Episode 302 Jenna Carlton The Veteran Workbook Transcript

This transcript is from episode 302 with guest Jenna Carlton.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast, where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio, and today my guest is Jenna Carlton. Uh, you might recognize Jenna. She was a guest on the show last year, uh, around this time. Uh, we were just talking before we started recording. We forget exactly when it was, but it was around this time, uh, last year.

She runs the millennial veterans Facebook group and she’s the host of Vet Chats on Instagram, and today she’s here to talk about her new book called The Veteran Workbook and how it can help other Veterans. So welcome back to the show, Jenna. I’m glad to have you.

Jenna Carlton: Thank you, sky. It’s a pleasure for being back on.[00:01:00]

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. Um, last time you were on, I, I really enjoyed our conversation. We’ve, we’ve chatted, uh, you know, other times we’re in a, uh, uh, group on Instagram of other fellow, uh, veteran podcasters and content creators. And, uh, so, so we’ve gotten to know a little bit about what each other does and everything.

But for the listeners who maybe didn’t catch the episode last year, uh, we have. We have a bunch of new listeners, uh, through the television, uh, station, the WTS that, uh, we’re on now. Um, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Jenna Carlton: Yes, absolutely. And congrats on being on tv. I think that’s so awesome.

Um, thank you. So, a little, a little background on me. So I was in the Navy from 2013 to 2017 and I did weather, which is pretty rare in the Navy and that allowed me to go on a few different ships. But I ended up deploying on an aircraft carrier. And then I got out. Um, I wanted to go to school and when I got out, it was a [00:02:00] really isolating time for me, a really hard time.

Um, as most people when they get out, it’s a transition. It is rough. So I ended up going to school and then, um, that’s when I got into kind of like the politics of veterans and I did an internship at the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. And that’s where I realized like the political side, like policy is so important for veterans, but it’s just not my.

Avenue. Um, so I, I started searching for a different way that I could be helpful to the community, and that was through online spaces. So I created a group for younger veterans and then I started just having daily conversations with them and then doing, um, my live chats on Instagram and really getting to understand and know the community.

And that’s still what I’m up to now. Um, yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: And I, your. Your book that you, you came out with in a minute here, but I think the work that you’ve done since getting out of the Navy, um, [00:03:00] going into, uh, kind of dipping your toe in the, the political waters and kind of seeing what goes on there, but also through all the conversations that you’ve had with other veterans through your show and, and everything that you do, uh, had to have opened your eyes a bit to some of the issues that are, or maybe recurring themes that you might have found with.

Other veterans, right?

Jenna Carlton: Yeah. Yeah. And it really made me realize, and I think a lot of veterans may feel like this, but that, that stage when you get out, you kind of think it’s a you thing. I thought it was a me thing, like there’s something wrong with me, but why aren’t I adjusting? And that was the biggest revelation to me right away was just, okay, this is a universal experience.

A lot of, a lot of people who get out of the military, there’s like, A few different things that they all experience. And so that was really helpful. And then, um, while I was working in Congress, that opened my eyes to just the broad [00:04:00] challenges of veterans of all eras and how, um, how, how it’s like, you know, something that we can try to fix through policy, but it doesn’t always work like that.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and sometimes we kinda have to lean on each other and we know each other the best, more, more so than any politician, you know, unless obviously they, they’ve served as well. But, you know, a lot of times these politicians, they haven’t served and not knocking them or anything like that. Not trying to bash, you know, Politicians, um, you know, whatever they’re doing, they’re, they’re trying to do the right things, but they may just not know what the actual issues are that are affecting veterans.

Uh, all that well don’t have firsthand experience. Not saying that they can’t learn, but sometimes, uh, yeah. Having that support right then and there, uh, kinda like the stuff that you’re doing is, is so much better.

So, uh, Jenna, I wanna, uh, Talk, [00:05:00] talk to you a little bit and ask about your experiences as a veteran and the things that you’ve gone through and how that influenced your development of this workbook through like the different themes and the prompts that, that you have, uh, throughout the workbook. So that’s

Jenna Carlton: kind of exactly how I started writing it.

You know, it, it took a few years to really process what you went through. And then my husband got out of the military about two years after me. So seeing him get out and see those have those same issues. Uh, so I just started there with, um, what areas could I have really looked at. What could I have really focused on a little more that would’ve set me up for success?

And kind of things that I’ve learned from conversations I’ve had with other veterans or just just listening to other people and what really helps set them up for success and, or really just kind of helping them, um, not close the chapter on their service, but reflecting on it and [00:06:00] recognizing how that made them who they are today.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. I think that’s, that’s important that that reflection, kind of taking a look at all the stuff that you did while you were in the military. It doesn’t matter if you’re in for four years or 10 years, 20 years or however much time you were in, um, you’re, you’re, a lot of times you’re a different person getting out than you were.

