Find Some Post-July 4 Transition Inspiration With Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’

Find Some Post-July 4 Transition Inspiration With Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’
Katsumi Murouchi/Getty Images

Happy belated Fourth of July! I bet you never thought Katy Perry would be the subject of MOAA transition advice, and some of you are thinking, “Who the heck is she?!”


But most of you probably aren’t: Perry’s hit song, Firework, was her fourth to hit the top spot in the Billboard Hot 100, claiming the top spot in December 2010 and ending up third overall in the annual 2011 ranking. Even if it’s not on your playlist, Perry’s message might just strike a chord if you or someone you know is struggling in transition, retirement, career – you know, life. Let’s dive into the lyrics:


You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced


According to Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT), thoughts lead to feelings – and these feelings lead to actions (or inaction). You can feel like anything you want, but you have to take ownership of your mind, challenge “negative” thoughts and find the opportunity in every circumstance. You are unrepeatable and yes – you are made for greatness!


If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow


Transition and retirement are journeys, not transactional events. You have navigated uncertainty and difficulty in the past. Connect with your network, keep perspective, and don an attitude of gratitude daily. This powerful trifecta will help you mitigate despair, stop you from wasting time, and keep you from missing out on the next “rainbow” opportunity!


Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road


When we are honest about our deepest desires, professional goals, and personal aspirations, we gain clarity, conviction, and confidence. So, if your plans have not panned out thus far, don’t panic. Reflect on your vision for your life and your “why” – perhaps you need to make an adjustment? Or is this simply the way?


Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it's time, you'll know

When you are aligned to your natural strengths and purpose, you are in what best-selling author and organizational health expert Patrick Lencioni calls the “zone of genius.” This is when you are so into your “thing” that you lose track of time or forget to eat. Your sense of fulfillment and peace are palpable and undeniable.


You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the fourth of July


So, what’s your “thing”? What is the fire burning inside of you? If you don’t sense overwhelming passion for something, that’s OK. Each person’s purpose manifests itself differently.


Baby, you’re a firework!
Come on show ‘em what you’re worth


But we all have a unique calling in life. And when we discover and pursue it, we become the best version of ourselves.


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About the Author

Cmdr. Erin Cardinal, USN (Ret), ACC, CPC
Cmdr. Erin Cardinal, USN (Ret), ACC, CPC

Cardinal is MOAA's Program Director, Transition Services & Family Programs. She is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and has extensive experience in coaching servicemembers through their transition from active duty to the civilian sector.