The months leading to retirement is an exciting and sometimes scary time. You maybe worried about where you will live, how much money you’ll need to make? What school will your children attend? The list of questions will go on for days. Well I’m about to give you some more questions to think about.

First Time Around

For many the military is your first career. You join at the tender ago of 17, 18 or 19, and for the next 20 years of your adult hood you are the military and the military is you. You may have gotten your education, traveled the world and had a family. However, everything you did centered around your duty to complete the mission.

Building Your Second Chance At Life

Leaving the military is like starting life over again. Instead of  Uncle Sam and Aunt Rosie’s mission, you have a mission of your own.  Your primary objective is to successfully transition into a new civilian life, full of freedom, hope and peace. So how do we go about making that happen?

When planning for your new life I want you to answer the below questions.

Who do you want to be?

Everything you do contributes to the person you are. When you served you choose to be a high speed, no drag leader. Once you made up your mind of who you wanted to be you choose activities, education, and a lifestyle that contributed to that person. For instance, top leaders led by example. If you didn’t want your subordinates to be lazy and selfish, you had to display hard work, selflessness and integrity.

The same holds true now. Before you do another thing, you need to answer the question of who do you want to be.

What do you want to do?

When I left the military I knew I didn’t want to work weekends, holidays or nights. I didn’t want a job that took me away from my family. Nor did I want to be placed in a position where I had to choose my job over my family. Instantly this eliminated occupations in the retail, hospitality, and medical industries. It also helped me focus on jobs that didn’t require lots of travel. Last, it confirmed that entrepreneurship was definitely a route I wanted to consider.

First figure out what you don’t want. Then identify what you do want based off of what’s left. This way, you are less likely to compromise and accept less.

When do you want to accomplish your new goals?

Now that you know who you want to be and what you want to do, you need to figure out when you want to see your new goals come to pass. For example, you are a Human Resources NCO in uniform. However, you want to be a full time small business owner. It is highly unlikely that you’ll be able to be a full time small business owner on day one of your retirement. Instead you set a goal of 36 months. 36 months will allow you time to research your potential options, strategically plan your business, launch it and set a solid foundation. If you prepare properly, you maybe able to pay yourself a decent wage by your initial goal date.

You need to set a goal for whatever you choose to do. Goals keep you focused. Goals keep you motivated.

Where do you want to live?

Not all locations are created equal. Some states offer a particular lifestyle that is hard to find elsewhere. For instance, Lydnsey Borden, Blogger of Dear Lyndsey and US Army Veterans, and her husband wanted to create a homestead in Oklahoma. A friend of mine plans to return to Hawaii once she retires, because of the atmosphere and culture. My husband and I decided to move to Greenville, SC because it was a liberal family friendly city.

Choose a location that allows you to be the person you want to be, do the things you want to do, and live the way you want to live. Most of the time the military will pay for one last move. You might as well take advantage of it and choose a location of your dreams.

How will you make it all happen?

No matter what you decide, you need to make a plan. Your plan needs to be detailed. You need to refer to your plan often to ensure you stay on track. When you create your plan, you’ll need to include the cost, activities, and resources necessary to accomplish your mission. For instance, your small business focuses on life coaching. You want to know if you need to be certified. How much is the certification process and how long does it take? How long is the certification good for?

The more detailed your plan, the better. You can make adjustments as you deem necessary, but at least you have a guide to follow. Going blind into your new life will leave you confused and frustrated.

Ask yourself why?

In every endeavor you embark, you need to know your why. Otherwise you are acting without a purpose. Without a purpose, you will fail.

When asking yourself why, be detailed. For example,

  • Why do I want to be an at home mother?
  • Why do I want to be a small business owner?
  • Why do I want to fire corporate america and operate my side hustle full time?
  • Why do I want to move to Boston in 6 months?

Be a 6 year old and ask why until you’re satisfied. Your why will keep you motivated when your transition is hard and you want to give up. Always know your why?

Take Your Time

This exercise is not meant to provide quick and easy answers. It’s meant to help you openly and honestly admit to yourself what you really want and how you are going to get it. This is your second chance at life. It deserves deep thought and careful planning. If you need assistance, hire a military transitional coach like myself. It isn’t uncommon to enlist the help of trusted professionals to assist you in planning your new life.

If you have any questions, please leave them below. I would love to assist you.

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