Veterans Are Not Entry Level Talent and Rich Cardona Is Proving It.

Rich Cardona is a former Marine, turned leadership developer for Amazon, turned business owner and entrepreneur. His open, authentic style has recently caught the eye of VaynerMedia’s Chief Heart Officer Claude Silver, and the two are creating content that features Claude in a setting that makes her nothing less than perfectly relatable.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of veterans dropped from 4.3 percent to 3.7 percent in 2017. This Entrepreneur.com article mentions that 78 percent of veteran-owned businesses register sales of $100,000 or more, while more than 38% have sales of half a million or more. Veterans who would otherwise find it hard to break into the labour market, are recognizing their talents both as leaders and creatives.

Rich has a clear and powerful message: “Veteran’s are not entry level talent”. Rich wasn’t an A student in high-school like so many entrepreneurs before him.

“In high school I was crazy I played a lot of football, I was really into track, but I was always more interested in trying to be cool and popular and having a lot of friends, than I was about my grades or team. I knew moving forward that I was not going to be in a position to go to college and perform. My parent’s wouldn’t have been able to pay for it anyway. I was a junior and I decided to go into the Marine Corps delayed entry program. The contract stated that upon graduation sometime that year, in 1998, I would go to Marine-Corps bootcamp and be a recruit and eventually become a Marine.”

As I continued to interview Rich I naturally wanted to know why he chose the Marines specifically.

“The Marine Corps is a very very special place, it is the least sought after armed service, it is the smallest armed service. We take a lot of pride in being incredibly efficient and doing more with less. I started as a private and I retired early as a Captain and I never regretted that choice.”

After working at Amazon for a few years he decided to take a risk and start his own business.

“It was time to make a change, I wasn’t seeing my daughter as often, I wasn’t happy and I was starting to act out of character. My wife is the one who actually made the call and said ‘you’re done’. I had always been really interested in photography and videography and so that’s what I decided.”

LRG_DSC07118.jpg *photo of Ann Cardona taken by Rich, “she is the love of my life I never have and never will feel this way about anyone else…ever.”

I was surprised to learn that Rich didn’t have previous experience as a videographer and had to teach himself everything he knew, ultimately founding Flybysmedia. Veterans today might leave the armed services feeling stuck but Rich is the perfect example of getting creative in today’s fast paced digital world. Nothing is out of reach for individuals who are adaptable to change and willing to learn something new.

On what changed the course of his business:

“I went to VaynerMedia to meet Claude, I made a LinkedIn post about it, that my life might change forever, and I went in there and offered to vlog for her because I believe in her, I love her, and I wanted to create content for her, I wasn’t qualified really to create content, but I didn’t care. I had a one on one discussion with Gary Vaynerchuk  thanking him for all that he has done for me personally and for recognizing next-level talent in Claude.  Claude and I then came to this agreement where I would come to New York and make content for her…and I’ll never forget how she said ‘I trust you’. We had known each other for about a year and a half through phone calls and LinkedIn and emails and that changed everything. Fast forward my business now involves creating content, I am attached to my phone and always on my computer. I love to create content and tell a story and tell other people’s stories.”

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*Rich meeting Gary VaynerChuk at VaynerMedia NY.

I also had the chance to interview Claude, the woman I had heard so much about for her ability to create amazing culture, inspire others, and find talent in places others fail to look. When asked why she chose to work with Rich she responded simply but beautifully:

“Rich is untapped talent. He’s a veteran who chose to give his life for our country and there is so much courage in that. I trust him…I can trust to record my videos with him.”

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*Rich sitting with Claude Silver during one of their candid conversations.

With veterans leaving the military each day and entering the work force I asked Rich what skills he believed were characteristic of veterans and how they related to entrepreneurship.

” The Marine Corps. is notorious for discipline, attention to detail and supporting each other. It’s all about realizing the bigger picture that is it’s not about you, even as an entrepreneur, it’s about who you’re providing value too.”

