From Military Officer, Spouse to Music Student: A Leap of Faith

From Military Officer, Spouse to Music Student: A Leap of Faith

Mario P. Fields Mario P. Fields
17 minute read

The Unarmored Talk podcast, hosted by Mario P. Fields, is a podcast for people to share their stories of overcoming adversity and breaking down their emotional barriers. In a recent episode, Mario interviews Annette Wittenberger, a military spouse and mental health advocate who recently completed a six-month intensive music program at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. Annette shares her experience of pursuing her passion for music as a way to help others and the challenges she faced along the way. She emphasizes the importance of finding your why and having a supportive network in pursuing your dreams.

Meet Our Guest: Annette Wittenberger

Annette Wittenberger is an inspiring example of someone who has dedicated her life to serving others. As a military spouse of 25 years, she has faced many challenges and has used her experiences to become a passionate mental health advocate. Annette is also an international keynote speaker and the host and producer of The Truths We Hide podcast. As a mental health advocate, she uses music as a tool to help those who are suffering in silence.

Annette Wittenberger's story is a powerful reminder of the importance of pursuing your passions and using them to make a positive difference in the world. Her journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and community, and it serves as an inspiration to anyone who has ever struggled to achieve their goals. In a world where emotional barriers can often feel insurmountable, Annette's story is a beacon of hope and a reminder that we all have the power to overcome our obstacles and live a life of purpose and meaning.

👉 Key Points:

  • Annette pursued her passion for music by enrolling in a six-month intensive music program at the Musicians Institute, which was funded by the Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Program. The program was virtual and required a lot of hard work, but Annette was motivated by her desire to use music as a means of helping others.

  • She faced many challenges throughout the program, including having to submit two original pieces of work, which required a lot of creativity and hard work. However, her desire to help others kept her motivated, and she used her struggles as an opportunity to grow and learn.

  • Annette emphasizes the importance of finding your why and having a support network in pursuing your dreams. She believes that having a purpose and a supportive community can help you overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.

Discussion Points:

  • How can pursuing passions help us to help others?

  • Why is it important to find our "why"?

  • How can we use our struggles as opportunities for growth?

  • What is the power of community and having a supportive network?

  • How can music be used as a tool for mental health advocacy?

  • What is the Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Program and how can it help veterans?

  • Why is perseverance and determination important in achieving goals?

  • How can we cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning in life?

Watch Full Episode: From Military Officer, Spouse to Music Student: A Leap of Faith

From Military Officer, Spouse to Music Student: A Leap of Faith

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Full Transcript (transcribed by Buzzsprout)

Mario P. Fields: 0:00

Welcome back to the Unarmored Talk podcast. Thank you so much for listening and watching each episode and continue pleased to share with your friends and family members and colleagues, and don't forget to leave a rating or review if you feel this is a awesome show. And You can connect to all my social media on the parade deck just by looking at show notes, or you can put in the search engine Mario P Fields parade deck and get all access to My social media. Well, let's get ready to interview another guest who is willing to remove their armor to help other people. Ladies and gentlemen, we're laughing already, just so you know.


First, welcome back to the Unarmored Talk podcast. I am your host, Mario P Fields. It's okay. In that lab, our amazing guest today is Annette Wittenberger. The reason why we're laughing already on this show is that we just did an entire show, and I didn't even record. Unarmored Life happened first time in almost three years. It was amazing, of course. Of course, is unarmored. They didn't record. I was like Annette, that's a great, great episode. This is awesome. Let me pause it so we can say goodbye. No pause button, ladies and gentlemen, everyone is being recorded. Annette, welcome back again officially to the Unarmored Talk podcast.


Annette Wittenberger: 1:26

Thank you.


Mario P. Fields: 1:30

Before I get to our amazing guest, I want to say thank you again. You guys are living unarmored lives. You're helping people remove your armor. That helps them understand emotions and feelings and thoughts. Well, let me, let me move. Move thoughts away, but emotions and feelings are natural. To think is a choice, and so we've been almost three years bringing folks on the show to help you understand that if you think if you choose to think through any situation, you can improve the outcome of that situation.


Now we're done with the admin Everyone, Annette Wittenberger. She is a military spouse of 25-plus years. She's an international keynote speaker. She's also the podcast host and producer of the podcast called the truths We Hide. If you guys are not following her on your favorite podcast platform, do so please as soon as possible, and network to the show, and please tell the listeners and viewers just a little bit about yourself.


Annette Wittenberger: 2:35

Thank you. Well, as you stated, I am a military spouse of 25 years. I was dual military for over 17 and We have two children who are not children anymore, they're adults 20 and 22 and I'm just, I’m a passionate mental health advocate. Just, I do everything for that.


