I went through Basic Military Training back in 2005. My flight was trained by a man who had a powerful, positive and profound impact on each of our lives. That man, under the infamous Campaign Hat was our Military Training Instructor, more commonly known to the civilian side as a Drill Instructor/Drill Sergeant.
He embodied exactly what was expected of a Military Training Instructor (MTI) and a military man. He was everything I wanted to be. His drill movements were sharp and crisp, impeccable uniform with razor-sharp creases, boots that gleamed like mirrors, a command voice that could make God himself snap to attention and he had a presence that commanded the highest respect.
He exemplified everyday what it meant to have “excellence in all we do”, one of the three Air Force Core Values. He really brought it home every time he spoke my favorite line, “I wake up in the morning and piss excellence!” That’s right. My MTI said it before Ricky Bobby made it famous in Talladega Nights.
We sure as hell believed our MTI too. There wasn’t a single reason not to.
Fast forward 7 years and I found myself back at Basic Military Training. But this time, I was the one under the Campaign Hat.
It was my time to “piss excellence”.
For some reason I was under the impression that simply wearing the Campaign Hat automatically gave you the ability to piss excellence. Oh boy was I wrong and I learned the hard way.
I quickly found out what it took to have the have the honor of pissin excellence.
18 hour days.
32 days without a day off over and over.
3-4 hours of sleep a night.
Marching from sun up to sun down to the point you can no longer feel your legs.
PT (physical training) everyday.
Constantly switching uniforms because they’re drenched in sweat from the Texas heat.
Finding out a way to yell and give commands even though your voice is gone.
The non-existence of food.
Still operating at a high level through sleep deprivation and limited sustenance.
This is the price you pay to piss excellence. I paid it and then some. After it was all said and done, I was able to proudly say that “I wake up in the morning and piss excellence!”
The moral of the story is, behind every image of excellence, every success, there is a story of a grind that most will never see and probably never experience. But it takes hard work day in and day out to become a success. It takes hard work day in and day out to reach your dreams. There are no short cuts, no quick fix and no magic pill. It’s all work.
It takes good old-fashioned hard work to wake up and piss excellence.