After a decade on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, including two combat tours, I transitioned to the Reserve component and began my civilian life. A year later I was given the opportunity to serve as a local networking resource for other transitioning veterans. I found the work to be very rewarding, and when I was asked to remobilize to active duty to do it fulltime, I agreed immediately. During this entire period, I guided and mentored my clients as they pursued their post-military goals of higher education, employment, and entrepreneurship. As my active duty tour came to a close, the Force provided me yet another opportunity - the Marine base a short commute from my home hired me as a civilian instructor for their transition department.
We have possibly as little as five days of classroom time to prepare our Marines for civilian life, and it's a tall order. I freely admit that I rarely use Star Wars knowledge directly on the students, with the exception of wisdom quoted from masters such as Yoda and Qui-Gon Jinn. Their words frequently grace the dry erase board behind my desk. "You must unlearn what you have learned" and "your focus determines your reality" are favorites of mine. If I see a client wearing a Star Wars t-shirt, of course, it’s fair game for conversation!
Most often, I use what I've learned on myself, and allow many of the lessons to guide my own mentoring and teaching style. Jedi, of course, are skilled negotiators and consular. I’m not Force-sensitive, of course, but I can surely emulate the Jedi as best I can. I choose my words carefully. I encourage my clients to share as much information as they like, in order to better understand them before I respond. I understand that the students are beings with freewill - though they've had to suppress some of that during their military service. Therefore, I avoid attachment to what I think may be best, knowing that their choices are their own and they must walk their own paths.
As I go about my day, I ask myself what Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, or Yoda would do. I practice kindness but speak plainly and truthfully. I meditate during my breaks, because I cannot help others if I myself am unbalanced or stressed. Star Wars has helped me realize that mental stillness and quiet reserve can be a powerful part of finding one’s way, and I try to – rather, I *DO* - pass this along to my clients.
**All information shared with permission.