|Story & photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
Former Olympic team marathon hopeful Kimberly Mathews spoke to the Fort
McCoy community using illustrations from her athletics background, and
from her second career as a firefighter, about the importance of
establishing solid footing and a foundation on the first rung of her
ladder when she responds to a crisis.
Kimberly Mathews answers
questions following a “Live Strong Forever: Relationships at
Work and Home” forum at Fort McCoy. The March 15 event helped
people consider strategies to face life crises.
Mathews, a full-time firefighter in Madison, Wis., and a Christian
wellness lifestyle coach, said, likewise, people who find themselves
facing life crises must establish their cornerstones of food, shelter,
safety, health and faith. Mathews spoke to military and civilian members
of the Fort McCoy community during a “Live Strong Forever: Relationships
at Work and Home” forum March 15 at McCoy.
People can best live their lives by overcoming the excuses they make
about the things that go wrong and finding solutions, she said.
“This empowers you to find life,” Mathews said. “You need to find the
strength not to give up and keep on keeping on to be the best that you
Solutions start with doing the first things first, Mathews said. Almost
nothing is accomplished or solved by doing it just once; it takes a
consistent effort to do things again and again until they are done
Raising children is a good example of that. Mathews said children may
not hit a “home run” every time they go to bat, but they need to be
encouraged to make the effort even if they fail. It’s not about how many
mistakes they make but eventually doing things right that helps them
succeed in life, she said.
To succeed, people first must love themselves, she said. This includes
acceptance, forgiveness, and forgetting the past.
“You must live your life according to your values, or, as the saying
goes, ‘To thine own self be true,’” Mathews said. “Home needs to be a
place where you can flourish.”
Marriage is when two people become one, united by God, Mathews said.
When there are problems, the spouses should honor their relationship and
resolve issues between themselves. Loyalty serves spouses as well as
their children. Mathews said everyone needs rules to live successfully,
and setting boundaries for children allows them to flourish, as well.
Loyalty also is important for employees. Employees need to ask
themselves if other people are more happy to see them come into a room
or exit a room. People respond to others who have common values and are
friendly, happy and optimistic, Mathews said.
As a team, employees can generate great team spirit and consistently do
things right. “Complaining keeps you in an excuse mind set, but if
you’re solution-oriented you can find ways to get things done,” she
Supervisors also should realize they shouldn’t kill the “golden goose.”
The team they’re on is a golden goose, which can be damaged or destroyed
if they require overwork, show a lack of appreciation and communication
and use a micromanagement style, among other things, she said.
Garrison Chaplain (Col) Ken Lawson remarked that the military has become
more aware of the mind, body and spirit dynamic of all people. Speakers
like Mathews “help us to address our spiritual side.”
The forum was sponsored by Fort McCoy’s Headquarters and Headquarters
Company, U.S. Army Garrison, the Religious Support Office, and the Army
Substance Abuse Program Office.