Its not that I don’t love the military or the United States Marine Corps. Its not that I couldn’t hang, or that I felt out of place and so I had to return to, “what I knew.” I didn’t quit, I was dedicated the entire time, and even now. Being a Marine, in my opinion is much more than the uniform you wear, it is truly a lifestyle and fraternity that one should never put down. Despite having been a professional chef for ten years prior to serving, it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
Over the past few years, at least weekly, I have had the odd burden of explaining why I joined the Marine Corps. Having gone to college and had a career, it seemed odd to other Marines as to why I decided to join. Could I have commissioned? Yes. Did I? Absolutely not. And I wouldn’t change that path for anything. The differences and similarities between the Enlisted and Officer side is an entirely different debate and discussion which is outside the scope of this posting.
I dedicated a block of my life serving as a Marine for multiple reasons. Those red and gold shiny stickers on the back of everyone’s car always made me wonder what the fuck a, “Marine Corps” was. I had heard the best leaders were there; proven, driven, unrefuted leadership. This was something I wanted and later found out, that I needed in my life. I wanted to serve my country. I wanted to accept the challenge and prove to the doubters and haters that I could do it. Ultimately it was an objective I needed to handle to unlock the rest of my being, in order to unlock the rest of my life.
This notion that the military is a guarantee. A guaranteed paycheck, a guaranteed meal, a guaranteed place to live and eat and operate. You don’t work really, but you just get paid…for the motivated and dedicated that’s straight bullshit. I’ve never had an easier job that I worked so hard at. And I learned a ton! In fact, it was where I was able to finish half of my masters degree. Where I got my LEAN Six Sigma yellow belt certification and a ton of other pertinent life skills. I love the United States Marine Corps. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world.
That being said, enough was enough. By my own volition and fault I felt constrained. I felt knew I had to work for myself. It was my turn to take the reins again. And I had the toolbox… leadership, management, organizational skills, dedication, drive and passion. All of these grown and emphasized by my time in the Marine Corps. Because of my time there I was exposed to amazing leaders like: Victor Krulak, Steven Pressfield, Simon Sinek, Seth Godin, James Altucher, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Feriss, Jim Collins, and many more. A type of exposure and enlightenment I would never have known to look for had I not taken this route.
And so, its not that I quit. In fact its because I have been enabled. I have had confidence instilled in me, I have been molded into a leader and an independent self starter. I learned to truly live and be in the moment, while planning for the future… in multiplicity. Meaning, have many plans as your may be conjoined or altered by an unforeseen occurrence. This is the ultimate empowerment and guiding light for an entrepreneur. As anything can and will happen. Looking to or thinking about being an entrepreneur? Try the Marine Corps first. I promise you, after an experience like this you will see failure in a whole different light, at least that is how it happened for me.
As for the future, I’m thrilled. Currently, I am in the process of transitioning. As I write this I am sitting in a classroom with 30 other Marines learning how to become a civilian again. This class (for me) piggy backed off of a 2-day entrepreneurship seminar. The latter being completely worth while, and the former being an absolute waste of time (outside of the light being shined on the various Veteran programs available). So much has happened in preparation for opening this coffee business. The roaster has been ordered, the packaging has been 100% identified. The production area is ready, training has been attained, social media is rolling and the website is about to go live. This is exciting. And it all happens to be from a decision I made 5 years ago to work for, “the man” and to become a cog in the system; the motivation I needed and the training received to realize I was created to work for myself and to serve a specific market of caring, conscious, epicurean people. The best kind in the world. And with that, I look forward to serving you, growing personally and professionally, and aiding in developing the young specialty coffee market.