Season 3 Episode 108: Finding Your Purpose with Jordana Megonigal

We are excited to introduce Jordana Megonigal on this episode of the Lessons Learned for Vets podcast. Although Jordana is neither a veteran nor a military spouse, she is a military daughter and has centered her life around serving those who have served through her organization, The RECON Network. This organization provides purpose-based career planning and resources for veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses. Today, she is focusing on the HUMAN side of transition.

With a background in media publishing, Jordana ran a business magazine in South Carolina. In 2014, she decided to research how the military drawdown, under President Obama, could potentially impact the workforce in South Carolina. While doing research, her grandfather – an Iwo Jima Marine – began reverting back to Japan in his mind. She started to uncover some of the challenges her grandfather faced while transitioning back to civilian life after his service. It was during this time she decided to host a one-time event connecting South Carolina veterans with local resources. The success of the event verified the need for an organization that focuses on the human side of the transition and puts the individual at the center of it all to help them not just find a J-O-B, but a meaningful and productive life.

We are bombarded with the idea of finding purpose, but there are very few resources that actually help people find that purpose. There are many studies that indicate that people who are living with high degrees of meaning or who are living in their purpose tend to learn faster, retain information longer, experience less cognitive decline and have less anxiety and depression. Jordana believes connecting people with their purpose can reduce the statistics on veteran depression and suicide.

Aaron Hurst says it best in his book, The Purpose Economy, “Purpose is not a destination, it’s about finding direction.” Your purpose is a constant direction - regardless of job, location, family status or your environment. Purpose and meaning come from moving in a chosen direction. Consider that what made you happy and content 10 years ago may not be the same things that make you content and fulfilled today. Many times, being in the military provides a brotherhood or sisterhood that can feel like a purpose. But when the service comes to an end, many feel like they are isolated with no clear focus or direction to pursue. At RECON, the process of finding purpose is individualized. People are  provided tools that will help them continue to figure out their purpose even as their life situation changes.  

The RECON Network hosts an annual conference that focuses on all aspects of the military transition. People learn how to set goals, stay motivated and build a network. In addition, RECON hosts a workshop each quarter that focuses on a certain life skill or soft skill, like time management. Each Monday, RECON releases a new 5-minutes podcast to help listeners shape their week in a positive way. And if you need advice from a neutral perspective, RECON offers free sessions with a Certified Life Purpose coach.

“Failure only holds power over you when it’s accompanied by fear. The FEAR is what will hold you back—not the failure. So don’t give up the failure; use it. Give up the FEAR that it means anything more than a next step toward progress.”

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