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What does my network look like and is it providing results?: Takeaways

Monday, June 15, 2020 06:30 | chad pearce

Having a network goes deeper though than just the number of followers you have on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.  To make your network provide results it's imperative to get out of your comfort zone, learn and contribute. 

20 years ago, I was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.  If you know of that base, you might understand that the base is basically in the middle of the desert, far from society.   It was there that I first learned the importance of having a network.  We leaned on each other almost like we were stationed in a foreign country.  We supported each other like a family.  Most of us were away from family so we became like a second family. Those were the days prior to social media and social distancing.  We spent all day at work together and followed that up with most of our off duty time together.  I met people from around the country, all who had a story to tell, I engaged with them and learned in the process. Countless times we would support each other and our families without question.  I keep in touch with people from that time period still to this day and if one of them needed me, I would be there for them.  

Fast forward 20 years and I am back in California transitioning out of uniform and into the business world.  I may not be at Edwards Air Force Base any more, but my brothers and sisters in arms still continue to be a vital part of my network. I recently expanded my network with a fellow military retiree and “vetrepreneur”. He came from the generation before my time in uniform but never lost touch with the veteran network.  His mentorship and guidance have inspired me to follow my dreams.  I hope to do the same for the next generation of veterans.  

I am also expanding my network far beyond the typical connections I have been accustomed to making. This new network has opened my eyes to all that I do not know. It can be intimidating at times stepping outside your comfort zone, but it can also pay huge dividends.  Just recently I met two fellow entrepreneurs who had no military affiliation.  We spoke a different language at times but we had similar experiences.  We shared knowledge and “joined forces” so to speak in order to help each other.  They opened me up to new ideas and opportunities. At times, my head was a good way!  I shared with them the strategies and tactics I had honed over a 20 year military career, I think I might have made their head spin a bit as well!  Our collaboration showed me the power of networking. 

I am no longer Chief Master Sergeant Chad Pearce, top of the enlisted force structure.  I am Chad Pearce, Retired United States Air Force who still engages with the network he established through 20 years of relationships.  I am Chad Pearce, Co-Founder Wingman Recruiting Solutions who is meeting new clients, candidates and fellow entrepreneurs daily and learning from them. I am Chad, the next door neighbor who is willing to network in my neighborhood and engage with my local community to contribute in any way I can.  It's a different landscape post military service, but with a vast network behind you, there isn't anything that you can't accomplish. 

A few takeaways from my networking experience:

1) Get out of your comfort zone! Don't be afraid to engage with new people, they can help you grow.  At the same time, stay engaged with the people you spent all those years in uniform building connections with. 

2) Contribute! Networking isn’t about finding opportunities for you or “sucking up” to someone to get ahead in life. It’s about finding opportunities to contribute. That was a truth taught to me 20 years ago at my first duty station and it’s still true today.

3) Learn, unlearn and relearn. The 21st century requires veterans who can master this concept. As futurist and philosopher Alvin Toffler once wrote: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

Will you support me by becoming part of my network? Can I support you by becoming part of your network? Lets get out of our comfort zone, learn and contribute together!

You can tap into a network by being a part of an organization like Southwest Veterans Business Resource Center.     REGISTER

You can join my network directly: JOIN CHAD'S NETWORK

Thank you for your support!



  • Monday, June 15, 2020 19:49 | Ernest Rock
    This was a great read I found these words truly fascinating "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn" I have never thought about that from that angle, but It is such a true statement by Alvin Toffler. I also found it interesting that you paired that take away with another your second take away which was to contribute and in your words networking isn't about finding opportunities to get ahead in life, but rather finding opportunities to contribute or in other words networking is about helping others! In the past 2 blogs I quoted a speech by Denzel Washington and this one will be no different as I believe some of his words apply again to this blog as well... "now i will say it again true desire in the heart, that itch that you have whatever it is you want to do. That thing that you want to do to help others in to grow and to make money, that desire that... that’s God’s proof to you sit beforehand already to indicate that it is yours and anything you want good you can have, so claim it, work hard to get it and when you get it, reach back pull someone else up! Each one teach one, don’t just aspire to make a living aspire to make a difference"

    As a partner in Wingman Recruiting Solutions I believe it has been our soul mission as a company to do just that, to reach back and pull some of our fellow military veterans up and put them in positions to succeed. We both retired and could have gone on to do other things, work for big companies and make a bigger paydays but instead we have worked on building a network from scratch through different avenues to make a difference in the lives of Veterans. And even though I have not got my first hire yet, you have got guys hired and I myself have fixed over a dozen of resumes. I believe we are making the 21st century vets literate and we are reaching back and it has all been done through networking which is something we continue working on daily.

