Positive attitudes are contagious

Colonel Robert Stormes
452d Maintenance Group Commander

Colonel Robert Stormes 452d Maintenance Group Commander

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- A good friend of mine wrote the following article about projecting a positive attitude. I hope it has as much impact on you as it has on me.

"Every morning between 0615 and 0630, I would hear someone whistling as they walked past my office building. I couldn't see who it was because it was too dark. I'm not sure what tune he whistled (it might be Zippity Do Dah or Whistle While You Work). I didn't know what he looked like or what kind of person he was, but I developed a definite opinion of the guy--based solely on his whistling. My mind pictured someone who had a positive attitude, a person who I'd like to work with.

One morning a few months ago, I heard him whistling and went out to see who he was. It was dark, but I could hear him coming. Once he came close, I walked out and introduced myself. I found out he was Mr. Jack Ruff, who works in the Isochronal Inspection Element of the MXS Maintenance Flight. We talked for a few minutes and my impression of him was reinforced. A few days later, I ran across the OIC of the Maintenance Flight. Being the curious person I am, I asked the Lieutenant about Mr. Ruff. What he told me simply verified my impression was right on the mark. Mr. Ruff is a super person who always has a positive outlook and does a great job.

Like it or not, people form a quick opinion of you or your organization based upon one incident or one meeting. What sort of attitude do you project? In Mr. Ruff's case, he projected a positive attitude, but I could give you example after example of folks projecting what seems to be a negative attitude. We've about 500 people in the MXS and the vast majority of them are top-notch people. In such a large unit, it's easy to stand out if you project a negative attitude, especially when there are so many sharp people, but it's much harder to stand out as a superstar. Sometimes you have to work on projecting an attitude which says I'm the best or we're the best.

I always ask AMXS newcomers what's the best thing you can put on when you get out of bed. The answer is...a smile. Why? It's because a smile projects a positive attitude. Tie together a smile, sharp haircut and a good looking uniform and you're projecting a positive attitude which shouts pride and professionalism. That sort of attitude projection tells folks that you know what you are doing and helps put you in the superstar category."

I'm sharing this article with you for two purposes. First, we've a NORI, LCAP, ASEV, HSI and UCI heading our way and I've always been a big believer in projecting a positive attitude for inspections. If every member of our team projects a positive attitude and leans forward to make things happen, we simply can't go wrong. The only impression the inspectors will have of us is that we are a great team full of pride and professionalism. The second reason is long term, because positive attitudes are contagious. Each person who smiles and looks sharp impacts those around them. My message is simple; get contagious, project a positive attitude and watch how it spreads.

Remember, you influence those around you--make your influence positive.