What kind of attitude do you choose to have?

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- "Attitude is everything" is a famous quote from Jimmy Valvano, the former coach of NC State basketball team. In our daily lives, whether it is on a professional or personal level, the attitude that we have will have a profound effect on those around us.

As leaders in the United States Air Force, it is critical to have an active understanding and awareness on how attitude can either hinder or enhance our leadership capability. Attitude can either be our best friend or our worst enemy and it something that either draws people to us or repels them.

Good attitudes among personnel don't guarantee a team's success, but bad attitudes will guarantee its failure. In the weather career field, attitude is a very valuable thing. Effective communication on issuing of weather watches and warnings require having the right attitude especially in time-sensitive situations.

At the 25th Operational Weather Squadron one of our primary missions is to put out forecasts, watches, warnings and advisories operating at 82 Department of Defense installations and sites in an 11-state region of the Western U.S. Our collaboration with weather flights at these installations will ensure that a weather warning is sent out timely and accurately.

Bottom line is that our mission doesn't have time for bad attitudes since the safety and security of personnel depend on us. Additionally, weather personnel are used to having to maintain a good attitude since Mother Nature will tend to disrupt our "perfect" forecast from time-to-time.

John C. Maxwell, a renowned author, leadership expert and speaker, talks about how attitudes can lift up or tear down a team. Many people are under the impression that talent alone will bring the desired results that we strive for and that couldn't be farther from the truth. This can be seen in professional sports all of the time when teams have a wealth of talent but still have an "average" team because they have bad attitudes or are focused more on themselves than the team.

From an individual perspective, attitude determines your approach to life. It determines our relationships with personnel in every aspect. We all have heard the expression, "It is not what you know, but who you know." There is some small truth to that. According to John Maxwell, 87.5 percent of our people knowledge and 12.5 percent of our product knowledge is a recipe for success.

What does that mean? It clearly shows on how well as leaders we know our personnel and having a positive attitude will help to bridge the gap between those relationships. Attitude turns problems into blessings, gives hope and allows for a positive perspective.

Recently, 10 members of the 25th OWS, including me, had the opportunity to participate and represent our squadron at the 22nd Annual Bataan Death March in White Sands Missile Range, N.M. For those of you that are not familiar with this event, it is a 26.2 mile hike conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, who sacrificed their freedom, health and in many cases, their very lives.

This was one of the toughest physical and mental challenges that I had ever encountered. It took our team 10 hours to complete the hike and there were several moments when I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish it. One of the things that helped me persevere was the amazingly positive attitude of my team, fellow teams and supporters in the crowd. It would have been easy to complain, speak negatively about the long event or just be openly frustrated.

So with all this talk about attitude why should we care? Simply put, as leaders, we are in a fishbowl. It is our duty to set the proper example and having a positive attitude plays an important factor in that. Attitude can make or break you along with the people you lead. Attitude is also very contagious so make the choice to have a positive one!