Little things make great leaders: Making a difference in the world starts with you

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Making a difference in today's world starts with you. It doesn't matter if you are an airman basic, general officer, retiree or family member.

It starts from a simple desire to make a difference in the world around you through actions such as picking up a piece of trash in the parking lot, holding the door open for someone or a simple greeting. It's too easy to get caught up in all of our daily activities and forget these little things.

Believe it or not, it's the little things like these that make great leaders. It all starts with your values.

Your core values play a big role in how you conduct daily activities. These personal values are generally developed from different experiences you have had through life.

Most of your values can be traced back to your parents' teachings. Other values have been influenced by friends, teachers, church or the neighborhood you grew up in. These values guide us in daily activities and help us determine the difference between right and wrong. Your values contribute greatly to your overall attitude and behavior.

Because your values have a direct impact on your attitude, they affect the way you look at the world and how you interact with the people around you. Starting with the right attitude is the most important part of your day, and it determines how you will handle the situations you are faced with. Your attitude also affects the influence you have on the people around you. The right attitude will allow you to overcome any obstacle you face.

Most people do not seek to be leaders, but achieve it through their actions. It's your attitude and behavior that will elevate you to these positions. Your positive behavior will identify you as a leader to be followed because people can trust and respect you. Your daily actions will set the example for everyone around you. If you are seen working hard and determined, others will emulate your actions.

One of our great leaders, President Ronald Regan, while hospitalized from the assassination attempt on his life, was spotted wiping up spilled water from a hospital floor because he didn't want his nurse to get in trouble. It's this type of leadership behavior that instills confidence and respect in your abilities.

In closing, your values, attitude and behavior will empower you to make a difference each and every day. Start each day with the desire to make those little impacts in the lives around you. Strive to be that person seen picking up a piece of trash in the parking lot. Others will follow your lead.