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Four ways to invest in yourself

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” – African Proverb

We’ve been talking over the last several weeks on the subject of personal growth. If you aren’t intentional about your growth and your development it won’t happen. This week I want to provide four useful tips for investing in yourself and your growth.

First, be present in the moment. For those Star Wars aficionados out there, you may recall the scene in The Empire Strikes Back (and again in The Last Jedi) when Yoda reprimands Luke for constantly looking to the horizon and not being focused on where is and in what he is doing in the moment. There is something to be said for being present and mindful in the moment. When you’re with your kids, be with them. When you’re with your spouse, be with them. And when you’re at work, be there as well. Focus your energy on what is in front of you.

Secondly, schedule time in your day for self-care. Notice I said “schedule.” If you don’t schedule yourself you will neglect yourself. The same way you schedule tasks in your calendar, events and activities for your kids and spouses, you MUST schedule time for yourself. It may only be 15-30 minutes to read a book, exercise, go for a walk, whatever it is that rejuvenates you and makes you feel whole.

Third, find what makes you passionate and pursue it. Life cannot be all work and no play. We’re not designed that way. Hobbies and passions are very important for resiliency. Use that scheduled time mentioned earlier and plug in your hobbies there. If you don’t have one, try several different things until you find one! Hopefully you’re passionate about your work, but even if not, find something extracurricular that excites you and gets your creative juices flowing.

Finally, tap into something bigger than yourself. If you’re a person of faith, be intentional about your time with God. If you aren’t, commit to spending time regularly out in nature, or volunteering for a cause. Connect with something that is larger than you. That’s part of the beauty of the Air Force. We are all connected to a mission that is bigger than our individual jobs. If we’re too focused on ourselves we may tend to have tunnel vision and complain. Regularly take time to partake of something that is greater than you and you will see how it will impact you.