Season 2 Episode #13: Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone with Michael Klemmer
Michael Klemmer retired from the US Army as an officer. He had a shortened 9-month time frame for his transition which really put the pressure on, especially when COVID added an extra wrinkle to the process. He found some of the provided programs to be lacking so he started looking for other resources such as LinkedIn, American Corporate Partners, SkillBridge and the COMMIT Foundation. He decided to take advantage of as many resources as possible.
He thought he would be able to use his 9-month timeframe to focus on getting a job. After his first interview, which he bombed, he knew that he needed more time to prepare. After gaining a 6-month extension due to COVID, he used that time to actively pursue his own SkillBridge opportunity.
His 4-month SkillBridge opportunity gave him so much value. He was able to decompress from his Army service and gain insight into a new industry. Though he didn’t land in a permanent role with the company where he did a SkillBridge, it was still very valuable. It helped him to network, meet new people and better assess his goals. He landed a position that leverages his expertise in contracting and acquisitions.
One of his biggest struggles during the transition was decompressing from the military. He recommends the COMMIT Foundation program to help senior leaders to deinstitutionalize themselves and learn who they are as people outside of the military, to separate Mike from Major Klemmer. Spending time to figure out who you are apart from the military will help smooth the military transition process.
Mike is not an extroverted person by nature, but he really stresses the importance of having conversations and meeting new people to expand your network. He used LinkedIn to help bridge the gap with people he didn’t know or make connections. LinkedIn allows you to start virtually to build relationships before you meet face-to-face with people. If you want to do something new, you may have to try new things that are outside of your comfort zone.
In the last year, Mike launched Aerial Resupply Coffee company. Coffee has always been a big part of his career in the Army and he wanted to create a product and company that would bring people together and continue to build community and start conversations. He has been detailing his entrepreneurial journey on LinkedIn and you can follow along to learn more about the lessons he has learned along the way. A few of his key business launch lessons:
- There is a point where you have to stop planning and start doing. You may never be perfectly ready, but you can start and then fix the problems as they come along. Once he pushed the start button, everything became easier.
- He gave himself permission to make mistakes and learn from them along the way.
- By sharing his journey with the public on social media, he has opened so many doors and gained the support of countless people.
You can visit www.aerialresupplycoffee.com. My favorite is his Christmas Kitty blend, which coincidentally is back in the store for one week, the same week this episode is being released. Give it a try, you won’t regret it!
You can connect with Michael Klemmer at https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelklemmer/
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