And it will pay off many times over
This past weekend I had the privilege to be part of a Veteran event at a professional soccer game. This is a unique event, as there are sponsors there, however, they are not allowed to solicit sales from the Veterans. The intention is to bring together Veterans and business owners and have them get to know each other, as people first. I’ve been involved in two and they have both been huge successes. Everyone ends the evening with big smiles on their faces.
I was talking to a sponsor, Richard, and was explaining some of the struggles Veterans deal with leaving the military. One of them is the awkwardness of saying ‘no’. We are trained to get the mission done and with that mindset ‘no’ is not an option.
When we transition to the civilian world there is a period of adjustment to this new playing field. We either do not engage at all (simply because now can) or we just do not trust anyone, or we say yes under the duress of a persistent person who only wants to “help” the Veteran.
I’ve been in both situations.
When I first retired, I didn’t want to be around anyone. My professional and social calendars were empty. I had a few job offers met with, “I’m keeping all options open.” (My way of avoiding actually saying no.) A few friends would occasionally ask me out, to which I declined (hopefully gracefully) as I had no energy. But those were friends, they understood.
When I finally began to engage, people I met seemed less interested in me and more interested in what I could do for them. This, of course, left me with an uneasy feeling and I expressed this to a fellow Veteran and friend.
He looked at me and said, “You know you can say ‘no’ and walk away.”
Of course, I know this. I’m a full-grown adult, why wouldn’t I know this? But, there was a part of me that didn’t know I could do this without a catastrophic aftermath.
And so I did. I said no and my world became a lot less stressful.
Richard’s eyes lit up when I said this. He told me when he worked for a water softener company they would specifically want them to target Veterans and charge them at a premium price. My heart sank at the…