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What is your purpose?

  • Published
  • By Kimberly Watson
  • 88th Air Base Wing

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Oh -- The beginning of a new year is always a time of renewal. The AFMC Connect topic of the month is “Purpose,” and I believe renewal goes hand in hand with it.

Over the past two years, we experienced unprecedented times, which may have caused us to lose our focus and purpose. During these times, we need to reach deep within ourselves and renew what truly drives us, or if we have not yet identified our purpose, start the inner exploration to figure it out. 

What motivates you? I will share a bit about what motivates me.

As a child, I do not recall having a life goal of working in the diversity and inclusion field, yet here I am doing this “work” for over 20 years. I am hesitant to call it work because you really need passion to survive in this field.

Over the years, I have witnessed the ebb and flow and negative stereotypes surrounding diversity and inclusion initiatives. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are complex issues and encompass more than just race and gender, although these are important facets we must explore and discuss. 

We can break down barriers and dispel stereotypes through education and understanding. We assist by providing guidance on facilitating workplace discussions that can help us learn and appreciate our differences — those “difficult conversations” as described by Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., Air Force Materiel Command commander, in which we must become comfortable being uncomfortable.

It’s not about being right or wrong — it is about having an open mind and willingness to actively listen. It is not easy “work,” but it’s necessary to create a workplace environment based on merit, dignity and respect. 

It is fitting we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. every January. He was instrumental in bringing about change during turbulent times in the nation’s history. King lived a life of purpose and taught us about equality, kindness, courage, change, forgiveness and much more.

One of my favorite quotes by Dr. King is, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

It sounds so simple because I believe we all want to do what is right all the time, yet it is not easy. At times, we find ourselves surrounded by individuals who may not share our same values and beliefs, and it is not always comfortable to “do the right thing” and speak up when something is not right because you may fear being made fun of or ridiculed. Yet we must find the courage to speak up and do the right thing.

You can be a change agent. As King stated: “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country and a finer world to live in.”

My purpose and passion is to take care of people. I encourage you to be intentional, inclusive and never stop learning.