Lori Reeves has had the opportunity to practice resilience many times throughout her 22+ year military career. This is her story and she is resilient.

Trigger Warning: The Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult. The listener’s discretion is advised.

About the Guest:

Lori Reeves, Founder and CEO of BrandStrength, is a business coach who helps coaches, consultants and other professional service providers systematically hone their messaging to bring in more paying clients.

She has drawn from over 20 years of unique military service to create her signature BrandStrength Framework™ to help her clients attract and sign more paying clients than ever. She does this by helping them tap into the marketing genius that exists within their insight, knowledge, and experience, and then test and track their marketing efforts to find their highest-converting messages.

A serial entrepreneur herself, she opened a web design boutique in 2013 and is a Certified Copywriter through the Ray Edwards International Corporation. She has a B.A. in psychology, devours business and personal development books, is a self-proclaimed “word nerd” and lover of all things marketing. She lives in Tennessee with her 14-year-old son.

Links:

Facebook: https://brandstrength.co/group

IG: https://instagram.com/brandstrength

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgcKRJPARUdfyIH8yg_Ba6w

Website: https://brandstrength.co

Transcript
Blair Kaplan Venables:

trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience. A weekly show where I Blair Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that, get ready to dive into these life changing moments while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Welcome back to another episode of radical resilience. It's me, Blair Kaplan Venables and I am here today with my friend Lori. I just learned something new about her because I was reading her bio, and she wears multiple hats. So Lori is your last name. It's Reeves. Yeah, I know. It could be fancy like reverse,

Lori Reeves:

right? A lot of people try to add some point. Like Dang.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Lori Reeves, she's the founder and CEO of brand strength is a business coach who helps coaches, consultants and other professional service providers systematically hone their messaging to bring in more paying clients. And she is in the military. And when I read her bio was like, wow, she left the military to start a business. But she's doing both. She lives in Tennessee. She has a 14 year old son. She's a BA like you, you just are Superwoman. How do you do it all? Welcome to the stage. Welcome to the mic.

Lori Reeves:And ended up going back in in:Blair Kaplan Venables:

that. Okay, so you have over 22 years of military experience, what's your career been? Like? Like? What was it like when you were 17? And can you walk us through your your life in the military, because you know, this podcast is about resilience, and to be in the military, you have to have resilience,

Lori Reeves:

you do and the the really interesting thing is I've always intertwined it with my regular life, because it's always been part time for me. So I never was active duty. I joined in the National Guard, which is what people here have to sorry, one weekend, a month and two weeks a year, which is typically in the summer, you do no matter if you join that or active duty, you still go through the same basic training, you still have to go through whatever job training you have for your job. But in the National Guard, you just do it part time. So you have a full time, regular life, and a part time military life. And so having that all along has really just helped me develop things in my own personal self, that I was then able to go and start implementing immediately in my normal life. Like it wasn't this different kind of life because it's all in the military and there, you know, kind of feels like this whole thing. It was just this incorporation into my regular life. So early on, I would say and I you know, full transparency joined because I could not afford to go to college, if I didn't. But I will say I have one of the most interesting and unique and amazing jobs in the military. In that I'm a musician so Oh my gosh. Yeah, so my high school band director is the one who introduced me to the Army band that I first joined. She was in it saw tremendous talent in me that I couldn't see myself and knew the opportunities that awaited me with a military musical career. And she, she pushed really, honestly harder than at the time, I thought she should. But it was like, she could just see a version of me that I couldn't see yet. And it was so strong for her that she wasn't gonna let it go until I really gave it a good thing, you know, and just really gave it a shot. And so she's the one who can, you know, got me to think about it at such a young age. I went with her when I first tried it out. And it was just an amazing opportunity. I mean, the, the players and a military band are top notch, they are very skilled musicians. And I was already a good musician. But the ability to play with such a high caliber group of people was like, any nothing I had ever experienced before, right? When the first rehearsal that we started playing, I was like, Oh, my gosh, these people are going to uplevel me like nothing I have ever experienced. And so that was my first I think I was I was 16 at this point. So this is my first kind of glimpse into understanding that the people you surround yourself with, makes such a big difference in your life. And I chose it for myself, even though I knew it was going to be hard. And it was and I went through basic training when I was 17. I turned 18, in basic training, and literally two days after I graduated from basic training, moved to college and started my freshman year of college. So it was like, boom, boom, boom, like, Everything happened so fast. But it helped me when I was in college, I had just gone through basic training. And my friends would be like, Oh, I miss home. And I was like, Are you kidding? You can pick up the phone right now and call your mom, do you know what a luxury that? Like I didn't I didn't have that we could call home on Sunday afternoons in basic training, so I was like, it's a Tuesday, you can call your mom right now. Like you have nothing to complain about. Right. So it was like, it built this strength within me that I didn't know that I had and served me so well. And obviously I would just I wasn't that, you know, blase about my friends missing home. But I would say like, really, this is not a big deal. Like, it's really hard when you miss your mom, and it's Monday, and you know, you're not going to talk to her again until Sunday. Like that's really, really hard. So least you don't have it like that.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Yeah. Is it? So now with cell phones and everything? Is it different?

