FRANCHISING USA DECEMBER 2020

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V e t er ans in Fr anchising

EXPERT ADVICE: Lamarr Cook | Franchisee | Raleigh Intelligent Office

Veteran Utilizes Lessons Learned from the Marines

TO BE Successful Franchise Owner I came up in some of the roughest neighborhoods in 1970’s Detroit. The sad part is I did not know how bad things were because I had nothing to gauge them against.

The surreal sitcom the “Brady Bunch” and the nostalgic “Happy Days” were, of course, on television. These shows were far from being realistic. My life, however, was as poverty-stricken as “Good Times” and as scary as “The Night Gallery.”

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The kids in my neighborhood were not encouraged to finish high school, much less go to college. I learned in later years there was a lot of unconscious (and maybe some conscious) bias going around. For example, many “guidance” counselors assumed the only way out for Black youth was making it in basketball, football, or as a musician. There was little, if any, encouragement to attend college and my family life was dysfunctional at best. Unfortunately, I stunk at team sports and was robbed of my clarinet on my way home from school. This is not a woe-is-me rendition of my life. It just sums up the way I had to come up with a plan for success early in life.

Be strong now because things will get better. It might be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever. – Anonymous I wish I could say that as an 18-year-old kid I came up with some super, thoughtprovoking plan. I am sorry; that’s not the case. Plain and simple my plan for life was based on fulfilling Maslow’s hierarchy of needs [although I did not know this at the time].

I don’t like depending on people because people leave all the time. Because at the end of the day all you have is yourself and that has to be enough. – Anonymous

Maslow theorized we are motivated by five categories of human needs and these dictate our individual behavior. Those needs are physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. I saw the billboards; I spoke to a recruiter; I realized the military had everything I needed on a physiological level: food, water, and a place to sleep. It could also address my safety needs: security of body, employment, morality, and health. What I found, nevertheless, is the Marines provided so much more.

I also recognized what does not break you makes you stronger.

The military gave me a sense of belonging. “There are no white Marines and there

I realized I could only depend on one person to make my life fruitful…me.