Staying mission ready at home

  • Published
  • By Capt. Patrick Cummings
  • 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron
Mission readiness goes far beyond just being prepared in the work-place for the call of duty. The senior leader speed mentoring seminar on Dec. 16, 2014, reminded me of how service members can accomplish this in our daily lives.

By far, this was one of the most enlightening and fulfilling experiences I have had throughout my 10 years in the Air Force.  How often does an Airman get the chance to sit with an officer to ask open-ended questions and receive a candid response?

I asked leaders a variety of questions ranging from the importance of professional development, leadership of Airmen and turning failures into successes.

One important question I asked had uniquely different but similar responses.
"How do you balance your duty, family and personal time?"

From my experience, many service members struggle with maintaining a balance because of long hours, deployments and continuous travel which can cause stress.  I'm single with a dependent but I still wrestle with maintaining balance.
Each officer chronicled portions of their careers when duty superseded family and personal desires.  However, throughout their careers as responsibilities became greater, balance became increasingly important. 

Here are my take-aways for achieving balance:

· Leave work at work. Pressing issues will be there in the morning or sometimes not at all.  Don't bring them home. 

· Your family needs you mentally engaged.  If you're present physically but not mentally, then you're not present at all. 

· Take leave!  We've earned it. 

· Make time for yourself. Exercising, outdoor activities, sleeping or reading can be relaxing.  You too need to unwind.  Spending time with friends is good but there is nothing like quiet moments alone.

· Have a spiritual sense of direction.

· If possible, put your family first. The force was functional before my arrival and will be functional after my departure. No matter how successful my career, my family will be there longer than I will wear the uniform. 

From this experience, I learned that our senior leaders are not so different from us.  Rank does not exempt you from emotion.  We wear our uniforms the same.  They make decisions that affect the mission and potentially the well-being of our Airmen and their families.  With all of that, having balance is pivotal to achieving stability.