One of my favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 6:8, “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
I can think of few better words to describe the servant leader. In our day-to-day struggles, it is easy to get caught up in thoughts of what I want and what is good for me. The problem with that attitude is that no team can function if every one of its members thinks in terms of what is only good for the individual.
The preceding line of thought came to me while contemplating a future assignment to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. My new commander and I have been selected to go stand up a new F-16 maintenance operation there. While there is a level of uncertainty surrounding this move, this is an incredible leadership opportunity.
I think it is fair to say there is some trepidation from the men and women of Luke AFB about who will move and who will stay. However, this is more than just a commentary about how “good” we have it at Luke compared to any real or perceived shortcomings of the Holloman/Alamogordo area.
Being a leader means making the best of all situations. The ancient Greek playwright Euripides is credited with saying, “This is courage in a man: to bear unflinchingly what heaven sends.” As Airmen, when the mission needs us somewhere else, that’s where we are going.
I remember retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor’s narrative of his family complaining about a pending move. His children asked him if they really had to move again. He asked them “Is your last name Gaylor? The children nodded their heads. “Then get in the car!” As leaders it’s our role to be out there, in front, making it happen.
German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel said, “Be an example to your men in your duty and in your private life. Never spare yourself, and let the troops see that you don’t in your endurance of fatigue and privation.”
Holloman AFB is not exactly fatigue and privation, but for many it does constitute a less desirable destination than Luke AFB, Arizona. The hitch is that the more challenging the environment; the hotter, the colder, the wetter, or the more remote, the greater the importance of out-in-front leadership, sharing the experience of the Airmen, making it happen, and showing the way forward.
It is a truism of life that you find what you are looking for. If you look for reasons to be unhappy you will find them. But the same is true if you look for opportunities in your new endeavors.