Keep focus, perspective on the mission

  • Published
  • By Capt. Shaundra Williams
  • 4th Medical Group group practice manager
I've served in the military 11 years, beginning my career as a 17-year-old enlisted health services journeyman at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. I worked 12-hour shifts with added stressors of pursuing my masters at night and attempting to maintain a healthy family life.

At the four year point, I was ready to embark on the next level of my career and applied to be a medical service corps officer. I was selected and have progressed on that path since 2000.

In the midst of accomplishing all of this, not once before September 11, 2001, had I truly stopped and reflected on the level of commitment, loyalty and dedication that was required on the path of life I'd chosen.

We live in a much different Air Force, a much different world, than we did 10 years ago. But the ironic thing is our mission is the same. We fight and win wars in the air.

The only variance is we're called to do it on a more frequent basis. Deployments are not going away. The timeframe we're away from our families is being extended. Training is more intensive and the need for mission focus is that much stronger.
Day to day it has become imperative we focus on taking care of ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually while ensuring our families do the same.

So how do we do this? What's the magic solution in the fog?

I've found that the answer is balance.

Balance opens the door and offers perspective. It proves to be the driving force of a healthy lifestyle.

This one learned trait makes the difference between the person who has it all versus the person who only has a successful career, working 14-16 hour shifts and weekends while neglecting family and friends, or the person who only has a loving family life and neglects the job, allowing co-workers to make up for their shortcomings.

With diligent, conscious effort, we can all achieve success at home as well as at work. As we enter into a paradigm shift that places accountability of a higher level of effort on the shoulders of us all, we must ensure the time we spend with our families and friends is significant, cherished and well-spent and the time we spend on the job reflects quality, mission-focused effort.