Constant Elevation Podcast – Season 2

The Constant Elevation Podcast is for rising leaders who seek to define the future.
Join Gabriel “gaberock” Avilla on his journey through the Air Force, fitness, family, and everything in between
to inspire you to rise to your full potential .

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Dealing With My Demons

“If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels.” In this episode, I get into my emotions and share with you some of the struggles I’m dealing with and how I’m choosing to not let them dominate me. All of us have different methods of dealing with stress, so let’s choose the positive ones and keep on elevating.

Take A Look, It’s In A Book

“Books open windows to the world and have the power to transform lives.” In this episode, I cover some of the recent books I’ve read in my never ending journey to become a great leader. Some you may know, some you may not, but I’m always interested in finding those books that inspire me to become a more well-rounded leader that is open to any idea to make myself and my team that much better.

We Drink and We Know Thing with Major Chris Foltz

“That’s what I do, I drink and I know things.”  In this (longer than usual) episode, I interview Major Chris Foltz, a fellow cyberspace operations officer stationed with me at Joint Forces Headquarters DODIN at Fort Meade, MD. We cover our origin story, the challenges of balancing the core duties of being an officer versus your assigned specialty, the ingredients to being an effective staff officer, and how all of us will need to come to grasp on what we truly feel passionate about and how to find opportunities within the Air Force that can drive self-fulfillment and positive contributions to the mission at the same time.

Challenge the Body, Strengthen the Mind

“When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.” In this episode, I cover the two fitness regimens that on the surface couldn’t be farther from each other, yet both have tremendous impacts on making me mentally stronger: Running and Weightlifting. I talk about my origin stories in both sports, the mental benefits shared by both, and some smart ways on how you can get started in each path

The C.Y.B.E.R. Leadership Philosophy with MSgt Ron Esposo

“Don’t Just Talk About It, Be About It.” In this episode, I interview MSgt Ron Esposo, a former teammate from the mighty 673d Communications Squadron and co-founder of the Filipino-American Airmen group on Facebook, boasting more than 4,500 worldwide members. We discuss our origin story, the power of a global community through a shared culture that always makes you feel at home, and his personal leadership philosophy using the acronym CYBER that embodies his style and passion for getting the mission done but never forgetting the people are the foundation that makes the mission happen.

Write Like You’re Running Out Of Time

“Self-reflection is the school of wisdom.” In this episode, I cover a key component of my self-reflection practice: writing. I cover my personal beginnings with writing, the importance of writing professionally and the positive impact it can have with your teammates, and how I plan to continue to become a better writer. Sometimes you need to look back so that the view looking forward is even clearer.

The Power of the Iron Majors with Major Chris Carr

Would you rather have a teammate that truly wants to do their job for the sake of the mission, or a teammate who is just going through the motions to advance themselves? In this episode, I interview Major Chris Carr, currently serving as a Foreign Affairs Officer at Headquarters Air Command, Royal Australian Air Force Base Glenbrook, New South Wales Australia. We talk about our origin story, the stigma of the non-selected officer and why we shouldn’t devalue their expertise, and how we need to recognize their unique position within the Air Force that can be a huge advantage if leveraged correctly.

2020 Performance Report Debrief

Another year goes by and another performance report drops. In this episode, I give you a debrief on my latest officer performance report and the associated feedback session with my supervisor. The summary is a great example of how a feedback session that covers both the professional and personal goals of a person can leave you motivated to remain a team player and keep working hard.

Where Is The Trust?

If you are asked to sign a waiver by your leadership, chances are you being asked to accept full responsibility for your actions. But does your leadership have faith that you can take the right actions, or are actions being decided for you due to lack of trust? In this episode, I share my personal thoughts on how a perceived lack of trust within a team is actually damaging morale and building a false sense of comfort.

How Can You Solve A Puzzle Without All The Pieces?

Leaders and Followers that strive for transparency and understanding have the foundational elements of an efficient team. In this episode, I cover the challenges of the “interpretation games”, which is when leadership only provides partial information to a problem and yet you are responsible for providing a full solution. This problem plagues hierarchy-based organizations like the Air Force, and I share my thoughts on how to overcome them both as a leader and a follower.

Spend Your Time Wisely, Don’t Let Time Spend You

My thoughts on time and task management are organized into six sections: Energy Preferences, Battle Rhythm, eCommunications, Family, Fuel, and Fitness. Each section has three supporting thoughts that guide the reader by developing a sufficient time and task management practice.

The Answer Is More Squats w/Capt Danny Canlas

If you want to start your day right as a leader, start them with squats. In this episode, I interview Captain Danny Canlas of the Alaska Army National Guard. We talk about our origin story at 907 CrossFit, how serving as a fitness trainer within the military has carried over to building our confidence as leaders, how the CrossFit methodology is inherently inclusive and can build strong communities, and the appeal of fitness in strengthening both your physical and mental states. And we also put in some squats along the way.

