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#16. As we close out Season 1 we take a look at the first half of the season’s episodes and pull pearls of wisdom and insights from our amazing guests.

Aaron Spatz  00:06

I’m Aaron Spatz. And this is the Veterans Business Podcast. A podcast centered around the stories of US military veterans, and their adventures in the business world following their time in service. Its stories of challenges and obstacles, and an inside look at how veterans find their life’s work, their purpose, and their post military lives. Thank you so much for listening to Season One of the Veterans Business Podcast, it has been a sincere pleasure to produce this for you. Today, I’m going to go through the first half of season one. And we’re going to examine some highlights from those early episodes. And really just unpack some of the nuggets, some of the highlights some of the big moments from those episodes. So I’ll be enjoy. I’ll be giving some commentary, as we dive in and out of some of these different bites. So let’s jump in the very first episode of this podcast featured Rico Miller, and I would encourage you to go back and listen to every one of these episodes in their entirety. But Rico talked a lot about purpose. He talked a lot about his faith journey, talked a lot about some of the things that he has gone through and experienced in his life. So this next clip you’re about to listen to, captures the essence of a lot of what he’s experienced and some of the words of wisdom and advice that you’d have for you.

Rico Miller  01:31

I think one of the things that we all kind of deal with is trying to understand and to realize what our purpose is. We want to know why did God put us here? What Why did he bring me here? And what am I designed? What am I supposed to do each day? And I think that one of the things that got me to the point where I really, really started to struggle and wrestle with that question was, I remember talking to my mom, one day, I went through a nasty divorce and had my business was going down, and it was moving a lot of contracts and things like that. And I told my mom that I said, you know, I think I think I’m depressed. I don’t know, what my purpose is why I’m here. Why did God taking me through this. And she told me at that point, she says, one of the things you need to understand is when I was 18 years old, and I had you I was pregnant with you Rather, and I was on my way, and I was at the bus stop to have an abortion. She says, at the bus stop to have an abortion. And God spoke to me and said that he has a greater purpose for my child, and that he wanted the child to be used for His purpose, and he doesn’t make mistakes. And at that point, when my mom shared this story with me, that changed my whole trajectory on my thought process and how I looked at life. Because the Bible tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. So I no longer was worried about what my purpose was, my purpose was to serve God and to do the things he wanted me to do. And ultimately, that would give me more definition on who I was. So my mom would want to ask me, she says, Well, who are you? I says, first of all, I’m, I gave her a litany of things. I’m a father, you know, I’m a great man. I’m a business owner. And she says, and then at the last one, I said, I’m a child of God, and I’m blessed. And she asked me she is why don’t you tell? Why do you say that as the first thing that you identified with? So I was using all these other things that were more priority than me identifying who I was as a man or a child of God. So that was what changed my mindset. So I now had to understand that my purpose was just to serve God and serve His people. And everything that I went through was for His purpose. So I think a lot of people wrestle with that, because they don’t have that really defining moment where they can say, this is what I’m here for. And this is what I’m called to do. So my challenge was getting over that, and now taking the next steps to, to get past that. And what, in the midst of my purpose in the midst of understanding that in the finding that inspired me to write a book, and I wrote a book, which is called undo ordinary. And undo ordinary focuses on ways practical steps that you can do to change and identify your what your purpose is and how you can walk in it. So that was the thing that I think that one of my biggest challenges was trying to figure out what my purpose was and moving in my purpose, and what are the tangible things that I can do wonders about We’ll see about that. The Bible talk gives us one familiar story talks about the man at the pool of Bethesda. And Jesus asked him do you want to be made whole. And he’s, he says, where every time I tried to jump in the pool of healing, somebody jumps in before me, or there’s no man to put me in the pool. What was funny about that story is a lot of times, we want to know what our purpose is. And God gives us the opportunity to be made whole daily, but we make excuses. And we no reason to step into it, or take the extra step to move in it. So that was kind of one of the stories that kind of helped me identify with, now I really need to move in this and God is holding me accountable, because he’s already shown me that I have the power to help other people have the power to move in him. So that was the thing that really kind of helped me that was a story that really kind of helped me move to the next level in life.

Aaron Spatz  05:59

Absolutely love that story about how his mom nearly ended his life before he could even start. And so I just thought it was really neat, when he’s in a very dark point in his life, and really dealing with some pretty heavy things has mom can just really encourage him in that moment. And in the next clip that you’re gonna listen to, you’re going to find some pretty amazing encouragement, I think, when it comes to the concept of just validating your journey and where you are and what it is that you want to do with your life and what it is that you want to achieve. And I think we’re going to be able to, like, I think you’re going to relate to this, possibly in some way, because a lot of times we will look to others for validation, and the things that we want to accomplish or do in our lives. And as you’ll see here, Rico’s father didn’t really allow him to experience that he went in to experience it on his own. So let’s check it out. If I

