I honestly can’t remember the first time I was told the phrase; but, I can tell you that I have always tried to live my life by “if someone tells you ‘NO I can’t help’, you are talking to the wrong person”. It’s not about being radical, working outside of the regulations or not following the rules by not heeding the response. I am referring to staying committed to accomplishing legitimate goals and taking appropriate care of Soldiers instead of letting the word “no” stop you. As I look back on my career to this point, following this simple rule has helped me with more of my Soldiers than I can count.
We make decisions every day from the minute we wake up. Perseverance starts with the decision to get up and get the day started and I am telling you that you must make the decision that you are not just going to accept the answer “no”.
I can give many examples where this has worked in my favor. One that I am very proud of personally is my bachelor’s degree. I completed this in 2012 while working full time, functioning as a Battalion Command Sergeant Major, and working at the Sergeant Major Academy. There were several people telling me that there was no way I could juggle it all. College was something that I tried when I first graduated from high school and didn’t stick with it. I made the decision that I did not want to be a hypocrite as my oldest daughter was beginning high school and decided then college was not going to be an option for her. With two sisters coming up right behind her, I wanted to be the parent who says “it can be done” and role-model how to achieve it. I cannot say it was easy completing my bachelors with all the demands on my time, but I did. We will commit to and make time for things that are important to us. After four years, setting aside time every night and on weekends, I graduated
It boils down to determination. If you want something bad enough you will find a way to get it accomplished. There will be way more people throughout your career, as well as life, that will tell you that you cannot do something or that it is not possible. What I am saying is, do not accept someone else’s belief as the final answer. Instead, find a way to move ahead by doing your research, putting in the time and never quitting.
The phrase “intestinal fortitude” is what I am referring to here. You need to reach deep down inside yourself and find something that pushes you forward. There are so many things today that will prove to be roadblocks not only in our civilian lives but in our Army careers also. We must not accept failure, substandard attempts or a “that is just the way it is” attitude in anything. We cannot be ok with just being ok; who wants to just be ok? I think of the two lines of the Soldiers’ Creed often. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. These are two basic quotes we learned when we first joined the Army; for some of us that was many years ago, but it rings true in everything we do every day!!
We all must motivate ourselves whether it is for a promotion, self-gratitude or whatever drives you. Everyone that is successful has something that motivates them. I believe you need to recognize your “why” and remind yourself regularly. This is the driving force behind not accepting “no” for an answer.
It may seem cliche, but I can tell that my motivation is to help Soldiers. There are lots of ways to accomplish that motivation. I get a huge sense of fulfillment seeing Soldiers in my units accomplishing their goals and being rewarded for the great accomplishments that we are doing every day. I deal with roadblocks every day when it comes to Soldiers and their careers, but I promise you I do not take “no” for an answer. I work diligently to find the best solution for every Soldier I serve every day. I challenge you to always lean forward in the fox hole, never accept defeat and continue on your path to success for both yourself and those to your left and right!!!