When most people are asked to describe themselves, they typically respond with what they do for a living; where they work or a role that they currently hold. For instance, “I’m the VP of sales at XYZ company; I’m a soldier; I’m a student.”
These are temporary roles that you play throughout your life. They don’t necessarily define the core of who you are as a person. Sure, over time these roles may become part of your identity, but they may not necessarily give you the strength you need to press forward in times of adversity or when you are not sure what to do – especially when situations fall outside of the lines of that role or function.
For example, all military branches have core values. In the Army, they are Duty, Honor, and Country. In the Marine Corps, they are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. We are taught as Marines that whatever situation we find ourselves in, whatever adversity that we are facing, we always default and act with honor, courage, and commitment. In doing so, we can find the strength to persevere, to make better decisions, and to get through the hard times we are currently facing.
On a personal level, my father once told me to always do what is right and do not be lazy. It was very simple advice that ended up having a very profound impact on my life, both in making small and major decisions. I know that whatever dilemma or situation I am faced with, if I try to do what I think is right and if I work hard, then more times than not I will come out ahead.
It is my father’s little piece of advice that has helped give me a core identity from which to live my life every single day and to make better decisions in each role that I hold.
Once you determine this about yourself, situations become a little easier to handle because you are more confident in yourself, in who you are, and your ability to manage through stressful situations.
How do you define yourself?
Join the conversation on the FourBlock Podcast to discuss military transitions and the military-civilian divide: