“Act as if what you do makes a difference, because it does.” In the season 6 finale, I share my thoughts on how we need leaders to act boldly and with minimal oversight. While it may seem comforting at times to hear feedback that you are leading your team in the right direction, don’t lose sight that you have the capacity to trailblaze the path that was never there in the first place.
“It is not what you get out of life that counts. It’s what you give and what is given from the heart.” In this penultimate episode of season 6, I share some scattered thoughts on leadership and pending changes to the comm/cyber community within the Air Force.
“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.” In this episode, I reflect on some recent conversations at work revolving around dysfunctional teams and how to fix them. The human tendency to act out in self-preservation mode can be damaging to your team, but the path the positive change can and must start with you.
“Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.” In this episode, I invite Major Nick Lewis to talk about the common struggle of trying to find your place when advancing to a new tier of responsibility. When it seems like there is no hope to be found, sometimes what you need is closer than you think.
“What got you here, won’t necessarily get you there.” In this episode, I’m a featured guest on the Simsation Nation podcast hosted by Henry “Shooter” Sims. We discuss our thoughts on potential competing leadership philosophies and how a good leader doesn’t have to make that choice but instead knows how to wield them both when necessary.
“At the end of the day, we are accountable to ourselves; our success is a result of what we do.” In this episode, I analyze the application of Accountability within a team environment. The importance of Responsibility, Dependability, and Predictability of the individual must be understood to translate to team success.
“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” In this episode, I share my perspective on why you should participate in the 2023 CrossFit Open. The Open truly is for everyone and can help you set the tone to tackle future challenges and rack up wins on your personal fitness journey.
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” I start off 2023 strong with a review of my pursuits for the year. These aren’t goals or resolutions, but rather long-standing tenants I will be organizing and prioritizing my time and energy towards to rise to my full potential.
“It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s not ok to half-ass.” In this episode, I explore three different methods of learning and how I use them with maximum purpose. However, one method seems to be the strongest for me, and I embrace it and keep moving forward.
“If it’s a priority, you’ll find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.” In this episode, I analyze whether or not “ruthless prioritization” should be something you aim to achieve. Depending on your situation and approach, a leader can achieve great results…but at what cost?
“Doing the right thing is never the wrong thing.” In this episode, I cover my 5 favorite leadership quotes from a source you may not be tracking: Ted Lasso. This fictional soccer coach drops numerous nuggets of leadership insight that we all can benefit from if we only BELIEVE in ourselves.
“Be brief, be brilliant, be gone” In this episode, I share my thoughts upon returning from a recent work trip. This trip ended up being challenging for me to keep my same energy the entire time, but I now have a better understanding of how to prepare and execute those work days and not burn myself out.
“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” In this episode, I share my updated leadership philosophy. Understanding and sharing your core values as a leader is important, but remember to periodically do a self-assessment on them to ensure you are still pointing in the direction you want to.
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” In this episode, I share my simple list of elements of a high-performing team: Communicate,
Coordinate, and Collaborate. When used effectively, these elements can save time and energy on otherwise wasted efforts and concentrate the team on what matters most: success achieved together. *Note: the audio sounds off this week because I didn’t choose the right input when I recorded. But since I’m “One Take Jake” when I create my content, it is what it is, hahaha!
“To be or to do? Which way will you go?” In this episode, I share insight into my recent experience of not being selected for the next level of competitive leadership: group command. To say I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster would be putting it lightly, but I believe in the end that I’m on the path that I need to be on, not necessarily the one I may have wanted.
“This is how it should be done. This style is identical to none.” Welcome back to Season 6 of Constant Elevation! In this episode, I provide an update on my life happenings since the conclusion of season 5 and why I decided to return to the mic. I’m excited to continue to share my stories and thoughts on how all of us can rise to our potential and define the future.
“There is no time like the present to start being the person you want to be remembered as.” In this episode, I share my parting thoughts as I wind down my recent tour at JFHQ-DODIN. This tour has taught me many things and helped me grow tremendously as a leader, and I hope that my work has left a similar positive impact on others that will remain even after I leave. Serving as an example of the leader I want to be and follow will continue to be a driving factor for me as I continue my path in this life.
“A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.” In this episode, I draw my comparisons to being an effective coach in the gym to being an effective leader in the workplace. I am grateful to currently serve in both of these capacities, so I try to use the same tools and techniques in both roles to improve the performance of those I am fortunate enough to lead.