Getting in. Um, you know, it’s not good, bad or anything like that. It’s, it’s just, you’re, you, you’ve, you’ve changed. Mm-hmm. And everybody grows during that time period in their life. They, they change things, things change in their lives. A lot of times they, they get married, they have kids, all that kind of stuff.

Things change. Right. Like, you know, so it’s not necessarily change for the worst, it’s just a change. Um, but then reflecting back on that and seeing, okay. Who, who am I? Who is this person now who doesn’t have a uniform to hide behind? Uh, you know, like we’re not, we’re not, the uniform doesn’t define us, I should say.

Um, and who have we [00:07:00] become and how can we use that to our advantage? Right? That, that’s kind of the, the idea, right?

Jenna Carlton: Yes, exactly that. Cuz like you mentioned, so much of our identity was tied to the uniform. It determined, you know, what we wore every day, where we were stationed, what our days look like in and out.

And so, and that’s one of the biggest issues that veterans have is kind of redefining who they are.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Yeah. Now this workbook that you’ve put together, uh, we talked a little bit about it before we started recording. Um, what inspired you to create this workbook? I mean, I know we, we talked a little bit about, you know, you had had your own, uh, you know, struggles getting out of the military, your husband as well.

Um, was it just realizing that there was a need out there? What, what kind of prompted you to create this workbook?

Jenna Carlton: So I’ve always been big into journaling and you know, just having [00:08:00] a time of day where I can really sit with my thoughts and. You know, beep, just brutally honest with myself and we lie to ourselves even in our heads, but I’ve always made it a point to be honest with myself on paper.

And I think that’s really important to do through this workbook too. Uh, and so I was just, you know, making a lot of content for Instagram and Facebook and I was, I. Like, how could I put all this together and help others just really thi think about things and be honest with themselves and what they value and what they want, um, in the next chapter of life.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I found through my own experiences, when I write down my thoughts as opposed to just thinking thoughts, you know, I, I could think about things way faster than I could write them. Mm-hmm. So it sort of forces me to slow down and. It allows me to process some of those thoughts a little bit better than if I was to just think them or even say them.

Like if, [00:09:00] if I was describing something to you right now, I could do that a heck of a lot faster than I could if I was writing it down on a piece of paper. Um, and so, For me, when, when I wrote things down it, it just kind of slowed things down for me and allowed me to kind of process what was going on and gave me just a little bit more time to think about things and actually triggered some, um, now I don’t mean trigger in like a, in a negative way, but it just brought back some, some memories that I had completely forgotten about just because I had a chance slow down and, and process things a little bit differently.

That, that’s kind of the goal of, of journaling and writing things down, is just to kinda slow things down, right?

Jenna Carlton: Yes, yes. That’s such a great point, because you can be more conscious and you can really address maybe those thoughts and be like, okay, so I’m having this thought, but what’s behind that? What would I actually say?

Or what does this mean in my life?

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and, and you hit on something earlier too, [00:10:00] that, you know, we oftentimes will lie to ourselves, even in our own heads, like. Nobody else is listening. There’s really no reason to be lying to ourselves. You know, like there’s, I don’t understand why we do it, but I, I know as soon as you said that, I was like, yeah, guilty.

Like, I, I know exactly what you’re talking about there, but we do, we, we lie to ourselves. And, and so it is important to be honest, while we’re, we’re writing these things, um, and you know, it’s one of those things you’re. Putting it up on a billboard that everybody’s gonna see it as they’re driving to work.

You know, you’re, you’re writing it in a notebook or a journal or, or the, in this case, this, this workbook, um, that’s relatively private, like nobody’s gonna see it. So there’s really no reason to be lying to yourself as you’re, you’re writing these things down, right?

Jenna Carlton: Yes, exactly. And honestly, you have to be the most authentic.

And yourself. And that’s what a lot of these, um, a lot of these themes address because [00:11:00] we don’t realize that we lie to ourself for protection. And we have so many unconscious protections, especially after getting out the military. We’re often even numb to certain things. And that’s, that was my goal, to really help people look at those areas that they may have not even realized that they are protecting themselves.

And we can take that armor off now.

Scott DeLuzio: So I wanna talk about some of the, the challenges that veterans face, uh, you know, when, when transitioning out of the military to civilian life. I know you went through it, obviously, uh, you know, I went through it. Your husband, you said you watched him going through it and, uh, and talking to countless other veterans.

Um, you and I both have, have seen the, some of the issues that, that people have had. Um, So how does your, your workbook, uh, work to address those challenges that, that people are having?

