Why didn’t they say life after serving was going to be the next hardest battle we faced as Veterans? Maybe they did and that was just the part I was too tired to remember.
I remember about one year after the transition from the Marine Corps reflecting on my choices when I first got out and thought, “I had no idea what I was doing.” Doing a lot of “should have done this or that” in my head they made me spiral down even further into regret and forgetting the future I still had in front of me. I was living in the past.
Unfortunately, I continued down the path I was on without making any changes in my life for the next three years. It wasn’t until it all fell apart and I dropped out of the College of Engineering after only finishing my associate’s degree. If this wasn’t enough, it turns out I was still digging my way to rock bottom. I proceeded for six-months of asking myself the question “what do I do now?” and it went unanswered for weeks.
My first child turned one during this time frame, and it was hard looking at her not knowing what kind of father I was going to be too her.
It wasn’t until I went to a seminar to become a supervisor where some sparks started to come back. I had a passion for leadership. It had never left me, but went dormant after leaving the Marines. I realized at this moment that a mastery of leadership was my target. Everything I had loved doing in my life up to this point was a summary of being a great leader. I wanted to lead teams and individuals to take more significant action and achievement.
What came out of this was a burning desire to read and consume as much information as I could on the subject. What transpired was an overload of information, but not a lot of action, just paralysis. This desire took me down another path of, this isn’t working, now what (sound familiar?). I started to doubt myself that I had even made the right choice with leadership. Maybe I needed to just stick with what I was OK at doing. I remember thinking maybe this is all just bull shit that they convince you of, but, life is meant to be an 8-5 job that just pays the bills.
It wasn’t until I added one last ingredient into the mix that clarity began to emerge, people! Sounds stupid, but the fundamental interactions with like-minded people pursuing the same path helped me niche down further in my purpose and desire and begin to cultivate the action that I had been missing for so long, but was desperately needing.
Eight months later I am making the connections I needed, making the choices to deliver results I hadn’t seen. I am still working through, but without struggle, we cannot have growth.
“If you want something you have never had, you need to do something you have never done.”
Today, I share my story and work with individuals who are transitioning through any stage of life as a veteran or soon to be veteran. There is a true purpose 4 life after serving, and I now get to enjoy helping others discover theirs.
Also published on Medium.