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Speaker shares tips with Hill AFB personnel on winning life

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --

Teamwork is vital to the success of any Air Force mission, but a nationally recognized leadership and resiliency coach said that it’s often important to step away from a team in order to take care of yourself.

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley spoke to Hill Air Force Base’s military and civilian workers Oct. 3-4, discussing life in the military and sharing personal experiences and struggles he encountered during his nearly 29 years in the Air Force.

“You get up, you go to work and you give everybody what’s right,” Brinkley said, “You give them your time and your energy. You do all this stuff, but then you limp through the rest of your life.”

He said it’s important for people take care of themselves, so they’re able to become a valuable member of the team, in spite of the obstacles that can get in the way of success.

“We treat our lifestyle like a game of whack-a-mole. If something pops up, we’ll address it. But that’s not sustainable,” Brinkley said. “I don’t tell you what to think. I don’t tell you how to think. I challenge what you think. I challenge that it’s actually corresponding with positive results in your life. If it’s not, then we need to look at things.”

His advice:

Stop comparing yourself to others, because comparison kills creativity. Brinkley opined that rating systems, for example, encourage us to compete against our teammates and actually don’t support team growth. 

Pay attention to how you are cultivating the most important people in our life. Take care of yourself, he said, and work to have positive interactions with those you cherish most. 

Check your roster. He said unfortunately there are people on our rosters that aren’t actually on our teams. If there are people in your life that completely drain you, it is possible you need to prune them out of your life. 

To fully bloom you must fully prune. He said sometimes there things in your life you haven’t acknowledged or addressed, and you’re likely spending a lot of mental and physical energy trying to repair them. You need prune to move forward.

We all have special needs. As leaders and Wingmen, Brinkley said, we need to take time time to learn the special needs of ourselves and of our team members. If you don’t, you’re missing out.

Fight the desire to react to negative situations. Ask yourself which version of you showed up today, Brinkley said. If you’re tired and you have a meeting or you need to correct someone, for example, maybe you should wait until another day. 

Brinkley said while people will probably never achieve a complete work-life balance, he cautioned to not forget the people away from work.

“You wouldn’t go to a restaurant and get a take-home box so you could collect a half of a piece of chicken and a little bit of soup in a bowl and a half-eaten salad. Who would do that? You wouldn’t take it home and say, ‘Here you go. I brought you home something. I hope you like it.’ You wouldn’t do that, but I submit that many of you (essentially) do that every day.”

Finally, Brinkley said it’s okay to fail sometimes because failure, or what is perceived as failure, is not bad in a global sense.

“Failure is just a data point. Don’t confuse the terms failure and defeat. Defeat is final, but failure is just a piece of information,” he said.

Julie Pinchak, Hill’s community support coordinator, said Hill Air Force Base’s Community Action Team is looking to continue the conversation Brinkley started.

“We are hopeful to continue offering guest speakers such as Brinkley to the installation, Pinchak said. “There is great talent in the field of leadership, resilience, and well-being and our goal is to optimize mission accomplishment by enhancing the individual’s capacity to flourish.”

She said everyone who arrives at Hill needs to know there’s a whole suite of resources available. Recommend a future speaker by emailing Pinchak at 75abw.cvb@us.af.mil.