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#13 - Battles, Business, and Brewing w/ Joshua Romaker

In this episode, I connect with Joshua Romaker. It's been 20 years since we served in the Army together and sat down to talk shop. We discuss what he’s learned from his extensive background being a private investigator, in the Special Forces, learning the home brewing business, and so much more.

Joshua (00:00):

And in business, nobody believes you until it's done. Right? Like you said, you're gonna spend my plan hundreds of times hundreds of times different people and they're like, that's awesome and good luck. Yeah, and right after you get it done and they see the success of it like, oh, man, I'd love to get it on. And now I can be like, Sorry, man. You didn't see to begin with, you're not gonna see my next future, as well.

Athan (00:27):

Welcome to doing the work. If you're okay with living a boring life with below average results, this is not your podcast, go ahead and tune out now. But if you want to live an amazing life full of purpose, love, joy, abundance, and elite health and fitness, you've come to the right place. This podcast is for people who are ready to stop making excuses and start doing the work that creates a life that they love. I'm your host, Athan Schindler and Airborne Ranger turn social worker, strength coach turned entrepreneur. I've spent my entire life learning how to be uncommon among the uncommon, I found my purpose and empowering people to reach their full potential. And this podcast takes a deep dive in how to prioritize what matters. Do the work, own your life, maintain compassion and kindness, and risk failure while enjoying every moment along the way. I talk to people who inspire me and share their gifts with you. This is my way of helping you find what sets you on fire and keeps the fire burning. The doing the work podcast is brought to you by strength conditioning, backdrops, Premier gym, that helps you crush it in the gym, so that you can be happy, healthy and successful outside of the gym. Check them So I'm here.

Athan (01:45):

I'm super excited to be here with you, Joshua, we were just chatting before we started recording. We haven't actually talked in over 20 years, probably. For everyone listening, Joshua and I served together in the army. We were like, I think I was like a PFC and you were like a specialist or something like that. Pretty close in rank. Yeah. Pretty close. And, you were really one of those people who were just like, one step ahead of me. And like the, you went to Ranger School right before I did. So I really looked up to you and was kind of like one of the models of what I was trying to aspire to be. And, of course, you went on to bigger and better things. And I ended up getting out too, not too long after that. But since then, we've really, we've stayed in touch, I've seen that you're doing big things, professionally in your personal life. And I'm really excited to kind of just highlight you for the audience. So thanks for being on the show,

Joshua (02:44):

Appreciate it, man. Yeah, appreciate it. Thanks. Yeah.

Athan (02:47):

So if you don't mind, just kind of give, everybody just kind of like the quick rundown of like, who you are, what you've been up to?

Joshua (02:57):

Yeah. So I just retired in 2018, from 20 years in the military. Last 15 were all in the fifth special forces group, did all the deployments, all the combat, tours, all that good stuff. So when it came time to transition out of the military, you kind of you know, in the military when it was kind of your time to go and but it was a time when growing up, I think with you and I promotions were based on combat experience, right. So when we were coming up, all you all you were doing was rotations over to Iraq, Afghanistan, trying to get as much combat time because that's how you got your leadership roles and got promoted. Soon after, when the war started dying down. Something switched, and now they wanted academics. So now all the other guys that have been in constant war, knew the job in and out were passed over for guys that had been academically trained, which, it's a corporation, right, the big arms Corporation so they knew what they wanted. And then at the SAR major role, I wasn't what they wanted. I knew that so I just decided to retire from the army.

