22 Mar A TO Z: 26 ISSUES TRANSITIONING VETERANS FACE #6
Fear of Failure
One of the scariest aspects of leaving the military is going from knowing what it took to succeed to the unknown. In the military, professional development was an ongoing thing and each day was a learning experience. In all honesty, we were groomed for success, as everyone was expected to be all they could be – continuously.
When you leave the service, the structure we didn’t understand at the time, in retrospect, came to our attention almost immediately as we began to reflect on our circumstances. Everyone wants to reach their goals and prior to joining the service, our military men and women looked forward to the journey with confidence, hope and optimism. However, upon leaving the military, those same positive feelings can become stress, bleak outlooks and negative thoughts, due to the angst of change.
Fear is anxiety. The fear of failing can drive someone literally insane, due to the stress associated with not living up to the standards that were set so high in the military. When someone leaves the military, having been a bona fide leader, to a lesser position of authority – it can be frustrating. A person can lose faith in themselves and start to question the reasons why they served, only to return home feeling irrelevant.
Transferring military skills to the civilian world is a process and it takes time to master. Some are better than others in navigating this transition. Veterans shouldn’t be judged on how long they take to successfully make this transition. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison with a civilian. What’s success anyway? Success should be measured on an individual basis; after all, not everyone has the same baggage and obstacles. Moreover, overcoming that fear is the first major step towards accomplishing personal and professional goals. You’re not a failure if you don’t give up. Time will pass anyway, so don’t just get through the time; get something from the time – as Jim Rohn used to say.
Working together is the best way to overcome adversity. Remember, the brother and sisterhood you joined in the military did not end when you became a civilian. We are all veterans and are here to help one another.