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Warren’s operation resiliency, are you in control?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Marty Anderson
  • 90th Missile Wing command chief
There has been much discussion in the Air Force regarding resiliency training for our Airmen. The more I learn and truly understand the demands we place on our Airmen, the more I am an advocate for this program.

As we continue to fight the war on terror, our Airmen accomplish incredible results during difficult conditions. But, with those achievements comes costs. I am very concerned with how our Airmen deal with day-to-day stresses due to mission requirements, and life's difficult and unexpected fates. The signs are obvious: suicide, domestic violence, drinking related incidents, drugs, etc. These can be eliminated. It all comes down to a personal choice on how we react to a given situation or problem.

Not only does today's Air Force demand intelligent, mature and motivated Airmen to have situational awareness to analyze and make smart decisions for any problem, but Air Force Global Strike Command does as well. Our Airmen have to be able to sort through highly emotional situations and make choices to resolve the problem and not make it worse. As the command chief I am responsible for developing this culture, but I can't do it alone. As you read this article, I ask you think about our Air Force culture from a personal, supervisory and wingman point of view.

I believe a resiliency culture must have the following three critical components: Personal integrity, smart decision making skills and a never quit attitude. Airmen who display a lack of personal self-control and choose to violate their own personal integrity create unnecessary stress and hardships for themselves. They soon realize how their lack of discipline has led to some very serious repercussions that they are not prepared to deal with. The rule is simple, do the right thing no matter what and life will be a whole lot simpler. Keep in mind, if you make a mistake, don't make it worse by lying or trying to hide it. I can work with an Airman who at least still maintains their integrity and accepts responsibility for their actions. But, keep making poor choices and, well, the Air Force is not for everyone!

Before you act, just ask yourself, "What is the right thing to do?" Airmen compound problems because they fail to think through the problem and then make poor choices that exacerbate their problem. Emotional maturity or lack of experience may be contributing factors. Everyone needs to realize that no one thinks rationally when they are highly emotional. This is where the supervisor and wingman are critical. Venting frustration and anger, in a healthy manner, helps a person start thinking logically. By listening and talking, we are able to understand the entire problem and develop a solution with a positive outcome.

Supervisors can develop this attribute by asking, "Have you thought about it from this perspective?" What are the available options? What are the second and third order consequences to implementing those options? The more we challenge ourselves to think outside our own perspective the better choices we make.

No matter how bad a situation is, there is always a solution. But, you can never quit! I expect all Airmen to have a never give up attitude. I don't care how bad a situation is, personal or professional, we don't quit. It can be a work related problem or personal relationship hardship. We need to have the mindset of "I don't give up on myself and I don't give up on others!"

Here's how to develop this mindset. First, don't allow yourself to quit. Have you ever been running and set a goal for yourself but just felt you did not have it in you to make it? Did you quit or push through to achieve your goal? Do you start projects just to see those still sitting there? Finish what you started.

Wingmen and supervisors have a responsibility by instilling this attitude from day one. Never allow someone to grumble because the work is hard or tiring. Challenge them to endure and chastise them for even thinking about quitting. They will thank you for it later!

Personal hardships such as death, divorce or financial hardships unfortunately are a fact of life and require a different approach to dealing with those issues. But no matter what, we don't give up on life! Resiliency is a mindset to be true to our personal integrity and make smart choices in life with a never quit attitude in dealing with life's complex challenges. Remember, you can't control everything, but you can control yourself and how you choose to deal with those situations.

Are you in control?