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Defining Success after Military Service

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Transitioning out of the military can seem like the scariest point in your career. There are so many decisions to be made and massive changes to navigate. 

While you may have loved your career in the military, it is time to try to embrace the change that is coming. Life can be about you and your family now, or whatever an enjoyable focus feels like to you. This is your chance to create your bigger future. No matter how your personal path post-transition ends up, it is important to define what success looks like for you.

Defining Success

In order to find success, you need to know what you are looking for. This is a deeply personal question. Your answer may not be the same as the person next to you and that’s okay – you’re the one living your journey to success.

Take some time to sit down and answer the following questions. If you are married, have your spouse do the same. It may even be beneficial to involve your children in the process if they are old enough to do so. You may just learn something from what they say!

What would make you feel successful?

Would having a job coming right out of the military make you feel successful?

Would a certain salary range make you feel successful?

Would a particular career path make you feel successful?

Job flexibility? Family time? Charity involvement? Financial independence? Living in a certain place? Having a certain role?

What feels like success to you?

What do you want to do for work?

Do you want to retire?

Do you want a whole new career?

Do you want to try something new? Build upon developed skills? Find a similar position? Branch out?

Where do you want to live?

Do you want to live near certain people – friends or family members?

Do you want to live in a particular location?

Will you follow a job to a new place?

What factors are important to you in a living location – community, resources, geographic location, opportunities, schools?

 What will your needs be as a family?

Do you have enough money saved?

Do you need more education to pursue your next steps?

Do you want or need to take some time off?

What does your perfect post-military life look like?

Be honest and real with yourself. Don’t answer how you think you should. No one needs to know but you. What do you REALLY want? If it is hard for you to answer this question, try out our perfect day exercise.

Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, sit down with your spouse/family and talk about your differences to set an expectation. Success is going to mean something different to everyone. Find collaborative solutions so you can be on the same page.

You can’t work to achieve success unless you first decide what success is to you. Once you have a goal, you’re well on your way to carving your path to your bigger future!

Want more guidance on a successful transition out of the military? Check out our free transition guide.

schuyler@americandreamu.org

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