Actionable Hope for Women in the Military and those in Transition
By Pam Nochlin
Mission: Getting To Next (MGTN) is Carole Hyatt’s newest venture and builds on her first leadership workshop, “Getting to Next,” which has helped thousands of professionals across the globe, overcome obstacles and set backs and declare, define, and design their new career goals. This new focus brings together female executives with Sr. ranking female military officers.
Even more than their male counterparts, women leaving the military face unprecedented challenges finding work. While hi-ranking military women bring leadership, discipline, a strong work ethic, planning and strategy skills to the workplace, they often have a difficult time transitioning to civilian work life. They’re not familiar with the customs, culture and nuances of a professional environment. On the other hand, civilian women tend to struggle with confidence and need to demonstrate their leadership capabilities more strategically. The workshop provides an opportunity for military and civilian women to come together to support each other, leverage their experiences and share their expertise.
The Tough Questions
Over the two days, Carole not only asks the tough questions, (the ones that nag at you while in the shower, at the gym or on line at Starbucks), such as: what’s next for me and what passions and plans have gone unrealized, she also helps you find the answers. Participants take the time to reflect on these questions and walk away with a plan to move forward towards reaching their goals.
Carole took the group through a series of personal discovery exercises, gently prodding them to dig deep to uncover not just what they’ve always wanted to do, but to define their core competencies and unique abilities. Then with the support of the group, participants explore and brainstorm ways to combine unforeseen possibilities to create new careers and ventures that align their passions with their strengths. The beauty of the program and what makes the workshop so engaging, is the interaction with the other women and the immediate feedback they receive.
State Your Dream and Plant a Seed
One of the more powerful exercises starts with participants introducing themselves stating their current situation in past tense then stating their dream job/life in current tense. You can see and feel the energy shift in the room as women declare their future as their present life, taking the first step towards realizing a new possibility for their future.
Your Life In Pie
Another exercise was the “Life Pie,” where you divide areas of your life as it is now, (money, career, family, health, etc.), into pie slices. Then you create a second pie, dividing the pie into your life, as you want it to be. Seeing how they differ side by side provides a powerful visual for where you need to focus your time and energy to create a new life-balance.
Lose Your Status, Lose Your Identity
When civilian women lose their job, it’s a devastating blow to their income, status, and identity. They go through shock, shame, anger, depression and blame (interesting but perhaps not surprising to note that women tend to blame themselves, while men tend to blame others). As Carole stated, “losing your career is like a death – it’s a death of ego, money, status, spirit and you need and deserve a mourning period.”
For military women, it’s all that plus they lose their housing, their community and their uniform. For the first time in their careers they have to consider what to wear to work everyday. They have to think about their appearance, create an entirely new image and go shopping for work clothes. As one woman asked, “What the heck does ‘Casual Friday’ mean anyway?”
“Carole’s message that we’re all leaders based on our individual talents and experiences
helped me walk away with an elevated sense of self, and more ready to embody the essence of leadership.”
That’s why there is a module around dressing that’s not just for military women. Civilian women should also think about the impression they want to leave people with. Guest speaker, Tania Sterl of Sterl on Style, Personal Branding Stylist talked about the challenges of dressing for success while maintaining who you are.
A few of Tania’s tips:
Once you leave the house you’re responsible for the perception others have of you
Always be polished, professional and prepared
Add one element that reflects your personality, that people will remember you by
She also quoted Coco Channel who said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress, dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”
Know Your Audience
Another module focused on good communication and featured the entertaining communications expert Sonya Hamlin. Sonya talked about how the world of communication has changed, pointing out how an online conversation or message doesn’t engage all the senses like an in-person conversation does.
Sonya’s tips when presenting to a group:
Know your audience - who’s coming and why?
What’s the problem they are trying to solve?
What’s their level?
What do they already know?
What are they most worried about?
Let them know they’re in the right place and how can you help them
She also noted what people remember when you communicate: body language is a whopping 55%, followed by your tone of voice and how you say something which is 38%, (which means when talking on the phone or on line, a tremendous amount is lost in translation), leaving only 7% to your content.
Another important component to the weekend is that each participant is assigned an accountability buddy and leaves with a personalized action plan for taking the next steps towards a rewarding and fulfilling career.
It’s clear that the MGTN weekend is a transformative experience for both military and civilian women alike, providing a safe space for exploration, offering advice, information, a unique perspective, networking opportunities and most important, actionable hope.
About Carole Hyatt, Founder and CEO Mission: Getting To Next
Carole Hyatt is a bestselling author and international motivational speaker on career development and women’s corporate consulting programs. She founded the workshop “Getting to Next” 25 years ago to help professionals reach their full potential. Her books, The Woman’s Selling Game, Shifting Gears, Lifetime Employability and When Smart People Fail, have impacted people across the globe.