Transitioning from deployment or military service to civilian life can be somewhat of a culture shock. You’re going from a structured military ecosystem to one that’s jarringly less so. It’s strange, confusing, overwhelming, uncomfortable, and stressful. You may even feel alienated or displaced.
Serving in the military is a lot like marriage, according to ex-Marine Brian O’Conner. It’s tough on the inside and it’s tough to leave.
“Post-military, after getting my MBA and joining the corporate world, something was missing,” he explains in his TEDx Talk. “Surrounded by people, I felt like I was on another floating island, albeit deserted. And it turns out, as a veteran, I’m not alone.”
Marines in Mindvalley, Peter Lucas and Jared Bull, went through similar experiences during their time in service.
In an interview on Mindvalley Tribe Talks (available for Mindvalley Members), they both shared their experiences with personal transformation and how it helped them beyond the battlefield. What’s more, they’re both now coaches, helping others with their growth and transitioning from military to civilian life.
And if you’re looking for some help, this is where personal growth can be of service to you.
3 Ways to Live Consciously After Your Military Service
Given military personnel’s experiences during their service, it’s not surprising that there are reports of emotional trauma. In a 2019 survey by Pew Research Center, 47% of veterans said they had “emotionally traumatic or distressing experiences.”
With the importance of mental health currently in the spotlight, there are more and more open discussions about veterans’ struggles with health problems, trauma, and feelings of displacement and alienation, like this coverage from The New York Times.
“I thought I knew what real combat was,” explains Peter. “The war for my identity means that no matter where I went in the world, this thing that was unfulfilling traveled with me no matter where I was going. And I think a lot of people struggle with that.”
A number of military personnel, including the Marines in Mindvalley, have turned personal transformation to find their identity outside of the military and discover their purpose. And you can do it, too.
Here are three ways you can start:
1. Find your identity
In his TEDx Talk, Brian, who is also the co-founder of Veteran Enhanced Technology Solutions, points out that the military focuses on developing comradery but not so much on the individual self. So, taking the individual out of the group is like taking a fish out of the water.
“When you’re removed from the group, it can feel like the fog of war,” he says. “You lose the ability to see clearly and tend to hyperfocus on things that aren’t working, causing a downward shift in mood perceptions and experiences…. And the worst thing is this fog of transition is not only disorienting, but it can also be overwhelming.”
What you can do
Journaling is a great place to start. Write down your journey and highlight strengths in each phase of your life — past, present, and future. Answer these questions:
- Where have you been?
- Where are you now?
- Where are you going?
Your story is a great one and there are transformational and healing powers in sharing it, even if it is only with yourself.
And as author Charles de Lint says, “Find yourself first. Everything else will follow.”
2. Discover your purpose
In the military, the purpose is to protect your country’s security and way of life. But what is your purpose once you’re out of that metaphorical box?
The Marines at Mindvalley know this very well. It’s all about finding your “why.”
That may be easier said than done, but it’s important to do so. It goes beyond the pursuit of happiness; it creates a sense of meaning in your life.
Your “why” is your calling, your conviction, your mission statement. And it’s because of that, it’ll act as the driving force for when the going gets tough.
What you can do
Consider asking yourself these three important questions:
- What do you want to experience in life? Consider the relationships you want to have. Assume you have unlimited funds and think about the experiences you want to have with yourself and with others.
- How do you want to grow and develop yourself? Be inspired by character traits in others, and think about how you want to grow. Write down your health and fitness goals and how you’d like to progress into your golden years.
- How do you want to contribute to the world? Research suggests that generosity has psychological and physiological benefits, as highlighted in a Big Think article. So how would you like to pay it forward or give it back to the world? Consider what legacy you want to leave behind, no matter how big or small it may be.
Vishen, founder of Mindvalley, explains, “Answering these questions will give you a blueprint into your soul and will make you discover what it takes for you to know you truly lived life.”
3. Rewire your limiting beliefs
Active duty can do quite a number on the mind. Priorities on military tours are different than that of civilian life.
Oftentimes, veterans return from service and struggle to make sense of their worth. In fact, the same 2019 Pew Research Center survey reported that “veterans say it was somewhat (32%) or very (16%) difficult for them to readjust to civilian life after their military service.”
These struggles can contribute to your self-talk, possibly leading you to the limiting belief that you’re “not good enough.”
What you can do
Affirmations are a simple yet powerful way to get your mind to reconsider how amazing you are. And they’re easy enough to create, keeping in mind three golden rules:
- Keep your affirmation in the present tense.
- Steer clear of negative words like “don’t,” “can’t,” and “won’t.”
- Speak your affirmation clearly, calmly, and confidently.
Your mind is what you feed it. And as renowned hypnotherapist Marisa Peer says, “How you’re going to feel in life is really all up to you.”
Related read: Limiting Beliefs – What They Do and How to Fix Them
Insights From the Marines in Mindvalley
As transformational coaches themselves, Peter and Jared have great insights into how personal growth can be a powerful tool. However, it’s not to be confused with healing.
In the Tribe Talks interview, Jared explains that with “healing, we’re trying to fix something in the past. We’re trying to fix something back there that we think is broken about us.”
On the other hand, with personal growth, it’s more like, “Hey, maybe you’ve been through some tough times, maybe you’ve been through some challenges, but maybe you’re not actually broken no matter what you’ve experienced.”
Peter adds that every single person has greatness in them — you just have to step into it. He says, “If a human being truly owns that within themselves — understanding that you are already magnificent — you don’t need to be improved. You are already divine.”
Awaken Your Unstoppable
If you’re looking to rise up from your current circumstances and step into your greatness beyond your service in the military, then join the Marines in Mindvalley. You’ll find a vast selection of quests that can help you through every aspect of life, like…
- Experience Lucid Dreaming with Charlie Morley. Lucid dreaming is known to help with PTSD for veterans. With Charlie as your guide, you’ll discover how to tap into the wisdom that resides in your subconscious mind and channel it into your reality to create a tangible change and discover who you truly are.
- Life Visioning Mastery with Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith. Rise above goals and pursuits that don’t serve you; instead, find your “why.” With his methods, you can discover what success and fulfillment truly mean to you.
- Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy™ for Abundance with Marisa Peer. Explore techniques to rewire your limiting beliefs. You can learn how to automatically channel positive thoughts, emotions, and habits that shape you into the person you want to be.
When you sign up for a free Mindvalley account, you can sample the classes for a taste of the wonders in your life that lies ahead. There’s also a vast library of meditations to help you stay centered and maintain your inner peace.
And if you want to truly make a change in your life, you can explore coaching. You can reach your personal and professional milestones with the help of Mindvalley coaches.
When you’re ready, welcome in.