Starting SES is exciting -- and Overwhelming.  I've started more projects than I'd care to admit. In my experience, it's a little bit like scuba diving without a flashlight where you are only able to see a few feet in front of you -- you don't know what's up ahead until it's upon you. However, the longer you are SES, the better you can navigate through the water.

As I've scuba dived without a Flashlight before, I decided to take the time & boil down 10 of my goals. Consider these tips "stuff” to implement.  Let's get to the Tips.

1. Don’t try to control every contract Every single piece of DoD equipment does not need all your attention right now. Go build your to-do-list and stop doing busy work that makes you feel like you are accomplishing something.

2. Read -- a lot.

Even if you think you don't have enough time. And not just DoD reports, either. There is lots of material out there that might not seem at first if it applies to being SES, but be creative!  Read anything that will be of benefit.

3. People say there is a fine line between dedicated & completely overdoing it.

Screw the line. Bust right over it. You need to cross that line continually, so never let anyone tell you that you are too into your idea. I'm completely & overwhelmingly into equipment logistics & sustainment -- and it's OK. What are you planning on totally overdoing?

4. Get up earlier.

Yes, you can, and you should. I don't care if you are not a morning person. That's an excuse lazy people use. Waking up at 3AM when it’s dark outside & making a pot of coffee everyday can be life changing. Get more shit done before 9AM than most other people do all day.

5. Don't listen to “Nightmare Scenarios.

People love to throw around how lots of new SESs don’t cut it. Don't listen to that -- it's an excuse to make you think about giving up. If that number is even correct, it's because most people don't commit, they don't follow through to the end or they are not good at planning out their goals. 

6. Do something you like.

Don't start contracts you won't want to do in ten years. These things have unbelievable staying power because of Sustainment operations.  Because if you are successful, you'll still be doing this for a long time.

7. You are not going to know everything.

In fact, you probably won't know anything about day-to-day contract operations when you first start. Start anyway. Plan on figuring some of it out "on the job."

8. You are going to suck at dealing with everyone at once.

It's OK, we all do at first. However, this is one task you must get better about. Find a good assistant right away. It will give you some great training, with little downside.

9. Never partner with someone because it's convenient.

Partner with someone because it makes you stronger. The wrong partner will drive you crazy, make you hate your work and end up causing more problems than you can solve. 

10. Finish what you start.

Nearly every SES suffers from similar sets of problems: we like to start things more than we like to finish them. In other words, if you are a good SES, you'll have a lot of great ideas. Most of them would probably work out well and make you look good. However, that doesn't mean you should pursue all of them. Pick one and go with it until you succeed or Fail & have to move onto the next one. Split up your tasks to determine what your priority tasks are & focus on doing more of them. And yes, you do a lot of high priority tasks, even if you don't realise it. Just do more of them. 

Finally………… Like scuba diving without a Flashlight, SES can be a little intimidating. But hopefully at least one of the above tips will help you navigate through the water a little easier with more confidence. If you are just getting started with being SES, just remember this: keep diving. You will thank yourself in the Future. 

Do you have any additional tips you'd like to add? Or maybe something you'd like to expand upon? Leave your comments below and let's continue the conversation.

If you think your comments could help other DoD workers, share it! You never know whose potential you might unlock.


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