Have you ever wondered why there were times in your respected military branches when after you took action on an order or action aligned with the core values of your service branches you felt this overwhelming sense of fulfillment?

Remember these?

Marines: Honor, Courage, Commitment

Navy: Honor, Courage, Commitment

Air Force: Integrity first, Service before self, Excellence in all we do!

Coast Guard: Honor, Respect, Devotion

Army: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor

If you were a Marine like me, you remember doing push-up cadence to HONOR, COURAGE, COMMITMENT until your arms fell off. It was our way of life! Along with this un-defying brotherhood of loyalty to one another that last a lifetime. But at the end of bootcamp we found that with aligning our decisions, actions, & thoughts around these core values we could succeed at becoming Marines.

It’s no different in your life outside of the uniform. As you find yourself months from transitioning out, this should be one key thing you should be looking to uncover to unlock your fullest potential out of the uniform.

Let’s start by shedding some light on what we mean by a value in terms of subjective perspective. According to values researcher Milton Rokeach in his book The Nature of Human Values, he describes them as:

“An enduring belief that a specific way of behaving or a specific life goal is personally or socially preferable to any other. Values have cognitive, affective, and behavioral components. First, a value is a cognitive or perception about what is desirable. To say that you have a value is to say that you perceive a correct way to behave or a life goal to strive for that is correct for you. Second, a value is affective in the sense that you can feel emotional about it, be for or against it, like or dislike it, approve or disapprove of someone who exhibits a particular value or behavior. Finally, a value has a behavioral component in the sense that it leads to action when it is triggered.” 

How to break this down barney style for even a Marine to understand: 

Our unique value systems make up our daily decisions, beliefs, & they drive our behavior. Getting aligned with your value system means that you’re getting clear on your top life priorities & your preferred life goals.

Biggest thing that drives me crazy is seeing close friends of mine getting out and moving  back home, later to see them stagnate and trying to figure things out. Its clear that you can be offered any resource or strategy available BUT if your not clear on what matters to you on a daily operational level, your not going to know how to best utilize those “Transition Tactics” as my good friend Travis Collier author of the book Command Your Transition” would say.

How do we discover our values? 

I work closely with Dr. Golden, Founder of Golden LLC, where they seek to create breakthroughs in human self awareness around Value & Personality Assessments. In my 12 week intensive one-on-one program, I dig into the trenches with veterans around this assessment and by the end of it, they are clear what their core values are, how they both honor and dishonor them in conflict and decision making, lastly, we have them create rituals, routines, & habits around them so they can begin creating that passion driven life every veteran is looking for out of the uniform. One of meaning, one of importance, & one of clear purpose.

List of Life Values:

Achievement, Adventure, Aesthetics, Community, Equality, Fame, Family, Freedom, Fellowship, Happiness, Health, Love, Nature, Peace, Pleasure, Power, Self-Worth, Social Service, Spirituality, Wealth, Wisdom.

List of Operational Values:

Accountability, Affection, Autonomy, Competency, Courage, Courtesy, Creativity, Discipline, Drive, Fairness, Flexibility, Forgiveness, Honesty, Humor, Knowledge, Loyalty, Obedience, Order, Reason, Service, Tolerance.

Above is the full list of values that we work with out of Dr. Golden’s VAL Assessment which gives you a fundamental understanding of what makes you tick as an individual, not just a unit as you were trained to be while serving. So ask yourself.. What is my overall end goal values? Maybe, Achievement or Power? Then ask yourself which day to day OR operational values would lead up to you realizing those life values? Maybe.. Discipline? OR Knowledge? Keep in mind that these values can be situational, less preferred, and you also have your CORE VALUES, kinda like your TOP 3.

My Example: 

So, my core operational values are HONESTY, COMPETENCY, AUTONOMY

My core life values are FREEDOM, SPIRITUALITY, & SELF-WORTH.

To gain freedom, a good spiritual life, & self-worth, I must make daily decisions around honesty, competency, & autonomy to feel that sense of fulfillment. So how I created rituals, routines, and habits around these in my life is:

I live by my word everyday to myself and to others, I do what I said I would do, when I said I would do it, if I can’t be my word, I honor my word by communicating ahead of time and recommitting with the project or persons involved. I put myself in situations that I am competent in, that are aligned with my natural skill sets & talents. Now, of course there is always times where that isn’t possible, but even in those moments of incompetence, I ask myself if its worth learning to gain competence around, if its not aligned to what my end goal is, I may just pass and make sure I don’t put myself in that situation again. I meditate daily and take weekly hikes where I loose phone service so I can connect with nature and really get down to the simplicity of life to fulfill on my spiritual aspect.

I could go on and on what I do on a daily and weekly basis to fulfill on my values, but the biggest take away is to achieve Maslow’s “self actualization” level on his hierarchy of needs theory, you must master your unique defined values.

I call this living a PASSION DRIVEN LIFE.


By: Chris Hoffmann, Founder of the Ambitious VET Network

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