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The courage to change

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dana Tourtellotte

In the span of your life, there are moments which define you and moments which become redefined by you, says U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Monique Hunter, a master resiliency trainer here at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Hunter has lived enough to see how the skills taught in her courses, which are created by the Air Force, can help people in all walks of life to create and re-create themselves through cultivating awareness.

Hunter became a resiliency trainer because the skills she learned on her personal journey in life, and in the U.S. Air Force, were things learned during challenges in her life. She wanted to be able to share her newfound skills with others who could use them, as she did, during moments of stress and strife.

“Imagine getting a phone call from your mom telling you that your dad needs emergency brain surgery, in the midst of a divorce, your battle rhythm at work is peaking, your daughter is being hospitalized, knowing you need new brakes and tires, and to top it off your finances are dismal,” said Hunter.

When Hunter found herself in this moment of crisis, she wasn’t sure how she would possibly juggle the emotional upheaval of losing her marriage, keeping up with a high tempo work pace, the fear of losing her father and the desire to speed the healing process for her daughter. This was a turning point, as she realized that while she had developed some areas of her resilience through her faith, she had yet to develop many others. She was ready to confront her discrepancies in these areas now and began her growth by letting go of her pride.

“I allowed people around me to help and guide me,” said Hunter. “I was fortunate to have people around me who encouraged and empowered me. I made an appointment with a financial advisor. I started going to therapy. I started eating healthier. I started practicing meditation and the list goes on.”

What Hunter came to realize, through her new awareness of the elements of resilience, is that these are all real-life challenges that many other people may also face. Her main focus shifted from the problems themselves she encountered to how she handled setbacks in her life. She found that being able to qualify if something is in her control or not provided her a greater sense of peace in the growth process.

“I started talking to a resiliency trainer instructor and that’s when I decided I wanted to be a part of this program,” said Hunter. “I wanted to give back to the masses in an impactful way that will help others with not only their career but ‘doing life’. Living means you are either entering a storm, coming out of a storm or in the middle of a storm.”

Hunter felt it was important to let others know they don’t have to get to a point where they feel like they have nowhere to go and cannot make a change. Change can happen to you or the choice to grow can happen at any point in your life she says. Being an MRT gives Hunter the chance to help people, wherever they are on their life journey, and have the skills they need for overcoming whatever life may throw at them.

“The minute we get too comfortable is the moment we invite complacency into our lives,” said Hunter. “Always make room for time to self-reflect and hold yourself accountable while evaluating where you are on your journey. This is pivotal for progression, growth, and fulfilling your personal and professional accomplishments.”