Evoenix:Edits

The residual two-yearly itch, that many veterans feel

If you’re a Service Leaver, Veteran or Reservist who is adapting to life after the military, my weekly emails will help you.

A dear friend of mine, John Stevenson, posted on LinkedIn recently:

“One thing veterans speak to me about is the feeling they need to move on a year or two after they start their first job. As a service leaver bear this in mind, as it may be something that comes along for you. 

The reason for this is perhaps not the lack of job satisfaction, but the need to move on after getting used to a job due to lots of postings. In the Forces, many of us move quickly, promotion, operations and postings... This feeling is normal, so slow down, think and talk about it, you may be making a mistake.”


I was literally thinking about that recently and having that restless feeling for several weeks. And not entirely about a job, but moving to a different place too. 

When I thought about it, I realised it’s been just over 2 years since I left. Bang on schedule!!!!

So I joined the local theatre group. It gets me out of the house, I get to meet a new tribe of folks, contribute and get amongst it. 

Just like the mess social committee, families day and whole ship charity events. It’s all about variety. 

Let’s see if that helps… standby for pipes 📣

And maybe that’s why I’ve become so passionate about my work with TX-Net. We’re a startup, requiring us to innovate, creatively think outside the box and break through the next barrier. Cycling through the phases of change as the project grows and evolves.

I think this really works for veterans and it’s important to be on the lookout for those characteristics in an organisation.

Finding an organisation that really gives a crap about something.

What might you want to find, if you went looking? And will you? 

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Out with old, to make way for the new… Me

If you’re a Service Leaver, Veteran or Reservist who is adapting to life after the military, my weekly emails will help you.

I have been encouraged to blog about my experience with a past job, how the misalignment was felt emotionally, mentally and physically and how I decided this was all going against my values in a deeply intrinsic way, and not merely a lack of buy-in to their strategy.

Fix Vs Leave.

Fix – as in a could have worked to fix it and did think about it. Initiating a radical reform of this organisation that appeared to be flying by the seat of its pants and winging it – very different to being agile on purpose that I could have adjusted to.

Leave – which I did and because I just didn’t love (yes love) the organisation enough.  It was the employment version of the rebound guy.  The relationship you embark on because you think you are ready to move on – but really you’re not.  You’re still figuring out who you are and what you want from the next relationship.  Especially now, with a new sense of self-awareness and desire and courage to do what’s right for you and not what’s right for everyone else – or what you think you should be doing or perceived expectations from others around you.

Brene Brown taught me that when boundaries are crossed it shows up as – loving you means I have to love myself less.

Knowing when to quit and that it is for the right reasons. Especially, when your sleep is off, you haven’t read a book in months, you’re not getting into a good routine, you stop eating properly, the thought to go for a walk begins to slip to “tomorrow”, and when tomorrow never comes you gradually stop thinking about it altogether.

And you know for sure you made the right decision to quit when the random wrist pain that began the week you started, miraculously begins to subside from the moment you hit send on the giving your notice.

Strengths are the way you are now.  Values are what you are striving for, a future version.

So then, how might values be less about what people say and do, and more about the WHY they do those things, in service of a future version of themselves?

And values don’t exist in a vacuum – they are intertwined with others around us and situations, society and culture. And communication in a constructive way to align and deconflict opposing values or values ordered with a different priority.

Deconflicting the needs of the organisation, group, family unit – and the wants of the individual.

During my career, having been single and had no children, I have always argued and supported, “… the needs of the Service come first and the wants of the individual need only be carefully considered.

However, since leaving the Service in 2019, I have seen how this approach has brought families to the brink of destruction. 

Now, I believe there must be a better way to manage and integrate for all of us and the values we seek to uphold.

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You become what you can see

If you’re a Service Leaver, Veteran or Reservist who is adapting to life after the military, my weekly emails will help you.

Whilst seeing the deterioration of a loved one or after a stint in hospital can scare people into taking action to improve their health. If you become too focused on avoiding the thing that scares you, for some reason, it’s the very place you actually end up.

Because you there is not a positive thing to work towards or for you to see yourself doing. 

You become what you see.

Good or bad.

Humans are weird like that.

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Finding a theme for 2022

If you’re a Service Leaver, Veteran or Reservist who is adapting to life after the military, my weekly emails will help you.

Last year my theme was “Connect & Create“. And I believe I achieved this in spades because I found the courage to create new relationships, beta tested a workshop, did speaking gigs, started a new job, quit the aforementioned new job and discovered networking for knowledge.

Often when we think about networking it conjures images of sharp suits, business cards being dished out at a rate of knots and sleazy sales tactics. Of course, in some circles, this is the case and must work on some level – or why would people bother?

But for me, this wasn’t my scene and it didn’t feel generous enough. With my themes at hand, I was able to find other ways to network, find other’s like me, find even more folks that are nothing like me and be open to the possibilities.

Having themes made decision-making much more effective and I found true intention and purpose behind the tasks and activities I needed to complete and endeavours I wanted to be a part of.

When faced with a choice about an activity, zoom call or course – I would ask myself, “How might this mean I am connecting and creating?” And if I could provide a satisfactory answer – it meant it had the potential to be worthwhile.

The second part of that plan involved getting past the first step. Often I would avoid starting or testing an assertion because I feared judgement and failure – I have blogged about these tendencies previously and whilst I try every day to challenge my thinking, it’s an infinite game that requires continual adjustment and persistence. I learned that to improve – anything – your first have to begin to create, and perfection is the kryptonite to creativity.

Towards the end of last year, I discussed my transition from Royal Navy Medic to Royal Navy Veteran in a podcast interview with the NAAFI Break.

