DAVID: [00:00:00] Growing up as a kid in Delaware, Ohio, I’m also a Midwesterner. Some of my family’s from Kansas City. But growing up in Delaware, Ohio, I loved reading military history and loved reading about World War Two, and probably read every single book in the Delaware County Public Library on World War Two. And of course, all the generals had attended West Point. Didn’t really have a military background in the family, but when it came time to apply to colleges, I applied to West Point. I got in and decided to go.
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JESSE: [00:01:17] Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I’m your host, Jesse Funk. My guest today is going to take me outside of my comfort zone for sure. He is a retired US Army Colonel after spending 24 years in service. He’s the author of the upcoming book, Grow Your Grit. He graduated from West Point and also has two Master’s degrees. Among his decorations, he was part of a battalion that earned the Valorous Unit Award which we can ask him about if you don’t know what that is. He’s personally earned four Bronze Stars in his Ranger tab among many other decorations. Welcome to the show, David Fivecoat.
DAVID: [00:01:50] Thanks, Jesse for having me. Super excited to be on your podcast today and talk about being a smart athlete.
JESSE: [00:01:57] Absolutely. Thanks for coming on the thing. Now, I asked people about their names all the time, and most of the time, I’m just asking about pronunciations. But between the two of us, it seems like we have phonetic names. Like my last name is Funk and I’m now back into composing music. So, it’s a musical name. When I saw your name and your career, for whatever reason, it seems like your last name is like a military name. Is my thinking in the right place there? Is it just coincidental that it sounds that way? Or is it just the framing of — that you spent time in the military that I think that? Have you heard that before? Am I coming up with an original thought?
DAVID: [00:02:40] So, it is an interesting last name there. There’s less than 200 of us across the United States. It was originally German. It was Finfrock or Fünfrock, and then literally translated to Fivecoat around 1800 around Philadelphia, two brothers translated it, one didn’t. So, you also find some Finfrocks out there as well. My part of the family ended up in Ohio. And there’s a cluster in — and another cluster in Florida, that I know of that is sort of outside my immediate family.
JESSE: [00:03:19] Okay. I was like I don’t know a whole lot about the history of my last name either. Aside from it is also of German descent, in which many, many people in the Midwest are of German descent, because that’s where many German people settled when they came to this country, in farming country and all that kind of stuff.
So, it was just a curiosity. I was looking through things and I was like, is it a coincidence? I don’t know. I’ll ask and figure out what’s going on. So, the one thing that sticks out to me, for you in particular, and I have friends who have served or currently serving in various branches of the US military. But the majority of them seem like they’re in for a relatively short time and then are out. Whereas you spent 24 years in the Army. How did you become a lifer? Where does that decision come from?
DAVID: [00:04:20] Yeah. No, that’s a great question. So, growing up as a kid in Delaware, Ohio, I’m also a Midwesterner. Some of my family’s from Kansas City. But growing up in Delaware, Ohio, I loved reading military history and loved reading about World War Two, and probably read every single book in the Delaware County Public Library on World War Two.
And of course, all the generals had attended West Point. Didn’t really have a military background in the family, but when it came time to apply to colleges, I applied to West Point. I got in and decided to go. And the West Point experience is a little different than your normal college experience. But I had some grit, I stuck it out [inaudible] an infantry officer. And my mantra throughout my army career was I was going to stay until it stopped being fun.
And I got to the five-year point, which is your initial obligation that you owe from attending West West Point. And I was still having fun. I was like, “Oh, I really can go be a company commander.” And then I went in as a company commander in 82nd Airborne Division, really enjoyed that time. 9/11 happened. And I was like, “Oh, I need to stick around and keep doing this.” And it just kept rolling, and rolling, and rolling until all of a sudden, you turn around and you’re like, “Wow, I did this for 24 years and it was a lot of fun. But now it’s time to try something different.”
And so at that point in time, at age 46, I made the transition from the army and transitioned to the corporate world and started doing leadership training with a company. And then back in March of last year, I decided that I wasn’t being gritty enough and I needed to stand up my own company [inaudible] cusp of the pandemic.
And so I stood up my own leadership training and consulting company, The Fivecoat Consulting Group last March. And it’s been an extremely interesting experience standing up a company, growing it, trying to figure out blogging and how to build your own website, and do all those different things that are part of being a small business owner.
And so each of these endeavors from West Point to the military, to now trying to run my own company have really been a challenge that I’ve enjoyed and had fun at and I’m at the same point in this job of, hey, I’m going to keep doing it until it stops being fun. And then I need to go find something else to do.
JESSE: [00:06:51] It’s if she say that. I was just on another podcast myself, The Athlete Mindset Academy, and I’m — this episode will probably come out before my episode of that show comes out. But one of the things we talked about, and they’d asked me about is basically like, why are you doing what you’re doing now? Because like, I’m past the point, I’m trying to chase a professional license and in like, very likely, last few years of being able to be lifetime fastest times if that’s even possible.
So why are you doing what you’re doing? Well, ’cause I find joy in it. And like that’s something I try to advise to so many people, especially people that are around me and say, “Oh, I don’t like running. I wish I liked running.” It’s like, if you don’t like running like, you don’t need to feel bad about it. Just find something that you do like doing and do that.
