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Achieve balance in life to be succesful

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Antonio Hickey
  • 451st Air Expeditionary Wing command chief
A lot of people ask me what it takes to be a success in the Air Force. It's such a tough question to answer because I truly believe there are so many different measures of success.

Only you can define your own success. What I do know though, is that pretty much all the people I think of as successful have figured out that they need to have balance in their lives in order to attain a level of success that is enduring.

What has become increasingly apparent to me throughout the years is the three key areas that need to be kept in balance: self, career and relationships. I like to think of these areas as if they are legs on a tripod. All of them are equally important, but emphasis may shift from one to the other depending on what is going on in your life.

I'll begin with the area that is often neglected by people, and that is taking care of self. We often get so tied up in our jobs and responsibilities that we fail to take care of our own basic needs. Needs in this area include physical fitness and spiritual and mental health.
Most people understand the physical fitness part as failures in this area often lead to weight gain or other symptoms of poor health. Spiritual and mental health is often less apparent when lacking but may lead to an unhealthy attitude or outlook on life. Getting involved in fitness programs, religious activities and other forms of recreation will prepare you physically and mentally for success in other areas.

The second leg of the tripod is taking care of your career. This is the one we usually get right. We need to make sure we are constantly doing the things we need to ensure our success in our jobs.

Those things will differ dramatically depending on what you have set as your career goals, but in general, they usually involve securing some type of education or experience that helps you do your current job better or prepares you for the next level of responsibility. This improves your value to an organization and ensures you are ready for advancement if that is your goal.

The last leg of the tripod is relationships. These relationships include your family and close friends. The important part is that you have solid interpersonal contact with the people you hold close to yourself. The truth of the matter is that all people require interpersonal relationships and these relationships are critical when dealing with stress or personal emergencies and contingencies.

So, putting it all together ... to be successful in life, I really think you need to make sure you pay attention to each of these areas.

Sometimes you may focus on your career for a certain amount of time and then shift to personal relationships to balance it all out. Other times you may need to focus on yourself for a bit just to improve your health. If you manage to balance these out throughout the long haul, I'm sure you will be successful ... however you define your success.