A recipe to fix a mixing bowl.

It seems we have a projected winner of the White House, and in true 2020 fashion, it couldn’t happen clean and straightforward. As such, in the upcoming weeks, the cycle of “I told you so’s” and “You’re an idiot” seems to be primed to keep right on keeping on. 

As a patriot, lover of America for all her beauty (and despite her faults), I’m ready to jump off this ride. That found me thinking aloud in the shower, how do we get it right in the mixing bowl that America is? 

I am not a Rhodes Scholar, just a simple Ol’ infantryman. But, I have been working with and leading diverse groups of people for decades now. As such, I think I have a recipe to get us back to the colorful masterpiece we are meant to be. 

  1. A heaping helping of humility. It is time that we put gloating aside. Someone had to win, and someone had to lose. Most importantly, no one should agree with anyone on everything, all of the time. If we go into every conversation with this in mind, we will become more tolerant of folks who see it differently. 
  2. Two parts of Collaboration. As the adage goes, it takes two to tango, and right now, most Americans are shitty dance partners. You have to be willing to take turns taking the lead. You have to trust your partner to do what is best and honest, just as much as you expect them to do the same. It’s not that one side is right or one side is wrong; it’s slightly different perspectives on how to solve the same problem. 
  3. Throw away the indignation. It’s been left setting out all night, and it’s gotten old. 
  4. A pinch of perspective. No one is everything you think their candidate is—especially given that we are left with but two choices. Take the time to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see the world from a slightly different view. 
  5. Lastly, the recipe calls for an end to name-calling and personal attacks. Let’s go back to a simpler time when momma said if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Guys, please listen to me; if you can’t make your point politely, you lose your point’s credibility. Remember, you never change an offended mind. 

Put this all in a bowl, pour on a generous helping of love thy neighbor, and shake vigorously until all the hate falls out. I want my country back, and I am willing to share it with you. 

I hope that we get back to being Americans, a country big enough for all people and strong enough to handle that diversity. 

Train how you fight.

“If you sweat more in training, you’ll bleed less in war.”

As an infantry soldier, I have heard that old stoicism regurgitated by NCO and officer alike (often after the customary Lee Greenwood song.) As a young soldier, I once thought it was, at best, false bravado, or at worst, the justification for the beatdown they were about to inflict on us.

I remember thinking, why are we pulling security? There is no enemy out there, not even some of our guys pretending to be bad guys. Why did we need to yell out in the middle of pretend war, TWO- OOOO–THREEEE to let everyone know we had indeed fired an imaginary Grenada and that our “budenimes” were indeed dead. “I got you” is an argument you never when in pretend war.

I never really got it until I got to combat. Then, amid an ambush, it became crystal clear why we did.

We had been traveling back on a convoy mission when all of a sudden, I heard a heavy machine gun open up. At the time, I thought it was one of our guys until I rotated my turret only to see the NTV in front of me getting lit up.

We were getting attacked from across the road and over four lanes of traffic. As I turned to engage, I heard the bullets crack the air around my head and then felt the vibration run down my arm from the one hitting turret. Half an inch of steel is the only thing that saved my life that day.

As I acquired a target and went to open up, my .50 jammed, not once, but twice. I assure you, nothing brings on the pucker factor quite like your weapon jamming in a gunfight!

But what happened next is what was the most telling to me. I reached over and grabbed my M203, aimed at the building, and lobbed around into it, ending the ambush. What would typically have filled me with a great sense of satisfaction embarrassed me because I did the most “boot” thing I could have done.

I yelled out “two-o-three” as I fired out the round.

In the middle of a gunfight, on a busy highway, vehicles getting lit up, I resorted to doing what I thought was stupid all the year leading up to that fight.

The important take away I hope you get from this is the understanding that the trivial matters—the small things matter. Suffering in training will save your ass in the game called life.

Stop lying to yourself and me and say, “Oh, I’d do it better if this was for real.” It’s not true, and if it were for real, you’d be dead.

“Train how you fight.”

Leave Kim alone.

