By Lt. Col. Dwayne McCullion, 39 Civil Engineer Squadron commander
/ Published January 28, 2010
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
It is more difficult than ever to keep our Airmen and families motivated in today's high operational environment. We expect more from our Airmen at work and more from our families at home and in school. Everyday presents a new challenge with less people, less funding and an ever growing to-do list. As Airmen we have to struggle with juggling all of our requirements and attempt to measure our success. This year I would like to challenge everyone to focus on one item, and that is to inspire the people around you.
As I listened to the 39th Air Base Wing command chief speak at the Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast, he said something that really caught my attention. The comment was "inspire others to change." I started to wonder how I could do a better job inspiring people at work and at home. I did a little research and came across a famous quote from Winston Churchill that said, "Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe." This type of inspiration is probably the biggest factor in a person's ability to instill change. So if you are looking to be a true leader at home or at work, you need to begin by inspiring the ones around you.
It's not an easy task to inspire others. Think of the people throughout your life that have truly inspired you to achieve your very best. What made you want to listen to them or want to follow their guidance? There are certain qualities about that person that enabled them to inspire you. Was it their personality, their look or their passion? Use that as a starting point to begin your quest to inspire others.
Be approachable. This will allow you to provide a guiding hand to the people around you. Be comfortable in sharing your personal stories. People are more willing to learn if they know you have had your share of failures and successes. Help them avoid the mistakes you have made and keep a positive attitude about learning from your mistakes.
Be a sincere person who lives and fights for what is right. People will see your actions as honest and recognize your unwavering integrity. Don't be driven by the current social agendas. Never lose faith in what you are doing and how you live and work. When you do something you really believe in, it will inspire others.
It may be difficult for some, but you have to be humble and able to follow before you can lead or inspire. Individuals that act without expectation of a reward will impress and inspire with little effort. People that always want to assert their authority and strength will fail to inspire others.
Who are the people that inspire you? It's not the ones that are miserable and always complaining about the things that are wrong at work, home or around the world. People are typically inspired by those who brush aside difficulties and retain a cheerful attitude no matter what. Happiness is infectious because it's something we all hope to achieve.
I would like to leave you with another positive thought from our 6th President John Quincy Adams "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, or do more, you are a leader." Set your goal to inspire the people around you this year.