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Sunday Morning Gratitude: My experience with The Honor Foundation

It’s remarkably simple to kill your dreams. It starts with turning all your ambition and drive for something more into guilt and shame. Earning the Green Beret and serving within the Special Forces Regiment should be more than enough for anyone. At least, that’s what I told myself proudly anytime the idea of doing anything else crept into my head. After all, I was never meant to have made it this far anyway, yet here I was, thriving and truly in love with serving my team and being part of a fantastic organization. Yet even when both my body and mind could no longer continue, dreaming of something more felt like an act of sedition against my own deeply held beliefs and values.

“Keep going, don’t stop; if your body and mind fail, well, at least you never quit.”

In the midst of my health struggles, I failed to realize that no one stays on a team forever. The very thing that drives us to “kill” our ambition and dreams is something we all have to walk away from. No one stays on a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha forever. Yet we all sacrifice the idea of doing something more meaningful and fulfilling; ultimately, we even pass up the opportunity to find our true calling. That doesn't have to happen; we can and should fight to find our true calling!

Applying for The Honor Foundation fellowship was the first real and meaningful step toward my transition and dreams. The Honor Foundation is more than just another transition program. It is a pathway for service members to understand, identify, and target their true calling and career. The focus of the program is centered directly on the individual service member. The program provides every Fellow with excellent resources and services, such as translating their Military service into relevant experience, one-on-one coaching through the complexities of the Civilian job market, and the cultivation and development of a personal “Why.” Still, the most impactful aspect of The Honor Foundation is the mentorship and team of individuals that run the program.

I was honored and privileged to be part of the first Eglin Cohort. A team led by two of the most charismatic and dedicated leaders I have ever met, Mr. Cally Wood and Mrs. Kelsey Segalini.

Kelsey and Cally both know precisely what it’s like to transition from a profession that seems larger than life. They both served and led in Special Forces, making them the perfect guides in my transition mission ( Herb Thompson, thank you as well). Having them as living, breathing examples of life after SOF gave me more than just hope; it showed me physical proof that remarkable leaders are needed and can continue to have a positive impact outside of our SOF team rooms.

However, one of the best aspects of The program has nothing to do with high-tech presentations or big-name guest speakers. It’s the introduction of the “Cups of Coffee” concept. Something that, at first, seems so frightening and scary. Engaging in a conversation with another human being to gain information. In other words, asking for help in a professional manner on a professional network such as LinkedIn. At first, it’s terrifying, but the fear quickly dissipates, replaced with gratitude and joy. I anticipated and prepared for immediate rejections and uncomfortable short discussions with reluctant people. That was not the case. Every “Cup of Coffee” I had was a brief look into various industries and positions and an opportunity to connect with other people who were, at one point, just like me, on the cusp of a new dream.

To put all of these concepts together and ensure that every fellow gets the most out of the program, THF goes one step further. They pair each fellow with an Executive Coach from a variety of different industries and walks of life. My Coach was George Meeker, a former Music industry professional who now runs one of the most successful and Nationally recognized Insurance agencies in Nashville, Tennessee. George was right in the trenches with me, from weekly check-ins to goal setting. Each week he helped me dive into the new requirements and gave me new options and ideas to consider for my future employment. George was an active promoter, recruiter, and champion for me amongst his friends and colleagues. He even promoted my endeavors while playing golf with a few friends and their co-workers, ultimately leading to several other “Cups of Coffee” and employment opportunities.

As I look back at my time and experience as a Fellow with the Honor Foundation, I am still left feeling as if I could never fully express my gratitude for all the support and resources they gave me.

Thank you to Cally, Kelsey, Kathleen, Bill, George, and everyone else at THF. I hope to continue to serve as an example of what you can achieve when you allow yourself to dream again.

If you’re looking to transition from the Military and are interested in a Fellowship opportunity, please do yourself a favor and apply to The Honor Foundation. THF now has six physical campuses located in the United States. They also offer two virtual campuses. Please, start dreaming again and wake up your ambition today; click the link below to sign up for the next Fellowship program.


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