Jenna Carlton: Yeah, so like I [00:12:00] mentioned earlier about identity or sense of purpose, I hear a lot of veterans say that they’re looking for that sense of purpose, but you can’t really just go out and find it.

It comes from within and it’s really kind of how you view the life you already have and. How you can implement what you’re doing now into your values. So that’s, that’s what you’ll be doing in the workbook, is really finding out what you value, what you want outta life, how to honor yourself and what you’ve been through.

Um, another big issue that veterans have is just kind of realizing that they’re in control of their future now. Like it’s, it’s in your hands, and that’s very intimidating because there’s. So many options and until you narrow down what you really want in life, it’s gonna be hard to plan. So it’s kind of, the workbook kind of starts off narrowing down your goals and then helping you.

Direct them towards where you wanna be. [00:13:00]

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. And that can be you. You said that realizing that you’re in control of your future, that can be really scary, especially when you came from an environment where you were told what to do, where to be, what to be wearing, uh, you know, how, how to wear your hair, how to, you know.

For guys, for shaving and you, you told basically everything about your life, um mm-hmm. For however long you’re in the military, um, and you get out, you’re on your own. You make all of these decisions on your own. What are you gonna, what time are you gonna wake up in the morning? Mm-hmm. Are you actually, are you gonna take care of your yourself?

Are you gonna eat right? Are you gonna exercise? Are you gonna, um, you know, Are you gonna dress and, and make your appearance look presentable? Are you gonna look like a slop? You know what? All of those dec decisions are completely up to you. Um, once when you get out, no one’s going to, you know, hammer down on you and be like, [00:14:00] no, go do something different.

No one, no one cares. I, I don’t wanna say no one cares, but, um, you’re the one ultimately where that decision has to be made. And so that is a scary thing. And then, um, you know, coming up with that. Identity that, you know, who, who am I? What type of person am I? Am I I the type of person who takes care of myself?

Mm-hmm. Am I the type of person who, you know, gets up early, goes to the gym, or, uh, you know, uh, works hard at work and all these kind of things. That’s all part of this identity that was basically given to us while we were in the military. Um, But it’s up to us to continue to carry that forward, right?

Jenna Carlton: Yes, E, exactly.

And even stuff as simple as going to dental or healthcare, you know, cuz you’re not gonna have those reminder, oh, you need to go to dental, it’s your time of year. You know it. That’s up to you now too. So I even have a few themes just revolving around that just. Just like reminders, like, this is in your hands [00:15:00] now.

What’s your game plan?

Scott DeLuzio: You know? And that’s, that’s a, um, that’s a really good point because it didn’t even occur to me that that’s, that’s something now that you gotta figure that stuff on your own. Nobody’s gonna say, Hey, you need to go get your teeth checked. You need to go, you know, get a, a routine checkup at a, at a doctor to make sure you know there’s no issues.

Um, Yeah, that’s on you. You gotta go do that. Um, and I. Myself, I know a lot of other guys that I’ve, I’ve talked to were notoriously terrible at that type of stuff. Like we, we just, I’m, I’m fine. I, I don’t, I don’t need to go see a doctor. The doctor tell me that I don’t already know. Like, yes, my back hurts.

Like of course my back hurts. I was an infantryman for many years and I carried around heavy stuff. Yeah. My back’s gonna hurt. Um, you know, stuff like that. So it’s like, why am I even gonna bother? Mm-hmm. You gotta go and you, you have to keep up with that stuff because otherwise, um, you know, things that might seem like a minor issue now, [00:16:00] uh, become bigger issues down the line.

So, um, so these things are, are important and, and so having the structure in the, in a workbook like this, um, will, will help guide you along, uh, the, the, the journey that we’re, we’re getting into.

So Jenna, uh, earlier we were, uh, talking about some of the, the common issues you were talking about. Uh, finding a sense of purpose, identity, um, coming to the realization that you’re now in control of your life and your future and all these decisions that you have to make, whether it’s as simple as a dentist appointment or, um, you know, what?

What to, uh, what to wear, you know, what, what time you’re gonna wake up in the morning. All these things are, are now up to you. Um, and I wanna talk about how does this, this workbook that you created, the veteran workbook, how does it help veterans build the structure and find a sense of [00:17:00] purpose or a direction for their lives?

Uh, now that they’re civilians that they don’t have, uh, You know, big Army or Navy daddy watching over them, you know, like, yeah. How, how do they, how do they, uh, build this structure using the, the workbook, uh, that you created? Right,

Jenna Carlton: right. And it’s gonna be different for everyone because everyone wants, everyone needs a different routine because they value something different.

They have different lifestyles, they have family stuff going on. So I really, I had to write it in a way that, you know, every, it was, it’s kind of generalized so everyone can. Fill in what they need. So really, through these questions, it’s going to really help you look within and find out what, what in your life is important to you?

