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I have never met an operator who has said that they were successful by themselves.  It is always about the team and being accountable to each other.  As you transition, maintaining that same mindset will help you navigate what seemingly feels like being thrown out to the wolves.  How do you do that?  Develop a support system both inside and outside the wire.

As far as inside the wire, create a Buddy system (just as you did with Selection Process) with operators who are also going through transition and share lessons learned.  You will feel good helping them not make the same mistakes you do while learning to avoid some of the potholes that they experience.  It is mutually beneficial and supportive during this challenging time.  Also, it keeps you engaged with others and limits the isolation.  Let me also caution not to surround yourself with military personnel as that is an easy button and will not help you integrate into your potentially long-term goal of the corporate sector.  Identify 1-2 transitioning military, ideally who you respect, and ask them to be your Buddy.

Simultaneously, you want to think about building a personal board of advisers/directors who you respect and can seek guidance.  They should not contain any active or recently retired military personnel.  Think of them as sounding boards on your transition journey.  Imagine attending a meeting at your church, kid’s game, community engagement, etc. and hearing/meeting this incredibly talented and successful person who inspires you.  Don’t build the board at once but rather in a slow, methodical and incremental process.  If they ask the purpose of serving on your personal board, explain that you found them inspiring and want to seek their counsel to help you with your transition.  It may involve asking them to open doors with their network of civilian contacts but, be clear, you are not asking for a job!  That is not the target.  You are building a base of 5-8 people that you potentially want to engage in the years to come.  Don’t simply pick them just because they are loaded.  If they lack ethics and morals, their friends will too and you don’t want to be associated.  I believe that they need to be very successful in business (as that is a good indicator if you are seeking business advice) but also be somebody who you respect and would like to emulate.

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