The right attitude while making it better

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Stephen Hobbs
  • 10th Space Warning Squadron

When the opportunity arose for me to provide commander’s commentary to be published after I head off to my next big adventure, I was equal parts excited and terrified. Would the Knights of the 21st Space Wing laugh at my self-deprecating humor? Is it possible to get fired after my change of command?  

What could I write that might translate across this geographically separated wing – from the youngest enlisted member to the most seasoned senior officer? Here are my thoughts on life and leadership for your consideration. While I confess, there isn’t likely an original thought to be found here, I tried my best to put them in my own words, and in the context of my time here at 10th SWS. 

Attitude. I believe your attitude is the first and most critical part of success. Simply showing up with the right attitude can make all the difference in your endeavors. A great attitude can make the most difficult tasks easier and the exciting and “I want to do that” tasks even more epic. 

At Cavalier Air Force Station, North Dakota, the military members and their families, along with our civilian employees and contractors, have adopted a great attitude from the top down. Whether it’s a Cavalier AFS T-shirt that says “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time,” to our favorite hashtag, #10SWSthebestSWS, the team here makes life at the Air Force’s only continental U.S. isolated installation an absolute blast by leveraging a positive attitude. 

Are there tough days? Absolutely, many of us, myself included, are here without our families and it isn’t easy on the best of days to stay positive when the temperatures outside are -50 degrees or lower with wind chill. Not to mention it can be frustrating to travel 90 miles to visit a city with a population greater than 2,000 people.    

When one of us has a bad day however, a great attitude can be infectious in the best way, and it always serves to turn things around pretty quickly. I can’t stress enough the uplifting power behind a good old Cavalier AFS pot-luck, fitness event, or a fishing trip, insert your favorite hobby here, to improve everyone’s outlook. I invite you to be a leader in your organization by being embarrassingly upbeat. I promise you, your laughter and smiles will recharge everyone’s resilience.

One of my personal core values, and leadership philosophies, is that I strive to make it better. It could be the mission, base facilities and programs, morale, or any number of things that often need improving. 

While it would be great if each of us could make it perfect, I’ve come to realize that perfection is often an impossible task. This can be especially true at the short assignments like Thule Air Base, Greenland or Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, and even here at Cavalier, as we have a constantly rotating team and a very small window of time to affect change. 

Add to that our numerous daily mission, career, life and family demands and there is very little time left for sweeping change. So we let go of the innate desire for perfection and choose instead to push hard to make things better than we found them, by taking advantage of smaller, more manageable increments of time and energy. 

I believe that doing so has added up over time and driven significant positive change here at 10 SWS and it can for you too.  Just a few of the results seen here at Cavalier AFS include the recent completion of the new unaccompanied dormitory project that began with previous 10th SWS leadership when they wanted to make it better, to the culture shift we have achieved here adopting the Space Mission Force warfighting mentality. Leaders at all levels have tackled problems both big and small to make this unit better. 

Well, there you go, just a couple thoughts from an imperfect leader on a few things that anyone can do to be better Airmen and leaders and effect positive change around us. Remember, attitude is everything and strive to make things better. I will leave you with one final question posed to me many years ago by a retired Army first sergeant mentor. Successful people do the things unsuccessful people refuse to do. Are you willing to roll up your sleeves and achieve success?