Thursday, May 16, 2013

COMMENTARY >> Talent and hustle

By Col. Andrew Lockert
19th Maintenance Group commander

Each of us not only have our own goals and dreams but we also have the desire to live life to the fullest.  In order to get there, we need the drive and fortitude to make the necessary changes and decisions to get to our desired end state.  We are all wired to want more, to make improvements in our lives and in ourselves in order to be the best person we can.  How do I get there you might ask?  Simply put, it boils down to two things—attitude and aptitude.

Attitude, defined simply is your mindset and determination to do a job.  It is your desire to learn and apply that learning.  Our attitudes are the beliefs we have that help interpret situations and develop reactions based on those interpretations.  Your attitude is the basis for determining how much and what you can do.  Think of your attitude as an engine—it’ll help you go forward or it’ll slow you down. 

Aptitude is your ability, talent or competency to perform a particular task. It is your potential to learn skills and apply those skills.  By utilizing our skills and talents, we begin to realize what we are capable of and further develop our aptitude.

We were all born with a knack for doing something—be it athletic ability, mechanical skill or artistic prowess.  We all know attitude and aptitude go hand-in-hand; in some cases we’ve experienced where one or the other have played a role in our lives.  Attitude and aptitude have helped us attain a goal or hindered us from reaching others.  We’ve all had a feedback session from our boss that started out “you’re a great ____, however, you need to work on your attitude” or “I love your attitude, if your competency matched your attitude, you’d be the best in the business”.

Each of us have been the recipient of good and bad service, as well as positive and negative attitudes; we all know those experiences directly translate into our overall perception of that individual and the organization they represent.  Truth be told, human nature allows us to overlook poor service in lieu of a great attitude. 

Consider this situation during an inspection.  If both your attitude and aptitude are outstanding, you will have no problem, whatsoever, passing an inspection.  If one of these traits is missing, your inspection could be an entirely different experience.  Despite having the best abilities in the world, a horrible attitude will hinder your ability to communicate with the inspector, therefore, possibly having an adverse effect on your overall rating. 

On the other hand, if you have a positive attitude and do not get too discouraged or flustered, most inspectors will be more apt to provide some guidance to help you out or extra time to answer a question.  The inspector will be more likely to work with an individual who is lower on aptitude but has a great attitude.  Alternatively, if you are the best at your job but have a bad attitude, it is highly unlikely the inspector will give you much leeway. 

Regardless of how you try to disguise it, your attitude will eventually show itself in your words, actions, inactions, or body language.  You will get more return on your investment by having a positive attitude.  Once you get that right, the rest will follow.  As the famous American motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, once said, “your attitude, not our aptitude, determines your altitude.”  So, if you want to make it to the top, talent and hustle will get you there; however, if you are short on talent, pick up the hustle!

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