Weekender: Jason Everman on Utilizing Disappoint to Make Positive Changes

Jason Everman2Welcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a spoon-full of information to start your weekend on the right track. Why just a spoon, man? Because it’s the weekend!

If you’ve ever been fired from a job, then you know how traumatic an experience it can be. Since much of our self-worth is tied into our work, being fired feels like a personal rejection. While you may not have left on your own accord, this can be a tremendous opportunity to make a needed change. Just look at Jason Everman.

Jason Everman was the bass guitar player for two of the greatest bands of the 1990s – Nirvana and Soundgarden. He was also kicked out of both bands right before they reached stardom. Losing out on one of these windfalls could crush a person, let alone two.

[Jason] was funny and witty, and then a cloud would come over him. He would sit in the bus and be really mad with his headphones on all the time. I felt bad for the guy, and I feel even worse now, thinking about somehow he was suffering and nobody really knew how to address that.” – Eric Johnson, Soundgarden’s road manager

Soon after, Jason joined another band, Mindfunk, but was still not happy. It became apparent that he needed to make a change. According to an article by Clay Tarver, Jason wanted to do something “impossible.”

I was in the cool bands. I was psyched to do the most uncool thing you could possibly do.

Jason Everman1Jason began sneaking out of the apartment he shared with the rest of the band for early morning calisthenics. Then, without warning, he quit the band and joined the Army.

Within weeks Jason went from rock star to basis training cadet. Can you imagine a more drastic change? One day an arena full of screaming fans are idolizing you, the next, an unimpressed drill sergeant is yelling orders in your face. As if this wasn’t enough, Jason then joined the elite Army Rangers and went on to serve in South America and throughout the Middle East.

The bond of locking shields with each other, working together to defeat a common enemy, it’s a heightened state. [Similar to performing onstage], everyone looks around and you know – you know – something cool is going on here. I knew this was it. This is living.

What Jason shows is that we cannot let our misfortunes define us. Your adversity can be the push you need onto a different path. Use it to motivate youself into making a much-needed change. You may not take the same 180 degree turn as Jason, but we don’t need to compare ourselves to a rock playing Special Forces soldier who, by the way, went to Columbia University post-Army to earn his Bachelor’s degree in philosophy – just another 180 degree change.