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May 25, 2024 126 mins
With over two decades empowering individuals and organizations to achieve their goals through personal development and transformation, Ken has cultivated a deep understanding of inclusive leadership and the importance of vulnerability, inspiring others to embrace change and create impactful cultures.
Though the journey wasn’t easy, he persevered and battled his personal demons and the negative influences that led him in finding purpose and leadership in the military. 
Now a highly experienced and skilled coach, speaker, facilitator, and consultant.
Get to know more about Ken Lewis at https://www.kenllewis.com and see how he impacts people lives.
To learn more about myself, Michael Esposito, and find out about public speaking workshops, coaching, and keynote speaking options, and - of course - to be inspired, visit www.michaelespositoinc.com
The Michael Esposito Show is hosted by Michael Esposito and produced by iHeartMedia Hudson Valley. Be sure to subscribe on iHeart Media, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn, Google Play, YouTube, or the podcasting app of your choice.
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(00:01):
This show is sponsored by DN tenInsurance Services, helping businesses get the right
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dn ten, you're giving back ona global scale. Hello all, my

(00:22):
entrepreneurs and business leaders, and welcometo the Michael Esposito Show, where I
interview titans of industry in order toinform, educate, and inspire you to
be great. My guest today isa highly experienced and skilled coach, speaker,
facilitator, and consultant with a passionfor helping individuals and organizations achieve their

(00:44):
goals through personal development and transformation.With over two decades of experience in leadership
development, team building, communication skillsand business improvement, he is well equipped
to help organizations improve their performance andreach their goals. Please welcome Founder and
CEO Ken Lewis. Welcome, Ken, Thank you Michael for the introduction.

(01:10):
How are you doing well? Thanks? And you know, all of those
great skills that you learned, I'msure you can attribute to your military service,
So thank you for your service.Well my pleasure. Thank you for
that. Yeah, and you knowwhy don't we jump right into your your
military experience, because it did teachyou a tremendous amount in terms of like

(01:32):
what you're doing today. You know, how did you what was the what
was the big reason why you decidedto join the military. I think sometimes
laugh at that question only because inthe military we know the answers that you
hear people like I did it totravel. I did it to get away
from the environment that I was in. I think that social environment I was
with was going nowhere fast. SoI did it because I didn't want to

(01:56):
be that same person, and Isigned up for the Air Force, and
two weeks later I was in bootcamp because I knew I needed to pull
that escape patch immediately just where Isaw my friends going. And it ended
up being a lot more than Iexpected. But I can also tell that
from that transition going from high schooland getting away from that environment into the

(02:19):
military is Unfortunately, I still broughtthat bad mindset with me. So my
first four years in the military wasrough because I was still acting like that
ignorant child that I was in highschool, and it took some hard knock
lessons right for me to kind ofadjust and realign what's important to me and
how my actions either support that ordon't support that. So it was an

(02:40):
interesting method of just how I gotstarted, and it might be relatable to
back of the days where I hadto do it. So I didn't go
to jail type of thing, right, but I felt it wasn't court ordered,
but I knew I needed to escapemy environment. What was that environment
that you were trying to change andyou kind of just alluded to it.
Yeah, it was bad influences.You know. I was drunk and high

(03:04):
by like ten am after I gotout of ice, you know. So
after I graduated, it was abunch of us living in a regular,
old, small building and we weredoing nothing productive. We all talked about
these things he wanted to do.How about we all joined the military together
as a team or whatever like this. And before this occurred, I was
dead set on not joining the military. My mother and father were both in
the army. I didn't really wantto get back into that lifestyle. And

(03:28):
I was making all the choices thatwere gonna make me end up somewhere else,
right, And it was I don'tknow, something just changed where it's
like I can't do this anymore.I just felt like I was being embarrassing.
I loved not like the day Iturned eighteen, I was out of
the house, but I wasn't goinganywhere. I don't think I really had
any goals or values or anything thatwas really attached to anything like a personal
connection. But I knew that whereI was going to end up is not

(03:52):
was not on my initial radar,and that's what kind of forced me to
I didn't have a car. Iremember it was like, oh my god,
an hour and a half walked downto the recruiters off. But it
was maybe that was the first bigcommitment I ever had that I needed to
make a change in my life andI was going to do whatever it take.
Did it so fast where I wasgone in two weeks to leave,
right, Yeah, I mean,and it's interesting that you had that realization

(04:13):
because like you said, you know, I mean, you're I guess in
your teens, and you said you'redrunken high before ten o'clock. So it's
like, when you know, youmust have had some sort of like roots
or some foundation built in that youknow you have more potential. Who were
some of those people that were instillingthat in you? I would say so.

(04:34):
In those years, I still hada passion for giving back and doing
volunteer work. It was a bigpart of my nature and it still is
today. But I had a verystrong work ethic. I was working three
different part time jobs while still goingto school, so I knew I had
this ambition and energy to do betterand to do more. I just wasn't
really focus energy. But I thinka lot of it was really taking a

(04:55):
look back on how embarrassing I wasto my mother. My mother was going
to school, she was wor fulltime job, she was really taking care
of us, and we did haveboth parents in the house, but she
was really pulling a lot of thatweight on everything she was doing. I
don't think I could face the factof if I ended up in jail or
ended up somewhere like what was II was the oldest child, so I
also didn't want to set a badpresident for my my younger brother and my

(05:16):
younger sister. So I think allthose things kind of played and she like
I got to change because more orless the embarrassment of having to face my
mother of bail or something like that, right, I didn't want to have
that conversation because I knew that's whereI was going, right, And it
also was kind of disappointing to thefact that my house was the house that
all of my friends would come tobecause they loved my mother's sweet tea.

(05:39):
She would bake cookies, she wouldyou know, she was one of the
boys. She was one that everycan come and still have fun, and
she had fun with us. Andnow if I was going to throw all
those memories away for hanging out withsome of those same crowd members, but
now we're going down at a completelywrong path, I don't know how I
was going to face that music,right, and so I'd rather avoid that
at all costs versus actually having toface it. What were some of the
decisions that some of those people made. Man, I had one colleague that

(06:03):
I guess old friend who showed mehe was comparing I've met him at my
ten year reunion, right, andhe was showing me his stab uts in
his leg and he was proud ofit, and I was like, man,
that's where I could have been.Another friend that I was with was
still high showing me his wife withhis three kids. They all had different
mothers, right, so there wasn'tbut he was still not amounting to anything,

(06:26):
and I was like, this iswhat I got away from, and
that was the last time that i'dbeen to my home. Was because those
individuals that I was hanging out withthey still are doing those same things and
we're only forty five minutes away fromthe Mexican border. It was a small
city, we didn't have a wholelot, we had one high school,
and I don't know, it justwas not going. Yeah, looking back,

(06:46):
I was happy I got away whenI did, because I was like,
man, that could have been myleg right, or I could be
in that same boat not amounting toanything, and I'm glad that I kind
of forced myself down a different path. Yeah, And I guess we understand
the pride too. In some ofthat is that, you know, sometimes
when we're in a situation where youknow, we feel there's no out and
we feel that this is like whatwe're destined to have and everything, it's

(07:08):
like the stab wound is our bigpride, because it's like, look look
at what I was able to survive, you know, and you know how
lucky you are to be able toget out of here. But meanwhile,
it was a decision that you madeand so you know, let's go back
now to that recruiter's office. Whatwas that conversation like when you spoke with
that recruiter. We he actually hadto pull my file back out because I

(07:30):
had talked to him earlier in theyear, did the as I did everything
like that, and when we Iwalked in there, he's like, Ken,
I thought you were never going tocome down this path. I was
like, no, I need todo it. So he had to reactivate
it and get the process going.So we had done a lot of prep
work earlier in the year, butthen I kind of renigged on that.
It's like, I'm not doing it. It's not an option for me,
and he was just kind of surprised. What I thought was an interesting conversation

(07:51):
is when I came back, therewas a program called the Recruiters Assistance.
So after I finished my basic trainingand then my formal education for that,
I was came in as a pharmacytechnicians. Once I finished that schooling,
I went back and did two weeksto support him. And one of the
things was he had pictures of usall in his wall, saying these are
people that he had put through andso forth, and he's like, Ken,

(08:13):
I gotta ask you a question.When people see your picture, they
have some interesting things to say aboutyou. What the hell did you do
before you got in the military,right, And I was like, it's
all my applications, sir. Youknow, I'm not gonna sit here say
anything else. But people knew thatI was a fun guy that wanted to
go out and let's go ahead,let's smoke weed and stuff like that.
And the fact that I was alwayssmoking weed and then I ended up in

(08:33):
a pharmacy around legal drugs was kindof like the comical connection between that.
But it was interesting when people sawthose pictures and I saw that that nobody
ever thought that my picture would everbe on that wall, at least not
unless it was a wall with likean orange jumpsuit or something, right,
So it was it was one wherehe had written me off. He didn't
think that I was going to takethat next step. So it was a

(08:54):
bit of a surprise that actually walkedthrough the door and said where do I
sign? Yeah, And you knowit's funny, like I'm doing a county
fair right now, and the recruitersare there and and they're such positive,
upbeat guys, But they also knowthat there's they're signing this youth up for
obviously a life changing experience for youand for many others, and great opportunities

(09:18):
with school and with work and allthese other things. But they're also on
the other side of it, signingthem up to potentially go to go to
war, potentially defend our country.And you know, there's there's two sides
to the coin. So I'm interestedin you know when you talk about you
know, you kind of renegged onthe first time. Was there any fear
about having to go to war?Was there? And then on the other

(09:41):
side of that, like, youknow, was that kind of what was
holding you back or was it otherthings that were holding you back from making
that decision? Yeah, nine toeleven hadn't happened. Then. I graduated
in year two thousand, so whenI went in, it was still pre
nine to eleven, so I hadno thoughts of war. I did remember
my dad being deployed during the GoalWar, and you know, I remember

(10:01):
I lived in Germany when the BerlinWall came down, and we would all
people would bring in pieces of thewall that their family members were able to
get while we were stationed there,but I never really understood the impact of
what war had on the military familyat the time. I just knew my
dad was deployed. I would seethings on the news, but it didn't
really register as it does today.So I really think it was just my
defiance of the military, the hierarcherstructure. I did the program of the

(10:26):
gyrot j r OTC when I wasin high school, and I was always
defiant. I never really wanted anybodyto say this is how you're going to
do it. And still to thisday I have a bit of that in
me, but I don't snap backas I did as a high school kid.
But I didn't really care for thathierarchical structure and one wasn't well a
good match for me at the time, and I think even still is probably

(10:48):
why I got in trouble a lotmy first four years because of that staying
behavior and mindset that I had,like, no, it's not going to
work this way, and I justdidn't really want to sign up for that
type of culture or environment, right. I probably use those words at the
time. I think if I wasanalyzed it, that's that's what it was
going to be. But then there'sgot a point where that's a small price
to pay. I can. Ican deal with that right and sign anyway.

(11:11):
So but nowadays, yes, alot of people are facing those things
of you know, looking at whatthe social media has with different parts of
the world Ukraine for example, whenis that going to rope us in and
the impact of those have I didn'thave those same thought process. I didn't
join for a war. So whatpeople are thinking of, yes, it's
very real. You have to thinkabout those and in my maybe if there

(11:31):
was a war going on, Idon't know how I would have reacted.
I don't know if I would havesigned as quickly because the fact that,
hey, if I signed this paper, I could end up in a combat
zone. But on the flip sideof that, I started as pharmacy.
I got out of pharmacy and becamean expulsive orness disposal technician, which is
a bomb tech. Once the wordstarted, so I had a pretty safe
job once a did kick off,but I didn't feel like I was doing

(11:54):
my part anymore. So even thoughthere was I had this safety net around
me, I needed to get outof that safety that and actually contribute because
then I felt maybe that was myhigher calling, hot purpose. I know
I can do more. My skillis my mentality, everything I can contribute
more. I feel like they're nottapping into my potential here. And I
went to a dangerous career field withthe whole idea like I can do it
and I can help, and Idon't want to. I want to be

(12:16):
taking off leadshep of mentality. Somaybe there's people that want to have a
connection to a different purpose and wantto do it anyway. But I didn't
know that at the time, andit kind of uncovered, as you know,
after nine eleven, has some timefrom the incident to where I made
that decision to switch careers. Yeah, and I mean, and then you
excelled obviously in the military life andhad direct reports and we're going to talk

(12:37):
some more about that. But Ikind of just want to stay in this
area just for a moment here,because we're here and now in terms of
your high school friends and your oldschool friends, and as you started transitioning
into the person that you are today, something that I think, you know,
I know I've dealt with personally,and I still have challenges here and
so many others. As we're reinventingourselves and as we're walking away from a

(13:01):
life that could have been that wouldn'thave been our best life, the difficulties
and challenges that come into that,and so that I could bring this kind
of like back to you here andthat you know, as I've changed over
time, like so I stopped drinking, I stopped hanging out, I stopped
doing a lot of things. Thattransition has been going on for about five

(13:22):
years for me. And you know, first it was like the text,
we don't see anymore where you've been. How do you you know? You
know you don't come around, Ohlook who it is? You know,
those kinds of things. And nowit's it's more so with my family because
you know they they don't it's notabout hanging out. It's more about coming
to family parties. And so Ihave to explain to them, hey,
look, you know I started twobusinesses. You know, I have my
my insurance company, I have myspeaking company, and you know, I'm

(13:43):
trying to live as a good fatherand a good husband, and you know,
I'm trying to do things with mymy nuclear family, and so I
can't come to this party and it'slike, oh, we don't see you
anymore. And so it's hard,right. It pulls on your heart,
it pulls, it pulls on you. And so I'm interested in if you
could share how you were able tokind of overcome some of that as you
started transitioning into this new person.Yeah, so early in my military career.

