Mike Brown has had an incredible journey. From Naval Aviator and F-18 pilot dropping bombs in Iraq to a highly successful entrepreneur. Today he shares his deep dive into the realm of self-development, the challenges he’s faced, the processes he’s used and the benefits he’s seen across his life. He walks us down a path to help “evolve our thinking” in ways that will make a significant and lasting impact in all aspects of our lives.
Welcome back to mindset radio. I’m your host Jeff Banman today with me. A good, good, good friend. We’ve been trying to schedule this plan, this work, this out, travel schedules, life, everything else always gets in the way clearly. But today with me, Mike Brown, now a lot of you won’t know Mike before this podcast and hopefully all of you will really know Mike at the end of this podcast. Cause he is a pretty radical human being. Mike has served with us former fighter pilot and some badass stories there that we may get into. That, that definitely take something, a serial entrepreneur, highly successful entrepreneur out there in the world doing great things and a man who is not afraid to take himself on. So in the essence of the podcast, we’re going to do a little deep dive in. We’re going to see where this conversation goes.
But Mike, thanks for joining me today. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me Jeff. I’m really excited to be here. Yeah, I think this is going to be a lot of fun man. Cause you and I even are sitting right here before the show, the conversations that we’re having, the things that we talk about like the other nights sitting around with your brother, you know, are laughing. Cause we’re like, if this was 1950 and three dudes hanging out, you know, drinking and we’d be talking banter and sports and sex and this and that, everything else. But here we are locked into this very deep dive conversation about trusted relationship and communication and personal need and fears and you know, we all got a broken laughed at each other for a minute of like, wait a minute. How does this come about?
Yeah, definitely. I mean it’s, it’s definitely a kind of a new paradigm I think for people like us and you know, starting to recognize that the way that we used to think about being a man is radically shifting. And you know, it’s okay to talk about feelings, heaven forbid. Right? And it’s, and it’s okay to kind of open up and actually it’s, it’s really beneficial to have that, that male support system where you can talk about those things. And, you know, even back in the day when I was in the squadron, and it’s just not stuff that you talk about with your buddies. You talk about football, you know, you don’t talk about what’s going on with you personally. And opening that side of me up has just been a tremendous growth opportunity and changed my life for the better.
Yeah. And I think that’s what, you know, that’s where I’d like to get to. Today. I’d like to, you and I talked about this, we’d like to go back and, you know, through the conversation, like, where do I start? You know, last week we kind of talked about the other day we talked about pinned, opening Pandora’s box. I kind of shared a little bit of my journey where I started in this process and that I don’t know what the path is necessarily, but I want to kind of dissect that with you a little bit today. But, you know, really before we get started, like, who’s Mike Brown? Like, give me the down and dirty. Who the hell are you? Mike Brown?
Yeah. So as, as you alluded I, I am a fellow veteran. I grew up in Midland, Texas, which is the oil and gas of the world, which kind of becomes important later. I went to the Naval Academy in 1999 and graduated 2003 went down to Pensacola for flight training and ended up flying F eighteens out of Virginia Beach. Served aboard the USS Harry S Truman in OIF in 2007, 2008 and then ended up in San Diego teaching Marines and seals how to call an air strikes. I got out in 2011. I thought I was going to be a government contractor because that’s what everybody was doing in 2011. And I got an amazing opportunity from a mentor of mine growing up who told me it was the best time in the history of the oil business to, to be in the oil business.
He invited me to move back to my hometown of Midland, Texas, where I never wanted to go again. Right. And and he was right. It turned out to be the, the best time in the history of the oil business to be doing that. I worked for him for a couple of years and then started my own company and in 2013 and yeah, it worked out really well. I started that company with a guy I flew with Jay consultee and we exited the bulk of our assets last year. And yeah, now I’m just trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up,
Be when you grow up seriously. Seriously. That’s a good place to be. And I think that’s, you know, that leads you down the path. Right. And then to me, it’s always crazy how lives intersect. Right. And so, you know, we met, which really actually we didn’t meet at the event in park city, a mastermind talks. We didn’t, we didn’t meet there. I hung out with Matt Pryor, who we’re going to schedule, get on the show. He, he reached out to me the other day, check in, see how things were going. Neller, phenomenal human being. That was it was about an RAF pilot, RAF pilot. Yeah. Yeah. Total badass. A lot of fun to be around out there doing crazy adventure shit in the world. But I saw, I hang out with Matt at MMT a little bit and I guess Matt calls you and is like, dude, did you meet Jeff? And you’re like, no, I didn’t meet Jeff and then I get this obscure tax, like I understand we’re going to be new besties. Yup.
Yeah. That’s basically how it went. And we had, we had a call and I was super excited about the things you were doing especially around around meditation, which is something that I’m deeply into and and we can talk about all of that stuff. But yeah, it kinda kind of besties ever since.
Yeah. And it’s been cool and I think that’s, but I think this is, so, I think this is an important point for the conversation and where things go. And you know, we talked about this, it’s scary to start looking at yourself.
Absolutely. I mean basically about three and a half years ago I had moved to Colorado and I had basically hit all the wickets of success that I was supposed to hit. You know, I had graduated from the Naval Academy, done the fighter pilot thing, faced myself in combat and and, and come back and then started a successful company. And, you know, I had the beautiful house, the beautiful family the cars, all the dumb things you’re supposed to have, right? And I woke up with a giant hole in my soul and I realized there’s, there’s gotta be more than this because I did all of the things that everyone told me we’re supposed to make me happy. And yet I felt like there was something missing. And that kind of started me down this path of, of personal development and starting to look at myself and go, okay, well these achievements aren’t what’s going to fill me up. I’ve been what is,
Yeah. And I think that’s an interesting approach because I think the, the standard issue, if you will, version of that story for a lot of us goes from the standpoint of we had or don’t have physically everything we want. We don’t necessarily have the car or the house or we’re struggling financially, we’re dealing with things and we hit a point in intersection life where we bind, we have this hole and then we start searching to fill it with externals. You know, you had the opportunity through business and life to kind of have those things and still have that hole. Right. And what we do, that to me is an intersection of our life, right? That is a, a point in life that is a big, big wine. The road, there’s a big choice there. And I think we watched historically a lot of us choose a path of trying to fill that hole with external things. Find a new wife or husband, buy a different car. Right? That’s our quote unquote midlife crisis. Old-School. Totally. Yeah. But there’s a new emergence happening.
Yeah, that’s, that’s right. And it’s, it’s really kind of this process of waking up and going, okay. You know, and, and I’m really thankful that at that point I realized, Hey, it’s not going to be taking my business to the next level because, you know, I had started, you know my whole life I’ve been setting goals because that’s what everyone told me to do. Hey, set a goal, go out, work hard and you’ll achieve that goal and you’ll feel great. So I went out and I, and I set the goals and I said, okay, I want to make $1 million by the time I’m 35 and then I’m going to hit 10 million and then hit 40 million. And I had all of these things lined out. But as I started to hit some of those things, I realized, wait a minute, I don’t feel any different than I did before.
So is hitting the next one even going to even going to change what I’m feeling? And the answer was no. So if, if getting more, accumulating, more achieving more success, if that’s not gonna fill me up. And what is. And so what I really started doing during that process is I started reading personal development books. I started listening to podcasts like this one and going, okay, you know, how do I find what’s out there? And you know, so some of those first steps are the, are the really the most important ones. And especially, you know, coming from the military and coming from this background that we’re talking about, looking at yourself can be really, really difficult. And you know, there’s, there’s so much out there that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know. But the first one is I think is understanding where you get your values from understanding why you’re doing the things that you’re doing.
And most of us grow up and we have certain patterns imprinted on us that we did not choose. You know, I, I’d never had a choice as to was I going to go to college, was I going to do these things? It was just, Hey, this is what you’re supposed to do based on society, based on our parents, based on our teachers. This is the path, you know, go to college, get a good job. For me, being an entrepreneur was super important. I always knew I wanted to start a company. But was I starting it for the right reasons or was I starting it because that was external validated success that I was supposed to achieve? You know, so starting to look at why did I choose these things and are they really my own is the first step I think in that process.
You know, it’s interesting and, and, and I think a lot of us in our community have watched this, you know, the values and and morals seem to like collapse a lot of times. You know, we get that mixed up with, well I value God and country or I value these certain things. Well those, those fall into like this moral bucket and a value system, like you said, gets created early. I value success because success then dictates something I’ve done, right? I’ve done well, I’ve achieved, I fulfilled my destiny right there. We do have these embedded value systems and that’s, and it’s, somebody explained it to me one day and it was brilliant the way they explained it to me. We’re kind of talking about these, these differences and things and I’m trying to recall it, but it was basically along the lines, it said, you know, your value, you look at what is most important to you, where you put energy, effort, right? Because that is really your value system. What do you value? Do you value, you know, an attractive person, do you value material things, do you value, you know, and it’s an exercise that can be very disruptive because internally we’ve always kind of been been collapsing this, this moral, you know, self thing into this value system and then making it okay. And, and that’s not always, I think I found my value system was way skewed. I’m like, Nope, let’s dump all that because I don’t really value some of that stuff. Yeah, that’s exactly exactly
Right. And so, you know, one of the, one of the most profound things that I’ve learned over the last few years is actually how do I become at choice with what I’m doing? And this is a word that you’ll hear me use a lot, which is, Hey, am I at choice with this? Am I at choice with the work that I’ve chosen? Yeah, it’s, it’s provided me this incredible lifestyle. And, you know, I was, I was fortunate enough to start a company during a time when you know, there was a lot of success to be had and that created a lot of wealth. But, you know, is this something that’s actually filling up my soul? Is this something that is you know, is this how I want to up in the world? You know, I started an oil and gas company, but ultimately I’m not passionate about oil and gas and, and people, you know, always talk about, Hey, find something that you’re passionate about.
Make your work your passion, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, yeah, that’s certainly a one way to do it. But while I’m not passionate about oil and gas per se, I am passionate about investing in creating value and finding deals that can create wealth for my investors. So that’s a piece of that that I’m passionate about. And what I was able to do is bring my values from the military integrity. Yes. You know, standing up for what’s right. Yup. And that allowed my company to separate ourselves from the other companies out there is that people know if they’re going to do business with us, we’re going to bring integrity, we’re going to bring honor and we’re going to do the right thing all the time. So you know, was I passionate about oil and gas per se? No, but I was passionate about bringing honor and integrity our business and that’s what allowed us to create the success and 100% and I think that’s a big benchmark in a lot of what you see out there.
You said something interesting I want to kind of bounce back to, cause I want you to explain a little bit more. So at choice. Yeah, definitely. Cause I think a lot of people think they choose every day. Yeah. Like they have the power of choice. So talk to me about at choice. Yeah. So you know, one of the, one of the biggest things I realized about myself during this personal development process was that I had a pattern of being a rebel. And, and that started when I was really young you know my mom was an amazing mom, five kids, but you know, she was very hard on us about achieving success both academically, you know, on the sports field, all of those things. And in some ways I learned that love was given through achievement. That drove a lot of the ways that I showed up in the world.
Then, you know, and, and we all do this are our parents and, and society gives us these values. And then we say, Oh, okay, well if I achieve this, then I’m going to get love. Great. I’m going to go out and achieve as much as I possibly can because we’re all looking for that, for that love. So Ben, as I start creating these value systems around achievement, I think that’s what’s going to make me happy. I’m not actually a choice with those values. I’m doing it from this subconscious pattern of, well, if I do this, then I’m going to get love. So I’m not actually looking to achieve these goals. They’re not something that are important to me. They’re coming from this pattern that was imprinted on me that I didn’t ask for. You know? And that doesn’t mean my mom wasn’t doing a good job.
Cause all of our parents are doing the best they can with the information that they have. Yes. Right? And they’re trying to create us in a way that you know, that we have more success than data. I think that’s what every parent wants 100%, but inadvertently, these things are kind of given to us and we start acting you know, subconscious matter and, and, and this is what, this is what everyone does. So the journey is then going back and go, Hey, did I actually choose these things or were they just subconsciously driven into me? And once we start looking at our patterns. So, so as I mentioned, the, the rebel pattern for me you know, when I was, when I was achieving these goals, I was always doing it in a little bit different way. And you know, my mom was super strict so I would go out and I would, I would get in trouble and, and you know, not do things to my, the best of my ability.
And it was, it was kind of this subconscious pattern that was driving me. I’ve gotten a lot of trouble early on in the military at the Naval Academy. Kinda kinda took the, John kind of took the John McCain route through through the Naval Academy and graduated near the bottom of my class and I realized I wasn’t choosing that I was, I was acting out of a pattern that was created long before, you know, when I was, when I was a little kid. And that pattern served me really well. It allowed me to go out and become an entrepreneur because entrepreneurs are rebels and we want to do things differently and shake up the system. And so that pattern served me really well and starting a company. But then as I reached more success, I realized that rebel pattern is no longer serving me. It’s actually becoming a limitation because now I’m always trying to be a contrarian and I’m doing things that aren’t necessarily helping me get to the next level.
So what happens is our patterns can create a massive amount of success and it can serve us really well until they don’t. Once I recognized that, then I was able to become a choice with the rebel pattern. And that’s what’s really amazing is a lot of times people think that they recognize a pattern in themselves. They have to get rid of it and heal it and make it go away. That’s not actually true. Now I can be a choice with the rebel pattern and what that means is I can wear that hat sometimes and sometimes it might serve me really well, but I can recognize when it’s not serving me. I can take that off and actually put that to bed for awhile and not have to be that way. So now this is a pattern that I’ve recognized that I can be completely at choice with and now it can serve me sometimes and not me in other times. And I, and I can kind of differentiate when those times are
Did that, that is a beautiful explanation of it. Cause that’s really, I think that’s the, again, an assumption that’s made over time. I have to then somehow kill my old self or get rid of these things. Listen, you know, childhood trauma is real. The things we’re exposed to, the way that we’re shaped through parents, through friends, through upbringing, through environment. They’re all these things. They will always be there. And I think that’s, you know, we want to look at step one. Step one is to me maybe the, just the acceptance that you’re gonna learn a lot of things. But ultimately I love that, that, that statement at choice. I made choice with who I need to be, how I need to be in this moment. And does it serve the purpose?
Yeah, totally. And you know, the big thing about this, like you said, is it’s you have to heal these things and make them go away. And the other point you made, we all have childhood trauma. And trauma is a really scary word because most people just go, Oh well I wasn’t I wasn’t abused, you know, I wasn’t raped so I don’t have any trauma. And it’s what I really learned is it’s not the trauma Olympics, right? Yeah. Trauma has this super negative connotation, but all trauma really is, is something that was done to us that created a subconscious pattern. So that can be, you know, a math teacher looking down and, and shaming you for not doing your homework. That can be a significant as an event to a little kid as a physical abuse. They both create patterns in us that create areas where we’re not at choice.
