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Leading Your Career Change

As a member of the military you've learned more than a thing or two about leadership. As you transition out of the military and into the private sector, you can start putting those leadership skills to work right away. Rely on them to help you successfully navigate the path from life in uniform to live as a private citizen. Here are some ways your leadership skills will be helpful:

1. Continuously take initiative.

Leaders never stop starting. Chances are your next job isn't going to find you - you are going to find it. Whether it's taking a class or two, joining a professional society or networking with your contacts, you have to make the first move in the job search. In the military, we learned to be proactive in order to influence outcomes. If you approach your job search the same way you'll find your next career much faster and will likely be more satisfied with your choice.

2. Remember you are courageous.

Courage is defined as your ability to face your fears and move ahead in spite of them. Leaving the security of life in the military behind can be fearful time. You likely have bills to pay, you might have a family to support and we all have hopes and dreams for our future. Fight your fears about the transition with action. Each resume you submit or phone call you make inquiring about a position is a step towards defining your future your way. Resist the urge to panic and freeze, or stop and mope. With courage you'll have your new plan together quickly.

3. Accept responsibility, don't waste time placing blame.

Good job markets come and go. Sometimes someone else gets your dream job. Life in the private sector moves quickly. It's easy to blame others or the system when you come up short in your job search. Yet playing the blame game will get you nowhere. Take responsibility for everything you do and everything you fail to do. Accepting responsibility is the first step to solving any problem. You can't change the company or organization that didn't hire you. What you can do is seek to understand why you weren't the first choice for an open position, and then work to improve upon your performance.

4. Stay true to yourself.

Seek the career you want, not the one someone else wants for you. Take time to get to know your preferences. Research any career path that interests you. Talk to others who have the job or lifestyle you want. You'll never meet your goals if you try to be someone you are not. Make a list of what your true priorities are. They may be attending college or saving for a house or providing for your family or traveling the world. Once you have a list of what you really want out of your life you'll be better prepared to recognize the right opportunity.

True leaders take initiative, have courage, accept responsibility and are authentic. Best of luck as you lead your way to your new career!

Lead Star's Founders

Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch are founders of Lead Star, a Fairfax, Virginia based, consulting firm (www.leadingfromthefront.com ) dedicated to the leadership development of women in corporate America, non-profit organizations, colleges and universities. Lead Star has reached thousands of women with a positive, practical message detailing how women can be, and why women need to be, stronger leaders. Lead Star's clients include organizations like; Wal-Mart, Burger King, Anadarko Petroleum, Sabre Holdings and Raytheon.

Angie and Courtney received an outstanding leadership education after being commissioned United States Marine Corps officers. In the Corps, the women learned to lead in a highly competitive environment. The US Marine Corps remains the military branch with the fewest women - out of 180,000 warriors only 1,000 are female officers.

In addition to founding Lead Star, Angie and Courtney Lynch are co-authors of a best selling leadership book for women, Leading from the Front (McGraw-Hill, Feb. 2006.) Their efforts to spark a national dialogue on the topic of women and leadership have been noted in publications ranging from Inc. Magazine to The New York Times and the women have been featured guests on CNBC, FOX News and CNN.

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