Now, we both know, and you, obviously, you’ve written a book about it. It’s like you need some ability to endure uncomfortable or distasteful situations sometimes. But if you’re never having fun doing it you’re just not going to last at whatever it is. So, it’s interesting that that was one of your main motivations for staying in.
DAVID: [00:08:09] Yeah. No, the getting yourself out of your comfort zone. And pushing yourself a little bit is one of those things that has meant a lot to me. You know, I know, it means a lot to you [inaudible] that kind of willingness to do that, and I agree with you on physical fitness. I really enjoy — I used to really enjoy running. I got some ankle issues that don’t make it nearly as enjoyable these days. But I still get out there and do it a couple times a week.
But I really enjoy bike riding. And for whatever reason at, I’m now about to turn 50, I can still keep up with the fast group here in town. And I can [inaudible] and snag a Strava segment or whatever. But it involves some suffering to get there, right?
You’ve got to put the work in, you’ve got to do your hill reps or your sprints or whatever. So you’ve got that speed. so you can do that. But I enjoy it. I don’t know why but riding the bike is a lot more enjoyable. Getting in the pool, not as fun. I got in the pool for the first time this week in over a year and it took a lot of mental effort to convince myself to actually [inaudible] down to the pool, get in the pool and swim for not that long.
But, and then you get back in the pool and you realize your balance point is all bad. You’re swimming super slow compared to what you remember that you did. And you’re like, “Man, this is not nearly as fun as getting on the bike. I should be out on the bike right now.”
JESSE: [00:09:54] Yeah. Which reminds me exactly and you mentioned before we got going this 10-minute tip, which reminded me, you’re talking about the pool. I’m thinking about this — I think it’s from Chris McCormack, who’s a former pro, former top Ironman triathlete. And he, I think it’s Chris McCormick, talking about if he had a day where he just didn’t feel like doing whatever, say you didn’t want to get in the pool. And you’re just like, I just do not feel it.
He’d make a deal with himself. He’d say, well, I’ll get in, I’ll do one lap. And if I do one lap, I don’t feel like doing it, then I’ll stop. And if I do one lap and I feel okay, I’ll do another lap. And then you kind of get in and get you in, and it gets past that hump of like, ugh, I don’t want to do it. And it was like the exact same advice that you give to people, like when you’re coaching executives about just go for 10 minutes a day to be active in some capacity.
DAVID: [00:10:57] Yeah, yeah. Just to make sure that your listeners know what you and I were talking about. I do some executive coaching and one of the aspects of the executive coaching that I always add is a physical fitness aspect. And so I talked to them about their leadership and how they can improve that. And we deal with things that they’re wrestling with in the company. But always try to wrap the hour-long session up with at least accountability on a how’s your physical fitness going? And remind them whatever they’re trying to work on, whether it’s nutrition or fitness, hey this mental trick of committing to doing to 10 minutes a day.
And some of the executives out there are so busy. They’re running fortune 500 companies, they’re on the road, four or five days out of the week, they’re eating poorly. But this idea that if they commit themselves to do in 10 minutes of exercise, and be okay with, hey, if that’s all I get today, that’s all I get. And that’s all right. And you’re better off than having sat on the couch all day.
And so, this 10 minute trick of, hey, I’ll go do it. And it’s exactly what, like Chris McCormick’s talking about in the pool. Hey, I’ll go to the pool and I’ll swim for 10 minutes. And if that’s all I do that’s okay. It reduces the time commitment, which tends to be the obstacle that most of us have with physical fitness. Because we remember those four-hour bike rides, that were just awesome for our fitness level and we crushed this and all that. And days when we’re working, you don’t have that time.
And so a 10-minute quick session of sprints, or running some stairs, or doing some push-ups and sit-ups is enough, it gets you active, gets the blood moving, burns a few calories, and enables you to say, hey, I did something today. It was better than nothing and I’ll get back after it tomorrow.
JESSE: [00:12:57] This is another trick that one of my college coaches uses for himself. And post-college, thinking about transitions, I talked about athletic transitions, we can get to military transitions here in a minute. But one of the things he did, he was a hurdler in college. That’s not really a thing that you continue doing post-college unless you’re doing it professionally or trying to go to the Olympics or things like that. And he was not at that capacity. And so one of the things he did, it’s kind of like what you do with little kids.
And I don’t know if he literally did this, but this is the way he described it to me is if he worked out that day, in some capacity, you get a gold star on the calendar for that day. And it was like, how many days in a row could he get without missing. And maybe he just marked it, in my head, it’s a gold star. So, maybe I made that part up.
But it was definitely like he marked the calendar in some fashion, and it was a motivation to him to not have any misses. And it’s just like, trying to keep that momentum going. And to me, it’s so easy to beat ourselves up about, gosh, I didn’t get in that three-hour ride or five-hour ride or I didn’t go out for an hour run. It’s like okay, but there is that momentum, right? Where if you miss a day, then it’s like it’s easier to miss another day. So, even if you can just say, hey, I walked away from, in my case, the office chair here in my office. I stretched for 10 minutes, did some calf raises or something, good.
I can check off another day. I’ll get back on it tomorrow. That consistency, I think breeds consistency. So, it’s — I think it comes up in many people’s lives that if you follow that kind of idea, you’ll come to a better place than if you just say I’ll get to Tomorrow, even if you are trying to be honest with yourself, and not like truthfully procrastinating.
