America is the land of opportunity and nobody knows that better than the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces protecting our Freedom both here at home and in foreign lands. We understand it because we have seen what it is like when people don’t have Freedom, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Personally, I’ve served in both Bosnia and Afghanistan. In Bosnia I witnessed as people who had lived under a communist dictator for decades, suffered through a brutal civil war and then tried to learn the values of Freedom and capitalism. Fast forward 5 years and I found myself in Afghanistan which, while completely different culture, terrain and ethnic background, was undergoing the same transition after we ousted the Taliban. Witnessing and enabling the transition to a FREE society is an amazing experience and I believe that without it success is not possible.
The first step in Success stems from the three important factors that I believe are critical for success. First, as I mentioned, you need FREEDOM. Freedom is essential to allowing people the opportunity to be successful. The day I realized what freedom meant was a very hot day in Afghanistan. I was pulling security on the street while my team was inside a building. A small girl probably 5-6 years old approached with an older gentleman. Every bad thought was running through my head. Like does she have a bomb strapped to her?
And for the first time in my military career I didn’t know how to react. The older gentlemen nudged her forward and she extended her hand up to me. I was one of the scary looking bearded guys [flash a picture of me with my beard] so I was amazed that she came up to me. When I took her hand she looked up at me and she said, Thank you for freeing my country. That was a powerful moment for me because I understood Freedom and what it would mean for that little girl. Cherish your Freedom.
Second, you need a good moral foundation. Do the right thing and good things happen for you. Follow your moral compass.
Third, you need other people. People are everywhere and you can’t go through life without affecting other people’s lives or being affected by other people. Always keep your faith in people.
Military Veteran Entrepreneurs have a number of unique qualities that give us a distinct advantage over non Veterans. Our leadership training, combat experience, decision making ability, our ability to plan and execute and our risk taking genetics. The list is truly much longer than those few items. That’s not to say non Veterans cannot be successful, because I know a lot of them (they do outnumber us 99 to 1), but we are unique and know how to win and be successful.
Veterans know and understand teamwork, they stand by one another and help each other when we need it and that makes all of us more successful.
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