Rico Miller  06:52

could give some advice. My dad told me this as a child, and I would always ask him, because I when I was growing up, I wanted to be a truck driver, one week, I want to be a truck driver, then he told me, Well, you know, if you do that you can’t be home for Christmas to eat your grandmother’s cooking. So I kind of scratched that, because that didn’t sound as appealing to miss grandma’s cooking. Right? So I now said, Okay, now I want to be attorney, he says that you could do that. That was around something. And what I was doing is I was basing what I was going to be or what I want to aspire to based upon his reaction. Because then the downside, we always kind of want that affirmation for certain key people in our lives. And my dad was, I said, I don’t think you’d give me the the answer the response. I was like, what do you what do you think I should do? And he says, you know, Rico, I told you to come up with the vision and whatever you want to do, you could do. And he gave me this one nugget, he says, what I want you to do is stop letting blind people proofread your vision. Right? He says, I want you to start letting go of people proofread your bids. And because whatever God has for you, or whatever your path is that you decide that you want to do. Nobody can validate that, or proofread it more than you. So I would inspire anyone, or encourage anybody to whatever you think you want to do in life, whatever God has for you, whatever you think you could want to do, do it. And just do it with a very intentional and very relentless. And don’t let anything or anyone hold you back or discourage you from what ultimately will make you happy. I

Aaron Spatz  08:38

truly enjoyed that clip. And I think it was really a fascinating study. And really an interesting observation in how you go through that process of trying to figure out what it is that you want to do. And only you’re going to know that so you have your own giftings like there’s things that you are better at than most people. There are things that you’re passionate about there are just yearnings, there’s desires, there are interests, there’s just all sorts of things on the inside of you dying to get out. And you’re only going to find that out. If you go out and you try. You go out and you experiment and you understand and really get some mentors to surround you but to really go and discover that and go and really explore that concept. So I really love Rico’s explanation there and just the example and the story that he gave there. So switching gears, we’re going to jump now into Tabitha Bartley. She was a true pleasure to have on the show. I love her personality and the way that she presented herself and also a lot of things that she endured. And so we get to hear from her perspective of what it’s like to be a woman in the military, but then also on the outside. What does the veteran system look like for her and for some of the other female veterans that may be using the veterans FERS system and all the challenges and things that women can experience in that process. So let’s listen in, I didn’t

Tabitha Bartley  10:09

know how I would do in the civilian sector, just with my personality, it went really, really well, in the Marine Corps. And I, my transition wasn’t, wasn’t an easy one. And there was a moment specifically where, you know, I was just dealing with a ton of medical issues, and just a ton of issues trying to get seen and taken care of. And there was this moment, you know, I, I just remember, remember it clear as day where I’m sitting in my car, in the parking lot at work and on the phone with somebody, and I just feel defeated. And I kind of just like, broke down and started crying and not really somebody that cries and it was just in that moment that I was like, if I have this support system, and I’m feeling this way, I can’t imagine how other female veterans are feeling who don’t have this. So for me, it was really important to figure out a way to okay, how do I, how can I help connect us? Because, yes, our stories aren’t all the same. But there’s just so much that we can relate to in that struggle. And sometimes, all you need is somebody not to question what you’re going through. But to just listen, and kind of, you know, I hear you. And I understand that, and I’m here for you. So that was a huge push for me to do something locally and in my community, because I knew that there are female veterans that we just don’t stand out the way that male veterans do.

Aaron Spatz  11:33

If you have a weak stomach related to hearing vivid descriptions of medical issues or injuries, I would highly suggest you skip over the next probably 30 seconds to a minute, because what she shares is pretty vivid and compelling. And it really goes to show you some of the issues related to veterans getting adequate care. And just some of the processes and some of the things that female veterans specifically have to go through. On the other side of transition.

Tabitha Bartley  12:01

Oh, I got a phone call covering event, the rocking Raiders March that was going across America, in a recruiter was taking his police to the event and they asked if I could cover it. I was back from having a baby and didn’t think anything of it. And I had been running around with my camera, Pat covering the event taking photos. And the next day I ended up in the emergency room. Because my uterus and my bladder had started to fall out of my body. So that was something then that I had to with knowing that I was transitioning out, I had to try and figure out exactly what was going on with me medically, because the first doctor who saw me in the emergency room, had said that he had asked me if I had Googled my symptoms, and then just kind of pushed it off. And I was lucky that because I’ve had multiple hip surgeries and in multiple medical events that I felt the need to see another provider and got to go back to my OBGYN who evaluated me and said, Yeah, this is this is what’s happening to you. But if it’s severe, and I, I can’t fix it, essentially it would it needs a specialist.

Aaron Spatz  13:15

And I’m curious with your experience at the VA, because I know that like that’s been in the news a lot. And over the last several years, I think especially with the new administration, that’s been something that’s been talked about quite a bit and I mean, I’m curious what you’re just honest, what your what your honest assessment is, but like how was your your time for the VA? Did you did you feel like you were treated in a in a expeditious and fair manner? Or? Or was it didn’t mirror more like what we hear about on on the news?

