What motivates you?

  • Published
  • By Col. Kirsten Benford
  • 71st Medical Group commander
Motivation is an idea that is used to explain behavior. It is the reason for people's actions, desires and needs.

What motivates you?

Is it a pay raise, promotion, family or friends?

When I applied for an ROTC scholarship back in the early 1980s, my motivation was monetary. I needed money for college. Many of us join the military for monetary reasons. Others join for travel, adventure and to see the world.

Occasionally, we need to reflect and reevaluate our motives for being in the Total Force. What is curious to me is the number of people who stay in the military beyond their original commitment when they seem to have lost their initial motivation, enthusiasm and zeal.

I entered the Air Force with a three-year commitment back in 1992. I stayed in the Air Force because I appreciated the more level playing field and opportunities for growth and development.

I have thoroughly enjoyed each job and "bloomed where I was planted."

It is hard to stay motivated when you don't get assigned the career field or base that you really wanted. That being said, it helps to keep a positive attitude and believe that things happen for a reason. We all can bring something to the fight if we stay motivated "in spite of" our temporary circumstances.

We need to remind ourselves of the choice we made to be part of the Total Force and get excited about the fact that we can still serve.

Motivation, enthusiasm and a positive attitude are just as contagious as negativity. They help us push through trials, unmet expectations, undesired jobs and other disappointments.

When I walked around the 71st Medical Group when I first arrived a few months ago, I couldn't tell those happy to be here from those simply riding out their assignment. Everyone appeared motivated and enthusiastic about the role they were playing. I fed off that enthusiasm and motivation and wanted to be a better leader and help each of my team members succeed.

I was ecstatic when I was first assigned to Vance. Then I "caught" the Medical Group enthusiasm fever and was motivated to keep up with the team.

Now I am "committed to excellence," and want everyone I come in contact with to catch the fever as well.