183: Brian Von Herbulis: 17 years as a special opps leader in the Marines, this all star now empowers people to unleash their potential through outdoor adventures. Prepare to get optimized…

December 25, 2020

Brian Von Herbulis

How did Brian Von Herbulis arrive at his mission statement, ‘To be an honorable man, enrich the lives of others’? “I heard somebody once mention their personal mission statement, and that made me think. What am I doing on this planet? What am I doing with my life? What is my mission here right now? That mission statement can change over time. But right now, when I developed that personal mission statement, it was just a couple of months ago, and in reflection I thought about how I want to live my life? What I want to be doing. What I want to be thought of by my family, by my friends, by those that I encounter, and it is simply being an honorable man.” 

On this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, we talk with Brian Von Herbulis, Retired U.S. Marine and Chief Executive Officer at Ultra Solutions about what being ‘honorable’ means to him. “The word ‘honor’ to me has so many connotations to it. It is kind of an umbrella term for all of the facets of my life that I want to exercise and showcase to people. It is about being a person of integrity, knowing and living by your values and principles. It is about who you surround yourself with and making sure you are loyal to those people that you have committed to and people in a positive relationship with. It is about being trustworthy. It is about being confident. It is about being humble when that is the right approach. It is about being genuine. It is about being authentic to who you really are and finding purposefully ways to live your life.” 

What You Will Learn:

How does someone get to the point in their life where they openly want to enrich the lives of others? “It is about reflection. Who impacted you in life and how did you take those lessons learned in your journey of life and look at those people that had an impact on you? What did they do right? What did you learn from them? How do you want to move forward projecting that same thing? I think back on my own life and I think about those people that had a tremendous impact on where I am today and how I got there, and I am so grateful for them, and they were such strong, such honorable people for me to follow as mentors to me, and that is where it starts.”

Brian Von Herbulis explains how he has taken stock of how he has treated others in the past to improve his ability to enrich the lives of others. “You think back about the opportunities that you had to impact others and whether you did it right or whether you made a mistake in your approach to those people. So, you are constantly learning, iterating in your own life and processes, and then having that positive impact going forward. I spent a career in the military and there is no greater opportunity to shape young lives as an officer of the Marines. So, when I look back at all of those encounters I had with thousands of Marines, did I do things right? Was I honorable in my approach to them and how I treated them, how I taught them, how I prepared them, how I trained them? Then, how did I discipline them?”

Did Brian Von Herbulis come from a military family? “I don’t have a tremendous military lineage in my family. My grandfather was a Navy corpsman, so a medic in World War II, stitching up Marines on the beaches in the Pacific. But like so many of that World War II generation, he came home and suffered tremendously in his mind, and he struggled in life. So, I never saw the military in such a positive way. I knew it had a really negative impact on my grandfather. I grew up an athlete and I had dreams of being a professional baseball player, and put the majority of my time and effort into that. Unfortunately in that process I suffered some injuries, and lack of talent, I never made it to the big leagues in baseball.”

How did Brian’s life change when his parents got divorced after 25 years of marriage during his sophomore year of college when he found out upon arriving home on Christmas break? “I became different at that point. I became jaded. I became angry. I was lost. I went back to school not to go to school. I was unfocused, undisciplined, and I partied like a rock star. Baseball fell apart. My grade point average I think that following semester was like a 0.07. I didn’t even go to class. I don’t even know how I got the 0.07. I was just lost. Here I am maturing. But really, I was falling apart. So, when I talked about mentors, this is when they became really important. Because I ended up getting kicked out of college. I went home and had to quickly figure out what it means to grow up.”

Brian Von Herbulis highlights the key element to why the Marine Corp was the place to be for him. “I always looked at the Marine Corp as the grit, just tough fighters that loved every challenge that you could ever throw at them. They are like rabbit dogs, you know? That was what I was drawn to. I didn’t know anybody in the Marine Corp. I just wanted what was in my mind appeared to be the toughest, the greatest challenge. The mystery around the Marine Corp.”

Up for the Challenge

When Brian Von Herbulis entered the Marines, was he overwhelmed by it or did he embrace the intense training? “I recognized that there was going to be this new model of life. But I also knew that that was what I needed. I craved that structure. I missed athletics so much and team dynamics so much that I was ready for anything they had to throw at me. The unfortunate part was that I got rejected by the Marine Corps initially.”

Higher Ground

During this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, Brian Von Herbulis discusses his connection to the organization Higher Ground. “I first encountered Higher Ground when I moved here. I got invited to their annual fundraising gala called Hero’s Journey and that was my initial introduction to the organization. Then I came up and they kind of showcased some of the work they did and took me through some of the things they did with adaptive athletes or military veterans that had suffered some sort of physical trauma. I was very moved by what I witnessed, the work they do, and I have maintained a relationship with people on the team here at Higher Ground.”

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