2 Ways Being a Veteran Marine Prepared Me for Entrepreneurship

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Marines are known for being some of the toughest members of the military.  We have a vast reputation of hard-asses that precede us: Chesty Puller, Gunny from Full-Metal Jacket, and don’t forget, our beloved Saint of War: Secretary of Defense General Maddog Mattis.  

The honor, courage, and commitment that we learned in boot camp stays with us so severely that we truly believe that “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” and we carry that moto our entire lives.  

First, I must address the elephant in the room, you’re probably thinking, “She was a Marine?!?” I may not have the look, the high and tight, or the war cry, but I do still have the heart and dedication of a Marine even 15 years later.

As you know, being an entrepreneur is tough.  The journey to become self-sufficient and live a life where your success depends only on what you bring to the table and nothing else… now that’s hard.  And since I didn’t have an entrepreneur bone in my body up until a few years ago, I have depended on the internal strength and skills I learned in the Marine Corps to get me through.

1. I know I can do anything!!  Really, anything.

People think that Marine Recruits get dropped off at MCRD, get a 50 pound pack slung on their backs and immediately begin marching 20 miles a day.  Sorry to burst your insanely dramatic view of Marines, but that’s not the way it works.

In every physical or mental skill we learn, we always start with a small step and build up slowly.  

Our first run is only a mile. We slowly work up to our regular 3-mile runs.  

Each daily task is used to teach something or instill a skill.  No movement or task is wasted without including a teachable moment.  

This build-up of skills makes us Marines know that there is not anything that we can’t do.  We learned how to break large goals into smaller chunks and build upon them with daily habits. This habit and use of strategic growth are vital to being an entrepreneur.  

2. Confidence... or more accurate: arrogance

Before my time in service, I was so shy that I visibly shook and almost cried each time I spoke in front of more than just close friends.  Now after, I have the confidence that can fill a room. I don’t need to be the center of attention, but I do exude confidence.

Knowing your strengths is a good thing.  Being confident that you are the best because you know that it will take quite a lot to allow yourself to fail is the kind of determination we entrepreneurs must have.  

It is like one of those epic scenes at the end of movies where the good guy keeps stepping forward and fighting until the fight is completely over.  It will take that amount of resistance to stop me. I will overcome all obstacles and resistance because I know I have in the past and I will again…. Every time.

I gained that confidence only by achieving goals I would have never imagined. I learned how to break down mountain-sized goals and celebrating small victories.  And ultimately, I gained that confidence by not giving up no matter how impossible the task and succeeding beyond all odds.

Sounds exactly like my life as an entrepreneur.   


JESSICA L. MOODY

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Jessica L. Moody is a Course and Program Consultant and a proud Veteran Marine. With her MA in Education, BA in Literature, 5 years as a secondary English teacher, and 10 years of experience in curriculum development, she has learned how to help entrepreneurs create successful online course curriculum, in-person workshops, or full teaching or speaking programs that build true connections and life-long clients.