I forget the movie, and I am sure I will butcher the quote, but I know I’ll get the sentiment right. “There once was a time where a man pulled up in a limousine, and everyone wanted to be him. Now, he pulls up in a limo, and everyone hates him. I believe that this change is the root cause of the degradation of American’s happiness.

You need to look no farther than the recent attack on Kim Kardashian. Here, we find people attacking her for a private party she threw on an Island. This woman, whose net worth is over 500 million and who’s husbands is over a billion, was roasted online for spending what would be the equivalent of a few hundred dollars for the average American on entertainment.

Let’s examine the hypocrisy for a minute.

Americans have increased impulse spending by 18% during the COVID-19 Pandemic, according to a survey commissioned by Slickdeals. According to the respondents, nearly three in four (72 percent) said that buying something impulsively during the Pandemic has positively affected their mood.

Why do you think Kim did that?

She was attacked in her IG post because she said she “40 and feeling so Humbled and blessed.” What was she supposed to say? “Ha ha ha, suck it, peasants?”

You can say whatever you would about Kim or how crazy Kanye is, but there remains no doubt that they are highly intelligent and astute business people. You don’t reach that level of success if you are dumb. It just doesn’t happen.

The problem lies in the fact that people are jealous, and it is easier to attack than to be happy for someone. What’s worse is that most of the folks attacking them are the ones who’ve done the most to support them.

Which one of you wouldn’t throw a private party for all of your friends and family on a remote island? Stop lying to yourself. You’re not mad that they did this, your crazy that you weren’t invited.

Bread and Circuses

“Bread and Circuses” are what the Roman poet Juvenal used to describe the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome. In a political context, it was generating approval not by excellence in the performance of the leader’s civic accomplishments, but rather a mere diversion by satisfying our needs for a full belly and our desire to be entertained.

There is no doubt that this happens still to this day in our country, but perhaps whats worse is that we willfully do it to ourselves.

How many of you follow that sports team or that TV show (even worse so reality TV) and react in a visceral and emotional response to what you see on your screen?

How often has your day, week, and sometimes an entire season of your life been ruined by the lack of success of a team you don’t even play on?

But why? Why do we allow ourselves to get this emotionally involved in someone else’s story?

It’s quite simple, really; It keeps us from admitting that we aren’t living ours.

Like the Romans, you see, we enthusiastically devour all the bread and circuses thrown our way. We dive deep into binge-watching, often hours at a time, the latest Netflix drama. Every Sunday, we give up our entire Sunday to watch every single game that comes on only to turn around and complain we don’t have enough time to chase our dreams.

And in doing so, we find ourselves in a very odd paradox; we willingly chose to fail.

“There is no Ark, because no one built one, even though everyone felt the storm.”- Jordan B. Peterson

We know all the things we must do.
The hard things, but the right things.

We know we should take the time to show love to our spouse.
We know we should take the time to play with our kids.
We know that we should work out.
We know that we should eat healthily.
We know we should chase our dreams.

Ah, but Stranger Things debuts next week, and you can watch the entire season in one gluttonous setting. Or, from pre-game to post-game, we can plant ourselves on our couch every Sunday, lifting a finger only to move the beercan to our mouth and getting up when our bladder compels us too.

Instead of taking part in our lives-our victories and our defeats, we find the couch and cheer on others who do not cheer for us. And when the lights go down and the crowds go home, we are left alone to face this truth. No one is here for us because we couldn’t bother to show up for ourselves.

People Do People Things.

Someone told me recently, “You’d be surprised how many people talk shit about you behind your back.”

No I wouldn’t.

I learned a long time ago that people do people things.

I used to be worried about what others thought of me. All it did was rob me of my piece of mind.

People who are miserable want you to be miserable.
People who can’t do what you can will hate what you’ve done.

But there is only one way they can really win.
If you let them occupy space in your head.

Getting bitter keeps you from doing better.

So pay no mind to who talks shit.

Most do.

Just be sure to give em plenty to talk about and wish em well on their way.

