Season 2 Episode 80: Transforming from Victim to Victor with Robert Washington

Robert Washington joined the Navy after 9/11 and served for 9 years before separating to pursue a full-time career as a professional MMA fighter. After retiring from professional fighting, he found himself underemployed when he reentered the traditional workforce. By tapping into the very qualities that made him successful in the cage and in uniform, Robert reframed his mindset to launch him into a successful career at Microsoft. In his book, No one owes you a F*ing thing: It’s your responsibility to fight for the life you want, Robert explores how mental toughness can transform your personal and professional life.

Robert attributes his resilience to the adversities he faced beginning as a young child growing up in poverty and dysfunction. He has learned to become a victor, not a victim, of his past. We discuss how character is often built from challenges and how rising from victimhood is a choice.

During his transitions from both the military and MMA fighting, Robert kept his core priorities as his focal point. His goal to keep every decision he made in line with his core priorities has kept him fulfilled both personally and professionally. As a motivational speaker, Robert has noticed that it is the “how” that paralyzes people from taking action toward their goals. Robert discusses the ways in which he keeps moving forward to overcome his tendency to overthink.

When Robert retired from his professional MMA career, he had to find ways to leverage the skills he learned both in the military and in the cage to find meaningful employment. He soon learned that having a degree and a veteran status on a resume wasn’t enough to set himself apart during the job search process. He came to the realization no one owed him anything for his prior service. After experiencing 200 job rejections during a 2-year period, Robert knew he needed a new approach.

Robert talks about how to leverage the skills learned in the military to a future employer. We discuss connecting your story to the organization’s needs and how your prior service is of value to an employer.

Silence the voice in your head that says your story is not worth telling.

Robert uses LinkedIn to highlight not only who he is as a career professional but also to showcase his other interests. By contributing content on a regular basis, he hopes to be a resource for transitioning service members navigating the job search process.

Please head to the Lessons Learned for Vets brand new YouTube channel at to hear Robert answer a BONUS QUESTION about ways he is helping veterans get into the tech career field.

You can connect with Robert Washington on LinkedIn at

You can learn more about his book at

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