    This is an blog I think that many of us could learn a valuable lesson from, making connections isn't about making a paycheck its about building up other people while you are building your business.
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    • Monday, June 15, 2020 20:22 | chad pearce

      You got it right, we are in the business of supporting the veteran community and it's not about paychecks, it's about contributing and reaching back. I appreciate you sir.....and your Denzel quotes!

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  • Wednesday, June 17, 2020 14:47 | Caleb Royer
    Chad, first off thank you for you’re service! This was a great read and those who read your story would all agree. I wish you nothing, but the best in you’re transition into the networking world, but by the looks of it you have nothing, but a great future ahead of yourself. Best of luck to ya !
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    • Wednesday, June 17, 2020 15:11 | chad pearce
      Thank you Caleb, I appreciate your support! Now that you are off to college, I encourage you to expand your network.

      I'm always in your corner should you need anything!

      Link  •  Reply
  • Friday, June 19, 2020 09:13 | Ryan Royer
    Chad, very well written article. Thank you for your service. With your knowledge and ability to adapt and open mindedness to change along with the bonds you’ve made and continue to make and grow through networking I have no doubt you’ll be as successful if not more in your 2nd chapter of your life. You have my full support!
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    • Friday, June 19, 2020 09:39 | chad pearce

      It's interesting, success looks different to me at age 40 than it did at age 20. I am much more focused on balance and the success of others. Glad to be home and glad to have you around to go through this 2nd chapter together.

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  • Tuesday, June 23, 2020 12:26 | Andrew Grewe
    Chad, well written and good info to think about! I'm sure we all had similar experiences while active duty, especially during the early years of our service as you mentioned. Some of the guys at my first command pitched in on a storage unit for us to hang out at while off duty, what a wild thought now looking back. Ship deployments were even more so to your point, we were literally trapped in a metal can with a few hundred of our closest friends for weeks (sometimes months) at a time! Even then we still would spend our free time together while outside our watch rotations. Some of those guys are still some of my closest friends today, almost 20 years later.

    Fast forward to today, and I am working for a multi-billion dollar international company. Low and behold, some of my closest work friends are also prior military, foreign and domestic. Just goes to show that we tend to gravitate towards those that we know we can easily trust, even when they served in a different country's military.
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    • Tuesday, June 23, 2020 12:52 | chad pearce

      Appreciate your thoughts. You are correct, keeping touch with your veteran community is an important factor post military service. We have a built-in trust factor that goes a long way!

      First rule.....never leave your Wingman!

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  • Tuesday, June 23, 2020 16:16 | Matthew Flores
    Get out of your comfort zone is completely true! That is the only way you will grow. As networking goes, I feel it is more of an investment into your environment. When you generally care about something you want refine it and make it better. “networking” could just be another form of a group communicating to improve each other.
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    • Tuesday, June 23, 2020 16:26 | chad pearce
      Good insight Matt! Iron sharpen Iron. Many times I have sought out other professionals to network with that I thought would help me to raise my game / "improve each other". Often times that requires us to get outside of our comfort zone.

      Thanks for your continued support

      Link  •  Reply
  • Wednesday, June 24, 2020 10:35 | Lonnie Taylor Jr
    I retired as an Air Force Chief Master Sergeant. I had certain criteria I wanted to start my next career. I felt that I had prepared to be able to head in my desired direction. I had been a career recruiter and when I retired from the Air Force, I joined a civilian recruiting firm. My ultimate objective was to start my own boutique recruiting firm. I need the acumen from the civilian side. I took a job within a month of retirement that met my needs. I used my own recruiting skills to secure the position. I have since started my firm as well as contract consult for other companies. On of the most important challenges in the corporate world for former military is being able to while highlighting all you valuable military experience and accomplishments, being able to show relative corporate related acumen and not become pigeonholed as the government guy. Here is the win: if you get your experience and acumen, you
    bring experience from both sides. They can only bring experience from one side. You have greater value. Be able to articulate that.
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    • Wednesday, June 24, 2020 10:38 | chad pearce

      Great insight! We have had similar paths and I appreciate your take on this. You have opened me up to a new network of folks over the years that have helped me develop that acumen from the civilian side, and for that I am grateful.

      Link  •  Reply

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