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Hone your life skills by participating in force support activities

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Shelley Strong
  • 90th Force Support Squadron commander
Have you ever read Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"? If so, you will remember habit seven, sharpen the saw. Covey defines this habit as a means to rebalance and renew yourself in four areas -- physical, social and emotional, mental and spiritual. These four area descriptions range from exercise (physical), experiencing nature (spiritual), learning or teaching (mental), and simply connecting with people (social and emotional).

Why the analogy of the saw? A saw, with continued use, becomes dull and less effective. This means a greater effort is required to achieve diminishing returns. You must frequently sharpen the saw to maintain its cutting edge and effectiveness. The point of sharpening the saw with your work and life balance is to enable you to renew yourself through one or more of these areas described above. By doing so, you are able to go back to the other six habits to continue to improve and maintain your effectiveness in your workplace and life. Sharpening the saw retains your effectiveness and cutting edge.

This review of the seventh habit made me think about what type of saw sharpening activities we have here at Air Force Global Strike Command's premier missile wing. In particular, what types of 90th Force Support Squadron quality of life services can help in sharpening your saw? You can visit or on Facebook at FunAtWarrenAirForceBase for ideas. But, here are a few quick suggestions of how you can "sharpen your saw" here.

If you are interested in renewing yourself through exercise, you can choose to go to the fitness center or pool. If you are wanting to not only exercise, but experience nature and even participate in a group activity, you could venture out into the local area through recreational activities and trips offered by outdoor recreation. They offer a variety of trips to local attractions and can even arrange a trip just for your duty section or group of friends.

With spring here, look at going white-water rafting, hiking or kayaking. If you want to head out on your own, stop in and rent the equipment you need such as canoes, bicycles, boats or campers.

Traditionally, you might think the education center or library are the only places to go to intellectually challenge yourself and continue with life-long learning or teaching yourself new skills. The arts and crafts center is also a possibility to consider. Learn to work with ceramics or pottery, make a wood project or frame your pictures.

You can also learn to make a fly to go fly fishing, decorate wall art for your home or learn to paint a watercolor painting. You never know, you might find it as a great way to disconnect your mind from the stress of work!

The community center also offers a variety of programs targeting all four areas in the seventh habit. Go learn to shoot with a bow at an archery class; spend time in the batting cage or try to scale the rock wall. Bring a group over and let out some aggression in the laser tag arena.

As Airmen, we owe it to others to teach them the importance of saw sharpening. Actions speak louder than words. Do you want to be a positive or negative example? What if you talk about balancing your work and personal life but you aren't capable of doing this? Don't teach the wrong lesson through inconsistency between your words and actions.
We all experience times of high operations tempo and overriding mission requirements. The challenge is to actually sharpen your saw, don't just talk about it.