(14:09):
The again, I don't think Idid that transition quite well because I
still got in a lot of tableyeah, and making a lot of bad
decisions. In fact, I hadtwo Article fifteens in my first three years
of military service, which is aform of you know, non judicial punishment
in the military, and there's nota lot of people walking around that have
those, especially not in today's militarysystem. But it just shows that,

(14:31):
Yeah, I had a couple ofmistakes. But the thing is also that
I say now is they were neverthe same mistake like I got, I
got corrected and as I'm not doingthat again type of thing. And it
wasn't until I was presented to theopportunity to move from South Dakota, which
was my first assignment, with theoption to go to Japan, and that
was like I was always debating ongetting out of military at the time because

(14:52):
I you know, still was alittle bit defiant, like this just be
exciting. This is a new opportunity, and that was a switch for me,
my first switch, like there arebetter things out there. I can
go down and experience this whole newculture and new environment, get away from
all the things that I don't likehere still in America, that's right here
in my backyard. Maybe I'm notin Arizona where I grew up at,
but now I'm in I can justexperience. And I'm glad that I did

(15:13):
because that was my first dose ofanother culture, and it reminded me that
just the small window that I hadin my I guess you say evolution at
the time was just a glimpse,and the people that I was hanging out
with would have never gotten me tolive three years in Tokyo. That would
have never been an opportunity if Iwould have still been the same person waking
up on the couch with the bomb. So it was I guess, you

(15:37):
know, look at back at thetime, the choice was what I want
to do. Do I really wantto go back there to this or do
I want to go live in Tokyo? And I was like, yeah,
Tokyo sounds great. But then thefurther and further I got away from those
people, then I started realizing thatthere was one friend that I hung on
to, and it took me alittle bit longer. He was my best
friend known since the fourth grade.But it took me up as like,
Okay, I now need to removethat from my social structure as well,

(16:00):
because I can't be affiliated with whoI wanted to be and where am I
going. And it wasn't until I, you know, once I finally switched
into explosive worn's disposal got top seakingclearance, then I was a lot more
aware of who do I want tobe affiliated with it the impact that it
could have on me. So Ithink as I, as I grew in
these development cycles, these development stages, I started to be more aware of

(16:22):
how my environment and the people Iinclude in that environment could affect opportunities that
were available, whether or not itshut the door for me or opened the
door for me just by affiliation.And it got easier and easier to make
those decisions. And I would say, like even with my wife right now,
with our family, we're still tryingto navigate those same choppy waters of
finding the balance, and it's tothe points where like this right here,

(16:45):
my immediate family right here, mytwo kids and my wife, that's what's
important. Like I've had my timewith them, that's great. But if
they can't support me now, wellthey're not going to be next to me
on my deathbed. If it's youknow, sixty seventy years from now,
they might not even be here anymore. It was important to me is right
here, within these four walls orhome right And when I sit down and
talk about what's important where we're going. I don't call my mother, I

(17:07):
don't call my dad, I don'tcall my brother. Where what are their
plans? I'm talking about right here? Where do we want to be?
What opportunities I want to create formy children? And I think that's kind
of the driving factor. Are theystill important? Absolutely? Do I want
them part of the picture, partof the family. Absolutely. How much
decision do I have. I'll hearthem out, But ultimately it's going to
rely on to my values at thistime, which is going to be the

(17:27):
legacy I want to build for myfamily. I don't think I was as
clear on maybe that that process orthat strategy as I was evolving in my
life. But I think it allcomes down to and people say this all
the time, right, you're thepower of proximity. Who do you keeping
your network and all? I don'tthink I didn't know the label at that
time, but I think I understandthe principles just by experiencing that I needed

(17:48):
to mark some of these people thatwere maybe important to me once, but
they were going to be more ofa weight dragging me down versus something lifting
me up. Yeah, it's sofun. It's great that you bring that
up in terms of the people thatwe surround ourselves with. And it's the
truth. The truth about it isthat you I just had I just had
a guest on just talking about wherehe grew up, and he grew up

(18:11):
in a small town in in theSouth, and he was just talking about
how, you know, thirty thousandmaking thirty thousand dollars, you were on
top of the world, right,And so if he stayed in that small
town and stayed in that mindset,that's all he would earn. But when
you start and when you start puttingyourself around earners, around people who earn
a much higher income, you startrealizing, oh, six figures is actually

(18:33):
achievable. You know, you know, so it's pretty wild. So I
need to get some more of thosearound me. But I think, you
know, you know, but itspeaks to the truth of like when you
see of the people who are successfultheir circles, and how so many of
those people in that circle are successful. And it's not just about money either,
by the way, it's it's alsoabout all the different things of that,

(18:56):
you know, spiritual or giving backand just being also successful in marriage
and life and and raising children.All of that are great examples of surrounding
yourself with people that are successful,that are doing the things that you want
to achieve, and having those peoplein your life. In the military,
as you got through your article fifteensand got through you know, the rocky

(19:18):
first couple of years, which look, you know, I think the biggest
thing I learned is giving ourselves grace. As we are are breaking through our
old selves and finding this new personon the other side of it, We're
going to fall back. We're goingto have challenges, and we got to
we got to forgive ourselves for thatand realize that that's part of the learning
and growing is that we're going tokind of fall off a little bit but

(19:41):
as long as we keep striving andkeep keep accomplishing and keep going after our
dream and working hard to become thatbetter person, that's what matters. And
so you did. You made itover those four year humps and you started
leading a team, and that's wherewe go into where it really started making
some life changing decisions for you,because later on in life life after the

(20:03):
military, it really started helping you. So if you could share a little
bit about the military experience and whenyou started leading, what that was like
for you, And so thank youfor that, because this is an interesting
perspective that you know, I kindof gained over the years. My first
eight years was as a pharmacy technicianand the so it's a culture within a

(20:23):
culture. What I saw growing upis as a leaders within that type of
environment was a lot safer on howthey led. There was also a lot
more bickering there. It was justa different approach. And when I transitioned
over to explosive ornessspoles or a bumpsquad, where your life depends on the
other members in your truck, likeit's literally a life or death situation versus

(20:45):
pharmacy kind of cozy. I don'twant to. I don't want to make
a mistake and hand out the wrongpills and put the wrong you know,
especially if it's infant. I wantto make sure that I don't cause harm
to another brover here on the EUDside of the house. I don't want
to cause harm to my teammates orto myself. I don't want to be
the person that has to escort somebodyhome. And I share that because I
think my perspective on leadership or howit is when you're with team working as

(21:07):
a team member or as a teamleader, what is the impact that that
has? And that is something that'skind of fueled my passion today is noting
that everybody should have a voice onthat team, and it doesn't really.
So when I came in, Ialready I came into exposive Arn's disposal or
you know, i'll just say UDfor short from now, is that even
though I came in with a littlebit of rank, I was a staff
sergeant, I still was the inexperiencedguy because I didn't know that craft yet.

(21:32):
I was not a sufficient bomb technicianat the time. So when it
comes to leadership, did I havethe rank to be you know, maybe
dominating in some situations, yes,but ran didn't matter when it came to
an incident where I needed the mostexperience to provide that insight. And I
think that's where I totally altered myperception where you start. And another bad

(21:53):
thing when people come in to themilitary, we have a tendency to look
at their sleep. Oh, you'reonly you know this rank, you're you're
going been in for a year,that's your rank. But what if they're
like thirty five years old and whatthey're bringing to the table is a crap
load of life experiences that can stillbe applied to the situation you're facing.
You know, mcgiver was a bigthing back in the day. You never
know what kind of mcguiver techniques they'regoing to bring to your solutions. So

(22:14):
don't discredit them automatically because they mightnot have been in your career for your
job for this amount of time.But still hear them out, give them
a voice. And I think Ilearned that in my development as a ut
technician that everybody has a perspective andin fact, our lives depend on seeing
this for multiple views. And itgot to a point to where one of
the questions that would be asked beforewe step out of our truck to go,

(22:36):
you know, walk down on adangerous situation is like does anybody think
that this is going to kill meright away? Like what do you see
that I didn't see? I needto hear that. We need to hear
that. And there was one storywhere it was a safe scenario. It
was just an incident with aircraft whenI was in Italy where our youngest guy,
he was only in e too inthe military, so he's still fairly
new, still learning, wasn't sharinghis perspectives, and when I was asking

(22:59):
about it, he ended up sayingthat he was told that his job was
to shut up and listen, andthat like angered me on so many different
levels. One that somebody told himthat, but two that he felt he
still needed to do that with ourteam because that's not how we operate.
Like how would you feel if yousaw something and I went and did the
very same thing that you saw wasa threat and then now I got hurt,
you know, Like how is that? How are you going to go
home with that that on your mind? So it just shows kind of the

(23:22):
value of where how do you appreciatea team and the value that they can
do and giving everybody their their creditbecause they no matter what their age is
or what it is, they bringsomething to the fight and don't discredit that
automatically. I did not have thatsame opinion when I was in the pharmacy
tech. Back then, it waslike, here's the hierarchy, here's a
structure, here's your job descriptions,here's our work hours, here's what you're
going to do. It was acorporate structure that we got patients. Number

(23:45):
one thing is you know, decreaseweight time. We're going to get them
out the door. And if youdon't follow these rules, and I mean
I was in fear every day ofsomething going wrong because I didn't feel like
I had any empowerment anything to deviate. No, I couldn't tap into my
own creativity or anything, right,that was just that structure at that time
was just a different piece. SoI think that plays an influence on where
you are as a team leader ora team member. Are you feeling empowered?

(24:08):
Can you at least so encourage orempowered to speak your mind and somebody
to give it some thought or encouragement. Might not go that route, but
can you do you have the opportunityto share it? And that's a big
part of who I am today,making sure that that is still something people
incorporate into their value system or howthey operate as allowing the opportunity to be
vulnerable and open mindedness and teamwork.In fact, one of my keep my

(24:30):
core values here and two of themare open mindedness and teamwork. Like it
just I didn't realize at the time, but it's a huge. It's really
huge because my life did depend onit. And I think if businesses would
look at the same way, yourcompany could depend on it. If you
don't listen to somebody else or givethem the time of day, because your
company die. You might not yetblown up on a device, but was
your whole company bloop because you didn'thear the one advice? And how is

(24:53):
that going to work for retention?I left the position simply because I didn't
think that. I thought that everythingthat I brought to the table was being
dismissed automatically. That doesn't go withmy values. I don't want to be
there. So it did shape howI operate and how I think, like
immensely to my behaviors today. Yeah, and I think it speaks to you.
You also mentioned servant leadership, andI would love for you to kind

(25:15):
of unravel what that is and whatit means to you. Servant leadership.
Now, I believe that what youjust shared there is a lot of servant
leadership, but we hear the term, and so I would love if you
can just share a little bit moreabout that term. Absolutely, it's is
their ability to be able to servethose that work for you while still serving

(25:37):
the needs of the company and organization. And by saying serve, it's not
saying that you're going to relinquish allof your authority or you're going to give
up any type of command you havein a structure, But it is asking
and getting to know your people andasking them those questions like why is this
important to you? What's going on? How can I make your lives easier?
How can I give you the powerto make decisions where you feel comfortable
making those decisions, and you knowthe inclusion be part of the team.

(26:02):
I do tiptoe around the phrases oflike inclusion and diversity because sometimes there's the
political stigma that it has today whenyou start thinking about the gender issues and
so forth. But again, whenI look at it, I want an
inclusive environment where again people have theability to bring all their experiences to the
table, their backgrounds, their education, their cultures. But I want that

(26:23):
type of inclusive environment where you feelsafe, where you can do this.
And yeah, being a certain leaderis that it's not saying that you are
going to be a slave to thosethat work for you, but you're going
to pause and give yourself the abilityto listen to them, try to you
know, approach situations empathetically when necessary, and know when to change the hats.

(26:45):
That way people can you want.Ultimately, the goal is to create
an alignment. I want to beable to find I listened to my personal
values. Do my personal values alignwith organizational values or how can you help
me understand that connection? And itreally make me feel like I am part
of the team. If I don'tfeel part of the team, there's going
to be a disconnect and I mightnot be bringing my one hundred percent to
the table. But why I don'tfeel like I belong? So how do

(27:07):
you create that environment to where peoplecan feel that they belong You have their
best interest in heart as well asthe companies. If you can create that
alignment and just make the best ofthat a situation, right, Yeah,
And I think and to add towhat you're saying there and bring it back
to an example that you shared inyour bio here with me, is it's
also being vulnerable and sharing when whenyou make mistakes, right, Because I

(27:30):
think being a leader is all great, like you're showing them how to do
things and you're listening to them,but it's also important for us as leaders
to say, you know, hey, look, you know I screwed up
over here, and I'm owning upto it, and here's how I'd like
to resolve it with you. Andyou had some situations like that that you
shared with your direct reports where youhad to kind of own up to them

(27:52):
and then make up for it,And I would love for you to kind
of just articulate that for our audiencetoday. This was a period and I
honestly feel like I learned this lessona little late, but I'm glad that
I learned it. I think Iwas in the service by sixteen years already,
and it was how I delivered feedbacks, how I would I have my
one on one sessions with my directreports, and at the time. You

(28:15):
know, it was very normal forus in the military to have some type
of annual evaluation period and we weregiven a sheet. I had to check
some boxes, how well did youperform you do say we're going to do
and then nobody ever really I know, like the people I work with,
we never wanted to do this experience. It lived through it, but it
was a requirement and it was somethingthat we just had to do. And

(28:36):
it wasn't until I was experienced tothe idea of the thought process. And
it was actually from Jack Welch's bookThe Thing. It's called Winning and Former
Correct Correct, and in this talkedabout the radical candidate and that, for
example, if it ever came toa scenario to where you have to let
somebody go, it should never havebeen a surprise. If you were to

(29:00):
bring them in your office and haveto let them go, they should know
where they stand every step along theway. And I wasn't doing that for
my team. I was just goingthrough this process and never really giving them
the actual tools and strategies to makethat next rank or what are you doing
right? I was just checking boxesand kind of giving us some motivation and
encourage. Great job, keep upthe good works, see you next year.
Right, And with this particular likeepiphany, I guess i'll call it

(29:25):
is I. Once I had this, I brought in I had four direct
reports at the time, and oneat a time. I start off the
feedback, I owe you an apologybecause I have not been setting you up
for the next rank. Here's whatI should have been doing and I wasn't.
And here's what we need to do. First. What are your goals?
What do you want to be?And I was scared about doing that
at first, because I'm saying Iscrewed up, but it came out so

(29:45):
much natural, and out of thefour, three of them all had some
kind of ambitions for the next rank. One was comfortable wherever he is at.
But it was great for me tohear that because then at the same
time I told them, Okay,out of this particular rank, you're number
two out of four, and here'swhy. If you want to be number
one, here's what you can do. Or you're four out of four,
here's why. And if you wantto be number one, here's what you
can do. And you now nowthe tables, the balls in your court

(30:08):
type of thing I've given you ifyou want this, here's what you could
do. And now that I alsoam aware that this is what you want,
I can look for those opportunities thatyou specifically we discussed. And if
you know, being a sponsor,if I'm sitting in a board meeting in
a room and I hear an opportunitylike hey, I got a guy for
that right now, I know tospeak up because we've had that discussion.
I know your ambitions, I knowwhere you want to go, and versus

(30:30):
me just checking boxes off and havingthis non genuine discussion because we're doing an
annual requirement will take the time becauseyou are setting an hour side or I
was setting an hour aside and Iwasn't using it to the greatest capability.
And you know, over time,I've learned that as a leader, our
biggest, our biggest KPI right howwe were A key performance indicator should be

(30:51):
how many of the leaders are wecreating underneath us, you know, to
take our spot. And that's somethingI've experienced in the you know, non
military is there's sometimes there's a littlereservation on how much information do I share
because I don't want to be outworked. I don't want to be outshigned.
I don't want somebody to take myspot, but from the military,
I bring that like you don't knowif you're going to be here tomorrow.
I need somebody to be ablity totake my spot. And the more they
can do, then that's the nextthing I can learn because now I'm empowering

(31:12):
them to do this, and thenI can bring something else on my plate.
So it's this evolution that I wantto develop more leaders. And I
think between this discussion, this epiphanyagain that I realized that I was failing
on doing that. I wasn't.I wasn't having that openly candid conversation of
And I think what I also changedin here too is I gave them the
evaluation report on me, like youcan if you can fill this out and

(31:34):
if you want to have a discussionon how I'm doing, by all means
we can do it. Like thisis going to be your opportunity. Now,
it's also an opportunity to where it'sconstructive. You just want to have
some kind of fest where you're justgoing to kind of unleash, but it's
not going to go anywhere. Notabout that, but if there's things that
you like me to do differently orI'm not doing to the best of my
abilities. We can talk about that. Only one took me up on that
offer, but it was on thetable at all times, like let's do

(31:56):
this, and I think that wasinteresting, Like here's my feedback form on
you, but here's also one youcan do on me, like I think
they have a voice to rate me, like why not? And one of
the things, you know, Ithink I'm kind of going on tangent.
But one of the things that whenI made the rank of massive sergeant,
which was E seven and the AirForce a complaint that I had is now

