Overcoming Failure: A Guide for Military Veterans Entering the Workforce

By JobOppO RecceSGT

As a military veteran, you've faced a fair few challenges, but now that you have hung up the NVG's retired the “black masker's” and started to explore just hope the grass is green in civvie street...... so it's easy isn't it?

When entering the workforce, you are once again going to be challenged,  but the punches come from different places,  and when they land,  it can really hurt. You are going to have setbacks and failures, it's essential though, to remember that failure is a natural part of the process.

In this guide, we'll explore how to navigate and embrace failure, build a resilient mindset, and leverage your unique skills and experiences to excel in the civilian job market.

Embracing Failure as a Learning Experience

Failure is an inevitable part of life. But as a military veteran, you're no stranger to overcoming obstacles and pushing through adversity. Here are several ways you can confront and learn from professional failure:

1. View Failure for What it Represents

Obstacles are an essential part of the creative process, look at any high performing athlete, top level entrepreneur or artist, they'll tell you that any success they have is down to their failures.  

The hard lesson is that if you are not hitting obstacles and seeing failures, you're not learning. It's how we keep our sword sharp, testing the boundaries of our capabilities to failure point, and beyond. 

Recognise that failure is a natural occurrence and an essential stepping stone towards growth. Instead of being paralyzed by fear or shame, accept it, and learn from the experience. Consider failures as feedback rather than setbacks.

2. Reflect on Your Experiences

Take the time to analyse what led to the failure. What could you have done differently? What lessons can you take away to improve in the future?

In the mob we talk about “lessons learnt” and “lessons identified”, apply this to your “failure” what were the learnt lessons and what were you able to identify?

By thoroughly reflecting on your experiences, you'll be better equipped to avoid making the same mistakes again.

3. Seek Support and Guidance

You are part of one of the biggest clubs in the world and membership is for life! Surround yourself with mentors, colleagues, and friends who can provide encouragement and guidance.

Chances are high that someone else had gone through this within your network,  and if not then there's still a good chance that someone outside has been through what you're going through and chances are even higher that someone's written a book about it. 

 Don't hesitate to reach out for support and advice when you need it, as others may have faced similar struggles in their professional lives.

Building Resilience and Hope

To successfully overcome failure, it's essential keep that resilient mindset that you've been cultivating throughout your career,  maintain a positive outlook on your professional journey. Here are some strategies to help you stay focused and hopeful during your search:

  • Create a Job Search Strategy

Develop a clear and methodical plan for your job search, including both short-term and long-term goals. Break down tasks into manageable steps, and continuously evaluate your progress. This will help you maximize your efforts and make informed decisions about your career path.

  • Capitalise on that Support Network

Tap into veteran-friendly resources and professional networks, such as veterans career fairs, LinkedIn groups, Armed Forces Covenant members, and other local organisations, to help you navigate the job market. Develop connections with other veterans, share experiences, and support one another in your job search endeavours.

  • Practice Self-Care

Acknowledge and address any emotional challenges or stressors you may face during the job search process. Don't neglect self-care; establish healthy routines and engage in activities that foster a positive mental attitude.

  • Leverage Your Unique Military Skills and Leadership Experience

Military veterans possess a unique skillset and leadership experience, which can be highly sought after by civvie employers.

In Conclusion

Failure is a natural,  transitive process and vital for your learning and development, embrace it,  own it and don't fear it.  You’re in an ever changing environment, don't be surprised if things go wrong,  you can't control that,  the only thing you can control is what happens next.


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