So the first thing is everybody has trauma. Everyone has things that happen to them that they, when they were young, that then shapes who they are as an adult, right? We, we can’t get away from that. Everyone has these things. And the minute you accept the fact that Hey, did things happen to me that created subconscious patterns? Yes. Okay, now I can go look at those things without a charge because I don’t have to compare myself to somebody else and go, you know, and we see this a lot is people go, well, my parents didn’t beat me, my parents were great. I’m all set. You know? Yeah. Your parents might’ve been great. They were doing the absolute best they could. And how have, how has their upbringing shaped you till now and how can you change that, you know, in your current patterns?
Yeah. Yeah. I mean I think that’s the thing. It’s like when I started looking back, you know, for years it was like everything was fine, everything was normal. We just got divorced and you know what I mean? Like everything was made to be okay. And as I started looking like wait a minute. No there wasn’t a lot of okay stuff and it really impacted, you know the way I’ve it one, it served me very well, very well for a very long time and it enabled me to do things in great ways so there’s a big service to it. So an acknowledgement that thank you for that. And then there were ways that it did not serve me at all and matter of fact really impacted the way I had relationships and I’m not just talking with my spouse or you know in a partnership relationship but business and friendships and all kinds of ways.
The way I viewed people, the way I interacted with people that need to kind of shift myself to be with the people around me needed master chameleon. Right. All of those things. Definitely right. Those are all traumas. Those were all things that you know, little Jeff five, six, seven you got, cause I think this is the thing we forget when we look back at childhood trauma. We look back at our upbringing and just childhood in general, take trauma out of the equation for a minute. When we look back, we’re looking back through the adult brain and the adult eyes and the words we now have in the experiences. We now have, you know, six year old Mike didn’t say, Oh, I really want to be a choice. One day, six year old Mike said, fuck, this sucks. This hurt, this doesn’t feel good. I don’t like this. What can I do to never have this happen again?
That’s exactly right. And, and poof. Behavior. Exactly. And that’s, you know, we say a lot of times that void drives value. And what that means is a place that where you feel a void based on childhood patterns is now how you show up in the world and where you get your value from and looking at that can be, can be really difficult. But it also can be very revealing about why we show up the way we show up. Yeah. Yes. So for instance, you know, void drives value for me. Athletics were, were a big part of that. You know my family is all very athletic and very successful in a lot of ways. My brother was a professional triathlete and I F and I looked at him and thought, Oh man, well he can be a professional triathlete. I better be a professional triathlete cause we have the same genetics.
And so, you know, in my twenties and, and through my thirties I started the iron man circuit. I started training 25 hours a week on my bike swimming, running, and just really grinding myself into a pulp in order to achieve the highest levels of success at this sport. Because I thought that would that would allow people to love me, that would allow me to be externally validated. People would see, Oh wow, that guy’s really great at triathlons and, and that would give me something that I didn’t already have. As I started looking at that pattern, about, about this compulsive exercise and, and grinding myself, you know, day in, day out. And, and I used to talk about entering the pain cave. And, you know, one of my favorite quotes is like, make friends with pain. And you’ll never be alone. You know, I was, I was engaging in this subconscious pattern because I didn’t actually like myself, you know, I didn’t have this thing internally.
So I was going out and trying to show up in the world show that I was better than everyone else at this sport in order to gain love, void drives value. So I was deriving my value from where I placed in some stupid triathlon. You know, and it’s not to say that that triathlons aren’t a great way you know, to get exercise and be healthy, but it’s, are you at choice with this? Are you trying to do it to fill some internal void or are you doing it because you’d like to keep your body in great shape and you’re in your training from a place of, of self love. Those two are really, really big differences.
Big differences. Huge differences. Yeah. Cause we talked about this, we talked about this the other day. It’s like on the other side of this, you know, cause I was sharing with you, wow, if I could go back and operate now
Free of all the garbage, they would be easy or,
And you know, I would’ve been a bad ass though I’d have been more of a bad ass than I was. I’d been, you know, able to execute things at a different plane because I just wouldn’t have had had the, the, the slip into kind of the moral injury of the judgment or the worry or the need to look good or all these things crowding me in. And you and I were talking about this, cause you brought it through triathlons where you had the realization of like, okay, stop beating the shit out of yourself, asshole. You don’t need to do this anymore. Right. That you actually, you can make that choice. And if you wanted to go out and do one today, you, you could like, if that was you woke up tomorrow morning and were like, you know what, I want to do this. It’s a totally different context that you’re stepping into that with.
Totally. And, and, and, you know, exercises is still really important to me. But now instead of training from a place of lack, I’m training from a place of abundance and love for my body rather than trying to beat my body into submission in order to compare myself to others, I’m going, Hey, you know, can I beat my own time? Because I’m training my body with love and trying to achieve something that I know I can do, but it’s all about in here now rather than looking at everyone else. And so it doesn’t matter if I get last or first have I, you know, trained in a way that is honoring to myself.
Yeah, yeah. 100%. I think I’m finding that whole new experience. Like I was telling somebody the other day, I’m like, dude, working out is phenomenal. Like the resistance to that, like, cause now for me it’s about what can I do with this vehicle I’ve been given what, how can I shape this thing? You know, what does work? Why is strength important? Why are these things important to me? You know what I mean? And it’s just like my crave to work out now. My crave to take care of myself has radically shifted in a way, unlike any other time. Right. I’ve done the fitness exercises and you know, hired the trainers and done the stuff, but there’s always been a negative context around it. A missing of lack. Right. Cause I was affected in school. His coach made him take his shirt off and all that crap. I’m always not good enough always. There’s things today it’s like, no, I’m, I’m good, I’m good. Right? And let’s see what we can create.
Totally. It’s, it’s, it’s from a, it’s, it’s creation from abundance as opposed to creation from scarcity or creation from lack. Yeah. And look, we can get really far greater from a place of lack a lot. Yeah. And, and, and you know, this, this kind of exercise thing can be a microcosm for how we perform in the military. You know, the, the military is full of external validation. You’re constantly raking yourself against your peers. You’re constantly striving to be number one against everyone else. You’re not necessarily striving because you know, there’s a lot of external validation there to make yourself the best that you can be. And even though that’s kinda, you know, the, they say that’s how they want you to do it. The culture is actually not, not that kind of built that way. You’re actually, you need to be better than the next guy. And, and you know, when you’re, when you’re training from that place, you’re not going to be able to achieve the same things that you would if you’re internally, you found healing. You’re, you’re good for yourself. Now you can go out and build something that’s really incredible.
Yeah. Yeah. So let’s circle back for a minute. So w so you started, you started kind of reading books,
Like what was your, what was your first, do you know what your first aha entry point was? Yeah, so you know, for me I you know, giving was always an important part of our of our company. You know, we, we, from day one, set aside a portion of our proceeds to give back to veterans and try and help veterans find the incredible success that we had because, you know it can be a real struggle coming out of the military. There’s a box that you’re supposed to fit in and like, Hey, you know, for a, for a fighter guy, it’s, Hey, go fly for the airlines or go get a job at Microsoft or, or Lockheed or, you know, there’s, there’s certain things you’re allowed to do. And entrepreneurship is not one of those. So we wanted to you know, give to charities, serving veteran entrepreneurs and also give the charities that were helping veterans heal from PTSD and TBI.
