For many of us, the idea of repositioning ourselves seems at odds with everything we were trained to do. Military precision requires solving problems at scale while remaining committed to the team. Orders are what allowed you to reposition, and without permission, moving on was not an option. Don’t anticipate the command still, echoes in my subconscious as I strategize and plan what is next for my family and I. This truth served me well when working in a mass formation in which we all had to move as one. As I transitioned, however, anticipating what was next and preparing for the new mission was what allowed me to turn small wins into big wins.
During my last two years in the military, I moved my family from twenty minutes outside the base to over an hour away. I had relocated my family to Downtown Seattle so that we could start to observe what life could be like once we had completed our military transitions. There was a lot of relevant feedback on this move. My Platoon Sergeant was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to make it in on time if we had rapid deployment needs. My fellow soldiers and peers voiced concerns that my family wouldn’t be as safe as when we lived in a traditional military community. All of these concerns were relevant, and I allowed myself to learn from this feedback while focusing on my need to reposition myself.
What I didn't know when we first moved was that many of my mentors lived in Seattle. The small wins from moving to Seattle stacked up becoming big wins as my network within the tech community continued to expand. Though the decision was not popular with my chain of command at the time, it proved to be the right decision for my family and me despite the pushback. Turning small wins into big wins should be a focus of your strategy as you transition. You might not have the time to make sure every decision that you make is right, but you can build on each decision until it reveals its deeper strategic value.
If you look closely, you will discover deep value can in every step of your military journey, and the same strategies that allowed you to win in one arena will allow you to excel as you transition. Each military school that I attended required a shift to a different location. That repositioning allowed me to minimize distractions while focusing on what I was sent there to accomplish. Whether it was airborne school or advanced training in my military specialty without being repositioned the sacrifices needed to focus on my immediate goals would have been muted by the noise of daily routines.
The military infused in all the service members the power of daily habits and routines. These small wins’ lead to bigger wins that combine to produce the desired effect. In your transitions process, your daily habits will have to change. Habits like waking up early to make your morning formations might become waking up early to study for an IT certification. The habit of spending two hours at the gym might be adjusted to spend one hour at the gym and the next hour at a career center training for your new role. As you look through your daily routines, ask yourself what can I tweak or adjust to reposition myself. As you make, these adjustments small wins will become big wins. These adjustments might not require you to move over an hour away, but they will highlight how you can reposition yourself.