Attitude is the key

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Raul Flores
  • 71st Mission Support Group first sergeant
When Lieutenant Murnan from Public Affairs caught me in the hallway last week and told me I was due to write a commentary, I laughed and thought she got me good. When she confirmed it, my heart sank because I thought I can't write.

When I've written performance reports or decorations for my Airmen, they come back with so much red ink they look like a crime scene. I reviewed archived articles and remember thinking how do I follow those articles?

I was in my office Friday afternoon getting ready for a commander's call when a coin on a table in my office caught my attention. It was a coin presented to me by one of our greatest enlisted leaders, Chief Master Sgt. Robert D. Gaylor, the fifth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. No, he didn't coin my when he was serving ... don't let my gray hair fool you.

On the back of the coin it states, "Attitude is the Key." Those words stuck with me all afternoon, and Saturday morning the light came on. I told myself that I had the title to my article.

Now that I had a title, what would I write about? I thought, "OK, I can spell out the word attitude." You know, A is for apples, T is for well ... you get it. I scratched that idea because the word had too many Ts.

Now what? The phrase kept going through my mind over and over, attitude is the key. At this point, I was frustrated and starting to get a little angry, again thinking what am I going to write about? This is why I don't like writing!

Then late Saturday afternoon the light came on, my attitude is the key. I had to quit telling myself what I couldn't do and start telling myself what I could do.

I remembered back to when I was assigned to the -- you guessed it -- Robert D. Gaylor NCO Academy at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Every time Chief Gaylor came to speak to the students, he was always enthusiastic, smiling, joking and talking about where he'd just come from temporary duty and looking forward to his next temporary duty. In the three years I spent at the academy, every time he came to speak, whether he was telling his "Hot Fries" or his "High Tech/Low Touch" stories, Chief Gaylor was always smiling and laughing.

I kept thinking about the chief's attitude every time he came to speak to the students and all the other times I heard him speak and realized this article was not as hard as I was making it out to be. I could write, all I had to do was change my attitude about writing.

Our attitude plays a big role in our day to day lives, and this is especially true as we go through the challenges facing our Air Force and here at Vance. The transformation we are undergoing is major.

During an Air Education and Training Command First Sergeants Conference, Chief Master Sgt. Mark Luzader told us the transformation we are going through is bigger than when the Air Force changed from propeller aircraft to jets. We must change in order to be more efficient while remaining the best Air Force in the world. We are faced with an aging fleet, a high operations tempo and the challenge of taking care of our Airmen and their families.

Gen. William Looney remarked at the conference that as we go through transformation it is at the base level where we feel the pain the most. Here at Vance, along with those challenges, we are also changing our senior leadership and entering the 12-month window for the operational readiness inspection.

Our attitude is the key to be ready for these challenges.

Another example of attitude is the key was when I was on my high school baseball team. We made the playoffs and beat all expectations to make the state tournament. We were the first team in our school's history to get there.

We lost 3-2 in our afternoon game, and afterward we were sitting in locker room with our heads down. Our coach walked in, looked around and told us in a loud voice there were more than 140 4A baseball teams in Texas, and we were only one of four left playing. He told us to pick our heads up and be proud. He told us when things don't go our way we need to look at what we did accomplish versus what we didn't.

In doing so, we realized just how much we had accomplished. With a little attitude adjustment, we went from a losing attitude to winning attitude.

On my desk I have the "12 Rules to Live By" by Gen. Colin Powell. Rule four is, "It can be done."

As we go through personal or professional challenges, I ask that you remember one thing ... attitude is the key!