So when I started giving, I started doing research of like, how can my dollars affect people’s lives the most? You know, obviously there are a lot of very large charities out there that purport to help veterans, but they’re not doing a great job. So I wanted to find the ones that were really doing the best with the dollars that I was going to spend because I knew what it takes to earn what it took to earn those dollars. And I wanted it to be spent in an efficient way. So I started researching how to heal through to PTSD. And I realized that that through that research, PTSD is a huge blanket that we, we use as kind of a a catchall for a lot of different things. And, and yes, there is certainly a piece of PTSD that is directly related to acute trauma, you know, of, of seeing friends injured or killed or, or having injuries yourself there that’s a very specific subset of PTSD.
But we’re seeing PTSD be labeling a lot of people that never even saw direct action combat. So what does that, well, that’s actually a belonging. That’s actually when they get back. Now they don’t have tribe. Now they don’t have the camaraderie and it’s actually eradicating loneliness that they’re actually, you know, is showing up as symptoms of PTSD. That’s a lot different than someone that saw direct combat trauma, you know? So is that the same thing? Well, probably not. And, and so looking at, okay, well how do we heal this loneliness piece? You know, what, what is belonging and how do we find that? So kind of reading all this research around what we’re actually trying to do here. And so, so the, the book, the very specific book that helped me kind of start on this path with tribe by Sebastian young. Yeah. Good one. Yeah, totally. And you know, he talks about, Hey, it’s not actually this combat trauma that is the problem for most of these guys. It’s coming home and being completely isolated. And so how do we heal that? Yeah. Tribe’s phenomenal. And
It was a, it was an eye open for me too, because I agree with you and I talked about that openly on the show, you know? True, true. Posttraumatic stress is a fractional point in the grand scheme of things, right? Chronic stress exposure, you know, heightened fear States for long periods of time. Right? A dorsal freeze being locked into fight or flight from that constant exposure, that constant readiness or that constant am-ness the lack of trot, the lack of community, lack of trust of those around me, right? The expo expectations, the shift of expectations, you know, you and I’ve talked about, it’s a lot easier to be in combat. Yod, easier to be overseas for a very long time. That was the great thing. It’s like freedoms authorities, execute, go, you know, I ha, I hold the power of the next move. Totally, and there’s not, there’s not a lot to think about.
Now I know exactly when you’re going to wake up, you know exactly where you’re going to go get your food, you know exactly where your gear is and know all that same stuff. You do the same thing every day. You create these muscle memory patterns in your life, kind of becomes on autopilot. You know exactly what you’re supposed to do every single day, and there’s a beauty in that. There’s a beauty in that simplicity and when you get back, all of a sudden, nobody’s in charge of me. I’m an entrepreneur now. I’m trying to create my own business. I can wake up whenever I want, I can do whatever I want. Now I’ve got to figure out what things to focus on to make myself successful. I don’t, I don’t have a PQS, I don’t, I don’t have a bunch of sign offs that I need to do in order to become an entrepreneur.
I’ve got to figure it out myself. Whoa. That’s a whole kind of different stress. Yeah. Yeah. And then, and then when you’re not finding success there and you’ve generally, and your peer group that you’re now measuring yourself against, because that’s the embedded trait, right, is tough because then you’re hanging out with all the people who appear to be highly successful who are running crumpet A’s who have done work or pretending to do work or whatever it might be. And so you step into this space because like you talked about earlier, right? The culture in the military culture in the fire service cause all it cultural in law enforcement always comparison against the other. Am I going to get promoted? Am I doing better or do I have a better PT score or whatever it might be. Now I step into a new world and it’s like now I’m comparing myself on my good dad.
Am I a good husband? Am I a good mother and my capable of doing this business? And you know, it is a landmine field of failures. Totally. And what happens when, when we fail is this pattern of negative self talk. And this, this was a, this was a huge one for me. You know, every time that I wouldn’t achieve whatever it was that I set out to do or if it was taking a little longer than it was supposed to you know, there would be this pattern of me internally, this internal dialogue of you better work harder, you better push harder, you know, you gotta be better wake up earlier. And you know, a lot of that is created of this,
This big lie that our society tells us, which is work hard and you’ll be successful. And that’s something that we hear from, you know, the beginning of our lives. And, and the reason I say it’s a lie is because that is a tremendous disservice to all of the millions of people out there that are working their ass off every day and they’ve never found that success at they’re supposed to at the, at the end of that rainbow. Hard work can make you successful, but hard work is not necessarily going to make you successful. And if you’re not, if you’re not finding that success, doubling down and working harder is not necessarily the thing that’s gonna get you there. You know, for me it was actually backing off that hard work and learning about self care and learning about, you know, prioritizing my family over my job or over my, my company, learning about prioritizing myself and you know, working out less actually, you know, rather than, than trying to just work harder and, and rub some fitness on it. What happens? What does it look like if I work a little less hard, but, but I worked smarter. You know, in an investing world I could, I could work a hundred hours a week and look at every single deal out there, but that’s actually not gonna make me more successful. What’s gonna make me more successful is finding the best deals and then doubling down on those. And that’s actually a great microcosm for life is Hey, where can I apply my effort yields the greatest results? Not how can I just maximize my effort? Yeah. Across the board.
Exactly. I mean, I know in my entrepreneur we’re all, I mean I’ve worked way harder than I ever needed to work and had less success, which is interesting, right? Cause we’d have to define what success looks like, right? Let your brain go there for a minute and just jot down right now what success, what that, what triggers that, right? What does that look like for anybody? And I think that model for me has shifted over time. I know that model shifts for you over time. Yeah. And so, and I think that’s an interesting definition because then it goes back to like, what am I chasing? What am I doing? What am I working for? And I do agree with you. It’s the, the understanding of where like what energy.
Yeah. And this idea, you know, another one that’s, that’s an Axiom that we hear all the time is always do your best. Well, always do your best can be really insidious. Because if I wake up every day and my first thought is got to do my best today, you know, that means I’m, I’m, I’m waking up and I’m starting from a place of this is the standard. My best is the standard. Well, you can’t do your best every day. It’s exhausting. You know, it’s a great recipe for burnout. But if your standard is always do your best and you start falling short of doing your best, well, that’s where this negative self talk starts coming back in. And now you’re beating yourself up for not achieving a standard. You can never achieve any way. You’ve created a possible impossible standard for your life that you can never meet. And then you’re beating yourself up when you don’t meet it. That’s how we become unhappy. That’s how we be. We start working 80 hour weeks, we start missing bedtimes for kids and all, you know, chasing this dream and now this gets back to am I at choice with this dream anyway? Do I need the two and a half car garage and the and whatever. And you know, the hitting these business wickets that are supposed to make me successful is that the definition of success that I’ve chosen and my choice with that definition.