What do you need? What do you need to get rid of? Because everything’s either helping you with your goal or it’s. Not helping you with your goal. So really [00:18:00] just assess and realize that you don’t need that stuff around you. Um, if it’s not helping you,

Scott DeLuzio: right? And when you have, I like how you put that. Things are either gonna help you get towards that goal or they’re, they’re not.

Um, it could be something as simple as, Physical fitness, uh, you know, you wanna lose a little bit of weight, uh, that cookie is not gonna help you towards that goal. Yeah, it may taste great, you may want it, um, but it’s not gonna help you get towards that goal. It’s nothing. Mm-hmm. Nothing wrong with having certain things like that every once in a while.

Um, but you just also have to understand that it’s gonna take you a little bit further away from the, the finish line, uh, what, whatever that looks like in whatever situation you’re in. Right. So, um, when, when you have, um, Career goals, or you have, um, you know, education goals. Sometimes people have getting outta the military.

They’re, they’re going back to school to continue their education, to, to become employable in a different field that they maybe don’t have, [00:19:00] uh, background or training in. Um, you know, all, all this type of stuff. If you’re, if you’re doing the things that are not helping you advance towards that goal. Then it’s actively taking you away from that goal, right?

Jenna Carlton: Yes. Yeah, exactly. And, and just taking a look around what is going to. What’s going to bring you happiness? And I even have a whole theme on this because happiness isn’t temporary, it’s something long lasting. So we’re gonna look at things that are going to be sustainable, like sustainable habits, not something that’s going to bring you joy now, but not truly in the end.

Scott DeLuzio: Okay. Uh, that, that makes sense. When, when you first said that, I wasn’t quite following what, where you were going with like, happiness. Cause I, you know, everyone has, you know, good days, they have bad days. Like happiness could be Yeah. Um, you know, temporary. But I like what you’re saying there where, where you finding something that will sustain that happiness.

So it, it’s not, you know, If you’re [00:20:00] a baseball fan, it’s not going to a baseball game and enjoying that game that one afternoon and that’s it. And then, then the crash afterwards. It’s, it’s finding something sustainable that you can do day after day that will bring you happiness and um, will, will keep that going as opposed to having the, the spikes and the crashes and spikes and crashes going all over the place.

Like, um, yes, like that, that isn’t the best way to do it. So, um, so yeah, identifying some of those, those. Things that will make you happy, uh, in a sustainable way, I think is, uh, is the point, right? That, that you’re trying to make

Jenna Carlton: mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Not confusing happiness with pleasure because, you know, pleasure is temporary.

It’s, it’s great to have, but when you are setting your compass happiness, I mean, you’re right, you’re still gonna have good days and bad days, but the good, the bad days won’t be as bad because you know that you’re working towards. Something better. [00:21:00]

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Uh, and usually that’s something better is one of those things that you’d probably identify as your, your sense of purpose.

That, that thing that’s bigger than you. Um, whether it be family or you know, some community, uh, outreach, some community organization that you’re involved in, something that isn’t just. You focused. It’s not, yeah. Not just a hundred percent. What do I want to do kinda thing. It’s how do I help these other people?

That tends to be the thing that I found, uh, through conversations with, with other people, uh, that yeah, hides the most fulfillment, right?

Jenna Carlton: Mm-hmm. Yeah. I have a whole theme on it’s about continuing to serve and really looking at your life as, I mean, No matter what you’re doing, doing, you are serving others by being a parent.

Even at your job, you are serving others. But really just focusing on those things as service and, and reminding yourself that it’s true joy to serve others. It [00:22:00] it gives you purpose looking at it through that lens.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And it, and it’s interesting because we. All served, anyone who’s ever put the uniform on.

We have all served something bigger than ourselves. We served our country, we served our, our, our units, whatever, wherever we served in. If you’re Navy, you served on a, maybe served on our, uh, ship somewhere and like you served something bigger than yourself at one point or another. Um, so I think we all can kind of understand that concept, um, and how it.

We can see how we fit into that big picture. Um, we may be a small fish in a big ocean. You know, you’re talking about one individual throughout the entire military. Like, what, what difference is that one person gonna make? But collectively, as, as a whole, we all, uh, work together as, as a team, even throughout the different branches.

Um, and we worked together to accomplish our [00:23:00] missions. Um, and that. You can see on a, on a bigger scale, how, how that con that individual contribution helps work towards that bigger effort. Right. And I, I think that’s a, a good thing to keep in mind when you’re getting out and you’re trying to figure out, okay, what’s that next thing?

Mm-hmm. How do I, how do I find that way to continue to serve, um, you know, And that’s kinda a, I think, a good way to think about it,

Jenna Carlton: right? Mm-hmm. Yes. And that, that kind of brings me to another theme, which is community and just, you know, kind of identifying what communities are you already a part of, maybe with your church, maybe with your neighborhood.

