It is a universal truth that you will get to understand a lot more about the past that you have lived through, than you did when you were living it.
In other words, when you reflect on your time in the Forces you will remember the many, many experiences, some which you may only tell your closest friends, some you laugh about till you are close to having a bodily fluid based accident, and some which have made you who you are today.
If you are like me, then when you look back, you will cringe at your first haircut and the fit of your No.1’s. But you will realise how much you learned during basic training and how it shaped you.
You might be one of those people that look back and curse everyone that did you wrong by giving you the worst possible jobs. But do you remember some of the good stuff, where you were given the cushy numbers, you were complimented, you were promoted, or when you met someone that changed your whole outlook on life?
At the time, you may not have fully appreciated the effect it has had on you, but looking back are you able to see how it shaped who you are.
If not, has it become a constant source of irritation or frustration? Have you lived with it as a chip on your shoulder for the last x years to the point where it shapes your outlook or your decisions?
I am certainly guilty of this. I was once given a really tough time by an instructor during trade training. He made my life difficult and even made me change trades. I carried that around as bitterness for years and hated him for it. It was not until I realised 2 things that I let it go:
1 – I had to take responsibility for what had happened, why did he give me a hard time? Probably because I was an arrogant, immature and cheeky little so and so.
2 – I would not be where I am today had I stayed in the original role, it turns out that even though I did not realise it at the time, he did me the most amazing favour. The role that I took gave me the experience and skills that are really important to me as a recruiter which I would not have gained had I not been moved!
So, going back to my original point, in order to take all of your skills (personal and professional) and those life experiences and put them to the best possible use, do you need to gain a better understanding of your past and take strength from the positives, learn from the negatives and take responsibility for your outcomes?
Or are you more comfortable being bitter?
Remember, you want to be running towards opportunities, not running away from negative situations.
Article written by Ex-Military Foundation mentor & Ex-MilitaryCareers.com supporter Adam Fifoot