Lori Reeves:ent through basic training in:Blair Kaplan Venables:

the time go,

Lori Reeves:

is a little different. Yeah, not totally sure. I honestly, you know, and I know people in my unit who have gone through basic more recently, but I don't think I've even asked them if they have their cell phones, because it's just not it's not even like it like

Blair Kaplan Venables:

I mean me as like a geriatric or sorry, a vintage millennial who's like, glued to my phone. And that's my industry. It's just like, whoa, so wait, are you still in the band?

Lori Reeves:

I am. So I started in the Army. I was in the army for about almost four years. And then I had a five year break in service. And then I joined the Air Force, and I'm still in the Air Force to this day. So the Air

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Force the National Guard, like is it like a subdivision? Sorry, I'm Canadian. And I don't know.

Lori Reeves:

It's totally fine. Americans don't know this other

Blair Kaplan Venables:

lesson. Yeah,

Lori Reeves:

let's do a quick lesson. So there are reserve components of every branch, I believe. There's the reserves and the National Guard. And so a lot of people think that the reserves are the National Guard or the National Guard or the reserves, because I've introduced myself to people at a party and said, I'm in the National Guard. And they'll turn around and say this is Laurie, she's in the reserves. Oh, and I said, I'm in the National Guard, the difference is only funding. So the National Guard is state funded. And the other difference is that only the Army and the Air Force have National Guard components where every other branch has a reserve component. So if you say I'm in the National Guard, it's assumed that you're either in the army or the Air Force. And honestly, most people assume you're in the army unless you say I'm in the Air National Guard, which is what they call the Air Force National Guard. But it's the same kind of process of going one weekend a month you give one weekend. You go and you do your job in the military for that one weekend, a month and then the two weeks in the summer. That's what you do is the job that you have within the military, and you get paid for it. And I my health insurance is through the military. And I have been deployed to the Middle East East. So I've been like, all over the world I went to, to Germany to play music to play music. Yeah.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Okay, hold on my mind. So there's music wherever you guys are stationed.

Lori Reeves:

Yeah, so the mission of a band in the military is, there are a few things that we do. One of the things that is one of our biggest missions is to raise troop morale. We are the military taking care of its own. Because when people are stationed away from home, it's typically for a long time, and it's in very uncertain environments, and stress levels are high. And unfortunately, suicide rates are very high. And the military knows this. And so they put money into the health and well being of the service members. And one of the ways that they do that is with sending bands to places where the USO can't or won't go because of either security clearance or danger of the area. So that the people who are deployed there can have a little bit of home, it's like, we go, and we do a couple of hours of playing. And it feels like you're in somebody's backyard, having a party and you kind of forget where you are, what you've been doing the things that you've seen, you forget that you miss home so much, because it feels like a little piece of home for you. And then of course, we also do military ceremonies and stuff. So like anytime there's a change of command, or, you know, somebody's promoted, and there's a big ceremony, we go and provide music for that. But we also build a bridge between the military and civilian. You know, people, so whether that's here in the country, where we go, and we perform public shows, so that people can come and, and they wave their little flags, and we play patriotic music, and we sing songs, and we dance. And we just kind of have a party that gets people feeling like, yeah, we're all in this together. And then we also do that with other countries that we're trying to build rapport and relationships with, instead of trying to send people to go sit down at a table where it's kind of stuffy and a little serious, we send a band over and give them a little bit of fun. And even if they don't understand the words, we're saying because we don't speak the same language. Music is that language that everybody speaks, and we just kind of relax a little bit. And the military is so funny, they're like, they never would have believed it, or thought it would be true. But they get intelligence from people who have lowered their guards, because they've just had fun with the band. And they go and tell them, hey, that house down there, that things happen in that house, where they would never go tell somebody who's standing on a corner with a weapon, because they're scared of them. And so it's it's been this really amazing opportunity for me to watch on a very high level, I mean country to country, building relationships, and building rapport. And getting down to a human to human level. With people, I've literally traveled the world doing this. And like, it blows my mind. Like my life blows my mind on a regular

Blair Kaplan Venables:

basis. You might be one of the most fascinating people I've met and I know a lot of people have so Okay, first of all the band. Okay, what do you play? What instrument do you play?

