Love and Life and Lemonade Stands

Love and Work_Entrepreneur_01_Jason McCarthy and Java
Other than questions about Java and Monster and who doesn’t love them, the one I get the most is what was it like to start GORUCK. I think the real question is what’s it like to take a chance in life call it entrepreneur or whatever. And I’ll skip to the end of this whole thing so you don’t have to read it and tell you that if you want to be happy, find whatever you love and do that. Be it work or love or life and speaking of life it’s a funny place and she always has a say in what you’re called to do the question is do you answer that call or do you fight it.

Sometimes we search out the hard path for the wrong reasons but sometimes the hard path is the only path. For me, joining the military on October 28, 2003 was the best decision I ever made and it was a lot harder than starting GORUCK but more people ask about the entrepreneur thing so let’s talk about that even though I’m probably the worst person to ask, ever.

I never even started a lemonade stand as a kid and I wouldn’t know what it’s like to start a company, I’m just doing what I love. I love who we are, what we do, and the causes we support. The numbers don’t motivate me even though I have to balance our check book so the bankers don’t take our house or whatever. Which is motivation, I guess, kind of how fear motivates us to do what we have to do. Love, on the other hand, motivates us to be the best version of ourselves, to plan and grow and smile and laugh and to love some more and who doesn’t love to love some more am I right or am I right?

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So I guess I’m an accidental, no that’s wrong I’m a skeptical and reluctant entrepreneur. Not to mention a terrible businessman. I imagined this foreground of my life something different but enough people ask me in all sorts of funny ways what it’s like and I love military analogies when all else fails so it’s kind of like this: if you’re gonna be a soldier you might as well be the best and that means you have to be a consummate professional, ready for any mission, anytime. If you focus on eventually being ready hey I’ll clean my rifle later or reload my mags in the morning, you’re gonna lose a gunfight if it happens right now. And when you start a company, welcome to gunfights all the time. All. The. Time. You don’t get to pick when or by whom you’re being shot at and you have to learn quickly when to break contact and when to assault. Speed of truth says when in doubt, assault. You’re part General, part Private, part Sergeant. And if you don’t love it, if you wouldn’t die for the cause, you’re a mercenary. And eventually mercenaries quit because they’re motivated by money. American warfighters are motivated by their love for America and their love for the people serving next to them and there is no greater motivation than love because it makes any outcome worth it.

And GORUCK has become an extension of my loves but here’s the point – Building Better Americans at events and drinking beer with my buddies and taking pictures on the road with Java and promoting military causes are things I would love without GORUCK. It just so happens that when you’re building something from nothing, the nothing has a way of becoming the product of who you are for better for worse, so you better love the process and you better build well.

Love and Work_Entrepreneur_03_Monster

Work life balance sure it’s all glamour all the time ha ha my day starts every morning with a stiff cup of coffee and some more thinking about GORUCK and a walk with Monster and like 5 plastic bags and what’s not to be grateful for. I fall asleep wishing I had more time and I wake up and find it and I wish I could feel this way for all the yesterdays of my life, and for all the tomorrows, too.

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Passion is vital and nobody will follow you without it but passion alone doesn’t put pen to paper and now it’s 4pm and I could go grab breakfast but that’d take me an hour so Bud Heavy and Wheat Thins it is. It’s been my go to for years now don’t knock it till ya tried it and if you wanna work through dinner I’ll throw a frozen pizza in the oven just say the word.

Love and Work_Entrepreneur_05_Java
Nights, weekends, relationships, what are holidays and I don’t have a good answer for when it’s better not to miss so much stuff with people I love. I suspect time alone holds the answer and the great loves of my life matter a lot more than GORUCK. Like Java ha ha and he was always the first one every day call it 5 or 6pm to stare hard and say it’s our time don’t make me ask twice. Welcome to The Java Effect and my only true balance in the past few years, which meant that I smiled so much with him at Rock Creek and on Florida’s beaches and in Montana’s rivers that those moments kept GORUCK in perspective by forcing me to realize that I can love without it, that it’s possible to not think about GORUCK. I just don’t want to.

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I smile every time I see this one. Go big or go home, right?

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And then it’s midnight and you’re staring at a blank screen and if you’re lucky a picture of Monster, too, and you should get something out tomorrow or you can wait till never because tomorrow at midnight is probably the next window unless something else comes up so I have one real question if you want to build something from nothing, one question that holds all the answers and it’s this:

How much do you love it?

If the cause matters more than the money, go for it and in that case you’re probably already doing it because the heart charts its own course. Regret is the real enemy so above all fight that fight only your heart knows how. If it leads you to this life and the worst that happens is you fail *huge smile* who cares we all fail and you only live once, Romeo, so you might as well tell her you love her.


  1. Robert Cordero says:

    Did this 4 years ago and yeah it’s hard, I struggle, cash is not in my account as it use to be. But I am happier now living on 1/4 of my previous salary. I know one day with hard work and yeah a little luck I won’t have to struggle and do what I love.

  2. Brady Utas says:

    i love reading these posts Jason. They really connect to me personally. I hope to read aonther

  3. Jaala says:

    You write a lot like Hemingway! Love this stream of consciousness; the words, the style, everything you have said resonates with many people. Keep up the great work!

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