When hiring a veteran you can expect:

  • Solid leadership and leadership development skills
  • Work ethic
  • Accountability
  • Attention to detail
  • Team player
  • Take initiative
  • Creativity
  • Forward thinking
  • Research/presentation skills
  • Adaptable to change
  • Problem solving skills

When I asked Rich what he thought the biggest challenge for veterans entering the work force or becoming entrepreneurs was, I was intrigued by his answer. I thought it would be to overcome serious anxiety or PTSD. Admittedly, I had watched a lot of cinematic movies on veterans returning home.

“That is humongous and I’m working on something for that [solving the challenge] we don’t know where we want to go, no-one knows what they want to do. Some veterans will just stick with what they’re doing even when they don’t want to do that anymore, meaning if I was a logistician I would go into logistics because that is where my skills are,  because we don’t have the confidence to go anywhere else. We are not entry level talent, we let people think they can get us at a bargain, when in reality in the military you don’t do the same job the whole time. We get scared, we start feeling rejection because we know our place in the military but we don’t know our place on the outside. It’s a process of rewriting your resume a million times, not trying to lose your military identity while taking on a civilian identity. It is very, very challenging.”

Rich Cardona’s advice for veterans who don’t want to feel stuck:

“The best thing you can do in my opinion is to determine how much you’re going to need to survive for X amount of months and pursue exactly what you want. Go after it or you will never know.”

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Where to find Rich: 

http://www.richcardona.net or flybysmedia.com

LinkedIn or Instagram @flybysmedia

 

Quotes: 

“Marine’s don’t like cutting corners, it’s all about the long game.”  

“Nobody cares about the company anymore, everyone cares about the people at the company.”

“Building my business is really just me building my personal brand and showing people what it looks like when a former Marine who left a “good job” says f*ck it, hustling as hard as I can.”

“I absolutely attribute all of my leadership abilities to the military.” 

“To be deemed a survivor it takes an incredible amount of failure.”  

“You are worth being in this world. You are loved and You are cared for.” 

“The right people will always see when you have their best interest in mind.” 

“I believe you can train your mind. I expect nothing from anybody. I truly mean it when I say that.” 

“Remember who you are. Once a Marine, Always a Marine.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Confessions of A Recovering People Pleaser.

As I write the word recovery, I begin to fear I may be exaggerating, am I really recovering? I’ve come to terms with the fact that saying no is always followed by a wave of guilt, and then a quick change of heart as I push the word “yes” out from my lips, just in time to bring a smile to the hopeful face starring back at me. I suppose the first step to recovering is admitting you have a problem.

Hello, my name is Carlee and I’m a recovering people pleaser. There, I said it. I wonder if you’re supposed to feel a sigh of relief afterwards, instead of what I can only describe as cautious hope mixed with a strange sense of shame.

How did I become this? Who am I afraid of disappointing? Why do I care so much about what other people think of me, that I will abandon all recognition of an independent, confident, self-loving woman?

I’m not going to bore you with tales of an alcoholic father, my own indulgent trips to the mental hospital, the autism diagnosis, the sleepless manic nights followed by weeks of depression, because although I’m sure they contributed, I’m not really sure what caused it. Is it possible you can be a born people pleaser, graced with a docile personality and a sensitive nature? Whatever the reason there’s a few things I need to get off my chest about the relationship between the person deemed “the people pleaser” and the individuals I call “normies”.

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  1. Even though I say I’m fine with the things you’re asking me to do, I’m not, and we both know it. I know, that you know, that I feel pressured… but because you know I’ll say yes, you continue to do it. I am the “go-to” for any shifts that need covering, help with moving, giving rides that are clearly out of my way, and other requests that any normal person would immediately dismiss. Let’s stop pretending and just start calling it for what it is, a cyclical relationship between the classic “user” and “pleaser”.
  2. Please know that if I ever do muster up the courage to say no, that I feel extremely guilty, and the whole experience will start an internal struggle between me feeling positive about standing up for myself, and feeling like complete garbage at the thought of letting someone down.
  3. I’m sorry for all of the times I ignored your text messages or phone calls trying to avoid all possible scenarios where I’d have to utter that two letter word.
  4. Even though I might seem happy to please you now, just know that I will soon become angry and bitter towards myself, and ultimately towards you. This be shown through irritability and sarcastic comments, but it’s more likely that I will continue to internalize everything and just keep a raging resentment burning inside myself. Because, I do try to be at least a little mature, I can recognize the fact that I only have myself to blame, which although it should, doesn’t make me feel any better in the moment.
  5. I will need time to recharge after a day of betraying myself, so again if I cannot be reached once I enter my house, just know that I have become a hermit for the next 24-72 hours. Thanks for understanding.

