[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                   March 25, 2011

Speaker focuses on importance of strong relationships at work, home

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.

PHOTO: Kimberly Mathews answers questions following a “Live Strong Forever: Relationships at Work and Home” forum. Photo by Rob Schuette
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 can be.”

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 right.

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 said.

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.

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