18 years into my career, my professional bio reads, “Louise Valentine is an award-winning wellness expert, best-selling author, competitive athlete, and a fierce military spouse.”
But here’s the thing: It took me 17 years of experience, including running a business for pro athletes, earning multiple degrees, publishing research, and earning a national award before I started using the words “wellness expert.”
And what about the use of the word “fierce” before military spouse?
As I speak on podcasts like Holding Down the Fort and have conversations throughout the military network, you better bet others ask, “Why do you describe yourself as a fierce military spouse?” After all, it is a little odd and potentially seen as egotistical.
Here’s my response: I firmly believe that all military spouses are fierce, and part of my mission is to encourage every spouse to recognize and own how incredibly awesome they are.
Maybe fierce isn’t your preferred adjective. Honestly, fierce isn’t my preferred adjective either, but it’s not exactly PC to use the phrase “bada** military spouse” in my professional bio.
But I wholeheartedly believe every military spouse is fierce. There is a simple way every military spouse can start to recognize their own inner greatness.
Our journeys may look different, but the obstacles of our lifestyle are unpredictable and persistent. I know personally I’ve experienced challenges I never saw coming! My story includes having a dream career before becoming a military spouse. The reality of marrying a combat aviator, especially 11 years ago, was that he was deploying every other year. And while I drove 7 hours back and forth between Fort Drum, NY and Cleveland, OH to juggle my business and the military lifestyle for a few years, I eventually moved to be with my service member full-time.
My perfectly imperfect journey includes many obstacles that I had to break through:
- losing friends in combat
- working to reverse health diagnoses and reengineer my career throughout 9 (and counting) moves
- raising a newborn and a 3-year-old AND completing my Masters degree while my husband was away
Being a military spouse has not been easy. The use of the word “fierce” is precious to me, and I own it.
It describes our family’s journey and my relentless pursuit to break through my challenges. I want my gravestone to read, “You can’t say she didn’t try,” because the ebbs and flows of being a military spouse and this lifestyle require a level of fierce-ness and resiliency that is fascinating and truly incredible!
My only regret is that it shouldn’t have taken me 15 years into my husband’s career for me to start referring to myself as a fierce military spouse. And I don’t want any spouse to wait that long to recognize how fierce they are.
In my book, The Art of Breaking Through, I help others save their precious time and energy when facing a challenge or overwhelming personal goal. I specialize in helping others customize a simple way to tap into their inner greatness any time they need it.
Part of that process includes creating an “I Am a Bada** List,” and I think every military spouse needs to make one. Here’s how to do it:
Take a moment to think about the things you have already accomplished and overcome. Write them down in a notebook, or create your list using this free The Art of Breaking Through worksheet.
- How many relocations have you taken on?
- Have you pursued employment, higher education or credentialing?
- Have you had to get relicensed despite being a fully qualified professional?
- Have you held down the fort and raised incredible children, despite a spouse being away?
- Or let’s be real, have you endured times when your spouse was more married to the mission than you?
If you kept a positive attitude and remained by his side, you’re pretty darn amazing! Maybe others told you to give up on a personal goal, but you pursued and accomplished it despite others’ doubt.
All of the challenges you have previously faced are beautiful reminders of moments when you walked through fire and didn’t give in. When we really stop to think about it, we all have many fierce life moments!
With the pressures of our military lifestyle including the fast pace of relocating and high-stress demands on our time, it’s easy to forget all of the amazing things we have broken through. And let’s be honest, we are often separated for holidays and special events so we don’t even celebrate the things we are supposed to, let alone stop to celebrate ourselves.
So while creating an “I Am a Bada** List” is a tool that I use when helping others master The Art of Breaking Through, I want to encourage every military spouse to create one and truly own their fierce-ness.
As a military spouse you are an incredible, fierce bada**. Do me a favor, and don’t wait 15 years into your service member’s career to start recognizing and owning your inner greatness.
Louise Valentine is an award-winning wellness expert, best-selling author, competitive athlete, and fierce Army spouse. She is the founder of TeamValentineProject.com, a zero-fluff wellness website sharing simple and realistic ways to live a vibrant, healthy life.
Louise firmly believes we are all perfectly capable of overcoming any obstacle life brings our way and specializes in coaching others to maximize their time, energy, and confidence when taking on a challenge or personal goal. You can find her living life out loud on Instagram @breakingthroughwellness and at TeamValentineProject.com.