Yeah. And, and what is that? What is that about? Cause nine times out of 10 that’s just simply about sometimes just a need to look good around you. Because when I look good, I have more attraction. When I have more attraction, I’m getting more quote unquote love from people around me, more acceptance. I’m stepping back into a tribe of people who are accepting me for the way I am. And then this where imposter syndrome shows up and everything else. Because if you’re playing the role but not being the big difference, right, then being the role, then you’re in this community being accepted for what you’re not. And the only person who knows that you’re not is you, that it’s a,
Yeah, it’s a shit show. It’s a, it’s a vicious,
And it’s all the subconscious and it’s all Jen. And this is what I think. This is the elevation, right? Right. So this is the elevation from, here’s what I hear you saying, and fire back. It’s the growth, the growth, the work, the effort enables someone, me, you, to move from a subconscious behavioral state, kind of an unknowing that is real and works. And you know, the elephant’s gonna win, body’s gonna shape the conditions. The subconscious is always working, shaping behaviors. We know that scientifically proven. We know it. So the growth is the elevation to bring consciousness to that. And choice to me is the first real vehicle of consciousness. Does this, does this, am I a fireman because I want to be a fireman or am I a cop because I really am choosing to be a cop, you know, or am I doing it because that was my lineage and that’s what I’m supposed to do? Or that’s the path or you know, it sounded really cool or whatever drove me to do it. Do I look around today and say, man, I’m here because this is me and I choose this every day. And I think that’s, that’s, that’s part of the journey, right?
Totally. And it’s, and it’s, it’s not black or white, right? It’s not a lever. It’s actually a dial because it’s not, you know, Oh, this is my lineage. And so now this is exactly what I’m supposed to be. I didn’t choose this at all for myself. No. There can be aspects of whatever it is that you’re doing, you know, whether you’re military, first responder or entrepreneur. There’s reasons that I chose this for myself and there’s external reasons that I chose this. Yes. And, and starting to just look at both of those and going, I actually did choose this piece for myself and this is what I really like about it. These are some of the things that I didn’t choose for myself. I can recognize that now and it doesn’t mean that I have to quit my job or change my life radically.
You know, when I kind of went through this process of waking up, did I choose this? It didn’t mean, Oh, I shut down this oil and gas company and never did it again. And, and running away, right. Run a runaway and now go be a surfboard shaper. Which was, which is what a lot of people do. But that’s just a new subconscious pattern, right, of trying to find validation elsewhere. No. Okay. Now I’m still in willing gas. I still have this company, but I’m at choice with it. And I realized the pieces of it that I like and the pieces of it that I don’t, and I’m good with that now, but it’s because I’ve examined it.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think it’s that willingness to look right. I mean, that was the first catalyst book for me. I think the big aha book for me was Daniel Goldman’s primal leadership. So this was back like 2000 2001 timeframe. And the fire service total catastrophe is a leader, right? Fire service shifted to kind of a kinder, gentler environment. I always still had, if you’re not 15 minutes early or 10 minutes late, what the fuck are you doing? You know, have your shit together kind of guy and mutiny on the crew like fuck you, this doesn’t work. And you know, I laughed and I was driving somewhere and somebody had given me the CD, write the book back on CD. So I’m dating myself. So I throw it in the car and I’m listening to him and he’s like, and he’s going through these styles of leadership from an emotional intelligence basis.
And you know, this is my memory of the book. I’ve read the book again, it doesn’t match up, but it’s my memory of that time. And I choose to accept my memory of that time because it was so impactful. So to me, he started with the commanding stop leadership and he started talking about all the great attributes of being a commanding style leader, right? Keep in mind, grew up in the fire service, blue collar environment, military operations, back to the fire service like that resonated with me 100% commanding, pay setting, get it done, get the job done, always be ready. Always beyond. And I was like, yes, I’m turning the car around. All these fucking people can sit down. They’re going to listen to this, I’m right. And then he’s like, and then he gently shifts to like all the negativity around it and how that’s like that that style of leadership only needs to be used in a fractional point in time in life.
And then here’s the impact of if you persistently use that style of leadership, here’s where you’ll exhaust your people. Here’s what will come out of this. And I was driving like, shit, I’m not going back to the firehouse right now, ever again. You know what I mean? Like that was an aha moment for me because that what it caused was an internal look at my own behavior to the people around me in the world, if you will. And actually gently assess whether or not I was truly aligned with what I wanted to be. Yeah, huge. Right? I wanted to be a great leader. I wanted my guys to be ready. I wanted, I wanted my crew to be exceptional. That’s what I wanted. How I was going about that was actually creating an massively negative impact.
Right? And, and back to our point around patterns, that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of command leadership entirely, right? It’s super useful in specific examples, but it’s not useful all the time. So now, okay, that’s a tool in my toolbox. Now let me, let me get and create another tool in my toolbox that may be more effective for more of the time. Right? And that’s, and that’s what this personal growth is. It’s just adding tools to the toolbox. And when it comes to you know, happiness or fulfillment, which is kind of what we’re talking about here. There are a ton of tools in that toolbox. And so you mentioned the elephant earlier. You know, that’s a analogy that Jonathon hight uses in the happiness hypothesis is that basically we have an elephant and a writer and we think that the writer, which is our ego, is driving all of these decisions, but it’s actually the elephant which is, which is our subconscious, right?
So that was a massively powerful book for me to go, Oh, wait a minute. You know, a lot of times what we do is we jumped to a conclusion that we think is right and then we find all of the supporting information and validate exactly why we’re doing it. You know, confirmation bias, I’m thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman, same, same type of work where we go, wait a minute. There’s, there’s two different types of thinking here. One of them is subconscious and one of them is you go it. And if we start separating those two and just looking at our patterns, maybe there’s a better way, you know, and maybe we can add more tools to the toolbox. So, so those were wild, wildly helpful. And then there’s this thing you might’ve heard of it called meditation. That’s all the rage sometimes. Yeah. And you know, basically every time a super successful person gets on a podcast, they start talking about meditation.
So, you know, this is a 2012, 13, and I’m, I’m hearing this over and over and go, Oh, well maybe I’ll start to try and meditate. And just like everyone else downloaded a Headspace and started using those meditations and was doing 10 minutes a day and feeling really great about my progress except for wasn’t really changing my life all that much. And so I was like, well, maybe I just don’t understand this, or maybe, maybe I’m just dumb and maybe meditation is not for me. I’ve heard that a lot. Says, well, you know, I think too much when I meditate, my brain is just too wild. There’s no way this is gonna work for me. And it wasn’t until I really started deep diving on what meditation is. I found out that there’s kind of two things. One a 10 minute you know, breathing exercise, which is kind of what the Headspace and calm type meditation is. That’s one way. And then there’s, there’s this self-examination or a kind of non dual type practice. And that would be more kind of in the Sam Harris waking up app. I downloaded that and took that course and was like, Oh, there’s a whole new world out here. And instead of trying to use it just to quiet my brain now I was using it for deep inner exploration and that was a major shift that, that changed
A whole lot for me. Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s the, you know, my work with Doug previously around doing the meditation and understanding and that’s what I try to explain to people now. I think we have this idea that meditation looks a certain way, but there’s like one meditation thing out there and either works or it doesn’t work. Cause I hear the same stuff all the time. Oh, I can’t meditate. No, I can’t do that, you know? Okay. You know, but there are, there are a series of things and I think as you grow in that meditation, it’s like, I, people ask me all the time, like, well, what do you do to meditate? Well, how much time do you have? Because there are morning meditations, there are persistent, ongoing daily meditations. There are evening meditations, there are nighttimes, there’s hard work meditation. There is, you know, explorative meditation. There’s, it’s like unlimited in a lot of ways. And I think at the core of it, you know, meditation was designed to be a practice where you’re just coming back to where you are.
