By Doug Castle
What would you do if someone who is closest to you, a person who is a part of your most private circle and who typically does not make a book recommendation, makes one? That happened to me and that book was WARRIOR: How to Support Those Who Protect Us. Once that person and I discussed this title, I did what I have done for decades when contemplating a book. One of the first things I do is review the Table of Contents. Each of the ten named chapters in WARRIOR has been carefully selected and should pique most readers’ interest on chapter title alone who might be looking for a book in this genre.
The well-roundedness of WARRIOR was not missed on me and is heartfelt – heartfelt because other books have fictional situations or examples to support one’s book; Doc Springer does not. She uses real people and real situations throughout her writing to substantiate the outcome. Simply put, WARRIOR is chock-full of empirical examples and not theoretical. This book is real.
What she shares has broad implications not only for warriors but also for human mental wellness in general. I remember thinking, “It’s about time someone recognizes and addresses this need (suicide) in a broader forum than the veteran community.” Throughout the book, Doc Springer mentions veterans, first responders, “and perhaps people in general” with regard to her life’s work. What the Doc espouses is not solely a veteran issue. An additional point I am compelled to share is the relevance of WARRIOR in the corporate environment. When taken seriously and applied correctly, this book has direct and positive outcomes; this I have proven more than once in my ten years in corporate work since my retirement from the Marine Corps.
Along with its nearly immediate application, the reader should recognize the three living generations of individuals Doc Springer has represented in the Statement of Support. These individuals used words and phrases not commonly put in a sentence by Warriors who are describing civilians; words such as “humility,” “ingenious,” and “passion.” Phrases such as “…embedded her life…” and “…Shauna gets it” are just a couple of impactful phrases used to describe her. When Army veteran Mr. Burchik comments, “Her strategies for coping with these feelings…provide hope for both veterans and their families,” he is center mass on the target. Again, this is not solely a veteran issue; other career fields along with the respective families are impacted each day and can gain from Doc Springer’s writing in WARRIOR.
At the end of each chapter, there is a section labeled Universal Principles I Learned from Working with Warriors. I found these sections not only worthy of being stand-alone sections, but also could serve as a continual independent study by both the Warrior, their family members, and corporate leaders. Doc Springer’s lifelong passion for serving this nation’s Warrior population and their families is not a one-and-done service. Her commitment to Warriors and their families throughout the book is repeated and on display frequently. Along with Principles, I Learned…, the reader will also find Questions for Reflection and Application at the completion of each chapter that serves equally in complementing the Warrior, their families, and anyone looking for this level of help or personal self-development.
Probably the most enlightening part of WARRIOR for me has been the Glossary of Terms and Phrases We May Need to Rethink. With the exception of three terms, I have personally struggled with the remaining terms for decades. In my experience, while serving in the corporate environment, the word “resilient” or “resilience” is nearly as common as “thank you.” When Doc Springer mentions how these two words could be “unintentionally creating a split,” that is something I could never really put into context until reading this book. WARRIOR has helped me understand a different view of unintended consequences and downstream effects in the corporate environment I find myself in these days. I would like to think the corporate culture is not being malicious. Perhaps with a read of this book by corporate managers and leaders on all levels, might we lead ourselves in a different direction given the insights in WARRIOR?
There is a popular quote allegedly by Mark Twain that states, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Dr. Shauna Springer has found her why. With her work presented in WARRIOR, she has helped many find a better Friday than how their Monday started. WARRIOR may bring you closer to your “why” or even refine your “why” if you are already there. Should you be inclined, read and study this book and help a Warrior and their family; lead yourself into a deeper level of insight, for your own wellness and to promote mental wellness in those you influence; Doc Springer has earned my trust and she “gets it.”