“E Aloha Kekahi I Kekahi (love one another).” In this episode, I share how my childhood in Hawai’i shaped my style of leadership and how I try to conduct myself professionally and personally. Let’s close out this year’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month strong…IMUA! #AAPIHM
“It’s only a ton of email if you read them all.” In this episode, I share my strategy for how I return from leave with maximum efficiency. I’ve fine-tuned this approach to maximize my time and maximize the time of others so we can get back to work and #JustDoBetter.
“I think I can…I think I can…I know I can.” In this episode, I share some highlights from the recently updated “Air Force little blue and brown books.” These foundational publications are a must-read for every Airman, as they provide us insight into how we must hold ourselves and each other accountable to defined principles within the Profession of Arms.
“I don’t care about organization charts, I care about the unity of effort.” In this episode, I cover some of the top quotes I heard while attending the 2022 AFCEA Tidewater Integrated Combat Symposium in Hampton, Virginia. I had a great time hearing from great leaders on what the Air Force needs from the cyberspace operations and information warfare community, and I’m excited for my next chapter in Air Combat Command.
“The coach discovers his or her humanness and humanity while being a clearing for others to do so.” In this episode, I share some of the 360-degree feedback I asked for from the athletes I am fortunate to coach. Seeking improvement is a hallmark of a great coach, and sometimes the best feedback comes from the ones that depend on you.
“It’s like a finger pointing to the moon. Don’t focus your eyes on the finger or you will all of the heavenly glory.” In this episode, I share my thoughts on mentally labeling yourself as a leader and following through with actions that match that label. By creating a mental image of who you want to be, it will become easier for that image to manifest itself in reality.
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” In this episode, I share my thoughts on how a good mentor hopes you move on, but a great mentor knows you will. If you are fortunate enough to serve in a mentorship position, listen to my advice on what you need to do to ensure you elevate leaders to higher positions from where you met them.
“Bureaucracy is the art of making possible impossible.” In this episode, I share my frustrating thoughts on how I see bureaucracy killing initiative within organizations. Leaders will no doubt encounter these obstacles, and it is their responsibility to rise above them and lead themselves and their teams to greater accomplishments.
“You get what you focus on, so focus on what you want.” In this episode, I share my thoughts on two elements that every leader must master to win: Focus and Finish. They may seem simple at first, but if you don’t understand their importance, you may lead yourself or your team to disaster.
“Wisdom is better than silver and gold.” In this episode, I share the top seven takeaways I learned from my recent “new O6/Colonel orientation.” Many leadership lessons were shared, but certain themes and topics apply to a broader range of leaders who can take advantage of this wisdom at their current level to drive positive impact and better team effectiveness.
“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months, and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.” In this episode, I share my approach to the mindset needed to prepare for any high-stakes discussion. Whether it be a high-level, senior leader decision brief or a one-on-one, personal discussion with your supervisor, these two simple ways will help keep you focused and emerge victoriously.
“Reputation is what people think of you, Character is what you are.” In this episode, I share my thoughts on me dealing with the duality of how others perceive and how I want to maintain my own identity. Ultimately we all will have to live with the decisions we make, so which one do you prioritize: the thoughts of others or your own?
Welcome back Season 5 of Constant Elevation with Gabriel “gaberock” Avilla, the show for rising military and community leaders that seek to define the future. In this episode, I share a brief summary of what has happened since the end of Season 4 and why I decided to return.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” In this episode, I share my recent realization that I am both physically and mentally getting burnt out. Recognizing the opportunity to minimize some of my efforts in order to recharge for what comes next, I hope that my story helps you find your own opportunity to hit the pause button and reflect on what is most important so you can continue to shape your life towards what matters most.
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” In this episode, I reflect on past efforts of spreading aloha in my community. I wasn’t prompted by anyone to do these things, I just felt they needed to be done. During this holiday season, it is not uncommon for all of us to reflect on what we are thankful for, but we should also find ways to give back for no other reason than we simply need more aloha in the world.
“Sometimes the highest form of action is inaction.” In this episode, I share a recent experience where I deliberately held myself back from “helping” a teammate. Leaders have opportunities to let their teammates fly, but we have to recognize them ahead of time to make sure we don’t miss them or get in their way. If you put the work in ahead of time as a team, you can trust each other when it’s game time.