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Now, for a few deeply shameful confessions before explaining the ways in which I am actively trying to recover.

I once stayed in a relationship for 8 whole months, saw the person every-single-day…all-day-long. Supported their drug addiction while diving into the beginning of my own, spent my entire paycheck on their habit in fact, and then when they broke up with me I apologized! I was younger, more naïve, and hadn’t even come close to knowing what true love was, let alone self-love.

I once drove 2 hours out of my way so that someone could see their boyfriend for half an hour. I still get pissed of at myself for that one. I was new at a job and clearly trying too hard to be accepted.

Every time I order pizza and get it delivered I end up tipping way too much because I did it once and now I don’t want to disappoint them.

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Okay, so how am I actually trying to recover?

By slowing things down. When someone asks me to do something I wait and ask them if I can think about it. I then try to “feel” my way through the situation. Why would I say yes, because I actually wanted too or because I would feel guilty if I didn’t?

I’m also doing a shit-ton of work to build up my self-esteem and begin to actually love myself. It’s a difficult, mentally tough process that involves doing the right things for myself and my body, even if I don’t want too, which is the hardest part. I have to repeat the phrase “self-care isn’t selfish it’s necessary” and remember how good I feel when I actually do take care of myself.

I’ve also tried to surround myself with real supports and people who I know won’t use my people pleasing side, while limiting time with anyone I don’t fully trust at the moment.

Always, a journal is my best-friend in identifying how I’m truly feeling and being able to talk myself through anything and everything.

Like me you’ll find your way through the recovery process, if that’s something you’re willing to do. Life get’s better and there’s a lot less shameful moments committed in the sake of people pleasing. I can actually feel myself getting stronger and caring less about upsetting everyone, which is a pretty sweet side-effect.

I’m here with you.

Stay strong,

Carlee. xo 

 

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Let’s Talk Mental Health, Success and Not Going Crazy.

As many of you already know I suffer from mental illness, one that allows me to be a semi-functioning human being…most of the time.  There are weeks where I feel completely fine, I’m productive, not as moody, able to handle things that come my way. Then, there are other weeks…weeks where I am angry, irritable, tired, and feel like staying in bed all day.

Success does not happen in spite of mental illness, for many of us it happens with it, sometimes because of it. Last month I felt happy and focused, working around 25 hours a week with good pay. This allowed me to write, blog and network for about 20 hours a week at home. I felt totally balanced. A week ago my brain betrayed me and I became convinced that I needed more; more money, more things, more education, that I could now pay for with all of my extra money. That week I worked 65 hours, felt exhausted, stressed, miserable and didn’t write anything.

With Alexis Ohanian talking about hustle porn (entrepreneurs telling everyone the key is to work more and sleep less) I felt a great sense of admiration for his views. First, because for some of us with mental illness this philosophy works, we are full of energy, vision and ideas; and for the rest of us sacrificing sleep and self-care makes our illness unmanageable.

Jenny Lawson, author of Furiously Happy, is a prime example of the fact that having a mental illness does not mean sacrificing success. If you’ve read her book you also know she practices self-care, admits fully to the often dysfunctional aspects of illness and uses a lot of humour to work through it. She openly admits to taking five years to write the book, something that a lot of us can relate too. Creativity can come with stereotypes, like having a mental illness, being an alcoholic and being a hopeless romantic. Call me a blazing torch of stereotypical representation by checking off every damn box.

In the age of “The Hustle” it’s easy to get lost in it all, as you hear messages of 100-hour work weeks and tales of sleep deprived break throughs. It’s easy to feel self-conscious about the work that you’re doing. It’s easy to feel as though the hours you put in, the work that you’re doing will never be enough, how could it be? When you come at it from the perspective of “out working everyone around you”, you will always be running.