Connecting the dots.

“You cannot see how the dots connect looking forward. You can only see how they connect when you look back.” – Steve Jobs

When we started Platoon 22 our first event was going to be Rally in the Vally in 2015 in Cumberland. We had intentioned to hold a 2-day rally and had booked a sick lineup. We had never attempted to do something like this before, and as such, a lot of unexpected things came up along the way.

Our main act fell through three separate times, with three different bands. By the time the third act fell through, we had realized that we wouldn’t have enough time to promote it to make it a success. Still, to this day one, the hardest calls I ever made was to cancel that event after we’d told the world we were going to put it on.

But it was the right call.

We ended up holding two great Rally’s after that and looked to transition from simply an awareness effort to funding research into suicide. After further consideration of the associated price tag, the fact that similar research was being done, and that the application of said research would likely not be applied for years if ever, we realized that wasn’t the best path either.

The entire time we worked on these other endeavors the way forward slowly materialized on its own. Between me going and talking guns out vets hands at midnight, and Jennifer Farrar helping them navigate the VA by making proper connections, we realized what our mission would be — to bring all these services under one roof.

Everything I have ever been involved with has evolved from its first incarnation.

Soldierfit HQ started as a Bootcamp in a field; then it went to subleasing locations in gyms, then it went to large facilities, now moving forward it’s focused on smaller locations, concentrated only on Bootcamp, and working on launching an online training program in 2020.

Platoon began as awareness and has evolved to focus on transitional assistance and case management.
Both orgs have had setbacks and failures. I have had to eat crow on several occasions.

But that is the part of the journey. No one wants to hear a story about how it all went right off the bat. We want to listen to the story of trials and tribulations: heartache and tears. Then, finally, the glory of success.

If you are experiencing setbacks and failures, remember right now you’re writing the meat of your story.

When you are trying to do something amazing, don’t give in when it looks like all hope is lost. If you hold out just a little longer, I promise you the big win is right around the bend.


It’s not your kid’s fault.

There is no greater insult that you can bestow upon your children than blaming them for the unhappy outcome in your life. To look at your children and say, “I sacrificed my dreams because of you” is the biggest cop-out on Earth. It is also shitty parenting.


Nothing that they have done has kept you from doing anything at all. 

Kids are simply innocent byproducts of the choices that you have made. Which, again, is entirely up to you. You offering up the noble lie that you can’t do “x” because they exist is merely another example of your shirking responsibility. What makes it worse is you’re now placing it on the shoulders of those you are supposed to be responsible for.

You achieving dreams, just like you producing babies, all come down to the same thing. Choices you make. You chose to give up on your goals, and you decided to have sex. I am often at a loss when people claim to be shocked that someone in the sexual encounter ended up pregnant. After all, as far as mother nature is concerned, that was the intent. 


Even so, many ignore the actual purpose of sex and instead focus on the immediate gratification that it brings. Now, don’t get me wrong, I ain’t a prude, and I ain’t condemning you doing you. I am just saying don’t be shocked when you’re playing Russian roulette and the hammer falls on a loaded chamber.

More importantly, don’t blame the outcome of your game of chance, your children, for the dreams you “lost.” You didn’t lose ’em. You simply stopped looking for them in any meaningful way. Your kids didn’t make you quit. So put on your big boy pants and admit that it was all you.

You see, people will have a dream, and they assume that means it has to come true in the timetable they produced in their mind. If a kid impacts that, well, then the dream is dead.

 No, it’s not. You just quit before it came true.

Your dreams are totally up to you. It may mean getting up early and staying up late. It may mean spending no money on something you want so you can put it on that thing your dream needs. It may mean what you thought would take five years will take ten. But there is nothing about having a kid that says you have to give up on what you want to do. 

They aren’t mutually exclusive.

You can be a great parent and accomplish whatever you want too. 

Don’t say you quit for your kids. 

Don’t die on that noble lie.


Someday isn’t on the calender for a reason.


Q1 and you.

