The road of recovery is different for everyone. There is no way to know what will happen, how you will feel coming into different situations, or even knowing if what you are doing will work for you. Much is the same for starting a business. There is a risk, uncertainty, and possible utter failure around every corner. So why do we even do it?
I think for most of us we want the recovery or the business because we want to make something better. In recovery, we want to try to make ourselves better. We want to feel a certain way and we conclude that what we are doing now is not working. Sometimes to get to this point, we are waking up from yet another hangover, or engaging in super risky behavior with others, or even hurting ourselves to strengthen the idea that real pain is felt on the outside to justify the pain that is deep within us that no one can see.
When starting a business, we are in control of our future to the point we will work for ourselves. We are no longer told what to do, where to be or how to dress. We want to create something to fill a gap we see that no one else does or we do it because we are wanting to be better for ourselves and for others. Sure, there is no control in the markets, whether or workers, but to say this is mine, this is MY business, gives that sense of ownership that maybe we can’t achieve within ourselves.
As I started my recovery journey, the idea of business ownership wasn’t even a sight on my life map. Although looking back I think this destiny for myself isn’t too farfetched as I have had many different employments in the past.
I found myself in 5 different employments in 7 years.
Looking back at the pattern of behavior and in an attempt to evaluate myself, I am always searching for something I feel is missing. If you have this feeling, you know what I am writing about. A feeling that what you are doing now is not what you are meant to do.
Your days are filled with wonder and dissatisfaction for various reasons, so you look for different employment options thinking the job is what needs to change.
I would like to state that I feel each employment opportunity I had the privilege of obtaining has been a wonderful growth opportunity. Each one I felt I learned something new about myself that helped give me the confidence to look for something that fits my goals and desires. However, as I recap my life in this blog, what I was doing was looking at the outward experience in my life thinking that would satisfy my inner search for peace.
As I started my employment endeavors, I was broken on the inside. After being struck with shrapnel from an Improvised Exploding Device while serving in the US Army, a part of me broke for reasons hard to explain.
I feel as a soldier you are imprinted with ideas of heroism and ideas, like for me, being a personified GI Jane. I believed in my own personal fable and when you are suddenly struck down, this disruption in belief can be hard on our ego and consciousness.
Our personal fable is a belief held by many, telling you that you are special and unique, so much so that none of life’s difficulties or problems will affect you regardless of your behavior. Those of us who don’t overcome our personal fable tendencies are the ones most at risk for the dangers of the invincibility myth. The invincibility myth is a type of thought pattern that is noted most frequently in teenagers, which was me when I was serving in the war, I was 19.
It is an egocentric way of thinking that is characterized by a belief in indestructibility; you won’t be hurt (or killed) by engaging in risky behaviors. I guess signing up for the US Army with impending war with Iraq might fit into this right?
This is part of why teenagers do things that others consider foolishly dangerous or even stupid.
This is believed to be partially caused by the incomplete development of the frontal lobe of the brain which controls and mediates the understanding of consequences. Some researchers believe that the personal fable doesn’t end at adolescence but is given the extension into “emerging adulthood” and these invincibility notions stretch out for years.
So while my younger self believed I was a warrior of sorts, I was stripped down to the nakedness of my being without any knowledge of how to be more than what I believed to be.
In some theories, I would state this caused my Post Traumatic Stress. I believed so strongly what I thought I was when that wasn’t the case, I struggled with letting that go?
However, when starting a business, I would like to argue that you need to have a personal fable to get yourself started. Although seen by some as a prerequisite for adulthood, a personal fable tendency may also facilitate the taking of appropriate risks, motivate psychological separation from those who drag us down, and provide the resources for us to explore new ideas, identities, roles, and tasks.
Thus creating a pathway for some of us who hold onto this “lack of maturity” as some may say, to take those steps and preserve dreaming into action. Making the decision to start a business is as massive as making the decision to seek recovery, but the decision will only get you so far.
As for me, deciding to reach out to WWP gave me the first steps to start my path but figuring out what recovery method would work for me was something I had to take day by day.
When starting a business, I was less sure about where to begin. Honestly, I googled Veteran Business Startup and was given many resources to select from.
I wanted to stay local and was selected on Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program to see how they could assist me. VBOC is a one-stop shop for service members, veterans, and military spouses looking to start, purchase, or grow a business. VBOC provides training workshops, including Boots to Business and Boots to Business Reboot programs, as well as business development assistance such as training, advising and mentoring, and resource referrals.
This site is filled with tons of information and can be overwhelming. In many ways I am old school, I like to have a person walk me through the process, so I found the contact person for my region and found the Veterans Business Outreach Center of the Dakotas.
I was able to connect with an advisor relatively quickly and had a phone conversation with her regarding my plan of action and where I am at with my process.
I was given many steps on what to do next and other resources to connect with. I didn’t so much like that everything I did was via email or phone calls. I feel I have less accountability toward my goals when I am just emailing them or discussing them over the phone. also sometimes felt I was just a client of the program. After a phone conversation with my advisor, I didn’t get the responses she reported she would give me weeks after the date that was given, and when I didn’t prompt information, I felt like I was forgotten.