The Wedge – Part Two: Readiness.

8 mins read

Floating around the internet, there’s all kinds of challenges you can embark on. 75 Hard calls itself “Ironman for your brain.” The “Murph” stands separate from other WOD’s as the gold standard. Even our very own “Wedge” program advertises a free, open-source discipline challenge lasting 30 days. Those are great anchors to stage yourself for success, but I figure you should see challenges as points along the route. See, what we’re really aiming for is operational readiness.

This article is supplemental to The Wedge: Developing Personal Doctrine – a workshop provided by Bill Dungey. Book us to come speak to your organization – send an email!

Operational readiness is a term we first started using to start critically analyzing the role that mental wellness plays in our ability to serve. You know how every speaker on mental health has a few slides about stigma, right?

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Go into a small circle of hitters and start talking about mental health. You’ll see the same thing I see – it’s acceptable to talk about, but it’s uncomfortable.

We want to change that.

Operational readiness spans the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual markers that make us ready or not. It’s the baseline measure that keeps us on the trucks. Recently, I’ve taken to a new model to start introducing this concept to people. Because conversations can get kind of wishy-washy about concepts like wellness, I wanted to be able to defer to a model.

The Wellness Wheel is a data driven system to measure your operational readiness.

Your operational readiness is a spectrum of both feeling and knowing. The way you manage your money will affect your future. The way you interact with your environment will dictate how you respond to change. The way you learn influences the meaning you can derive out of training. The way you express yourself will help you derive passion from things you believe in. The way you work will help you drive forward. The way you feel about hardship will allow you to continue when faced with obstacles. The way you work out will prepare you for battle. The way you interact with others helps you bond to the team.

All of these eight factors make up the ‘Wellness Wheel’.

Here’s the kicker.

You know when one of these eight traits are out of alignment.

You can feel it. Sometimes, you can see it. Other times, people will tell you.

Indiana University provides a good walk-through for their students, hitting several key points along the way. It’s sometimes easy to discount some parts of this system for others. I’ve got a buddy who says ‘something’s got to give’ when it comes to maintaining balance through distress. And, while I’d generally agree with that, it’s good to have a bearing on what can go wrong than to bank on somehow discovering that organically when it matters most.

The wellness wheel illustrates a wellness model with eight dimensions: social, physical, emotional, occupational, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and financial. All of the dimensions are interconnected and important to a well-rounded and balanced lifestyle. It reminds us we need to work in different aspects of our lives to increase our sense of well-being, focusing on just one area is not enough.

When you lose balance within or between dimensions of the wheel, your sense of well-being decreases and you can experience distress. Luckily, bringing greater attention to one or more areas can also help us restore balance in others. For example, it can be easier to feel emotionally balanced when our sense of social connection or physical wellness are maintained.

Indiana University

A content gap.

When I was looking for examples of this model to show via video, I encountered a gap. I saw several creators that were explaining this model. Several of them had large volumes of important books behind them. Others, diplomas. Some were friendly. Others were professional.

All good – but they didn’t seem like they were really talking to a guy like me.

When I type and re-type that, I have a hard time distinguishing exactly what I mean by that, but I’ll give it a shot here.

‘Soft’ isn’t the right word.

When I’m taking in content about mental health, there’s too often a sort of ‘flavour’ that comes with it. It’s not exactly ‘soft’, but it would be adjacent to that term. I sometimes feel like the people in front of the lens, talking about this stuff aren’t really talking about this stuff.

I’m the guy trying to tell you that you have to pay attention to the way you feel.

You have to check yourself the way you do when you know your diet is shit.

Sometimes, we start to slip off the rails a little. It manifests differently for everyone. You might be irritable. You might catch yourself getting McDonald’s more often. You may be just adding stuff to your Amazon shopping cart a little more – and maybe enjoying another glass of wine when you do it. Regardless as to the way it presents, when we start to lose out on our homeostasis, we falter.

If we allow that to happen too often, we can get really spun out. That’s where things like substance abuse and self-harm like to reside; the downward side of the waterfall.

Hey, by the way – if you’re a first responder in crisis; call Boots on the Ground – 18336772668

So – that’s where ‘operational readiness’ and the ‘Wellness Wheel’ comes in. Before we can assume the role of a responder, we need to make sure we’ve got capacity for what that might involve. No, it’s not your emergency, but you were called for help. They expect that you’re doing the back end work to make that happen. They know that part of that is managing your physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual health and they desperately wish you would.

Bill Dungey is a volunteer firefighter in Ontario, Canada. He is focused on fitness, mindset development and finding training opportunities to help the fire service make things better.

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The Wedge – Part One: Endurance.

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