Three life lessons

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Hey Airmen with a capital "A", the following are three life lessons to help you refocus, achieve personal expectations and maximize your contributions to the Air Force, right now.

Lesson one, focus on what you control. It is a time in our Air Force which we have been presented a myriad of changes and challenges. From changes to Enlisted Performance Reports (EPRs) to instituting Static Close-out Dates (SCODs), to balancing a greater mission with less Airmen, to sequester and force reductions.

Being cognizant of the challenges presented to us is wise but focusing on the piece we own is more critical. What is that piece? Being awesome... exemplifying the core values, trying our best... professionally, spiritually, personally and socially... understanding one's position in the force structure, understanding our role and leading by a positive example. You see, despite all the challenges we are going through as a team, our Air Force's universal beliefs have remained largely unchanged. In the Air Force we recognize, internalize and reward individuals who display integrity, excellence and service. Get there, stay there, live there. "The measure of a man is not during times of comfort but during times of change and controversy." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Lesson two, understand you control your own destiny. If you are not familiar with the internal/external locus of control theory, accomplish a little fun study unto this subject. In a nutshell, locus of control describes the amount of control individuals believe they have over their own lives, careers or destiny.  Pessimistic individuals try to erode our internal locus of control. This is bad for you and this is bad for the mission. No one controls your destiny more than you. Ignore the naysayers, work hard and let the consequences follow, period. "If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude." -Charles R. Swindoll.

Lesson three, exude tough minded optimism in your daily activities. This does not describe flattery or brown nosing, or giving pump-up speeches with buzzwords and clichés, but it describes an internal fortitude of self-control. You WILL have bad days and you won't always win. Tough minded optimism describes overcoming our fly instinct and forcing the body to fight. It describes being part of the solution not just identifying the problem. It means taking action or overcoming obstacles and it means no matter how uncomfortable any situation becomes we never sellout our integrity for the easy way out. We identify the challenges set ahead of us but never cower. We maintain tough minded optimism with a realist perspective that the winds will eventually calm but right now we take charge of the Airmen entrusted to our charge and fight. Why do you ask, because we have no other option but to win! Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records." -William Ward.

Now go out there, refocus and maximize your contribution to our force. We are all in this fight together... lead on!