(32:19):
everything had changed. Now I amthe mentor for others. I'm going to
go and help these people fit theirpath. But I felt like I lost
all my mentors, Like I juststepped into a whole new tier called the
senior non commissioned officers, and I'mbrand new. But I'm bringing in this
knowledge as a tech sergeant, asa non commissioned officer, and I'm automatically
Yes. What I did was saidI'm ready for the next level. What

(32:39):
I didn't say is I'm an expertat the next level already. I think
that's a failure. We have whenwe promote people to new levels. And
okay, yes, they identify thatthey possess certain skill sets, maybe the
technical compability or capabilities, and theypossessed the leadership skill sets, but they're
just saying that they're primed and they'reready. Does that mean that they're done
growing? Absolutely not. And Iwish I would have had more abilities to

(33:00):
be mentored while mentoring others, becauseyou know, low of lid John Maxwell
takes talks about how you can onlyorganization is only going to go as far
as a leader. So if mycapabilities are here, I can only train
people up to here and then whatyou know, so unless I'm still growing,
I can't bring others with me.And that's something that I now take

(33:20):
passionate that I wish that I wouldhave had when I was, you know,
coming towards Lady Ears my military experience, and one instill that when I
speak to others of the importance ofthat, because there is a cap if
you don't continue to kind of likeraise the bar each and every year.
Yeah, and you know, it'slike what Tony Robbinson's about. If you're
not growing, you're dying. Soyou do always want to be growing.
I think that there is an opportunitystill to learn from the students, right,

(33:44):
the teacher can learn from the students. But to your point in terms
of leadership, is that yeah,I mean, you can certainly learn some
things from a student, but youstill also want to be be stretched and
pushed to learn more. I thinkyou also kind of articulated that the servant
leadership when you're talking about sponsoring someand is that that's part of serving that
team, that group that you're leading, is that you're able to offer them

(34:06):
new opportunities. And you mentioned thatin there as well, and offering them
those opportunities, so you know,and you said it was later on in
life. It was later on inyour career that you learned all of this,
But you know, it's never toolate. You know. It's the
the whole adage of like, youknow, when was the best time to
plant the tree one hundred years agoand today and right now? You know,
And so it's about and that's whatleadership is. It's about realizing our

(34:27):
flaws and not just doubling down onthe flaw, but like changing and being
like, you know what, there'sa mistake here, And I got to
make a different. I've got tomake a change here. You know,
that's the it doesn't end right right, the whole quote unquote pivoting. So,
speaking of transitions and pivoting, sharewith us what you know. September
one of twenty twenty was like foryou, it was an odd moment,

(34:52):
right. So that's when I officiallyleft the military after twenty years and nine
days of service. And initially Ithought I was going to be in the
military for thirty years. I'm goingto ride this train and do all but
I didn't have a family then.My children are four and six at the
time, so I came a littlebit later on in my military career,
but my goals obviously started changing mydiscussions with my spouse. My wife also

(35:12):
made a difference in that and athirty year what he was a single vision.
I needed to figure out how Ican combine that into this family vision
of where we wanted to go.And it was the idea of me staying
for thirty years was causing more heartacheand more harder discussions. So what I
ended up doing was making a decisionlike, Okay, here's what I agreed
to. But the two year windowbefore that happened. I will prepare myself

(35:35):
to get out. I will doall the checkboxes that I'm allowed to do.
That way, if I make thedecision to get out, I can
do that. I can make thatpivot. But I will also still try
to earn the next rank. Soif I don't decide to get out,
I can still do this. SoI kind of didn't shut any doors right
away. And March COVID hit thatchanged the game a lot. It was
one of these periods to where asI was still setting up myself to get
out, a lot of doors werebeing closed at the time. A lot

(35:59):
of job opportunities that were on thetable they had to be rescinded or they
couldn't have the discussions because everybody wenton this freeze and jobs that I thought
were available, I'm sorry, wecan't hire, and that we're only going
to be hiring this particular domain rightnow or this current career. So what,
we're still interested, but we can'tdo anything right now. But as
I got me down a path ofresearching and doing more, and then I

(36:19):
started seeing that there's a ton ofopportunities for me when I get out.
And this was still a long journeyright, but it exposed me to the
idea that there's a lot more thatI can do. I start facing the
questions like, Okay, I'm justa bomb technician. What I don't want
to do that when I get out, I'm not going to expose myself to
that level of danger anymore. Iwant to be hopefully alive still for my
children. And that was so therewasn't an option. And as I was

(36:42):
doing these different assessments asking questions,I started discovering career fills that I had
never even heard about. In fact, the first job that I landed,
I didn't even know it was athing. But it was all my soft
skills, how I talk to people, and all my life experiences, not
just as a bomb technician, butall those other additional duties that I had
while in the military, being agovernment purchase card holder, being in charge
of the budget, you know,all these little tasks that I had no

(37:04):
idea was anything else than just asrequirements that I had a military. But
when you look at them and transfertheir skills into the sector, I could
do a swat analysis. I couldtell I can help them do this whole
Where are we going with this particularidea, and there was skills that I
had and I had the comfort ofexplaining my idea right. But I think
the transition part was I still leftthe military with his scarcity mindset and I

(37:30):
didn't know that was a thing.And it wasn't until I, you know,
we talked about it earlier, thatproximity circle. I started being exposed
at different materials. And my goalgetting on the military is I wanted to
land a job that met a certainincome, and I did it, but
then that was my goal. Sowhat should have been just a milestone,
a stepping stone to a much largergoal, wasn't like that was the goal.

(37:52):
And if like anybody raised you know, the Tanek's rule by Grant Cardon,
when you hit that goal, youkind of throttle back. You're not
put in the little effort. AndI felt comfortable where I was at,
and as I started thinking, Iwas like, man, this is not
going to get me where we wantto be as a family, like what
we talked about, the new home, all these visions, these dreams,
and I realized that I needed tochange it up. And it wasn't until
I started thinking that, hey,millions of dollars is possible, Like,

(38:15):
why isn't it possible. Yes,I've seen a one point five million dollar
budget, but it was tax payermoney I was signing. I just had
to make sure I did my duediligence, that we were being sound fiscal
stewards the taxpayer's dollar. Right.It never was really real money that I
physically or thought that I would eversee it. So when I changed that
thought process that I am capable,that I'm not going to limit my own
potential, that it is something thatI can do. Now, let's go

(38:36):
get it. And to the pointtowards I left my job because I realized
that that was not going to getme done that path that I wanted,
like there was a ceiling, therewas a cap and always going to take
me extended long period of time toreally maybe reaching those levels that I wanted
to do a little quicker. Soit was a transition within the transition because
on top of that, there wasyou know, the imposter syndrome, what
are my skills? What can Ibring to the table. The biggest one

(39:00):
that really brought me into some darkspots I think was realigning that own self
identity or what is my purpose becauseat the time I was a bomb technician.
My entire job was to, withinthe best of my ability, was
to either save lives directly by disarmingan explosive situation or training individuals that could
do the same thing by allowing themto be trained, equipped, and stay

(39:21):
alive in that mission. And Ihad a lot of attachment to that,
like a lot of pride it waswe had. We were a very pride
prideful organization. There's only about athousand, maybe eleven hundred of us in
the Air Force, very small community, one of the few that got to
do combat on the ground missions.Most of the Air forces related to you
know, air missions or space missionsand stuff like that. So we were

(39:42):
a very tight knit community. AndI was given that brotherhood up for what
next? And that led me downthis really dark path to where even suicide
crossed my mind. Where am Igoing to go with this? Who am
I now? What purpose am Idoing? I'm sitting on my home,
I'm not the same person I was, and I all these questions about myself.
And it really took this period whereI was sitting down at home and
I was sitting in the couch literallydebating on whether I'm going to do this

(40:06):
or not. And what came downI had a checklist. Nope, that's
not worth staying alive. Nope,that's not it. Nope nope. And
what came down to it was mychildren. It was like this thought,
there was a last thought I had. I was like, there, it
is like that was it? Well, I was a last thought and not
the first one. I have noidea. I think I was looking at
all these non tangible things or hangingon to my past identity of what was

(40:27):
important to, you know, masterChargeant ken Lewis and as an EUD tech
versus now knowing that I'm the father, the husband, the entrepreneur, all
these other labels. But if youwould ask me who I was, I
was nothing but Massive Chargeant ken Lewis, Air Force eud you know. And
I was giving up the entire identity. So that was an eye opening moment,
knowing that everything that I attached towas to a title, to a

(40:51):
role that I was giving up.But now that I had to really take
the time to identify that I'm alot more that those are all. That's
just a hat that I should havebeen wearing. It shouldn't have defined who
I was that should just been whathat am I wearing in this situation that
I'm walking into, and being ableto switch that hat as necessary. So
that was a big period of growththat I experienced in transition because the self
doubt am I doing right things?How am I ever going to match up

(41:13):
to the same level of purpose?But it doesn't have to be the same
level of purpose at least that's thething. It just has to be important
for me to work towards it,like, this is my purpose where I'm
at in this stage of life.Then it could change in a year,
five years from now. That's okay. But it took me quite a while
to come to grass or come toterms that it was okay that I can't
compare the same. I can't comparethat this purpose was any more or less

(41:36):
important than this other purpose. It'sjust a different stage in my life.
And it's okay if I'm not savinglives, but now the lives are I'm
preparing that I'm building on my twochildren, right, So it took a
while for that connection to really sinkin. It's so interesting that you talk
about this, and I thank youfor sharing so much with us here and
obviously going deep into, as yousaid, suicidal thoughts and even going through

(41:59):
a checklist. And what's interesting toit for me is that I'm listening to
you. First of all, Iknow your bio, right, So where's
the story going. It's going intoyour professional speaking career. And you know,
I'm listening to your story about themilitary, and I'm going, of
course, he's going to become aprofessional speaker in my mind because I'm listening
to all of your experience. I'mlistening to your leadership. You know,

(42:19):
I'm hearing all the ways that you'veled people and all this experience and all
these great stories that you have,and I'm like, yeah, I could
only imagine how successful he's going tobe on stage because of all of this.
And then you just shared this whichI didn't know because it's not in
your bio here at all, aboutgoing through this transition. You did say
that it was the most challenging,but you know, we use this word
challenge a lot, right, Likechallenge has so many different levels. Yeah,

(42:45):
you know, challenge. And meanwhile, here you are contemplating life because
you're walking away from Master Sergeant.You know, it brings up a few
things for me in terms of questions. The one that's at the top of
mind right now is just you know, in the military, what you First
of all, there's there's a number. I just saw it yesterday because again,

(43:07):
you know, I'm doing this countyfair and they have one of the
military tents. They are set upand they're selling T shirts and they're talking
about a certain amount of of peoplein a military commit suicide every single day.
And so there's a huge number ofpeople every single day committing suicide that
come out of the military. Thisthis, this profession, this this place

(43:30):
that that builds people up and takethem out of environments like you said that
that you know, we're negative environmentsand put them in a positive environment and
teach them so many life skills andeverything. And yet they're still, unfortunately,
because of PTSD and all the otherreasons, committing suicide. And so
my question is what what does themilitary do in order to try to prepare

(43:52):
you for civilian life. What dothey do in order to try to help
you through this transition? If ifany, and I'm in it more of
curiosity than it is judgment, surethere is the Department or later I have
a program called the Transition Assistance programwhere there's these designated courses and timelines that
you have to start asking yourself thesequestions repairing, and there's a whole sheet

(44:14):
and a checklist of things you cando to kind of do that. There
are some gaps in that program becauseI had to go to a lot of
outside resources. I think there's alot of more nonprofits that do a much
better job than what this TAPS program, the Transition as Systems program kind of
has out there. But if anythingelse, and if you were to take
something away from that is to knowthat you need to ask questions or where

(44:36):
you can can you go get thoseresources? I don't think they're ever going
to be in a position where they'regoing to be able to check all the
boxes so somebody can transition easier.And to this day, there was a
nonprofit organization here in Coloradle Springs andthey had a course called the Prep Connect
three to sixty. They just shutdown I think last year or this year,
but it was one of the bestcourses because it really had me taking

(44:58):
time to ask questions like what weresome of those great environments that I felt
that I excelled in? What didI like about some of those work environments.
I was at what didn't I likeabout those and really bringing those to
my list, like those are factorsthat you should include when you make a
decision. It's not just your skillsets. It's not just what your aptitudes
are or you know, what arethis sheet the transition program uses. The

(45:22):
Department of Labor has a program outthere called like bright Outlook, and you
can look up different jobs and whatare these categories of codes and take these
assessments, appt to tests and itthrows titles at you. If anything,
I use that now as when Italked to another veteran that's transitioning as use
this only as a stepping stone andgo into these programs if you already have
an amibition, but like click onthe thing you're thinking about and then look

(45:44):
at all the other job titles underneathit and look at the skill sets.
You can use that and planning tosee if you have any gaps in your
educational base. And we can do. But it's really not a whole lot
going on with the Chap taps programthat met those I still had a ton
of questions and if it wasn't forthese other nonprofit veteran or organizations. I
don't know if I would have gottenthose answers directly. Now. The TAPS

(46:05):
program has changed from the time thatI took it. I want to say,
like the year that I got out, they implemented a lot of change
as far as when you sign up. They wanted people to just start taking
to be a little more proactive ifthey're thinking about it, to start this
process sooner, and I think that'skey. I had the luxury of being
a position that I was at towhere I'm in charge of seventeen people.
I was going to you know,our board meetings, and I was reminding

(46:27):
people, Hey, guys, Igot one hundred free toy for more wake
up, so hope you got myreplacement. You know, I wanted them
to know that I am disconnecting.I was doing it a little you know,
facetious. I wasn't the best,but I want people to know,
like I'm disconnecting. I'm not goingto be the guy that's going to sit
in here, work past my turnfor free or that. I like,
my focus is on my transition now. I also feel for the younger enlisted
that might not have that same opportunity. There's some positions even in our officer

(46:52):
committees. So I think it wasjust I was in the right position at
the time. But there's some peoplethat Nope, you're going to show up
to work every day and this iswhat you're gonna do is your requirements.
You're going to do that on yourown time. And that's bad because there's
a lot more questions that we don'teven know to ask that don't get exposed
unless you have the opportunity like Idid, to go to these other third
party sources and be exposed to thatinformation. So when I was hearing,

(47:13):
I started taking calls. There's avolunteer program that I'm with called Veterati,
And with Veterati, you can signup and I'll say this for all the
listeners, if anybody has wants tohelp people develop, you can go and
sign up and be a mentor onthis program and allows a transitioning veteran to
schedule a call with you on dependingon your schedule, your availability, how
much your time you want to openup. And it's just it takes out

(47:35):
the cold call filling. Maybe ifsomebody wants to be a quality manager,
they can go into this program timeand callity manager gives a listen name,
they can click on your profile andschedule a meeting with you and you have
a one hour mentoring conversation. AndI utilize that tool a lot. Was
this helpful for you? Did thiswork because all those questions like should I
waste my time and energy on this? Or where am I going to land
up? And it's great because wedon't know what questions ask So now that
I do that, I here's somethings you can think about as you get

(47:58):
ready for this next journey. Andthere's unfortunately a lot of people that have
supervisors in the military chain of commandthat don't respect that or appreciate the difficulty
that that decision really comes with.And I think if that was more clear.
So even though we set up thesetools where those tools may be available,
whether it's furnished by a Department ofDefense, department later or nonprofit,
I think the next thing is theleaders need to understand how difficult this change

(48:22):
in this transition is, and thenhow much even more difficult that I had
a twenty year career that I built. What if somebody is getting out with
the four years, right, Imean they got a lot more unknowns or
six years or somebody that's leaving theservice because of some disciplinary reactions that you
know is an impromptu change. Thosepivots aren't planned. I had time to
plan my pivot. Not everybody doesso though even they need a lot more

(48:45):
focus and attention because you go outinto the world, I mean, you're
just it is not going to beall the scenarios. We just throw them
in the deep end of the polland see if they float. Right.
Some people don't always float in thesesituations. And it starts with then community
needs to know how important this changeis going to be, and to give
them opportunities to use all the resourcesavailable, and even just giving them a

(49:06):
sheet like here's some like go around, shop around, but take time,
giving them time during the day todo it, which again I had the
luxury to do it that I wasshut my door, say nope, he's
gonna take in charge of I'm gonego to him with these and I served
kind of like as a mentor thatwas in the house. But I was
trying to disconnect my much as muchas possible. And I feel for those
that don't have that same luxury,which I think, yeah, but I

(49:27):
also think that that was helpful tothat transition too in the military for that
person taking over for you, becauseI mean, how great is that,
you know, to have a mentorfor that person. It's like, literally
exactly what you said you didn't getand you got to be that person.
You got to give them what youwish you had. So that's really really

(49:47):
cool that that actually kind of happenedthat way. They may not have appreciated
it because you know, they havetheir systems, but I think with what
you were looking for, it's kindof funny how you actually ended up giving
the military, giving that that nextmaster sergeant what you were looking for.
It's kind of ironic how that workedout that way. See. And Michael,

(50:08):
this is why I like listening toyour podcasts already, because how in
depth you listen, like you connectto something that I didn't even connect.
You're picking up these stories that I'veeven realized that, Yes, there's a
steamed building. So thank you foryou know, highlighting that for me,
because you're great at it, Sothank you. I appreciate that. Yeah.
Well, I mean it's it's justreally cool too that it happened.

(50:30):
And I try to be here formy guests man and our listeners, right
and our listeners. That's right.Yeah, So so you went through this
moment now and you're at the bottomof the list and your daughters are there
and they keep you alive, andthat's wonderful, right, Like I mean,
our family, you know sometimes whenwhen we're feeling and I've gone through

(50:51):
depressive moments too, where I rememberasking my wife, I'm like, you
never have suicidal thoughts. He's likeno, and I'm like, oh,
I thought everybody did. So,so we have those moments in our life.
And so sometimes we are living forothers and I'm very happy that you
have them on your list and thatyou're here with us today. So but
once we're past that of like,Okay, I'm living for my daughters,
I'm living for X, I'm livingfor others and whatever it is. Now

(51:15):
we have to have a purpose.And so for you, you you found
a purpose obviously, and I'm interestedin how you started discovering and that the
purpose started unfolding for you. Yeah, I think so right now when I
you know, have written on mywall, is that my job right now,
everything that I'm doing is to itthat way, I can provide all
the resources and opportunities to allow mygirls to you know, live their dreams

(51:37):
or experience their dreams. And Ithink that just gave me this this whole
new thing that is not just aboutme. There's something bigger and I know,
like I've shared it before and peoplelike, well, what about your
spouse? What are your family?But I you know, that's just kind
of my overall theme that if Iwant that dream, I know that there's
a lot of other micro tasks thatI need to do it. So and
what does that mean to provide theopportunities and resources? Well resources, what

(52:00):
do I need to do to makesure that you know, one of my
girls talks about how she wants tobe a space scientist, great, and
if she changes next week and wantsto be something else, I don't care
what that is. But it's myjob to be able to do what it
takes to bring in the money theeducation programs, you know. So we
go down we're part of the ColoradoSpace Discovery Center. I take it down
there so she can see some ofthose things, because I know that that's

(52:22):
important to her and it's important tome. And by doing that, I
also want to be able to bea good role model if they both my
kids one of them says she wantsto be a vet, right, but
she just calls it an animal doctor. Still, okay, great, It's
not about my opinions. It's notabout where you know, what my thoughts
are or anything like that. It'sabout this is what they're enjoying right now.
That's uncovering their personalities and what theyvalue and what they find important today

(52:45):
and kind of still supporting that.But by doing that, I know that
I have to, like I kindof alluded, I have to check off
boxes. That means I need tomake sure that I'm staying active. If
I'm going to take the risk ofbeing a business owner and trying to go
out there and get clients and helpthem to be a better version of themselves,
then this is what I got todo because I also got to still
be here and be supported to mywife. I'm not gonna be able to

(53:05):
help my kids fill their dreams ifnow they have to live in two separate
homes, right, So that's importantfor me to make sure that I keep
a healthy relationship because that's part ofmy overall vision. Like there's all these
things that have to be tallied underthat overall, that overarching strategy of where
I am today and just crimshoot andcommitting to it. And I will say
there are times where I don't putin the level of effort that I need

(53:29):
to that I know that I needto take certain actions in this domain,
this domain because I still have that, I still hit fear. But it's
also why I still have a coachto remind me that I needed to pick
up even though I know better,right, I know the rules of the
game. I kind of coach othersin the same manner, And there's at
times I fell up a hypocrite becauseI know what I need to do,
and then at the same time,it's like, Okay, nope, I'm

(53:50):
going to invest money in myself nowand I'm gonna hire somebody to hold me
accountable because I'm not performing the waythat I know I need to perform in
this certain domain. So it's alsonot a hypocrite. And the fact that
I'm not taking more advice by gettinga coach to do the exact same thing
that I'm trying to coach another personmaybe in a different lane, but that
vision right there is what kind offuels my passion here. And if it

(54:12):
changes for now, maybe when theyget older and you know, maybe now
they're well success, I'll readirect itnow. Maybe my vision might be I
want to in my life the sameway the movie Notebook did. I don't
know, but I don't think I'llever get that emotional because I'm not that
intuned, right, But but itgives me permission to say that there's options
on the table and going to whatare my behavior is my actions, my

(54:32):
thoughts, going to do to supportthat endeavor before I'm at today. So
it was huge in guiding a lotof what I do. In fact,
when I this goes into like metaking time out to look at my personal
values. Another one of my personalvalues is legacy. And the reason that
that is the case. I havethe discussion a lot of times when I

(54:54):
help somebody, like take the timeto do a personal value exercise. You
always see family on there. Okay, what behaviors do you have that support
family as one of your values?Now, if I was to put family
on mine, you might not seethat blatantly because I will sacrifice work hours.
I will stay at work ten hoursa day or do something late in
the night. Not saying that familyis not important, but my behaviors are

(55:16):
not indicating that family is one ofthe most important values in me, But
now legacy is because I want tobuild a legacy for my family. So
I want to if I hit apoint to where now, all of a
sudden, I feel like I couldthrottle back and spend more time and start
making that transition great, But rightnow I want to build that legacy,
and my actions and my everything,all my behaviors are going to show me

(55:37):
building legacy because family is important,but it's not guiding my behaviors and my
actions and my thoughts, right soit all plays into this overarching thing that
I have now on it is ithelps me learn what to say yes and
what to say no to and thenand just kind of committing to that.
I haven't found the best way tocommunicate this with my children. You know,

(55:59):
they are still four and six,but they still share their opinions and
I support it. And it's goodto kind of get into their mind because
if all of a sudden, somethingthey say influences my next decision, then
it will influence my next decision.I will incorporate. I will think about
it and see how I can adjustmy strategy or my mission. This old

(56:20):
new self purpose that I have.It's always challenging with young children to be
able to share our dreams with them, because they just want to play with
us, you know, that's reallyall they want, it is. But
I think, like young children,and you know, we were talking about
family and old friends and everything,I think one of the things with what
you said just mentioned there about familyis and working and trying to build a

(56:45):
legacy is that things are coming seasons, right, is that sometimes it takes
a season of working really really hardand putting in extra hours in work so
that you can have a season whereyou can maybe work less and put extra
time into family. And I thinkthat that's part of the whole harmony versus

(57:07):
balance in that, like life isn'tbalanced, but it can live in harmony
when we're seeing that, you know, things are cyclical, Things happen,
things change, and that's okay,and that's good. And it kind of
goes to that hypocrite feeling too.Like I was laughing when you were saying
it because I felt the same way. I was mentoring a young entrepreneur and

(57:27):
he asked me a question and Ikind of forget what it was. I
just I remember us walking. Wewere walking on this we have this beautiful
rail trail, and we've made thedecision to rather meet in via zoom that
we just kind of like meet midwayfor a hike or for a walk or
for something. And it's been reallycool. So I actually remember the spot
we were on the rail trail.I just don't remember the question, but
he asked it, and I'm like, and I'm answering him. And it's

(57:51):
so weird because like imposter syndrome andhypocrite kind of like are almost the same
thing. Of like I'm answering hisquestion with the advice or with the thought
that I have to help him,right, And as I'm saying, and
I'm going, why am I notdoing that in my business? Like I'm
not taking my own advice here,And I'm just like feeling like a hypocrite.

(58:12):
But then I'm realizing too that thingshappen when they're supposed to happen,
and they happen in seasons, andlike, while it might be the right
time for him to implement this inhis business, it's not necessarily the right
time for me. And there's otherfactors. He's a young entrepreneur, he's
he's nineteen years old, and hedoesn't have a family, he doesn't have
kids, and he doesn't have toworry about certain things and I do.
And so and I'm doing different thingsthan he is. You know, I'm

(58:35):
running different areas. So I can'timplement those things right now, or I
choose not to implement those things rightnow. But it has a season because
I know it's right. I knowit's something I probably should, but it
can come later on. And so, you know, I think that when
we look at it that way oflike there's seasons for things. And you
know, my daughter's right now,I'm telling them. You know, I'm
not getting home till late every night, and but that's only for now.

(58:58):
And I'm going to be able todo other things. And we're actually going
away together next week, so we'regoing to see each other. I see,
you can bring it up some validpoints if I made I'm sorry,
yeah, please go ahead. Isone of the things that I neglected to
do even with this, even thoughthis was my mindset, this was my
thought processes, right. What madethings easier in the home was sharing those
thoughts and processes with my wife,especially in the beginning ages. It was

(59:22):
in the beginning phases. I shouldsay, there was a whole lot of
me just trying to just drink froma fire hose, starting to basis what
I want to do and trying toget this you know, what are my
offers, how I want to addvalue? How am I going to help?
And I'm just bringing all this informationin and then she would ask me,
She's like, what's going on?How what did you do today?
And I took that as an attack, like I am back there, like
you don't understand what I'm going throughthe questions that I have, like you

(59:43):
have a job, you have allyour prices out for you, like you
know exactly I don't, you know? And I have, But I attacked
her because I don't know how toanswer that question. But instead, like
last night, I was like,hey, babe, look at this new
mastermind I'm thinking about doing, youknow, and it's it's I showed her
the work. So now she seeswhat I'm thinking or you know, what
I'm kind of working on. Andby having it, it's helped her because
now she knows I'm not just sittinghere twiling my thumbs waiting he when's the
next paycheck? I now include herand what are some of those things that

(01:00:07):
I'm doing and why I'm doing it, and what are those those struggles and
hardships that I'm having. And thathas made it a little bit easier.
Now. Do we still have roughpatches? Yeah, I still sometimes feel
a personal tech but that's only becauseI'm unhappy with myself, Like I know
that I could do more and I'mI'm misdirecting that those emotions elsewhere because I'm
embarrassed or I'm not satisfied with mylevel left or where I am in that

(01:00:30):
stage. And she asked me toquestion. It made me rollable instead of
just saying I'm not doing the bestbecause of X y Z is like why
are always in my crap? Likeyou know that I'm sitting you know.
So it's just an opening thing.And I think you mentioned as well when
you talk about how you communicate withthe children, that there's got to be
that communication pieces is so it isso pivotaal pivotal in my conversations and how
that how that turns around just withher understanding that yes, there's she might

(01:00:54):
not fully understand all the technicalities behindit, but she feels included. She's
part of that journey, she wantsto come along and it helps that way.
If I do have a heart aacho, or I ham in a bad
day, she kind of understands thatI'm hitting these roadblocks or whatever the situation
is that I face at that moment. And again that was something that took
me a little while because I choseto be defensive more than inclusive in my

(01:01:15):
own home, which is again anotherweakness. The hat that I was wearing
at work, or you know,the inclusive nature everything I was, I
wasn't quite wearing that same hat athome. I would take it off because
I know I'm tired and exhausted.And again another hypocrite mode. Why can't
I be the same person you knowwhen I'm leading at work that I am
at home, and I'm just exhausted, and I'm taking out on the wrong
people right again, these people Iwant to live the rest of my life

(01:01:35):
with. But I'm given more energyand more dedication to a work. And
again I spend a lot of timethere or when I had an office job,
but I don't forget the amount I'mnot spending as much time at home.
But they have a greater impact onmy overall future so all these epiphanies
kind of happened on the importance ofcommunication and making sure that you have the
people that are in your journey.Just give them the right information they need
so they can still support you alongthat journey, because especially for entrepreneurs,

(01:01:59):
it's tough. You can be aloneand you have to find that right network,
whether it is on the entrepreneurs doingwhat you want to do that they're
going through the same thing, havealready been successful and done it. For
those that are just there to supportyou, you need those all those people
in your team. You don't needthe naystayres occasionally as good as he's read,
the hate that comes out there tofuel you every now and then.
But you don't need those because that'snot that's not going to get you to

(01:02:21):
the next level. But you doneed that support network that is going to
keep you motivated and drive, becausewhen you lose focus or you have a
bad day, it's very easy totake it out on yourself when you know
it's just effective living and effective businessright And it's huge awareness on your your
part there to be able to seethat you know that you were being defensive
and to change that and you knowI've experienced it, and so many of

(01:02:43):
our listeners and everybody experiences this.You know, is is when we're when
we feel like we're failing ourselves andsomeone you know it unintentionally calls it out,
you know, because it's not intentionalsometimes, you know, we we
have the tendency to be defensive.But you know, the other thing I
heard you saying there is that youalso realize to give yourself some grace,
to forgive yourself in that moment,and to learn from it and move on

(01:03:06):
and change and adapt to it,so, you know, and obviously and
open up the doors of communication,which which is huge. You know,
something you mentioned earlier which I'd liketo go back to is micro tasks,
because you know, we have ourcore values and typically it's anywhere from three
to four core values is what you'lltypically hear. Or we'll have our vision
boards and we'll have a couple ofvisions on there, and again three to

(01:03:29):
four is what we'll primarily talk about. But in that, you know,
people who don't really play in thisspace quite yet or learning about the space
of vision boards and core values maybemay not understand what the micro tasks are
inside of that and I'd love ifyou can share a little bit about what
that is, what it means toyou, micro tasks, and maybe where
you learned it. I think,you know, starting off with where I

(01:03:52):
learned it, I think I've beena combination of resources between Grant Coron and
John Maxwell, Brendan Bruchard. Imean, these are all mentors that I
read upon, get some of thoseskills and techniques, the whole idea,
and then you know, this iskind of interesting just at my entrepreneur journey
as well. I'll use the ideaof when I was trying to define my
market niche, who who is itthat I want to help and serve?

