Self 16 June 2019
The earth rotated around the sun once again bringing another birthday my way. The ageless reality I face is that the older I get the more I realize that if I were to meet my younger self today, I would absolutely not be able to identify with or recognize who she is! I would not want it any other way! I celebrate that fact every birthday. It suggests growth, it champions change, and it screams legacy and success!
Younger me would not have had the tenacity to endure 5 years of entrepreneurship. She would have gotten frustrated and lost focus. Older me gets it. Being a founder is about change and appreciating the nuances of running a business when it is perfect, as well as when it is not.
Younger me had a lot of excuses. She spent vast amounts of time waiting. She thought she had forever. Older me appreciates that my time, my best time, is right NOW. I am richest when I invest in what I can do today.
Younger me lived with fears unrecognized. The me of the moment challenges fear, not to be fearless but to fear LESS so that I can accomplish and DO more of what I love.
Younger me spent time in yesterday and tomorrow. Today I am in TODAY. This alone is an energy life hack that drives choice and purpose in ways that I never knew were possible. Every year we add to our birth brings us closer to the reality that the time we can impact is not what was or what will be, but what actually is. This small tweak drives your legacy and shifts your energy allowing you to pivot toward what you most want rather than away from what you do not. Instead of backing away…you are pivoting with purpose and moving ahead.
Younger me thought that she could only handle one thing or another. This OR that. Current me realizes the impact of replacing the word OR with the word AND then completing my thought. Today I resonate with the opportunities and possibilities this supports, something that a younger version of me simply could not, and would not, explore.
Younger me was resourceful because she needed to be. Older me is creative and curious because she wants to be.
Younger me thought she knew what she wanted in life. Older me knows what she is saying yes to in life and she gratefully celebrates that.
Younger me made mistakes. Older me makes mistakes that lead to discoveries and opportunities to renew and shift course. Failure does not exist because perfection does not exist.
Younger me imagined that she knew everything. Older me knows she is always learning something.
Younger me believed that you made choices that lasted forever. Seasoned me realizes that nothing lasts forever other than the relationship we have with ourselves. This is the one thing in life you can control. Everything else is subject to change and interpretation from a new perspective.
Younger me would not have had a meaningful and intelligent conversation with older me. She would not have seen the advantage. Yet, today I cherish the relationships I have collected, connections and conversations with people who matter, which incidentally includes accessing my own wisdom! I seek all of this out for the insight and human spirit it provides.
Yes, I was numerically and biologically younger yesterday. Yet today I am actually ageless. Today I am rich with opportunity and perspective that is steeped in what I CAN accomplish now.
Now is my new next!
Now is your new next as well! Today is a 24-hour window to invest in a 2020 vision. It is in today that we each have a unique-to-us chance to live our legacy, to engage in what inspires us, to seek the unknown and make it known. Today, we can challenge who we have been in favor of pivoting toward who we have not yet allowed ourselves to become.
It makes little difference where you are in the cycle of birthdays. What is important to remember is that you are not adding years, you are increasing experience. If every birthday is a marker of growth, then by extension, every day is a barometer of action steps, decisions, opportunities and ownership. Where will you challenge and own individual accomplishment? Where will you seek out the next step? What makes today different from yesterday?
So…in the 365 days ahead in the everyday of today what changes?
Don't wait. Do.
Don't quit. Pivot.
Don't juggle. Balance. Begin with your relationship to YOU!
Don't overthink. Think it over.
Grab your control back and choose.
Grab your success back and celebrate it.
Grab your life back and live it fully.
Set the tone for 2020 impact! No birthday needed!
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In 2020, as the world turned on its axis, we all held on for dear life. Businesses, non-profits, government organizations, and entrepreneurs all braced for a new normal, not sure what it would mean, what would come next, or if we should be excited or terrified.
At the same time that everything is shifting, being put on hold, or expanding, companies have to evaluate current talent needs, empower their teams to work from home, discover new ways to care for clients from a distance, and navigate new levels of uncertainty in this unfamiliar environment. Through it all, civilians are being encouraged to lean into concepts like "resilience" and "courage" and "commitment," sometimes for the first time.
Let's contrast what the business community is going through this year with the common experience of the military. During basic training, officer candidate school, multiple deployments, combat, and reintegration, veterans become well-versed in resilience, courage, and commitment to survive and thrive in completing their mission. Today, veterans working in the civilian sector find the uncertainty, chaos, instability, and fear threading through companies eerily familiar.
