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Active Duty lifestyle and small business ownership

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After nearly 14 years of active service, I feel I have gone through many of the ups and downs that the active military lifestyle has. I have moved more times than I recall at this moment. I have sailed on ship, I have been in the dirt with my Marines, I have attended schools, led Sailors, and deployed. I even spent time stationed at a hospital. Through these events I have managed to be promoted a handful of times, received personal awards for accomplishments, achieved qualifications, and helped saved a life or two. As a man during these same times I married a beautiful and insightful woman, grew personally, flourished in friendships, and even bought a home. Oh yea, started a business too.

I talked before about choices (in a previous post). I can't say I will never regret any of my choices or in some cases missed opportunities. I can say this though, nothing comes easy. Nothing worth having anyway.  My choices made me who I am and to some people, that might be an inspiration and to others a rough amalgamation of a functional adult. I did make decisions though, I didn't muddle. In my experience, particularly operational medicine, not making a choice is worse than making the wrong one. I once had a junior Sailor teach me that inadvertently during a training evolution. When faced with circumstances on a simulated patient, he froze. The details on the patient are long forgotten, as is the Sailor's face. But the lesson took hold.  

His base knowledge was present as well as his ability to save the fake patient. When he was faced with options, its possible his mind became overloaded for a few moments and its possible he was too shocked to think clearly in the immediate. The military drills into us prep and muscle memory. This was the purpose of his training, is he doing what was taught? Can he solve the problem with the best possible outcome. In this young Sailor's case, he did. Not without struggle and some simulated discomfort for the patient. What mattered is he saved someone.

When we did our hot-wash (military jargon for post-event discussion), I expressed my satisfaction that the patient survived. I also brought a lesson out of it, this Corpsman struggled for a few moments to find his footing and make a choice about his patient and how best to treat. His indecision did not cost a human life, but it could have. So I told him, we train for this stuff; look before you touch and that some action is better than no action. Finding a bleed, getting vital signs, dropping an IV, these were all things that are second nature. Plagued with indecision he didn't do anything (until of course we coached him to take a breath and move forward).

I struggle too, most days. I sometimes find myself wondering what I could have done better or if I missed a better choice or if maybe I'm on the right track at all. All this brings me to the point.

What am I doing with myself? Am I making timely choices? Am I progressing?

I was at a friend's retirement this week. After 24 years of faithful service to a nation and brothers in arms, its ends suddenly. But does it? Maybe for some. I started this company early enough in my career in the military so I can learn and grow alongside it. Build something good and do good with it. And I mean do good. I look at The Mission Continues and Team Rubicon. Those are veteran organizations that are not for the purposes of self, but others. I have said before- others before self and that's how I feel about 72by73.

My goal is to create better products with dependable gear that can be relied upon when its a "no-shit, I need this" scenario. But that's only a small part of the business. I have thrown up my hands in failure as many times trying to figure out small business as I have in the Navy. 

I help folks, its what I do. I'm just moving forward as the clock ticks by, closer and closer to retirement. Working toward my goals, making mistakes, and learning. With a little bit of luck and a lot more learning I will turn 72by73 into something you are proud of, something I am proud of, and something good.

Hold fast. We will weather the rough seas.