(01:04:15):
And what I was doing with thisparticular task is I was going straight to
that question, like, man,who am I trying to serve? What's
going on with this? And howdo I want to offer? And it
was a very very tough question,and I think I still am modifying that
as I grow. But what Iactually had to do was step back from
that very granular question and be like, Okay, how do I want to
help? And then by breaking thisinto a project, how do I want

(01:04:36):
to help it, I've expanded myniche and then people I'm like just talking
just like with this, and thenas I'm doing that, people are coming
to me and asking me questions,and I'm realizing that my niche is kind
of finding me. And I wasspending a whole lot of energy on really
just one line item versus taking astep back and saying, how can I
approach this overall thing? So say, if my goal was going to be
to find my market niche, Ican take the time and realize that this

(01:04:58):
isn't just I don't have to eatthis whole elephant type of thing, like
I just the one by at atime type of thing. Where how am
I going to do this? Well? How about I just start with my
communication strategy and my message. Letme start there. And I had another
mentor that told me, Hey,I know you can offer a lot of
value, but here's what you needto focus on. What is one thing
that you want to be able totalk to somebody that will get them to
come into your house and sit downon the couch and have a conversation with

(01:05:20):
you, and then out of thatconversation you can be like you know what,
I know. Initially we were talkingabout how I can potentially help you
in this way, But I thinkfor this scenario, what I have behind
door number three? So if Ihave all these skill sets, which was
a big part of my imposter sydrom, you know, I love quality,
management, process, approvement, leadership, communication, it gets really cloudy and
money. If I want to breakthat down, I need to say,

(01:05:42):
hey, what is that first stepthat I need to take that's going to
lead to the next, lead tothe next, and it's it makes it
manageable, makes it more bite sized. And I know, like Grant Carnoin
is a big one, don't focuson the how, don't get so caught
up in the wheeze or you know, a smart goal is great, but
initially, just get something on paperlike this is what I want. I
want to have a network of twentymillion dollars. Okay, I don't need

(01:06:03):
to map that whole thing out rightnow, but I can ask my question,
Okay, what do I need todo to do that? Then what
do I need to do to dothat? And then whatever it is the
most feasible thing for me to doat that point in time, or that
I can take action on. MaybeI shouldn't say feasible. I don't want
to limit myself, what can Itake action on right now that would bring
me one step closer? Then dothat. But if you look at it,
if you don't take a step back, or if you continue to look

(01:06:24):
at that big picture instead of breakingit down, then it for me particularly,
it gets to that overwhelmed because it'ssuch a huge task. I don't
know where to start. And that'skind of where if we are as a
mentor coach or speaker, how canyou let another person know, and even
yourself that this is manageable, thatthis is doable, that is not out
of your reach. Don't one ofmy phrases I was like, don't ever

(01:06:45):
self eliminate, don't cancel yourself outof a dream, out of a project,
out of a job, anything.Go for it and then let the
process end up the way that itdoes. But it won't be because you
just cross it off your list becauseit was atimidating. And I think that's
kind of where it is. Takingthat and breaking it down. If I
want to have a marketing strategy,okay, just keep asking that question,
you know, and process improvement.There's the five Y exercise or you know,

(01:07:09):
Dean Graziosi has is seven levels deep. It's the same thing is just
ask those questions, how am Igonna do this? How am I gonna
do that? How am I gonnado that? And if you if you
break this down, you realize thatit is doable. But if you look
at that big picture and think thatyou're going to attack that head on,
no wars went that way. Everyevery war is strategized and we're going to
hit on multiple fronts, different angles. Put a few more forces over here,

(01:07:30):
a few of my forces over there, and then we're and then at
the long term objective is X YZ. And I think that that is
a huge step where I tend toforget some of these skills that I had
learned in the military. How Iwas able to break down these projects and
then I come in here because everythingwas new, you know, starting as
an entrepreneur, I wanted to doit all. I wanted to get these
checks, I wanted to do this. I paused to say, hey,

(01:07:55):
I can do this, and what'sgoing to be that first actionable step that
I'm going to take that will ultimatelyneed here. Yeah, sometimes we forget
we have those tools in our toolbelt. You mentioned Brennan Bouchard and I
kind of want to bring them up. It's it's it's so funny, like
there's certain certain things that you've saidhere that I'm just like, are we
the same person? First of all, I graduated high school in two thousand

(01:08:15):
as well, right, and Iwent through a transition period of exactly what
you mentioned of smoking weed and notknowing what I'm doing and going like I
need to get out of this,Like what am I doing here? Now?
I didn't go to military. Ididn't go to military path, but
my father was army. My fatheris a Vietnam Vet in the army.
And and then we both have speakingcareers and toast masters and Brennan Bouchard and

(01:08:41):
and John Maxwell are also for me, Tony Robbins mentors that you know from
Afar to me as well. Soit's kind of funny that you bring them
up, and I'm just like,man, that was that movie? Did
we just become best friends? Whatis that movie? Yeah? I feel
like I just heard that. Butyou know, it's it's interesting, but
I think it also has to it'stied into like the career that we've chosen.

(01:09:02):
In that of the speaking career,is that you know some of the
things. So I go back totoast masters for a second here because I
wanted to bring this up with yourmilitary service in that you talk about you
know, feedback and how you werechecking the boxes and everything, and it's
not just about checking the boxes,but it's also about like evaluate me.
But it's not about just have atit. It's be constructive. And you

(01:09:25):
know, you and I are bothtoast masters, and we both know that
toast masters are, you know,building the leaders of tomorrow. And you
were just talking about that earlier inyour military about like creating leaders, and
that's what toast masters is in termsof communication, is about we're building leaders
through communication, and communication is providingfeedback that's helping you. That's that's helping
you grow. It's not just topoint out your flaws. It's to maybe

(01:09:48):
highlight your flaws, but providing moreinformation that's going to help you overcome those
flaws. It's going to help youchange them and providing the tools to be
able to surpass those flaws to becomingmore productive in what you're doing. So
it's interesting that we're both toast mastersin that. And then of course Brennan
Bourchard, as I was saying SoI'm part of something called Growth Day,

(01:10:09):
which is Brennan Burchard's app, andI got it because of his book and
I was so inspired by it.And now I'm like, I'm in the
Growth Day community. Like I'm init every single day. I listened to
his daily fires every single day.I comment on people's posts. I actually
got highlighted for one of my posts, which was really cool. I'm interested
in your thoughts on Brendan Bochard andwhat you've learned from from his guidance.

(01:10:30):
Yeah, so it was. Ialso do the Growth Day app and his
series of books that he has specificallylike high Performance Habits, and what I
acknowledge from that is I was lookingfor a game plan on you know,
I had the lack of clarity,which is one of the things that he
covers or subjects he covers in hisfirst book. But as I was reading
it, I was identifying that theseare a lot of efforts, These are

(01:10:51):
a lot of things that I have, or your characteristics that are already within
me. But because I feel lostin my way, I just needed that
map to put these down, somethese exercises that kind of go back through
these and a lot of his workis with hype like athletes and top CEOs.
And one of the things that I'velearned in my transition is that some

(01:11:12):
caerphials in the military, and justlike Olympic athletes, like you, trained
so hard at that one thing.Now you got to pivot. But there
was a lot of skills for meto be a team leader within the explosive
warners community. There was a lotof checkboxes and things that we had to
learn and put our time to andall that. I look at everything,
all the accomplishments that I did whileI was active duty. For some reason,

(01:11:33):
I was separating myself from that entirehat, right, So I mentioned
how that was my identity at thesame time you mentioned before my speaking community
or career that I'm trying to build. There was a point ifere I didn't
have a mentor to bring us outthat I was trying to separate everything from
that. There was no talk.I didn't mention anything about being a bomb
technician. I didn't I didn't haveany stories about my military in there until

(01:11:56):
he asked the questions like why aren'tyou including any of that, Like that's
still part of your stories, partof who are you? But I think
I was just trying to feel likeI needed to completely start over by like
the Witness Security pre program or somethinglike got a whole new identity. So
I bring that up simply because theseare all like between his advice and read
in this book, I realize thatthere are skill sets that I can still
transfer over. It's just not myidentity anymore, but a lot of those

(01:12:18):
things still kind of bring me towho I am. And how do I
go through these steps of what routinesare you set? What is important?
How matter of fact they he hashis I think it's called the reset,
right, how do you get inyour mind right before you go into a
meeting? And as a coach it'ssuper important, or even as a mentor,
are you going to be able toseparate yourself from whatever's going on in

(01:12:39):
your life for this period of time? And how do you want to go
into that situation because you know thatright now it's about adding value and how
am I going to do that?And I'll paint it a scenario where I
don't use that to all the time, but I know when I need it.
For example, it was two anda half weeks ago, you know,
mother in law passed away. Ijust feel a little sad about some
of the things, mostly about howI impacted my wife, and we had
a lot of things going on,but I still had a commitment that I

(01:13:00):
needed to go, and I wasable to kind of do this whole little
exercises how do I want to showup in this meeting and what I'm going
to do right down was the intentand the focus and keep that at the
forethought, even though I had theseother things going on in my mind and
my body, Like how do Istay in this moment because right now it's
not about me. I can havetime for me later, but I need
to really be here. And Ithink that was one of the tools,

(01:13:23):
maybe not in that same method ofbeing taught, but it is a tool
that I was able to use forthis scenario. Sow way I can compartmentalize
what I'm going through because ultimately Istill want to add value and I think
it's good here and it was great. I'm a fast talker, he's a
fast talker, so I'm trying towork on that. But I can see
that there's still hope because he seemslike he you know, drinks a little
bit more caffeine and everything. Soit's great to see his personality on stage

(01:13:46):
and how he goes because there's alot of similarities, but he's also had
so much experience. Was like that'spermanent, Like that message was for me
right now, and I think there'sa lot of that that I also want
to contribute, Like there's my stories, there's my experience. Is that if
one person here, so that waythey're not that same guy debate and suicide
on a chair, on a sofaor whatever like that, right, or
if they're trying to how do Istart a business as a veteran? What

(01:14:06):
do I do? Knowing that thereare resources out there that and I'll put
this out there. Accountability is ahuge topic. How do you hold yourself
accountable? Then there's many books onit, you know, stream Accountable,
all these different things as far ashow do you hold the accountability. But
as much as I read this message, it wasn't until I read Jack Canfield's
Success Principles, And in the beginningof this book, he has this formula

(01:14:29):
called the you have an event,you have your response, and you have
your outcome. So whatever the eventis that's thrown upon you, it is
what it is. Sometimes you cancontrol it. A lot of times you
cannot, but that's the event.The outcome is how do things turn out?
So let's say you go and havea conversation with somebody and you get
punched in the face. Well,how was your response? What did you
do in the middle of that thatkind of made that outcome be what it

(01:14:50):
is? You got in a caraccident? Okay, Well what things that
you contribute that kind of enabled Notsaying take blame, but there are steps
that we're taking in that process.Were you late, did you run on
time, did you take the wrongroad, or what could you do differently
if you didn't like the outcome?What can you do differently with your response,
because the only thing you can changeis your thoughts, your behavior of
your actions. Now, I've heardthat message between multiple authors and speakers,

(01:15:14):
but reading it from this one iswhen it registered with me. There's a
lot of things that people say whereit finally clicks like, oh, like
Grant cardone, he says things that'sso just blatant and just direct, like
that's what I needed to hear.There's a lot of things with Brennan,
same thing. He says things thatI've heard before but it painted in a
story where it just clicks. Iwas like, Ah, that's what you
mean by this, And I thinkthat's kind of what I gained from all

(01:15:38):
these different individuals and with Brennan's programsthat he offers between well, there's three
books in general that I kind ofwas looking at, but the High Performance
has was the one that I've kindof highlighted and went back to. Was
doing exercises repeatedly over and over again, mostly because I wanted to gain clarity
and there's a lot of steps inhow do I do that and put my
energy on what's important. Yeah,I love everything that you just said there

(01:16:00):
because it resonates with me too.Is like sometimes sometimes you know a lot
of the books that we read,you know, I'm saying we because you
and I've read a lot of similarbooks. I didn't read Jack Cranfield's,
but a lot of similar books.And I don't like to reread a book,
although I'll do it. I'm actuallyjust in the process of rereading Ryan
Surhant's book, but it's really onlybecause I wasn't ready to buy a new

(01:16:21):
book yet. I do them allthrough audible, by the way, so
I listen I should get a sponsorshipfor Audible because because I bring up Audible
almost every podcast because that's where Ithat's where I read, so like Audible.
If anybody works for Audible, Ishould get get a freaking sponsorship for
them. For talking seriously, Italk about it all the time, But

(01:16:42):
the truth is is like I justlistened to them when I you know,
sometimes I'm looking for a new one. But anyway, what I'm bringing up
in these books is that typically Idon't reread books. I'm looking for a
new book. I'm looking for anew author. But they're all saying the
same thing, and it's what youjust said there is like hearing it from
a different point of view, hearingit from a different story, hearing it
from a different author. Is whensometimes it lands like there's certain things in

(01:17:03):
one book that I got and thenI listened to another book and it's it's
a whole it's it's kind of likethe same stuff, but I got different
stuff from it. And you know, it's just a way that That's why
I think it's so important to havedifferent mentors and different authors and different people
and in our in our environment,and it gives us so much more I
just heard this one, and thisis a tip for you and for any

(01:17:23):
listeners out there who want to becomeprofessional speakers. I've been watching this one
guy on YouTube. His name isVin, and I can't think of his
last name, but he's an AustralianUH speaking coach and he was he was
he was at a conference and somebodyasked him, how do I become,
you know, a great storyteller likeyou are, Vin? And he said,
you know, the issue that themistake that most of us make is

(01:17:45):
that every day there's a story thathappens in our life, and we don't
realize that or you know, wejust take it for granted. We don't
write down that story, or wedon't retell well he didn't say this second
part. I'm saying it, wedon't retell that story. But he was
talking about write down the stories thathappened in your life. I mean,
you know, Brendan talks about journalingall the time, you know, and

(01:18:08):
so write down the stories that happenedin your life. Because and you were
talking about this in terms of likeyour military background, those stories are what
fuel your next talk. I mean, you and I we've been talking for
over an hour now, And alot of it has to do with our
stories, Like I'm bringing up storiesand you're bringing up stories, and in
that there's some learnings and some lessons, so you know, we pick up

(01:18:28):
these little things. And I'm sureBrendan probably talked about it, like when
he talks about journaling, but itdidn't hit me the same way that it
hit me with Vin. You know. So it's very interesting going into your
speaking career because you're building a speakingcareer, you're coaching people. And don't
you tell me that you went throughIPEC coaching? Did you? I did
not? You did not? Okay, I was gonna say, that's too
many similarities because I went through Iwent through IPECK coaching. Is there one

(01:18:54):
that you enjoyed going through. Istarted through the John Maxwell Leadership Program Okay,
And initially I did that when Iwas still an employee, but I
just was looking at as a personaldevelopment program. But then they do have
the coaching business lane you can kindof develop as well, so I use
that as a foundation to get mestarted. But I think it was between

(01:19:14):
hiring my own coaches and kind oflearning my experiences where like, yes,
this can be a career yeah,yeah, and it's a great career,
and so I'm interested in how you'rebuilding that career, the coaching career and
the public speaking career. But whilewe're on the coaching side here, let's
talk a little bit about that becauseyou have a coach and you are coaching
other individuals, and how are youfinding new clients, how are you finding

(01:19:35):
to bring value. I heard yousay you were working on a mastermind.
Could you share a little bit aboutthat with us? Yes, So the
veterati is actually one resource where Ididn't intend on that to drive business,
but I think because I offer thevalue for free, I give my time
and I treat it as a paidsession and I get them there all sometimes
they want to go maybe a littlebit above the scope of a mentoring session,

(01:19:58):
and that could be a decent wayto transition of like, Okay,
here's because we still got a valueour time, right, It's it's still
important. So here's what I'm willingto do kind of complimentary to help your
success and transition. But now,if we're looking at this long term career
plan, we're looking more at acoaching thing. We're not looking at a
specific incident or a specific event inyour life. We're trying to look like,
here's a goal of development plan we'retrying to establish. So between that,

(01:20:20):
word of mouth has been another thing. So I've been lacking on my
LinkedIn, But I also remember thatwhen I was getting out of the military,
LinkedIn was number one tool that Iwas using for all my criteria.
Back then, I was really supportingproject managers other transitioning veterans, and I
kind of stepped away from that.But now that i'm I still reach out
and talk to people on LinkedIn,and that has been a great tool and

(01:20:41):
because that's the community that I want. And I think with the caveat to
this is I stopped a lot ofsocial media was simply because I didn't know
who the heck I was talking to. I was trying to get away from
the veteran network because again I wasseparating myself from the military all together.
And I was like, I'm goingto focus on leadership and then a lot
of people are coming to me onstarting a business. What do I do?
But what are first steps? Whatis this? And I was like,

(01:21:01):
man, that wasn't eOne on myroadmap. So it's like making these
adjustments because what are people coming tome naturally for that? It's like,
if this is what people are knowingme for that, I just need to
kind of get that message in.So I help out with some of the
veteran organizations here in Colorado Springs.I like to talk and share information.
A lot of it is word ofmouth through I'm with the Toastmasters group here,
the National Strict Association of Colorado,getting out to the different networking events,

(01:21:26):
even if my wife has a companynetworking event, getting out there and
just kind of sharing my story andgetting people to know me. In fact,
there's a workshop that I'm working onthat is going to be a six
hour workshop with you know, there'spotential for a lot of good business.
Best My opportunity is not only justto add significant amount of value to them,
but also demonstrate if they choose todo business or relationship with me,
here's the type of person you're gettingin the value like, here's my commitment.