Leading with Kindness and Compassion w/Brig Gen Jimmy Canlas

When taking a stand against racial injustice, the world will always need leaders that continue to lead with kindness and compassion. In this episode, I interview the Commander, 618th Air Operations Center, Brigadier General Jimmy “Vegas” Canlas. We talk about creating space to have difficult conversations that can empower people towards meaningful change, some of the best and worst advice he’s heard, and how he has maintained his personal and family values while ascending the ranks.

Staying True When No One Is Looking

It is easy to jump on a bandwagon once something is popular, but are you willing to step up for what is right when the outcome is unknown?  On this week’s episode I end the 2020 Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month with an interview with fellow Filipino-American Airman leader, SMSgt Eddie Grant. We talk about our digital origin story, his drive behind creating the popular Bebot Challenge videos, and how we need leaders to keep on doing the right things, even when no one is looking. 

Living Fiercely Forward w/Ashley Johns

Ashley Johns is an entrepreneur and owner of Fierce Forward Jewelry, a lifestyle brand created in 2010 designed to help others develop the courage to move forward through their fears. Living with intention changed her life so much that she made it her personal mission to help others move forward in their lives! Fierce Forward Jewelry is designed as a way that you can stay focused on what you want to create in your life. 

Punching Doubt In The Throat

For the majority of the episodes of Constant Elevation, I just freestyle from the top of the dome and share my thoughts and feelings throughout the recording. Today’s episode is a little different, as I wanted to approach the subject matter very deliberately and felt that my emotions may have gotten the best of me and I wanted to share my message to be shared clearly and succinctly. Without further ado, here is “Punching Doubt in the Throat.”

DJ State Of Mind w/Lt Col Rory “DJ Tagg” Tibbals

Whether you know it or not, there are some Air Force officers today who have superpowers. Like the power to move a crowd without speaking a word. In this episode, I interviewed the homie and fellow Air Force officer Lieutenant Colonel Rory Tibbals, also known around the world as DJ Tagg. We cover our origin story as young cyberspace operations officers, how his personal interests have helped him become a better leader with international impact, and how hard work can overcome any fears of pursuing the non-traditional path to success for an officer.

Iron Sharpens Iron w/Marcus Ofoia-Stevens

“The sport of weightlifting doesn’t build character, it reveals it.” In this week’s episode, I interviewed my weightlifting coach, Marcus Ofoia-Stevens, co-founder of Iron Athletics Weightlifting Club. We cover our origin story at CrossFit 808, how the mind of a weightlifter differs from the average athlete, and how being a coach within the sport of weightlifting has a direct correlation to being an effective leader that stays focused on unlocking the potential of their athletes. 

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop #CSWS

Staying focused as a leader is crucial to the success of your team. It’s easy to get distracted by worrying about how your ideas could be perceived or let a small mistake hinder overall progress. It takes strength and humility to stay the course and continue to be a leader when others seek comfort in the day to day monotony with no real progression.  With the help of a throwback jam, I share my three tips on how I inspire and work with those around me to stay focused on what matters the most. Because we can’t stop, won’t stop.

You Don’t Have To Be Right, You Just Have To Get It Right w/Colonel Trish Csank

Leaders are expected to deal with various amounts of pressure at any given moment, and what matters most is how you handle it in that moment. On this week’s episode I welcome a leader I’ve seen successfully deal with pressure from small to large and everything in between. Colonel Trish Csank is the Wing Commander of 673d Air Base Wing, Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska. We talk about our origin story, how she works hard to avoid burnout so she can stay focused on leading a massive team, the power of the diversity of thought, and how true leaders don’t have to be right, they just have to get it right.

Social Connecting w/the CCF Crew

Social Connecting > Social Distancing. In these trying times where we must take a pause from our normal interactions with each other, Team CCF continues to stay connected and share some laughs. On this episode I chat with fellow CCF teammates Matt Titman, Ashley Merola, and Victor Villegas on how much we miss our CCF teammates, how we are fitting these gains in but it’s just not the same, and how we can’t wait until we can be back in the box. This is a great example of a community built on shared misery…but we can’t wait to see each other once again.

Changing Mindsets Through Powerful Words w/Dr. Chris Stasik

Dr. Chris Stasik is first and foremost my brother-in-law. He is also a leading pathologist in Phoenix, Arizona and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area. In addition, Chris is a CF-L1 Trainer and Head Weightlifting Coach at Wildfire CrossFit. In this episode, we reminisce on our shared origin story with CrossFit, how his experience in developing as an athlete and coach has positively influenced his leadership mindset and professional career, and how Wildfire CrossFit is persevering through the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping their community together.

Is Firing An Underperformer The Right Solution?

A teammate of mine recently posed this question to me: “What should a leader do when everyone knows a teammate isn’t performing at the level they should? Is firing them the right answer?” This turned into a great conversation and mentoring moment that I wanted to share in this episode. Leaders don’t go for what’s easy, they go for what’s right.

Take Action Now To Live Better Tomorrow w/Dustin Thibodeaux

Social Distancing can be your opportunity to build a strategy to prioritize the important things in life and really understand your “Why”. My guest on this episode is Dustin Thibodeaux, owner of Tailored Flow, a holistic lifestyle coaching service based on nutrition, fitness, and so much more. We talk about our origin story at CrossFit 808, how nutrition can be foundational to living a full life, the distractions that are holding people back from their true potential, the ingredients to finding your true self, and so much more. 

The Hard Knock Military Brat Life w/Lana Avilla

This episode is part 2 of 2 and features a self-nominated candidate for best child in this family: my daughter Lana. In this episode, we talk about what she misses during COVID-19 social distancing, how moving so often gets even harder as a high school student within a military family, and the different nerd adventures we’ve experienced together. She’s a positive example of a military brat and a very creative artist that I should probably have on the show more often.

The Military Brat Life w/Benjamin Avilla

This episode is part 1 of 2 and features a very special guest: my son Benjamin. In this episode of Constant Elevation, we talk about how he feels about staying home from school, the pros and cons of constantly moving, and how he tries to make the best out of being so far away from family. Being a military brat isn’t the easiest life, but I’m glad we can still share a laugh and look forward to our next adventure as an ohana.

Level Up Your Leadership w/Captain Russell Lewis

This week’s guest is Captain Russell Lewis, a motivated Air Battle Manager and co-founder of Higher Level Leadership. We talk about what it means to have a tattoo as an officer in today’s workforce, a key attribute that company grade officers look for from their senior leaders, and share stories on what leaves lasting impressions on the next generation of leaders. 

Leadership As A Domain w/Colonel (ret) Jon “Big Dogg” Rhone

In this week’s episode, I have yet another interview, this time with a fellow podcast host, coaching consultant, and most importantly, a leader seeking to improve the Air Force. I’m excited to have Colonel (retired) Jon “Big Dogg” Rhone on the show to talk about his platform Leadership as a Domain and his recent feature as a guest speaker at the 2020 Air University Leadership Education Development Experience. 

Time – The One Resource You Can’t Make More Of

As I transition to my new job with a new boss, I filled out an Initial Feedback form for my non-Air Force (Army) supervisor. One of the questions for me to answer was “Do you have stressors in your life? If so, what are goals for reducing them? How can we help? A source of stress for me is preserving the one resource I can’t make more of: Time.

Are You An Insider Or An Outsider?

Challenges within an organization are constant, but how you approach them will separate you as a leader or as an observer. This episode provides insight into the challenges I have ahead of me as I take on a new job and how I will implement my plan of action to bring the team to new heights.

My Leadership Philosophy

Every leader should have a defined philosophy that can be quickly delivered to teammates in order to level set expectations and serve as a foundation for conversation and shared ground. Your leadership philosophy should be informed by your experiences and thoughts and be unique to YOU. My leadership philosophy continuously evolves based on what I learn and experience and I share them with you here in the form of “Alphabetical Leadership”.

A MAFO Conversation w/Colonel Jaron “Jroux” Roux

’m excited to have Colonel Jaron “JRoux” Roux on this week’s show. He currently serves as the Vice Commander, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. We talk about the origins of the Minority Air Force Officer group on FaceBook and how diversity within senior leader ranks can increase the development of future leaders across all ranks. JRoux’s leadership style is a breath of fresh air that our Air Force needs and I look forward to learning more from each other as we continue to lead in only the way we can: genuinely.

Dealing With Stress and Death

Even in the darkest times, the sun in all of us can rise to light our hearts if only we get out of our own way. This week has been a long and heavy one, but I got through it with the help of everyone around me. This episode covers how I dealt with stress at work and how the loss of loved ones can bring us even closer together.

Train Smarter For Your Military Running Test

Love it or hate it, running is a part of military life. All of us have the responsibility to meet the physical standards of serving in the military. However, injuries due to emphasizing volume over technique and poorly designed training programs results in lowered readiness. Instead of just putting in mindless mileage, this episode shares my strategy on how to train smarter for your military running test.

Aloha ʻĀina

Aloha ʻĀina is Hawaiian for “love of the land”, and on this episode I share the background on why I chose to clean up my neighborhood and the small tactics I employ to reduce my overall eco-footprint. I hope this episode inspires you to know that even small actions can have a large impact, and all it takes is a little bit of Aloha.

Improving the officer ranks: Air Force promotion zones and Army BCAP

Talent Management amongst the officer ranks is a continuous process that must evolve if we are to retain and maintain a healthy military. In this episode, I share my thoughts on the Air Force’s initiative to eliminate the Below-The-Zone program and transition towards a more merit-based program, as well as the Army’s Battalion Commander Assessment Program initiative that seeks to expand the calculus on selecting the right personnel for arguably the most influential position within their service.

This Is Constant Elevation

Exit Breaking Red…Enter CONSTANT ELEVATION, the show for rising military and community leaders that seek to define the future. I am your host Gabriel “gaberock” Avilla, and on our very first episode, I’ll cover why I decided to rebrand, what I’ve previously created under Project Rise and Breaking Red, and what to look forward to under the new banner of Constant Elevation. LET’S GO!


Let’s build something together.