Signs of change

  • Published
  • By Col. Anne Sproul
  • 92nd Medical Group commander
The signs of change are all around us. From the numerous change-of-command ceremony announcements, retirement ceremony invitations, farewell gathering notices and e-mails asking about farewell gift ideas, we are constantly reminded of how our organization, the wing and the entire base is changing.

Not only is our base leadership undergoing a significant change, our 18th Air Force commander is recently retired, and the Air Force's Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force recently announced their resignations. It's normal for these changes to cause feelings of sadness or disappointment. After all, our dependable co-workers, valued peers and trusted leaders are moving on and leaving us for new jobs or new paths in life.

However, the signs of change can be positive! One day, our neighborhood was quiet with three houses standing empty. The next day, there were two large moving trucks, eight cars parked on the circle and new people and pets all around. Change of command invitations are being sent to friends, relatives and mentors, and welcome baskets and packets are being prepared for newcomers.

Base marquees are flashing welcome messages and new members of our base are smiling as they learn what a great place Fairchild is and how much the Spokane area has to offer. How lucky we are that our new coworkers, peers and leaders left their comfortable surroundings to join our amazing team.

How we react to these signs of change is as individual as we are. Some individuals look forward to change and others cringe at the mention of the word. Either way, there are things we can do to help alleviate the anxiety that change may bring about.

First of all, accept the change. As members of the military, change is a way of life. We are often required to change locations, change jobs and even deploy, sometimes with little or no notice. In our lives, change is constant.

Another thing we can do is communicate. Share your feelings about the change to your family, friends and coworkers. Chances are they are feeling the same way or have felt the same way in the past. Talking through the situation will make you feel better and may reduce your fears.

Finally, make a plan. Set new goals for yourself and keep a positive focus on the desired outcome. Achieving goals through a time of change will help you feel more confident and in control of your surroundings.

The next time you see one of these signs of change, I encourage you to think about how the change will affect our organization in a positive way. Think of the new people we will have the opportunity to work with and how they will affect our lives. Take time to get to know the new members of our team and their families, and welcome them to our group, base and community. Listen to their ideas and tap into their experiences as we continue to strengthen our organization. As Pauline R. Kezer once said, "continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights."