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The military helped me in life in far more ways than I initially thought it would. It even helped me grow my business. You don’t need to join the military to learn the skills I did.
The military sponsored me throughout college and university. If it wasn’t for an injury, I would have been through officer training and be in the military right now. Well, maybe I would have left by now (we are talking 15 years ago) but I wouldn’t be on the career journey that I’m currently on.
I don’t regret anything that happened with the military. I couldn’t control it, so what is there to regret? There are times that I wonder “what if,” but don’t we all?
All wasn’t lost with the injury. I’ve still had the experience of the military lifestyle, being on military exercise, and trying to juggle jobs, university work, and a social life all at the same time. If it wasn’t for that training, I don’t think I’d be so successful in juggling my time between freelancing, part-time studying, raising a baby, and spending time with family and friends now.
The military has really set me up for life.
How the military helped me grow my business
1. Sticking to deadlines: Deadlines are so important in the military. When someone gives you a time to be somewhere, you have to be there. In fact, being on time is still being late—there’s a five-minute rule where you have to be five minutes early for everything!
This has helped me with freelancing, where deadlines are just as important. To build trust with clients, I need to hand in work on time and not let something at home affect me. The only time I’ve had to speak to a client about an extension was when there was a complete power cut in the area for a couple of days due to a storm, even the McDonalds didn’t have power!
2. Taking the initiative: There are times that my clients don’t know what they want to do. I have to look into what they want to gain and then suggest ideas and options.
The military really helped me with this skill. Since the plan was to go through officer training, taking the initiative was essential. I would have to pick a route on a map to take, make a decision for an attack formation and choose the people who would do certain jobs.
3. Working as a team: Some clients have a group of writers. When one becomes unreliable, I’ve become the person they turn to so the work is completed on time.
Being part of a team is so important in the military. I wasn’t always leading a group of people—I would have to take orders and just be part of the squad with someone else leading us. I would have to volunteer for duties and stand in when someone couldn’t do something. It became part of my personality to help out when necessary and be a team player.
4. Planning my day: Trying to fit in university work and deadlines around military exercises wasn’t easy. I would have to plan my days and make sure I was prepared for an assessment, especially when I wouldn’t have the weekend before to finish it off.
This is something that I still need to do now. I have to make sure I work when I can, even when my children were napping when they were babies. I have to make sure long projects are split up over a series of days so they’re not left to the last minute. Without the skills from the military, I think business enhancement would have been so much harder to learn and I’d have probably taken on way too much work in my earlier career.
What life skills have you learned in the past that can help you now? What are you struggling with to grow your business? Share in the comments below.