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Lead with passion

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Once upon a time, I thought great leaders were in history books, won strategic battles, or made a lot of money. Yet John O'Meara, a simple man, instilled a firm passion for leadership in my life.

Our challenge is to find qualities in leaders to emulate, identify those we need to walk away from, and in the process find passion that motivates us.

Be passionate about your job. We wear uniforms and are sworn to protect our country's freedom 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Be proud of your unique talents and the critical role they play in executing our mission.

Stay open to new ideas, listen, and remain intellectually challenged to grow as a leader so you can lead others.

Be passionate about making a commitment to healthy a life style and maintaining a regular physical fitness program. Now more than ever it is imperative that we are fit and ready to fight. Take that challenge seriously and make it your ultimate responsibility. We are fighting a new enemy - terrorists - in hostile environments along side of coalition partners and must be mentally and physically sharp.

Be passionate about balance in your life - mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Memorable leaders are humble, inspire others, are visible, and walk the talk. To exemplify these traits effective leaders need positive, loving people in their lives. Take care of your family - they are the bedrock that will be with us after we render our last salute.

Be passionate about developing your unique character. We are one-of-a-kind creations that and make us priceless - we can't be replaced. Stay alert, be passionate about protecting yourself and those you lead from harm. Make good choices and be an icon for those you led.

Think about the legacy that will follow you and always remember to thank the teams that sustain you. John O'Meara believed in me, prodded strengths I could not yet see, inspired my faith, and taught me loving kindness. He instilled a passion for life and leading to make things better for those in my care and those that would follow - thanks dad.