“Have you heard? The bird is the word.” In this episode, I reflect on my recent selection to be promoted to the rank of Colonel in the United States Air Force. I phrase my thoughts by responding to the simple question, “Now what?” I’ve worked for almost twenty years to climb this mountain, so what happens when you reach the summit? This isn’t a simple question to answer, but I have some initial thoughts to keep me motivated to continue to lead from the front.
“You were selected to lead for a reason, so remain true to yourself.” In this episode, I reflect on the one-year anniversary of the release of my book “No Pressure.” I’m still super proud of my accomplishment in creating a product that was designed to help leaders find their way through a successful command tour. Success can be measured in many ways, but I still believe remaining authentic, genuine, and striving to be the leader you would want to follow from the first to the last day of your tour is the best way to make a positive change.
“The expert in anything was once a beginner.” In this episode, I welcome Kaylan Swartz and Michael Klepfer to talk about their experience as new interns at Revival Fitness. We discuss their fitness backgrounds, what drove them to sign up to be an intern in the first place, and how they want to be positive examples of leadership within our local fitness community.
“I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days.” In this episode, I discuss my recent results in the 1.5-mile run test as part of my annual Air Force Fitness Assessment. It has been two years since I’ve tested, and I get nervous every single time. I also share my perspective on the training components I use how to smartly prepare for the test and provide a FREE six-week training plan for you that you can use to improve your run time.
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. In this episode, I chat with Lt Col Dear Beloved about the four ‘ships of the Air Force mentoring program: Mentorship, Relationship, Sponsorship…and I propose a new ‘ship that brings everything together so we can Fly, Fight, and Win.
“We have the vector, now is the time to add thrust.” In this episode, I share my thoughts on the 2021 AFA Air Space and Cyber Conference held at National Harbor, Maryland. I was fortunate enough to attend and hear insights from our senior leadership, meet up with new and old teammates, and get “re-blued” as an Airman.
“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” In this episode, I discuss why this sports analogy might not be the best to mimic as a leader in the workplace. While this leadership quote is popular, the application of this advice may leave you at a disadvantage because you aren’t paying attention to the opportunities and challenges that are available to you now. If everyone is moving where the puck is going to be, who is taking care of the puck now?
“If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” In this episode, I discuss my mindset on why I tend to be more process-driven as a leader, when the power of personality can and should shine through, and how using both techniques can drive optimal outcomes.
“Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.” In this episode, I chat with Colonel Heather Blackwell, Director of Cyberspace and Information Dominance, and Chief Information Officer, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. We talk about why self-assessments are an important tool to build a successful career, creating an environment and tuning your sensors to allow honest feedback to be given to you, and how the small yet consistent habit of self-reflection can empower yourself to be better every day.
“An active mind cannot exist in an inactive body.” In this episode, I share my thoughts on how and why I spend more time thinking and listening than speaking. Even though I have an extroverted personality, I spend more of my time taking in and processing information to ensure my output of information is well-informed yet authentically me. There are 24 hours in the day, choose to use them wisely.
“Reflection: looking back so that the view looking forward is even clearer.” In this episode, I share my thoughts on three simple steps that all of us can use when dealing with challenging times in our lives. We can’t avoid them, but we can transform them into a positive event where we elevate ourselves and keep on moving forward instead of letting it weigh us down.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” In this episode, I chat with Taylor Bialkowski, co-owner and coach at Revival Fitness. We discuss her journey in nutrition, the importance of nutrition as the foundation of any fitness program, and simple tips to help leaders get started and maintain healthy habits that support a healthy lifestyle.
As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” In this episode, I share my recent experience where my first impression with a senior officer went completely sideways. This event will go down as very formative for the rest of my career and how I will continue to grow as a leader. Every experience can be valuable, even the low ones, if you search for the right pieces and learn from your mistakes.
Despite what Uncle Snoop Dogg says, not everything you drop is considered hot. In fact, there are a couple of things you should avoid dropping as much as possible at work, else you’ll be considered an empty teammate who prefers to reminisce over the glory days instead of getting work done NOW. In this episode, I share my thoughts on a self-defense mechanism you may not be aware of and how to avoid embarrassing yourself.
Welcome back to Season 4 of Constant Elevation! I’m returning after a well deserved break, but tune in to this episode to see what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been thinking about, and why I decided to return. MAHALO for being a first-time or long-time listener, you won’t be disappointed! And please consider supporting Constant Elevation through my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/constantelevation