People First: Jan

Jan knows the UK and lives in Texas now, but the journey from one to the other allowed her to see the rest of the world.

She lived in Mildenhall. I’d heard of it. Used to live near there myself.

She joined the USAF to get trained, qualified and see a world ‘outside of the 50’. She left after just three years because she met and fell in love with the man who became her husband (best-laid plans and all that!). Training and Qualifications put on hold, but still traveled and saw the world. After all – her husband was still in the forces.

Now she is an antique dealer and her husband works at the nearby USAF facility. Well not just the USAF, turns out it is the only joint USAF and NATO training facility in the world.

Who knew?

Her vision was clear, as was her mission and strategy: join the USAF, get trained and qualified. See the world.

But, the tactics to achieve the mission changed. Quickly.

Regardless, mission accomplished. She saw the world and got trained and qualified.

Jan never looked back. In fact, by not holding on to a pre-conceived notion as to how this was all going to work out, she did everything she wanted to do and then some.

Without her husband, she would never have gotten into antiques … which turned out to be her passion. Seeing the world? Sure.


We never quite know what we really want to do. Or be. Do we? At least that’s true for the most of us. So why hang on to some arbitrary plan?

I am reminded of the Japanese term Ikigai … literally a ‘reason for being’. Jan started in a military profession to live, with a personal mission to see the world. Through the good fortune of her USAF career being derailed, she discovered her own ‘Ikigai. Good fortune? Maybe. But really through her own agility.


Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans.

John Lennon

Or Was It?