NFL, Air Force--be professional

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Greg Touhill
  • 81st Training Wing commander
The NFL football season is upon us, and I've already seen some folks debating the merits of their favorite professional football team. Fantasy football players are already busy scrutinizing statistics and arguing over who is the "more professional" player. Have you ever noted that those players that are considered "more professional" are valued greater than the average player? Ever wonder why? It is because they produce at a level greater than their peers; they pay attention to details and their accomplishments extend well beyond their position. 

How about you? Are you "professional" at what you do? Are you producing at a high level and paying attention to details? I submit that all of us can earn and maintain that highly professional reputation. As we learned in basic training, it all starts with doing the little things right and building upon them. 

For some, their professionalism starts to erode after they leave basic training. You see them from time to time. They are the ones who do not render proper customs and courtesies. They are the ones who chew gum while in uniform. They are the ones who wear the unauthorized sunglasses. They are the ones who improperly and unsafely use cell phones while driving. They are the ones who use cell phones while they walk around. 

Who are the professionals? They are the ones who do render proper customs and courtesies and teach their subordinates to do the same. They are the ones who have the courage to stop that airman who is chewing gum and correct them. They are the ones who make sure their subordinates know what sunglasses are authorized and when to wear them...and when not to. They are the ones who demonstrate the standards and enforce them. 

Professionalism is more than just showing up. Professionalism is about excellence. Professionalism is about doing more than the minimum. Professionalism is knowing the standards, living them, and enforcing them in others. Professionalism is about quietly doing the right thing when nobody is looking. Professionalism is about growing the next generation of Airmen to be better than us. Professionalism is having the courage to ask for help or in correcting those who falter. Professionalism is the confidence in knowing you did everything you could -- the right way -- every time. 

Do you want to be the best and demonstrate your commitment through your actions or do you just want to talk? Like professional football, we're already into our season. It is time to bring our best every day! America deserves no less.