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Commentary: You Ask Why? I Say Why Not?

By Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Lisenby | Robert D. Gaylor Noncommissioned Officer Academy | Oct. 24, 2017

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — Growing up on a horse ranch in the country my siblings and I were constantly up early in the morning doing chores of some sort before we went to school. My parents constantly reminded us that we needed to do our best at whatever we were tackling at the moment.

Whether it was chores, sports or a school assignment, we were taught to always give our all. I carried that philosophy with me throughout the years, even when I got lost along the way. 

In my Air Force career I have encountered individuals who would say, “Why should I bother to work hard?” There are also the ones who say, “Why do I have to do that?” Even worse are the ones who say, “That’s not my job!” I was pulled into that negativity a time or two, but thankfully, I was able to get back on track. 

During this time, I heard and have seen quite a lot on how Airmen, from Airman Tier (pay grades from E-1 to E-4) all the way up to Senior Noncommissioned Officer Tier (pay grades from E-7 to E-9), deal with issues. One thing that constantly surprises me is when the response I get from Airmen is, “Why should I care?” 

My response is always, “Why not?” Why not give your best at your job? Why not give your subordinates the attention and time they need from you? When I ask those questions, I almost always get the same response which is, “Well, no one ever did that for me.” Guess what, there were times that no one did those things for me either. 

If we lived our lives with that kind of thinking, no one would ever care about anything or anyone but themselves. What good is that going to do for anyone? How are we going to make the Air Force better than we found it?

Why not try to make yourself better? Why not learn from those individuals, so you don’t become the Airman that everyone tries so hard to avoid? Learn from those bad subordinates, supervisors, leaders and friends. 

My challenge is for every Airman to do their best at being a technician, a doctor, a security forces member, a personnel specialist, a section chief, a friend, a supervisor and even a spouse. Sometimes, people just give up when the best thing to do is keep trying. It’s amazing how much better your life will be when at the end of the day you can honestly say, “I did my best.” 

So the next time someone asks you why they should care, respond with, “Why not? What’s the worst thing that could happen? You could be that Airman everyone tries so hard to avoid, or, you can step up to the plate and be that Airman everyone tries hard to be like. Be that person who leaves a positive, lasting impression – be that person the Air Force remembers as an awesome person, then and now, for years to come.”