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Own Your Today – and What About Tomorrow?

Own Your Today – and What About Tomorrow?

Last week, I had the privilege of turning over my command in the US Navy to my successor. I have been in charge of a 50+ sailor reserve LCS (Littoral Combat Ship) Maintenance Unit for the last 2 years, and at my Change of Command, I gave the following speech. I challenge you to think about how you’re owning your today – and challenge all of us to review our concerns for tomorrow. Instead, adopt the mantra as suggested here by President Roosevelt, “How Exciting”.

Change of Command Speech – January 22, 2023

Commander Prisant

When I started my command two years ago in 2021, how many of you were here?

Not many. When I started, this unit was called the LCS SUW Mayport. Now we are the mighty LCS Met Det C (Maintenance Detachment Charlie) Tampa. But more on that later.

What does it mean to own your today? Well, I’ll be honest, the original expression is not my own. Ever heard of Charles Schwab? Their motto is “Own Your Tomorrow”. I believe it comes from the idea that YOU are responsible for what happens in YOUR future (in this case, for retirement, etc).

Owning your today does not mean life is perfect and that you should see everything through rose colored glasses. It means you recognize where you are today – and you take it with you. Don’t let someone else own YOUR today. Don’t let them take it from you. Own yours. How will you do it? How will you take it to your tomorrow?

Owning your today means taking charge of what’s yours. Full Stop. You have the opportunity to do what you’re doing. Right. Now. Whether it’s leading a division as a First Class PO or learning the Fire main System on an LCS – YOU get to do those things. Maybe your personal life isn’t 100% of what you want. But you have elements that you built, friend or family that you appreciate and choose to continue to develop those relationships. It’s a sailor in this unit that’s going to school, managing a family and trying to get advanced because he knows he should at least try. And he succeeded.

Maybe you’re not in the place where you want to be in your civilian job – but you do have a job that you have attained in some way. It’s a sailor that took on the Det C leadership role even though her civilian job was just starting, and she didn’t even know if she could manage both – and she did.

That’s your start point. You take it from there. You own your today.

As many of you know, I tend to teach from experiences, and this is no exception. The unit was very different at the beginning. I was different. That first year was hard. There was a lot of learning, of growth, and yes, a lot of pain in the ass. I will admit that I struggled. There were broken processes and rules being broken on a regular basis. I wanted to blame someone. I wanted to push it on the previous command. On “it’s not me… so why do I have to deal with it”? When things are difficult, our first instinct is to play the blame game – “it’s not fair”, “who came up with this process?”

And then I realized – that doesn’t matter what others did before me. It matters what I do now. Maybe I didn’t get the perfect place to start. The place I wanted to start. But I did get a place to start – my place to start – and that was saying something. I got the opportunity to make this my own – to make an impact and make the change. Saying “it’s not fair” or someone else has it better than me gets me nowhere. This was my opportunity, and I was going to take it. I was going to own my today.

How will you own your today? How will you take charge of what is yours, right now?

As for your tomorrow – I know many of you can’t even bear to think of a Det C without CDR Prisant (I know, I know) – but for those that may wonder what to do next or may be worried about the chance you may take, I leave you with this little story.

Anyone ever watch the movie “Night at the Museum” with Ben Stiller? At the end of the 2nd movie, he realizes his time as a museum guard is coming to a close, and he’s visibly nervous about what tomorrow will bring. He says worriedly to Robin Williams, playing museum statue President Roosevelt, “I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow”. Robin Williams replies with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes “How exciting”.

So thank you. To each and every one of my sailors in MET DET C. I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow and maybe you don’t know either.

How exciting.

Own your Today

Own your Today

I will say this in advance – this is not a plug for Charles Schwab, but I have to say I do like the company’s motto, Own your tomorrow. They are an investment company that makes their living on helping others get to their financial goals – typically in the distant future. The motto is strong because it empowers the customers to think they own a part of their future, their “destiny,” if you will. That not everything is left to chance – you can take ownership.

With the current events as they are these day, I would like to respectfully build on Schwab’s motto a little and say Own your Today.

There is a lot going on in the world: inflation, layoffs, and a dozen eggs that cost $6. We continue to be challenged in a variety of ways. However, you are not a victim. You are not subject to the fates of the world. You do have the ability to own what happens to you.

For example, let us say you are laid off because of job reductions. It has happened to many in the recent months. You could be a victim and say “Woe is me” … or you take it as an opportunity to do something better or maybe something you want to do. I have a former student that this recently happened. She could go on LinkedIn and complain and beg for anyone to connect her, to help her find something since she is a victim of circumstance. She has not done that. She has taken it upon herself not only to share her viewpoint and her challenges as she moves forward and look for “what’s next,” but to challenge others to improve themselves as well.

It could be a promotion you did not get. A fight with someone you are close to that you did not start. That what got you here, that you worked so hard to get or did not get you there, or someone in your life that just has it easier than you. It does not matter.

No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. Eleanor Roosevelt said that. Take her words to heart and take a chance by Owning your Today. Don’t wait – no one else can own your today – but you.