Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

improvise adapt overcome

Hey team. It’s Monday, the last Monday of June. We’re marching into July. 4th of July is coming, Independence Day, and it’s got me thinking about times in my Marine Corps career and how it fits into our core values.

Resolve. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

Resolve: improvise, adapt, and overcome is one of our core values, and it’s something that I was built for and honed and grown and shaped at a very young age. It started before I got to the Corps. My parents, my dad was that way.

We just had graduation here recently. When I graduated from high school, I graduated a year early so I was actually a junior in high school or should have been but I graduated with a class before me because I was itching to get out of school and so I put in a lot of hard work and time to graduate a whole year early. My dad, for the entire year, said, “Chad, I’m buying your luggage. Getting a luggage so you get the hell out.”

Then I joined the Marine Corps, so I showed up at the end of graduation, and here I am, and I said, “Where’s my luggage?”He says, “You joined the Marine Corps, saved me 400 bucks. They give you everything you need.” Now, some of you are laughing, some of you are going, “Man, your dad’s a dick.” Well, no, my dad’s awesome. I ended up, they gave me a motorcycle that I think they sold while I was on a mission somewhere, so it wasn’t really mine. I don’t know. Anyway, my parents have helped me a long way. I’m joking.

But getting back to resolve, shaping. There was this one time we’re at Camp Pendleton. Camp Pendleton’s in San Diego, and they have a lot of hills and mountains and different things and stuff. We think of the beaches when you go down to SoCal, right? You think of the beaches. You don’t think of big mountains or anything. But I tell you what, there are some serious hills on Camp Pendleton.

So we’re marching and hiking and doing all this kind of stuff up and down these hills and everything, staying out, camping with each other in the woods, digging holes, going to ranges, and shooting big guns. Some of the highlights of military history and life.

We get word that there’s a storm coming, and it’s supposed to be bad. And I’m telling you right now, the captain, he’s like, “No, we’re gonna stay out here.” Now, Recon suspended operations because of the storm. Yes, Force Recon suspended their operations and training schedule because of this, but we did not.

And as we’re hiking in this rain and we’re hunkering down, we’re in this draw, and we’re literally… And back then, guys, I was a little guy. I mean, I was still six feet tall, but I weighed all of 131 pounds or something. And so I got my arms wrapped around other guys and stuff because I’m worried about being blown away and stuff. And the storm’s coming, and the entire time at every juncture, the captain kept saying, “It builds character. This is going to build our character, men. Men, this is going to build our character.”

I don’t know about character at that time, but I tell you what, it sure did build a deep fear in me that I might blow away. I mean, you have no idea. These were hurricane-force winds to some degree. And the next morning, we woke up, and I was alive, and I didn’t blow away, which was awesome.

And I saw tractor-trailer trucks tipped over. I saw a porta-potty in a tree. It was mounted in a tree. It had been picked up and put in a tree. And he did. It built my character because through adversity and handling and putting yourself through sometimes the hardest of things, you know that you can handle something hard.

So the next time something’s hard, you can handle it a little bit better, especially when you don’t quit.

In the Marine Corps, the captain didn’t give us an option to quit, so therefore, we had to do it together. And that adversity also built strength amongst the team, amongst the squads, and the entire platoon. We gelled better together. We were working together in a better way.

That next morning, we were waterlogged. We still humped 12 miles and then went to a range and shot more guns. It wasn’t like, “Well, okay, the storm’s over. We handled it. Yay. Let’s go back and eat cake.” No, we kept working, and we stayed out in the field for another day or two. And that is how I learned to have resolve in my life.

So I don’t know where you’re at today and the things that we’re doing here at the company and what you’re going through in your own personal life. But when you improvise, adapt, and overcome the challenges in your life, and you stay to it and you don’t quit, you can handle more things. You can wrap your arms around tougher situations. You can go without for a little bit longer.

If you talk to POWs, if you read books about the Nazis and the things that happened in Germany and stuff, and about what it was like to be in those prison camps and stuff for both the Jews and Americans, if you read any of those books and stuff, you’ll see the great adversity and what happens in a person’s mind. Those who give up and those who don’t, same thing with Vietnam.

If you read books about POWs, you can handle a great amount of pain and discomfort in your life. And some of you are saying, “Chad, you don’t know what I’m dealing with.” You’re right. I don’t know what you’re dealing with, what you’re currently dealing with. I’m open. Ears are open. I’m here if you want to talk. But I’m telling you right now, our resolve matters, both as a company.

It’s why it’s a core value. It’s something that’s down deep because life is hard, and it’s going to hit you and it’s going to punch you in the gut, and it’s going to knock you down. And that’s not just enough. Sometimes it’ll get on your back, and it’ll stomp on you. But you can persevere, and you can stand up, and you cannot quit, and you can move forward, and you can reach out and wrap your arms around somebody else’s arms, and together, the entire platoon cannot blow away.

You have friends here. You have people here that have resolved, that leaders here that won’t quit, that have character built in them to handle adversity. So we’re here together to hunker down and tread through together. All right, so on this Monday, that was kind of deep, I know, especially for the last day of the month, but it was something that was on my heart.

So God bless you guys and remember, let’s be valuable, nothing less will do. Let’s keep our resolve, improvise, adapt, and overcome. You can do this.