January 19

From Military to Civilian-Navigating Change

From Military to Civilian-Navigating Change

By Deborah Johnson

January 19, 2024

civilian, core values, Deborah Johnson, healthy mindset, Josh Porthouse, marine, military, navigating change, podcast, transacting value, veteran

Navigating change from a military to civilian life is often challenging, and Josh Porthouse's personal experience mirrors this sentiment. Josh encountered unexpected difficulties along the way. One notable aspect was underestimating his own capabilities and the demanding nature of his transition, a miscalculation that persisted even before joining the Marines. Surprisingly, after multiple deployments to Afghanistan, Josh still grappled with understanding the full extent of his own potential and resilience. This highlights the complex and evolving nature of the journey from military service to civilian life, emphasizing the importance of self-awareness and continuous adaptation.

As individuals approach the midpoint of their careers or even later stages, a significant number of people encounter similar challenges to Porthouse’s experiences during his military-to-civilian transition. Many grapple with the tendency to underestimate their abilities and undervalue the wealth of experiences accumulated throughout their professional journeys. This struggle is not exclusive to those transitioning from military service but extends to anyone navigating mid-career changes or contemplating second and third acts in life.

For those with sons, daughters, spouses or colleagues in the military, witnessing the impending transitions these individuals will face adds another layer of complexity. The question arises: How can we effectively support them in this crucial phase of their lives? Whether it's re-entering civilian life or embarking on a new chapter, fostering a healthy mindset, reinforcing strong core values, and validating skills and experiences become pivotal elements in propelling individuals more efficiently toward a successful future. This emphasis on psychological well-being and acknowledging the worth of one's capabilities serves as a universal guide for navigating life's transitions, whether in the professional realm or during various stages of personal reinvention. This article explores cultivating a positive mindset, reinforcing core values, and acknowledging the significance of skills and experience with a brief application for each.

Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson From Military to Civilian-Navigating Change with Josh Porthouse 1-23-2024
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A Healthy Mindset

Differences in culture, language, values, and lifestyles between military and civilian life can create a sense of disconnection and difficulty in adjusting to the new environment. The military environment, characterized by its intense and regimented nature, sets a distinctive tone that differs from most civilian workplaces. The challenge lies in moving from a system where every aspect of one's routine is meticulously determined to a civilian context where individuals must craft their own schedules and set their own objectives. This shift from a highly structured and directive framework to one that demands personal initiative and autonomy proves to be challenging for many transitioning veterans.

Whether navigating change from military to civilian or from a structured work environment to an entrepreneurial venture, it’s essential to approach the transition with an open mind. Cultivating a positive outlook, seeking support networks, and understanding that setbacks are part of the journey contribute to a healthy mindset. Additionally, valuing the diverse perspectives and experiences gained can enhance self-confidence and instill a sense of purpose in navigating the uncharted terrain of civilian or entrepreneurial life. Taking time to journal and affirm feelings as well as skills, experience and especially values is extremely helpful, in whatever stage of change one is experiencing.

Application: Physically write in a journal or speak thoughts aloud to validate feelings through the process of navigating change and change negative self-talk to positive outlooks. Review those outlooks often.

Define Core Values

Core values possess the transformative ability to drive a sense of purpose. Developing a purpose-driven life and business aligned with personal core values, especially at mid-career or the halftime of life, is the goal. Dedicating time to thoughtfully create and periodically revisit our core values serves as a reaffirmation of our beliefs and guides our trajectory. Regularly reviewing these values is not just a reflection of our convictions but a deliberate examination of the direction we aspire to take in our lives.

When speaking of core values, they are the absolute values we hold as priorities, as guiding principles.  Our values can include personal commitments to family, spirituality, ethics, and even culture. They are the most important values because they reveal our driving force. When circumstances change, our core values should be consistent and provide the stability to sustain us through difficult times as well as the good times.

Application: In defining your core values, think of some words to describe your life, like honesty, follow-through, fairness, and a strong work ethic. These should be unmovable principles. In determining core values, you will focus on two central areas and expand on each: faith and character. Some put their trust in themselves because they lack trust in leadership or even in a supposedly silent God. The attributes of your personal character are what others see the most. You can place these areas of character into building blocks to create a strong and solid foundational core. (For more, see appendix in the book: Stop Circling)

Validate Skills and Experience

Upon navigating change, many discount their current skills as well as experience, perhaps under the misconception that they are no longer pertinent or necessary. This assumption, however, is misleading. I encourage anyone making a change or entering their next chapter of life to validate not only their skills, but wealth of experience. Despite the rapid pace of technological advancements, fundamental skills retain immense value and do not become obsolete. It is crucial to acknowledge and embrace the enduring significance of these foundational abilities, as they continue to play a pivotal role in navigating evolving landscapes.

Devoting time to brainstorming our skills and experiences is an investment with substantial returns. Additionally, adopting a lifelong learning mindset, characterized by a willingness to both enhance existing skills and acquire new experiences, is equally vital. It might feel like a step down or different from what we're used to when entering a new venture, but with a wealth of experience, we accelerate the process of excelling in a broader field. Embracing this mindset keeps us growing and adjusting to changes in the job market and life.

Application: Once again take out your journal and write your thoughts through this process. Also pursue areas to increase your education, either online, with a coach, a course or additional reading. There are a multitude of courses and sources available 24-7 in most any area of emphasis. For a 5-month program for personal and professional development, see Hero Mountain Summit. (click on image above for PDF overview)

Extra Resources - Articles:

Develop Mental Endurance with Deborah Johnson

Healthy Mindsets When You Feel Stuck with Greg & Deb

Winning With a Never Give Up Attitude with Deborah Johnson

- about joshua Porthouse

Josh Porthouse is the host of the podcast Transacting Value; a Marine Corps veteran; and licensed Florida Realtor who educated, employees, and encourages self-worth for personal and professional success.

The emphasis on psychological well-being and acknowledging the worth of one's capabilities serves as a universal guide for navigating life's transitions

deborah johnson

Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author

If you are interested in growing and learning, check out our online courses here: Online Learning

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Deborah Johnson

About the author

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain® and former president of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. She also hosts the popular podcast "Women at Halftime." Deborah provides tools to create your ideal lifestyle and work at mid-career or during the halftime of life, getting unstuck. You can live your second half fulfilled, focused and free! Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of multiple books, over twenty albums and musicals and speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.

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