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NEWS | Nov. 18, 2013

Know when to say when

By Master Sgt. Brett Hopkins 437th Operations Support Squadron first sergeant

Know when to say when ... this is a phrase often associated with anti-DUI campaigns, but really applies to all facets of your life and Comprehensive Fitness. I'm not talking about "everything in moderation," but rather the willingness to be strong enough to seek help when you need it.

Often times we overlook the small or nagging problems within our lives to the detriment of our own well-being. Knowing when to say when, means recognizing and seeking help for those things that hinder your optimal performance before they become destructive forces in your life.

From the physical cornerstone, I have known many people who have ignored a pain in their leg or nagging bloating in their stomach as just the aches of everyday life. Staying physically fit, or more importantly passing that fitness assessment, becomes more difficult with an undiagnosed injury or illness. Take the time to seek treatment for anything that seems out of the ordinary. I'm sure ABC News' correspondent Amy Robach wishes she had received her breast cancer screening that detected her breast cancer much sooner. Robach has stated that despite feeling healthy, the insistence of her coworkers to have a mammogram on national television may end up saving her life. Know when to say when.

Mentally, many of us struggle to attain and maintain certifications or complete higher education while others seem to have a much easier time accomplishing these goals. Not being able to accomplish these tasks does not make these folks dumb or lazy. Perhaps they are s just too proud to ask for assistance with their studies, even though their co-workers are probably more than happy to assist them. Know when to say when.

Emotionally, we all have some experience with grief, disappointment and loneliness. Recognizing these issues and seeking out help is a sign of strength and responsibility. The military provides numerous resources aimed at preventing servicemembers from becoming overwhelmed by their situation and the associated emotional toll. Talk with someone you trust and look for those agencies to help you through tough times. Know when to say when.

Spiritually, we all lose our bearings and question what it all means sometimes. Having the comforting words and support of a trusted guide or mentor can help bring our purpose back into focus before we lose all perspective. We all should seek out our center when off-balance as a way to guard our minds and hearts against the challenges in life. Know when to say when.

Today's world presents many challenges that will become infinitely more difficult if we choose to ignore the warning signs and "soldier on." While you might think you are doing what is best for the mission, having healthy, balanced and productive teammates is more valuable to the mission than the eight additional hours you can squeeze out before falling apart. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and can be the prevention for those small issues early ... by knowing when to say when.