Tabitha Bartley  13:48

Yeah, it’s, it’s a good and a bad like on an individual level, like my PCM through the VA is amazing. I go to a small clinic here in Lafayette, and the counselor I see for mental therapy is amazing. But anytime any, anything has to go through nd it’s been like, extremely hard to get it through. And when I was first trying to get seen for this, you know, they were telling me that I’d have to travel to Indianapolis to get seen for women’s care because of specialty care. And I live close enough to clinic, but a clinic that doesn’t offer any women’s care. And that was kind of the pushing point. It’s like, okay, how is women’s care specialty care if every woman needs it? Like nobody could answer that threw me or explain to me why I had to travel all the way to Indy risking, you know, losing my job that I had just started. It’s not you can’t really just tell an employer like, oh, I have all these medical issues that I need to go to Indianapolis once a week to get seen. So it was it was a lot and I had to push a lot and I had to demand a lot where I don’t feel like I should have had to demand so much and then at first it was only every appointment I went through or every time I went into VA, there was a comment about my gender of, oh, I don’t know what to do with you, you’re a woman or I’m not used to seeing women. And it bothered me because in the Marine Corps, my gender just didn’t seem to matter as much as it did, as a female veteran, all of a sudden, that was like, all they could focus on was that I was a woman. So I had some nightmares. But then I had, again, I had some great, great VA workers who were advocates for me, and who took care of me and tried to, you know, push the system and push back and fight for my side. So it’s, you know, it depends on the situation person. I think there’s a lot in the system that needs to be fixed. And I think one of the biggest things is, like, I would put in a complaint or a concern, and I would ask, Where, where does it go? And how do I follow that? And nobody could give me an answer. Or I was in error. And I would call them out on it and say, Well, how are you going to make sure this doesn’t happen to the next person and again, couldn’t get an answer for it. So being really familiar with the AIS system, and in TRICARE, and military installations, I am still confused why there’s not something like that through the VA. Or if there is why I can’t find the information easy enough.

Aaron Spatz  16:25

Tabitha is episode was fantastic, I would encourage you to go back and listen to the whole thing. But I just loved her wrongness, and just the authentic heart that she has behind all the words that she said, and I really did appreciate everything that she shared, and just how open she was with, uh, with her struggles. She talked towards the end of the interview about just embracing your authentic self. And I just thought that was such a strong statement that she made in the way that she said it. So go back and give it a listen, we’re going to jump right into Carl Munger, Carl was the next guest on the show, he would have been episode three. And he so vividly painted the picture that so many veterans have when they punch out, especially folks that end up retiring and getting out at a very senior level. And just what that process and what that journey looks like, and some of the struggles and just the mental journey, that that can be so excited for you to listen.

Karl Monger  17:28

So one of the things that happens, and I hear it from a lot of veterans, when they either go to school or go to work in my case, I didn’t go to school because I already had a college degree. But I’m looking for I’m looking for meaningful employment I want. It’s funny, because I asked retiring Lieutenant Colonel the other day what he wanted to do, and he gave the exact same answer that I gave almost 30 years ago. And that was I want to make a difference. I don’t want to work in a cubicle and I want to be in control my own schedule. Well, then you probably better start your own business, because otherwise, you know, you’re gonna not have all of those, you’re gonna work in a cubicle, you’re not going to have control your schedule. And, you know, cool anyway, that was kind of funny that, that that attitude hasn’t changed, right? But so this company that I applied for, they came back and told me their human resource manager told me that they valued Initiative and the ability to think outside the box, and they didn’t want soldiers because all we knew how to do was March information and follow order. And it was, it was probably the most insulting thing anybody’s ever told me professionally. Because I could tell that gal, get out of your chair, I’ll come do your job. And I will do it better than you. I don’t even know what all it entails. And I will still do it better than you. And maybe that attitude was coming across as too arrogant, but I didn’t get the job. And and now I’m a little bit in panic mode, because I like said had two young kids. My wife at the time didn’t have a college degree. And so I was I was the one that was going to find a job that had health insurance because we didn’t have any kind of other thing to fall back on. And like a lot of veterans, I took the first job that was offered. To me that was decent. It wasn’t the same amount of pay that I had when I was in the military. It certainly was not the same level of authority and respect. And it was a very frustrating situation. And after a couple of years I was had to either quit or get fired. Because I was putting my head against the owners of the company. And fortunately for me, I had a veteran that reached out that took me under his wing and hired me to come work for him and dragged me kicking and screaming from the other company because it was moving into a field that I knew nothing about in a profession that I didn’t particularly have the highest regard for and it was doing sales. Right so construction equipment specifically. I didn’t know anything about it. I’d never driven a tractor I’d never had ever run a backhoe. And now he wants me to go out and represent this equipment in front of people that have done their whole life. And, and he said, you know, you’ve demonstrated in the military the ability to learn, and you have discipline and integrity. He said, well I can do is I can teach, you know, iron, I can teach you the sales skills. If you decide this is what you want to do, and you apply yourself to it, I will help you be successful. And so for the next almost 15 years, I worked for him and a couple of different companies left one other places a couple of times, and, and then he was one of the he was an Army veteran, but he was one of the ones that helped me come up with the initial concept of form galaxy. And, you know, it’s, if you have a veteran that is leaving the military going to college, there’s almost a parallel thing that happens. Because a lot of times the kids in the college class are way more immature than the veteran, they may only be separated by three or four years of age. But they’re separated by three or four generations, in terms of maturity. And so you got kids in the class that are screwing around, that don’t really care about learning, and you have a veteran there that is very concerned about their future and wants to make a difference. And they want to understand this material going forward, it becomes a situation that sometimes creates some conflict. And when there’s conflict in a situation like that the veterans going to lose, because they’re the crazy veteran with post traumatic stress. The other thing that happens sometimes, is that veteran doesn’t know what they want to do. When they get out, like the colonel that I mentioned, you I want to control my own schedule, I don’t want to work in a cubicle, and I want to make a difference. Okay, well go find a college degree that does that. No, it’s so so now you’re you’re really not sure what you want to do. But it’s hard to get a job, you don’t want to live at your parents. But hey, the GI Bill pays me enough money to rent apartment, I’m going to take classes, I’ll take general classes, easy classes, so I can get my GI Bill money. And then I’ll figure it out later. Well, three or four years down the road, the idols are running out, and they haven’t figured it out. So now they’ve just basically burned through four years of their life did not get an education. And now they’re back to ground zero. So it’s, it’s unfortunately, it’s all too common that that happens. And if they screw up along the way, they have interpersonal conflicts and class have to drop out whatever the VA will reach in your bank account and take that tuition money back without warning you. And, and so that can create some financial stress that that veteran doesn’t need at the time,

