In today’s episode, Allan welcomes Marty Strong back to the show. Marty is a retired Navy SEAL officer and combat veteran. He is a consultant, speaker, the author of nine novels, and a practicing CEO. Allan and Marty discuss why it’s important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve with your business. As an entrepreneur, you can achieve your goals by breaking them down into small, manageable steps and incorporating time-efficient changes into your daily routine. In addition, discipline helps to build resilience and perseverance, allowing you to stay committed to your goals even when faced with setbacks.
Allan has started and grown several multimillion dollar businesses. His mission is to help you do the same. Welcome to the Business Growth Pod, building the future one entrepreneur at a time.
Everyone, Welcome to the Business Growth Pod. I’m your host Allan Draper. Today, I would like to welcome Marty Strong back to the show. He was actually with us for episode 103. So I invite you to make sure to check that out. That’s the importance of psychological resilience and entrepreneurship, make sure to check that out. Episode 103. Marty is a retired Navy SEAL combat veteran and, and CEO. He’s a consultant motivational speaker, and the author of nine novels and two business leadership books. One Be Nimble, How The Creative Navy SEAL Mindset Wins on the Battlefield and in Business, which was released in January 2022. And his second Be Visionary Strategic Leadership in the Age of Optimization, which was just released. A few months ago, in January of this year, Marty has spent a lifetime meeting challenges head on succeeding in three different professions, anticipating crises, and leading through chaos. Welcome back to the show. Marty. So glad to have you.
Thanks for having me back Allan.
How do you have all this time to write? I mean, is writing just your full time gig? Or are you doing other things I can’t imagine?
No, it’s one of about five things I’m doing right now I’m a do consulting, mostly on the strategic side, among companies trying to figure out where something went wrong or where that where something might go right going forward. And I am on a board of best robotics, which is a nonprofit, which does competitions for kids has for 30 years all across the United States. And that spun off into a for profit entity that hasn’t stood up yet. But it went live legally about two months ago called Best Mind Lab, which is kind of taking what we learned from the kids in the robotics championships about innovation and creativity. And the fact they didn’t know anything about any rules yet, they’re still executing and performing incredibly well. So that’s, that’s going to be a different, a different business. I’ve got my day job as CEO. So I’ve got about 800 employees scattered across three operating companies, and I’m in the management holding group. And then I usually right 530 to about 630 in the morning. Geez.
I’m trying to finish a book that I’ve been working on for a couple of years. Now I have a draft. But you know, I don’t think I appreciated how difficult it is just in terms of just sitting down and doing it. What was it? How are you able to juggle all these things, but, you know, pay, like micro attention to things such as writing a book when you need to.
So I decided to, with some insight, I read The Four Hour Workweek about 2017. And there’s a part in there where you kind of inventory your time, your day, your seven days, and you look at all the wasted time. So I did that night about two and a half hours a day and wasted time across the seven day period. That’s a lot of time when you add it up. The thing is, I have a day job so I couldn’t use the you know, say the nine to five period for anything other than my day job. So I had to figure out am I gonna do everything I want to do on the weekends, I’m going to do it early the morning, I might do it like component night. And writing isn’t something I can do after staring at computers or sitting in meetings or talking with legal and HR, all that so it kind of came down to I could do it on the weekends and early in the morning. Like carved out the time first. And then just like brushing your teeth, you know, I had to create a discipline that I get up at five, have my coffee ready by about 515 Feed my two animals by 530 sitting in front of the laptop at 530 and then I start to write it sounds over simplified. It wasn’t easy the first book which was one of the first novels, but the discipline part in the habit then eventually becomes a mindset and if you like what you’re doing, you like what you’re writing For me, it was cathartic. It was almost like some kind of a meditative state of a luxury for one because nobody’s beating me with requests for decisions. But it was just the world I was creating, especially in the novels. And it was my role to create. So I got into the rhythm. I had three businesses, three novels done before contemplating the first business book. So I’d already had that mindset net habit in place before I did be nimble. That was different. It’s more like a term paper that, you know, the whole world’s gonna see. So I’m not sure what your books about isn’t a novel or nonfiction.
It’s nonfiction. It’s yeah, yeah, it’s about failure, and how we basically need to change our perspective on what failure is and what it means in our life.
