Attitude and Action

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Samantha Weeks
  • 8th Operations Support Squadron commander
The United States Air Force Academy invited me to speak to the cadet wing in 2008. At that time I didn't realize the topic of my discussion would be so relevant to my Air Force career and specifically to my time as a commander.

The Air Force currently finds itself depicted in an unflattering light in the national news and is struggling in a period of adversity. Much like the Air Force at large, we each face periods of adversity in our life whether personally or professionally. How we choose to deal with adversity defines who we are. Regardless of the situation we face, our attitude and the action we take are 100 percentĀ our own.

Attitude determines your personal choices. It defines your character. Our personal choices on- and off-duty can be summed up in our core value of "Integrity First." The small choices matter! Do you do the full Foreign Object and Debris check when nobody is around? Or blow it off? Do you accept ownership and responsibility if something goes wrong? Or do you find an excuse to pass it off to something or someone else? Are you committed to yourself, your family, your job and the Wolf Pack?

My tag line to the cadets was...You OWN your buy a mirror! Without looking internally at yourself and evaluating who you rarely have an accurate picture. Ask yourself for feedback on who you are. Are you the Airman you want to be? If not, why not? What can you do to be the leader, follower, peer and Airman you want to be? It all begins with your action.

Action is the catalyst for success, and the right action provides a positive PAYOFF. Persistence is required in life and will help you push through difficult situations. Appreciating your relationships, at home and at work, keeps you grounded and provides you the honest feedback you need. Yesterday's lessons shouldn't be forgotten because they are the foundation for today's success. And lastly, your Focus and Fortitude enable you to overcome your fear and failures.

I am often reminded of my parting thought to those cadets...Life is not about what happens to you, but how you CHOOSE to respond to it. We all make mistakes. Hopefully, most are on a small scale. My promise to myself is to reflect on those mistakes, to figure out how to be better tomorrow, and to choose to tackle whatever life offers me with a positive and optimistic outlook.

The struggles the Air Force faces today are not that different than some of the struggles we're facing individually. However, it is our personal attitude and actions that will help the Air Force grow through its struggling time. An attitude commensurate with our core values of integrity, service, and excellence enables us to be respectful to one other, and represent the Air Force with the same pride we had when we took our first oath of service.