Yeah. yeah. I mean, what we hear a lot of times is, is just begin again. Right? That’s something Sam’s uses a lot in, in his lessons and in a lot of other great teachers is we have this idea that when we’re meditating, we’re supposed to be devoid of any thought. And, and so good luck with that. Yeah, exactly. Then what happens is we sit in meditation, we start thinking, and we go, Oh, dammit, I can’t meditate. And what I actually learned is when you meditate, you know, you start focusing on your breath, thoughts are going to arise, they’re necessarily going to happen. And, and the, the key is then to just catch those thoughts gently and bring yourself back and begin again. And so it’s actually this exercise of it’s not not thinking, it’s noticing that you’re thinking and then starting over.
And then once you’re able to do that consistently, you start getting to a spot where you realize that I am not my thoughts and there is actually something else that’s observing these thoughts arise and starting to explore that. And that’s how we get into this witnessing consciousness where we were not caught up in the movie of our life. We realize that emotions just arise. That’s not us, that they’re just a a inanimate thing that arises. We can observe them and then when we do that, we allow them to dissipate. We allow ourselves to fully feel them and then allow them to dissipate. And that is a monster game changer.
It is. I think for me, the big game changer. I think we talked about this the other day. It’s like for the first time I feel like I’m out of my head rec. I’m in my body connected the sensations or the things that I’m experiencing based on the conditions as they are. You know, if I walk in, if I feel disruptive when I walked into a room now I can at least have the observer role and use my brain for what it is and use the thoughts to help explore why. Why am I uncomfortable right now? Is there something going on in the room? Do I feel a different energy? I can check in with the people around me. I can see what’s happening, or maybe it’s just my own shit coming up, right? Maybe it’s just me being off, but it is the observer role that I think the longterm medic practice of meditation provides you, which is critical, right? When I, when I look at that math calculation behind what an operation mindset look like, it looks like openness, curiosity, humility, right? Those are some of the key attributes that elevate our game to give us the ability to operate at a different level and in life, in relationship, at work, whatever it is. And that is all, those are all observer traits.
Totally. And, and really, I think what we’re talking about here with the observer or witnessing consciousness allows you to do is be 100% present. And when we start talking about an operational role, presence is the most important thing to that success. Because if we’re stuck in the past thinking about situations that have happened or, or whatever is leading up to this, we’re not a hundred percent present. If we’re in the future, that’s where anxiety comes from. That’s where uncertainty comes from. And if we’re stuck looping in the future about what could happen, what are the implications of this decision we’re making, that also takes away from being present. But if we can you know, use our mind to become 100% present in the moment, that’s going to allow the greatest operational capability. And that’s something that, you know, I first witnessed the first time I was in combat, you know we talked about this a long time ago or over whiskey, but the first time I was in combat and I started hearing that nine line be read for the first time.
And I knew I was about to you know, employ kinetics and supportive guys on the ground. Shit got really real. But what happened is I felt a time completely slowed down and the in the back of my brain light up and just became completely present and was watching myself punch, you know, the coordinates in slow motion and I really just access what I, what I call higher level of consciousness that I think maybe can only be accessed in, in times like those. And that I think is, is what were a lot of times trying to get to through this, these other various techniques and modalities.
Yeah, totally man. I mean, it’s that, it’s that. So I feel like, and I, and I, for me, I do feel like the practice of meditation, that deliberate processes had enabled me to get there. You know, I mean that’s the meditation shoots stuff on the range. You, it collapses all in that moment and nothing else really matters and you can become the observer of influence on the gun, which is cool, right? Too hard on the trigger. Too much anticipation, too much desire to hit the target. Too much attachment to the outcome of the way things are going to go. And when you do all of those things, when all of those things start to creep in, right? If you’re, if you’re flying the plane, going into your mission, thinking about other stuff, worried about this, worried about that clouded, you know, there is the lack of clarity in that moment to execute and you know, rather when I can lay behind the gun or I can get into the process and be like, okay, here are the conditions.
Here’s what’s happening. I can feel you know, the gun be the extension of me. I can feel my finger on the trigger. You know what, I’m right. It’s this, it’s a beautiful exploration of like the fractional amount of time. Everybody thinks you pulled the trigger gun goes bang, all happens in a moment, doesn’t pull the trigger. Firing pin moves forward. It’s the primer primer ignites the powder inside pattern side builds and explodes, pushes the, you know, the round of ammunition pushes the bullet out of the, out of the barrel, right. Projects it out. Like that’s all happening sequentially. That’s not all happening in one moment and I think that’s where we get it. That’s how our brains work. That’s how things begin to unfold for us. And that time of heightened consciousness of heightened awareness of, of height, of hyper presence. Yeah, hyper presence is a great way to describe it.
And meditation gives that to me. I know when I leave a 10 minute meditation in the morning, I am in tune and at sound really freaking cheesy here at one with the world around me now. And that’s just connected. Right? Right. And that I think is the longterm value of the practice meditation. And it takes something, like you said, you can’t do a one or it’s not a one and done thing. It’s not a twice, I can’t meditate because your brain is going to go haywire because we’re constantly distracting ourselves. We’re constantly having external inputs in. We’re constantly fighting against all these things to settle down and be peaceful for a little bit. Justin and I, I tell people one minute a day and do it while you’re drinking your coffee or just, just find something to focus on in the present.
Yeah, absolutely. And, and, and the biggest thing I think with developing a meditation practice is be easy on yourself. Oh, yeah. I mean that, that was, that was super revealing is, you know, I was, I was literally using meditation as an excuse to beat myself up further for not being able to do it. Right. And that’s actually creating the opposite effect of, of, of what meditation is supposed to do, which is, which is find that stillness find that presence and find that, that hyper awareness that can come. And we hear a lot about, you know, flow which can be accessed subconsciously. So, you know in the military we’re, we’re trained via muscle memory. We’ve trained you a repetition, you do this thing over and over and over. And then in combat, hopefully your brain falls back on all of your training. Well, what if we can access that consciously? What if we don’t have to just slip back into this mode? What if we can go, Oh, I know how to access this anytime that I need it. Right? That’s what meditation is. Bring in a table. And that’s why I think it’s so important for an operational capacity.
Yeah, man. I mean, it’s an alignment flow is nothing more than alignment of the mind and the body, you know, and everything in sync, working together, giving you what you need in that moment. That’s it, right? I can shut down other peripheral thoughts. I can be hyper-focused. I can be hyper present, right? And everything matches, thoughts, feeling, sensation, everything matches in a particular moment in time. And we don’t have to be screaming out of the road or calling down a burning building or jumping out of an airplane to get it. It can. And, and I do, I am 100% with you. That meditation is the practice that opens the channels to doing those things, right. To finding that stuff. So, I don’t know, man. What do you think? How do you feel like you’ve done? Because you’ve done a lot of work, right? You’ve done a lot, right? And you’ve, you’ve done a lot of things that are out there. You’ve looked at a lot of things that are out there. How are you and, and, and it’s been a couple of years now for sure. So, you know, kind of what’s the, is it really that scary? Is it really that, is it really that gnarly? Is it,
Is it worth it? Has it been worth it? Oh, man. Yeah. This is, this is a great a great question. You know, I mean, for me there are a couple things at play. One I, I’ve always been somewhat introspective and, and tried to live in examined life. Now, you know, that took on a whole new meeting once I started some of these practices. But I mean, I think, I think the ability to look at yourself is one of the most critical things to living this happy and fulfilled life. Because if you always are blaming others or you know, when you’re angry or when you’re feeling sad or whatever, either suppressing those feelings or blending them on on others is just going to create a vicious loop. So being able to look at yourself and go, Hey, you know, what is this feeling that I’m, that I’m feeling right now?