(01:21:49):
So it's kind of like a doublewhami to take advantage of that opportunity
to just really give them everything thatthey've asked for and more, but then
establish here's my character and if youwant to do even more or go in
further here. Hell as it is, now, I know that I need
to increase my social media campaning,I need to increase some of these awareness
things that I'm doing. That wait, I can just get my message out

(01:22:11):
there, and I feel a lotbetter about it, because over the last
few months it was really that wholewhat am I? When I first opened
up a business, I called itLewis Leadership Solutions, and then I still
struggle with that because now I'm also, you know, a grand Card owned
business coach, so I've adopted alot of his sales and marketing practices,
and I really like hone in onhis sales strategies. So I didn't want
to be kept in one lane.I don't want to be known just for

(01:22:33):
leadership. So then I had thisbrand name crisis. So I was like,
you know, I'm just gonna callit ken El Lewis LLC and then
I'll figure that out later, right, Like, come, I'll brand it
later, but let me at leaststart having an LLC that I can not
feel so intimidated by. I betI can. I guess I'll add value
on one of these domains and comeup with my messaging in that way.
So it's been and also random conversationswith the most strangest people happened in airport.

(01:22:58):
There was sitting in one of thelounges and I heard a conversation and
that was just another way I feelingconfident in the value that I can add.
And it was like, I'm sorryto interrupt. Can I share a
perspective of what I'm just hearing onthis glimpse of your conversation? Sure?
And it was to me it wasa communication issues, like she's giving you
a lot of great advice, liketons your green defense are just shutting everyone
down because I also think that you'rea person that likes to share a lot

(01:23:20):
of advice and needs a lot offacts, and you're a person that wants
to bottom line out front, soperhaps you know, and they're like,
this is exactly what we need tohear, you know. And that was
way for me to now exchange informationto build a relationship. So I felt
weird because I was given unsolicited advice, but I asked for permission and apologize
and they were open to it.And it was one of those things like
I'm not please take this constructively.I'm not trying to point a finger just

(01:23:42):
just just one perspective of observation.Take it if you want, don't,
but I can't. I feel badfor her because she has a ton of
ideas and they're not getting the limelightat all. But I think that speaks
to my value of like open mind, it is give the opportunity that the
opportunity exists. My values was solike dead fast. I needed to inject
and allow that. But it ledto a conversation and to a relationship and

(01:24:02):
do order or salesman like man,Can I help you with your pitch?
You know I can I give youjust one bit of advice. I want
you to succeed. I know howhard your job is. Can I just
give you one thing? And whetherthey do business or not, it doesn't
matter, Like I would like tohave that extended relationship, but if I
can help them improve their situation sonow he can feed his wife and kids.
Great. I do my job,and if he wants to continue it,
I'll help you do that even better. But a lot of it has

(01:24:24):
been word of mouth and then justyou know, walking the talk with with
my message and being consistent in that. But I think also kind of getting
just helping people when I help becauseit helped. It helps me. At
the same time, what it isI do want to do, I've learned
very clearly of what I don't wantto do. Sometimes I take on projects
or you know, client and I'mlike, oh my god, this is
not the relationship I want and it'svery clear like, okay, I'm taking

(01:24:45):
that off my going back to myniche I'll strike that as a no go
and I don't want that type ofenvironmental relationship whatever. So yeah, it's
a start, but I do knowthe next step is really expand my social
media presence and get that out thereand be just add value. Team to
add value, and value is actuallyyou know, the eyes of the beholder.
Is it going to help them betterwhatever problem they're facing at that point

(01:25:06):
in time, And if they findsomething out of it, then maybe we
can build a relationship and you cango further. But if not, hopefully
you could take that one bit ofadvice and made some type of change,
whether it's minor or major, thatyou can apply and do the best with
it. Right. Did you didyou download Brennan's Influencers Roadmap? I have
the program. I signed up forit actually just last week, so I

(01:25:29):
have initiated that program and getting readyto start that here soon. You recommending
it, I guess, or aresuggestions or is it worth it? Well?
I didn't do the entire program.I did the ten dollars download that
he has, like you just paidten bucks, like, I didn't do
the full full on, but Istarted watching and listening to some of the
things that he's he's implementing and doingthere. But I mean, just the

(01:25:49):
little things opened up my mind,you know, I mean just the clarity,
like you said, you know,clarity is huge, like when you
don't know who you're speaking to,you know, I do, I lives.
I was doing them every day.I've kind of I've kind of like
teetered off a little bit from doingthem every day. But you know,
one of the things was I waslike, you know, I'm not getting
attraction I want. And my coachsaid to me, well, who are

(01:26:11):
you speaking to? And I waslike, I thought my audience. She's
like, well, who's your audience? And I'm like, I don't know,
you know, So having that clarityis huge of like who are you
speaking to? Something I want togo back on in terms of like you
finding clients and that you said therethat it's like so huge. I was
just in a what's it called Master'sNetworks this morning. I was a guest

(01:26:32):
to Master's Network, which is likea b and I a chamber of one
of those kinds of like networking groups, and the tip of the day was
was offering value and giving and allthis other stuff. And my feedback,
because they asked, they asked everybodyfor feedback, my feedback was that,
you know, because somebody was alittle concerned. They said, you know,
I'm just worried about that I giveaway too much and that you know,

(01:26:55):
no one's buying for me because Igive away too much. And so
therefore my feedback to that was,you know, when you look at thought
leaders, when you look at peopleout there who are thought leaders, who
are true influencers. And I'm nottalking about the influencers who are out there
just making you know, TikTok videosand dancing and there's nothing wrong with that,
by the way, I think thatthey're also influencing a certain type of
mindset, which is also wonderful andcreative. But what I'm talking about is

(01:27:17):
the influencers and the thought leaders thatare maybe teaching us something in our industry
of maybe it's becoming an entrepreneur,maybe it's starting a business, maybe it's
climbing the corporate ladder, maybe it'sbeing in the military. I'm talking about
these thought leaders that are out therewhen you look at them and you look
at them and how they influence others, or like Brendan, they give away
everything. They give away everything.Like the way I was introduced to Brendan

(01:27:43):
was through one of his free booksinaudible. It was a free books.
It was The Six Habits, andI was just like, I was in
that transition mode again of like Idon't know which book I want to buy
and this one was free, andI was like, it kind of speaks
to what I want to learn rightnow. And I was like, it's
free, so why not? Rightstarted listening to it. Next thing,
you know, what did I buy? I bought the Growth Day app,
you know, and it wasn't Imean, he sells it throughout the book,

(01:28:08):
which you know, but he doesin a very subtle way, which
is nothing wrong with it because itwas an over overly you know. But
the point is is that he gavethat book away, right, He gave
away. He gives away his talks. You could watch his talks on YouTube.
You could listen to what he hasto say. So many thought leaders
they give away and that's how youend up purchasing. And so you know,

(01:28:30):
with what you're doing with with withveterosity and what you're doing in the
community and sharing and giving and givingand giving, it's only bound to give
back. And you know Deepak Chopratalks about that, is that you can't.
You know, there's gonna be abalance. You're going to give away
so much and you're gonna you haveto get it back in return, you
know, just like if you takeso much, you're going to have to

(01:28:53):
give so much in return. You'regoing to pay for all of that that
you take. So I think it'sjust a wonderful way of doing doing of
building your business the way that you'redoing it. And the other thing I
want to make sure I highlight hereis that you asked for permission when you
gave that advice. So often wemake the mistake of just giving advice.
It's important to ask and say,hey, are you willing to receive this

(01:29:14):
advice right now? Do you wantto hear my opinion on this? I
think because that's going to set itup for them to want to listen,
especially as an eavesdropper, right,Like I had no right to that conversation.
I kind of help it. Butyeah, hey look it's a common
ground. Bring that connect first.Hey, look, you're out in public,
right, I mean you know it'sthey're not. They didn't have a
closed door that you had your earto. So you're also building a speaking

(01:29:35):
business, which I think is importantto highlight here because the two kind of
go together somewhat. And in thisspeaking business, you're part of toast Masters,
which is obviously improving your stage presence, improving your grammar of being able
to speak eloquently and speak professionally andbe polished. You're also part of the
NSA, and that's National Speakers Association. What other things are you doing right

(01:29:58):
now to build the speaker business andwhat is your advice for for new speakers
trying to book stages right and speakingfrom wanting to learn myself right here?
Yeah, those are big ones already. The other one is I also am
a member for the Automatud program eSpeakers, so I do use speakers that

(01:30:19):
as a toastmaster, you're going toget a little check mark on there saying
hey, I'm member of Toastmasters orI'm a member of the Maxwell Leadership.
So there there's that which gives mean opportunity to at least look up leads
or look up events that are inmy area or areas that I'm willing to
travel to that kind of fall inthe domain or industry that I want to
speak to or on. I'm alsoa member of the Tenet Stage Agency,

(01:30:41):
so it's an organization that does alsohelp to how do I find opportunities and
land those opportunities. So it's aboutgetting those resources. So all these things
are investments, so there's nothing likeyou don't just kind of wait around it.
Are you going to go? Whatare you going to do to invest
in yourself to land these opportunities andkind of meet them present Then again with
a private organizations here locally reaching outto them, just letting them know,
like if you're a backup speaker,I'm here like this is kind of the

(01:31:04):
things now the caveat or or justsay kind of like an asterisk to that
is one of my goals is Ido want to earn the certification to be
a CSP or certified the certified speakersa professional through the NSA National Speakers Association.
They have a certification which requires somany hours and logging of speaking events,
they must be paid events and soforth. So I know that some

(01:31:26):
of these things I'm offering myself foris to be a free speaker, but
I need to get my reps in. So it kind of in the beginning,
I don't care as much as whatis that inter cost? But can
I demonstrate that I'm adding value?What is it feedback? And how can
I continuously improve myself, whether it'swith a local nonprofit organization or private organization
and even with like I live ina community with five military installations, reaching

(01:31:49):
out to those development centers like hey, I'm willing to speak on this subject
and kind of just stay in it, but you got to stay front of
mine, Like how is your followup game? Are you making sure that
you're reaching out occasionally saying hey,is anything come up? Because these are
the same event planners or meeting plannersthat probably getting bombarded with that all the
time. And if I say justspeaking on leadership, well I'm sure they
get hundreds of those. How doI stay front of mine? So knowing

(01:32:11):
whatever what it is you're doing thatyou got to just stand out compared to
all the other people that are don'texactly what you're doing. I focus a
lot here locally, and I wantto expand that. But I think a
lot of that is also maybe i'llcall it a fear factor, but I
really wanted to practice that messaging alot more against some stages. I had
a mentor to say, try thesame talk one hundred times. And then

(01:32:31):
now what she does is like thatinitial talk she did one hundred times in
the beginning is the opening story toher new keynote. Right, she shares
that experience of how she did thisone forty five minute keynote, which now
is a five minute opening story forher, but it's experienced. But she
was able to go in there,get what stories work, what don't work,
and just kind of keep expanding onit. So I think just getting

(01:32:53):
finding a stage, whatever size itis, and getting out there and practicing
and getting that talk, but alsotry and make sure you have a mechanism.
There's another software tool out there calledtalk a dot. It's all one
word, and we talk about youcan incorporate that into your presentation side and
try to solicit feedback, get testimonialsright from the stage that you're on.

(01:33:15):
And that could be another way wherelike, hey, what am I doing
That is working well? That resonatedwell, so I can do more of
that. What did you not likeso well? So I can approve it
or eliminate or whatever that is.But again, all about feedback, giving
a lout. First of all,make sure you can negotiate it. You
can do that from stage, Buthow do I get that feedback? Because
the whole point of giving the sametalk one hundred times is I need to
improve it to make sure it's resonating. Is my message resonating? And I

(01:33:41):
think that's key to allow yourself tohave a tool to do that for you.
So local organizations the Chamber of Commercehas been good, and then for
me because I want to hit moreveterans reaching out and stay in the top
of mind to these local veteran organizations. And then podcasts like this, getting
out there, being a guest hostingyour owns, I think is always a
great opportunity because you get to practiceyour message just from toast masters. One

(01:34:01):
of my weaknesses I say right alot, and I when I say at
the end of a sentence here,I'm making it a little tap, but
I did it again. I didit again. I'm self aware it's not
as bad, but I want toeliminate that from my speech because I'm saying
it's a crutch word for me.But that's something that has been brought to
my attention through toast masters, andas I get on these stages, whether
it's a podcast or a natural physicalstage, I'm trying. I hear it

(01:34:24):
a lot of times after the fact, but it's bringing it to my attention
that, Okay, this is whysomebody said you say it too much.
So I think there's more things that'sgoing to come to light the more you
get out just speak and share yourmessage, whatever that is. And sometimes,
as in my case, I kindof repurpose my message because I realized
that people wanted me to elaborate moreon one thing and less on another.