Um, and, and then just, just seeing like, what, what could I do? Maybe I could step up a little more. Um, or maybe I could find a community that really aligns more with my values. I mean, we have. Millions of communities at our fingertips now, um, online. So why not, um, you know, bring your service

Scott DeLuzio: there. [00:24:00] And, and speaking of that, we, we mentioned in the introduction that you have, uh, the Facebook group, uh, the millennial, uh, veterans, and, uh, you know, that’s, uh, that’s a subset community of the, the bigger veteran population, right?

It’s, it’s talking about the kinda the younger generation of veterans, um, and. I found through talking to some other, you know, post nine 11 veterans, um, a lot of which fall into that millennial category. Um, they look at organizations like the VFW or the American Legion and some of these things as almost like, like, Outdated.

Like that’s, yeah, that’s where grandpa went to go, you know, drink with his buddies, his war buddies or whatever, you know, like, yeah. That, that’s almost the, the mindset. And I, I’m not saying that that’s reality, uh, because it, it definitely has, uh, a room for, for the younger veterans, but a lot of times, uh, they just don’t feel at home there.

[00:25:00] And so having, like you were just mentioning, having a community like this one will. Enable the younger veterans to come together and talk with each other. You know, we, they are much more comfortable with things online than, than some of the older veterans might be. So, um, you know, it just makes sense having a, a space like this, uh, to get together and, and chat about, um, whatever issues that they’re going through, right?


Jenna Carlton: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And that, that’s what I’m really focusing on getting a temperature read. From the Millennial Veterans Zone, what do we want? Um, it feels like there’s not as much value in having a a, a bar. Um, you know, that’s what a lot of the legions and VFWs are centered around, but what, what could replace that?

Or what does the future of these places look like? That’s what I’m really interested in.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that is, that is interesting because the. Handful of, uh, either VFW or American Legion Halls that, that I’ve gone [00:26:00] to. Uh, that is the, the one like central theme. They all have a bar. Yeah. Everyone that I’ve been to anyways.

This may not be representative cause single obviously, but going into there it’s like, yeah, there’s a bar. Usually a television with probably some sports on or some other thing going on, whatever’s going on in the, the news or whatever. And I mean, that is a way to get together and, um, you know, maybe, maybe somebody wants to have a drink and, uh, you know, watch, watch a game and that, that’s fine.

There’s not, I don’t think anything wrong with that. It’s assuming that they’re not, you know, doing anything in excess. Right. But, um, mm-hmm. But other people maybe don’t want that. Some people don’t wanna be hanging out around a bar and, uh, you know, yeah. Drinking all the time. That that may not be for them.

So, um, and I think that part of my, my point here with bringing up your group is that if that group doesn’t exist or that that organization doesn’t exist for whatever it is, that for the [00:27:00] listeners, whatever it is that you’re interested in, Create it. I mean, you did so like mm-hmm. And like anyone can create a Facebook group.

Um, but yeah, it, it does take work to get the message out there and, and let people know, Hey, this is a place you can come and talk about X, Y, Z, whatever the issues are that, uh, that it is that your group is going to focus on. But, um, you know, why not create it yourself? And then now, now you’re, your purpose is running this group and, and being there for the people who are involved in this.


Jenna Carlton: Yes, absolutely.

Scott DeLuzio: Jenna, uh, earlier in the episode we were talking about some of the, the categories or the themes that this, uh, workbook that you created, uh, covers. Um, and the, the four categories, uh, from the workbook, uh, the veteran workbook is, Uh, are, uh, reflection, future planning, building structure, and redefining yourself.

And I’d like to talk about how each [00:28:00] of those categories, uh, helps veterans out in their journey, uh, transitioning from military to civilian. Um, so. The reflection piece. You briefly mentioned this earlier. Uh, I think, um, how, what’s the, the main takeaway with that? What, what is, uh, what is the purpose of the, the reflection piece and how does that help out in the overall picture?

Jenna Carlton: So when we’re in that day in, day out of the military, it’s so hard to kind of gauge where you’re at. Um, especially when you joined. Most of us joined at such an early age and just all the changes we went through. I mean, that’s, I mean, especially if you did. You ended up retiring. I mean, that’s a good chunk of your life and a lot of change happened.

And you know, the military is not, it’s not a normal job. I mean, you’re usually doing more extreme things, [00:29:00] so, but that’s your normal while you’re in. And so when you ha when you get out and you take a step away from that, It’s really important to reflect on what all of that meant to you and what that means to you now, um, especially as veterans, you know, we are almost representations of the government and, you know, how do we feel about that?