DAVID: [00:15:57] Yeah. One of the aspects of grit that I talked about is perseverance. And you’re talking about one of the subcategories of it, which is the streak and the power of the streak. You know, there’s a [inaudible] tracks, the longest streaks — running streaks. And I can’t remember, it’s a British guy that has the record right now.
JESSE: It’s long.
DAVID: My mom, yeah, my mom ran for 18 years straight. And she was a 5K and 10K runner, did one marathon. But she got into this streak and kept after it every day. I tried to do some — same thing with — I don’t get a gold star but maybe I should add a gold star to it. But trying to do something every day. My biggest thing now, as I’m almost 50, is making sure that I forced myself to take that rest day, whatever that rest day is. And it can be an intelligent rest day.
Frankly, a day in the pool is, is pretty much a rest day if you’re not doing 3,000 yards with 100-yard repeats on the 130, or something like that. But that can be your rest day is a light day in the pool can really be that day that you take off and enable your body to rest and recover.
That, to me, is one of the struggles that I have as an athlete, including making sure I get enough sleep. Because I would burn the candle at both ends, both in the army and now as an entrepreneur. You want to get all this stuff done, you’ve got a high capacity for work. And forcing yourself to get seven hours of sleep a night, at least for me, is a little bit of a challenge. And I don’t very rarely, Garmin — I’ve got a Garmin watch. I don’t know, whatever one you use, but Garmin only gives you — [crosstalk]
JESSE: [00:17:12] I don’t.
DAVID: [00:17:14] Garmin only gives you a checkmark if you get eight hours of sleep a night. So, on the reward system. I try to get that once a week, and I tried to get over seven hours of sleep. But man, in the army, I was living on six hours asleep and lots of coffee. Because you had to get up and be in for PT at 05:30 in the morning. You know, you work a full day, you’re home at seven. You’ve got to do the chores around the house. And then all of a sudden, it’s 10 o’clock and you’re going to bed and you’re right back up at 04:45 the next morning.
JESSE: [00:17:50] I often think about — so you are well versed in this culture, this idea of like work hard, hustle, have grit, have determination, push forward. And I think that message is useful. But sometimes I wonder is there a balance to be had? Am I simply just soft? And I think about people like — so back on episode 56, I interviewed kind of an entrepreneurial mentor of mine, not a personal mentor. But he puts out content, Ezra Firestone. And he runs like low to mid-eight-figure e-commerce business.
And I asked him — he works six hours a day, doesn’t even work full eight hours. And he makes sure he delegates to people to get things done knowing that like he could put in eight hours, 10 hours, 12 hours a day. But he’s going to be trashed at some point, and then not going to be productive. And he’s just churning his wheels trying to get things done but he’s basically wasting his time.
So, I always have trouble trying to figure out where the line is between getting enough done and getting too little done. Like, I’ve tried to impose shorter workdays on myself to say, okay, I’ve got to really just focus for four hours, crank everything out, delegate everything else. But then I still find myself coming back and answering emails in the evening or just — So, I struggle with that myself. And because I mean you’ve got the book, Grow Your Grit coming out and you talk to executives and coach executives, is there a balance to be had? How do you — if there is — how do you find it?
DAVID: [00:19:53] Yeah, if you figure that one out, I think we’ve got another book in the making there. It’s the work harder versus work smarter. And I don’t know, if you’ve read Tim Ferriss wrote the book, The Four Hour Workweek.
JESSE: [00:20:09] Oh, yeah. I’ve got it somewhere.
DAVID: [00:20:12] Yeah, I’ve got it on my shelf too and The 4-Hour Body, and in his point is very good, which is, hey, you need to work smarter, you need to delegate, you need to — But I think there’s a contrast. And I think when you’re a solopreneur that is trying to get a business off the ground, there’s a bit of, Hey, I got to work harder rather than smarter.
But I think as the business evolves, like your friend, Ezra you continue to work, you can change that balance and that mix so you’re working smarter. We’ve been tied to the eight to five work style. And all of a sudden, COVID throws a wrench in the mix, right. And all of a sudden, we’re working from home. And for me, at least I’m super effective in the morning. I tend to like a 15-minute nap after lunch. And it’s one of my blog posts, so you can go back and look at it. So, I say that that’s pretty good.
And then sometimes I mix in the workout in the afternoon, because I don’t really get back into high productivity until after dinner. And so I’ll catch up on emails after dinner. And I’m okay with that because I know that I took the break during the day to go get groceries or go do the workout or whatever. I am cognizant of other people’s times, and folks that don’t work that way. And so I think one of the best inventions is the delay send on email. Because I can check it off, I’m big on lists. And I have my list of things to do today and I love checking things off.
But it enables me to check it off that I sent the email to Matt about future program and I know it goes out at 08:00 AM tomorrow morning. So, it isn’t interrupting, Matt’s night. But I get it done and it’s on my schedule, and I’m able to work around what works for me. We all have to figure that out. You know, we’re all balancing work-life, family, and all of the other things. And so there is a sweet spot there, I think, where folks can figure out, hey, how can I work smarter at this so I’m not just putting in endless hours that may not be that productive. And so figure out the hacks or whatever you want to call them to do that.
JESSE: [00:22:49] I just think, for me, it’s like figuring out and being honest in the moment, am I being productive, or am I just acting like I’m productive. You know, checking email, checking sales, spinning around like looking at things, looking at my to-do list. I’m not actually getting anything done. I’m just trying to feel like I’m getting something done. And if I find myself doing that for too long, I have to say, that’s it for today. And I don’t always do that well.
