Crunch Time – Navigating the Stress of Selection Board Season

140114-N-OY799-067Selection board season can be the most anticipated – yet intimidating – time of the year for many Sailors. In January, about 20,000 first class Sailors took their advancement exams in preparation to be considered for chief. Now through October, thousands of Sailors will compete for advancement within their ratings and designators. Preparing your package and studying for examinations can be stressful by themselves—but since daily life doesn’t stop during selection board season, remember to exercise the 5 Principles of Resilience to maintain your own checks and balances, and thrive:

  1. Predictability. Align your expectations with results. Reflect on feedback received from your shipmates and leaders, and make certain your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) is up-to-date. Remember that preparation is key. Set aside time in your schedule to review you OMPF as often as possible – even small efforts can yield positive gains.
  2. Controllability. You cannot always control an outcome, but you can control your response. Maintain a positive outlook and capitalize on opportunities to grow. Even some of the most famously successful people experienced setbacks on road to realizing their goals (check out this article for inspiration).
  3. Relationships. Lean on your shipmates for support, schedule time to speak with your leaders and confide in your family members.  Refer back to your Stress Navigation Plan and reach out to the person or people in your support network that help you stay grounded.
  4. Trust. Trust yourself, your shipmates, your leadership, your chaplains and your Navy. Most importantly, trust that your dedication and perseverance are two of the reasons why you have achieved your goals thus far. You have a lot to take pride in outside of selection board results.
  5. Meaning.  While advancement is the goal, don’t just think about your destination as the reward. The road to get there is just as important. Focus on your purpose and community. By understanding the mission, your role within the big picture will help build your resilience and strengthen readiness.

While we don’t often think of advancement in terms of transition, a lot can change following selection board results. New roles will test your leadership skills, while a pay increase may test your financial responsibility. Be proud of your achievement, but don’t hesitate to reach out to a shipmate, superior, or professional for advice or resources for navigating stress that may be unfamiliar to you.

For information on the selection board process and how to prepare for it, read Your Record is Available Online – Prepare Early for Selection Boards.

** Detailed information can be found in NAVADMIN 288/13 for active component/FTS/CANREC and NAVADMIN 306/13 for SELRES and under the “Boards” tab available at  

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