So I’m actually meeting tomorrow morning, breakfast with an attorney who wants to write a book, I helped another guy, two and a half years ago, through his fear of starting it, and as published in January of this year, elevate your leadership doing real? Well, another guy was out in San Francisco, same thing, his books coming out in June. And a lot of it is just you have to kind of stop arguing with yourself about whether anybody is going to care about what you have to say. It doesn’t mean you have to become an arrogant, you know, idiot, but so what if just take a trip into a library, or just take a trip into a Barnes and Noble, and just stand in the middle of it and turn slowly around 360 degrees? And if you’re an idiot, you’re in good company. Because everybody’s putting their words on paper, everybody’s spouting things on social media, why not add your voice? Right. And so I finally relaxed about that.
I think that’s funny that you mentioned that, because that’s what I don’t know if it’s common to all authors. But certainly, it’s like, that’s a, you know, one of my, one of my thought, you know, is, you know, why is anyone gonna care about what I have to say,
I could read you the quote on my phone from last week and the guy, I’m meeting tomorrow. And he’d asked me about some advice on writing. And I gave him a couple of books that might get them started. And then once you have kind of the gist of it, let’s get together and reach out to us when we connected. I got to the point, I just didn’t think anybody would care about what I had to say. I mean, it’s right here in the text. So yeah, that is common. It’s common, if you’re kind of a humble person, whether you’re a leader or not. And that humility gives you insight and helps with your judgment. That’s a good thing, right? It’s a positive thing. But you can be humbled to the point where you just don’t feel that you have any value in certain realms, and one of them is standing up on a mountaintop and giving a speech for 200 or 300 pages about what you think about something that just feels so self indulgent. And one, you know, one way and the other way is who’s going to listen to it. Right? Like this kind of a thing. During these podcasts. I did a paid speaking gig in the Atlanta Hilton. About two months ago, there was something 100 people there. People were running up to me saying they’d read my books and listen to my podcast interviews, I had no idea. Because what I’m doing interviews, like you’re doing right now, I’m in my house, I’m just sitting here. Yeah. And I told somebody, it’s like you’re a comedian, you write all these jokes. Let’s say the speech is 60 minutes. So you read a 60 minute block of jokes, then what I want you to do is I want you to go into a closet, and talk into a microphone in the dark and go through all your jokes. Yeah. And somewhere in another place. There’ll be a crowd, listen to your jokes, and you have no feedback, you’ll have no idea if they’re landing. Or if they’re just staring at the speaker’s going, this guy’s an idiot. That’s what it feels like sometimes to write. And, but yeah, you got to kind of trust it, you just got to put it out there. And doesn’t have to be your first book, you can always improve and improve and improve.
Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think it’s interesting that, you know, hearing your story about how you had this goal, and then you changed your lifestyle to accommodate it.
Yeah, and I was probably 51 Do things creatively and changing what you do isn’t about age, it’s not about you can’t, you know, teach an old dog new tricks. Your brain is not structured that way. Your brain is basically very malleable. And it’s it’s got creativity baked into it built into it already. It’s kind of what the third book is about, that I’m working on now. And there’s there’s two switches that brain science has has identified. One is a very task focused switch, and it goes back to our early days as humans. And the second one is what they call the forger explorers, which that’s what allowed humans to go beyond the campfire where they were comfortable, because they’re running out of food and he had to go over the next hill, which is the unknown. They had to have the ability to risk and go to a place where There wasn’t comfort and protection. And if they found something there, they would hunker down, build a fire, and stay there as long as the game held out, or they, you know, ended up eating all the nuts and berries. And then they had to do it again and again and again. So the brain is actually wired to switch back from kind of a zoom in zoom out mode. And it’s not an age thing. Nothing appears unless you have brain damage, or you have a brain disease. So you can be 75 years old. And if you’re taught how to kind of reinvigorate that, the explorers, which as you know, most of us, most of the schooling and training that we all go through life, focuses on amplifying and doubling down on that task focus switch. So this one atrophies to the point, we don’t even think we have one.