Mario P. Fields: 2:55

Yeah, and thanks for your double service here because there's one thing to be on active duty and then there's another thing to be supporting an active-duty service member. So, thank you, thank you, and thank you so much, and you continue to serve in different forms. He's on the parade deck, which changes makers well, and doing lots of other things. But let's jump into the topic. There's something that you're doing, that you're using your skills and passion to serve others in a positive way, that, from my basic understanding, you started to do this in your late 40s. I'm going to say I sure did.


Annette Wittenberger: 3:33

I sure did talk to us about that. Yes, at the beginning of this year, I chose to go to music school at the Musicians Institute of Holly out of Hollywood, California. It was a six-month intensive Schooling that was virtual, and you guys know if you've done anything virtual It's not easy, it's not. I was introduced to that program through V-wrap. It's a veteran rapid Retraining Assistance Program that was Brought to me by a retired star, Major Donnell Johns, my very good friend, the founder of Veterans Growing America, and If it wasn't for him, i probably wouldn't have pushed myself to go. You know what Let's, let's, let's look at this and see what I could do.


Mario P. Fields: 4:21

And you know, a lot of times they say you know a large percentage of opportunities are found through networking. And so, you know here and I'm glad you brought that up because, Sergeant Major, you know of the founder, if you will, of Fetcher's Growing America, if that's the name of his company, Yes, yes. Thank you, you know, because as we get ready to find out what really happened, because of that Sergeant's Major's recommendation to you, I believe it kind of may not have happened without him, so let's get into it. So here you are, Sergeant Major, give you some recommendations.


Annette Wittenberger: 4:59



Mario P. Fields: 4:59

You go. How much information did you go through before you said I think I'm going to do that?


Annette Wittenberger: 5:04

Yeah. so, I looked at it and they give you. you have to apply for it and once you are accepted you get up to 12 months of free education based off of the schools that are approved on an 80-page list. And so, I could look at that list and I was like, man, there's a lot of stuff here, you know. But a part of me wanted to go take the program for the mental health specialist, and because I'm a mental health advocate and I do everything for that cause, I thought let me see something else, saw that there were two music schools on that list And my 16-year-old self was like, oh my God, I’m going to do it. if my family was like, what are you doing?


And so when you tell me no, I’m going to try to do it anyway. So, I did. I went after, that one school that was virtual, and to get in you had to submit two original pieces of work, which was for me as a songwriter, two songs that were written by me and either sung by me or someone else, but also with an instrument to be a part of it. So, I'm so blessed to say that I have two friends that play the guitar and they sang and I was like, can you please sing my song? And so, within two weeks span because of course there's a deadline, because I'm a procrastinator, I'm like this is due in two weeks I wrote the song, I had them sing it and they play the guitar and I had to submit those pieces and pray that the school will be like what is this? Or say, oh, she has potential. Thankfully, I had potential and I got accepted, but that's crazy.


Mario P. Fields: 6:49

Oh right, thank goodness you didn't reach out to me. We would have been doing a show and whatnot to do. Just crazy, so yeah, well, so you get accepted, you know again. You look at these 80 pages of options. Yeah, you go, music songwriter, music school, and everyone's going mama. That other one, like a mental health advocate, looks pretty delicious, why not?


Annette Wittenberger: 7:24

Why not?


Mario P. Fields: 7:26

So, you get in? Was it what you expected?


Annette Wittenberger: 7:29

I didn't know what to expect. I really didn't. I just knew that it was hard as hell.


Mario P. Fields: 7:35

It was hard as hell. At what point did you go? what the hell.


Annette Wittenberger: 7:42

I think in week one I was like I'm taking how many classes? Eight, okay, and each week something is due. I'm the type of person who barely graduated high school and college And I am just that person who was not good at that stuff. So, this was a whole new level for me which, in my mind, I thought okay, it's being paid for. I Cannot fail. Why am I doing this? is this is much bigger than me? So, this is this wasn't just for me. I didn't want to be the next Taylor Swift. She's awesome. I love her. I need to be Me and figure out how I'm going to help people, how am I going to make this part of this mental health Thing that I'm doing? and so that was all the things I had to think about what was my why and how the hell is I going to make it through school?


Mario P. Fields: 8:47

You know. So now here you are. Weekend, you're going well Gosh And you choose to continue to do it at any point during this journey. Did you just get to a point where you're like I don't know if I can do this? I think kind of kind of what people doing to get the boot camp. I think I failed. I think I screwed up.


