Evoenix:Edits

Resettlement Reflections: A Veterans Perspective

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

When I was on the resettlement train, it was a rather foggy time and even foggier now looking back. 

Now, I realise it was because I didn’t understand or know the questions to ask. And because I wanted to be self-employed I was not really given much support beyond the workshop. 

As though I were overlooked because I didn’t fit a model they knew well. 

Equally, I didn’t accept much employment support because I was so determined to go freelance. 

When really, having that support to understand my worth and skills might have put me on a better footing for self-employment. And also, I might have given employment more of a chance.

Particularly to use it as a way of supporting my self-employment while I got started.

But I was so disillusioned with CVs, avoided LinkedIn and didn’t have a grip on networking.

I couldn’t face going through the endless “lather, rinse, repeat” to get a job. 

Then it all fell off a cliff anyway because of Covid. 

I gave my staff better counsel and support with their annual reports compared to what I felt I had received going through such a significant change in my career and life. 

It takes time to re-wire 15 years of Service and it’s really only two years after leaving that I now see the gaps and how I might have been better supported and prepared. 

Also great life lessons for future projects and endeavours.

Greater resilience and leading with curiosity.

Knowledge by experience.

Create and connect.

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10 Books Every Serviceperson In The Military Should Read

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

Books I’ve read since deciding to leave the military and never knew I needed while Serving.

And in no particular order:

Simon Sinek – Leaders Eat Last

Brene Brown – Daring Greatly

Seth Godin – This is Marketing

Stone & Heen – Thanks for the Feedback

Micheal Bungay Stanier – The Coaching Habit

Carol Dweck – Mindset

Steven Pressfield – The War of Art

Mary-Frances Winters – Inclusive Conversations

David Jason – My Life

Rosamund and Ben Zander – The Art of Possibility


And as a Brucie Bonus – and only because it was released after I left…

A.J Miller – Life After

Because who doesn’t deserve a spot of fiction from time to time? 😉

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A Significant Changing of the Guard

How is everyone doing? 

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II has left us all feeling rather discombobulated. With waves of profound sorrow, mixed with hope for a new Carolean era. 

It’s times such as this, where a deep compulsion to find a spiritual place begins to swell. Whether that be gathering in places of worship or community halls. 

And, as of Saturday 10th September, history in the making with the first televised Proclamation Ceremony. A blending of the traditional with the modern. 

She had been a constant for so long, and for so many. Displaying an overwhelming, almost ethereal, example of service and leadership. 

I feel deep gratitude for having been in her Service, while she was in ours.

Time has already begun to wrap the sorrow. Easing its burden with a cloak of nostalgia and gratitude for having witnessed such a significant changing of the guard. 

Take comfort in that at this time, as you and your families reflect and reconcile thoughts and feelings. 

“Grief is the price we pay for love”

God Save The King!

 

You reap what you sow

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

Often with varying degrees of success. 

Each will offer an insight into how you might do better next time. 

🎬 Start with quality foundations – this will pay dividends in the long run. 

💪 Be consistent – it’s tough especially when you’re running on empty. Find nourishing habits.  

👀 Monitor process – This might be slow at first and lack the big wins. So don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. 

🏁 Know when you’re done – Quitting is not for losers. Equally, failing to “ship” your ideas, services and products will guarantee you remain stuck and live in the land of the status quo. 

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Are you creative?

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

And not necessarily in the traditional artistic sense – paintings, novels, songs etc. Being content surrounded by non-toxic crayons and sticky back plastic. 

All humans have a degree of creativity. It’s how we’ve developed, evolved and innovated our way through existence. 

Military folks in particular, thrive on problem finding and solving. And because we serve, we have the ability to empathise with others. 

Now, that’s not to say most military careers don’t also batter that creativity out of you. It’s the nature of the organisation to strive for uniformity and status quo maintenance. It provides a clear set of rules to follow. 

It’s my belief that during a military career, that creativity goes into a dormant state. 

For me, it was always words. Looking back now I enjoyed writing at school, won an award for public speaking (was doing TED before it existed 😆) and whilst my imagination wasn’t in the Neil Gaiman league, I’ve always been able to cobble a relatively coherent sentence together. 

During a military leadership course, when it came to defence writing, most of the class slumped in their chair, rolled their eyes and a little bit of sick entered their mouth. 

For me, I took one look at JSP 101 and it was as though a celestial beam of light shone down on the desk and a choir of angels filled the room. 

Ok, it wasn’t quite that ethereal, but I loved the structure. 

This leads to my ability to create policy documents and process guides. That was my “thing” during my career. And not merely because there were words on a page for the sake of it. 

No. In my mind, if someone didn’t know how to do something – I wanted them to have a resource that helped them do their job more effectively. They would feel they had done good, the patient was happy too, and everyone had a better day. 

When you leave the military, things have the opportunity to take a different turn. 

