I believe you can learn something from every person you meet, whether they are a CEO of an international corporation or a college freshman trying to find their way. There are many fascinating people on the Thought of the Day distribution list, and Liz’s THD Reader Feature is a way to share that wisdom.
Nate Pelletier is a business builder, strategist, and national thought leader on military transition.
1. How did you get on the Thought of the Day distribution list?
Yours truly, Liz Keating.
2. What is your favorite Thought of the Day and why?
Bill Keating, Jr.’s last Thought of the Day:
“The way of peace is the way of love. Love is the greatest power on earth. It conquers all things.” – Peace Pilgrim
To Do Today: “Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.” – Mother Teresa
It’s a message that applies to all people. It’s easy to get caught up in the complexities of our society today and the lack of trust we have for each other. The message of love, which can be displayed in many ways, is the only power that matters. It’s also the thing I need to work on the most.
3. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough.
4. What is your life’s purpose?
Do things that matter.
5. (Besides marriage/having kids/etc.) What are you most proud of in your life?
Having come from humble beginnings with minimal support and expectations growing up, I’m most proud of the fact that my accomplishments are based on my work and effort, not a byproduct of my friends or family’s influence.
6. How do you define success?
I think this is unique to every individual. To me, it’s the sustainability of your impact on society
7. What do you believe in?
Authenticity. It’s the driver behind trust. And to me, trust equals character plus competence. If you’re authentic and trusted, then you have a greater chance of having a meaningful impact in all that you do.
8. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?Olympic track and field athlete. But when I got to college and competed at the Division 1 level, I realized I was a small fish in a very big pond and that dream died quickly.
9. What is the one thing you need to do every day to get ready to take on the day?
I’ve had several surgeries and suffer from chronic back, hip, and knee pain. It’s important for me to get enough sleep, and to spend 30 minutes stretching in the morning so that I can get through the day.
10. What is the one defining moment that changed the course of your life?
When I was deployed, I lost 5 soldiers because I was 3 seconds too late in redirecting them on a mission. I’ve never taken a second for granted since and it’s important to make every second count. So, my advice to people is to focus on your impact, not the sum of your activities. If you can’t define how your activities created impact, then your activities weren’t worth the time spent on them.
11. What are you currently doing to positively impact your community and why?
I define community more nationally, than just here in Cincinnati. Besides my entrepreneurial work, I’ve spent the last 10 years advocating for improving military transition to civilian life. It’s important to help service members and their family begin preparing for transition and reintegration. I designed a regional “hub” concept that establishes or repurposes organizations regionally throughout the U.S. to receive new veterans and their families and act as the backbone during their transition. We have community models in Texas, Arizona, Mass., Oklahoma, DC, and Colorado. I currently advise the Congressional Veterans’ Affair Committee, and the VA/DoD ETS sponsorship program, co-authored 2 academic papers on the topic with Deloitte and three legislative bills. One was signed into law in 2018.
12. What small decision in your life had much larger consequences?
My family didn’t have the financial means to pay for any part of college tuition, so I knew I was going to have to pay for it on my own. I really wanted to go to Notre Dame, but it was way too expensive, so I chose to go to West Point. My junior year, 9/11 happened, and 3 months before I graduated, we declared war on Iraq. My West Point class was the first class to graduate into the war on terror. West Point and my combat experience have shaped almost every decision I’ve made in life, to include accepting a job at P&G and moving to Cincinnati.
13. When was a time when your beliefs were challenged?
I was home visiting my family for Christmas one year, and my dad told me he no longer believed in God and Christianity. All my life, he was a dedicated and authentic Christian. This challenged me to rethink if my belief in Christianity was based on inheriting a religion or if I had done the work to affirm it on my own. My faith is much stronger now because of it.
14. If you could change one thing in your personal or professional path from the past, what would it be and why?
Like anyone else, I’ve played the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” game in my head many times. But I believe our decisions all happen for a reason, so I have no regrets to date.
15. How do you find balance and fulfillment in your life?
Honestly, I’m terrible at balance and need to work on it. I love to read and travel; and I love to work- both professionally and on my more philanthropic activities. I feel a great sense of fulfillment in my work.
16. When was the last time you took a leap of faith?
When I tried Skyline Chili for the first time with Liz Keating and her Grandpa! The look of it made my stomach weak. But honestly, I do like a good cheese coney every once in a while.
17. What do you want your legacy to be?
I focus on my purpose and ensuring my time is well spent in delivering on that purpose. I don’t think about my legacy. Legacies take care of themselves.
Previous THD Reader Features: