever the situation, learning a new skill or working in a new environment, the lack of knowledge is intimidating. Though everyone experiences their journeys differently, some share the same path, and sometimes, the same goal. Finding a mentor, one with the knowledge and experience you need, can provide you the tools to build your way to success. I was lucky to be surrounded with leaders that truly cared about my aspirations. Other brand new Airmen in the Air Force might not be as lucky as I was, but I encourage them to go out and find someone who can provide them with mentorship that will help them grow. Finding a mentor may be very difficult. People connect differently and come from different backgrounds; the key is finding one with similarities. Goals, backgrounds or even interests can connect your experience with theirs. As a public affairs specialist, I connect with those around me with experience and/or passion in this career field. From a civilian broadcaster to a co-worker only three years older than me, their perspective on the job has allowed me to approach it differently. Working with more experienced professionals allows me to grow and learn in my career field to reach my true potential. Our skillsets may be different, but our career is the same. As an Airman, I look up to my supervisor Staff Sgt. Holly Cook and my prior superintendent Master Sgt. Ryan Crane. Their successful careers and hilarious stories of setbacks prove that I can be in a leadership position with awards on my desk one day as well. Watching them be themselves while also wearing their uniform in a professional manor has allowed me to be myself. As a person, I connect with Maj. Derrel Schrader who is a chaplain at Keesler. As I struggle with homesickness, it is relieving to talk with someone who comes from the same area as me. Chaplain Schrader understands being away from home and his patience and personality allows me to be comfortable with sharing my situation. The leaders above me have provided me with opportunities to grow and connect; however, mentorship doesn’t only have to come from those who are older or more experienced. A mentor can be someone you are comfortable being around. Someone you can be yourself around and come together with. The friends and family that are closest to me have allowed myself to find who I am and what I want to accomplish in the Air Force and in life. Whoever your mentor might be, it is important to approach change and improve yourself. The mentors around you can provide you with information, experience and comfortability, but true growth comes from within. This mindset and confidence will put you in the best position to learn. Reach out to your peers, leadership or someone around you who you feel may be able to point you in the right direction. Mentors are all around you. Finding the right ones for you can put you in a position to be the best version of yourself and hopefully become a mentor for someone else.