Importance of balance

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- As a squadron commander, my main priority is to make sure the 728th Air Mobility Squadron is trained and ready to execute Air Mobility Command's or Transportation Command's mission requirements. It requires my whole unit to work 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week all year as a cohesive team.

Even though we work hard to meet our mission and propel global reach, we still need to remember there are other facets to life. Finding the proper balance between work, family and friends can be difficult but very important to maintaining a healthy life. As one of the four domains, remember to take time to reflect on the social pillar and how it can increase our work productivity and help balance our lives. 

When we look at the four domains, spiritual, health, mental and social, they all play an important part in balancing the demands on us professionally and personally. A healthy social life gives members time to relax and alleviate stress from a demanding profession. Being around friends and family can give us the time to interact with the people we care for and love. Whether a person uses their social life to recharge their batteries or just forget about work, it normally enhances their productivity on duty.

The social domain does not just include time away from work but how we also socialize in our units. Besides reducing stress, maintaining a robust social domain builds our social skills to interact with other people. An effective leader needs good social skills to help communicate with other Airmen and build relationships. Even though the social domain is just one domain, a balance between all four makes a healthier individual and a healthier individual, has the energy to complete the mission. 

If we do not maintain balance between the four domains it can, and usually does, affect how well we accomplish the mission. I mentally need time away from work to recharge my batteries. My interaction with family and friends gives me joy and helps reduce my stress. I exercise to further reduce physical and mental stress and I make sure I get enough sleep to maintain my health. All these factors help me reduce the stress caused by a demanding job and mission.

By reducing stress, I am refreshed and ready to give my best every day. If I do not find balance, my ability to concentrate on what is important is diminished and can affect leading my unit. A lack of balance will also affect your personal life which over time can damage important relationships. Don't get me wrong, there are situations when we must give more time and energy to our profession to complete the mission but it should not be steady state. Maintaining balance in life gives you the energy and ability to surge when necessary.

The Air Force needs us to maintain this ability because without balance between the four domains and in life it can set the stage for failure or worse, negatively impact the mission. We need every one of our Airmen to be refreshed and show up ready to work hard in our Air Force.