Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Justin Pearson, an Army master sergeant completing his 20 year career as a recruiter out of Waco, TX. Justin is a former 82nd Airborne paratrooper, and has spent the past 10 years creating relationships with people to the Army’s benefit. He’s parlayed that experience into his own company, Just In Success, which specializes in motivational speaking and helping others make the transition. Let’s hear what Justin Pearson has to say!
What’s your military background? Career, family, etc.
I joined the Army with the thought that I would be jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, shooting big guns, and blowing stuff up my whole 20 year career. I would have never thought that this quiet guy from Whitefish, Montana (Big Sky Country) would do anything this extreme. Being a recruiter is the exact opposite of my background, where I was an outdoorsman, a fisherman, and hunter growing up.
I remember the thrill and adventure of being a paratrooper of the 82nd Airborne. To watch the earth from 1500 feet above as I was jumping/ falling out of the plan with 1000 other paratroopers was thrilling. My mother, brother, and sister live in Kalispell, MT still.
I was the only one out of our family who decided to venture outside and try something different. Leaving and not returning much over the years has created a tough relationship with my family. I’m currently married to my amazing wife Kera who reads me like a book. The best friend I’ve never had and the confident that pushes me to try new experiences. She loves water and the ocean, while I love the mountains, lakes, and nature. So we mesh very well!
What is it that you want to do after you leave active duty?
Throughout my Army career I’ve always said to myself I wanted to be a motivational speaker after the Army. Recently, I had that opportunity when I spoke for Grantham University about building professional networks in Dallas, TX. There are countless experiences within the Army where you have to motivate troops or conduct training and be inspirational. The difference when speaking to civilians is that you don’t have that commonly understood Army lingo or values to lean on. For the past/near 20 years of being a leader in the Army I’ve always been the coach and mentor. This inspires me every day I serve and shows me results as we encounter the ever growing Soldier who wants to be the best they can be. This passion combined with my sporadic energy that I currently have inspired me to create Just In Success. Just In Success allows me to assist others by networking, branding, and marketing themselves as they prepare to transition or with those who has already transitioned. I like helping people, I want to make a difference in their life, I want to be that person that they always remember and say I couldn’t have done all this without him!
Just in Success is a philosophy, a mindset to prepare oneself for discovering the potential within. This is a way of life, and the thought of others becoming great and successful is very dear to me.
What is it about your service experience do you think has best prepared you for your transition?
Over the past 10 years I’ve been in the Army Recruiting Command as a recruiter, district manager, and director of regional recruiting operations. I have a great understanding of the sales process, how to complete projects, how to recruit people, how to lead people, and how to establish relationships with civilians and businesses.
I’m far more fortunate than most Soldiers who haven’t experienced this and are much greener. Being prepared for the transition will really come down to ensuring you can plan, prepare, and successfully execute your plan.
Think of the most challenging part of your life to this point. What is it that you’ve done that helped you through it?
- To have belief that success can and will happen.
- That good things will happen to givers. That is why I always try to pay it forward.
- Help someone now so that in the future there is much more of an opportunity for someone to help you.
- I would always try to have a detailed plan, that was well thought out, and rehearsed so when the time came to execute I was properly prepared.
- I enjoy writing and reading and this allows my mind to wonder and explore other type of possibilities to the situations that I may be facing.
- There isn’t much mentally that one can face that is harder than the intimate life situations I’ve faced so I tend to be a lot more positive now.
- Some recent challenges were a 14 day juice fast, I became a vegetarian, and I quit smoking………..all powers of the mind.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you (or were you) in your financial situation as you transition?
I could say I’m an 8, I don’t think that anyone can be a 10. I’ve lived off a military pay check as a professional for almost 20 years and my civilian counterpart makes much more than me. Bottom line is that I don’t need much income to create my own happiness.
What’s (or was) your biggest fear about your transition?
The fear is the fear of not having a structure of band of brothers, those that are always checking on you because you’re their leader.
We lead and develop a professional relationship to hundreds of acquaintances/Soldiers. However, as you move on, you find that those people who came to you for help or guidance, came to you because the mission demanded it.
Over time, the calls you once had start to diminish, and it becomes lonely. In the military you are gathered to work as a team and communicate, so a partnership is formed, a connection, a relationship……but once you decide to retire it becomes time for you to move on.
If you had one question that someone could answer for you, what would it be?
How do you prepare for transition?
I wasn’t ready for the variety of stress and anxiety that would become existent due to the fact that you chose to retire. Even the littlest things like:
- Paying taxes
- Health care,
- Do I really need to further my education?
- Understanding civilian certifications
- Understand why employers won’t talk with you until 60-90 days from when you start to transition.
These were all factors that almost crippled me. However, I’ve had a lot of help from mentors to push through these obstacles and create my way forward.
What would you like to see “out there” that doesn’t exist, but if it did, it would solve a big problem for you, and other people like you?
I believe at the 6 month mark you should be allowed to fully start transitioning (without having normal duty) so you can utilize every resource available for the military member’s transition program.
People in transition should not have to see this as a class in order to get clearing papers but a workshop that’ll assist us in transitioning. No more POWERPOINT classes. We should have classes that are all hands on and interactive.
90% of the people did not pay attention in the class I went through and rarely interacted.
What person has helped you through your military career and/or transition the most?
A good friend of mine, Edward Carr, who is a Senior Project Manager for Military Affairs at Comcast has been there every step of the way. He’s coached me and aided me with the questions that I have so that I can be of more assistance to others in the transition process.
Edward understands the complexity of the transition process as he just went through is a few months ago. He was in the recruiting command but specifically recruited for medical command. He was a District and Regional Director. I’ve known Edward since 2007, and we have mentored each other since.
Great golf buddies even though we weren’t that great at golf in the first place!
Do you want to be contacted by people who think you might be able to help them? If so, how do people get in touch with you?
If anyone is interested in reviewing my platforms or contacting me, you can do so at the following:
- eResume- justincodypearson.com
- Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Skype- justinsuccesstm.justin
- LI- justincodypearson
- FB- justinsuccesstm
- Twitter- justinsuccesstm
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Justin Pearson! If you’d like to be interviewed for an article, please feel free to email me or leave a comment below! Also, please feel free to join other like-minded folks at the Military in Transition Facebook Group!