My perspective today, is quite simple but does take some effort to master. Find a good balance between the work that you do and the rest of your life. Put in the hours that feel comfortable, manageable, productive. Keep up with the trends if you feel so inclined, read the stories, look at the LinkedIn profiles for the sake of networking. As for all the rest, forget about it. Forget what Margaret is doing with her novel, or what Peter is doing with his blog. Focus on you, on what you’re doing and on doing it well. Hell, if any part of what I’ve just said doesn’t feel right to you…change it. Its your life; you’ve got to live with it.

Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s a necessary management system. Losing to our mental illness in order to “win” isn’t the answer, it will never be the answer.

Love to you all,

Carlee.

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CELBEBRITIES POOP…AND OTHER WEIRD THINGS THAT MAKE US ALL EQUAL

YEARS ago (or so it seems) me and my bestie (miss you!) came to the sudden realization that celebrities like Brittany Spears and Meg Ryan poop, just like us.

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It was the most hillarious thing to imagine Brittany Spears pooping in a luxurious bathroom, but it was also the first time we started thinking that celebrities were just normal people.

If you’re still with me after that image, this blog post is actually about something a little more meaningful.

For those of you who didn’t make it this far (and aren’t even reading this) you’re welcome, Brittany on the poreclain will stay with you forever.

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This post is about the fact that we all have strengths and weaknesses. So many of us are held down by what other people think. Whether it’s our parents, friends, neighbours, co-workers, for some reason what these people think affects most of our lives in a pretty serious way.

I know that for literally the first…26.5 years of my life (working on it!) I cared about what people thought of me and it held me back from so many things. Dancing to music in a beautiful open field concert was one of them, losing a huge sale because I was scared to ask was another.

Remembering the fact that celebrities poop reminded me that we are all human beings. We all have stuff we are good at and stuff that we completely suck at.

The best part is…everyone sucks at something, so don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad for what you aren’t good at.

Smile at the haters and do YOU boo.

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Everyone has suffered middle-school embarrasement, had an awkward first kiss, botched an interview or tried something and failed. There isn’t one person I know that doesn’t have a shameful story from their past that they’d rather not talk about.

Trust me… the first two decades of my life should just be written off.

YES I stuffed my bra in elementary school only to be discovered in the change room… I wanted boobs okay, is that too much to ask?!

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YES I got too drunk to make it to prom and ended up sleeping in the limo.

YES I have burnt water while trying to cook………….

YES I have a huge darth vader tattoo on my back… … ……

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Were all equal…equally bad at something and equally awesome at something else.

We’ve only got one life to live, unless you believe in reincarnation… do you? I’d love to dive into your world.

Let’s make the most of it. Whenever your down and out or worried about keeping up with whoever the neighbourhood Kardashians are, remember they all poop… we all poop..

No one’s any better or any worse than the next.

I’ll see on instagram or  snapchat,

Carlee. xoxo

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LET’S RECOGNIZE ARIANA GRANDE’S STRONG SELF-CARE DURING MAC MILLERS PASSING (Hate me if you want it needs to be said)

With the passing of Mac Miller two days ago, September 7th, Ariana Grande shared a simple but heart felt image of Mac, who had a song titled “Self Care”.

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In this post I’m not going to get into drug use or addiction, as many of you know I have had my own struggles overcoming alcoholism.

What I am going to talk about is the amount of self care Ariana Grande practiced in the last two years and why it’s so damn important.

First I’d like to go on record and say yes I think Mac Miller’s death is tragic, he will be missed and so will his talent. It’s never okay when someone dies, it always hurts and in cases like Mac’s you wonder what might have been.

But, there has been so much backlash towards Ariana about his passing that I’d like to touch on a few key points. Hate me if you want but someone needs to say it.

ONE: 

If anyone chooses to leave a toxic relationship that is their RIGHT to do so. We cannot be held accountable for someone elses actions, no matter how tragic, when our own actions are to keep us safe, healthy and happy.

Since when is it okay to force a woman to stay in a toxic relationship?

