Words hold power; when combined with action, they can change the trajectory of our lives and those around us for the better. Five years ago Jason B.A. Van Camp couldn't have known that two simple questions would propel him to action, changing lives.
As a decorated Green Beret, former linebacker for the Army Black Knights football team, winner of the prestigious General Loeffke Award for Excellence in Foreign Languages, successful entrepreneur and businessman, and best-selling author, Jason is no stranger to being comfortable with the uncomfortable. After retiring from the military, Jason teamed with other veterans to create Mission Six Zero, a leadership consulting business. Mission Six Zero “provides businesses, professional sports teams, and individuals, with a deliberate discomfort mindset ... helping them understand how to become strong while embracing discomfort, suffering, and pain.” In short, Mission Six Zero teaches others how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
In 2015, as part of a Mission Six Zero training with the NFL Oakland Raiders, several wounded veterans were asked to join the team as instructors. Jason stated, “It’s cathartic for veterans to come back out and share their experiences in training, combat, and overcoming adversity. It’s powerful for the clients to hear their stories. It is good for them [the veterans] to be back on a team again.” As a former officer in the military, it’s natural for Jason to want to make sure “his guys are taken care of.”
Following the event, Jason would ask two questions that would change the lives of not only those present but the lives of many others.
After many expressed gratitude for the generosity and service others provided them as they built new lives outside of the military, things got quiet, and Jason instinctively knew something was off. With a bit of prodding, one by one, they began to open up. These men and women had spent their lives serving and leading others, they were disciplined, hard-working, and patriotic. Their wounds had not changed any of that; each still felt a deep craving to continue serving and leading. The veterans shared their desire to follow Jason’s lead. They, too, wanted to start successful businesses but didn't know where to start. Jason said, “I went home and started thinking about how these guys were really reaching out to me ... I couldn’t kick this conversation for months. Finally, I said I’m going to do something about this. I’m going to start a nonprofit that helps veterans start their own businesses.”
Those are powerful words of commitment. Jason went to work and, along with veteran Ryan Miller and businessman/entrepreneur Joe Hilton, created Warrior Rising. Their mission states: "Warrior Rising is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping U.S military veterans achieve success in business through partnerships, mentoring, and economic assistance. We take pride in providing our veterans with opportunities to create sustainable businesses, perpetuate the hiring of fellow U.S. military veterans, and earn their future."
“How are things going?
"Is there anything I can do for you?”
Warrior Rising helps veterans and their families identify business needs and assess obstacles through recommendations, instruction, mentoring, access to funding opportunities, and a sense of reconnection to a community, similar to what existed in the military. "We ensure that our veterans are not walking the path to success alone or in the dark,” Jason said.
What started as a small nonprofit in Utah to help a few friends has grown into a nationwide organization helping veterans, and their families, from every state. For Jason, one of the most rewarding parts of Warrior Rising is "the opportunity to create something special that helps people. The feedback I get from veterans when they have a positive experience, and they thank us and tell us how [Warrior Rising] changed their lives, and they’re doing amazing things; that’s impactful. That’s powerful for me. I don’t forget things like that." Jason also expressed, “If somebody goes through the program and they are not being attended to, or feel like they are not getting what they wanted, that deeply impacts me. It affects me, and I’m going to fix it.”
Warrior Rising was born out of a desire to serve. Everything Jason has done during his life has revolved around service. Service to his God, service to his country, service to his family, his brothers and sisters in the military, his friends, and service to strangers who become friends and family. It is no surprise that Jason’s ventures since retiring from the military all incorporate service. They all tie into each other, and they all fall in line with the Green Beret motto: De Oppresso Liber, which roughly translated means, To Liberate the Oppressed. Part of Mission Six Zero's purpose is to “empower everyone struggling personally or professionally to liberate themselves from their internal oppression.” This statement can easily apply to the mission of Warrior Rising and Jason’s latest endeavor.
Recently, Jason teamed up with Andy Symonds at Ballast Books to write a #1 Amazon bestselling book, “Deliberate Discomfort.” The book features information and stories on how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and is an extension of the model used in Mission Six Zero.
Mission Six Zero, “Deliberate Discomfort,” and Warrior Rising are all about finding the soldier within ourselves, doing hard things, embracing both the joy and pain life offers us and learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, so we can “live life to its fullest, be better teammates, partners, leaders, mentors, and people.”
In his book, Jason quotes Bruce Lee’s advice, “Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.”
There is power in words, but we have to take action to access it. What will you absorb, discard, and add to your life and the lives of those around you to make it better?
To learn more about how you can become involved with Warrior Rising, contact Jason B.A. Van Camp at Jason@warriorrising.org.
To read veteran success stories, please visit Warrior Rising's Warriors Hall of Valor at https://www.warriorrising.org/our-warriors/