Joshua (04:16):

And I knew that I'd been home brewing for a while, and actually started distilling and then went into home brewing. got pretty good at that, and kind of made a name for myself locally with our beers called Winchester. It's a bourbon ale that we aged in high end, Buffalo Trace barrels actually. And made my name homebrew and did that and to the point where I would brew in my garage at a huge homebrew brewery in my garage. I was sold on the back of my truck at the local grocery store on the weekends for a $20 donation. And through that me doing that for several Once I made enough money to put down payment on my very first brewery, and I did a Kickstarter campaign, and it's just, I think with anything if you want it bad enough, you're going to find ways to overcome and find ways to get money if it's a good idea that money's there. Absolutely. Right. So yeah. And then that's and then went from that. It was a three barrel system, I was doing 93 gallons at a time to four years later purchasing the 1000 square foot facility here that we're in today, and we have a 10 barrel brew system so that we can then 20 barrel fermenters so we can do up to 700 gallons of beer at a time. So in four years, we went from the smallest to the largest brewery in Clarksville, Tennessee. Wow. Which is which is pretty has a lot to say with I think not only the purpose driven, but the people that I work with everyday.

Athan (05:53):

Yeah, I mean, just from the outsider's perspective, and like watching how you all did it, I mean, what I loved about your model and your messages is like you knew what you wanted to represent. You knew you knew your message, you just knew your brand, so well and you're in it's so strong, that it's like you said, it's clear. It's kind of like part of your purpose and who you are. And that's easy to sell. That's easy to grow when you believe in something like that.

Joshua (06:23):

You know, and when you're coming up with a business plan for something so leaving the military, everybody's like, Hey, man, I'm gonna go contract, I'm gonna go do this, I'm gonna go do that. And in my mind, I'm thinking of long term, long term goals. And just from being in combat for so long. So often, every time you rotate over there, the enemy's TTPs are changing, changing, changing, changing. Yeah, it makes total sense when you go to contract your lifespan as a contractor, or teaching, shooting, teaching, sniping, teaching whatever CQ be as a short lifespan, you probably have about five years, three years, five years, because the tactics have already changed overseas. Now, you're antiquated. And he's got so much time and effort, contracting. So I wanted to step outside, I knew that we had as Special Forces soldiers drive determination, planning. And I wanted to learn something new. So the whole business aspect of starting a brewery was obviously very new to me. But the process of learning it and stepping out of my comfort zone, I think, is what we're really good at just being completely uncomfortable. Yeah, good at it. Right. So yes, super uncomfortable learning the process of it, but it's paid off.

Athan (07:39):

Yeah, I think that, we just think that's kind of how I looked at it too. And in the long run, when I transitioned from my military career, and really started hammering down on my civilian career, I was looking for the things that were similar from what I was good at, on the military side, and how I could continue to apply those regularly. But just kind of with a new mission with a new purpose,

Joshua (08:04):

a different arena, you get a different arena with the same tactics and discipline, you're good.

Athan (08:10):

Yeah, and exactly, and it's really paid off. You know, I do a lot of thinking, in fact, I even to the extent however cheesy This is, to the extent that I I took basically, I took the Ranger creed which I had memorized, which I was kind of forced memorize, and I really tried to live my life by and I kind of wrote my own civilian version of it. And I'll read that almost on a daily basis. I've even recorded myself saying it so that I have now took on that kind of like, I've just leveraged the same ideas and put them into civilian speak, so that I can continue to drive on,

Joshua (08:48):

Yeah, that's self affirmation, and tons and tons of successful people do that every day. You need to do that, I think to counteract all the negative influences that come in every day, especially these times and everything's trying to be run off of fear. Come up with a good self affirmation, see yourself doing it, visualize yourself doing it, see the end result so that when everything starts getting the hard road starts getting bumpy, you see the end of the tunnel, like this is just a roadmap. Right? I see a finished product. That's where I'm going.

Athan (09:20):

Right? And it's and when and I think what you said earlier is so important when you are when you really believe in what you're doing. You're passionate about it and you love it you're going to find a way every single time you know i was very similar to you my very first like real shot at business I just started this like outdoor boot camp, like fitness outdoors in a park and I just had like actually had an old army jump boots sitting out there. And if you had a couple bucks in your pocket to drop in there, great. If not, I will train you for free and be just because I love what I was doing. I wasn't trying to get rich doing it. And then I figured out a way to make a living. You know, over time, I just kept hitting you adapting, adapting until I got to a place that was comfortable.

