Maintaining internal balance key to performance

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Tee Williford
  • 31st Medical Support Squadron commander
I have heard the phrase, "Take care of yourself." For many years, I viewed it as an overused cliché. Throughout my career, I have realized no matter the assignment, there is one constant: the demand the Air Force places on me, and that I place on myself, to do my best every day. I have also realized that the key to maintaining my best, is taking care of myself.

As Air Force professionals, we start each day desiring to perform at our best and live up to the core value of "Excellence in All We Do." I have witnessed the great pride that we, as Team Aviano members, demonstrate to ensure mission success and meet the multitude of priorities that require our attention every day. I believe there is no greater challenge than achieving an internal balance that propels us to be at our best for ourselves, our family and the mission and meet the high demands and stress of our jobs.

Most individuals focus on the external balance of time spent between work and the family. However, to find an external balance in life's activities, one must first strive to reach an internal balance. To achieve internal balance, you must take care of yourself by striving for physical, mental and spiritual fitness.

When looking at our internal balance, we are most in tune with the challenge of physically achieving a healthy lifestyle. The emphasis and impact of fitness on careers is routinely discussed around the Air Force. It is critical to make physical fitness as an inspiring part of your life for your well being and career.

Over the last few years, mental fitness has gained attention. The Air Force has made significant strides in understanding how the mind is affected by deployments and high operations tempos. Have you ever wondered why some athletes with the same talent are able to perform at higher levels than others? Sports commentators use terms like "mental toughness" or "extreme focus." This is evidence of how the mental state can affect everyone's performance. It is easy to see when teammates are not mentally in the game, but much harder to recognize within oneself.

Whether you identify with spirituality in a theological manner or otherwise, spirituality is an essential element in finding internal balance. I believe spirituality is often overlooked because it concerns everything that we cannot see with our eyes or perceive by senses. Have you stopped to assess, recharge or take account of your spirituality?

In the Air Force culture, we have introduced terms like "Airman Resilience" to assess how one responds to the high demands of competing interests, decision making, self restraint, judgment and character. To attain resilience, you must find internal balance by being physically fit, mentally focused and spiritually aware allowing you to achieve "a career best everyday."

Today is the perfect day to start!