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Making a difference

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Recently, leadership from Goodfellow attended the San Angelo Independent School District Convocation at the Foster Communications Coliseum. This annual event brings together the staff and faculty from across the school district in a pep rally for the academic year. This year’s theme is, “Our People Make a Difference.”

The keynote speaker for the event, John O’Leary, overcame many physical challenges to find success in life. He spoke about the power of a positive attitude and of caring individuals who make a difference in the lives of others. The message he delivered to the audience is equally important to our training mission at Goodfellow.

Attitude defines success, this is an age-old truth. O’Leary proffered three questions that influence a person’s ability to overcome challenges and succeed. He explained that when we find ourselves in a bad place we may wonder, “Why me?” “Who cares?” and “What more can I do?” Together, these questions form a slippery slope to inaction, depression and other catastrophizing events. When this happens, we become victims of our circumstances, filled with feelings of hopelessness.

But, if we change our perspective and modify these questions into: “Why am I so blessed to have this opportunity?” “Who cares if it is hard? I know I can make a difference!” and “What more can I do to make a difference?” We begin to empower ourselves towards hopefulness.

This empowerment is especially important within the military where each one of us may lead in different capacities, down to the lowest echelon, on or off duty. We see this in different examples such as the “Not in My Squad” campaign implemented by Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey to encourage small unit leadership, to promote the Army values and to instill greater ownership of the profession.

Similarly at Goodfellow, we have programs like Green Dot, Students Against Sexual Harassment and white rope leadership which all promote taking action to help others.

When each one of us serves to make a positive difference in the life of another – irrespective position, role or duty – it becomes a powerful tool of motivational mission accomplishment.

Winston Churchill once remarked, “To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”

Goodfellow is a great place to make a lasting difference on the training and lives of the next generation of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen. It is also an excellent opportunity to make a difference in the community and within each of our organizations. We have a wonderful opportunity to be the ‘difference makers’ who will shape and lead our services into the future.