I think, you know, that reminds me of the, you know, concept of the fixed versus the variable mindset. Because I think it’s human beings, a lot of us. I know I do, I’ll have things where I’ll say, I’m not a creative person, or I don’t have a good memory, or, you know, I make these definitive statements. When it’s like, no, that’s, that’s not the case. It’s not like, you know, it’s not like certain things that, you know, for example, you know, things that are that are true about who I am, like I’m physically in Idaho right now. Like, it’s, those are decisions that we’re making. And, you know, it’s a little bit of this imposter syndrome, or whatever our, our self doubt is, and it’s, you know, I think that’s great that you kind of had this perspective that, hey, I’m 51, and I’m going to change my lifestyle to accommodate my goals. I mean, waking up early is, it’s hard for a lot of people. And it solves a lot of problems. Because for somebody that’s busy, like you busy like me, lots of distractions, lots of people asking for time. And so I think that’s, you know, it’s very admirable that your goal meant enough to you, that you change your habits. Because I think a lot of times people are trying to cram their goals into pre existing habits, even when there’s a conflict there. Did you feel that a lot of that of your ability to do that was kind of you really honed in on a specific goal, or, you know, get your why was big enough for achieving that goal? Or what was it? What, what allowed you to do something that’s difficult?
Well, I definitely had a lot of confidence, having spent 20 years in the SEAL teams, if anything, what that does is it’s kind of cliche, but I’ll just use this anyway. So let’s say the job is to always do Mission Impossible. So you’re always getting thrown into situations where you don’t have enough of fill in the blank. And but figure it out and execute make it happen. So very creative, dynamic. Lots and lots of very intelligent people trying to figure out, you know, how are we going to build a mousetrap this time in this situation, the geography is different, the temperatures, different, the weather is different, the adversary is different, the timelines are different, everything’s different. So you start to get into a mode where you’re very comfortable and confident in things that aren’t set piece, you know, formulas, where most people, they find very great comfort and having that they want stability, they want to be locked into a comfort zone. So I’m okay being out of my comfort zone, and I’m okay, sitting down and saying, I don’t know if I can do this thing, but I’m going to commit to it. And I’ve done enough things in my life that are difficult, okay, all you got to do is just put one foot in front of the other. And the hardest thing for me is going to be coming up with a story not executing the discipline of getting up in the morning and sitting down. Well, then eventually I can’t the story was the story arc would come easy. All right. Now the most difficult thing is I don’t know how to develop characters completely in a way that resonates with the reader. Okay, then I figured that out. All right. Well, now I don’t know how to do so every step of the way I was achieving a piece of it. And I still had a lot more of it to learn. But you know, that steady kind of drip drip approach is something with working out people that don’t work out. Same timeframe, too, right? People that can do it between four and six in the morning before their cell phone blows up, can make a discipline out of it. And they can achieve great results in transforming their bodies or their health, whatever. But you have to have those little victories as you’re going along. And you have to have faith that there are going to be little victories otherwise you’ll quit on the third day. So that’s kind of where I where I pull my inspiration. I don’t think I’m going to fail. And I don’t let myself think about failing so much. I let myself fail, go fail, learn fail, learn, fail, learn.
You know, what’s the interesting, especially with this, you know, working out analogy is, and I’ve been working out five to six times a day for about a decade. And it’s to the point. So early on, when I first started, had set my shoes out, had to, you know, timer go off all these triggers, right, everything had to be aligned, no distractions, because if I got a distraction, really easy for me to justify it. And then I got to the point where it’s like, okay, this is the time that I go to the gym, I know, I have an internal clock, I feel it like getting stressed, okay, oh, that’s why it’s time for me to go, you know, put my music gone and go to the gym or whatever. And now I’m to the point where it’s become such a habit that, you know, it’s in the afternoon, after we’re done recording this, I’m gonna go to the gym when I usually go at nine o’clock, because it becomes something that that I need. And, which is it’s a really cool concept when it comes to discipline that in the heart is in the beginning is really hard. You set up this, you know, this program, my guess is for you at this stage, because you’ve been doing it for so long. You’re a writer, it’s part of who you are, you need to do that. Right. And, and so for me to start, it’s going to require so much more effort than for you to just keep continuing doing what you’re already doing. And that’s one of the benefits of habits slash discipline is when you get to the point where you you need to do things. It’s nice when they’re, they’re good for you. You know?
Yeah. So discipline, first, develops a habit, habit, over time evolves into a mindset. And when it’s a mindset, it’s a part of your natural harmony. So I have the same feeling I work out five, six days a week. And if I don’t work out for two or three days, and I know you’ve experienced this, you feel like there’s something wrong in the universe. It’s sad, it’s it’s weird thing in the back of your neck. And you know, you’re just not right. It’s the same thing with the right. And once I got to the writing mindset, if I if there’s a delay, even if it’s a natural delay, like I have five kids, so going to a wedding and not being not having the consistency, you know, being able to write every single day the way I want to, I started get irritable. Because it’s like I’m missing the workout, you know, in my, in my mind knows that. That’s part of my mindset. And that’s part of my balance. So yeah, it works a bit. There’s all kinds of different things you could do in life, be an artist, other pads and other goals, that once you get to that mindset, point of view, it’s the same kind of triggering thing if you’re missing it.