Where are you right now? No, I don’t mean physically. I mean where are you in regards to accomplishing your goals for this year?  You know the ones you made in that dead space where nothing productive really happens between Christmas and New Years.  Somewhere along there, either on a couch or in drunken ecstasy, you set resolutions to make 2018 your year!

So where are you? I ask because Valentine’s day served a dual role. Not only was it a day to either tell someone you loved em or to wallow in the fact that you are currently single, it also happened to be the midway point in Q1 of YOUR year. Do you have any clue how close you are to making that resolution come true? Or, are you still as lost as when you were drunk in IHOP on New Years Day?

Statistics state that 92% of you are still feeling lost. That’s right, just 8% of folks achieve their New Years resolutions. But why? Why do we continue to strive for greatness every December only to have forgotten about our goals by Valentine’s day? Why do we settle for the absoluteness of failure when we all know it should be finite?

I mean think about it, nothing is more American than the come from behind underdog story! We love to hear tales of the little guy or girl who was knocked down by defeat only to rise like a phoenix from the ashes to snatch final victory from the jaws of defeat! So why don’t we do it ourselves?

In a 90 minute movie, the hero doesn’t have time to forget their motivation. In life, not so much. Sure time waits for no man, but as the saying “Days are long, years are short” implies those long days cause us to lose sight of our goals in all the mess of everyday living.

How can you be focused on your goal of losing weight, starting the company, or loving your spouse when the car broke down, lil Timmy has the flu, and the boss is breathing down your neck for the TPU report?  Then one morning, in the middle of all of that living, you wake up and instead of losing weight you’re up 5lbs, your company seems as attainable as a unicorn, and you haven’t hugged your spouse in a month…

Then, as you feel your sanity slipping away, you accept defeat just 7 weeks into the year. Doomed to repeat the cycle again. It doesn’t have to be this way. This is your Q1 wake-up call!  So let’s get down to work, shall we?

Everyone has goals; it’s the plans they lack.

Everyone I have ever met has a goal. But the vast majority of them have zero plans in place to accomplish them. From weight-loss to small business startup, success relies on the following three things.

  1. Planning.
  2. Showing up.
  3. Consistency



As we were instructed in the Army “failure to plan is planning to fail.”  Even in an organization that has Murphy’s law etched into its soul ( No plan survives first contact) we planned, and planned, and planned some more.  Why? Because when you force yourself to plan out all the possibilities, good and bad, you won’t be quite as shocked when that first contact comes; and trust me, it’s coming.  With a plan, you are prepared for it, even the unexpected because you expected something to go wrong. The flip side is that when you don’t formulate a plan when you get punched in the face for the first time it does more than just bruise your ego. It knocks you flat on your ass.

Showing up:

If people were paid for talking we wouldn’t have a broke person on Earth. It is easy to talk about an idea. It is easy to say what “would, could, or should” work. The difficult part is stepping up to the plate and risking striking out in front of everyone you care about. But what you need to remember is that even if you strike out, you’ll get another at-bat and you are only one swing away from the game-winning home run.


Of the three I think this one proves to be the most difficult for people to do. Even though it’s a small number of people who will create a plan, those that do find it relatively easy to do at first. With a plan in place, we can typically even get them to show up. They are even motivated to be there! But what finally does them in is the failure to be consistent after that first punch in the jaw.  I call this the Mike Tyson effect.

Back in his prime his opponents would have a plan, they would show up, but Iron Mike was the punch in the face they just couldn’t handle. So much so, that he made the famous quote “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth!” That my friends could be the story of life.

Those hard times are coming. The times where you feel like the breath has been knocked out of you. When you are down on one knee and life is laughing at you. When you are overwhelmed by the enormity of everything you have to do, and everything you want to do. Those days when you lose a battle and go home with your tail tucked between your legs. It is in those moments that you are one night’s sleep away from the what will define you. The next day, bruised, battered, and doubting, will you show back up?  Or will you say it’s not in the cards right now and quit under the justification that “someday” you’ll do it?

If you chose the latter just remember Someday isn’t on the calendar for a reason.