359. A Marine Veteran with a Story to Tell
As a Marine veteran, he had guarded U.S. embassies around the world. Re-entry to civilian life was rocky, and he floundered, trying to recognize and harness the many skills he had acquired. Then he seized on the idea of a podcast for veterans. With a ten-dollar microphone, a laptop and stories to tell, he launched a podcast before most people even knew what that word meant.
Timothy Lawson is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, cancer survivor, and fellow podcaster. He began podcasting more than three years ago and has created several different programs. Currently, he hosts Fuel for Warriors, Follow Your Spirit, and the 1, 2, Many: Veteran Suicide podcast. Tim is best known for his efforts inside the veteran community as a content creator and advocate for veterans’ issues, and was recently recruited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, based on this extensive work.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
After returning from serving around the world protecting U.S. Embassies as a Marine Security Guard, Tim faced a rocky re-entry into civilian life, like many veterans. At first, he was unable to recognize and harness the many skills he had acquired. He struggled awhile. Then, he seized upon the idea of creating a podcast, before most people even knew what a podcast was. “I bought a little ten-dollar auxiliary microphone that I plugged into my laptop and we hit ‘Record.’ It was unedited, had no music or introduction, but we put it on the internet, and people listened! We were one of just a limited number of podcasts that were not only on the internet but were regularly updated.” When he began focusing on his own experiences as a veteran, his podcast quickly connected with a growing audience in the veterans’ community. He invited other vets on and just let them talk. Soon a community formed around the podcasts as listeners heard their own stories being told.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“Getting recruited as the content creator for the U.S. Department Veterans Affairs was the culmination of years of work in what I enjoy in podcasting, writing and video. The job is the perfect intersection of what I’m good at and what I enjoy doing. It’s amazing how many positive responses I get from people because they know how seriously I take my job, and how much I enjoy sharing veterans’ stories through whatever platform I have. The VA has given me a higher-profile platform, and I can still use my personal platforms—Fuel for Warriors and the ‘1, 2, Many: Veteran Suicide’ podcast.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“One thing I have over so many other people is that I just take the initiative to do things on my own. I get the opportunity to try things that may succeed or may fail. I’m the only one that has to deal with the consequences. Taking the initiative with podcasting gave me the opportunity to explore each project, get it to where I wanted it to be, and decide when I was ready to end it. It puts me in more control of my time, my decisions and my initiatives.”
Steps to Success from Timothy Lawson
1.When you find something that interests, “Google” it like crazy and learn everything about it you can.
2. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” and be willing to risk taking the initiative.
3. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is forgiveness for occasionally not finishing something. Let yourself be OK with it and move on.
4. Learn to distinguish between what is essential and what is trivial, and focus on what’s most important.
On His Bookshelf
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown
Connecting With Timothy Lawson
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