452. A Vision and a Podcast for Veterans
His teenage rebellion might have led Jeremy into a surly adulthood, as just another guy with a chip on his shoulder. But a high school teacher saw beyond his “in-your-face” art project and praised his originality and courage. That changed Jeremy from that point forward.
Jeremy Paris spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as a personnel sergeant followed by 16 years supporting the Department of Defense (DOD) as a senior systems engineer. In 2010 Jeremy found the Veteran Artist Program (VAP) and quickly became a staff member as a senior producer. Through VAP, Jeremy learned that there were thousands of veteran nonprofit organizations. He started the Veteran Resource Podcast to inform veterans about these organizations and the programs and opportunities that offer veterans and their family members.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Early in his military career, doing mostly unchallenging tasks as a personnel administrative specialist, Jeremy discovered he had a knack for networking and communicating. Unlike most of his co-workers, he was unafraid of talking to senior officers, even to tell them when they had completed a form incorrectly. “That allowed me to move up into different positions throughout my career, because I was comfortable talking and communicating and connecting other people on a regular basis.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
In the midst of his “in-your-face” rebellious teens, when most teachers seemed to have written Jeremy off as a screw-up, an art teacher caught him off guard. Other students in the class were creating similarly bright, colorful paintings. Jeremy opted for a darker approach: to recreate the black-on-black album cover of the band AC/DC. Instead of criticizing his work for not being like everyone else’s, she praised his originality. “He’s using his imagination to find something different. I love what he’s doing here,” she said. Jeremy recalls, “That changed me from that point forward. She made me start thinking that maybe I had a creative side and could find different kinds of creative outlets.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“Once you figure out what your path is, there is a ton of different organizations and groups you can connect with that can help you along your way. There are Meetup groups, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, and thousands of non-profit organizations.”
Steps to Success from Jeremy Paris
1. Notice when your desire for safety and a regular paycheck is keeping you in misery. (How do you feel about that cubicle you’re in?)
2. Devote time to finding and understanding what you truly want to do with your life.
3. “Orient your map,” as the military says about land navigation. Find yourself on the terrain of your life and orient yourself toward your passions.
On His Bookshelf
Be Obsessed or Be Average, by Grant Cardone
Connecting With Jeremy Paris
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