Chris Stricklin’s fourth book, ‘Building Resilience,’ earns Best Seller status
Published 12:49 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023
By EMILY SPARACINO | Special to the Reporter
CHELSEA – Some of the most influential people in local resident and author Chris Stricklin’s life are people he has never met in person.
Although Stricklin, a retired United States Air Force colonel, has crossed paths with many people through the military and his work as president of Dunn Investment Company’s Dunn University, his book projects—including the latest one this year—have given him a new set of mentors and friends.
Stricklin co-authored his latest book, “Building Resilience: How to Move Past Fear Into Real Toughness as a Team,” with Robert Teschner, Luke Layman, Robert Garland and Brian Emme, fellow veteran fighter pilots who connected virtually to complete the project.
“Even though we have shared experiences and served in the military at the same time, we have never met each other in person,” Stricklin said. “It proves that meaningful relationships are not always about being face-to-face; it’s about having someone you can pick up the phone and call and get advice from.”
Stricklin credits these relationships with helping him fulfill one of his ongoing goals in life: to use his personal experiences to help others face their circumstances, whatever they are.
“Resiliency is not about surviving those situations, it’s about growing through those situations,” Stricklin said. “The best thing I can hear from somebody is, ‘This book made a difference in my life.’”
If anyone knows what persevering through challenging situations looks like, it’s Stricklin. While serving as a fighter pilot, Stricklin endured a near-death experience when he was ejected from an F-16 during a Thunderbirds Air Show.
Coping with the trauma has not been quick or easy for Stricklin, but one way he has worked through the emotional impact of the incident is by writing about it.
His writing journey, however, did not begin with the air show incident. Stricklin first put pen to paper to mark his and his wife, Terri’s, 20th wedding anniversary, a milestone they could not celebrate together because he had been deployed to Afghanistan.
While contemplating what he could do to make it up to her, Stricklin decided to write an article about their marriage, and he set his sights on getting it published nationally. He worked on the article for about eight months, and despite the odds of accomplishing such a feat—especially considering his lack of experience in the writing world—the piece was picked up several weeks later.
Stricklin was amazed, but he also realized how therapeutic the writing process had been for him—and how much he wanted to continue.
Stricklin partnered with a man named Joel Neeb, who survived stage IV appendix cancer, to write his first book, “Survivor’s Obligation: Navigating an Intentional Life.”
The book detailed how each of the men’s survival experiences affected them and opened their eyes to the importance of living an intentional life.
Stricklin said writing became a creative outlet for him. Now, he spends a couple of hours every morning writing, transferring his thoughts to paper before the sun rises and the busyness of the day begins.
“I get satisfaction out of that creative side of my life,” he said, adding that anyone can benefit from journal writing, regardless of how they feel about their writing skills. “I encourage people to journal. When you put pen to paper, you have to think about it differently. Even if you know you’re not a writer, just get a journal.”
“Building Resilience” is the second book in a new series called Military Mentorship Mastermind, a model that Stricklin said employs the “purposeful peers” strategy.
When people leave the military and go back into the real world, he explained, they need mentors they can talk to and lean on for advice as they navigate different situations.
Stricklin co-authored the first book in the series, “Aiming Higher: A Journey through Military Aviation Leadership,” with Teschner, Jason Harris, Kim Campbell and Daniel Walker.
Like the first two books, each of the next 10 books in the Military Mentorship Mastermind series will feature five authors: Stricklin, Teschner and three other people they choose for each book.
“We believe you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” Stricklin said of the reasoning behind each book having five authors. “We want to surround ourselves with people who challenge us and inspire us.”
If the level of comradery a group of authors attains while working on a book can predict the book’s future success, then Stricklin and his co-authors could have guessed that “Building Resilience” would take off as soon as it was published.
“Building Resilience” reached bestseller status the second day after its release in late April.
“We’re pretty excited about that,” Stricklin said. “We’re really proud of that. We’re getting incredible feedback on it.”
As exciting as the news was, however, Stricklin emphasized his simple hope that, no matter how many people buy this or any of his other books, they make a positive change in someone’s life.
Stricklin said he and his co-authors emphasized this point to their readers in the opening of “Building Resilience,” as evidenced in the following excerpt: “It’s your ability to lead and care for your people confidently, with enthusiasm and vigor, even amid nonstop pain points and disruptions, that focused our writing and caused us to share, with incredible vulnerability, our personal and professional experiences. ‘Why,’ you might ask, ‘did you write this for me?’ Simply because our world desperately needs capable leaders, solid leaders, steady leaders, accountable leaders, inspirational leaders, vulnerable leaders—our world needs real leadership now more than ever before in our lifetimes. We want to help you to be who the world needs you to be, and a huge part of your leadership ability is dependent on building your resilience.”
This purpose is also evident in how the proceeds from the books’ sales are used. According to Stricklin, he and his co-authors of each book decide which five charities they want the profits from that particular book to benefit.
For Stricklin, his charity of choice is Warrior’s Heart, an organization that provides veterans with a place to go for treatment for addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“We don’t care about how many books we sell. Even if one person finds growth in it or how to better their lives, that’s a success,” he said. “Raising money for charity is a byproduct of sharing with other people.”
Stricklin said the planning process for the next book in the series is underway. To learn more about Military Mentorship Mastermind, visit Militarymentorshipmastermind.com.
“This is more about life than it is about the military,” Stricklin said. “We just talk about what we know. We’ve always got to strive to be more tomorrow than we are today.”