Gotcha. In our last few minutes, as we’re wrapping up here, Marty, let’s talk about the book that I mentioned that was released in January of this year be visionary strategic leadership, in the age of optimization, what is it about technology about all the great systems that we have available to us and all the great technology that we have available to us? That makes leadership? I don’t know if it’s more difficult? Or if it’s just different? What is it that your book kind of addresses in order to help leaders with this?
I’ll say upfront that you need both you need vision and strategy. But you also need optimization and execution. What the books basically trying to say is we’ve gone way over balanced on the optimization side, for sure. And that’s been enabled by technology. And it’s also been enabled by the system that produces the people that we have in organizations. So when you go to go to high school, and you go to college, what are they teaching you? They’re not teaching you the future? It’s a history lesson in every single discipline, it’s a history lesson. You can’t raise your hand and say, Well, what if I could make pigs fly and get an A, you know, no, you can. So you know, you’re not going to get a name for the flying car, you no paper that you write. Their job is to teach you what has come before you show you how it’s been done. And your job as a student is regurgitate what you’ve memorized about the way things have been. So you jump into the workplace. And you’re told exactly where to sit, what are the rules are the traditions of the company, the culture of the company, and all that, okay, here’s the formulas, here’s the processes, we use a bla bla bla, and in the case of optimization, if you’re in management, or even a leader, but I kind of make a distinction between the two is, you know, you’re in management and what are you doing? You’ve got KPIs, and you’ve got all kinds of feedback loops and dashboards and what are they telling you? It’s all rearview mirror insight. It’s like you were, you had blinders on. You’re running down a railroad track, and, and you didn’t know you’re about to be hit by a train. Because you don’t see the future. You don’t look ahead of you. You’re not watching your competitors. You’re not watching your own industry. You’re not watching your market. You’re not listening to your customers about what they decide to switch to. And this is This has become cliche, if you dig a little bit into the downfall of so many companies over the last 100 years, you know, there’s a lot of famous ones like the Kodak story of where they just ignored the market signals because they weren’t looking that way. And, you know, trying to take everything that you, you know, maximize optimization on that you micro measured, micro analyze and taking that say, Okay, what’s 2024 gonna look like? Just like 2023 plus 5%, flop it forward. And you’d be amazed that that’s like the default way to create the plan for next year, or even for the next two years, where strategy is supposed to be really thinking out of the box, looking at the horizon 360 degree perspective and situational awareness, talking to all kinds of people. But the people at the lowest level your organization, to the people that you have at the top that maybe are paid to give you insight, but also to get outside of that kind of echo chamber. Look at the competitors, look at other markets, look at the general economic environment and look at, you know, are there any threats on the horizon that you need to deal with and maybe dodge by pivoting away? Or are there any opportunities on the horizon that you need to pivot towards? That’s the point of that blog. revisionary is basically making the distinction between the two rebalancing and justifying that they should be balanced, you charge forward, you seize the future, you put the optimization and all that other management technology in place, and then you start paying attention to whether or not the future is going to change again.
It’s interesting that, you know, I was thinking about COVID, and how that change business. And there were obvious benefits to, you know, some disruption, despite all the bad that that came with it. And I think one of the benefits is that Marty is, hey, we can’t just add 5% to top line and, you know, push everything for the next year. It’s really, and no one I don’t think anyone could have predicted COVID. But you can create what if scenarios as leaders, and you can. And I think there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of fun, there’s a lot of creativity to doing things like that thinking outside of the box, like, Hey, how are we going to do things differently? What, you know, what, some of the greatest technology companies, other companies, they’re always thinking, like, you know, hey, somebody’s going to disrupt our industry, it might as well be us and how are we going to do it? So I think that’s that’s an excellent point. It the read sounds very interesting. Where can people find out more about you, Marty, and where can they find your book be visionary.
So if you go to my website, www.martystrongbenimble.com all my books, including The novels are all there and my articles, also on amazon.com.
Pretty easy guy to find. Yeah. All right. Well, appreciate your time today. Thanks so much for joining us, and I’m sure we’ll have you again in future.
All right, man. Take care. All right.