By Elizabeth Boardman
On my way to the office today I was listening to Sam Smith’s album, Track No. 5 (a friend and fellow military spouse gave me a copy of his CD a few months ago, old school I know), and the strangest thing happened. A flood of emotions (plural) came over me, my eyes welled up with tears and I felt well . . . so much.
I know it sounds a little trite, but I seriously really “feel” his music! No matter how many times I hear the song it is always the same, I remember the day my husband and I married, the way I still feel when I look at him, the day we had a miscarriage, the pain I feel when I have to say goodbye to him before a deployment, any military home coming, Papa’s 90th birthday party, the day I watched my brother’s birth, the spaghetti dinners my mom made to celebrate the little victories of my childhood.
It is not what Smith is singing about, but the place Smith is singing from that makes me feel so much. That raw emotion, in its deepest sense, it is not happiness or sadness but much more about precipices and promise.
Smith creates music from a place of originality. Raw emotion that starts deep in one’s soul, the kind of art that is released by “giving creative birth”, if you will. You can see it in poetry, music, underdog sports teams, and in any business, organization or campaign effort that is rooted in higher service of something greater than oneself.
Starting a business is easy, with the convenience of services like Legal Zoom, cloud accounting, and even Squarespace (the platform The Milspo Project uses, btw), you can have a “legal business” in a matter of an hour or two, without even speaking to a real person.
The true challenge is creating a business that lasts, one that is in higher service of ourselves, our customers and our beliefs. One that leaves an impact and a legacy for our families. It is true, military spouse business owners are the ambassadors of milspo community. We are the women who have said, “I want more for myself and my family.” And since we live in a time where anyone can slap an ‘open’ sign on their proverbial store front, we need to be more than just “in business” we need to confidently operate from a greater why, with a bigger vision for our businesses.
We may own a business because of our circumstances, because of job rejection letters, because we were sick of starting over at every new duty station, or for being under compensated for our skills. Military life is a hotbed for milspouse entrepreneurship, which is why we should be the best in the industry.
As women who are tethered to military life, women who move frequently, women who have to face the scary circumstances and real life situations that come with a loved one in combat, women who parent alone (most of the time), women who are hard wired to accept anything but failure, and who truly understand sacrifice, we are already leaps and bounds ahead of our Ivy League, MBA counterparts. Nothing can teach you more about business than hard knocks, and boy have we had our share!
I challenge our community to pursue our passions, do business with a greater sense of purpose, and be a shining light in the business and military world. We already possess lifetimes of experience that no degree can teach you. We are worthy of any and all success.
Marie Forleo wrote something in an email one time, that still has profound meaning to me. I wrote it on my white board and read it to myself daily: “Ambition isn’t bad. It is beautiful. And when it’s channeled in service of your highest self, it truly can change the world.”
Let’s put the same heart and soul into our businesses as Smith puts into his music, using our unique life experiences to live in service of our highest self, and make the military a more beautiful community while doing so.