And where’s it coming from? That’s a massive first step. And once you start doing that, then it kind of opens these doors to these other various modalities that we’re talking about. And I mean, the answer is yet scary. You know, the first time you’re going, Hey you know, why am I angry here? Maybe it’s not just this person’s fault. Maybe there’s something to do with me. Maybe it’s some trigger because of my childhood trauma. Oh, that can be a little scary to start going down that path. But the first time that you actually are able to find the root cause of an emotion and go, Oh, I see why this is happening now I can take responsibility for it. Now I heal from it and I break that cycle. Now all of a sudden that’s, that’s allowing me to be, you know, 1%, 10%, whatever, a little bit more conscious and a little bit more present and in tune with my emotions.
So it’s kind of an intimidating journey to start. But man, has it been worth it? I mean, you know, my life is radically different now than it was than it was three years ago. And three years ago I would have told you I was living at 10 out of 10 life. I would’ve told you I am living the best life I possibly can. And you know, three years later after this, this deep personal journey and exploring all these various modalities, I’m just getting started, you know, now my life is an 11 out of 10 and yet I still have so much to learn and so much more deep exploration to go and actually relish the opportunity because it’s so impactful not only to me but to those around me. And that’s, and that’s the big thing, you know, it’s, it’s one thing to heal yourself, but when you start healing yourself for your kids, for your spouse, for the, for your work relationships, your business partners, once you start healing, you start seeing the impact on everyone around you.
And you’re, you’re consciously elevating everyone that you touch, right? And not is a huge piece of this thing is, Hey, not only am I, am I helping myself here, I’m helping everyone that I love and care about and we’re collectively raising our consciousness. And then you get to start helping other people find these, these places and go, Hey, I see that you’re mad at me right now. Have you ever thought about this? Or, you know, is there, is there another way to think about this situation? So, you know, those are, those are massive benefits to starting this journey. Another great recommendation that, that we hear a lot about is the four agreements and looking at Toltec wisdom, you know, and you know, one of the ones that I, that I loved the most is be impeccable with your word, right? And that that means you know, first before you speak, thinking about how is this going to affect other people that I’m saying about where myself am I am I, you know, speaking disparagingly about myself and just being present with my words and using them in a way that is only for good, that’s going to change your life dramatically.
So there are all these little tools out there that you can, you can access as you get deeper and deeper on this personal exploration journey that are only going to improve your life, what would you say is probably been the most impactful? Like what’s been the, I know for me for years I would read things, yeah. Four agreements. And it would make an impact on me. Totally. But there was a move me
From exploration to sustainability. Okay. I’ll use those words. Yup. I feel like previously a lot of things were in exploration. They made sense. I viewed them as actions. What do I need to do, task list to be this way, to feel this way and I was working on myself. Right. and then somewhere along the line like that, that was a radical shift for me.
I, I no longer, none of this is a task list for me. Right. I don’t, and matter of fact, and you and I can talk about this, I think we need to hear and as we close the show up a little bit, we’ll hit some of the other people that are out there. But you know, I think there was this for a long time. It was like a task list of doing self-development. Right. And somewhere along the line that shifted for me to no longer like a to do I have to or a requirement or a need or something along those lines where it’s just how I am. Have you experienced that? If so, do you know where that shifted for you? Like does that make sense?
Yeah. you know, it’s really hard for me, I think 2.2 to one moment in time where it, where it just became, Oh, this is what I do now. But what I would say is the, the way that I was able to do it is, is falling in love with having my mind changed. And, and what I mean by that is when someone asks me a question,
I tried to always consider that question deeply and give them a new answer. So you know, even something we do all the time, how are you doing today? You know, I actually want to think about that and respond consciously, not just out of a pattern and go, I’m great. Well, no, sometimes I’m not great. Right? And so to, to actually deeply consider that question or any other questions someone asked me. And then in the reverse, when we ask someone a question is to actually listen and not just wait to talk, right? But actually listen, because what’s so exciting for me is if someone can bring me new information that I haven’t considered before and I can actually evolve my position on something, especially if it was a closely or long-held position that I was really passionate about. I always want to take the opportunity to deeply listen to the answer that someone’s given in case they have information I’d never considered before and I actually now get to change my mind.
It’s my favorite thing on the planet and the more we get addicted to that idea of, Hey, every day, if I can, if I can learn something new or change my mind or evolve my position, that’s how I’m growing. So now I think that’s how this thing becomes a practice. And especially when you take that and apply it to yourself and go, Oh wait, can I learn something about myself? Where is this emotion coming from? Let me examine that. Let me see if new information can come up that now I can repattern myself an inch closer to that fulfillment that that happiness or heaven forbid that enlightenment, right? But, but how can I look at these things with new eyes, with fresh eyes every day and actually become excited about changing. And I think that’s the key to creating this as, as rather than a to do list is as a constant practice is can I bring an open mind to every situation?
I love that. I love the idea of
Elevating your position or what’d you say? What was the word you said? Evolving my ball position. Yeah. I love that. And changing my mind. Yeah. Cause I think especially, you know, the people that listen, that have now consistently listened, we kind of have this but a few drop-ins and if you’re a drop in, you better stay on the listen to the podcast. But, but most of, I think that’s, I think that actually if we’re quiet and honest with ourselves, I think the natural, cause I would say the same thing. I’ve always been a naturally introspective person. I’m not afraid to look. And that has evolved over time what that means. Yep. But I think we do start that way. And I think that’s what ultimately what we’re seeking internally, that that really hit me when you said those words, I was like, wait a minute. That is it.
It is a level of curiosity to evolve my position or to evolve how I think about things. And the only way we’re going to do that is by opening ourselves up to new experiences or new people or new ways of thinking. You know, and not be kind of locked into things. I mean, I know, you know, the podcast is quickly kind of becoming the counterpoint or counterbalance to others that are out there in this community. And we can just call them out by name, right? The Jocko mentality, the David Goggins mentality. You know, I, I loved his books. There’s huge value in an a modality and a method of thinking and approaching particular situations. From, from Jockos perspective, there’s huge value in understanding what drives you from, you know, Goggins perspective. I guess my question when I look at those things, and I’d like your opinion before we close out the show here, if that’s all right. I don’t mean to put you on the spot, but this has kinda been the Bruin conversation. I spew those things is very contextual, like micro dosing Jocko or Goggins like extracting a couple things from there, but it’s not the persistent daily practice. Totally. So I feel like that’s,
Yeah, I mean, you know, this kind of gets back to this hard work thing that I talked about a little bit and yeah, there, there are, there is some baby in, in what they’re talking about and there are some bathwater, you know, and how do we sift through you know, what’s actually useful here and what actually might not be so useful. So, you know, this, this kind of idea that Jocko puts out about extreme ownership. Hey, extreme ownership is great and probably 95% of the American population could use a little on ownership ship. So, so in that case, like his message is 100% correct. Yeah. Hey, take responsibility for your actions. And if things aren’t going well around you, look at yourself and decide, you know, where can I change in order to affect this situation? But for people like us and especially people that have operated at the highest, you know, elite levels of the military or, or first responders or you know, kind of these people that are already operating on a deep level of personal responsibility.