Aaron Spatz  22:45

Carl did such a great job articulating some of the scenarios a lot of veterans find themselves in, it’s clear that he has spent a lot of time talking with plenty of veterans in their own transitions and a lot of the mental anguish and issues that they face after transition. The last clip that I’m going to share with you from his interview, has a lot to do with finding your purpose on the outside, and how we saw some tie that just strictly into our service, because we’re service oriented people as military veterans, and how that can be very difficult to find on the outside. So he, he shares his perspective and some thoughts on how that whole journey takes place.

Karl Monger  23:25

It’s incongruent, for you to find your purpose and mission in your civilian occupation, unless you move into something that is like CIA or law enforcement. You know, if you’re still supporting and defending the Constitution, or you’re serving your community, then then that’s different that that can give you another sense of mission, like you had an altar. Lot of veterans don’t want to leave the military and go carry a gun. Or the things that have happened in the military don’t want them to be in a situation that an EMS or an EMT or somebody else might run into. So they’ll they’ll steer clear and go to something else. But so how do you recreate that sense of purpose and mission? Without that, then you’re you’re kind of floundering. And work becomes frustrating relationships become difficult. You feel like you’re you’re swimming 1000 miles an hour, but you’re not going anywhere. So you step back, and you got to identify if to separate what you do for a profession to make money. And what is your mission? Because in most cases, and if you think about the CIA or law enforcement, that that sense of purpose comes from serving something greater than yourself, right? You’re serving your country, you’re serving your community. When you’re selling up, or you’re selling mobile phones or you’re trying to become I don’t know an accountant or whatever that is that falls very short of purpose. But the money that you make at that job can provide you the resources you need to pursue your purpose. So if you, for instance, are drawn to animals volunteered in animal shelter, if you want to help people go to the Salvation Army, or a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter, find some way that you can get involved in your local area to help beings, they could be four legged beings or two legged beings that have worse off situation than yourself. That puts a lot of things into perspective. And it gives you that extra little fire when you have helped someone through something. And they turn to you and give you some sort of appreciation. Yes,

Aaron Spatz  25:46

corals entire episode was fantastic. And I really enjoyed the insights that he shared. My next guest was based on Morris, and he was a former Marine artillery officer. And he talks a lot about in this next clip about the decision to leave or decision to stay within the military and a little bit of the marital drama that ensued with that. So love for you take a listen.

Bezan Morris  26:12

Yeah, I was I was really lucky. My wife, Kimberly, we’ve been married for at least 17 years, this October. And, you know, when I started talking about getting out, we had only been married less than a year. And, you know, she, you know, of course, you know, as my partner is my wife as my, you know, my companion in this journey. I asked her so what do you think, what, what should I do? Right? Like, give me the answers. I’m struggling with this. And she told me, she said, I can’t answer that. I knew what I got into when we were dating, when we were engaged, like, I know what I signed up for. And I never want you to turn around, you know, 1520 30 years later and say, Well, I got out because of my wife or I stayed in because of my wife. She said, You know, this is this is one of those decisions that no matter what, I’m going to be along for the ride. And I really appreciated that as I you know, at the time, I was very frustrating as a young married couple, you know, like, I’m asking your opinion, you know, right. Now, she, she refused to do it. And to this day, like even now, I’ll ask her, you know, seriously, what would you have thought and she said, like, either way I was on board. Either way we were we were going to go through this together.

Aaron Spatz  27:32

This next clip, if you haven’t listened to his episode is really going to get you as he tells a story. I keep thinking to myself that it’s gonna get better. And it just continues to get worse. And you really want to listen to this whole episode for full context. But I would love for you to listen, because it’s a very impactful, very heartfelt story that he goes through in the middle of a pretty crazy time.