(01:34:45):
And okay, so it's not aboutme, it's not about what I want
to talk about. What's the impactthat I want to have? And am
I getting through to them? Andif I'm not getting through to them,
then it's not like I really wantto share this story or this main point.
If they're not going to resonate ortake it home. Then it's you
anyway, right, So I thinkI just said again, I don't know
if you heard the right of thecheck. Well, I will say this

(01:35:08):
caveat for toast Masters. I've beena toast master for six years and I
love the organization. I think ithas really great values, and the way
that they teach us how to speakprofessionally I think is fantastic. But I
think, just like with anything,there are that there is this structure,

(01:35:29):
but there also is room outside ofthe structure. So I think the biggest
mistake that people make when they becometoast masters or where they learn from toast
masters, is that they criticize themselvestoo much, and they go, oh,
I can't say, I can't sayright, I can't say. It's
not that, it's to be consciousof it. It's to be aware that
you're saying those things and to tryto minimize them, of course, because
you will sound more polished. Butwhen you just said it right now,

(01:35:50):
because it's so part of you andit's not highlighted, so no, I
didn't realize that you said it.But as toast Masters, we are for
that because we're trying to help thespeaker eliminate it. So we're trying to
listen for it, we're counting howmany they're doing. And so I always
whenever I'm coaching or mentoring somebody into'smester, I always let them know,
Hey, that's just for you toknow and to be aware of so that

(01:36:12):
you can maybe reduce it. Butit doesn't mean that you have to speak
perfectly eloquently all the time. AndI think there is some truth to that.
And I tease up my next questionthat I had for you while you
were talking, which is which isabout adapting to your environment and being able
to be real with your environment andnot sound scripted. And so the question
that comes up, and you kindof talked about it with doing one hundred

(01:36:33):
talks, is being scripted or notscripted? And what do you do when
you do have a script, Sowhen you are doing one hundred talks,
to be able to adapt to youraudience so that like maybe you are sharing
a story that you've done, You'redoing this hundred talks set thing and you
know halfway through you're seeing it's notresonating with your audience. How do you
flip the script there? So that'sawesome, because this is my last thought

(01:36:57):
that I gave was one of thosewho are I realized kind of reading the
room that I was kind of justdisengaging. So I ended up bringing in
a military story, which I typicallydidn't, and then at the end of
it, I found out that thatstory resonated the most. It wasn't planned,
it wasn't something I had in there, but it kind of felt the
theme and I was like, Okay, I can use this. I was
speaking about the importance of culture andbuilding a supportive culture, and I was

(01:37:17):
referring to the time that I hadthe differences on how my perception of an
event that happened while I was inAfghanistan, how my perception would at the
time. What is it that's stupid? This one was there was I saw
a mini bus right for you,Bess in your bus had a car,
had a little van on top,and luggage was packed like this old pyramid
on top of it. I waslike, from my American perspective, why

(01:37:39):
are you doing that? That's justso unsafe as danger started up, But
I was looking at for the lensof somebody that grew up in America,
where the rules and regulations dictated myperception at the time, but for that
environment, it was completely normal becausethere was a hundred and more buses that
were doing that every day. Soif I would have looked at from the
lens of the environment that I wasno longer in, except for the environment
that I was in, then II would have thought that was something wrong

(01:38:00):
and would have never entertained that idea. So that's where kind of like our
biases coming that just kind of poppedin And when that story actually resonated the
most because I ended up it benefitedme because I was the most enthusiastic,
Like I was given a visual thatplayed along with it, So I didn't
have it really written in in myinitial practicing and speech, but it flowed
in and it worked out better,and from that I could see the engagement.

(01:38:21):
But I think that's the key thingis are people starting to, you
know, go, what are theirfaces doing they're still locked in or they're
thinking and using that story. Atthe time, I think it clicked because
I was talking about Afghanistan words it'sgoing to go as a little a suspense
that kind of led up to it, and then people couldn't believe, like
we're not going to believe this inAmerica, like who's going to put a
car on top of a butt?Like imagine a greyhound going is a car

(01:38:43):
on top of it? Right,So, I don't know, I think
I thought I misheard you. Itwas like literally a car on top of
the bus. Yes, a carin a minivan. There was a car
an a minivan and then so therewas like a base of luggage, a
car and a minivan on top ofthat luggage and then more luggage. Just
literally a pyramid. But it wascommon to see a couple of cars onto
two cars on top of I mean, of course I have questions how they
get up there? How you goingto get off? Like what I know,

(01:39:03):
what's going on? I'm the process. I'm picturing a bus pulling into
a depot, like backing in andthere's like this maybe thing because that drives
on because I can't imagine a cranebe picking these things up, so they
have cranes, but it's possible,right heavy. I don't know. I
never saw the process of it,you know, being loaded unloaded, but
I saw it, saw it bothin Iraq in Afghanistan. But the tools

(01:39:24):
they had, right, there wasno regulations to stop them is what it
is. But I think the thething is you alluded to this earlier about
having stories in there. It wasn'tmy first time talking about that. I've
used that story before in another talk. So I do have an excelled document
in this label stories, and Ihave humor, I do have leadership,
I have sales. So I havethese different things, and I've used the
same story multiple times depending on whati want to extract as the main point.

(01:39:46):
And I've said this just yesterday.I was coaching somebody on an interview
process, like, yeah, havethese stories in mind, and I gave
the example of how I had thisone project where we had a dispose of
eighteen eighteen thousand pounds of explosives.And then I picked up I had this
little sheet that I use by sharingArmstrong one hundred behavioral interview questions, and
I was like, okay, let'spick one, asking one, and then

(01:40:08):
I was able to use that thingevent to answer most of those questions.
But I had what lens am Iusing when I answered this question. So
I think the same thing can goas you're building your stories up, that
you have this arsenal that you've givenit before. So if you do need
to pivot that it's something that you'vealready kind of you know where it's going
to go, or you know whatthe point is and where it's coming from,
and kind of share that experience.But I will also say, for

(01:40:31):
example, I've not talked about myhigh school years, so you asked that
question, went down that story.So it's reminded me like I can now
incorporate these stories into my future becauseit is a part of who I am
and maybe I've not went I haven'twent down that path before, but it
is part of my journey and it'sgoing to resonate with somebody else that has
a similar journey to that. Andthe whole point of the story is to
connect on that common ground. Whyshould I listen to you, like,

(01:40:53):
how are you like me? Andhow are you going to help me improve?
Because I've been you, I've beenthere, I'm still kind of like
you of just one step further,you know, And the stories really are
what helped make that message and hopefullyresonate. Right. That's the objective is
I want to inspire action, andI can only do that if I connect
with you. So it's a justkind of recapping on your importance of having

(01:41:13):
that arsenal stories built. I learnedfrom a guest recently, and it's kind
of making me dig deep too andmaybe be even more vulnerable than I already
am because I feel like I sharea lot about my personal life. But
I just had a guest on andshe just talked about how she was speaking
and doing all her talks but wasleaving one really vulnerable piece out. And

(01:41:38):
when she was told, you know, hey, look you do realize that
this happened in your life, andshe was like oh, and she connected
to it and she started sharing itand very small and then started really sharing
it. It was like it changedher whole speaking career because of what you
just said that it resonated with othersand they were able to say like,
oh, yeah, I'm experiencing thattoo, and look at where you are

(01:42:00):
today, right. It's kind oflike one of those things out don't be
ashamed. I could not speak aboutmy suicide story for the longest time because
it brought tears, like I didchoke up even why sharing it. But
I think that's a difference about usingit by just facing it and owning it,
is that hopefully there comes a dayto where it doesn't even make me
choke up. It's just part ofmy story. But there's still an emotional
attachment to it, right, becausethe thought of not being there for my

(01:42:23):
kids, like the reason that Ididn't do it. It still has an
emotional impact on me now. Butif you would ask me this a year
ago or a year and a halfago, there's no way I was getting
to that story without crying or tearing. I mean, there's another story that
I have of combat situation that Iwas in. I had a team member
saying, hey, we get this. Younger generation haven't been deployed, haven't
been in an environment. I don'tthink they understand the importance of what it

(01:42:44):
is we're training and what we're doing. And this is probably the most vulnerable
I've ever been in my life.I ended up giving you a classified presentation
on an event that happened while Iwas a player in Afghanistan that did evolve
into loss of life, and itwas one of the first experiences that I
had and I could barely make itthrough that whole discussion. I was crying
my ass off, right, Iwas just, Oh my God, what's
going on? But I did thatbecause somebody came to me that there was

(01:43:08):
a problem with the training that peopleweren't resonating, and I wanted to stress
the importance of this. I wantedto see the effect that it had on
me because how much guilt I hadthat I feel I didn't do my job
right. Now, through you counseling, I realized I wasn't mean I didn't
set it up right right, butI had to work through that. But
it was that period of vulnerability wherelike, I need you guys to understand
why this is important, what we'redoing, what we're saying, Like this

(01:43:28):
nineteen year old lost his life.You know, could I have changed it
to something that, yeah, whatever, But this is why it's important because
if we don't do it, ifwe're not great a job, there's loss
of life. But that period ofvulnerability was my whole reason was to connect
to stress the point I still will, you know, tear up on a
share a story, and obviously I'mleaving out facts that aren't going to be
so touching, but there's a pointthat I want to get to where I
can say that and not even halftheir coach, because the impact that I

(01:43:51):
want to leave is the basis ofthat story. It makes it like this
is why this is importance? Iswhat you're doing? Why is it critical
that we do X y Z.Maybe one day I've got to a point
the airports of communication and everything else, I can analyze that story a little
bit deeper and pull out the lifelessons from it. I'm not there yet,
but the more you talk about it, the easier those stories can come,
and the more you can kind ofbe give yourself permission to be vulnerable

(01:44:15):
and kind of hey, what arethe takeaways from this particular story in my
life? Right? Yeah? AndI think I think there's two sides to
what you're saying there. In termsof the emotional side, I think for
us as speakers, it's straining tocry and it's straining to feel to tap
into that emotion unintentionally, I'm nottalking about intentionally, it's straining to have
that feeling. But I do thinkthat it leaves an impact too, because

(01:44:39):
your audience and the people connect tothat, right, Like, I mean,
people get emotional here, I getemotional here. I've cried on my
podcast here, and there's that momentof silence that happens on the air.
And I try to always try tocover up for it very quickly. But
I also think that it's because it'sa real emotion. And you know,
when when we're speaking, it's aboutconnecting. And I hope our listener,

(01:45:00):
I would love some feedback on thisfrom all of you, is that it's
about connecting, right. It's notabout really everything that we're saying. It's
really more about how are we makingyou feel? How are we connecting with
you? And you know, Ithink you being emotional, me being emotional,
or a speaker being emotional on stage, it's a real connection because we're
really feeling that. It's not fakeas long as it's not fake, right,

(01:45:20):
So I think that there's that sideright on the other side of it.
You know, you had mentioned itearlier with Brendan about like how am
I showing up right? And whoam I showing up for? And so
in the situation that you just mentionedthere, you were showing up for these
these new recruits and that didn't feelit. And I think that and you
just said it too, of likeI want to show them how it impacted

(01:45:42):
me, and so therefore you wereemotional. And I think that when we're
speaking as speakers, as coaches,as leaders is whatever we are parents.
How am I showing up and whoI who am I showing up for can
also change the way that we showup, Because if I'm showing up to
show you how it's emotionally impacted me, and maybe I'm crying. But if
I'm showing up to teach you somethingfrom that story, then maybe I'm not

(01:46:04):
crying in that situation. Right,It's how am I showing up? So
I think that that's like such abig takeaway that Brendan shares. And while
I'm on Brendan just for one second, because I do have a question for
you about your stories, the otherone I love from him is that you
are stronger than you think. Ilove that quote and I had to while
we were talking about Brennan. Ihad to say it because because that quotess

(01:46:25):
gotten me through a lot of whenwhen I hear him say and you are
stronger than you think in his dailyfires, I'm like, yeah, I
am stronger than I think. We'reresilient beings, and I think if you
underestimate that, then you're kind oflimiting your own potential, right, So
don't sell limit it. But Ithink if I think that also alludes to
you might not mean doesn't mean youhave to do it by yourself. Right.

(01:46:46):
Strength doesn't have to come just fromwith you. You can strength,
but how you do anything in livedoesn't mean you need to have just your
strength, but you could find thestrength. And sometimes it's say he's a
strong act of being vulnerable for aminute. Yeah it was all inclusive,
but they don't think you have thatmeans you have to do it alone or
you have to persevere on your byyourself. You can find strength from different
sources. Mean, I was justdoing the county as I bring up the

(01:47:10):
county Fair because it's like this weekand it's like so intense, so many
things going on. But I waslike a little bit late getting set up,
and this older woman offered to helpme and I said no, no,
I got it, and she goes, no, no, I want
to help you. And I said, okay, here's some light boxes.
So she starts moving them and Igot all done and she said she said
thank you to me, and I'mlike huh, And I said, I

(01:47:31):
said, well, I mean thankyou, but you're welcome what for And
she goes, you know, thankyou for not being a man and allowing
me to help you get unpacked,and I was like, wow, you're
welcome. Cool. I was like, you know, but she was like
that was being vulnerable, Like that'sbeing vulnerable of like, yeah, I
got it, you know, Ican carry these boxes. But it's impressive.

(01:47:55):
It's a story to put on yourlittle story sheet because there's so many
lessons that can come out of thattoo, just being able to fight stereotypes.
I mean, there's many things thatcome out of just that one story
that you lived. It can resonate. Yeah, and so great, because
that's what I want to ask youabout writing the story. So I find
that whenever I try to write downmy stories, then I start getting too

(01:48:16):
let's say, grammatically correct, andI ruin my story because I'm like and
then I went down and I askedher for help, and she gave me
help, you know what I mean. And I'm like, that's not how
it went down. How do yougo about writing your stories of experiences?
I think it really has to focus, like what is the intent behind a
story? Like what am I tryingto drive? You don't need to send
a whole lot, but I setthe stage. I like to say,

(01:48:38):
hey, set the stage I wantto know that you know kind of what
was going on at a time whereif I'm telling you the stories because I
want you to take away maybe thehard part of this story, like this
is the adversity that I face andwhat I had to do and overcome that.
So to say, if I wasto go back and discuss a little
bit about my thoughts about suicide,I'm not going to focus and I'll caveat

(01:48:59):
real fast. As a disclaimer,if you're going to use an emotional story,
make sure that it's strategically placed inyour whole talk. If you do
it too late, you don't wantpeople to leave on a sad note,
So give you time to recover.Like do that early on the way people
aren't left with this whole depressing Keepit shore, give it to the point,
but then end on a strong note, because you don't want the last
thing that I remember is as guiltor oh my god, I can't really

(01:49:19):
get to motivate it and I justfeel like I need counseling and then and
to capitalize on that too is makesure that if you're using it, you're
doing it to motivate and not manipulate. I am not a fan of people
that are trying to use a storyfor the purposes of doing something unethical or
legal or our moral that is goingto drive an audience to a particular result,

(01:49:40):
because you only care about the endresult being self serving. So if
you're going to use a story,hopefully it's a story that is going to
motivate a certain outcome or a certainaction and it's not for some self driven
ego purpose. Right. So that'skind of like I wish I'm kind of
a little more passionate about that,because I really won't. That's our job
as speakers or people that have amessage. Don't manipulate in there. They're
going to know. So that wouldbe my two advice. But when you're

(01:50:02):
you're kind of getting vulnerable, whatI want to be able to resonate to
show that, yes, here's mystory. I was at home, sitting
in my chair, and this isthe period I had because I was facing
the transition. I didn't know mylife purpose. I don't want to really
expand on it too much, butwhat is a bare minimum that they need
to know? Some way they canget it? If I go too deep
in the story, too deep inthe weeds, and it was okay,
how do people learn? There's differentcommunication styles, different learning styles. I

(01:50:25):
need to try to find a commonground that is going to kind of attribute
to all of them, but notgo overboard. Me. I deal with
brief and direct conversation. I don'tneed the whole story, but I just
need the gist out of it.Right, where are we kind of focus
at? So I'll talk about thisand then how did I recover? Because
the whole point of that story islike there is a way out, like
that, I didn't do this andI am where I am today because these

(01:50:45):
are the steps that I take,and that's where I want you to go
too. Was there a lot moreto that story? Yes, but nobody's
gonna want to hear about how muchcounseling I went to. You know,
where did I pull my gun from? What beer was I drinking? And
like all that that doesn't add valueyou to the story. The fact that
I was sitting there even thinking aboutit is the important part of that.
Like I got to that point.I've had all these these questions in these

