Brittany Boccher knows the military spouse struggle. Her workshop and new book “Discovering Your Spark: Find Your Color In A Camouflage World” is designed to help fellow military spouses find purpose.
Boccher was working hard at a Houston nonprofit, well on her way to executive leadership, when she met a handsome man in uniform at an airport. And everything changed. What followed was a courtship via emails, phone calls and six months of her flying across the country to see her airman on date night. When orders for Afghanistan came on the heels of their engagement, the couple got married at the Houston courthouse during Boccher’s lunch break before his plane left for deployment.
It’s a classic military love story, delightful in its happenstance meeting and whirlwind romance, yet practical and sacrificing in its cultivation.
“Sometimes things just look different for us,” Boccher said about military life.
But it wasn’t until Boccher left her job and experienced her first PCS after her husband’s deployment that she truly realized just how different. Like many military spouses, she felt lost after leaving her job and her community.
“I’m very open about the difficulty and challenges of military life,” she said. “I experienced challenges with unemployment and not knowing how to fit in.”
It’s far too easy for military spouses to feel like they’ve given something up by marrying into the military. But eventually, Boccher realized that she didn’t have to settle for unfulfillment simply because she was no longer climbing the executive ladder.
“I realized that I was my only limit. I was the person in my way.”
So Boccher dove into her local spouse’s group and other organizations on base, and went on to receive the 2017 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year Award. A servant at heart, she used this opportunity to travel the country and speak to spouses about issues of identity and purpose.
But instead of speaking, she listened.
For a whole year, Boccher listened to military spouses documenting their challenges, struggles and experiences in her journal.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a brand new military spouse or a well-marinated spouse; if you’re married to an enlisted or an officer; if you have a degree or not. Across the board, military spouses struggle with identity, and the longer they’re in, the more they live for the military and not for themselves,” she said.
What so many military spouses needed, Boccher realized, was to discover their spark. She created a workshop and corresponding workbook entitled “Discovering Your Spark: Find Your Color In A Camouflage World.”
Through a partnership with the USO, she has brought her workshop to military spouse groups across the country, helping them define what makes them happy, what brings them joy, what they get lost in, and ultimately ask the question, “Are you filling your time every day, or are you filling your cup?”
“I challenge them to take a can’t and turn it into a can,” she explained. “So if you say you can’t find a job as a nurse, take a look at why you want to be a nurse and find something else that fulfills that why.”
So, with 2021 here, how do we emerge from the ashes of 2020 and discover our own spark this year? Boccher offers three concrete ways to get started.
Three ways to ‘find your spark’ in 2021
1. Grab a sheet of paper
Write down how you spend your time. What roles do you play? What are your responsibilities and commitments? Are you filling your time or filling your cup? You can’t lie to yourself when you see it on paper.
2. Define a mission statement
How do you know how to get there if you don’t know where or why you’re going? How will you know when you’ve accomplished your goal if you don’t define it first? Aim for less than 100 words and identify core values and goals, provide clear direction, and include steps for change. Boccher recommends using the online .
3. Define a family mission statement
Boccher believes having a loving and supportive family takes intention. “It doesn’t just happen. By creating a mission statement as a family, you can create a vision for what you want to achieve together,” she said.
Whatever your spark, follow Boccher’s advice to fan it into a flame this year. With her guidance, she hopes others will fill their cups with whatever makes their hearts warm, and keep going back for more.Read comments