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The right balance produces peak performance

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Christopher Schlachter, Sr.
  • 906th Air Refueling Squadron

Starting a new year often motivates us to accomplish new goals, but the largest obstacle to overcome is maintaining motivation past January!

Achieving peak performances will come when we find the right balance our lives.

As we plan our goals, we must ensure they are diverse and stretch well beyond just work- related goals.  Our ability to balance goals across the mental, social, physical, and spiritual areas of our life should help us from tipping the scales too far in any direction. 

Most of us think about setting work-related goals like upgrading our skill level or finishing the professional military education that is between us and our next promotion.  However, it is often the balance that we find with our families and friends that drive us to success in our work. 

We need to secure quality downtime in order to recharge our battery.  Many of us are asked to work long hours and are required to execute our mission far away from our families for extended periods of time.  These stressors can drain us emotionally, mentally, and physically. 

Regardless of our age or rank, we all need a Wingman who can help recognize when our batteries are low.  Find time to sit down with that person and get feedback on how we are balancing our life. 

Staying fit has proven to help me recharge for work.  Taking a run or lifting some weights is a great investment to recharge and finish my afternoon work with some energy.  Find what works and ensure you invest the time to get the best out of you.     

It may be helpful to write down our goals and share them with those who will challenge us on our journey.  When we share our goals, we have made ourselves accountable to achieve them. 

Additionally, I recommend that we post those goals somewhere we will see them on a daily basis.  Using a goal board that breaks down our annual goals is an excellent option to ensure we are on track each month to hit our targets by the end of the year.

Don’t forget to expect setbacks along your journey.  Even the greatest of achievers stumbled on their path to success!  Remember, most of the knowledge we gain doesn’t occur on the day we achieve the goal, but along the journey. 

I’m certainly not here to tell you what to believe in spiritually, but I am advocating that you have someone or something in your life that is bigger than yourself.  Having purpose allowed me to get off the floor after being told my son died in a drowning accident in 2007.  I still frequently struggle with his death, but I am here today because I know that carrying his message can help prevent others from having the same tragedy. 

I have found my best balance by ensuring that I have time to reach out to those who matter most in my life.  A mistake I made as a younger officer was focusing on pleasing my leadership no matter the cost.  Too often I worked exhausting hours without finding enough family time to achieve the recharge my battery needed to be at my peak performance. 

Remember, take time for yourself and constantly look to balance your life in all the mental, social, physical, and spiritual pillars to be at your peak and achieve your goals!