How do we feel about, um, our service and especially when things come up in politics and we’re asked. Okay. How do you feel about this war ending? How do you feel about us going into here? Should we go here? And, and that can bring up a lot of mixed feelings. So it’s really important for us to address them within ourselves.

So then, you know, when you are asked this or you see something, you, you are, know how you feel about it and you can, you know, continue on.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, I think that’s especially a big thing, especially, you know, the last couple years with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and everything like that. Just reflecting on.[00:30:00]

You know, what, what did that service actually mean? You know, was was it something that was purposeful or meaningful to you? And, you know, how does that, um, you know, translate to now what, what you’re doing going forward? Um, and speaking of going forward, so the next category, um, that we’re talking about, the, the future planning, um, which I, I think is, is pretty important.

Uh, I wanna hear your thoughts on this, but, um, Setting goals for yourself and knowing like, what’s that next step for me? Uh, I think is a pretty important aspect of it. So, um, what are your thoughts on future planning and.

Jenna Carlton: Yeah, so when I was in, um, I, I put off a lot of decisions like going to school because, you know, I could get deployed at any moment. And I think a lot of us get out of the military and still feel like we’re in that mindset where we can’t put roots down. We can’t plan anything because we could get called back to duty any second.

But now that we’re not, We’re not in the military anymore, we [00:31:00] have the opportunity to make those plans and really set ourselves up for that. So a lot of the future planning is just deciding what you wanna do, what steps you need to take to get there, and, and how to set it up. And, you know, sometimes you just, you just gotta go for it because time is going to pass regardless.

Scott DeLuzio: It will, and. Yeah, looking back, uh, you know, if you’ve been out for 10, 20, 30 years, however much time has gone by, if you look back and it’s like, oh my God, I just wasted all this time not accomplishing anything significant, um, well likely you could probably also look back and say, well, I didn’t really have any plan.

I didn’t have any goals or aspirations or, or anything to work towards. I was just sort of floating through life. Here I am now. Right. And that’s, that’s not the best place to be when you get to that, that point in life where you look back, it’s like, what did I do with all that time? You know? I just kinda wasted it.

Right? Mm-hmm. Yeah. And I think exactly, [00:32:00] I think this kinda gets into that next, uh, category building structure. Um, we talked a little bit about this earlier, where, where the military gives you the structure. It’s basically set up there, but it, it’s almost like a muscle. And if you don’t exercise that muscle, You start to lose it, and so you kind of have to build that structure.

So how does your workbook help out with, with building the structure?

Jenna Carlton: Yeah, so I, it kind of, you know, you, you kind of have to look at yourself like, did I make my bed every morning because I wanted to, or because the military wanted me to. And then, you know, a lot of us, we get out and we just. You know, do a 180.

I even, I dyed my hair blue. I just, I got rid of all structure. I was done with it all. But now I wake up, I make my bed every morning because I want to. So it, it’s kind of looking at the structure that the military had and you know, looking at the benefits of it and how you can implement it [00:33:00] in your own way.

To set yourself up because you have to have structure, you have to have some sort of scaffolding that you can lean on and, and set those boundaries for yourself on just to, you know, get to the next place and, you know, keep that sustainably.

Scott DeLuzio: And I think part of the reason why the military. Is as successful as it is in accomplishing its missions and, and doing whatever it is that, that it needs to do, is because there is some sort of structure in place and it, it’s such an important thing within our lives to have that structure.

You know, have a, a morning routine. Having, having a maybe a nighttime, like right before bed kind, routine, uh, to kinda start your day off, right, get your day going, and then, you know, kinda unwind at night. Um, And, and even just your, your day-to-day activities, having that, that structure, making your bed, something as simple as that.

Making your bed or, um, you know, [00:34:00] waking up at a certain time, exercising at, at certain times. Um, you know, having that structure in place, uh, just makes life easier. I, I found in my own life, um, because you don’t have to think about when am I gonna fit time in for. Or, or whatever. Um, it’s like, well, I’m gonna do it at the same time.

I do it every day. Cause that’s just how my day is set up. And I, I find like, it, it kind of mirrors the way we did things in the military. It’s like, okay, well you wake up at this time and this is, this is when you do pt, this is when you eat breakfast, this is when you, you know, do whatever it is. Mm-hmm.

You have that structure already set up. Um, you’re not gonna end up missing things because you just follow the schedule. Right.

Jenna Carlton: Yes, exactly. And when you already have that all in place, you’re not going to veer off from that easily because it’s already set up for you.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, exactly. And, and, and when, when you create habits of doing things a certain way, [00:35:00] uh, it’ll actually start to feel.

