A few months back we had the pleasure of interviewing Bernard Edwards, USAF Veteran and founder of Unconventional Veteran – a non-profit organization that is putting the power of a successful military to civilian transition back into the hands of the veterans serving our country long before they exit the service.

You may be thinking, “Transitioning out of the military will be easier than what it was joining. I’ll sign my DD-214 and be on my way!”

Not quite, remember the transition into the military? Identities, missions, careers – all reprogrammed from the minute you entered boot camp. It took time and discipline to shape you for the next mission that was either going to be a short-term or long-term career.

In the military, it’s your mission. In the civilian world, it’s your vision. How do you see yourself in the future in every area of your life as a civilian? Write it out, you are the architect of your life moving forward. We are shaped by the world around us, both inside and outside of the military, the only limitations in your life are self-imposed.

There are approximately 200,000 service members coming in and out of the military on a yearly basis. That’s 200,000 veterans transitioning back into the civilian world and on average, it takes 12-14 years to change your course of thinking. The habits, attitudes, behaviors, and expectations are all about to change, your purpose and passions are to be redefined.

“It’s a mindset… it’s not military life and civilian life, it’s just LIFE.” – Bernard Edwards

A tip that Mr. Edwards pushed: While your still active duty and are eligible for tuition assistance, go ahead and pay yourself a little extra with education. Coming from a former service member who obtained multiple college degrees throughout his service, a little goes a long way. If education isn’t where you feel called, now is the time to rebrand yourself.

Begin shifting your expectations, redefine your purpose and passions; What are your strengths? Redirect your self-talk, self-image; You’re designed to succeed!

Your next mission is your vision, formulate thoughts of the future and work towards it.