Earlier today a friend of mine was texting me about his progress. He has about 3 years left on his current enlistment so he has plenty of time to prepare. He asked me though, how can he stay motivated when he doesn't know exactly where he will end up if he gets out? Then, he asked me do I know where he will be. Here's the thing. I don't know exactly where he'll end up or what career he will find.
Here's what I do know though. If you put in the effort now you will end up in a better position than you are now. You have to sacrifice for the unknown. Work now without knowing exactly what will come of it. There aren't guarantees in any of this. I can't look at your plan or resume and say " that's great, you'll be making six figures the day you leave the military". No one ever knows what reward they will get. College graduates don't know what job they will get. Pro athletes don't know when they will win or lose. I can't predict it exactly. Do I know if you'll make six figures within 5 years of leaving the military? No. You know what I do know though? You will be better off, with a better job, and more opportunities than the guys who didn't prepare at all.
You have to sacrifice for the unknown. You can put all the effort in. Wake up earlier to work on a college course you're taking while you're in the military, work on a resume and update it regularly, and apply for jobs a year prior to ETS (yes a year, having a written guaranteed letter of employment from USAA months before I was set to get out gave me so much peace of mind). This doesn't guarantee anything. You have to do it though. You have to give yourself the best possible chance you can. Do you think a UFC fighter does all that work knowing he or she is promised to win? No. They will have a much better chance of winning than if they had just sat on the couch though. Don't worry about the exact results. Do the work and let the process happen, the results will come.
If you say you want a good life after the military you better prove it and work for it. You have to do the work and it starts with planning. If you don't start planning ahead you're planning to fail. Don't complain now. You can complain later, when you have that stacked bank account, college courses completed , a letter of employment. Then you can look back and say " wow it took a lot of work to get this, some of those days suck". Don't stop when you're tired, stop when you're done. A lot of things in life you can't control. One thing you can though is working on yourself, making yourself better. You can't control a lot but you can control effort and out working everyone else.
To close this out. Sacrificing for the unknown will pay off in some way. I'm at a job now that I absolutely love. The company I work for treats me amazing and I make way more than I thought I would. I never thought I'd be working for who I am when I was up at night reading, doing homework and taking college courses. I didn't have a piece of paper saying " do this and you will work here and live in Colorado Springs". That's what happened though. Everyday when I get up, see the view of Pikes Peak, have my favorite coffee from Pikes Perk Coffee House and drive to work, all these little things make up for the time I put in. Every part of my life and my job I love came from sacrificing for what was unknown. It paid off. It will pay off for you too. I been tied up helping some people who messaged me finish up resumes and setting up LinkedIn profiles for them so more posts will be out later this week.