As you consider how you'll position yourself and promote your personal brand after leaving the military, it's helpful to spend time uncovering, discovering and assessing your values, beliefs, skills, goals and feelings. While this might feel unnecessary -- after all, you're working on your resume, skills and qualifications -- doing this thinking ensures you will build and promote an authentic, sustainable reputation and drive success in your career and life.
Today, take some time and answer these questions for yourself. You might be surprised with what you see. For each of these first two questions, consider your answers in five areas of your life -- emotional, financial, professional, physical and spiritual:
What Do I Need?
Emotional: Do you need validation, affirmation and praise to be emotionally whole?
Financial: How much money do you need to feel safe and be authentic in your choices?
Professional: What do you need to achieve or accomplish to feel professional or professionally solid?
Physical: How much activity or exercise do you need to feel fit?
Spiritual: What do you need to feel grounded?
What Do I Want?
Emotional: What do you want to feel complete in your emotional state? Do you want a mate or partner?
Financial: What would you love to see in your financial picture? How do you define financial happiness?
Professional: What would you do for a living if money were no object?
Physical: How would you like to feel in your body? Do you wish you had more energy?
Spiritual: How would you like your spiritual life to look? What could feed your soul if you didn't put any restrictions on your passion?
What Do I Value?
Emotional: What is at the core of your moral compass? How do you decide "right" from "wrong"?
Financial: Is financial success playing a disproportionately important role in your life? Do you feel you have a healthy relationship with money?
Professional: How far would you go to achieve professional success? What choices have you made that impact your professional values?
Physical: Are you willing to work hard to achieve the physical feelings you desire?
Spiritual: How do you live your truest life? When you know you are being authentic to yourself, what choices do you make?
These are, no doubt, very tough questions to answer with a professional coach or mentor, let alone by yourself. While you might not get through all the questions in one sitting, I encourage you to keep at it. Once you have your answers written down, step back from your lists. Ask yourself:
- What patterns emerge?
- Is there a consistency of words, phrases or examples?
- Does anything on the lists seem out of character or inconsistent?
- Do the lists reveal new opportunities?
Then, maybe discuss your lists with someone close to you -- a spouse or confidante. Do they see anything you might have missed?
As you build your personal brand, these lists can remind you what you need, want and value to be sure your reputation becomes consistent and integrated. Personal branding is about creating a sustainable, and authentic reputation that delivers opportunities, clarity and results. Employers seek candidates who have clarity of who they are and what they stand for.
A regular contributor to Military.com, Lida Citroën is an international reputation management and branding specialist and CEO of LIDA360. She is passionate about helping our nation's veterans navigate the military-to-civilian career transition and is a popular speaker at military installations and events on veteran hiring. She is the author of "Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition" and "Engaging with Veteran Talent: A quick and practical guide to sourcing, hiring, onboarding and developing Veteran employees."
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