Veterans Transition: Overcoming the pain of impostor syndrome and not belonging

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When you’re in the military, it is its own world. There is nothing on the outside that emulates it. You are completely immersed in a life that is structured for the success of a soldier, and it rewards hard work and discipline.

That doesn’t exist in the real world outside of the military. I know, I was caught off guard by it when I transitioned out of the military.

I didn’t feel like I belonged. When I recently got together to study with a group of other veterans, we all shared our experiences feeling that way.

It was called impostor syndrome. Not trusting in your abilities enough to believe you belong somewhere. If you feel that way, you must understand that you are certainly not alone.

The problem with impostor syndrome is that it is often strong enough to make us withdraw.

Despite my experience in highly public situations, there are still times when I’ll feel this way. I’m not a boardroom, country club, black tie type. Still, there are times when I have to play those “road games”.

Like yourself, I thrive in the environment I grew up in. An environment that is powered by hard work and determination in the more literal sense. In the military, soldiers are trained to bring in new members of their unit. We are a brotherhood and sisterhood that does it instinctively because it’s the right thing to do. Just because that doesn’t exist on the outside, doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re capable of.

Impostor syndrome isn’t confined to veterans either. Everyone feels this way at sometime in their life. It could be the first day at a new job. It could be the first day at college, or in a new organization.

Push past it. Especially, if there was a selection or interview process. You’ve already been accepted. That part of the process has already been won.

Finish the job. You won’t regret it.

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