By Brian Gilb:
On the surface, it was the most uneventful day of my entire life. But in actuality, it was the most significant day of my life.
I walked into the office and sat down at my desk. I heard light clicking from neighboring computer stations, Marines walking the hall and discussing preparations of an operation, and the distant yelling of an ass chewing of a Lance Corporal by a Master Sergeant. It was a regular Wednesday in garrison.
I cleared off my desk and began to throw away some of the papers from previous meetings. I packed some of my personal belongings into one of my bags and wiped down some of the dust that settled behind my computer. My hands wandered on to a draft of my business plan I’d been working for weeks. I looked at it for a moment when Master Sergeant Bilups turned the corner into my cubicle.
“Hey Sir, is today your last day?” she gleamed.
“Yes it is. I start terminal leave tomorrow,” I said. She moved forward and shook my hand with a smile. I couldn’t help but to feel elated at the sound of ‘terminal leave’ escaping into the air. I couldn’t wait to start my new life.
“What you got planned? Have a job lined up?” I looked down at the business plan in my hand, then back up at her.
“Well… No actually. I am going to try and start my own business.”
“Wow Sir that’s great! What kind of business?”
“An eBook publishing company. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”
At that moment the elation I felt was wiped away with a thought of uncertainty. Was I really going to do this? How in the world am I going to pull this off? Should I just get a regular job? What if it doesn’t work? Maybe I should have just tried to find a job instead.
“That’s awesome sir. I can’t think of anything better than going after what you‘re passionate about,” She said. She offered more salutations and walked off back to her desk.
I sat in my chair for a moment and contemplated my situation. It was my last day as an officer, a day before my civilian life. I had no plans for getting a job, and only a dream on a few pieces of paper for how I wanted to accomplish it. I became overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty. And a very profound question rang clearly in my head:
Am I passionate about starting my own business?
Transitioning out of the military is an emotional event within itself. Combine that with the idea of starting your own business and it becomes exponentially more stressful. If you are a Veteran and seeking to start your own business, don’t worry. These feelings are normal.
Two pieces of advice…One: if your gut says its right, then its right. That fear will help you shape how you will go about it. As long as you have passion for what you want to do, then you know you are going in the right direction.
Two: if you are at this point and going into terminal leave, take some time off and give yourself a little bit of a break. Once you start getting your business off the ground, you’ll find that you are just as engaged in your new business as you were while in the service.
So relax for a while and prepare yourself, and enjoy the feeling of completing active duty.