This month I turned 30. And quite honestly, I'm feeling pretty good about it other than the scary fact that it means more skin care, more exercise, less junk food (because we know the Asian metabolism won't be sticking around for much longer) and adulting 24/7. Yikes. But another side effect that no one seems to publicly talk about is self-reflection.
Looking back I can remember so many days driven by my negative energy because I regretted switching my undergrad major from Arts to International Studies/Political Science to "fit" the mold of an Air Force Officer. Towards the end of my active duty, I had regretted the path I chose. And my sweet Sean, dealt with the wrath of my regretful attitude. Looking back now, I kindly tell myself...Hannah, you're an idiot.
A big chunk of who I am now, everything I do, how I work, me pursuing my passion in photography came from those six-years in the military.
- I learned to push myself into uncomfortable situations. In total, I resided in six different locations around the world with new tasks and new teams at each. I had to prove and reassert myself every time. Eventually, being comfortable with the uncomfortable became a breeze. A trait I've carried over with me into this new industry. HEY, I'm putting myself out there and it's kind of uncomfortable but I'm going to do it anyway.
- I learned to be confident in myself. I still remember the first time i gave my first public brief/presentation at Intelligence School. I briefed with an unintentional vibrato staccato-ey type voice. My palms were sweaty, head heavy. And I swear I blacked out for a few minutes. It was ugly. Fast forward a couple of years, I was briefing top generals and absolutely loved every second of it. A trait that now allows me to represent my work confidently and speak to my clients with intrepidity.
- I learned to be directive and assertive. With every duty station, they throw you into a team of 4-10 subordinates who are typically older and more experienced. Go lead them, they say. And that's exactly what you have to do. A trait that now allows me to direct my clients into creating the art that I envision. It allows me to create order, calm the havoc at weddings, and pose each client with intention.
- I learned to have a healthy work ethic. Everyone knows the military to be regimented, orderly, timely, and controlled. To be honest, this is what I loved most about it. What I loved even more is that they care about the people, family, and personal time. I've carried this mentality over to my new career and I work my ass off from 7:30am to 4pm (Okay, who am I kidding...with a few healthy breaks in between). But on the weekends, I put all my work aside and give my husband my complete attention (unless I have weddings of course). Work is so important to me, but my family will always come first.
Six years of military service contributed to what I am now and how I survive in this new business. I love what it's taught me, and at 30, I'm proud to say that I have absolutely no regrets.