Serving with Honor – Chapter 3: Stay Positive

The holiday season is a great time of celebration, when family and friends gather to reflect on the successes and challenges of the past year and look forward to the new year. The holidays are also a time of suffering; the pain of losing a job, a struggling marriage, or maybe a family member who has passed unexpectedly. No matter your circumstances, Col (ret) Ellis’s message is universal, Stay Positive.

By choosing a positive attitude you are taking control of uncertainty and disappointment and channeling those thoughts into the faith and expectation of a better tomorrow. Even during the dire time in a POW camp Col Ellis highlights that “maintaining a positive mental outlook was crucial to survival.”

Each of you is a leader in our organization and there are 3 key lessons in this chapter that apply directly to you.

1. Face adversity with a positive attitude:

• Do you let bad situations control your response or do you fight to overcome challenges as they happen? Col Ellis states that “When you are at the mercy of an enemy…the psychological impact can be unimaginably depressing and debilitating.”

2. Your response to adversity is contagious:

• It’s hard work to stay positive, but the consequences of negativity are detrimental to organizational cohesion and will undermine unit goals and morale. Col Ellis states that “…you must constantly fight to maintain your self-respect and optimism”.

3. Have a Plan:

• The more you invest in having a positive approach when times are good, the better prepared you will be to support the team when times are tough.

This has been one of the most challenging and rewarding years of my career. I had the honor of leading one of the most talented groups of MXG personnel on the Theater Security Package deployment to Kadena AFB. I have the privilege of working side-by-side with 3 members of our unit who were recognized as the best mechanics in the ANG, and most recently the 115 MXG was recognized as the most effective maintenance organization in the ANG for 2015. Unfortunately, during this period, the AMXS lost a member of our family, and personally I have gone through the uncertainty and disappointment of losing 2 friends to the effects of depression and self-doubt.

Sometimes Staying Positive is easier said than done, but part of having a plan is knowing your personal threshold. If you ever feel that you have reached your threshold, there are a wealth of resources in the FW that are here to help you work through these situations.

After 19 years, I can attest to the power of Positive Thinking. I’ve seen people do a bang up job day-in and day-out and I’ve seen people seek help, overcome tough situations, and go on to do great things. If you are struggling, I re-commit to you that no matter the situation, there is nothing that we cannot overcome together.

2015 was a year of great success, cherish the memories and expect an even better 2016. Your positive perspective will be contagious!



(c) 2008-2015 Leadership Freedom LLC. All Rights Reserved. Printed with Permission. Leading with Honor and FreedomStar Media are registered trademarks of Leadership Freedom LLC. For more information, visit

About truax