‘Get it Wright’ through motivation, attitude and aptitude

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Jason Shaffer
  • 88th Air Base Wing

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- So, how do you do it? It’s funny how many times I hear that statement, both professionally and personally.

Teammates, I will tell you: You never do it alone. That’s for sure.

But more importantly, how do you do it? Think about that statement, reflect on it and move out on that statement. Asking is fine. Doing something is better.

I want to start with three quick nuggets I learned at NCO academy almost 10 years ago.

It was graduation day at Lackland Air Force Base’s Robert D. Gaylor NCO Academy in Texas, and we had the fortune to hear from Bob Gaylor, chief master sergeant of the Air Force No. 5. Here he is approaching 80, his wife had passed away recently and he was cherishing the opportunity to speak to a room full of NCOs.

How does he do it? He was jovial, passionate, confident and humble. Probably not easy with everything he was going through.

He began to give his leadership philosophy, but more importantly, an empowering life lesson. It was three things every Airmen needed to harness. He spoke of motivation, attitude and aptitude. It was flat-out awesome.

I have tried to harness his message and pay it forward. What are those and why are they important? Let me tell you.

Motivation is what makes you wake up in the morning, rather than hit the snooze button. (Don’t even get me started on the dreaded snooze button). Motivation is what makes us have the desire or willingness to do something. Whatever “IT” is, it takes motivation.

I think motivation can turn into empowering discipline. I feel, though, it is grounded in motivation.

We have so many things asked of us, demanded of us and needed by us. And without the motivation (discipline) to accomplish them, they don’t get done. Many times, the people doing them get asked — how do you do it?

Start with task No. 1. Get out of bed and take on the day, motivated to get after “IT.” Teammates, it starts with motivation, but that isn’t all.

Second is attitude. Look, life can be hard. It can knock you when you are down. It can make you feel like there just simply isn’t any hope. How do you do it?

First off, there is always hope! Attitude is the reflection of your behavior on others. Even when the days are long or the news is tough, how you carry yourselves matter. Are you the one who picks people up or puts people down?

We need people who have positive attitudes and are willing to be better, no matter the situation. We need people who can lift others to be better. If you don’t have a good attitude, it’s detrimental to any situation.

I say it all the time: Control what you can control. Having a contagious attitude is the link to improving any individual, team or situation.

Finally, it is aptitude. You have to know how to do your job. Let me say that again — YOU have to know how to do your J-O-B!

You have to know how to take care of yourself and your family. You have to be a demanding customer. How do you do it? Easy. Don’t be complacent in what you do.

Be competent in what you do. Go find the knowledge. Be proactive in learning your job. Be proactive in seeking information or opportunities to grow. Don’t be a spectator. Be in the game.

You will never gain the aptitude to grow by watching from the cheap seats. How do you do it? Read, carry a notebook and take notes, ask questions to stay engaged, verify information, volunteer for the tough task nobody wants, be open to failure and read some more.

Aptitude should be considered a talent anyone can achieve. Gaining aptitude is the final key to success.

So, how do you do it? I go back to what CMSAF No. 5 Gaylor talked about. I believe in motivation, attitude and aptitude. I work on all three.

If I do a little with each every day, I believe I am making an impact — not only in my life but others.

That, to me, is how you do it, and how you get to WRIGHT. HUA!