Many of our Vets are struggling -- physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially. Last week, I blogged about my early years as a junior enlisted soldier (make sure click the link and download my free eBook). In light of this, I want to offer these 3 helpful tips.
Tip #1: Recognize Your Greatness
Sure, you've served; now, you're back home. Big Deal, right? Wrong! Yes, you're home...life goes on. yet, please realize that you are not the same - average - civilian that you were prior to enlisting [officer commissioning]. Many of you have performed duty and executed missions under the most adverse of conditions. Adverse weather -- adverse safety -- adverse isolation.
You have discovered that courage is not something that one is born with...it's earned after the fact. You've gone through the fire and come out on the other side. You have been changed -- Changed into Greatness!
Tip #2: Watch Your (Money) Back
Veterans...because of the enormous [well-earned] monetary (money) benefits that you command, you are vulnerable to money-loss pitfalls. Hear this: not all legitimate merchants and financial arrangements are geared to your advantage. Of course, we as Americans believe in capitalism and earning profits. Yet, the scales may be tipped against you. For instance, why should a Veteran pay a 32% interest rate on a signature loan?
Too many times, Vets must wait an extended time period in order to receive their benefit payments (G.I. Bill reimbursements, etc.). During the wait, our Veterans are approached via media advertisement or telephone solicitation to trade-in their deferred VA benefit so that they can receive an instant and immediate [private equity] benefit. In the end, the Veteran gets shortchanged.
Tip #3: Seek Support
No (Wo)Man is an island. There is no 'I' in the word Team. Hey Mister/Miz Vet; you were part of a team while serving on active duty. Now that you have separated and returned to civilian life, you are still a member of a vital team. Your team is the Community of Veterans. The main question here is: Who are the members of this "community"?
Your Vet community, in addition to other Veterans, are Uncle Sam [United States Government], Military Service Organizations (MSO), and State [Government] Veteran service agencies. Uncle Sam offers G.I. Bill benefits, Veterans Administration programs, and small business resources. MSOs [Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), American Legion, etc.] can educate you about program offerings that are not widely promoted or advertised. I strongly recommend joining one of these MSOs. State agencies will round out your mix of support by adding benefit programs that are state-funded.
Veterans: Recognize Your Greatness! This is your most important gift. By recognizing and paying homage to ourselves, we are able to tap into that tremendous inner strength and peace. After all, wasn't it that very same [greatness] energy that carried us through those Warrior challenges that we faced in the military.