Sometimes I find myself going longer feeling like I should be doing this. I should be doing this. And that’s another thing I talked about on that other podcast I was on is the danger of the word should. Like I should be doing this. Well, yeah, but you’re not. And if you don’t have the capacity to do it, then should doesn’t really matter. You’re just not ready to do it, do it at a later date. So, yeah, I struggle with that.
DAVID: [00:23:52] Have you read the book, The Power of Full Engagement?
DAVID: I’m drawing a blank on who the author is. But I really enjoyed the book. The army gave us a copy of the book, both before I took battalion command and before I took brigade command, I read it, and I’ve read it several times since. They’re convinced, the two authors are convinced that rather than working, you need to manage your energy rather than your time. And they’re convinced that you shouldn’t sit and work for more than 90 minutes. And that you should figure out ways to break up your morning or break up your day. They encourage if you like it’s just like we talked about earlier do what you like.
For me, I take the dog for a walk around the block or two. And that gets me out, clears my head, and re-energizes me. So, that when I come back and sit down, I’ve got a higher level of energy and can actually be more productive on that task rather than just sort of — We all get down the internet rabbit hole where — “Oh, I should search this” and “Oh, yes.
And then Should you read this article that this other guy did and stuff.” So, I think that book was super helpful for me to think a little bit differently about time, and how to manage energy rather than time. So, I’m getting attacked by Samantha, the rescue dog — Hey, can you go down, please? Can you go lay down? Yeah. It’s usually a sign that she needs to go out. But we pregamed. We did our walk around the block, and she got a little bit of time out in the backyard so she should be okay.
JESSE: [00:25:43] All right. [inaudible] Yeah. I don’t know that I’ve consciously thought about it so much, except recently, that there’s something interesting about if you just go take a — like get outside, just take a walk, I think, in part for me, because I run or go swim or whatever it’s part of my day, normally. But I know, it’s been a boon for me, that — I go drop off packages. Like I’m still currently, personally sending out some packages that we ship Solpri.
And I know that I have kind of people in my mastermind group and mentors, saying you shouldn’t be dropping off packages. Like you shouldn’t be doing that. But for me, the post office is a block over. Like I walk to the post office, I don’t get in the car. So, it’s like an opportunity for me to get up, get outside and walk like, kind of built into my day.
And I find that clearing my head, especially when I’m sitting down and trying to write music. And I’m like, trying to come up with a theme or a new melody of some sort. And I’m like, I don’t even know where to start, just sitting here staring at my computer with a keyboard trying to figure it out. And it’s like my brain unlocks somehow, as I get out and just walk and go drop off packages, or take the dog out for a walk, or whatever it is. There’s something to that. I don’t know if it’s a matter of getting your blood flowing by going out for a walk, or if it’s a change of scenery, or the lack of pressure not sitting at the computer anymore, but there’s definitely something there.
DAVID: [00:27:25] Yeah. And it’s the same idea that why do you get your best ideas when you’re taking a shower, right? Because you’re in the present, whether it’s walking to the post office, you also get a little bit of social interaction there where you may not get that same social engagement over Zoom, or multiple phone calls. And I think that’s a perfect example of a way to help you manage your energy, clear mind, and make that next time block so much more effective for you with doing something like that, and it works for you.
I get why your mentors are telling you not to do it, because it’s a low — it’s something that you could outsource that makes your day more efficient. But I think the same way I could hire somebody to walk the dog. But it gets me out, clears my head. And the power of actually being outside without listening to something, either music or a podcast, you get that sort of mindfulness kind of thing that everybody encourages you to do. You know, the runner’s high, or the swimmer’s high or whatever you want to call, it helps you clear your mind so you can do your best work.
JESSE: [00:28:41] Yeah. And that’s something I encourage often. So, I have a show called Runner’s High, where I talk about running things on the YouTube channel. And so if you’re listening to this, while you’re out running, I guess please continue listening. But I often suggest like, if you’re going out for a run, turn off the music. Like just be with the run.
I think there’s — One it’s difficult for some people because they need that like constant distraction, or they feel like they need that constant distraction. And my inkling or my idea of the reason is, I feel like there’s like some kind of anxiety involved not having that distracting and trying to have to be with yourself in that moment where maybe it’s uncomfortable or not having all the extra stimulation leads to this sense of restlessness or anxiety.
And much like you’re exercising physically, I think there’s a mental component to exercise there where you’re practicing being still, which I think benefits you in many other ways in many other facets besides just being more internally aware of running. But yeah, so it all kind of comes together like with that clearing your head and thinking about being still and opening up that creativity and everything with getting outside whether you’re walking or running or going to swim, which swimming is — I don’t know about you I’ve spoken to a couple pro swimmers the last few weeks — can be a meditative thing, because there’s very little stimulus. It’s just you’re staring at the bottom of the pool, flip, back to the sae bottom of the pool.
DAVID: [00:30:34] Yeah. Somebody called it painting the black line because you’re just staring at the black line at the bottom of the pool. One of the — like you, I also had a pretty bad bike accident. Hit a curb at about 15 miles an hour and went over the handlebars and broke my scapula and had to recover from that. But my assessment out of it was I was overstimulated because I had — I was listening to music on the bike. And after that accident, which is now five years in the rearview mirror, I have never ridden with music since. Which I just think helps me clears my head, gets me in tune with the bike, and listening to oh, yeah, I need to lube the chain, or how your legs are feeling or how your body position is or whatever. It just gets you in that present moment that really helps you be more effective whenever you get off the bike.
JESSE: [00:31:34] Yeah, there’s all those little things you’ll notice, if you’re paying attention, you’re talking about needing to lube the chain. It’s like, that one’s a tough one for me to notice sometimes because it’s gradual. It’s not like one day everything’s fine and then the next day, everything is now fine. If it is then you notice because it’s like things are really off. But there’s definitely a difference after you go through the process of cleaning your bike up. You’re like, oh, everything shifts easier, like it’s easier to push the gears, that things are so much smoother. So, it’s like being mindful of all that stuff.
And I talked about rate of perceived exertion a lot on the running show where that’s super important. When you’re out for a ride well, yeah, you can use your psychic computer and say I need to be at this many watts, and that has its place too. But if you aren’t in a place physically to produce those watts, well, then it’s not necessarily helpful either. So, if you have an internal judge, then I think you’re in a better place than if you only are relying on like you said, whatever your Garmin’s telling you or whatever the computer’s telling you. So, I do want to ask you about the book that’s coming out here in a few months. It’ll still be a few months by the time this comes out so nobody can buy it quite yet, I don’t think, unless you’re pre-ordered. So, maybe you can tell us about that. But why write the book and what is it about?
DAVID: [00:33:05] Yeah. So, back like last year, I had a friend asked me to look at some grit stuff. And I had read Angela Duckworth’s book and really found that to be a great book. I read this other guy’s stuff and I came away from both of them saying they do a great job of telling you what grit is, how to measure it, who has it, who doesn’t. But they don’t do really that good a job of telling you how to develop it in yourself. And so I thought back to my various experiences from West Point to Ranger School to combat to standing up a small business. I’m like, hey, I got — maybe I have something to offer somebody here that will resonate with them about how to grow their own grit.
And so the book has two parts. It has a first part which is about how to grow your personal grit, which I define as the will to persevere to achieve long-term goals. There are six components of it. The first part I think you need to figure out what your purpose is. Because then if you can tie your goal to your purpose, it becomes that much more powerful and you can really leverage your own grit. You develop your goal, whatever your long-term goal is; perseverance, resilience, courage, and then drive.
Once you get that to get there, those six components can form grit and enable you to really work towards and achieve a long-term goal. Whether it’s going back to college and finishing your degree or training for an Ironman. Whatever it is, those things give you an edge to be able to actually develop your grit and then actually achieve your long-term goal.
The second half of the book is how to grow an organization’s grit which is the group’s will to persevere to achieve long-term goals. It’s a little bit different than just assembling a group of gritty people all in the room. As you know some teams have some — you sometimes do that and it actually is worse off. And so I think it actually requires a couple of different things.
Once again, you’ve got to start [inaudible] that resonates with the group, you got to have a goal and a plan to get there. I think a scoreboard is super helpful in this when you’re trying to have a gritty organization. And then you need a culture and then a strong team, which is built through shared hardship and experience.
Leadership pulls all five of those elements together into the organizational grit, but it’s why you see some — some organizations are more gritty than others. You know, you look at different — I follow pro bicycling. You see why the different teams are better. For the longest time [inaudible 00:35:46] were sort of the team. And in last year out of nowhere Jumbo-Visma is a little bit stronger. They’re grittier.
They figured out a little bit of an edge on the competition, which I think part of it is due to their grit, and they’re able to come away as the Tour de France champions. Or no, I’m sorry, they got beat on the last day by Pogačar on the climb.
But anyway, those two things are powerful. I used the military experience that I’ve had. I’ve also included some corporate stuff that I’ve [inaudible] in executive coaching. It’ll be out on the 12th of July. It’s available for pre-sale on Amazon right now only in Kindle form. Once I’m in the process of editing it with the editor, I’ve got another week with it, it goes back to her. And then once the inside is formatted, it’ll be available for presale in both softcover and hardcover on Amazon. I’m one of the only David Fivecoat on Amazon author’s page, so it’s pretty easy to find, although we’re way down in the numbers on book sales right now. So, you got to go at least go down to the second page to find it.
JESSE: [00:37:06] Well, I would think if there’s only a couple hundred Fivecoats in the US, it’s probably likely that there’s not another Fivecoat selling a similar book on Amazon, so you should probably be in the right place. So, one of the things I wanted to ask about grit because I’ve thought a lot about determination and perseverance, and motivation throughout my life. And it seems like, generally, I come by it in spades pretty naturally. And I always wonder why aren’t other people as motivated as I am?
Like, why does it seem like — not to say I’m special, but just I’m different? Because it seems to serve me well. Like I get things done. And I just wonder, why aren’t they? So, I’ve always battled with the question of, can you grow motivation? Can you start motivation in somebody? And I think grit goes along with that in terms of can you give that to somebody. Can you grow great in somebody? And then along those lines if you can, do we have to start all over? Is it like going to basic where we’ve got to tear you down to build you back up? Or can we just add on top of what’s already there?
