Self-Care is Vital

On a different forum a fellow Airmen-leader got me thinking about “Adventures in Squadron Command” (totally excited about hearing (reading) his perspective) and I just took the flag last week with the awesome honor of leading Airmen in a commander role for the second time.

I want to relay a tidbit of info I am holding onto and truly leaning on this time around: Make time for you.

I know…service before self…give to your people…and I will continue to do all of that. My first command I had my fourth child, was in the middle of my doctorate, learning a new mission, and trying to find my rhythm.

I did not take care of myself.

This was evident when two days following passing the flag to the next commander, I slept for about 10 hrs. The next three months I got sick every other week and could not shake the “cough/cold/fever” cycle.
I came out of that with a deeper appreciation of being mindful of my health and well being because a sick leader is not leading well – yet those last few months I ignored those signs and pressed onward because I wanted to prep the unit for the new commander, finish that list of things I had to do and enjoy that time.

I loved (and still do) command and the unit I had the privilege to lead. I am pumped I get a second round of this and have made it clear to the staff what the priorities of the unit are and how they also need to add themselves to that list.

I will do my Physical Training…I will leave work and some days, take nothing home so I can see my family. I know that there are some days this will not be possible and I will be okay with it and not beat myself up for taking the time to serve my family just as I tell my Airmen to do…because we are all Airmen and need a second to relax our minds.

I would also say that our younger people are watching and I am sure no one has ever said ” let me be a boss that works 14-16 hrs and never sees their family and looks like the crypt keeper half the time because of lack of sleep!”

Do not do that to yourself or set that example for those behind you. Surge when necessary but also model that a healthy and “balanced” leader is one that is best for not only the unit but the Air Force. Lead well…and make time for what makes you a healthier you.