Lori Reeves:

I play the French horn, but I'm also a vocalist,

Blair Kaplan Venables:

so you sing. I sing. Okay. Okay, other question. So I'm picturing, you know, like the, you know, you're stationed overseas and you're playing music. Is it like, you do like a rock set? Like you play some Beatles? Like you play like a concert? Yeah. Yep. So

Lori Reeves:

we were a cover band, because we want people to be able to sing along. And so we play from different genres and different time periods so that basically no matter who's in the audience, they're hearing something that they like. And so we mix it up, we do different styles and types and best job. I know. And the funny thing is, like, hardly anybody even knows that it exists. Even though we all know when the military started. You think of like an infantry troop walking along with the five syndromes, they had flutes and drums so that they could stay in step. So music and the military have been intertwined for as long as the military has existed, but it's like people just assume that the music fell away. But music has always played a really big part in the history of military actions. It's really interesting.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

I love that. Okay, so this is so cool. Um, over the last like two decades plus, do you have any specific moments that really stand out to you?

Lori Reeves:

Yeah, I have quite a few. One when I went on this trip to Europe, so it was a small group of us So we were asked to go over because the band, the American band that was stationed in Germany was about to send people on a deployment to the Middle East. And so it was right before the Fourth of July. And the group that was going to go to the Middle East, they all took, they all like waited and took all their leave to spend their time with their family till right before they went. And so the band was like, it's the fourth of July like this is one of our biggest times to have concert requests. And we can't just do half of them because this big group is going to be deployed. So they called up the Pentagon. And they said, We need a National Guard Band, to come over and augment us and to take care of some of these concert requests that we've gotten. And I know it's, I'm not very humble in saying this, but I am in the best National Guard Band in the country. And every time the Pentagon has asked who they could send, they come to our band first. And so we have for a very long time, then the band that kind of sets the stage for what everybody else should do. And so they immediately called us and said, We need to send a small group, can you guys accommodate that. And so six of us were chosen to go over and I was one of the six. And so we went to Europe for three weeks. And we performed in Germany, in Austria and Slovakia. And when we were in Slovakia, we went to this little village just called neitra. And they had this park and they had a stage setup. And we set up all of our stuff on the stage. And they had these little like wooden benches that were like all in a row kind of like an amphitheater, but like small, just, you know, like a little small get together place. And people from the community came out to watch us. And it was one of the most memorable shows that I have ever performed in because most of the time when we're playing, people are dancing and clapping along and singing along with us. Well, in Slovakia, they don't speak much English, some people do, some people don't. So it was not that unexpected that they weren't singing with us. But when we were playing, they weren't clapping, they weren't dancing, they were literally sitting still just like sitting with their hands in their laps, just looking at us with straight faces not even smiling. So when you start playing, and we're all looking in the audience, and we start like glancing at each other, like What is even happening, like, they hate us. This is this is not what we expected, right? So we get done with the first song. As soon as it's quiet, we stop everybody in the audience like they start clapping, clapping, clapping, and then we start playing again. And they put their hands back in their laps and their faces went blank again. That's how they did every song. They just listened and watched. And then they clapped and applauded and cheered for us in between the songs. So after we performed, we're always encouraged to go out into the audience and mingle and meet with people and let them really get to know us. And so I went out and this man came up to me, and he stopped me. I mean, he was like, really close to me. And he said, I do not like America. And I said, Oh, I like Russia. And I said, Oh, okay, and he said, but I like you. I say Oh, well, okay, thank you. And he said yes, but I do not like Americans, but I do like you know, like I said, Well, liking one American is a start, we can just start with you liking one American, that's fun. And I realized then, like it was this weird thought in my head. This man's whole opinion of America changed today. Because I was in this park. Like the thought of the things that he may say to his family, his friends may change regarding America, like literally I could have changed not just one life, but multiple lives by going and playing a show a rock show, in a park in Nitra, Slovakia. And that was just mind blowing that that, you know, it's like, we all think about making change on this huge scale. But that's really never where change actually happens. It happens one person at a time and then it spreads from there. And that was just like the most beautiful representation of that lesson to me was that it doesn't matter what the whole audience is doing. I changed the perception of one person who will then carry that changed perception with him throughout the rest of his life. And he'll probably tell stories about that time when the American band came and played in the park. And he got to talk to one. And, you know, like that. That was amazing.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

That's a really special story. I really, really liked that. That's, that's cool. Because it'd be interesting to know like, where he is and where his family is today and what what their perception is. Because that might have was that before like social media that you went and did that?

Lori Reeves:No, that was in:Blair Kaplan Venables:

social media was here? Yes. Yeah.

