Reviewing 2012

drawing strength from others -- 2012 Boston Marathon

drawing strength from others -- 2012 Boston Marathon

Yesterday I re-posted my three words for 2012.  Before I post my three words for 2013, I'll share a bit of reflection on the 2012 words: care, simplify, share.  

One element I described within the "share" theme was to reconnect with my family.  I had some specific ideas in mind, but little did I know that the universe had a different plan in mind.  In February, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.  Her illness and death within four short months provided a focus like no other.  The process led me to reevaluate my relationships and my work.  I've had a wonderful career in the Coast Guard, and this summer I decided it was time to consider how I'll make a difference during the next chapter of my life.  In July, I made the formal request to retire in 2013. 

An approved retirement date also  provided a measure of focus for my actions this year.  During the transition process, I had high hopes of sharing things in this blog that would help others as they make their transition.  But hoping isn't the same as making time. So for now, I'll reduce it to three pieces of advice for military folks:

1. Take a TAP (Transition Assistance Program) class well before you plan to retire.  Many people told me the same thing, and I'm glad I took their advice.  I went through the TAP class in 2008 and again last month.  I found it helpful to let the ideas simmer on the back burner of my mind until making the final decision to retire.

2. Read an article Brian Kelley wrote to share his perspective looking back on his recent transition from military to civilian life.  Many of his thoughts resonated with advice I received from others, but he took the time to boil it down to writing and share it. 

3. Read two books, both recommended to me by really smart folks.  The first, Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes by William Bridges does a great job describing the transition process in three parts, the letting go of one role, the in-between time, and the new beginning.  The second was recommended by a mentor I've known since the summer I joined the Coast Guard.  It is Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment by Tal Ben-Shahar.  It's a great read, whether you're considering a new job or just reframing your view of your current role.  The book motivated me to think clearly and specifically about the answer to three questions: what gives me meaning, what do I enjoy, and what are my strengths.  Identifying the intersection of those answers has been a useful tool to help me focus my future work.

With that intro out of the way, the next post will describe my three words for 2013.