DAVID: [00:38:35] Yeah. I believe that first off that grid can be grown. It’s not an innate trait that you’re born with, or you don’t have. And so I think you can develop it through a variety of techniques. And then I also think there’s a transitive property to grit, where if you develop grit in one arena, like you, for example, you’re a college athlete, you were gritty in that. And some of that has translated to your post-college life as you stood up two different businesses, built a couple different podcasts. And you’ve got that stick-to-itiveness or grit that just enables you to overcome obstacles, deal with setbacks, and keep putting one foot in front of the other in doing that. I think that is definitely there.
And so, how do you start — if you have somebody and kids are great to work with because I’ve got an 11-year-old daughter. And so working with her on how does she grow her grit? She’s loves doing ballet and so that’s her passion and so we work with that and then we — But she occasionally has setbacks with it where she’s not comfortable with what happened or where. And so talk about celebrating small little wins. That’s a great way to do it when you have some sort of big sort of goal. Hey I want to stand this business up. And so celebrate those small little wins.
Like we talked about earlier, that idea of the streak of doing something towards it. Maybe it’s your side hustle of writing music. And so you just commit that, hey, 10 minutes a day, I’m going to do something towards that side hustle. And then when you look back in two months, all of a sudden, you’ve racked up all this time and energy put into it, and you’re much farther down the road than then you would.
I think some folks, one of the inhibitors is the fear of failure. And I’ve dealt with a lot of fears, I was a paratrooper. I did 102 jumps out of planes. I do have a fear of heights though. And so that was one of those fears I had to conquer. And you’ve got to have that courage to deal with that fear and overcome it. I will say that despite all the fear that I dealt with, in the army, one of the biggest fears was the transition to standing up my own company, and not having clients come in the door for three months.
You know, that’s a real scary feeling. Like, hey am I my going to be able to keep the lights on? Am I going to be able to make this work? Is this just a dumb endeavor? You know, and you hear all those I’m just an imposter. You know, all those little voices are in your head.
And so how do you develop that courage? A couple ideas there. First off, is list all your fears out and then develop a mitigating method for each of those fears. And in my case in standing up the business, what’s the worst that could happen? You know, I spend some of my savings, it isn’t economically feasible, and I have to go get a real job, at some point in time or not do the entrepreneur thing at some point in time. I think those are super helpful ways.
You know, you see folk’s fears manifest themselves in different ways, whether it’s procrastination, or waiting for the perfect time. So, I think that’s sort of the hump that we have to get folks over when you work with — Maybe one of your partners is not as gritty as you are. And talk to them a little bit about, hey, what’s holding you back? What’s your fear? What’s the fear that you’re wrestling with? And then let’s figure out some ways that we can tackle this and be better at it.
JESSE: [00:42:30] You know, that fear of failure, I think comes up a lot. You know, there’s the fear of failure, and there’s a fear of succeeding too. But I think fear of failure is probably more common. And I think that comes up with people that procrastinate a lot. I think that’s the reason to put it off. It’s like, what if I do this? And I’m not good at it or I don’t meet expectations. It’s like, well, I mean, like you said, what was the worst thing that happens? You know, you tried it, it didn’t work out.
And now you find the next thing. You’ve tried it. One of my business mentors who I met oddly enough working retail, he sold businesses and he’s retired, and he does it just for the heck of it to get out of the house. You know, he would encourage me early on, and say, “Jesse, the thing is that you’re standing up to the plate and you’re swinging. Maybe you strike out but most people don’t even get up to the plate to bat in the first place.
And I think that’s a good place to come from where it’s like, most people aren’t even going to play the game. Pursue whatever it is. And it’s like — I think many of us as kids have dreams about this or that. I want to be whatever it is. Maybe in your daughter’s case, maybe she wants to be a ballerina professionally. Maybe not. It’s complete conjecture on my part. But it’s like if she comes to a fork road — fork in the road and says well, this is the practical choice and I should become an accountant but doesn’t really have any joy in being an accountant. I wonder how much value she would end up adding to society by pursuing this thing that makes her miserable.
It is valuable in that we need accountants but if she was able to pursue say ballet, and didn’t make it, I believe there’s probably another door that will open that it’s not even visible yet. That you don’t even know as an option until you pursue that thing, fail at it, and then go, oh, but I can pivot and do this thing. And it just — it was never in your peripheral to even begin with. It’s this like leap of faith. I’m not really sure entirely where I’m going with this aside from, I think it’s important to use that grit to move forward with goals, even if you have that fear of failure.
DAVID: [00:45:18] Yeah. No, I think your mentor was — one of the things that I talked about is this idea of, you have to relook your definition of success and failure. And rather than then calling it failure, it’s really a learning opportunity. You know, for me, I think we talked about it before we started recording. But the opportunity to stand up a business has taught me and stretched me in so many different directions that I never expected.
You know, I learned how to put together a web page, I learned how to deal with MailChimp, I learned how to blog twice a week. I never thought I was going to become a blogger. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t think you at a young age, you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to run my own podcast.” And so you’re like, oh, okay. Well, I’m going to learn this. It’s new and different. I know some things that other people don’t know because the peers and folks that I work with don’t have that same experience.
And I can bring something to the table on, hey have you thought about this marketing idea? You know, or hey, I’m on LinkedIn and this is getting a whole bunch of views. And this is super popular, have you thought about this? All these things have really been a learning experience. Writing the book was a learning experience. It does fulfill for me, one of those sort of lifetimes, sort of check the block kind of things. So, I can say, hey I’d written a bunch of magazine articles before this, but I’d never written a book. And like, okay, now I’ve done a book. I’m self-publishing it, but self-publishing, it is sort of a misnomer.
