By Tim Cherry, Belvoir EagleJanuary 17, 2013
Sometimes a little effective thinking is the best ingredient of success in life.
Soldiers and civilians around the garrison learned this lesson during performance enhancement training in the Army Community Service facility Jan. 11.
The Headquarters Battalion hosted discussion served as an introduction to the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness 2 Program, which hopes to empower participants to use the skills to become better people.
"We all have a brain that we use and understanding how to think effectively will have a positive effect on what we do," said Jonathan Carter CSF2 performance enhancement specialist. "We'll be at our best more consistently."
The event is part of the battalion's ongoing mission to improve resiliency and leadership within the unit. Once a month, the groups gather for competitive physical training, professional development sessions, award ceremonies and birthday recognitions.
"Everything we do helps build team and resiliency," said Lt. Col. Brian Zarchin, Headquarters Battalion, Fort Belvoir, commander.
The performance enhancement training was open to Soldiers and civilians outside of the unit. Carter led a discussion that encouraged participants to reflect on different junctures in their lives and consider how their mindset positively or negatively impacted their performance.
Participants from the Directorate of Emergency Services, Fort Belvoir Elementary School, battalion Soldiers and others shared stories and ideas of what leads to personal triumph and let down.
The topics ranged from baseball to speeches and each story shared common qualities, such as good preparation, high confidence and sharp focus that led to good outcomes.
Some common qualities of bad outcomes were lack of energy and nervousness.
Carter, who holds a master's degree in sports and performance psychology, said utilizing the mind is a key to honing positive performance qualities while shunning bad characteristics.
Understanding how to snap into focus and visualizing a performance before it occurs are two of several techniques people can use to improve their performance.
"I thought it was very informative," said Doryan Dixon, Army Substance Abuse Program manager and performance enhancement training participant. "It's definitely training each and every employee and Soldier would greatly benefit from."
Dixon said the training can help improve a person's physical, social, spiritual, Family and emotional well-being. She said she will discuss the training with her supervisor and looks forward to ASAP employees receiving instruction.
"This will help increase our performance," Dixon said. "Increasing our performance allows us to better serve our customers."
The concept of performance enhancement and resiliency is no stranger at Fort Belvoir.
Garrison leadership sent seven Belvoir Soldiers and civilians through the first Master Resiliency Training program instructed in the National Capitol Region, Dec. 3.
The 10-day MRT course is a joint initiative between the U.S. Army and the University of Pennsylvania that teaches participants techniques designed to enhance resilience with an emphasis on how to teach these skills to Soldiers and Family members. The MRT course is intended to help enhance a person's mental and emotional skills so they have the strength to avoid life-threatening acts such as suicide, domestic violence, drug abuse and others.
The participants are now certified Master Resiliency Trainers and will help the garrison implement its resiliency training program for all in-processing military and civilian personnel on post. The program will proceed through three phases -- first, MRT training; second, Initial Workforce Training; and finally, Continuation Training.
More community members will join the first garrison MRTs and help train inprocessing employees and maintain an active resilient presence within units and organizations.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Phillips, Headquarters Battalion unit supply specialist and performance enhancement training participant, is the MRT for the headquarters battalion.
He said learning about performance enhancement is a great experience and he believes it helps Soldiers become more aware and more skilled.
"It makes every Soldier better," said Phillips, who is looking forward to assisting Headquarter Battalion Soldiers as an MRT. "It's a good feeling to know you're helping someone."
Zarchin compared the garrison's resiliency training program to current programs in the Army.
A second infantry division in South Korea requires inprocessing Soldiers to take 40 hours of training. According to a graphic Zarchin displayed during the performance enhancement discussion, 85 percent of the community were trained and 15 percent did not receive training. Those who were not trained accounted for 78 percent of all of the suicidal gestures, attempts and ideations within unit.
Another CSF2 program in Fort Benning, Ga., is reporting higher retention, fitness scores and weapons qualification scores from Soldiers using the program compared to Soldiers who don't, Zarchin said.
"It's really criminal if we don't use this training," Zarchin said.