Evoenix:Edits

I screwed up!

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I screwed up… on a few things today.

Mainly, forgetting I had not scheduled a blog until the night before publishing and needed to come up with an insightful topic of discussion sufficient enough to provoke thought in my dear readers…

For that, I am grateful for your patience and understanding.

However, this fact did remind me of an occurrence only just today.

Another screw-up…

Which required me to then have a conversation with a client and explain said screw up. And obvs present a solution.

And that I did.

Until… the boss rang and it was noted I had overpromised and created yet another screw-up.

Doh!!!

Not to worry. We formulated a plan and I went back to the client yet again to explain, and that I was not up for employee of the month, with profuse apologies.

However, they were not happy with Plan…C, and would be speaking directly to the boss to resolve it.

I had briefed the boss of this outcome and an email from the client would be inbound.

The message began with, “I screwed up this negotiation…”

It was at that moment that I released, not many folks get to start an email to the boss this way.

I feel completely able to be open and transparent – AND IT IS GLORIOUS!!!

If your organisation is not fostering a culture and an environment that enables people to screw up… please think again.

Even though I screwed up, it was a “keep calm and carry on” moment and I then spent the rest of the day fully engaged with my tasks and made significant progress.

This would not have happened had I been worrying about the screw-up, that tomorrow, will matter not.

I am a happier person for it, as is the organisation.

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We get to do stuff now

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In my line of work, I have been tinkering with the idea to build an app.

I assumed this would be hard for me and avoided looking into it.

Then I saw a post about the software available to help people build apps. All low code, drag and drop sort of stuff. And even more enlightening – I already had this software sitting waiting for me on my computer. Who knew???

And I was reminded of when I first got into WordPress and building my website. That looked all very complicated too until I started a learn-by-doing approach.

I might add, that this was not an easy transition. Late nights, typing and clicking through the tears and thoughts of launching my laptop out the window were regular occurrences.

But soon enough, the actions needed to achieve the desired outcome became less about thinking and more about just doing. It became instinctive and natural. It’s easy for me now.

With renewed motivation – I have started my app building adventure, Mac is securely taped to the desk with HBM!!!

Fully aware of my current incompetence, I remain undeterred, knowing this too shall pass and eventually I will get to a point where I can do it.

Well, no. There’s more to it.

That feeling is something I have become accustomed to since leaving the military.

Before, if there was no requirement to do something – then it didn’t happen.

I knew my roles and responsibilities and executed them well above the standard expected.

I had an awareness of other people’s roles and responsibilities and if needed I could fill the gap.

But as for – I’m just doing this because I can – not so much.

Now, if I want to try something new, I will (eventually, once the impostor and inner critic finish their debate).

It’s become less about having to do things and more of a “I get to do it” and because I want to.

“Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”

Happy Star Wars Day

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I want you around, just not ALL the time.

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You have just spent a number of years doing the weekly Whacky Races.

Flitting between home and work and making sacrifices for Queen and Country in your military career. Missing birthdays, first steps and Nativity plays.

Then, you leave and all that conflict disappears…

Or does it?

Now you are home 24/7 and screwing with the routine.

Sure, it was fine for a few weeks while you were home on leave and weekends.

But now it’s permanent.

And there is a difference. Whilst our loved ones are glad we are not deployed for months on end, on the front line, running around with a rifle putting ourselves in harm’s way – a job away in the week might be a mutually agreeable alternative.

And to get there, that requires a very open and honest conversation, where everyone is free to air their desires and concerns. The Serving Person is not the only one leaving the Service.

Assuming other people’s wants rarely ends well.

Might the better approach be to find out for sure?

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The Obstacles we put in the way of our Progress

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Military folks have lots of decisions to make.

When we decide to leave, or someone else makes that decision for us, this starts a cascade of options and possibilities.

This in itself can be overwhelming.

Alternatively, this may also create excitement and motivation.

One big question is… where shall I live?

To relocate or not to relocate?

Especially for that dream job!

In this haze of overwhelm, one might begin to unconsciously put obstacles in the way.

All the packing, travelling, meeting new people, job hunting, new gym, new plumber, new hairdresser…

All very valid ponderings and great ways to make the decision to stay put much easier.

An even better one is to ask the audience… because they are always right!

That will give you a hundred other reasons to mull over. And maybe, even out of a hundred people, 99 say go for it and one says, “Oooh, big mistake. I did it and it all went Pete Tong”.

Guaranteed, most of the time people zero in on that one bad experience.

And there will be a hundred other reasons why it didn’t work out for that particular person at that particular time.

You are not them and they are not you.

So, what’s your obstacle?

What else?

Because, what if… it can work out, you know how to navigate the change because you have done it throughout your career, and you can do it?

Then, what’s really your obstacle?

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Deploying the command hand a little too vigorously

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When I was a kid I used to get told off for being too bossy. That makes sense, I was the only child/grandchild and I didn’t have other kids to bounce off. So the adults would scold me for my instructions, and adults don’t like being what to do by a kid.

Then, 25 years later I joined the Royal Navy and my ability to “boss” received a righteous reboot. 

Although, this wasn’t without challenge. I would constantly worry, hearing my family’s words in my head about not being so bossy. 

As a result, I wasn’t very “military” overall.

I would have a strong grasp of the steps that needed to be taken to complete a complex multi-faceted task – but would leave this vital information and perspective in the depths of my brain, and unbeknownst to those around me. 

“Shhh 🤫 don’t be bossy”, I would tell myself. And I would keep my head down and let others do the dictating.

Then the whole concept of leadership came on my radar. 

And I realised management is more about being bossy – ie knowing what and who needs to be where, when and how we’re gonna do it. 

Leadership … whole different kettle of fish. 

