Season 2 Episode 95: Embracing the Transformation in the Transition with James Felts

On this episode of the Lessons Learned for Vets podcast, James Felts shares his struggles and victories finding purpose, meaning and fulfilling work post-military. His career in the US Army encompassed time served as a national guardsman, reservist and active-duty officer. Having gone through 4 transitions, James shares his wisdom and lessons learned through the valleys and peaks of his career path after hanging up the uniform.

James started his career in the US Army as a commissioned officer. Separating after his initial enlistment, he because a state trooper and learned quickly that law enforcement was not a good fit. Working in roles that were far below his capabilities, he rejoined the US Army and served as a national guardsman and reservist. Today, he is a real estate agent and the Co-Founder of JTF – 214, where he co-hosts the Lounge with Legends show on YouTube and helps businesses market themselves through the power of storytelling. 

Transition is going to happen for everyone. James believes it’s the transformation that so many service members find challenging. Just like many of the veterans interviewed on this podcast, James has also come to the realization that transformation is a long journey – one that he is still excited to be on.

James urges everyone to carefully consider their options after the military and to ask yourself the hard questions of what you want to do and who you want to be. Looking back on his transitions, he admits he didn’t always make changes for the right reasons. In some cases, he took the past of least resistance. In other situations, he didn’t come up with a plan until he was already in the moment.

Reading books and learning from other perspectives has helped James along his life journey. In this episode, he mentions several authors, including Ryan Holiday. James has found the words of these influential authors to resonate with him and help him organize his path forward. Today, SkillBridge is an excellent resource for service members to explore new fields and learn new skills. Although some may want to carry their line of work in the military to the civilian sector, others may want a fresh start. James encourages everyone to take advantage of SkillBridge, internships and volunteer work as avenues to new career fields.

Although not every job is going to be a passion project, it should be fulfilling in some way and showcase your skillset. You can always pivot. You can always change course. James has found satisfaction as a co-owner of JTF – 214 with Marty Martinez. Together, they use the Donald Miller concept of the power of storytelling to market businesses and services effectively.

James discusses the similarities of his method of marketing to a jobseeker marketing themselves to an employer. With just 3-4 seconds to make a positive impression, it’s critical to have a clear message. Whether it’s a company using social media to advertise or a transitioning service member using LinkedIn to network, the content must be concise, clear and solution driven. Focus on how you can add value to a company. How can you solve their problem? How can you save them money? How can you make them money? Position yourself as the solution.  

Hope is not a plan. Relying on fate is not a plan. Take the time to ask yourself what you want to do and develop goals that align with your dream. Take action and results will follow. And remember you can always pivot and change.

Head over to the Lessons Learned for Vets YouTube channel at to hear a bonus clip on how James persevered through his struggles to get back on track.

You can connect with James at

Catch the latest Lounge with Legends podcast at

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