Do you have the bug?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Harmon Lewis
  • 8th Airlift Squadron commander
Do you have the bug? Do you have the itch? What I am asking does not concern a rash or sickness. The question I am asking is: do you have a passion for the job you do, where you serve and for those with whom you serve?

This is more than a thought about your attitude. Rather, my aim is deeper. The question is, "What fuels your attitude?"

Without a passion or motivation, our attitudes are subject to rise and fall with our circumstances and the way we accomplish the mission day in and day out is subject to our attitudes.

Do you love to play a particular sport? Do you have a favorite hobby? Do you remember how excited you were when you started that new hobby; when you first experienced the taste, the fun and the excitement it brought?

When we love what we do, we spend a lot of time, energy, and usually, a large portion of our finances doing it. We spend hours and days researching, studying, taking lessons, practicing and if equipment is required, we seek the best models, upgrades, or accessories, and often times, will sacrifice other interests in our lives to do so. And usually, we spend a lot of time telling other people about it.

Pause with me for two minutes: no television, no texting, no phone calls, no email. Do you remember why you joined the Air Force? Do you remember the satisfaction the first time your trainer signed you off to go solo in your specific specialty, whether you're a command post controller, defender, air traffic controller, civil engineer, pilot, loadmaster, maintainer, etc?

Can you remember how proud you were, how hard you worked to get there, how excited you were to be trusted with that responsibility? When we love what we do, and perhaps more importantly, why we do something, it has a direct impact on our attitude and subsequently, that attitude impacts our performance--in either a good way or bad. This same attitude is usually contagious in your work environment for better or worse.

So once again, I ask you do you have the bug, the bug to do your best, to give it your all, and to stop at nothing short of success? Are you researching, studying, practicing and taking lessons so that you can continue to grow as a professional? Do you have the passion to continue to serve the greatest Air Force on the planet in the greatest wing in Air Mobility Command?

Obviously these questions are rhetorical, but my purpose is to remind you that your job is cooler than any hobby, more exhilarating than any sport, and more meaningful than just a paycheck. Think about it this way: when Ichiro catches the bug, the Mariners win; when you catch the bug, America wins.

Reflecting on this from time to time will help you stay infected with that passion for what you do, and help Team McChord and the United States Air Force prevail.