Challenge Equals Opportunity

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt
  • 22nd Medical Group
More than 28,000 wounded service members have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq and more than 600 of these heroes have lost a limb; 100 plus with multiple limbs lost, additionally hundreds return severely burned. With the challenge these members face, it's imperative we keep faith with each of them by continuing to hold them close in our thoughts and prayers. 

I recently had an opportunity to visit to the Center for the Intrepid and Brooke Army Medical Center located at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The facility plays an integral role in the rehabilitation of America's servicemen and women along with a remarkable staff that are equally devoted to American heroes' recovery. 

The perseverance and dedication exhibited by our brothers and sisters is one I cannot describe but greatly admire. They are the true heroes of our great nation and set the example for all others to follow. I challenge each of us to use the strength and courage demonstrated by our wounded family members to serve as a motivation to increase our own strength and courage when adversity enters our lives. 

In a conversation with a young, double-amputee soldier, my view of life has changed. During our chat, I said, "You have quite a challenge ahead of you." He responded, "No, I only have opportunity everyday." 

The perspective and determination of this hero touched my soul and immediately I understood that challenge equals opportunity. From that moment forward, I decided to look at every challenge as a new opportunity for myself and those around me. Now, what once was a problem, adversity or hardship, now serves as opportunity. Each of us experience challenges which are skillfully disguised as opportunities everyday. Pessimists will see difficulty in every challenge and optimists will look for opportunity; it's just a matter of perspective. 

Leaders, supervisors and team members have the responsibility to transform our own challenges and co-workers, family and friends into opportunities. When we recognize and accept that in the heart of every challenge lies opportunity, we change our point of view and all things become possible. Great challenges can be overcome when thoughtful people reach out and sow seeds of strength, faith, courage, dignity, and compassion with those we encounter who face challenges. You never know when your words, touch, and deeds will change someone's challenge into opportunity.