These individuals do not leave their passion and sense of service behind when they separate or retire out of the military. Instead, typically veterans continue to find avenues to serve — in their teams, their companies, their communities.
More than ever before, today's employers who employ prior military should focus on why and how to retain them and leverage their talents, experience, and character traits to help lead the company — and the employees — to the other side of uncertainty.
What makes veterans valuable employees
Informed employers recognize that someone with a military background brings certain high-value assets into the civilian sector. Notably, veterans were taught, trained, and grounded in certain principles that make them uniquely valuable to their employers, particularly given the current business environment, including:
It's been said that the United States Armed Forces is the greatest leadership institution in the world. The practices, beliefs, values, and dedication of those who serve make them tested leaders even outside of the military. Given the opportunity to lead, a veteran will step forward and assume the role. Asked to respect and support leadership, they comply with that position as well. Leadership is in the veteran's blood and for a company that seeks employees with the confidence and commitment to lead if called upon, a veteran is the ideal choice.
The hope is that all employees are committed to their job and give 100% each day. For someone in the military, this is non-negotiable. The success of the mission, and the lives of everyone around them, depend on their commitment to stay the course and perform their job as trained. When the veteran employee takes on a project, it will be completed. When the veteran employee says there's an unsurmountable obstacle, it is so (not an excuse). When a veteran says they're "all in" on an initiative, they will see it through.
Strategy, planning, and improv
Every mission involves strategy, planning, and then improvisation from multiple individuals. On the battlefield, no plan works perfectly, and the service member's ability to flex, pivot, and adapt makes them valuable later, in the civilian sector. Imagine living in countries where you don't speak the language, working alongside troops who come from places you can't find on a map, and having to communicate what needs to get done to ensure everyone's safety. Veterans learned how to set goals, problem-solve challenges, and successfully get results.
With an all-volunteer military for decades now, every man and woman who wore our nation's uniform raised their hand to do so. They chose to serve their country, their fellow Americans, and their leaders. These individuals do not leave their passion and sense of service behind when they separate or retire out of the military. Instead, typically veterans continue to find avenues to serve — in their teams, their companies, their communities.
When companies seek out leaders who will commit to a bigger mission, can think strategically and creatively, and will serve others, they look to veterans.
Best practices in retention of veteran talent
Retention starts at hiring. The experience set out in the interview stage provides insight about how it will be to work and grow within the team at the company. For employers hiring veterans, this is a critical step.
Veterans often tell me that they "look to work for a company that has a set of values I can ascribe to." The topic of values can serve as an opportunity for companies seeking to retain military talent.
The veteran employee may have had a few — or several — jobs since leaving the military. Or this may be their first civilian work experience. In any case, setting expectations and being clear about goals is vital. Remember, veterans are trained to complete a mission and a goal. When an employer clarifies the mission and shows how the veteran employee's role supports and fulfills that mission, the employee can more confidently and successfully complete their work.
Additionally, regular check-ins are helpful with veteran employees. These employees may not be as comfortable asking for help or revealing their weaknesses. When the employer checks in regularly, and shows genuine interest in their happiness, sense of productivity, and overall job satisfaction, the veteran employee learns to be more comfortable asking for help when needed.
The military is a values-driven culture. Service members are instilled with values of loyalty, integrity, service, duty, and honor, to name a few. When they transition out of the military, veterans still seek a commitment to values in their employers. Veterans often tell me that they "look to work for a company that has a set of values I can ascribe to." The topic of values can serve as an opportunity for companies seeking to retain military talent. Make it clear what your values are, how you live and act on those values, and how the veteran's job will promote and support those values. Even work that is less glamorous can be attractive to a veteran if they understand the greater purpose and mission.
Today, veterans working in the civilian sector find the uncertainty, chaos, instability, and fear threading through companies eerily familiar.
Finally, leveraging the strengths and goals of any employee is critical, and particularly so with veterans. If you have an employee who is passionate about service, show them ways to give back — through mentoring, community engagement, volunteerism, etc. If your veteran continues to seek leadership roles, find opportunities for them to contribute at higher levels, even informally. When your veteran employee offers to reframe the team's mission to gain better alignment across the sector, give them some runway to experiment. You have a workforce that is trained and passionate about and skilled in adapting and overcoming. Let them do what they do best.