Lori Reeves:

And there was another similar situation when I was deployed to the Middle East, we went to Pakistan. And we interacted with a lot of Pakistanis. And almost every one of them wanted to get one on one with us or with a small group, and ask us if our if how we felt about Pakistanis was different now that we had met them. And it was really, you know, that I mean, they do like Pakistan, do you like us? Do you feel differently about us now that you've been here than you did? Before you came here? You know, what, what, what is your interpretation of Pakistan and the Pakistani people, it was like, they were very, you know, they, they were concerned with what Americans thought of them, and what relationship they felt like they could have with us. And it was really, really an interesting situation as well, for for so and it was like, all the places we went. It wasn't just like one person who did it. It was just like, everywhere we went, they were like, What do you think of us? Now? What? Tell me how your perception of Pakistanis has changed since you've been here. Yeah, so that

Blair Kaplan Venables:

I feel like I can talk to you for a very long time, forever. You know, as we're kind of winding down, I have, I have so many questions. But I think because this conversation took a really beautiful turn about how you've had this opportunity to be in the military, in the military band, travel the world and bring joy, like your job is to bring joy. Yeah, in places of darkness and war and other things. But, like the fact that your job is to, like, I just, I've watched a lot of like movies, so I have a Hollywood perception of what it's like to be overseas at war. And like, what, uh, you know, what it would be like, you know, to be there, and having a band be put there to bring joy and let everyone kind of forget momentarily about what's happening. I just think that's so beautiful that your job is to bring joy, like music brings joy. I love music. Music is my life like not, it's not my life. I don't play instruments, but I love rocking out like I will fly around the world to see concerts. I love like the busker outside the drugstore. I love the Rock and Roll festivals. I like everything in between. So I know how much music musics gotten through, gotten me through the best times and the worst times. And so you you have this gift where you get to take your talent and bring joy.

Lori Reeves:the Middle East. This was in:Blair Kaplan Venables:

So that's, that's really beautiful. So what advice do you have, for those 16 year olds, those 17 year olds out there listening? Who are like, wow, this actually seems like a really cool path. What advice do you have?

Lori Reeves:

Well, I think when I was 16, or 17, it was hard for me to give into the fact that older people knew more than me and could see different things than I could and literally like I didn't say this but I literally went to shut my teacher up because she would not let up about it. And I was like, Mom, I have to go because every time she's gonna have drill she She begged me and begged me and begged me to go and I just want her to stop because it's uncomfortable. So I'm going to go to show her that I have no interest in this And then I got there and I was like, Oh my gosh, she was right. So I would say, open up a little, and allow people to share with you what they see as possible for you. It's not for them. Like, I think as a 16 or 17 year old, we kind of assume that somebody's trying to do a power play on us. They're trying to push us in some way so that they can feel more powerful. And I promise you, if somebody is willing to step out of their comfort zone, to tell you something, you it's not for them. It is for you. And had I not been willing, because when she started talking to me about it, I kept telling her, I have no interest in the military, this is not for me, you don't understand, you don't know me, you don't know what I want. Had I stuck to that line of thinking, I don't even want to think about what my life would look like right now. Right? Just assuming that any person who offers you advice, you may not take the advice because I'm not saying all advice is good. But if you can get to the point where you truly believe that all advice is given to you from a place of love, and from a place of wanting so much for you, and just pull whatever you can from that, whether it's just the feeling of appreciation that somebody you know, went out of their way to tell you something, or if the advice you want to actually look into it, there's no harm and getting a little bit more information about something that you don't know about so that you can make an informed decision. And if somebody is going to, you know, talk to you so much about one specific thing that they think you should do. Getting a little bit more information about doesn't mean you have to do it, but valuing that person's advice, and they're caring enough to just give it a chance in your brain to maybe take seed.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Yes, that's such good advice. You know what, Laurie? You're amazing. All of Lori's links are in the show notes. I invite you to step into her world. I think you're just so fascinating. Larry, what is the name of your military band? Like your cover band?

Lori Reeves:

Yeah, we are the Air National Guard Band of the South.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

The Air National Guard. Band of the South. Yep. Okay, weird. Weird question, sir. I have so many questions, but I should wrap this. Does your band have like social media? Or no? Because you do.

Lori Reeves:

Yeah. We're on Facebook. Really? Graham? Yeah. Oh, my gosh,

Blair Kaplan Venables:

I'm gonna go follow your band. Okay. Yay, up. Yeah, ever come up to British Columbia, Canada, you're gonna have to let me know. I don't think you can hear. But you never know.

Lori Reeves:

I mean, we went to Alaska. Last summer, we had a friend who was in the military and loved us and pulled a few strings. And we got to go to Alaska, which is fairly far.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Kind of close, but not very

Lori Reeves:

far from where we typically tour. So I just gotta say, you never know what can happen. You know, I mean, miracles do occur.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

I love that. Oh, my gosh, Lori thank you so much for coming on radical resilience and sharing your story and your journey with us. You're an absolute light. And I just anyone that gets to play, hear you play or play with you is super lucky. And maybe one day I'll get to rock out to your cover band. Yes, whatever you're playing or singing wherever we are in the world. And you know, so thanks for coming on radical resilience.

Lori Reeves:

Thank you so much for having me. This was just amazing.

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