Grant Shymske is our Milspo Monday feature! His story is quite a bit different from the “stereotypical” military spouse's though . . . because Grant is a man. And a manly man at that! A few years ago, Grant left his U.S. Army officer career behind so that he could support his wife Chanelle, also an officer in the U.S. Army, and her career. Though getting out was a huge decision, he didn't hesitate to make it if it meant that he could spend more time with his wife and build their marriage even stronger. Because great men don't like to brag on themselves, we asked Grant Shymske's wife to introduce him for us. Chanelle, obviously proud of him, had this to say:
“Grant was prior service and enlisted in the Army National Guard as an infantry soldier. He then went to Western Michigan University and did ROTC which is where we met. He commissioned as an infantry officer in 2010. After he got out of the military, he was a fencing instructor, got his masters degree, got certified as a personal trainer, started working for GoRuck, and has written a couple fencing books and also just published a book about endurance athletes.”
The Milspo Project: What are some unique rewards of being active duty before being a military spouse?
Grant Shymske: I know and understand what my wife has to do and I know that it sucks for her more than for me. Surprise staff duty? I grab a pizza and go hang out. Lost a sensitive item in the field? I get in an extra work out and wrap her up dinner for when she gets home. I also feel it's important to be on her sleep schedule, I get up and make hot chow before she leaves for PT and I head out for a run as she leaves. This way I am tired when she is and when all she wants to do is crash, I do to.
TMP: What are some unique challenges of being Active Duty before being a military spouse?
GS: Becoming nostalgic for the lifestyle, though it usually only takes a few minutes of discussing the dull points of my wife's day to put me straight. Also hanging out with my wife's coworkers when the conversation shifts to work, I know too much to ignore it but too little to truly participate/contribute.
TMP: When did you know starting a business was right for you? Tell us about your business?
GS: I have always had a habit of setting and completing self-set goals, especially when bored which can make me a bad employee if there is limited responsibility or freedom of movement. I also likely have a present but manageable case of OCD which helps with attention to detail and sticking with a task until it is 100% done to my standard. I currently work as a Quartermaster for an expeditions branch of the adventure racing company GORUCK, I am also an Athletic Trainer and Nutrition Coach in my spare time. I am also (pleasantly) starting to make some profit from writing non-fiction and web articles.
TMP: What is the most challenging or frustrating thing you have encountered as a Milspo?
GS: It is not okay yet to be a civilian with a wife in the military, especially in the South. Being in shape also works against you. People will automatically ask if I am the service member and then when we explain things there is the inevitable "what is wrong with you" quizzical look behind their eyes that they are not so subtly trying to suppress. You can tell they think I am lying to them for no good reason.
TMP: What advice would you give a military spouse, male or female, interested in starting his own business?
GS: Make sure it is something you are passionate about because you probably will not make money immediately. Take calculated risks and just grind through the hard times. The great news is that since you are the second income source as long as you don't over reach or make foolish investments, your failure will not be the downfall of your family (new business, even smart, well-managed ones fail all the time).
TMP: What is the most challenging thing about being a Milspo and a business owner? What is the most rewarding thing?
GS: Balancing my desire to be successful in business with my commitments at home. I left the military so that my wife and I could actually live life TOGETHER and so that our marriage would not be filled with sleepless nights and fast food. But to do that I need to knock out the chores and cook homemade meals during the week (which I love doing and am good at). But generally getting a business off the ground and profitable is going to steal that time away.
TMP: How did it feel when you made your first sale?
GS: Great! It was wonderful to take a risk putting a product out there and getting a positive response. It is very satisfying to have people want what you are offering and trust you to deliver.
TMP: What is one obstacle you have faced as an entrepreneur, or on a personal level as a Milspo, that you would have never expected?
GS: Selling non-quantifiable goods like athletic training and nutritional guidance is hard to "keep clean". It is so easy to focus on dollar signs and give in to selling garbage supplements or gimmicky fitness contraptions. What is worse is that people really want that stuff, the public will readily shell out big bucks for a quick fix even if they know it's a lie. The crestfallen looks I get when I tell a client to cook the vegetables they have taught themselves to hate and actually put time in working out instead of tapping on their phone is depressing.
TMP: What is one business goal you hope to accomplish by the end of 2014?
GS: I hope to have my second book published.
TMP: How has being a Milspo helped you grow on personal level?
GS: It has made me a firm believer in the classic family work format (minus the sexism, patriarchy, and homophobia). If you want to be healthy you need to eat fresh, home cooked meals and have time to explore and exercise and recover on the weekends. In order to do all that someone needs to be at home taking care of those things, it is a generational mistake to view those tasks as peripheral or otherwise unimportant and look down on the person who does them. Focusing on making a marriage work means that at some level you are no longer an individual but part of a team, and that means not always getting to do the glamorous jobs.
TMP: As a Milspo, or business owner, I know one thing for certain, it is _________ .
GS: There are no shortcuts to honest and wholesome success. It is only found through hard work , honest practices, and genuine passion.
TMP: What strengths do you possess, that you did not know you had, until you became an entrepreneur?
GS: The ability to work really well with others on open projects (ones with lots of freedom and responsibility) so I can prevent my OCD from becoming micro management.
TMP: My biggest fear is _________.
GS: Robot Bears
TMP: My greatest accomplishment is __________.
GS: My marriage.
TMP: When I grow up I want to be __________.
GS: Happy and Healthy
TMP: What is your legacy?
GS: Water, Carbon, and some other trace minerals.
My book is: Motivation for Current and Aspiring Endurance Challenge Athletes Vol. 1
It's listing is at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1499733690?me=&ref=olp_product_details
It's Facebook page is: https://m.facebook.com/MFCAECA?soft=jewel%3D2
If you want effective, long term athletic training and nutritional counseling without the money grabbing supplements or false promises contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you want to learn to navigate I the wilderness, climb 14,000ft peaks, or navigate the oceans in small watercraft look into GORUCK Expeditions here: https://www.goruck.com/expeditions#.U9byG5RX-uY