Here, it became more about gaining a greater understanding of someone following, then go from there together. 

The WHY being the forgotten element from the management model.

In my new roles, I’m conscious of deploying the command hand.

People around me are not mine to boss. And they have their own agenda and preferred ways of working. 

Leadership endures.

And when I’m stuck, I might ask myself… 

How might take an approach to better enable this person to follow?

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Courage and Bravery Off the Battlefield

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Courage and bravery can appear in many forms and situations, and when looking at the military, it’s easy to assume this is mainly on the battlefield.

However, often the modest corners of our community harbour the strongest individuals.

People willing to stick their heads above the parapet and say – “This must change.  And here’s how we’re going to do it.”

The vital key to change is – HERE IS HOW WE ARE GOING TO DO IT.

That makes all the difference. 

Because all too often the discussion becomes the stumbling block.  It is essential at the start to establish the context and create energy and enthusiasm.  But before long, we run out of steam before we actually get around to implementing our ideas.

And problematic when we get stuck in that discussion loop and don’t break away to act – especially when it might not work.

And then someone comes along, and they break through and get stuff done. 

Showing the courage and bravery to embrace their ignorance and give an idea a try.  To find the bugs and apply the fixes.

No matter how modest they are, are we celebrating them enough?

And following their lead?  

Fear might hold us back and we all do it. So it might be good to just notice how and when it shows up.  And let’s not allow it to impede our progress entirely.

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Pygmy Goats, Mermaid Princesses and other grand career ideas. 

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Navigating change is not impossible in isolation, but it is super tough. 

By teaming up as co-conspirators and collaborators you broaden your capabilities and your knowledge base. 

And Knowledge is everything. Because we don’t know what we don’t know.

Others will, and by finding those people it opens up the possibilities. 

I started out owning my own coaching business, through networking to promote that business I was then offered other freelance gigs in comms and marketing. And I discovered I enjoyed this much more and my coaching skills were incredibly valuable and transferable. 

Now, I’ve just taken a new contract with a PR consultancy firm for businesses that want to secure contracts with the Ministry of Defence. 

Networking got me in the room with the awesome people that appreciate my skills. 

My knowledge got me the gig. 

And this is your greatest asset too. 

Think of networking as “knowledge by experience”, and when you’re dithering about whether to sign up for events or send a reach out to someone…

Ask yourself, how might this experience add value to my knowledge capital? 

And furthermore, how might it grow in value and be transferred to someone else in the future? 

Because we all deserve to live our best life, to wake up each day, jump out of bed and get to work on passion projects. 

Even if it’s running a rescue centre for pygmy goats or becoming a Mermaid Princess. 

Do not what you think you should do. 

Do what you want to do. And you will be able to tackle the obstacles when they present themselves. 

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We’ve not been here before…

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This is the first time this generation of veterans has experienced this time.

Yes, lessons from the past help, but we are in all-new territory.

The World is changing at a rate never experienced by humankind.

Automation is on the increase, which might appear ominous to some.

But tech careers are on the increase too. Where diversity of thought is vital to ensure the design, coding, build and maintenance are sufficient and effective so that the end product is fit for purpose – FOR ALL who need it.

And individual needs are changing. We want more from the world of work, to contribute and make a difference.

The way we’ve always done it, is not going to cut it right now.

Innovation and creative thinking are needed.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” – Heraclitus

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Do you deserve it?

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A dear buddy of mine from a debate-club-style mastermind group shared an article this week that came along just at the right time. It discussed how our spending on things like food and clothes is linked to our self-esteem. When high, there is a greater tendency to purchase more luxury items because we feel worthy. And it works in the opposite way too. Even on a tight budget, you may find yourself sacrificing some essentials to have the desired luxuries.

In recent months I have been working with a couple of clients who really appreciate my work and many others have seen my work from the outside and appreciate it too. My self-esteem and confidence have been growing – I feel I am making a worthy contribution that’s making a difference. The first time since leaving the military.

Winner – all good.

Then, over the past two years, it’s been all Zoom, Zoom, Zoom – calls and pace of life! And in reality, that means – trackies, slippers and hoodies.

SPOILER ALERT! For more important calls I chuck on a nice top for the call. As soon as it’s over, I reach for the comfort and safety of my trusty hoodie. And I have two Zoom tops that reside in my office on standby and rotate them from call to call.

But… this year there are in-person things looming, meeting new people, and (gulp) presentations!!!! I can feel the beads of sweat forming on my brow even as I type it out loud.

And what does all that mean?

Well, now is the time for the dreaded shopping drama to get new clothes. Not only have I not had to buy new clothes for almost 3 years since leaving the RN and even when I have bought clothes it was always for socials or casualwear, never for “work”. And I have piled on the covid-pounds and that wasn’t one of my wisest investments.

So, now that a more front of house role is on the way, it was time to revive the wardrobe and better align it with my efforts behind the scenes. And in doing this, I tend to agree with my friend’s article. I did feel less guilty about spending money on clothes and looking nice because my self-esteem is at an all-time high. And I opted to try for a high-quality brand that it will fit better and last longer.

And because I am in the mindset of finding excuses to keep the items, as opposed to finding the smallest fault, I have been more open to tolerating my fatness, prominent belly and a lump or two here and there.

For 15 years I had the safety and reputation of a uniform. Others understood the reputation that came with a rank slide. And we all went through weeks of basic training to earn the right to wear that uniform.

What’s the civvy street equivalent?

It is only now that I am understanding what that looks like for me in life after the military. And it has been a struggle. To find a style that works for me and conveys my capabilities and potential. Without being too ego-nurturing or trying to be something I am not.

Hard to do when you are still figuring out who you are.

And much easier when you decide you are worthy.

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