Bezan Morris  27:57

First job I had I built home, I was a system project manager with Toll Brothers, which is a luxury homebuilder. And you’re thinking things are going really well did that for about a year and enjoyed it kind of saw felt like something was off. This was now 2005 Going into 2006. And of course, you know, the housing bubble was starting to burst in Phoenix. And it was one of those places that got hit really hard. So in oh six, I decided you know what I’m going to get out of the housing business. And I went into commercial and built the relationship with a general contractor, and went over to Turner Construction. I worked as a engineer and Superintendent on some projects with them for the next three years. And really liked it really, really liked that piece. Three years later, so this or not even two years later, just shy of my three year mark, and this will come into play in a minute. Why? Why I remember this. In October 2009. Of course, we’re going through the credit crisis, you had the crash of oh eight housing market. Phoenix was one of those areas that got hit really hard. You know, we don’t necessarily talk about it. But as the economy slowed during that time, the housing market burst the commercial construction market first, just as much. So the commercial firm that I was with, which, you know, at one point had like 7580 people, I got like go in October of 2009 when we were down until like the 40s. You know, there’s a number of people that were still employed at that branch. So that hit really hard. And the reason I remember it’s so well, is that it was my anniversary my three year anniversary would have been November 15. Or yet November 15 2009. I got let go October 1 2009 just shy of my three year anniversary and our 401 K vested 100% at the three year anniversary Oh, man. And I remember, I mean, just starting my career at the time, tsp was just starting as I was transitioning out, so I had no other savings. And I remember asking, I’m like, I’m looking at the division VP. And I’m saying, like, can you at least let me keep my 401k like, let me keep all that money. It’s like, I’m sorry, I don’t, I don’t control. That was his exact words, I don’t control that. So you’re letting me go. Two weeks after my daughter’s first birthday, I’m losing half of my retirement savings. And the best you can say is I just can’t control that, that’s, that’s outside of my scope. Like, again, kind of a kind of a screw you moment. Or a number of reasons. So So, and that was a really dark time. And I and I talked about this, and sometimes it still brings up a lot of emotion for my wife and I, but you know, October, so again, I get let go. And I go home, and we’ve got no saving absolutely none. We were living paycheck to paycheck, we, I lost half of my 401k. So even if I needed to just pull out of that money, I couldn’t, there was, you know, half as much that was in there. We bought a house. So Andrew, of course, we bought it in 2006, when the market was super hot, and everyone was Oh, you got to buy you got to buy, I’m paying way too much for it. The house we bought was just under 300,000. I short sold it in 2010 or 149,050% of the mortgage on that house. And not only were we broke, but in that span of those first couple years of being out, I had actually amassed 66, zero $1,000 in credit card debt. Holy cow. So I was in a bad place. The lowest point for me and I share this because there were so many mistakes along the way that if I had just made a couple of different decisions, this never would have happened. So I hope your listeners really like take it from the guy who experienced this, like my lowest point was going into a Walmart in November of 2009. And it had a desert schools, better desert schools Credit Union, which was our local little bank, I went into that bank with savings bonds that my parents had got me when I was five. And I want to say they were 30 years savings bonds. They didn’t mature yet. And I had to go in and cash in those bonds. And I remember the girl Her name was Maria. He looked across the counter and said Sir, these bonds haven’t matured. And I said I need money for groceries. Like cash out the bonds. I understand that cash out the bond. And that was a blow like, let’s recap right? straight A student four plus GPA in high school, you know, President of this vice president of the class, you know, scholar Most Likely to Succeed like all these things. Naval Academy graduate, you know, this fine institution and went into the Marine Corps. So successful Marine Corps officer right, got the awards left, you know, that maybe comms and all that fun stuff. And here I am just a couple years later, brake and scared. With no way out, right? Totally, totally broken at that point. Got the cash for that savings bomb, went out in the parking lot and cried my eyes out for an hour. Oh, my gosh, that in that parking lot, just a completely broken person. And it was it was the worst moment of my life.

Aaron Spatz  34:25

An absolutely crazy and incredible story. And you’ve absolutely got to listen to his episode to see how the rest of it ends because it was an amazing story. He truly is just a remarkable person. And I’ve loved to see how he’s endured and overcome and he’s got such a great attitude. And so you’ll learn more about what he’s doing today, but he’s a financial advisor. And he has gone through some life man if you couldn’t tell and so I love the insights and things that he shared. I wish I could have shared more with you in this recap, but Gotta keep going. So please go back and listen to his episode for complete context. The next guest I had on the show was chip Neilan. Chip shares an incredible story about his time overseas as a former military advisor, embedded with a foreign military when he served in Afghanistan, so we get to hear a lot about his perspective on the war and how he dealt with the lack of certainty and lack of clarity in the direction that the war in Afghanistan was going. Our

