Clients often come to me confused. They feel worried and uncertain about what career to go into or how to go about finding a career that works with military life. Their words come out in a jumble of stress, often accompanied by tears and notable frustration.
If you’re in this place, try this: hit the pause button and back up! Before making any big plans, it is important just to do some work that takes a deeper look at who you truly are.
Take a Deep Breath
Once a person has become more grounded, it is a lot easier for them to find opportunities wherever they go. By doing this preliminary work, we effectively change the lens that we are looking at the world through, allowing ourselves to actively or subconsciously seek out opportunities that appeal to us.
Some clients are initially confused as to why the career discovery fieldwork I assign them is journaling every morning, taking a “me” day, or cleaning out a sock drawer. “What do these things have to do with sending out my resume?” they often ask me.
However, soon enough, they realize that the more they know about who they really are, the more authentically they can network and feel aligned with the opportunities they attract.
Military life is busy and there is often an undercurrent of stress, but I promise that taking some time for self-discovery is always worth the investment. I want all of you to feel fulfilled and motivated by your careers, which is why I like to share the same activities here that I offer my clients.
How to Get Started
Getting started sounds easy, but it can actually require a lot of work going with the flow and accepting that, even if the task seems unrelated to your ultimate career goals, you truly are taking important steps forward. One military spouse said that she wrote every day that she was tired of feeling underemployed—the journaling practice motivated her to apply for a much higher paying job, which she ended up landing, and she loves it!
So, make sure to go with the practice and trust that it will work:
- First, just open up a journal and start writing and doodling, even using crayons to color the page.
- Write “I am” at the top of the page.
- Have fun brainstorming in whatever way sounds the most enjoyable or useful to you. The clearer we are about who we are and who we want to become, the calmer our journeys will feel.
- Once you have completed this task, begin a daily journaling practice, writing as soon as you wake up until you fill three entire pages. This is a tip that I share with all of my clients who feel stuck—I borrowed the idea from Julia Cameron who uses this practice to help artists tap into their creative centers. I find that this process provides military spouses with the perfect outlet for venting, releasing stress, and opening up conversations with their wiser selves.
- Reading is also a great way to figure out who you are, because as you make your way through a text, you unconsciously begin to compare your life to the tapestry of literature that interests you. This practice can also make journaling easier because, if you feel completely out of things to write about, you can always discuss your thoughts on the books you’ve just read!
Take That First Baby Step
You might feel like you are settling for less than your dreams in a particular area of your life. And that’s where journaling can help: writing daily is a great baby step that can lead you towards your goals. Try this practice for three months and then look back at your first page to see all of the amazing progress you have made.
I love when military spouses adapt this practice and share their personal success stories. Open up your crayon box and your heart while giving these morning pages a try!