Veterans in Business - What do any of us know?
Over the past few years, ever since Quintessential Performance became more than just a thought, I have been listening to the same question, albeit in slightly different guises.
“If all of your experience has been in the Military, what could you know about running a business?”
This has come from various sources; friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, you name it, everyone seems to have an opinion.
Most recently, I reached out to an individual who helps new businesses grow who asked me the very same question. I appreciate why people may ask this and I’m sure it came from a place of kindness and sincerity but it annoys me nonetheless. As much as I was annoyed at the question, I should have seen it coming and was more annoyed at myself for not anticipating it.
What annoyed me more was that I could not articulate what I knew to be true in my heart and my head. This led me to reach out to my social and personal network who provided me with amazing perspectives and observations and helped me formulate this article.
Yes I have given the past 20 years to serving Queen and Country and no, I do not have years of experience working in a commercial environment but guess what? People are people. No matter what organisation you are in, there will be humans involved, the machines have not taken over just yet.
As long as I can ask effective questions, listen empathically and then formulate an appropriate response, then I actually know a great deal about business. These are the skills of a coach.
I have worked with thousands of different people across every single continent, often in the harshest of environments and demanding situations.
I would argue that anyone who has served in the military, especially throughout the recent years of conflict, has worked in the worst possible situations that no commercial company, regardless of the amount of money involved could replicate. There is no greater risk than the loss of life.
So I implore you to consider your own answer to this question if you are transitioning from the Military, learn from my mistakes and have your answer ready to go in the forefront of your mind. As veterans, we have an incredible amount of value proposition that we take for granted but we shouldn’t. Consider your own personal strengths that you have gained from your service to Queen and Country, be proud of them and sell yourself.