Define Who You Want to be Beyond Your Military Spouse Identity

The role of the military spouse is super important—we provide much needed at-home support for our military families, which helps keep our country strong. So often, though, military spouses tell me that, while they have goals in the areas of health and careers, these ambitions are often put on hold. With so many important responsibilities on our plates, it can be hard carving out time to get from where we are to where we want to be.

For example, one of my spouse clients shared that she wanted to lose weight. However, she found that she couldn’t make it to the gym because she didn’t want to go exercise when she could instead be spending time with her kids. Another spouse shared that she wanted to write more but that her kids’ sports often took center stage during her limited free time. Her priorities simply got pushed aside without her even complaining.

As military spouses, we’re used to putting the needs of others (our country, our children) ahead of our own.

I have to admit that when I first read the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, I even caught myself saying, “…easy for her, she has a nanny!” But then I started noticing that my most productive clients, clients who were just as busy as I was, were doing something different from those who put their goals on hold. They were pursuing goals that they actually enjoyed!

My husband likes service, enjoys working out, and loves teaching, but I, like many of my clients, used to think…what is it that I love doing? Because I couldn’t clearly define the things that I found fun, my goals were always a bit vague and boring.

And it turns out, it’s pretty easy to put off uninspiring goals.

As a result of not understanding myself or my real passions deeply, I would ask myself: Who am I beyond the spouse of my Marine husband? I was jealous of my friends with fancy corporate titles and those who were full-time stay-at-home moms. While I felt that I couldn’t really focus on my career while working part time, I still sometimes had to leave the kids’ games to go see clients. It almost felt as though by trying to do the two simultaneously, I was failing at both my job and being a parent.

I began to ask myself: If I’m a life coach and struggling, how am I supposed to help my clients?

But that year I had several clients double their salaries and accomplish so much both personally and professionally. As a result, I began to really pay attention to those clients who were soaring and what they were doing to find success.

Instead of simply calling them “lucky,” I looked closer and saw that they were deeply committed to bettering their lives—they actively spent time journaling, nurturing their interests, and, in short, really following their passions.

I thought about it for a while and came up with a plan for finding and pursuing the things that I love in life.

First, take out a blank sheet of paper and begin identifying life themes, tasks, and concepts that spark your motivation and interest. I’ve found that I resonate with themes such as progress, relationships, and using my intuition.

As you think about your own identity and the goals that you want to pursue, brainstorm what you believe to be true about your body, mind, and soul. Dissect your answers and look for a common thread—your approach to life.

Once you better understand who you are and what you love, you’ll learn to use your time more wisely and serve others more effortlessly. And, as your spirit takes action, you’ll begin to define a legacy for yourself that isn’t related to your spouse’s service.

You’ll stop pushing toward goals and, instead, attract the goals to you. Plus, you’ll want to work on them because they truly align with who you are and what you want to do!

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