Maurice “Chipp” Naylon  35:33

mission was defending Bagram Airfield, we were inside and outside the wire security for Bagram up in Poland province, big, big airbase up there. And we were in Afghanistan at a fairly unique time, which led to a lot of the stress, frustration and anger that comes out in my book, in that we were there as 2014 World 2015, which was the end of the i staff mission and the beginning of the Resolute Support Mission. 2014 rules 2015 and quote, unquote, combat operations are over. I say, quote, unquote, and that nothing changed in our day to day threat reality from December 31 2014 to January 1 2015, we still had to stop rocket attacks on the base, we still had to deal with IDs, while out on control. But we’d walk into this make believe world where we lie to ourselves, everything’s changed, we’re no longer in combat, which was just that a lie. Because for the guys on the ground, all that false narrative did was I hand behind our backs where we still had to conduct our same mission, we just had to do it in a way that made it appear as if US and coalition troops were no longer conducting combat operations. And it led to increasingly more and more stress, anger and frustration about the general situation. And really, what it boiled down to is the question, why are we here? I never want got a clear answer from anyone from civilian to the four star general in charge of combat operations in Afghanistan, of what is the overarching purpose, we are seeking to achieve with our military needs. And as you’re responsible for sending your your friends, your fellow Marines, out on patrol on ops on a daily basis, without any clear justification for the harm, you’re putting them out into. I personally slowly lost my mind. And what I settled on was our overarching objective is bring the Marines are left and right formalized. Because when there’s nothing in terms of overarching political objectives that have been defined, we Marines need to create our own purpose or our own overarching objective. And for me, it boiled down to, for him to do is our left and right normal life. This isn’t Okay, send troops into harm’s way without a frank and open debate at the elected official level of what are the objectives of this military force? And in the level of force we’ve committed to achieve those objectives?

Aaron Spatz  38:44

And that’s a discussion that you feel like,

Maurice “Chipp” Naylon  38:47

never happened. Yeah, I think it’s a discussion that the Congress has been able to fully plant. Post 911. Authorization for US military force allows us to go after bin Laden and those people associated with them, that leads to going after the Taliban modified 2002. Now it’s going after down the Seine, completely unrelated to the 911 attacks. Fast forward 18 years. The legislature Congress has now given the executive branch a blank check for military operations, because frankly, it’s out of sight out of mind. Most representatives, senators when they go home, aren’t in town halls, getting pestered about US military actions overseas health care, the economy in it and things that reasonably do affect people’s day to day lives. But it’s out of sight out of mind, and an all volunteer force. I just don’t think there’s the political will. For congressmen to stand up and say, enough is enough. We have got to revoke this blank check this authorization for the use of military force that has given the executive branch free rein in terms of conducting military operations.

Aaron Spatz  40:08

Chip was a true delight to have on the show. I loved his personality. But I also loved his perspective, and the way that he thinks through problems, and he thinks through it from the macro level. So it was really a pleasure to welcome him onto the show. I enjoy hearing about his experiences in Afghanistan and the questions that he posed and the answers that he did not get, and really just how he just wants to know, what the heck are we doing? And what is the overarching theme here? What are we trying to actually get done? And how the answer never was really made clear. And so in the absence of a solid answer, it now just becomes, hey, let’s get our guys back home safe. And so I just loved hearing his story, this next segment that you’re going to listen to, he hammers home. Another point that is a common theme throughout this entire season, which is finding your purpose and understand what your purpose is, and so would love for you to listen to his perspective on this important problem.

Maurice “Chipp” Naylon  41:09

I think, similar to a lot of veterans, there’s that sense of lost purpose. And something that’s helped me a ton personally, is volunteering. I’ve gotten involved with the local chapter, the Travis Manion Foundation, which is an absolutely outstanding veteran run charity that does a ton to empower both veterans, and work and mentor youth and local communities. And that’s been a phenomenal opportunity to continue with a sense of purpose because I certainly fell victim to the My life’s going fine. At surface level, everything’s good, enjoying things but that lack of purpose, camaraderie, greater sense of mission and, and volunteering with with tribesman is helped a ton in that respect.

Aaron Spatz  42:10

Ships advice in this next clip sounds eerily similar to the advice of other guests. So I think it’s just worth noting the theme here,

Maurice “Chipp” Naylon  42:20

get involved with something. And that’s it, get involved with something bigger than yourself. And, and the awesome thing about it is not signing a contract. It’s not like you’re enlisting for a four year contract. If you go and get involved with a local charitable organization, VFW, American Legion, whatever it is, just something greater than yourself, you go your eyes, a this isn’t really dived on personalities, not for me, that’s fine, try something new. But you’ve given it a shot and just keep working towards finding something that’s bigger than yourself, that continued sense of service. It it just helps pull you from that sense of kind of nothingness and lack of direction, whatever that thing is that gives you that passion. Find it. And whether it’s a local charity, veteran organization, I mean, tons of them exist. But just get involved with something. We all have anger, frustration, feelings we’re coping with, get them out. So buried inside, whatever your way of sharing this, make sure your voice is heard. Whether that’s just talking to friends and family writing, journaling, blogging, just don’t bury those emotions, bring them out and address them with somebody and tackle them. But make sure your voice is heard.