Annette Wittenberger: 9:10

Yes, um. The only other time I pulled an all-nighter and cried was in ILE, for majors, we go to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to do this in a 10-month intensive program. This is how I felt. Again, it was like, oh my god, how am I going to do this? I stayed up all night trying to create,, this music and produce it. And then I had to take an exam and I had. It was like I don't know if I could do this. And my husband is very. He was in prior service, he's an officer now. He's very like you are not going to quit, you cannot quit. I'm like, but I don't know if I can do it. Yeah, it was a hot mess. I didn’t. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I knew that I had to because I did not want to fail. I could know there was one. I had to use this experience as not As a failure. I couldn't do it. I didn't want to go through what I went through in the past.


Mario P. Fields: 10:13

So, yes, and then I like how you mentioned that. At one point you said this is not for me. Yeah, I need, I need to accomplish this for others. Yes, and that's a choice and that's powerful. You know, do you believe that drove a lot of your behaviors? I kept you going outside of the support from your, your wonderful husband and family members.


Annette Wittenberger: 10:39

Yes, it was it. This wasn't just for me. I knew that I wanted to use healing through music as a tool to help those that are suffering in silence to use their words, to use their voice, so I had to make this happen. There was no, there was no way out of it.


Mario P. Fields: 11:00

Look, I, I’m going to make it happen and make sure I don't reach out tomorrow because we won’t make it, but So. So now you know you're in this program. How long was the program again?


Annette Wittenberger: 11:19

six months.


Mario P. Fields: 11:20

Yeah. So, you're in this very intense six month online, by the way, a program there's, there are some breaks, you know You feel like you want to, you want to give up and then you, you know Your network helps you, motivates, inspires you, inspires you to keep going. But the beauty of this is it was up to you, it was your choice, and, and, and you chose to keep going, and now you are. What? now, what's your official title in this industry?


Annette Wittenberger: 11:47

independent music artist, songwriter, and producer.


Mario P. Fields: 11:51

Independent artist, songwriter, and producer Everyone. If you guys are not connected to a network burger, make sure you get connected. We'll be in Beverly Hills and Hollywood soon, you know, forgetting that Mario P Fields, a great narrator for your shows.


Annette Wittenberger: 12:07

Networking, networking.


Mario P. Fields: 12:10

Looking back if you, if you had to give anyone advice on Pursuing their passion, their purpose, what advice would you give them? Or even give your 20-year-old self, if you had to give yourself Advice when you were 20?


Annette Wittenberger: 12:36

Do what sets your soul on fire. When I was 16, I wanted to be a famous singer. And then life happened, and I joined the Army, and I had kids and a family, and so when this opportunity came up, I was like, oh my god, this is a sign I'm going to do it. And because it's been aching in me for 31 years, you know, and I was like, this is this, is that sign to do it. And so, something like that is aching at you and you want to do it. At least try it. You know, at least try it. And That's how I felt about the army too. I wanted to try it and I did it, and I stayed in there for as long as I could. So, yeah, go for it, it doesn't matter, and find your people that will say, yes, keep going. You know this is something you want to do. And I'm like, yeah, you know what, you're right.


Mario P. Fields: 13:35

Wow, wow, and I love it. I love it, you know. I mean I love it because you know again, most recent research revealed that Their words, the older people get, the less likely they are To choose another career path. And here you are seasoned, at a young age of 47, and You are a live, real, right, real example of that's just a belief you can make a choice and don’t become a barrier for yourself when pursuing your passion, your purpose, and your dreams.


Thank you so much. Songwriter, independent artist, famous Change Maker, a net wooden burger. Ladies and gentlemen, everyone, I don't have one of the fancy buttons, so I'm like It's been wonderful having you on the podcast and I'll continue listening to your podcast and I'm not going to say Let me, let you go because you're busy, because you're not. You know, by definition busy It's doing things that you love to do, but you're having fun inspiring and motivating millions, so I'm going to get out of your way and please continue to do what you've been doing all these years.


Annette Wittenberger: 14:50

Thank you so much.


Mario P. Fields: 14:52

Thank you Well, everyone again. Before I let you guys go, there may be people that want to find you. How can they find you?


Annette Wittenberger: 15:01

a Wild rRde, call life calm.


Mario P. Fields: 15:04

You guys heard it is A Wild ride called life. It will be in the show notes and audio in the video, but I'll see you guys in a couple of weeks. Until then, be safe out there. God bless you, guys, and Annette. It's been a joy. Bye, bye, bye. Thank you for listening to this most recent episode and remember you can listen and Watch all of the previous episodes on my YouTube channel. The best way to connect to me and all my social media is by following me on the parade deck which is, or you can click on the link in the show notes. I'll see you guys soon.

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