I would actually call it hybrid publishing because I’ve got an editor that’s helping me. I’ve got a book publishing group that’s helping me, a guy that did the cover design. I’m sort of the center of it, but it takes a team to do it. And it takes much longer than you think. You think, “Oh, yeah, I’m done writing. I’m done pounding out 45,000 words on the keyboard. I’m done.
But no, it takes more work to make it better and make it into a book. And then I just discovered this week that I needed — I probably should add an index to it, which I hadn’t been thinking about. And there’s a whole group of people out there that do — that are professional indexers, which I had no idea even existed. And there’s a whole sort of society, and there’s different levels. And so I will end up having to hire a professional indexer to index the book.
And so all these things are learning and stretching and helping me grow as a person. And hopefully, I use the blog as a platform to try to share some of these things with other folks. You know, I’ll do — I’ve got a blog post coming up on writing a book. So, anybody that decides they want to write a book, here’s 10 ideas and things to not do that I learned the hard way the first time through.
And so it’s been a fun experience for me. You know, I think we’ve sort of hit it here a couple of times, that’s sort of how I’ve approached life. I’ll keep trying things and I’m okay with getting up and swinging the bat, like your mentor said, and that’s okay. Because I’d much rather be the guy swinging the bat than the guy sitting on the bench and wishing that he had done X, Y, or Z.
JESSE: [00:48:48] Yeah. You’d mentioned not thinking about starting a podcast and that’s absolutely accurate. And even when I decided that I was going to do it, I remember just thinking like who’s going to want to talk to me? Like why would anybody talk to me? Like, I’m nobody. Why would anybody talk to me? You know, being afraid of that and like what if I can’t get anybody to talk to you and like, what if I can’t get enough people to talk to you and what if I don’t have anything to say?
And I remember being just for the first — I kind of cheated for the first few episodes, and I had like my coach on. They’re all people that were well worth being on the show. But I had my coach on. I had a lady by the name of Gloria Stoverink, who actually was working for me at the time creating recipes for the company.
And then my friend Todd, who runs the sports performance lab at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Facility. And they are all good people that have on the show, very qualified to fit in the Smart Athlete Podcast. But I like cheated my way through that fear by going, “Well, I already know some people, so let’s use them, and we’ll get them going.” And there’s definitely been setbacks where I’m like, “Well, what now?” And like finding people, it’s like how do I find people and trying to figure that out. And there’s that fear and then trying to hire an assistant. I don’t know how to hire an assistant. And I had an assistant and he did a pretty good job for a while, but then he couldn’t dedicate enough time for me. And so I had to get another assistant and go through the whole process again.
And it’s like, I think something that’s easy to forget is that even if we’re afraid of starting something like I was with the podcast, there are several things that will happen and several good outcomes, in that you’re going to have setbacks. Like doesn’t matter who you are, doesn’t matter what you’re doing, nothing’s ever going to just be this nice straight line, positive progression. Like you’re going to have setbacks. So, just accept that you’re going to have setbacks.
And I have this mentality when I start a business, or I launch a new product, or whatever. And I apologize for the French upfront, but I call it the fuckup fund. And I say, whenever I’m starting something new, that I don’t know what I’m doing, I know that I need money to back me up because I’m going to screw something up, and I’m going to burn money doing something I shouldn’t have done because I didn’t know better.
And so I think about it the same way, whether it involves money or not. Like, I’m going to screw something up and then I’m going to figure out how to fix it. And so like, there’s value in that, and knowing that, hey whatever it is, you can probably overcome it. But thinking about the idea of, I didn’t necessarily think I was going to do this thing. And then where is it going to take me?
I don’t have hundreds of thousands of listens. Now, if you’re listening to this, thank you for listening, for being one of my small group of listeners. Please share the podcast, but I get to talk to people like you. You and I would not meet in regular life, generally speaking. And I get to — I’ve met more Olympians than I would have met in my normal life.
I’ve met a few in my normal life. Met all kinds of different academic researchers, very intelligent people, well thought out people, people I love having conversations with, so that if nothing else comes from this show, if nobody listens to it, I still get the value and added benefit to my own life of being able to talk to very intelligent thought out people. And where will that take me? I don’t know. But I have faith that the interactions I’m having like the one with you now will play a role in my development. And that will probably come back out somewhere down the line and help somebody or make an impact somewhere even if I’m unable to see that far ahead.
DAVID: [00:53:02] Yeah. No, I’m sure you’ve already gotten it with the podcast where somebody listens to it, and send you the note that says, “Hey, Jesse heard your show last week with Bob or whoever, and that thing that you guys talked about, X, Y, and Z really helped me out and it’s really doing.” Those are the things that really make a difference for me with my blog. You put that out there, you don’t know who you’re going to impact. You know, I’m doing it to try to help share some knowledge that I’ve got, and see if it helps groups. I had a post go viral early this week, which once again I think you’re the same way. I have no idea which post is going to go viral and which one — [crosstalk]
JESSE: You can’t plan for that.
