I once spoke to a group of veterans about becoming business owners and entrepreneurs at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. This opportunity came to me from The 100 Entrepreneurs Project who helps transition veterans to entrepreneurs. These warriors have sacrificed throughout their Army careers and now as they get ready for the next chapter in their lives I could see the excitement and anticipation in their eyes. I felt like I was in familiar territory, not because of the uniforms and unique feel of an Army base but because I was in the same position as these warriors just 8 years ago. I was excited about my transition to a new life but worried about the reality of needing to make it “on my own” without the support and structure of the Army lifestyle.
I spoke at this event for about 30 minutes and felt good about the way my presentation was received. I remember seeing a lot of head nods and fielded several questions at the end but what I enjoyed the most was talking to the audience one-on-one following the event and hearing what they took away from my remarks. Veteran after veteran came up to me and said “thank you” and mentioned how these three points of advice energized them:
- Don’t limit yourself. Have an unshakeable confidence in yourself to “figure it out.” This means trusting that even though you don’t know where the finish line is, that you will figure out how to get there. By putting in the work, dedicating yourself to your cause and becoming an expert, you will reach your goals. There are no other options and no excuses.
- As introduced to us by Interation Associates, there must be balance across all 3 dimensions of success to achieve your goals: results, process, relationships. As business owners and team leaders, we must not just focus on results. Results are generally the focus of organizational goals but in order to achieve success over a sustained period of time, we as individuals and teams must create successful processes and have strong, reliable relationships. The three dimensions are intertwined and must be considered when creating culture in the workplace.
- Sell yourself and your product with passion and heart. People gravitate to positive energy and feed off authentic, heart felt enthusiasm. Showing people your heart and passion will earn you loyal clients and customers.
I am so grateful to The 100 Entrepreneurs Project for inviting me to speak and feel so uplifted by the veterans I got to speak with. I know they will be successful in the next phase of their lives and I can’t wait to see the great innovations they come up with.
Joe DeRing is the founder and owner of Empower Leadership and Empower Adventures. With adventure facilities in Connecticut, Virginia, and Florida, Empower blends fun and exciting adventures with leadership development and team building for a truly unique professional development experience. Click the links for more information about Joe and his empowerment programs at Empower Leadership Sports (CT), Nomads Outdoor Adventure, Empower Adventures (VA) and Empower Adventures Tampa Bay