Change is not always a bad thing

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Terry L. Hughes
  • 509th Maintenance Squadron
I can still remember my initial days of basic training--and I'm sure most Airmen, if they really try, can too. For me this was a significant change in lifestyle. It was also a time of anxiety, apprehension, doubt, fear and chaos on many fronts. Ultimately the majority of us triumphed over this challenging period and in the end we became better people, citizens and Airmen. This is the overall recipe that produces positive results and validates the old saying that "nothing good worth having comes easy."

With this in mind, let's take a look at our own great institution -- the United States Air Force. In my 27 years of serving this great nation, I can say that one thing has been a constant in our great way of life, yep you guessed it, change.

Along with the many changes came the emotional "ingredients" (mentioned above) that serve, each in their own way, to facilitate the growth of our Air Force into what we see today. Those changes also serve to develop its pillars [the enlisted force] into the most respected Air Force in history. Change is something we tend to do pretty well, but I think fail to truly appreciate.

I remember many years ago while deployed to Kuwait, I had the opportunity to talk at length to a Kuwaiti officer who was a member of a group receiving leadership training from a small cache of enlisted Airmen of varied grades. The one key point the officer shared with me that has managed to stay with me over the years was our Airmen perform at a level of his most senior officers!

At first I thought this was amazing and he was being overly gracious. The more I thought about it though, I resolved that it really isn't anything revolutionary considering the enlisted professionals engaged in our nation's business of military dominance. The fact is that our Airmen perform professionally under extremely challenging circumstances... and make it look very easy!

Many reading this are likely involved with some form of change (process, environment, leadership, task, etc) at this very moment. While accepting and managing change can be a daunting and unwelcome task for many, this dynamic must be actively engaged when in the business of developing and maintaining the world's premier Air Force.

I believe some points to remember when confronting and dealing with change may help you:
1) Change is constant... so be surprised when things remain the same.
2) Change is uncomfortable and yet internally anticipated.
3) Change puts us in the valley of decision-making processes...the first steps to progress.
4) Change causes a different perspective of life which opens possibilities to move forward.
5) Change creates choice-driven alternatives, again creating the atmosphere for productive experiences.
6) Change pulls the future into the present and serves as the catalyst for progress. When I consider the many changes that have occurred in the Air Force during my relatively modest career, certain aspects of our enlisted Airmen stay constant: I've seen our Airmen adapt, innovate, implement, overcome and excel in ways that are simply astounding.

Our need to successfully engage in the ever-changing world around us compels us as a service to embrace change as an agent of freedom. From the changing face of conflict and battle in some of the world's most hostile urban places to the herculean humanitarian deeds to aid our global community, one constant, our core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do, continues to shape our essence as national warriors and responsible world servants.

In my opinion, change presents a golden growth opportunity to become better than before. The necessary growing pains that accompany change are navigable and as Airmen. We've proven time and again, that when navigating change with our core values as firm guides, it's one thing that we as a military do rather successfully.

The next time you are faced with a changing environment, look at it as an opportunity to excel and become better. With a faithful and positive commitment, you'll reap excellent results and always remember... "nothing good worth having comes easy" and "change is not always a bad thing."