On July 13, 1987, I reported to boot camp at United States Army Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. At 22, I was older than 95% of my fellow recruits, and with a few years of college, that meant squad leadership instantly.
Fort Leonard Wood, or more affectionately known as Fort Lost In The Woods, is very hot in late summer, averaging 100 or more degrees daily. Nine weeks of training, not sleeping, designed and intentional harrassment and running. We ran everywhere. In full gear. When we weren’t in standing sleep or front and leaning rest positions.
Two significant experiences from boot camp have marked the rest of my life. First, when the Drill Sergeant came into our bay and told us, just prior to our first General Officer inspection, that “every damned human puts their pants on the same f^#@ing way”. Since then, I’ve been able to talk to anyone, from the Certified Master Chef/VP Operations of Smith Meats, to the homeless elderly lady begging for a sleeping bag. It doesn’t matter who you are – we’ve got conversation to have.
The second experience was more profound. Running. Day in and day out. In formation. While singing at the top of your lungs. Pushing through mile after mile in the Missouri heat.
When I contemplated this post, I spent some time searching for an old cadence – “I’m a steamroller, baby”. I’ve been thinking a lot about the last three summers and how this summer feels different. The past three summers were difficult, partly from personal struggles with a 2007 divorce, but mostly from the lack of economy we all experienced. It seems that by mid-July for 2007 to 2009, everyone stopped working. Or at least stopped making decisions of significance.
I understand it. August is the time when you want to squeeze the lemonade drops of warmth of life, before it gets cold again. School for families is just around the corner. It’s a busy time of year, filled with fun and adventure and things to get done around home.
I believe though, that through these weeks, business leaders are contemplating. They’re processing in the back burner those significant decisions they know they need to execute come September.
Here at Chalkboarder, we’ve taken a different stride to round out the rest of summer. I have to give thanks to two individuals for this – Amanda Hite and Libby Tucker. Amanda is CEO of Talent Revolution – and her 30 Day Bucket List has impacted me at just the right moment. Libby is CEO of Beer2Buds – and a conversation with her this week, comparing entrepreneurs to lions, also struck the tenor of my thoughts perfectly.
Our stride this summer has lengthened. We’re in the power phase of the “company run” of our year in 2010. Instead of weathering the windless doldrums of late summer, we’re on a full force company run, replete with throaty voices singing cadence and a full leg stride knocking out the miles. Our objectives?
- Take full care of our existing relationships, nurturing them to our full ability.
- Seek as many opportunities for excellence as we can.
- Build as many new relationships as we can without focusing on selling ourselves.
We’re on the move. We’re shaking it. We’re sweating in the heat. And we’re singing all the way..
All the way..
How are you spending your summer?
Jeffrey J Kingman, former Sergeant USARNG-OR, now CEO/Founder of Chalkboarder