A little weird if you don’t do it that way. And yes, it’s like, I didn’t make my bed today, like just got this nagging feeling. I gotta go back and do it. You know, that type of thing. Like, uh, you, you create that structure and those habits and, and, uh, you know, so long as they’re good habits, um, it’s gonna help you move towards whatever the goals are that you have, right.

Jenna Carlton: And, and that’s another part is kind of looking at maybe the structure you have in place and what isn’t serving you and, and how to get

Scott DeLuzio: rid of that, right? Yeah. Taking a look at the junk drawer of your life and, and kind of clearing that out and get, getting all that stuff out of there and making room for stuff that, that will, uh, help you to reach your goals.

Uh, and I think the reason why I put it that way is, um, because it’s, it’s a good way to think of. The stuff that isn’t serving you and just clearing that stuff out. And if [00:36:00] you spend your time doing all these things that are not helping you reach your goals, that means there’s however much time that you spent on those things.

You, you have that much less time to work on those goals. Mm-hmm. Goals, whatever they are. Right. So yeah. Clear that stuff out. Throw it all away if, if you can. Um, And, and be focused. And with that structure, it helps you stay focused.

Jenna Carlton: Yeah. Yeah. And we picked up a lot of bad habits in the military too, so it’s, it’s important to, uh, you know, just, just check in with yourself.

Like, what, what, why do I do this?

Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. Yeah. What, I guess before you do any of these things that just seem like, oh, this is what I always do, do these things. Um, before you do those things, just ask yourself. What is this helping me with? Right? And, and if you can’t really come up with a good answer to that, then maybe just don’t do it.

Mm-hmm. And find something else to do with [00:37:00] that time that will help you reach whatever your, your personal goals are. Um, and I, I think this kind of segues into the next category here, uh, of redefining yourself and, um, how that new image of yourself helps you. Figure out what those goals are, right? Um, mm-hmm.

So how, how does the workbook help you, uh, redefine yourself?

Jenna Carlton: Yeah, so I said redefine yourself because a lot of times we hear, oh, I need to find myself again. But the person you were when you joined is not who you are now. Um, and the person who you were in is. Not who you are now either, because it’s not, it just doesn’t work like that.

So you need to redefine who you are and you really can. I think this is just such a great and exciting point in people’s lives where they can recreate themselves. Um, so many of us, you know, whether you get to a command, you may have like a reputation or you know, you were a [00:38:00] leader, you were always put together.

Maybe you wanna try something new, uh, and this, this is such a great time or you can do that. And so, um, I. Kind of set up a lot of prompts to help you, help you decide that. And, and a lot of this is centered around things like what brings you joy, what makes you happy, uh, how do you feel your best, and, and how can you tie that into your career or, or what you do daily.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I like what you just said there, having prompts, uh, throughout the, the workbook. Um, because anybody can go out and buy a $2 notebook. We were talking about this before we started recording. Anyone could go about and buy that notebook, blank pages, nothing, uh, nothing prompting you to write anything and you’re just.

Free to put whatever you want on there. Um, but the way I like to think of it is that with this workbook, with the prompts, uh, it’s almost like if you, you go bowling and they have the bumpers that come up on the, the side of the [00:39:00] lane and, and keep the ball from, from going off into the gutter, um, you know, keeps it going down, down the lane, the, the workbook, in my mind anyways, it helps keep things on track so that you don’t Yeah.

End up falling off track and, uh, Doing, doing things or writing things that aren’t gonna be quite as useful. Like, yeah, sure, you can write those things. But, um, again, going back to, you know, what are you spending your time on? Is it helping you achieve your goals? Well, the workbook. Mm-hmm. The way it’s structured, it’s gonna help keep you on track and keep you, uh, in that lane, uh, if you will, to, um, To not end up falling off of, of the, the, the track.

And basically, uh, you know, wasting your time writing about stuff that Yeah. Isn’t really helping you, right?

Jenna Carlton: Yes. Yes. Exactly. And it, by putting the pen in the hand of the veteran, it really helps them. You know, rewr rewrite their own story [00:40:00] and, and do that. Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And, and another thing that, that we, uh, were talking about earlier too, is that when you take the, the pen in your hand and you’re actually physically writing stuff down, um, not speaking it out loud and having your phone’s, voice recorder, you know, dictate it for you and, and transcribe it, I should say, um, or, um, You know, typing it or, or even, uh, just thinking the thoughts.

Um, when you actually slow down and write things down, it helps you process things a little bit better in the back of your mind and helps you un. Uncover some of the things that maybe you just kind of glaze over or gloss over when you’re just thinking about them or even talking about them. Um, you know, you and I could be talking right now and I, I could be telling you about something that, um, you know, I, I just wanna get to that next point, so I just keep talking.

Um, but as I’m writing, I, I’m slowing [00:41:00] down and I’m, I’m able to think about those things a little bit better, right? And so that, that to me is kind of the benefit of having a workbook where you can actually write these things down.

