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Retired Air Force chief emphasizes ‘self-care’ for Airmen

  • Published
  • By Richard W. Essary
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- As part of ongoing campaign to promote resilience and build connectedness within the ranks, Hill Air Force Base recently hosted leadership and resiliency coach, retired Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley.

This is the second year Brinkley visited with Team Hill’s Airmen, speaking to them in-depth about the importance of self-care and working to become a better version of themselves.

According to studies, serving in the military is one of the most stressful jobs in America, Brinkley said, and Airmen, like most people, do not have a level of understanding or appreciation for their own worth or potential.

“I’m not as concerned about you being successful in your career,” he said. “Instead, I want you to be successful in life.”

Driving home the point, he said 7,000 people die each day on average in America, and if they could, “those people would probably trade places with you, because they had no idea today was going to be their last day.”

He also emphasized the importance of evaluating personal beliefs based on ideas or behaviors that we’ve learned or been taught, which may be wrong.

“Half of learning is learning. The other half is unlearning,” Brinkley said. “If you don’t examine what you’ve been taught that’s wrong and you don’t start to evaluate and unlearn stuff, you perpetuate things that are inappropriate, incorrect, and have no value from a positive standpoint.”

These incorrect beliefs can come from a variety of sources. He urged the audience to “guard your gates” – be careful what you spend your time watching and listening to, as well as who you let into your life.

Unfortunately, the majority of what we consume and let into our minds on a daily basis is negative. People are like “power strips,” he said.

It’s important to pay attention to the things that are “plugged into you” including family, work, coworkers, bills, and other responsibilities.

“People plug into you, they may be amplified and get energy from you, but then they leave and you’re depleted,” Brinkley said. “If you’re not careful, you’ll be worn down.”

Another reason so many people get burned out is because “…you forgot what’s important to you.”

He encouraged the audience lean on faith, hobbies, fitness or whatever positive thing they can do to routinely reenergize themselves.

“If you don’t find time to do the things that keep you centered, you’re going to lose yourself," Brinkley said. “Its service before self, not service before health. Learn to have symmetry.”

People also need to be intentional with their lives and it’s important to often evaluate the things that you need to improve. He said self-care is a readiness issue.

“Every day you get up, you work your plan,” Brinkley said. “You do something to chip away at becoming a better version of yourself. Whatever it is that gives you peace, you got to fight for that each day.”

“Hold yourself accountable to incrementally move forward,” he said.