Is this what we are accepting now? …

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TWO: 

Making the decision to leave a toxic relationship IS a form of self care and it MATTERS. Staying in a toxic relationship will only ruin two people at the same time. There are no advantages to staying.

It is not Ariana’s fault that Mac Miller got charged with a DUI, had a substance abuse problem for years and has now passed away.

What was going on before they got together, during and after they seperated in terms of Mac’s substance abuse was not Ariana’s fault.

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Addiction is a bitch.

It will take your family, friends, house, relationship and eventually your life.

To blame anyone is to completely miss the point.

 

THREE: 

Let’s think about the fact that all breakups are hard. Walking away from someone who isn’t good for you, even if you love the crap out of them, is completely heartbreaking.

It takes a strong person to say … “I love you, but I love me more.”

We should recognize the human side of ourselves that can relate to this because I’m sure every one of us has either had our hearts broken, had to set boundaries or had to walk away from someone who wasn’t right for us no matter how hard we tried.

Staying in a relationship where you aren’t happy, safe or respected in the hopes of saving the other person means completely ignoring what you need.

Standing up and doing what is right for you is always YOUR first priority. There are women in shitty relationships right now who need to hear that it is okay to leave. They need to hear that whatever their partner chooses to do after they leave is not their fault.

They need to hear that they are WORTH it.

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Like I’ve said in previous posts the truth about self -care is that it’s messy, challenging, and you’re sometimes not sure if your doing it right.

When you walk away from anyone toxic you have doubts, insecurities and fears. Imagine what it would feel like to practice self-care and then have something like this happen. It would be devastating. Right now Ariana needs to practice self-care even more so.

I’m not blaming her and honestly I don’t think anyone else should be either.

I’m not bashing Mac, like I said I loved his music.

What I’m saying is self-care looks different for everybody but when I recognize someone making tough decisions for themselves and then the world responding in such a shitty way….I’m going to say something.

If you’ve ever left a relationship for whatever reason then you must have a little empathy.

To all of us strong, capable women out there,

I see you and I’m with you.

Carlee xoxo 

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MY TOP TIPS FOR DEALING WITH A BREAKUP

 

Can I just say…”ughhhh”.

Breakups suck even when you’re the one doing the breaking up…even more so when you’re not.

Girl if you loved him, like really loved him, this shit is going to hurt, there’s no getting around it.

For all the ways I’ve coped after a breakup (there have been some major disasters) I can share with you my top tips in hopes that something might spark within you and lessen the hurt.

Things have changed with all the hype over not eating icecream on the couch and crying your eyes out while watching He’s Just Not That Into You… choosing instead to workout, buy cute clothes and “ruin his life”. While that does sound kind of fun, in the worst way possible.

Depending on your age chances are you’ve already had your first breakup and have uttered the classic words “I can’t live without him”.

Then, 6 months later (maybe less, maybe more) you realize you most definitely can and as a matter of fact you are living without him.

In all of my relationships I’ve looked back and come to terms with the fact that I stayed much too long. In hindsight a breakup can even be a blessing.

When I’m about to break up with someone or have had my heart crushed (knock on wood baby) I look back at my previous breakups.

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Yes, they hurt like hell. 

Yes, I thought I was dying. 

Yes, I watched romantic comedies. 

Yes, I ate way too much chocolate. 

But, 

You know what else happened? 

I got through it. 

I realized what an asshat the guy actually was. 

I honestly couldn’t believe I chose to date him in the first place. 

I started doing more with friends, family, hobbies and business.

I became happier, more focused… and thinner. 

I remembered my value.  

 

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Specific top tips? 

Block his number…at least for the first 72 hours. (come on, WE all know how hard this is)

Drink lots of water. (beautiful hydrated skin is a must, especially now)

Buy the cute clothes & look damn fine. (I know I said revenge was the worst, but it feel soo good)

Tell yourself “I love you”

Get out with family & friends

Start a new project

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Allow yourself to cry, wipe your tears, remember you’re a badass and that good things are coming your way.

Oh.. and shoot me a message (or comment below) on Instagram or Snapchat and we will talk you through this together girl!

How do you get through heartbreak?

Carlee. xoxo