Motivational Mondays is now available on all podcast platforms!
In this week's episode of Motivational Mondays, we welcome Jake Wood, the CEO of Team Rubicon – a nationwide nonprofit that provides military veterans opportunities to volunteer as responders to global natural disasters.
Having started Team Rubicon through a personal sense of social responsibility and desire to help people in need — what began as a philanthropic concept, today, has nearly 130,000 volunteers across the country. Jake’s story is influential as it highlights the outstanding possibilities in leadership when passion, proactivity, empathy, and a clear vision come together.
Take the Initiative
When Haiti experienced one of the worst earthquakes in 2010, Jake had just months earlier gotten out of the Marine Corps. Jake recalls, "I had served in Iraq and Afghanistan—I was in the infantry, so I was fairly comfortable in tough environments, and working in chaotic situations. And so, watching that disaster and that earthquake unfold, I really just wanted to help."
He tried to volunteer with various relief organizations, but none of them gave him the opportunity to help. So, instead of donating a couple of bucks, he decided to call a couple of veterans with whom he served. Just a few days after the devastating earthquake, their team of eight arrived in Haiti to provide assistance. Within weeks they expanded to running multiple medical triage clinics throughout the city.
Jake quickly identified a need and knew that his team would be able to repurpose the skills they learned in the military. Soon after they returned, they incorporated as a non-profit to deliver the best disaster response organization in the world.
Become a Great Leader
At its core, leadership is nothing more than love.
As Jake explains it, leadership is "... being able to demonstrate to them that you care about who they are, where they come from, why they are there following you at that moment in time. And demonstrating to them how you're going to play a role, and do everything you can to help them achieve their dreams and their goals."
This is one element that truly great leaders understand and never take for granted. When leaders demonstrate true passion for the people they lead, something unique happens. People feel safe. They know that they’ve found an environment where they’re going to thrive and be taken care of.
Be Deliberate In How You Live Your Life
As he passionately discusses his life's journey and calling to help others, Jake offers what he hopes will be a key takeaway for readers of his new book, ‘Once a Warrior: How One Veteran Found a New Mission Closer to Home’:
"Every action you take, every interaction you have, every word you speak has the potential to either make somebody's life better or make somebody's life worse. Be really deliberate with how you choose to live your life and interact with people on a daily basis.”
NSLS members, listen to the bonus episode in the Members Area to hear even more in-depth advice from Jake Wood.
Visit Team Rubicon to donate, volunteer, or learn more (www.teamrubiconusa.org)
Get Jake's new book, 'Once a Warrior: How One Veteran Found a New Mission Closer to Home.'
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