(01:51:09):
periods that led me to a pointto where I was contemplating life. Then
you know, I went to thischecklist and I thought about my little two
girls, and from there I knewI needed to change my whole story,
right, Like I had to rewriteeverything so it I don't want to bring
them down a bad path, andI don't want to kind of hover it
because the story is just going toIt's kind of like the structure should be.
You have your main point, whatis that I want to bring and

(01:51:30):
then do you have one or twostories just kind of drive that main teaching
point home that you want. Soif I'm sharing the stories because there's a
message in there that I want toreally relate, and that's just a vehicle
to capitalize on what it is I'mtrying to emphasize at that point, and
if I'm using the wrong story,that's not in another phrase right, And
the next stages, one of thephrases they use is it's not your story,

(01:51:51):
it's our story. Do you wantto be able to have a story
that people could understand and relate?No, maybe not everybody was going to
be on there and thinking about suicide, but there's a high chance that everybody
has faced somebody that you know hasknown somebody that has commit suicide or been
in a situation or supported somebody that'sdealing with it that can relate to that
moment you don't want to do aFor example, Toastmasters, they say open

(01:52:12):
with a question, and this hashappened during one of the things where they
open a question, how many ofyou guys been de greased? What do
you feel about that? Well,my feedback at the time was I felt
excluded because I've never been to grease. I haven't been that like we were
you talking to me? Was Iwrite your audience? So how do you
change that story to where now Idon't feel excluded, but I feel included.
And that is a commonality or acommon ground that I can at least
understand. I don't want to feellike I'm being segregated from your conversation,

(01:52:34):
but I don't want to be bombardedwith information that's not going to drive My
focus is to drive home to themain point. How can I do that
in a way that is going toconnect with their heart in a way that
emotions can get I can tug onthose heartstrings just a little bit, but
enough to where I can resonate backto the main point. This is why
XYZ is important. So brevity isgreat and it's practice that story has definitely

(01:52:57):
trunk over the years of and Ican't years because I hadn't been that long,
But I'll just say over the timesthat i've given it of what I
focus and what is it I'm distractingbecause it is being really vulnerable for me.
But they don't need to know allthose steps. Just this is why
it's important, because I've been downso dark that these are steps I had
to do so I can get intolight again. Right. I don't know
if that helps. I don't thinkit was a specific advice other than what

(01:53:18):
is what is the main impact you'retrying to make and how can you do
it with the fewest words possible?And you're not writing a novel. You
just only have a little bit oftime to get that message out. Yeah,
I appreciate that because I do.I get into the weeds when I
start telling, because I start writingmy story and I'm like, that is
not how I would tell it.So I appreciate you sharing that, And
for all of our aspiring speakers outthere, you know, that's that's huge,

(01:53:41):
and you know, and I'll sharethis for for everybody because I just
said our aspiring are aspiring speakers,but you know, all of you listening.
You know, I look at youas all business leaders and entrepreneurs and
people trying to change the world andcommunity leaders. You all have a story
to tell. Everybody has a storyto tell, and You're story is important
and it needs to be heard andyou need to be able to share it.

(01:54:02):
And so I'm going to give alittle I'm gonna give a little what's
it called? What is it called? You know, like a no snapshot?
Oh my goodness, I'm drawing ablank here, but I'm giving a
shout out to toast Master. Thisis what I'm trying to say here.
Of like, you know, Idon't I'm not sponsored by toast Masters either.

(01:54:24):
I'm getting a lot of like unsolicitedsponsorships here. But like, but
like, seriously, everybody should beinvolved in some sort of like speaking program
to be able to help communicate amessage. You know, and you're gonna
have brain farts like I just did, you know, but you're able to
articulate and communicate a message and shareyour story because it is important. You
definitely have a you definitely have abook in you. I know it.

(01:54:46):
I need to It's all my radar. One thing I add about the toastpaster
is is you know, I'm mentoringa new guy there too, and he's
worried about the structure and all that. I was like, the first step
is get on, get behind thestage. Just just do it the one
word like, then we can startcoming up with some plans, like how
do you want to improve? Butit's important to know with any development tool
that you use your life, whateverphase is no when that resource or that

(01:55:09):
connection is no longer adding the valuethat you desire, sometimes you need to
find another tool, another resource,or elevate your game. So if for
me Toastmasters it is still in myfuture, it is still adding value and
it's aligned with my goals, butit's something I need to be aware about,
is it if it's not contributing towhere I want to be, and
then know when it's time to moveon or or whatever that next step is.
So don't don't the loyalty only goso far. Don't buy this product

(01:55:30):
and say I have to stay herefor the rest of my life. No,
No, when you have exhausted theresources and it's time to find the
next best thing for your whatever yournext venture is in life, that's right.
Uh, this has been like soawesome having you on here today.
It's been it's been really cool tohave so many similarities with you as a
guest, and you know, usjust meeting for the first time and yet
still having so much of similarities there, but then of course huge differences with

(01:55:55):
your military background, your military experience, some of the things that you've gone
through in life, and you beingable to share all of that with us
today. I really have appreciated that. I'm just like a little bit of
a different subject here. I knowthat you have your mantra in here,
and I think we've talked a lotabout it, and actually, why don't
we stay here for a second,But I do want to ask you about

(01:56:16):
some of the fun things that youwould get to enjoy with your family before
we get into your mantra. Youknow, what are some of the fun
experiences that you've had recently with themthat you could share with our audience here
of like just things outside of speakingoutside of military, outside of all the
other stuff just day to day.Yeah, well, I could say that
we have we're going on. Iknow you say you got a couple of
weeks you're going on, yours,my wife and our family. We're going

(01:56:39):
to go up to the mountains herethis weekend and kind of just escape and
get away and go to Reset Resetand bring our pal boards and nice heights.
So kids wanted to do some GUIsWe're going to break away as something
I don't do nearly as enough,but it is on my map that I
need to do something with the familyat least once a month. So it's
getting out there and of courts ofcommunicating goals. My wife knows actually definitely

(01:57:00):
holds me accountable to that, right, So that's the thing. But a
lot of it, really I focusheavily on bringing the kids to different environments,
you know, if there's kind ofsome kind of fair there or something
that we just went to a circusshow that was playing in Denver and my
four year old goes, Dad,this is the bestest surprise ever. Like
I want to remember that for along time because she doesn't really say that
phrase a lot. So I'm gladshe enjoyed the heck out of that,
and that the opportunity presented itself whenwe took advantage of that, And that's

(01:57:24):
something that I knew that it was. I mean, it was important enough
I needed to write it up onmy chart of goals. I needed to
do more of these activities. Sobeforehand, six months ago, not enough,
not it just was not happening enough. But now it's a goal that
I know I need to do thisbecause man, they're growing fast. So
it's really getting out there and justfinding these different opportunities. Spend some time
at the Space Center, and Itake my little girl to this low playhouse

(01:57:45):
so she can pretend to be avet and it's just like her doing this.
And I haven't got to the phasewe're not putting makeup on and stuff
like that, but I fear it'sgoing to happen. One of these days.
We're all going to wake up witha bunch of painted toenails and eyelashes.
But if that happens, so beit. You know. I think
it's still about those memories that weestablished, and I have to thank my
wife were at all, because ifit was just me, I would fall
victims not being to do this becausemy brain doesn't always think in that.

(01:58:09):
But she's all about trying to createthese memories and I have to remember to
pause and you know, allow thoseconversations to happen, and like Okay,
yeah, let's do it like thistrip this weekend. She thought about it
yesterday and I was like, allright, let's do it. Yeah,
it's just a matter of pause init too real good, what are your
values? What's important? And that'simportant right now? That's awesome. I
have ended up with makeup on.I have two girls, so that's den

(01:58:30):
ten Denise and Tentley. Yeah.Yeah, I've ended up with makeup on
and and it's I love that youjust brought that up about the space you
said the Space Center for your daughter, because you know and and and also
the circus because we don't realize itas adults on the impact that it has
on them. And they and youtalk about different lenses, like seeing things
from a different lens, they havea completely different lens. Like we just

(01:58:55):
went. We just got back fromDisney a little while ago, and my
wife meticulous planned out Disney. Wewent to Magic Kingdom and we went to
the Animal Kingdom, and she hadevery ride planned out exactly when to go.
She looked at the schedules of likethe all the Facebook app and all
the other stuff of like the Disneyapp and the Facebook and when to go

(01:59:15):
right, and it was meticulous planned, but like spur of the moment,
not spur of the moment. Kindof planned but not really. We went
to the NASA, the Kennedy SpaceCenter because it was like right there and
it was like, oh cool,and there's going to be a rocket launch.
Oh cool. So we went andbecause we didn't plan it out,
we ended up becoming like we endedup following the herds of where they were

(01:59:35):
going, so we ended up lastfor everything, and as adults, we
were like, oh man, thisstinks. Like we didn't get to go
to see the three D movie,we didn't really get up front to see
the rocket launch, we didn't reallyget to go do experience this, and
so as adults we were like,well NASA was a bust. And we
got back and we're talking with familyand we're just like, oh yeah,

(01:59:56):
oh this was awesome. We didthis like the Magic Kingdom and this and
that, and we're like, Tenley, what was your favorite experience? He
goes, oh, seeing the rocketlaunch, like what what? Like?
Like for us, we were likeit was behind the trees, like we
could kind of see it, like, but for her, that was one
of the coolest experiences. So wejust never know through the lens of a
child, the experience that they mayhave. You know what, you mentioned

(02:00:20):
that whole planning thing too, LikeI'm being vulable to my wife just because
I need to plan things out.I don't do very well with the impromptu
things. And when she first mentionedit, my heart went one hundred miles
an hour and I just wanted tosay no, I'm not doing it.
And I was like, Okay,let's try, you know, and we're
going to go for it. ButI am the same type that your wife,
where I do want to plan thingsout and it took everything, but

(02:00:41):
again because that was our goal andwe haven't met it yet, so I
knew that the bigger commitment was thisand I had to set that aside,
even though that thought is kind oftough to put up with. But I
think you also paying another thing isthat you were disappointed potentially or you know,
sometimes we set expectations because we knowwhat's available or the reason or versus
kind of living in the moment forwhat it is. And I'm guilty of

(02:01:02):
this all the time, Like I'mnot enjoying not being present. You know,
Brenda Star talking about to be present? Where are you for that moment.
And it's very hard because you knowwhat all the possibilities and what's available
to you, and you didn't getto check off all these boxes. But
if you just pause, be presidentand enjoy what is available to you,
what you do have control over it, and then you know, maybe the
perspectives do change. And again that'slike easier said than done, I know,

(02:01:24):
especially for me, But I didn'tmake that connection until as you were
speaking. I was like, I'mguilty of that. I'm always looking at
the to do list or how muchcan we fit in a day versus just
My wife absolutely just wants the momentand the experience, and I think can
we all benefit if we try thata little bit more. Yeah, yeah,
the moment the experience is good,but the balance is key. And
it's good that you that you're theplanner and she's not, because I need

(02:01:46):
a planner because I'm there and sothey that structure, like what we were
talking about toast Masters, is keybecause within that structure we have the flexibility.
And Brendan talks about that too.All Right, your mantra is challenges
that quot and question everything, andI really really appreciate you sharing that,
because I feel like everything you've talkedabout so far has been challenging the status

(02:02:09):
quo and questioning everything, and soI would love if you can just cap
us off here with with how youlive into that mantra. I absolutely thank
you for that, because it initiallystarted out just because of my passion for
process improvement. But then the morethat I evolved and I realized like development
in general, whether that's going tobe a process or in your own life
you know people, or something likethat, being able to pause and just

(02:02:30):
question is this the best way?Is there another way to do it?
I think a lot of times wecan fall trapped that this has been working
and there's no reason to try itdifferently, or this this has always worked
and xploit whatever whatever kind of thosewindows or blinders that we put on.
But allowing the opportunity whether you arequestioning the situation, or allow the opportunity
for somebody else to question it,like does this really need to be done
this way? Do we need toreally have a plan when we go to

(02:02:54):
the mountains this weekend? Anything inthat fashion, like do I really need
to do this? And allowing youropportunity to question that process and challenge everything
because you really know, like whyare things being done the way they're done?
Something sometimes you have, especially inorganizations, where you're doing a process
or something is written into the operatingprocedures that way but hasn't been updated for

(02:03:15):
years. We'll take the time tosee is it still relevant? Do you
really need to keep operating this way. I've used a tool like this where
we were having a conversation at work. People weren't happy with one of our
processes to explosives from our explosive locker. So we mapped it all out.
We mapped out the process, theyquestioned it, We mapped it out,
and we realized that a lot ofthe reasons we were doing business was a
lot of federal regulations mandated the process. It wasn't Ken Lewis implementing stupid procedures,

(02:03:39):
but if it was Ken Lewis implementingsuper procedures, it allowed them the
opportunity to revise that process to whatactually needed to be done. So,
but we gave that exercise a Wewent through that scenario just to really give
it a chance, like do weactually have to I don't know. Well,
let's let's play it out and wededicated about an hour and a half.
The whole thing was any of thework being done. If we could

(02:04:00):
have changed it, that would havebeen a huge I mean I think I
think there was a lot one Ifwe could have changed it, morale would
have been huge because it was botheringeverybody. But then also eliminated that conversation
because it wasn't just because the bossSAIDs up right. So that applies to
life too. What are you doing? Does this really need to happen this
way? Or what can we doto make this better? Again back to
the event, response, outcome,or we looking at what can you actually

(02:04:21):
have influence over to change the outcomeif you didn't like it, to improve
it? And I think we shouldalways be challenging ourselves to improve, whether
again that's within your business, yourpersonal professional life, or whatever habits you
have. How can you steadily developyourself to be a better person for the
next day and then challenge those thatyou influence two think can do the same.
That's awesome. Thank you so muchfor sharing all of that. Thank

(02:04:43):
you so much for coming on todayin order for people to book you to
learn about your coaching programs. Where'sthe best place for people to find you,
and of course it'll all be inthe show notes. The best place
would be on website Ken hel Lewisdot com and that's l wis and that's
a good starting ground just to kindof see. And it's obviously with any

(02:05:05):
website, they're always developing. ButI'm more most active on LinkedIn as well,
so my profiles on that thing.But those will the best two resources
to reach out and have a discussion. Yeah, and all the handles are
at ken Lewis number two at theend of them. And of course big
shout out to Veterati, which isthe organization that you help out, So
thank you so much for for that, and then thank you so much for

(02:05:27):
your service. We really do appreciateit, and thanks for coming on today.
Oh thank you Michael for this opportunity, for everything you do for your
audience and the guests, and youreally made this feel like a coffee table
chat right or real personable, Sothank you for that environment. I really
appreciate it, and for the greatquestions too. It was really fun.
Cool man same here, appreciate it. Thank you for listening to the Michael
Esposito Show. For show notes,video clips and more episodes go to Michael

(02:05:50):
Esposito Inc. Dot com backslash podcast. Thank you again to our sponsor den
ten Insurance Services helping businesses get theright insurance for all their insurance needs.
Visit dent dot io to get aquote that's d E n ten dot io
and remember, when you buy aninsurance policy from Denten, you're giving back

(02:06:14):
on a global scale. This episodewas produced by Uncle Mike at the iHeart
Studios in Poughkeepsie. Special thanks toLara Rodrian for the opportunity and my team
at Michaelsposito Ink
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