Bend, DON’T break.

Good Morning!

It is 6:33 am (eastern time) and i first want to apologize for the lack of postings the last two days! I got caught up at work a few hours more than intended, but that is what this blog post is all about. We have all heard the phrase “bend, don’t break”, implying flexibility. However this means a little something different to everyone based on their life experiences. Today i am going to take you down the hardest road i have ever been down, not to mention the longest and loneliest.

I had the privilege (curse) of having a third grade teacher as a mother. Not to mention an on-going list of relatives involved with both the school and with the church.  As anyone would guess, academics where always demanded in my household. My family expectations where structured similarly to most families in the United States, the children would get good grades, go to college, and work an honest job 9-5. I would go to school, get good grades, come home and do my homework before I had the privilege to do anything else, and it was assumed I would always seek the academic path.

Unlike my younger sister, I struggled in school, but not in the areas you would think. I was very athletic, yet heavier set, intelligent, but school was boring, semi-popular, but didn’t like my classmates. This had always been where i fell in the social structure of high school and among my peers. The feeling of not perfectly fitting into any single group led to a downfall in my mentality, and happiness.

I often wondered through my high school career where i would end up in life and if i would ever find my true calling. As the years went by and graduation became closer, I felt more and more lost. About half way though my senior year i had my “oh shit” moment. You know, the moment when you have no idea what you’re doing with your life and come to the realization that its decision making time.

As time to apply to colleges ran out, i applied to a couple small schools but wasn’t 100% sold on the idea of college. I had always been pretty good with engineering, mathematics, and science. The plan that my family and I had come up with was that i would attend a four year school and get my degree in something relative to engineering and mathematics. However, as crunch time came closer i started to get cold feet on the entire “college” idea. I mean come on, ANOTHER four years of school?

Eventually after weighing all my options and schools I decided they all seemed like a terrible time, so I would join the Marine Corps. This was a decision I had thought about for a very long time, and as the pieces began to come together I decided that the Military was an adventurous option for a few years. After i had the break from school and got to travel a little bit i would go back to school and get my degree.

My first year of the Corps was absolutely bad ass. I was apart of Americas gun club, representing the red, white, and blue, and loving every minute of it. The Marine Corps poses a ton of physical and mental challenges to ensure they get a hardened war fighter. We are taught to adapt and overcome any challenges as they present themselves. I was challenged with something new every day and was expected to execute as trained without hesitation. As a young marine, only 18 years old and never been away from home, these new ways of life were quite the adjustment.

PFC Ashby

PFC Ashby, USMC

Adjusting to such a rapid paced environment is not always as easy as it seems. It wasn’t long until i had to use these skills that i had been fine tuning for the past year. One morning bright and early i get a knock on my door, and it was my squadron First Sergeant telling me that i would have to get out of the Corps in 8 months. This sent my life into a whirlwind. Never had i thought that my Marine Corps career would be coming to such an abrupt halt. I hadn’t talked to anyone at home in years, had no civilian contacts, and had no idea what I was going to do with my life.

The first few weeks after I had heard the news where the roughest of them all.  I was severely depressed, had no idea where I was going to go, and had no financial backing.  The one thing I did have on my side was the will to never give up. I had no clue what my first steps would be, but I knew that any step was better than sitting in the shitty situation I was already in. After a month or so, I began my voyage towards the dream of being successful. Adapting an open minded, and free thinking mindset was the first and most crucial step. I began looking at the job markets, and finding a college that would suite me.

Fast forward eight months to the time I get out of the Military, November 15th, 2017. It was finally the day that I would be stepping back into the civilian world and the chance at my slice of success. My civilian life started over with a job working at GNC, the supplement shop, and taking college courses online at night. I had gone to college to pursue business. Keeping up with this routine worked for a few months, but i just wasn’t learning anything, and i was still dead broke. I was lucky enough to land a job at Andy Mohr Toyota selling cars. This was my first taste of a true sales and business environment. I began to see  the potential gains to be made in the sales world, and i instantly fell in love. Not with the business itself, and sure not with my coworkers, but with the process.

It is finding the love in your heart for this process that will bring you wealth, happiness, and a lifetime of success. The person who is in love with the outcome and not the process will burn out quickly. The person who loves the process may never reach their specific goal, but they will be ten times more successful because they LOVE THE PROCESS. Loving what you do is a major key to happiness and personal success.

I found that the harder i work, the more time i put into it, and the more that i grind, the happier i become. A business environment is very similar to the Marine Corps in a lot of ways. They both have hierarchy systems in place, they both have strict guidelines and rules, and they both offer a very rewarding feeling for the work you do. However, business offered me one thing that the Marine Corps did not, unlimited growth potential. In a business where there is no ceiling, you set your own ceiling. Once i was able to comprehend this, and realize that i could make as much money as I WANTED utilizing the tools i have gathered from my employers/mentors, my life did a 180.  The business mindset quickly attached itself to me, allowing sales and business to become ingrained into who i am as a person. This was the point of no turning back. No matter where i end up in life, all of the riches in the world, all of the fame, cars, and money that i could earn would never taste half as sweet as the grind.

The purpose of this article is not to be an autobiography. This is MY OWN real life example of “bend, don’t break”. I always come up with these “set in stone” ideas in my mind, and the realization is that nothing is set, and life will always smack you when you least expect it. Let the winds of life bend and mold you into the greatest you possibly can be, if you become stiff and resistant, it will become very difficult to continue down your current path.  So do me a favor, next time you are faced with an “impossible” situation  in life, think about who you are and what you are made of.

Is it worth breaking?

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