I let my imagination have all the fun for once. Learned the mechanics of storytelling and the tools needed for a creative process.

Until finally it was time to write about life. That’s my passion. 

What’s yours?

Where did you feel constrained before? 

And now, if you could be creative in any sense, what might that look like each day for you? 

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I got nothing.

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

And that means I could have just skipped a week of blogging.

Every day I have been battling the Resistance. And the Resistance won.

I told myself: I am taking a break anyway. I am on annual leave.

Then today I saw the gap where a blog should be.

Because of that, it made me feel bad.

Because of that, I felt compelled to offer something.

Even if that was being honest about having a sub-optimal week.

We all have them from time to time. And that’s ok.

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Do You Want Mastery?

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When we make a decision – most of that process is irrational.

It comes from the gut or deep subconscious parts of our brain that struggle to find the words.

We decide – then come up with a logical and rational justification for that decision. A story we tell ourselves to satisfy the chimp inside our brains – and the chimps we assume are inside everyone else’s brains too.

It’s a very valid and worthy and logical story that everyone can understand and buy into.

What that story really is, is a place for you to hide and play it safe.

Hide from your work – whatever intrinsic or extrinsic form that may take for you.

YOU WANT MORE.

Mastery of your capabilities and of your destiny.

Autonomy to get your teeth into a really juicy project.

Ownership of your time and efforts.

To leave a lasting legacy.

Demonstration of your worth to its fullest. Not only to others, but to yourself too.

And by hiding behind rational stories, it allows you to operate guilt and regret-free. And never having to face public failure. Because hey, who’s going to criticise someone for getting a “proper job”, spending more time with family, and accepting the status quo.

I am not here to criticise the decision itself.

More of a desire to see more women in particular striving for more.

From a post in a group: “What is the main support needed for female veterans and why?

This question pecks away at me daily and I struggle to find the words to pinpoint a root cause. And many of the comments, including my own, tend to lean towards confidence and worth.

Often feeling like an outsider, I didn’t leave for work/life balance because of family.

It was more a question of life!

I felt stagnant and constrained. Challenged for all the wrong reasons.

It’s why I went freelance… to feel the fear! But never really gripped it with both hands through lack of confidence.

However, through the power of networking – a skill practice daily, I’ve now landed contracts with organisations that offer me the autonomy of freelancing, whilst still being part of a team.

And I still don’t feel done. There’s a creative itch lingering.

It’s a challenging topic for military service leavers and our civilian allies. Many people do leave careers for family reasons. People steer towards jobs that suit other people’s expectations. And with everything so out and loud on social media now, many people are crippled by impostor syndrome and anxiety.

And with my curious head on, in certain situations, I would supportively challenge the logical reasoning because, for the right desired outcome – we always find a way to make things work.

And whilst the Service does place immense strain on families and personal wellbeing – it may be the final straw that got you to make those seven clicks, but I believe there’ll be a deeper cause that got you thinking about it in the first place.

Unconvinced that simply leaving the military will prove to be the scratch required, the next step is to look for a purpose that was unable to find its place while you were serving.

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The Next Renaissance

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

Once upon a time…

Each village had the butcher, the baker and a candlestick maker. 

Then supermarkets put everything under one roof to serve a collection of villages, larger towns and cities.

This led the way for retail parks where you can eat, watch a movie, try on a frock and pick up a pint of milk. 

Then #Amazon digitised everything from A to Z. 

And now there’s a shift. 

Back to the independent. The local. The SME. The nimble.

Not only in retail, but for people and network organisations too. Commercial and non-profit.

However, progress will be slow or stop altogether if we revert back to the early days and operate in stove pipes. The risk of a revival of dangerous thinking is high. Causing us to focus on scarcity and protecting “the precious“.

Unless the advantages of a digital network to connect the individual or organisation are embraced.

And we can still operate with our own set of values and aims. 

Now with consortiums working in and amongst a sharing economy.

Networks leveraging their strengths into a force multiplier.

There was always someone better than you at bulling shoes. And you could iron a razor-sharp crease better than the next person. Together, the work gets done.

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Elephants, please, one at a time.

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

Difficult conversations and challenging topics are in vast abundance in our open and transparent culture.

Inviting and addressing the elephant in the room is good practice.

There is also a need to moderate the number of invitations.

If every elephant was invited into the room where you are, space would be limited.

Space for thought and reflection.

Too many chattering elephants are tantamount to a stampede.

Don’t get trampled.

Choose the right room to invite them into.

Let the elephants roam where they belong now and again.

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Are you learning to speak “civvy”?

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

Last summer when I had a few lessons with Peter Brookes-Smith and learned to code – a new language inevitably came with it.

So not only did I better understand the principles and see that I use and deploy coding more than I realised, learning the lingo helped me to better communicate with people with a higher level of tech experience.

It gave us a common interest too.
And whilst I openly admitted I was a total novice – simply demonstrating a willingness to try – spoke volumes.

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