Do you have brotitude?
By Capt. Jonathan Bott, 391st Fighter Squadron
/ Published March 10, 2011
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- In aviation, attitude is a very valuable thing. An attitude indicator displays an aircraft's orientation to the horizon. Prior to takeoff, aircrew "cage" their standby attitude indicators to be level with the horizon. In this sense, cage means adjusting our flight instruments to show the true horizon while stationary on the ground before maneuvering in flight. This elementary procedure results in a stable platform on which to base all decisions, despite any future problems. If all the fancy avionics equipment stops functioning, we always have our standby attitude to fall back on.
Similarly, your attitude in life may not determine where you are going, but it will affect how you get there. A negative attitude, one buried below the horizon, invariably results in collisions with immovable objects like the earth. A positive attitude, one optimistically climbing for the stars, finds few impediments, other than gravity, which can always be overcome with enough thrust. Winston Churchill said, "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." Would you like fly with someone who was always pointing the aircraft at the earth or climbing into the heavens?
When you start your day, or more importantly, when everything is going wrong, what is your attitude? Against what horizon do you cage your standby attitude indicator? I cage mine to "brotitude."
A positive attitude and willingness to assist those around you is important in accomplishing the Air Force mission and creating a constructive work environment. When I attended Squadron Officer School, we determined the primary way to make an impact, regardless of Air Force specialty code or rank, is to approach everyday with a positive attitude and willingness to assist your fellow Airman. That was where the term brotitude was born.
You will not find brotitude in the dictionary, and although your supervisor will immediately reject a performance report with brotitude spelled out in a bullet, the best airman show brotitude in everything they do. Brotitude means helping someone out and doing so without complaint. Think about the Airman in your shop that is always willing to lend a helping hand, say good morning, or show up five minutes early to make a pot of coffee. That is who I want to go to war with and so should you. Airmen with brotitude place the mission first, motivate their peers, and impress their supervisors by improving the lives and effectiveness of those around them.
Ask yourself, "Who do I like to be around?" Do you like to be around those who complain about the 12-hour day, the terrible weather or the ever increasing number of computer based training modules? Or those who arrive at work with a smile and a hefty dose of caffeine, and after asking you about your evening, proceed to tackle the daily mission with enthusiasm? That is attitude in action. What separates brotitude from attitude is making the things that assist your fellow Airmen your priority.
Football coach Lou Holtz once said, "Ability is what you're capable of doing, motivation determines what you do, attitude determines how well you do it." Brotitude is a combination of your attitude and how you prioritize what you do.
We are sending hundreds of our fellow Gunfighters downrange this month in support of operations around the globe. They depend on each other and on us. There are a lot of difficult aspects to a deployment and yet each of these great Americans are excited about the work they will soon do. Their attitude before they deploy sets the tone for their work once they deploy. Similarly at home station, your attitude before you get to work, sets the tone once you get to work.
You have volunteered to serve your nation and have the opportunity to do so in conjunction with the tremendous people around you. Prioritize helping them out. Teamwork, generosity, and a positive attitude are how we "do more with less". Showing brotitude fosters it in others. If you take care of those around you and strive to improve their day, they will reciprocate in kind.
Before you take-off for work tomorrow, cage your attitude indicator. Prioritize assisting your fellow Airmen in a magnanimous way. Show some brotitude!