Posts tagged Purpose
What's Your Calling? How the Mission Shapes the Culture of Your New Tribe

We honor military service for its selfless quality, but is it really? To be sure, the military life can be a hard one. Anyone who has been to combat knows that the sacrifices are real. All that said, you volunteered. You answered the call. Hell, we all did, and given the choice, most of us would do it again. We see past the hardship and actually consider our service a privilege. It was deeper than the uniform. It wasn't just a job. It was our life. It may have been a selfless endeavor, but it satisfied an intrinsic drive to find purpose and meaning. It brought us closer to understanding our why.

In part 3 of this 5 part series, I'll explore how the deeper reason why an organization exists shapes the culture and offer some questions that might help you discover the right tribe in life beyond the military.

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3 New Year's Resolutions for Military Leaders in Transition

As you approach your separation or retirement date, you will remember the many faces and places that shaped your military journey. You may remember the excitement and anticipation you felt on the day you reported for duty. You may recall the confidence of assuming that command and the pride of relinquishing that authority after a job well done. Remember what it felt like when you boarded that flight on your first trip into combat, and who could ever forget the satisfaction and joy of seeing your family for the first time when you returned home? As you approach the day when you will no longer wear the uniform, don't be surprised if you relive everything you felt from the experiences while wearing the uniform.

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Reintegration from the Inside-Out: How to Tell a Better Story about Life Beyond the Military

Given the relatively low unemployment rate, veterans don't seem to have a hard time finding a job. Given the high turnover and underemployment, they do have a hard time finding that sense of fulfillment and connection in life beyond the military. Perhaps we think that when we start a new job, we can just stop being the soldier. Changing your external reality in order to change your internal state of being doesn't work. Maybe we should invert that process. Successful reintegration from the inside-out is how we discover our sense of purpose, meaning, and connection in the right job for a better story about life beyond the military.

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A Healthy DOSE of Reality for Transitioning Military Leaders

One of the things we love about the military is our sense of belonging. We've grown accustomed to the trust and relationships within the ranks of our formations. Being in a close knit unit feels like … family. Once we hang up that uniform, we are disconnected from that family. Who would've thought that I would actually miss waking up at 0300 for the division run that started at 0630? The impact of departing the trusted, social network in the military has significant repercussions on the body and mind of a new veteran.

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Learning to Fly: A Metaphor for Leaving the Military

I always wanted to fly. It was the main reason why I volunteered for military service in the first place, and for the better part of 21 years, I did just that. I had the opportunity to fly three different types of helicopters (five if you count the A-L-M variants of the UH-60 Blackhawk). I flew during peacetime and combat. I executed nearly every mission a helicopter could perform. I thought that I was finished flying when I was permanently grounded for medical reasons, but I recently discovered that I had to learn how to fly all over again to find purpose and meaning in life beyond the military.

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How Do You Measure Success When You Leave the Military?

I recently celebrated my 47th birthday, a rather unremarkable milestone. With each passing year, it becomes harder to convince myself that I am on the windward side of middle age. These occasions have become more of a time for reflection than celebration. Birthdays are the time of year when I assess how I am progressing along the journey of life. I typically include familiar metrics like wealth and status in my assessment, but this year was different…

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3 Reasons Why 'Taking a Step Back' is Terrible Advice for Transitioning Military Leaders

When I went to my first career conference as a junior officer, I had 11 one-on-one interviews that resulted in 6 job offers. I crushed it! Some of the offers included starting salaries that exceeded what I was making as a captain at the time. My luck changed when I attended my second career conference as a retiring battalion commander. I didn't have any offers. I had three times the education, more than twice the leadership experience, and a resume crafted by one of the top business schools in the country, and yet I didn't have a single interview. Not one.

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A Veteran's Message for Memorial Day

Make It Matter. To be honest, those aren't my words. Those are the words of Retired General Martin Dempsey, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As a former member of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, I used to work for him. By "work for him," I mean to say that I was one among the herd of lieutenant colonels who spoke with him in ten-minute intervals as he was being ushered to his next meeting with someone of much greater importance. Like every officer on the Joint Staff, I had heard the story behind the words of his personal mantra and I was reminded of that story this past weekend.

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How Do You Find the Right Job After Leaving the Military?

This question - or versions of this question - represents the number one thing I am asked by military leaders in the transition process. I think am asked this question so often because I demonstrated what not to do. I am that guy - I had 8 jobs over the course of 3 years. Future veterans don't want to repeat my mistakes, but I'll have you know that I am not alone!

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Why Leaving the Military is so Hard and 4 Rules to Get it Right

Connection. That is the reason why leaving the military is so hard. It all stems from our biological and psychological need for belonging. How powerful is our need for connection? Brene Brown, renowned author, social worker, and researcher, says "connection is why we're here, it's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and belonging is in our DNA. And so 'tribe' and 'belonging' are irreducible needs, like love." The military gives us a sense of purpose, but it also gives us the comfort and security of shared empathy that comes from connection.

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Leaving the Military? The 3 Things You Should Know Before You Begin Updating Your Resume

I have a unique perspective on military transition. I did twice. I also did it poorly, twice. The first time I left the military as a junior captain. I put my faith in a junior officer recruiting company to find the best job opportunity. By "best" I meant the option with the most prestigious title and highest paying salary. They did. Unfortunately, it was the wrong job for me, and within a year of my separation, I was miserable. To make matters worse, I was laid off when the tech bubble burst. It was a total disaster. My second transition was my retirement after 21 years of military service. Once again, I ended up in the wrong job. Once again, I was unemployed. Once again, I was miserable.

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An Open Letter to the Criminal, the Athlete, the Basket Case, the Princess, and the Brain

This message is for the generation that identifies with the Valley Girls, the Lost Boys, Bo and Luke Duke, Micky and, of course, Jack and Diane. To the rest of the preppies, jocks, stoners, poindexters, punkers, rockers, hicks, drama jocks, superstars, homebodies, farmers, new wavers and soc's, your voice as the new generation is rapidly approaching middle age. Ferris was right. Life moves pretty fast. I need just a moment of your time because our nation needs us now more than ever.

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