Balance is key to success

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Tam Dinh
  • 71st Medical Operations Squadron commander

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Many people have asked me how I define success as a career Airman, a wife and a mother of three children. I simply reply – balance.

Balance is an essential element for me to find enjoyment in all three roles. Three roles with three basic rules -- know your job, manage expectations and do not multi-task. While it sounds simple, it is not. It requires a holistic approach.

First and foremost, know your job and define your values. I believe that the mission is very important, family is everything and personal time is vital.

The mission -- As Airmen, we are expected to live and serve with an absolute commitment to the mission through the Air Force Core Values of Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all we do.

Family -- Make your Air Force career the family business. Respect your spouse and children and do not discount their contributions. Whenever possible, they need to be part of the decision making for things like PCS moves, where to live and where to play.

Have frequent family meetings. We usually do this at dinner time. Review upcoming events, prioritize activities and identify who needs to be involved. It is important to understand the value of quality over quantity. Having the support of your family is the backbone to success in your career.

Personal time -- Take time out for yourself by establishing mental health days. Listen to your body and know when it needs a break. This is your time to reflect and reconnect spiritually, mentally, physically and socially.

Second, manage expectations. Know where you are, who you are with and create trust with everyone you encounter. Meet your boss’s expectations. Learn about his or her mission, vision, priorities and values.

Communicate your values to your supervisor. One of the many traits that I value is loyalty. Not only to your superior, but also to the Airmen who work with and for you accomplishing the mission together as a team.

Third, do not multi-task. Remove distractions, make a plan and stick to it. But be flexible.

At work, our Air Force core values are fundamental in every Airman's life. Focus on the tasks at hand and prioritize them. Accomplish each task to the best of your ability and give your utmost attention to details.

At home, create memories and family traditions. Family sit-down dinners allow all members of the family to convey their values and expectations. A family that shares time together will provide routines and rituals.

On your mental health days, it is okay not to think about work or your family. Do what you feel will meet your needs. Meet up with friends or volunteer at a local church or organization. Or just stay home and listen to your favorite music, watch a movie or read a good book.