Finding purpose and creating meaningful impact in the veteran community

Jimmy White IV, U.S. Navy veteran, entrepreneur, and 2021 Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program Scholar, discusses how veterans can identify their purpose and create meaningful impact not just in their own lives but in the communities they serve.


We’re going to be talking about the big pivot, making that big decision in your life to really follow your purpose and your dreams for what you have. It’s interesting as military veterans, so often our mission is dictated to us. Where do we deploy? Where do we live? How do we eat and how do we dress? But the beauty of now being in the civilian world is we can begin to focus on our purpose. The goals that we have, the things that we’re looking to do to make an impact in the world.

It first starts with a check-in. I need to see how I am and what are my core values? What do I identify as? What do I believe and how do they show up in my goals and my action on a day to day basis? Once I have that core identity, that core value, that core focus, I can then begin to make decisions about what’s next in my life. Where do I want to be? As a service member, we believe in purpose. Our original purpose was to go and serve for our country. Now we need to find our community that we can continue to serve, begin to legacy build.

What is next? What is going to outlive me? What am I going to have on my tombstone that says I did this, I accomplished this? Not just for myself, but for others. It’s interesting, when we think of goal-setting and what is next, we often talk about money, cars, clothes, or jewelry, or what type of job that I want. But really, there’s a difference between your job and your work. Your job is what sustains you financially, what keeps you going within your community.

But your work? Your work is not about you. It’s about the sacrifice that you’re willing to make, to make an impact for others. So I’m excited to talk about this and to encourage my fellow veterans and my military-connected community to live a life of purpose and to build a blueprint on what you want to become.