You can listen to the full interview here >>>

Click the pic to listen

And after this very open and honest interview reflecting on my time since leaving, and with the dawning of a new year, it was time to choose a theme for 2022…

“Knowledge by Experience” – seems to be a fitting follow on.

After spending much of the past 18 months not doing things, it’s time to start doing things. And not just more things or more of the same. No, this is about NEW experiences and knowledge. Putting into practice and stress testing my skills, values and capabilities.

I hide and shield no more. Welcome to the Discomfort Zone!!!!

By finding a theme, it gives a compass for all activities. When you are making a yes / no decision, you can test it against your theme to help you decide.

What might your theme for 2022 become?

And let’s see where it leads and what it creates…

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No good ever comes from should

If you’re a Service Leaver, Veteran or Reservist who is adapting to life after the military, my weekly emails will help you.

Think about it.

When was the last time you said, “I really should [insert activity]”, and it actually happened?

Then, after spending waaaay too much time and brain energy “shoulding” on yourself, one day you say,

“I want to…

… eat nice food…

… go for a walk…

… send that email…

… sign up for that course”

BOOM! It’s done!

Then, you remember how much you like it and the feeling of accomplishment, once it’s done, is AMAZING!!!

But, instead of giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, you commence an extensive deep dive of self-criticism and unpack all the disappointment in yourself for not acting sooner.

And once again, you are back to shoulding on yourself 💩

Intensive psychological excavation aside, what if we thought of this as just a habit?

And with practice, you can notice when the shoulding begins and stop it in its tracks.

Take the “should” and make it a “want”, then see where that leads you.

Recently, I have been deploying the 5-second rule from Mel Robbins. It is excruciating being human sometimes. But when you make work for you and take bold, small steps, the results will be quite remarkable.

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FAQs

If you’re a Service Leaver, Veteran or Reservist who is adapting to life after the military, my weekly emails will help you.

What am I hiding from?

What do I fear saying?

Who do I fear might hear it?

Am I being truthful enough?

What am I not saying?

Do I really want this responsibility?


Questions cast a dull shadow in life, and the light can feel very far away. Like a pinpoint in the distance.

And sometimes, it’s ok to question without needing to find out the answers… yet.

Just noticing is enough right now.

Until you feel almost ready to bring the light closer towards you.

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The Key to Sales

If you’re a Service Leaver, Veteran or Reservist who is adapting to life after the military, my weekly emails will help you.

The sale of a product, service or idea, is about change.

From not having, to having.

Moving from one emotional state to another.

Elevating to the next status role.

And the person selling, is there to help you change.

If you don’t want to change, you don’t need them.

And they can’t help you.

Inspired by a wonderful co-conspirator – “No-Book-Bob” 😉

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Noticing your everyday leadership moments

If you’re a Service Leaver, Veteran or Reservist who is adapting to life after the military, my weekly emails will help you.

I love this video from Drew Dudley

And it resonates with me because I also thought that leadership needs to be this big culture-shifting and epically profound impact on a person or group.

I would shy away from doing things and helping others because, well, who am I to do that? What difference can little old me make?

And in a way, I was scared… in case it actually did! Because then I was on the hook with the responsibility to do the next thing right.

And that’s nuts!

Because it’s the small moments that can often have the biggest impact.

Consider when something really grinds your gears. An unnecessary payment from your bank account, that can be easily rectified. An item you had on order is now out-of-stock, but will be soon. The endless hoops to validate your NCD on your insurance, that prove you are telling the truth.

Then we immediately clear the schedule and begin typing furiously at the keys to make our dissatisfaction known to some poor message-bearer. Then we can perfectly articulate in microscopic detail every failing and misstep that lead to our utter fury for having our day disrupted.

When really, on some level, we’re disrupting our own day, by depleting our energy and emotion on things that may not matter in a day or two.

But what about the impromptu text from a friend or colleague asking how things are?

The boss who lets you run with an idea and all the creativity?

The collaborator that trusts your judgement to invite the awesome people to speak at an event?

None of these moments have an earth-shattering or life-changing effect. Not at first anyway, nor in isolation.

They merely give you the assurance that someone has your back and cares about you. They are not setting you up to fail – far from it. And over time, as the “lollipop moments” begin to compound – then the true effect can be seen and felt.

So often, we don’t notice the impact we are having on others.

And rarely do we reach out and let people know the impact they had on us.

Maybe give it a try, and see what happens…

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People don’t really like surprises.

If you’re a Service Leaver, Veteran or Reservist who is adapting to life after the military, my weekly emails will help you.

The idea of a surprise birthday party is in my top ten worst nightmares. Mainly because I am such a control freak and most of my friends wouldn’t dream of doing it because they know me too well.

Plus, it’s all the planning and organising that is the real fun part for me, so to take that away would really sting.

So when it comes to my work ethic and approaches to work, I am much the same – I don’t like surprises here either.

And I would explain this to my new joiners when we sit down for the induction conversation.

“I don’t like surprises because it can take time to get the help you might need in place.”

It’s better to be stood ready for the curveball with wide-open arms and a supersized catchers mitt.

So why deny your team, friends, family and colleagues the same environment?

By giving folks a heads up about what’s coming their way, allows people the time to prepare in all sorts of ways. Mentally, physically and emotionally.

That said, I have managed to survive a good old fashioned “sink or swim” moment, and I think it does me good every now and then to stretch and see my capabilities in action.

But to have to do that all the time is exhausting.

And wouldn’t it be better to have someone offer you swimming lessons first, just in case?

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