HKY4VETS BLOG

Nathan Huret • Sep 11, 2023

Niels Larsen: Spotlight Interview

We recently had the privilege of sitting down with Niels Larsen, our newest Fellow from USSOCOM’s Warrior Care Program. With a distinguished 20-year career in the Air Force, Niels brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to our team. We posed five questions to him, and his insights were nothing short of enlightening.

Reflection on Service
Q: “What reshaped your perspective on service, leadership, or life?”
Niels: I think I was drawn to the military with a sense of patriotism and adventure on a path of personal growth and development. Military service has always been a part of my family but growing up, I had never really considered military service because I had different aspirations and goals. However, it’s clear that the events of 9/11 were a turning point in my life. I remember it being in the dorms at LR and watching everything unfold and it forever changed the way I viewed the world. Then came an overwhelming need to do something, and I felt compelled to do my part. This newfound purpose led me to understand the importance of strong leadership and I was fortunate enough to surround myself with some great leaders who inspired teamwork, resiliency, and duty that made everyone around them better.”

Transition to Civilian Life
Q: “What challenges have you faced transitioning from active duty?”
Niels: “It is important to remember that your civilian life will be different than your military life, and I’ve been learning to be patient with myself as I navigate this transition. Adapting to new daily routines, responsibilities, and expectations has proven challenging, but I’ve tried to establish plans and processes that mirror the structure I’m used to. which has been beneficial in this journey. Also, taking advantage of all the resources and programs out there to help transitioning service members.”

Skills and Lessons
Q: “Which military skills or lessons are most valuable in civilian life?”
Niels: “The importance of getting the small things right and attention to detail, because of how they build trust, ensure reliability, and contribute to success. Recognizing that your contributions, regardless of their size or nature, have influence on the well-being of not only yourself but also teams, organizations, and society. Doing this will provide peace of mind, and allow individuals and teams to focus on more complex challenges, knowing that the fundamentals are well taken care of.”

Global Perspective
Q: “How has serving worldwide influenced your perspective on global events and cultures?”
Niels: “It definitely broadened my perspective by exposing me to different cultures, environments, and situations. Even during conflicts, the exposure led to a deeper awareness of the world’s complexities and challenges across both social and cultural spectrum, and a deeper appreciation for cooperation.”

Advice for Future Generations
Q: “What advice would you give to those considering a military career?”
Niels: “Joining the military is a life-changing decision, and you need to have a complete understanding of the importance of that decision. Research the various branches of the military and their available career paths. Define your personal and professional goals and ensure they align with your chosen path. Find a mentor, ideally someone with experience in the military, who can help you chart a clear course toward your goals. Don’t hesitate to reach out to veterans and/or current service members to gain insights into military life, expectations, and the realities of serving. Finally, know that nothing in the military is given to you and you get out of it what you put into it.”

Niels’ journey and insights are a testament to the profound impact of military service on personal and professional growth. We’re thrilled to have him on board and look forward to harnessing the momentum he brings to our cause. Should you want to reach out to Niels, you may contact him at Niels@hky4vets.com or via his LinkedIn profile.

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