When Kia ended her podcast interview on the Women of the Military Podcast she said, “My mama was right [joining the military] is a great foundation to start your life.” This quote got me thinking why does the military provide a firm foundation for your life? What about military life is beneficial and would make it worth considering if you are planning on joining the military?
Because of this, I decided to share the five things that military life gave me for a firm foundation for my life that I continue to use to this day through various aspects of my life and business. But five is just the beginning and based on your experience there are many more experiences that can help build a foundation for your life. So, I would love for you to share your experience in the comments below.
The Ability to Work in Teams
The military puts people from all over the country with different backgrounds and life experiences and gives them a mission. It starts from the beginning with Basic Training when you are put together in a team to get through various tasks and problems. You learn to rely on your wingman because you have to. And though you may have differences of opinion on how you view the world or how to get things done. When you receive your orders, you execute them and work together.
Knowing how to work together in teams is something that you will find is an important skill. No matter what you do after the military working together to get “the mission” done will be important. Even if you run your own business as you grow you will need to hire people or collaborate with others for projects. Teamwork is so important and military veterans know how to do this and do it well.
The Military Give You Focus
The military is very good at giving you a mission to complete. Even with outside distractions getting the mission done is the priority. Because of these tough situations, you are able to learn how to focus on the work that needs to be done and complete the task. This focus and attention to detail is so important. Military members are often trained to see the most minute detail that tells them something is wrong. This skill can translate to your career through situational awareness, attention to detail, and the ability to get the job done.
Flexibility to Change
The military has control over your life which means you go where they send you. Just going to Basic Training, Technical school, and your first assignment will take you to different parts of the country often different from where you lived before. You will make new friends, experience new things and that is only just in the early days of your military foundation. As time goes on you learn to adapt and change as life changes. Somehow the military gives you a perspective where you are able to let go of small things and focus on what really matters.
A New View of the World
I grew up in California. During my first year in the Air Force, I drove from California to Alabama for training and then back to New Mexico where my first assignment was. I also sent to training in Texas, Ohio, and Florida. Before joining the military, I had primarily traveled in California rarely leaving my home state. But when I joined the military everything changed. I saw the country as I drove across the country by myself. Then, I flew on airplanes alone. I went from a young clueless college student to a military officer and woman.
Then going to Afghanistan expanded my view of the world even more. Because of my mission, I was off base weekly and engaged directly with the Afghan people. I learned about the differences in culture and saw what poverty looked like close up. And those experiences have affected me today. I am more willing to listen to opposing views because I know there are so many different ways to see the world. I also have made it a mission to give back to communities that are less fortunate than me by sponsoring children all over the world and giving direct aid through Kiva micro loans.
Building a Network
When I was in the military, I met a lot of people. Some of these connections became friends, other were acquaintances. I tried to always leave a positive impression and leave an open door for communication. This has helped me as I began my entrepreneurship journey. Not only did I reconnect with my military community, but I also built my network through LinkedIn. The power of having the word veteran in your title on LinkedIn has helped me connect with so many amazing men and women who have helped me grow.
The military community when you are in is strong as you are often far away from family and the people you meet are who you spend holidays and time off with. Your friends become like your family. And when you leave the military you lose that connection. At least it feels like you do. But the reality is the military community outside of the military is even stronger. And the support that you find after you leave can help you reach your goals and dreams. Don’t cut out the amazing network the military has given you from your service.
So, these are five things that the military gave me from my six years of service. What are you looking to find when you join the military? What did the military give you? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. And if you are looking to join the military check out my free guide here.