I think the other side of the coin here is how do I let myself off the hook, right? How do I be, how do I be easy on myself when some of these things don’t go my way? Because sometimes there are external factors that that creates situations where, Hey, I did my 100% best. I did all the planning that the way I was supposed to and some things didn’t go my way. And what happens if we go, Oh, extreme ownership. Now I’ve got to beat myself up and go, damn it, I failed. It must’ve been my fault. For me, it’s actually been a, a really helpful thing is to actually sometimes step back and go, Hey, I don’t have responsibility for this. I did my best, I tried and you know what, nine times out of town it’s going to work out. This time it didn’t, I’m going to let myself off the hook.
I’m going to give myself a little self-love. Yeah. And I’m going to move on rather than beating myself up and go, well, better wake up earlier tomorrow. You know, so, so yeah, there are some, there are some places where, where their stuff is, it really works. And, and I think for a, for an unwoke, you know, low-performing obese American population, maybe get up at 5:00 AM and listen to Jocko and go for a run. Hey, great idea. Yes. You know? Totally. Cause I, there’s some stuff out. It has stuff that’s great. Totally right. There are, there are nuggets in there. I think what we’re talking about is how do I blend all of these things, right? How do I, and maybe we don’t need to be the anti those people in a way, but it’s like, how does all of this become useful? Because if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s like all of it needs to come together.
I think the greatest, I’ve said it on the show before, I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this with you, you know, but Al Dutton was one of my mentors in the fire service and Al, you know, it was like literally five foot four went to work for DC fire department the year I was born. So by the time Jeff shows up as a stupid fireman, Al’s been to thousands of work and fires. Right? And he is like the quintessential gritty fireman, like cool, calm, just, you know, just Fireman’s fireman, you know. And he said to me one day, he said, Jeff, he goes, really? There’s, I live by three rules and I think this kind of plays it out. One, if not on fire,
It’s not a big deal. I’m like, yeah, okay, I get that. And, and I tried to apply that then. Right. That’s a tangible thing for going to a fire alarm. We’re going to things, you know, and he’s just, sometimes I’ll might even extend that if it’s not on fire or about to be on fire in the next 30 seconds. It’s not a big deal. I don’t need to get all spun up or a wound around it. Right. Rule one, rule two. If it is on fire and I do my job, it will go out. Yeah. Fundamental principles following the practice, being present, executing your mission. If you do your job, fire will go out. Got it. And he said, and then there’s always rule three. Okay, I’ll, what’s rule three? Rule three is if it’s on fire and you did your job and it doesn’t go out, it wasn’t gonna go out. Anyway, man. I love that. And I think that is exactly what you’re saying. Yeah. It’s being able to get to rule three.
Absolutely. I mean in, in this, this is, you know, my pattern was this beating myself up, pushing myself to the limit for many, many years and it served me super well. And this journey of waking up for me has been, Hey, wait a minute, how do I turn this on? I’m on a Ted, how do I be easier on myself? And, and I think if you look at the bulk of operators, it’s not about being harder on yourself. We do that just fine. No problem. We’ve got that one down. We’ve got to figure it out. It’s how do we be easier on ourselves, how do we extend ourselves a little bit of compassion and a little bit of self love so that you know we can actually live not from a place of lack but create from abundance, which is exactly what we were talking about earlier.
Yeah man. I mean cause and that’s what I, that’s what I love about the show. Cause I feel like by the end of these episodes guys are like, Oh, Oh I see how this all falls together because you’re right, we could beat the shit out ourselves. No problem. But, and there’s a facet to this on a, in a, in a, we’ll close this out here cause I know we’re on time, but there’s a facet to this cause this is important. This is an important point. Giving yourself grace, giving yourself a few minutes as you would say, letting yourself off the hook. Realizing that the conditions outweighed capability. Totally. And that’s going to happen in life. And I think those are our moments that we, especially because we will beat the shit of ourselves because we want to do better. We want to achieve more. We want to be the best.
We will believe that we can always beat the conditions, right? And that’s not possible. We’re creating an impossible standard. And then here’s what happens when we go internal on those, we miss understanding the conditions, right? We come out of the presence to what was actually happening. And it’s actually, you know, the word to me it’s like it’s almost violating a lesson you could learn like the, I think sometimes the greatest lessons I’ve learned have come one, I’ve been able to step back and be like, there was nothing I could have done. I did, I did everything in my power right? And there was nothing I could have done about it because the conditions outweighed my capabilities. It doesn’t mean I need to go get another capability. Just that’s situational. But I’m able to actually assess the conditions and see the outer world and see what played out and be responsible for what I need to be responsible for. Right. But at the end of the day, you know, the house was burning long before we got the houses on the ground before we got there. We just didn’t know it. Okay.
Yeah, absolutely. You know, how can I take responsibility for the things I can take responsibility for? And then how can I let go of the things that I can’t, right. And, and the more that we beat ourselves up for the things that we can’t control, you know, the worst this, this cycle gets. And, and you know, the more stressed out we get and it, and it just continues to spiral till all of a sudden we woke up and realized that, you know, we don’t like ourselves very much at all. And I guarantee you there’s a lot of people out there because I was one of them. You know, I, I, I sat at my coach Phil’s kitchen table and you know, Phil’s been on the show. I sat at his kitchen table a year and a half ago and I said, Oh no, I love myself. Are you serious? Yeah, I’m smart, successful, funny. What is there not to love? Self love is not a thing that I struggle with. And only recently have I started to open up and go, Oh shit. Yeah, I’m really hard on myself. It turns out I beat myself up all the time. I talked to myself in a way I would never talk to another human. How do I go about and start healing that? Yeah. And that is a massive journey and one that I’m only just beginning. But man, it’s wildly powerful.
Yeah, it is crazy powerful. Well, what do I mean? I’m sure we can say arrested day and have a conversation. I mean, this is, this is, this is the process, right? This is part of this journey to really uncover. So thank you for coming on the show. For those of you don’t know, Mike and his crew are huge supporters of us over the operational mindset foundation. They do great stuff for us. All. I want to say thank you for really stepping in and supporting us and helping us get that up and running. I really appreciate your contributions there.
Well, I, I I really believe in what you’re doing and, and you know, there’s, there’s a lot of things out there that support guys on the backend. You know, once they have PTSD, once they’re, once their life is in shambles. But it’s really amazing to see an organization out there giving people the tools so that maybe we can prevent some of this stuff from happening in the first place. You know, and, and, and this introspection, mindfulness you know, self-development and, and introspective you know, nature of what you’re talking about here. This is going to help people not ever get to the PTSD. And I think that’s what’s so, yeah. And I think
It changes and it even changes, it empowers the conversation in the future. Right? Right. When something happens, now I have a different context to how to deal with it or how to have that conversation. And that’s, I know, those are things I wish I’d had. Absolutely. You know what I mean? Like, how much better would we have been? How much more free would we have been? How much easier would have our lifespan? And cause it isn’t, you know, it is about as being operational as it is about being at home. Right on all of a sudden, lots of defense. So thanks for coming on. Anything you want to leave, anybody with your final thoughts? Anything? Anything?
No, I mean just for you know for, for those of you that are thinking about starting this journey and are fans of the show and and listening to it, you know, I’m, I’m here as living proof is like, Hey there, there is always work to be done and, and looking at yourself can be daunting, but man, once you started, it’s just the most rewarding thing that you can do if you want to live a fulfilling life. So I just encourage everybody to you know, to hear what we’re saying today and, and, and start looking at yourself and asking, Hey, is there a better way?
Yeah. Awesome. Well, sir, thanks for coming on. I really appreciate it. Fantastic show always, and we will talk to you guys soon. Thanks.