There was a time when I kept asking myself the one universal question that everyone seems to ask at least once in their life – “Why do I exist?” My personality type led me to numerous adventures and focuses. A leaf in the wind, a vagabond, nomadic – is the life I lived by for a long time. And though I wouldn’t trade all my experiences I have had for anything in the world, there came a time where I still felt insignificant and lost. I had no battlefield to fight on. There wasn’t anything to fight against, nor anything to fight for. My 9 – 5 job was stable and secure, but it did not feed my soul. The internal conflict I had was the feeling of doing something great, but not knowing exactly what that was. Even after what I learned and experienced as a United States Marine, I was confused and frustrated of my current situation. My thought was that Marines shouldn’t have this problem. But it was real and I felt stuck. The beautiful thing though is that this experience is what led me to create Evolving Veteran. My experience led me to my vision. And my vision was created by using what we as Veterans are very familiar with – the infamous FRAG-O (5-paragraph order). This is a type of essay writing format in which military leaders use to present a mission to their units and teams. The acronym “SMEAC” is used to remember the order of information delivered:
The FRAG-O is an abbreviated form of this 5-paragraph order. By using the military FRAG-O, you can find your battlefield.Situation
Your own unique situation is the story that people will connect with you. Everyone loves a good story and the best companies in the world usually have a good story to their origins. Philanthropist Adam Braun was on a volunteer trip in India where he asked a boy what he really wanted in the whole world. The little boy replied, “A pencil.” This little story is what led to Pencils of Promise – an organization that helps bring education to difficult places in the world.
Throughout my years of personal development, I have learned that my biggest mess is my message. The challenges I went through have become my biggest gifts because without them, I never would have a story to tell. My situation is what has given me a purpose in the world. My situation is what connects me to those who can relate. We may not have the exact same stories, yet pain is pain no matter what that is. That pain is the connection to those who I have the ability to serve. That pain gives me the opportunity to serve something bigger than myself.
What’s the most challenging life situation you have faced? And how have you overcome it? Or How will you overcome it?Mission
My biggest life challenge became the source of my mission. It helped create my Why. And my why is to support Veterans transition into the civilian world with higher purpose and fulfillment. After embracing my situation, finding my mission was simple. Yet, conducting the mission is no easy task. That is how I know that the mission I accepted is the mission that I was created for.
What challenges can you help prevent? What challenges can you help solve? And who is it that you serve?Execution
Once my Why was big enough, the strategy of how to execute my mission was unveiled. And it is in constant change. Doors open, and doors close. That’s the nature of committing to your personal mission. If your Why is big enough, you’ll keep moving forward while looking for the open doors. And more doors will open the “louder” you are about your mission. Most people tend to keep their message secret because they fear rejection. They fear that they won’t be heard or that their message is stupid. But if you first give people a reason to reject you, then all that’s left are reasons for people to accept you. There will always be haters. There will always be people who want to bring you down. But your Why is what will keep you on the battlefield fighting.
Constantly create strategies to deliver your message. Use social media. Network with people. Build relationships. Find events to talk about your mission. Be loud about it. If you don’t, then someone will come and do it for you. Except that your personal mission becomes theirs, and your left with nothing but self doubt and regret.
What is the strategy to deliver your message? What are you willing to do to ensure you accomplish your mission? Is your Why big enough to keep you on the battlefield?Choose or choose not. There is no should.
The personal battlefield you choose may be greater than any battle you fought. And this is because the biggest enemy that will challenge you on your personal mission is yourself. Will you let your fear stop you from moving forward? Or will you keep fighting for the people or purpose you believe in? There are many skills and tools we know as Veterans that can support us on our battlefields. Use the FRAG-O to start finding your battlefield. You get to choose what impact you want to create in the world. You don’t HAVE to live a life bigger than yourself. You GET to live a life bigger than yourself.
Originally published at www.evolvingveteran.com