Author Interviews

Transitions With Purpose

In Transitions With Purpose, you will learn to Transition on Purpose in your life. Rather than stumbling through the inevitable transitions in our life, Dennis Volpe shows us what he has learned from his own life as well as in his military career about purposeful transitioning. You will discover it is not only in your successes but often in your failures that you learn the most in life. Taking from Dennis’ own success and failures you will learn the blueprint to quicker faster and more efficient transitions in your life as we all learn to Transition On Purpose.

Tell me a little about your book Transition On Purpose: 

Change is a fact of life. How we Transition from one stage or chapter of life to another is a choice. Change is something external that happens to us. Transition is a mindset . . . it is an internal process that happens for us.  Transition on Purpose provides a personal story of transition illustrating success, failure, and personal resilience.  Transition on Purpose also provides a transition coaching framework based on the Columbia University Executive Coaching methodology to provide clarity, focus, direction, and purpose to empower you to transition from where you are to where you want to be.  It’s a great resource for anyone transitioning out of military service, but also a solid resource for any of the many transitions we may face.   Throughout the pages of Transition on Purpose, you’ll find out how to think differently, behave differently, and do life differently!

What experience caused you to see a need for your book

Two experiences . . .

First, my command experience and my subsequent transition from military service. 

I was relieved of command in Feb 2014 after running aground in Samsun, Turkey while supporting the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.   As a USNA grad and a career Naval Officer, military life was all I knew.  My identity was wrapped up in my military service.  Couple that with being subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the military judicial process for the next two years and I had to figure out who I was, what really mattered to me and what I wanted to do about it. 

I knew what success was.  I knew what it took to be successful.  Command selection in the Navy is not something to take lightly.  I also knew what it felt like to fail . . . on an international stage.  The key was to sort of what it took not to be a failure.  I had to do a lot of self-discovery, exploration and take deliberate and informed action in accordance with my values and priorities.  I had to regain a sense of purpose in my life and figure out how to Transition On Purpose.   

I realized the military was not the only organization or experience where you could have role versus identity overlap.  It happens throughout the professional spectrum and I wanted to utilize my experience to provide a different way to think about personal leadership and transition.    

Second, my experience as an Executive Performance and Transition Coach. 

I am an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC) specializing in Performance, Personal Leadership and Transition Coaching. I achieved my coaching certification through the Columbia University Executive Coaching Program and am also a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.  

Over the past few years, I have coached hundreds of transitioning military Veterans as well as emerging and proven mid-level leaders in the civilian sector.  As I reflected on those coaching conversations, there were themes that emerged and needed to be explored which led to the creation of the Transition on Purpose Coaching methodology which is based on the Columbia University Executive Coaching framework. 

The intent was to provide a transition coaching framework based on the science of human performance to enable professionals to think differently about their transition in order to make more informed career and life decisions.    

Is there one short story from your book you would like to share?

The sport of Triathlon provided me with the time and space I needed for self-reflection and continues to provide a very important life lesson.  The sport of Triathlon has three events and two concrete transition points – one between the swim and bike events and one between the bike and the run portion.  So, what’s the life lesson?  If we continually worry about the past, we won’t be present in the present. If we don’t focus our energy, effort and attention of what really matters, the future is not a given. We have to focus on the present in order to get the results we want. 

What books would you recommend for a Junior Officer ready goto his or her first operational command?

What is the biggest takeaway that you hope a reader will learn from Transition On Purpose?

Self-reflection needs to be part of our routine.  Self-reflection provides the opportunity to understand what we really value, why we value it, what really matters and how we can make better and more informed decisions.  Value-based decision making increases the alignment in our personal and professional lives. 

What advice would you give to someone who Transitioning out of the military?

Start by defining what a successful transition looks like, feels like and what it will mean to you. 

Purpose is Passion with boundaries so pursue it.  Those boundaries are defined by: 

– Our Strengths

– Our Priorities 

– What gives us Positive Energy

– The Issues/Problems We Want to Solve

– Who we want to solve those Issues/Problems With 

Life is a Team Sport.  Build your Tribe and be OK asking for help.  If you don’t tell the people who matter what you want and why you want it, don’t be surprised when you don’t get it. 

What books do you recommend which influenced your thinking on leadership?

A Vietnam Experience:  Ten Years of Reflection by James Stockdale provided me with the Stockdale Leadership model of Teacher, Philosopher, Jurist, Moralist and Steward which informed my leadership philosophy from when I was a midshipman to today. 

What books had the most impact on you and your development?

The Tribe by Sebastian Junger had a huge impact on how I looked at transition and post-traumatic growth and the need to surround myself with people who would hold me accountable and challenge me to be better today than I was yesterday.   

A Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl provided me with a better appreciation for why I needed to have a strong sense of purpose in my life as well as provided a really good understanding of the difference between being reactive or responsive to our environment. 

What are you reading right now?

What are your favorite books to give — and get — as gifts?

I like to give books that REALLY had an impact on me on a deeply personal level. The latest one is  The Proximity Principle by Ken Coleman which I recommend for anyone thinking about a career or life transition.  

What else do you want your readers to know?

Part of my mindfulness practice is Archery in my backyard.  I have a 30-yard Archery range and try to shoot at least once a week, weather permitting, to allow myself to gain clarity and focus. 

What is next for you? 

The Presidential Traverse.  Now that I live in New Hampshire, I would like to do the Presidential Traverse this summer. 

I am thinking about starting a Transition on Purpose Mastermind Group designed to use the Transition on Purpose Coaching Methodology in a group coaching format to support either emerging leaders or mid-career professional in their personal leadership journeys.    

I am thinking about writing another book about personal leadership and being more effective in our personal and professional lives that incorporates some stoicism, resilience, personal leadership and team effectiveness.     

Purchase Transition On Purpose: Self-Reflect, Explore and Re-Engage Life 

Dennis Volpe is an International Coaching Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the Leadership Research Institute specializing in Performance, Personal Leadership and Transition Coaching. Dennis achieved his coaching certification through the Columbia University Executive Coaching Program and is also a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

Dennis’ understanding of personal leadership comes from his over twenty years of experience as a career Naval Officer to include Command at Sea and a variety of intellectual pursuits. He challenges and empowers leaders to embrace reality, define what they want, and equips them with the insight, perspective, and accountability necessary to thrive in new and challenging environments.

Dennis enjoys the outdoors, is a passionate Rugby and Lacrosse fan, and is an avid triathlete. Dennis and his wife, Amanda, live in New Hampshire with their dog, Nimitz.

Dennis can be reach on his website:

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