Jenna Carlton: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there’s, I, I’m a visual person. I, when I brainstorm, I love to have the pen in my hand and right away, and I feel like a lot of people are also like that, and that’s why journaling has.

Become so popular and, and recommended to do so.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, it actually was surprising for me, uh, cause I never, I mean, I, I’ve written things down before. Uh, the, the book that I wrote started off as kind of just notes that I, I was writing down, but it was never in any great detail. It was more just like facts, like places, events, things like events, things I didn’t wanna forget.

And so I was, I would just write things down. Um, but it wasn’t until just a couple months ago when I actually started writing things down, like. In, in great detail. Um, and it just, it really helped me, like, remember [00:42:00] things that, that took place. It, it just slowed everything down and allowed me to think and process through things just a little bit differently.

So, um, so it’s definitely, I think a, a great resource.

Jenna, it’s been, A pleasure having you on the show, talking about, um, not only your experiences, uh, getting out of the Navy, um, and how you’ve used that to your advantage and, and help are now helping other veterans, uh, through your Facebook group, the millennial, uh, veterans, uh, the vet chats on Instagram and now, uh, the veteran workbook that you just put out.

Um, can you tell people where to go to find, uh, Find the workbook and um, you know, any other information that, that might be useful to help people along the way.

Jenna Carlton: Absolutely. And the veteran workbook is available on Amazon, so very accessible. And it’s only $10. I put it at the [00:43:00] lowest price point I could. Um, so we can get it in the hands of as many veterans as we can.

Um, so yes, and it is, uh, it’s a part of the prime free day shipping, so you’ll get it really quick.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. Yeah. So, so tho those people who are out there, who, if you’re listening to this right now, uh, you wanna get that. That workbook. Um, you wanna get it quickly, um, and you wanna start using it. Um, and, and one of the things that, uh, you had mentioned, um, I forget if you mentioned it on, uh, on Instagram or one of the videos, uh, that I, I saw, but, um, the, the workbooks designed to.

Not be done in, in any particular order. So if you wanted to focus on one particular area, you don’t have to necessarily start from the beginning. You can, you can pick and choose which areas you wanna work on. So it it, you know, some of the categories that we talked about seem like, uh, like, gee, I don’t really wanna waste my time on that because again, you know what, what is gonna help me achieve my, my goals?

Um, you know, if [00:44:00] that’s not really something that you wanna do, you can jump ahead to, uh, you know, your. If you’re not living a very structured life, you want to jump right to that building structure, uh, category, right? Mm-hmm. So that, that to me, I think is, is one of the nice things about it, is that you, you can do it, um, and customize it to your own individual needs, right?

Yeah. Yeah.

Jenna Carlton: I encourage people to look through the themes and really see what resonates with them and go there first, because, Again, there’s no orders, there’s no days, there’s no timeframes. It’s all on your own.

Scott DeLuzio: And I found when I’ve had other, um, similar, uh, activities that I, I’ve gone through where, uh, it was structured like every single day you have to do, do X, Y, and Z, and, and you have to reflect on all that.

It actually was more stressful for me than I thought it was worth. And so I. I don’t wanna do this anymore cause it’s, it’s too much. Um, but with something like this, you can do it at your own [00:45:00] pace. Pick and choose the areas that you wanna focus on and do those first. I think, I think this is really the way to go with, with this.

And so, uh, you know, again, congratulations on, uh, getting this book out and. I think it really will be, uh, something that will help out a lot of veterans. Have you gotten any feedback? I know the book just came out. Um, have you gotten any feedback from, uh, other veterans who’ve taken a look through it and, and had any kind of positive, uh, uh, results coming out of it?

Jenna Carlton: Yeah, it, it just came out last week at this point, so I haven’t had anyone work fully through it, but I’ve had a few people that have worked for nonprofits that have helped veterans in recovery and, and other things, and they looked, they were really impressed by it. So I’ve gotten good feedback so far, but again, this is my first time doing this.

I’m. I’m willing to improve it. So I’m excited to hear any

Scott DeLuzio: feedback. Yeah, that’s awesome. So for the listeners, uh, the link to the veteran workbook will be in the show notes. [00:46:00] Um, check it out on Amazon or you can check the link in the show notes. Um, I’ll have all the links where you can find the millennial.

Excuse me, the millennial veterans and, um, uh, the vet chats on Instagram. So, um, Jenna, thank you so much for, again, for coming on the show, uh, and, and sharing. What you’re doing now with this, this workbook and how, uh, how it can help other veterans. I, I think it’s gonna be a powerful tool in, uh, a lot of veterans, uh, uh, transition outta the military.

Jenna Carlton: Thank you, Scott.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

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