DAVID: The ones that I think are going to go someplace that are real valuable, they don’t tend to do anything. And then this one was one of the clients had reached out and said, “Hey I’m having some problems with some lower-level leaders. Do you have any ideas?” So, I put something together and it went out and it really resonated with a whole bunch of people and I got some nice notes back. And those notes fueled me up. And like okay, I can do this again for, you know, I can keep doing this for another month or two and make sure that the stuff that I’m sharing is really making an impact and is helping people. And those are kind of things that really make it meaningful for me. I’m sure it does the same for you as you’re doing with the podcast.
JESSE: [00:54:42] Yeah. Not every episode is going to impact everybody the way you hope it will. But that’s definitely like — So, if you are listening to this, you’re a customer of mine, you get my emails, you know, I send you these episodes. You know, at the end of my emails, my signature that kind of tells you about what this is, and why I’m sending it to you is that I have a mission with the company that though I do sell soap basically, various kinds, that my goal with the company is not just to sell you soap.
But it’s to improve your life physically, mentally, I don’t remember if I said spiritually, but basically, that’s what it’s at. Because there’s enough people like just pushing products. Like I hope to have a positive impact on you and in your life. Because I feel like we need one, more people that care. But it’s easier for you as a listener, I think, to take that idea and pay it forward to the people in your life if you have somebody. And maybe that’s only me, maybe you’ve got other people that care about you and care about your development. And that together, as we all put our individual efforts forward, I think makes us a more sound society or planet if you want to go that wide.
David, we’re starting to run down on time. You listen to a few episodes, so you know that I asked everybody a question at the end of the episode. I ask a different question each year. This year, you’ll answer the same question Fergus did. We didn’t get to talk about Fergus who referred you back in Episode 95. So, it’s [inaudible 00:56:43] Fergus’s episode. Go back just a few weeks ago. So, the question I’m asking everybody this year is how do you stay motivated after failing to reach a goal?
DAVID: [00:56:55] Yeah, yeah. I heard that with a couple of the shows. It’s one of those things where I pretty quickly dust myself off and get back into it and trying. I will find that I occasionally, for instance, rode 100-mile bike ride this weekend with a group, stayed with the fast folks till mile 82 when they went around a corner, and then went on this tough climb up a hill and I lost it off the back at that point in time and limped the rest of the way in. But it was a super-fast 20 plus mile kind of day. And I’m going to do another one. I’ve got another one signed up in another week. But it’s one of those things where it’s like, I’m having this mental wrestle with myself right now. Should I do the 64 or should I do the 100? You know, because I was right there with them up till mile 82.
And I know intuitively that I should do the 100 because that’s going to push me and stretch me and make me better. But it’s like, do I take the safe route and only do the 64 because I know I can do that, that’s easy or not. I’ll be back at it on the 100, I just got to buckle down and say, Hey, this is — You’re going to do this. You’ll be nervous beforehand, it’ll be okay. That stretch goal is just like we talked about earlier, getting up to the plate and taking the swing at the stretch goal is much better than taking the safer route and doing the 64 miler that is doable and manageable and all that.
So, I’ll be doing that. But your ego takes a blow, you’re like, “Oh, I thought I had it. I thought I could stay with those guys,” and then all of a sudden you’re off the back. So, I’ll get back after it. It’s one of those things where I’ve reframed it as A, it was a learning experience. I went a lot farther with those guys than I really thought I was going to be able to that day because it was the first bike race I had done in over 14 months, I think.
I think I did something back in January or February of 2020. But hadn’t gotten out there and really hadn’t ridden in a large peloton for a year. And I’m like, this is a different skill set that I have not been practicing. To hang on this guy’s wheel I feel like I’m yo-yo-ing all over the place and all that. Like, I got to work on this and get out with the bigger groups. But I got my second vaccine shot so I’m ready to get back out there with the big groups and really push myself again.
So, I’ll be back after it on doing — Since now I committed it on your podcast, I’ll be out there doing it in another week. It’s called the Prison to Peanuts. It goes to Plains, Georgia, which is the home of Jimmy Carter. It’s a nice flat, 102 miles, about 3,000 feet of climbing. So, it’s nice and flat and fast, I hope. Fingers crossed.
JESSE: [01:00:24] Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah, you just ridden commitment to do it. So, I mean, if nothing else, it’s a commitment to yourself to do it. Because, I mean, the likelihood of one of the competitors, I guess, watching it is probably low, unless you give it to them to watch. But I mean, I think you know yourself well enough to be like, yeah, I’m probably going to do it, just getting over that hesitancy. So, where can people find you? Reiteration, where we can get the book, any social, any of that kind of stuff? Where can people keep in touch with what’s going on with you?
DAVID: [01:01:05] Yeah. So, like I said, earlier, I blog twice a week. It’s on my web page, which is www.TheFivecoatConsulting Group.com. I also cross-post the blog on LinkedIn. So, you’ll find it under both myself and my company, TFCG on LinkedIn. Those are the main ways to get in touch with me. My email is David.Fivecoat@TheFivecoatConsultingGroup.com. Shoot me a note, love to talk to you about anything. Whether it’s executive coaching, or just developing your leadership or grit. Would love to talk to any of your listeners out there that are interested to do this. The books up on Amazon right now. And once I get the softcover and hardcover versions finalized, there’ll be up as well, but right now all you can get is Kindle.
JESSE: [01:02:00] Good deal. David, thanks for hanging out with me today.
DAVID: [01:02:03] All right, thanks. Really appreciate it.