Aaron Spatz  43:53

truly enjoyed chips perspective, and especially on getting out the emotions and the things that you’re feeling, especially if you’re a veteran that’s dealt with some pretty significant issues. It doesn’t matter how significant you think they may be or insignificant they may be. If it’s important to you, it’s important enough to deal with and and to end to bring out and to get some help to talk with somebody. It doesn’t have to be necessarily in a professional setting. You could just be calling a friend. And and just sharing your heart with somebody and the things that you’re going through. The next guest I had on the show was Grammy Award winning reggae artists Shaggy, here’s a lot of fun to have on the program. went through a lot of his childhood, his entry into the Marine Corps, some of the stuff that he did prior to and his musical journey and some of the things that really shaped him and it became very apparent pretty quickly into the part of the interview that actually got aired was just how much the Marine Corps impacted him how much the military impacted him and in his life, and what that’s meant to him all the way through his journey that’s now spanned multiple decades. So excited for you to listen to this.

Shaggy  45:04

I think being in Marines, it’s once you stepped on those yellow footprints, you know, you have three, you put into a platoon, and you have three basic training three moms and dads screaming at you all day. That’s true. And then literally shaping your life with discipline. And it’s what was so amazing to me out of the whole experience of Parris Island, when was the last day before your graduation when he may wake up in the middle of the night and sit down and have that pep talk with you. I don’t know if that happened for you. But it did happen for our platoon. And when does when the drill instructors stop screaming, sit down and just have a conversation, say, guys, you know, all of this is for your benefit.

Aaron Spatz  45:59

This next clip, we get to see just how crazy and impulsive of decision it was for him to join the military. And we also get a little bit of insight into his home life, and the relationship that he had with his mother. And just a little bit of insight as to how that upbringing affected him. And what that meant for him as as he left,

Shaggy  46:20

because I didn’t do much research about it was very impulsive, I just knew I was at a place that I couldn’t see where I was growing, I couldn’t hold a job I went, everybody was just going to get a job. I spent one day at Baskin Robbins and let the next day I was like, Okay, I can’t do it. I couldn’t, I couldn’t, I couldn’t have a boss. I couldn’t make our ad no disciplined enough to do that. You know, I was in a household, I never had chores, I never knew life. And I’m saying me, so I didn’t. I wasn’t I wasn’t raised with certain values. And certain things, you know, my mom just wasn’t that type of person. She only had one child. So people, you know, they’re good at other things. You know, I mean, you know, one of my hardest lessons is, is when people around you’re not growing as fast as you and you have to make that cut. And a lot of time you made those cuts, and those people have families and your hearts decisions that you have to make, and you have to make them because in time of war, there’s their decision that a seal or an XO, you know, got to make. That might be some of the harshest decisions that you got to make to get the job done.

Aaron Spatz  47:35

In this next clip, we see how he measure success, and how he measures the impact that he has, and what that means to him.

Shaggy  47:44

I was asked this question really good. How do I measure my success? And do I measure my success with accolades? Or do I measure my success with with the amount of money that I have? And I said, I mentioned like, my, my success with how impactful I have been to other people’s lives? Do I’m saying, oh, yeah, I remember what me writing these songs. I remember when even when my hotshot album, there was 11 people that bought their homes, and started their life that were young people. Wow, you know, I see people going to colleges and raise their kids out of songs that are three minutes compositions that ever. So I have come impacted people’s lives in so many positive ways that to me, that is the measure of my success. You know, and in finding my passion, that is where it is, it’s that pursuit of happiness, you know, that pursuit of bliss. And they will have to find that, whatever it is that they really like doing, that benefits others, because they might be things that you really like doing that benefit only you, right? Which is, which is no good. It’s not to be confused with the thing that you like to do that just dedicate you for the thing that you’re passionate about that benefits the world. Right benefits others. And that’s your path.

Aaron Spatz  49:26

His episode was a lot of fun. So I hope you go back and listen to the whole thing. But I really liked his perspective on doing things that benefit others, not just yourself, and how it’s important to tie your passion in the things that you’re really gifted at and how to do that in a way that can impact as many people as possible. So I really enjoyed his, his particular episode with me, and I would encourage you to go back and listen. The next guest that we had on the show was herb Thompson. He is a former Army veteran. And we had a lot of really fun discussion related to transition and so his own stories related to his journey within the Army. But no, I

Karl Monger  50:07

think that’s important. And I think, I don’t think just veterans, they struggle with that they just like, they started a job because that’s the job they’re in. And then that’s who they are. And they don’t want to be in it, but they don’t know what else to do. And they, you know, I think a lot of that is just knowing who you are being comfortable with who you are. And really owning that. And through that, you know, it takes a takes some guts, you know, if you’re wanting to walk around with purple hair, and a nose ring, and, you know, be on TV, okay, you just got to own it. A lot of people are kind of afraid, sometimes whether it’s social pressure, family pressure, just self, a lot of times, it’s self imposed hurdles, that prevent people from doing things. And if you just bust through them, then life becomes a little easier to get to where you want to go. And then again, nobody, very few people do things alone, like look at Bill Gates, you know, started Microsoft, oh, my guy successful, but then you look back at the picture. Now there’s like 910 other people, I forget the number around, when they were putting it together, nobody gets anywhere on their own. So the more you talk with people, you understand, you’re not the only one struggling or you’re not the only one. That’s figuring yourself out. But it starts helping you to just help the talk and be like, Oh, wow, though, that was a dumb idea. Maybe I shouldn’t do that. You know? And then just like, oh, no, that is a great idea. And you know, we’ll tell you, it’s good idea, well, then maybe you’re onto something or where you’re going or, you know, what, again, you just got to be able to filter all that because like, for me, I had 2000 informational interviews, I just kept seeking out to gain information. Because knowledge is power, more information to have, the better informed, I can make my decision. But if I believed every word of everybody said, you know, somebody was contradictory. Some people are like, Oh, you need to go into banking. I’m like, the ones I talked to about five people, I realized I was not going to go into bank. So I was just like, hey, what, how does what they’re telling me actually apply to me? What can I take from it, and learn from this experience or this conversation and then apply it to myself. And then my thing has always been, I’m going to give it back. On the back end, once I figure myself on. That’s what I tell people that I help and talk with a mentor is just, I don’t need nothing from you just give back up the next guy or gal in line

Aaron Spatz  52:20

2000 informational interviews, is a ton of interviews. So I can only imagine the wealth of knowledge that he amassed during all those different interviews from a wide variety of different industries. And so that in and of itself is incredibly fascinating to me, that this next clip talks about selling yourself and how, as military veterans, oftentimes we don’t do a very good job of selling ourselves and understanding what really connects to a civilian employer. One is

Karl Monger  52:51

accepting that what I did in the military is I did you know, I earned it, it wasn’t we wasn’t on us, even though it is, you know, it’s a big team. But you know, nobody’s hiring the team, nobody’s hiring your platoon or squad, company, whatever organization, you want to call the military, they’re hiring you, right? Or they’re admitting you to the, you know, graduate program, this tuition for an undergrad degree, in some cases, you have to sell you. And that is something we’re not really used to do and is so on us. Because a lot of times what we were already uniform, our reputation, the schools we’ve been through in the military, the positions we held that sold, and we just walked in, and we took charge and, you know, it was it was positions where, okay, we think you have the potential to do this position. So we put you in a deal and a lot of times, and the civilian side is we’re not looking for the potential that could be the graduate school. And it’s like, yeah, they are looking for all you have potential to do this job, they want to know you can do this job. A lot of times that’s harder to show, especially the first hurdle, guys and gals transitioning out of the military right away. A lot of times we can sell ourselves short too. So there’s that fine you know, there’s a gap there going selling ourselves short and just reaching too far to where we’re overextended and we’re not going to get the position or get into a certain program. So finding that medium and sometimes you got to fail to find that. Sometimes you just got to put yourself out there but there’s definitely I think a lot of times photography like myself, you know, parasites got hacked, I did a summer school in ninth grade of high school, got my degree online and are applying to Ivy League graduate business schools. Now part of that was because a lot of it was selling my brand selling the brand of the Greenbrae and what the my skills and capabilities experiences were and then what I was going to do afterwards but you know, that was a reach but I thought it was within a it was at the top of product I was reaching quite far but doable from having talked with people I wasn’t the norm they were looking for that was on the graduate school side and then same for jobs but You know what jobs, they’re not putting a class of 300 together how many institution is there, they’re putting one person in this one job. So you got to do a lot more, like I said, with knowing yourself, what what is the value you’re going to bring to them, because that’s why they’re hired.

Aaron Spatz  55:14

This final clip, he shares with us the importance of seeking help, and how people really can’t read your mind. And that if you do need help, reach out not to be afraid. And just some of his own parting thoughts.

Karl Monger  55:26

There are so many people that want to help, hey, there’s 70 million veterans in the US, you know, give or take a lot of them. People have never served want to help but they don’t know. Unless you say something. Or even if help is just to have a conversation helps not going to be Hello, here’s your job, though there, you know, you’ll find somebody like that. But a lot of times you just have a conversation to know you’re not going through it alone. You’re not the only one, let’s be real over 200,000 servicemembers exit the military every year, you’re not the only one, if you’re struggling, you’re not the only one. And you’re probably not the first person to have whatever problem you’re having. Because so many people, you know, exit the military. So people want to help them, you know, there’s an abundance of resources. But nobody knows unless you say it, because not many people are coming knocking on your door going, Hey, we’re here to help you because we know you’re struggling. Or we know you know, it looks okay. But today’s not the, you know, the best day for it, let’s pick you up. That just doesn’t happen in life. So you gotta you got to let people know. And that’s okay. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to talk to some folks that gained some knowledge that that’s okay, that’s a sign of strength to gain that knowledge.

Aaron Spatz  56:43

And with that, that takes us to the end of part one of our season one recap. So I hope you really enjoyed getting to hear and see just a quick taste and some of the highlights of the first half of season one. I would encourage you if there’s episodes, you haven’t listened to go back and listen to them. And some of these may jog your memory. I’ve found a lot of times I’ll go back and I’ll listen to an episode again. And I’ll find and I’ll, I’ll end up pulling other information out of it that I didn’t the first time through. So next week, we’re going to finish season one completely. And we will be doing this exact same thing with the remainder of our season one episodes before we completely close it out. So make sure that you’re subscribed, because season two is going to come out swinging hard, and I’m excited to have you join me on that journey. But I’ll talk more about that next week. Until then, I’ll see you next time.

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