Joshua (10:06):

Yeah. And I think that also, on top of that is, in this situation here in this brewery when I started Star Spangled Brewing Company, it's, I guess even now, heck, it wasn't very popular to be patriotic. Okay, it wasn't okay. You know, there well, it was portrayed as not being patriotic. But when you start something that mirrors and mimics your beliefs as a person, now you become a unique, unique business. So when I started star spangled under my beliefs, and being unapologetically patriotic, giving back to the community, first responders, military, you see everybody that comes that is so driven, like you come out and they will support big time?

Athan (10:51):

Yes. When you stand. Yeah, it will. There's so many, there's so many, it's just good business, like you said, when you've differentiated yourself from the crowd, that's important. But also when you use like, not only use the part of yourself to differentiate yourself, kind of like what you believe in, you're gonna find your people, there's nothing worse than the kind of building which I've done this. You know, I tried to be everything to everybody. I tried to create this kind of like, people pleasing business model. And then when I got there, and I was like, quote, unquote, successful doing it, I realized, this fucking sucks. Like, this is who I love, and this isn't what I want to be doing.

Joshua (11:29):

Yeah, a lot of breweries in my arena, they are trying to be everything to everybody. Brewing beers for all these different people causes all this other stuff like that. And we're just like, hey, if you're patriotic, come on in. Yeah, we're not gonna do anything special for you. But if you're patriotic, love America, and want to support the cause, because we give back, Come on your people. Yeah, it's all encompassing. And it and we really stand out in that aspect.

Athan (11:58):

Yeah. Well, talk to me a little bit about what it's like. So again, I've watched your, just kind of even just the business piece of it from an outsider's perspective. And I feel like you're doing just a really good job, or seemingly, when you're on the inside, it sometimes feels different. But on the outside, it looks like you're just doing a really good job running your business. And you obviously didn't have a life, you don't have an MBA, you grew up in the special forces. So how did you learn your business acumen? Like? What did it take to kind of figure all that out?

Joshua (12:31):

Well, I think, in the business aspect of it, you just have to buckle down and learn to read books, but anybody can learn it. Anybody can learn it, everybody's like, hey, Green Berets, Special Forces, all this stuff? Well, anybody can do that. You know, it's just finding the drive, the purpose to do it. Yeah. But I think what, what really you learn in Special Forces is, nobody's gonna do it for you, you're really not special. Because you go through it, you go through the selections, you go through the hard work and stuff like that. You just had the mindset that you weren't going to quit, right, and you're not looking for affirmation in other people, you have it in your head, that you want to do it, you're going to do it, you have to visualize it, do self affirmations, you're going to get there. And that's all stuff that you learn. I think as you climb the ladder in the military, in the different tiers of special operations, it's all the mindset to get it done. And that, you're not looking for outside influence to impact your decision making process, you are very confident in your abilities. And if you don't know something you aren't modest, or your ego doesn't stop you from reaching out saying, Hey, brother, like I don't know how to set up a corporation. Can we sit down on a Saturday, get some pizza? And go over it? You know? And then yeah, totally, you don't need to pay a lawyer to set up a corporation. You don't need a lawyer to do business plans. LLC. You can do all that stuff yourself in an afternoon for probably $200.

Athan (14:08):

Yeah, but I think that is the part of like, with your background that does make it like, as you know, and we know, similar guys, it's not so much that like, You're a freak of nature, but the mindset and the attitude is what differentiates you guys from everybody else? It's really that drive and desire to be amongst other people who are trying to be elite who have an A, the mindset for that. And I think that the culture that you're coming from, is so important. You know, I always say that hard work and a great attitude will overcome every single obstacle that's in your path. And I think that that's what you are, that's the environment that you that you're coming from, and that's why you're seeing this success now in your civilian endeavors.

Joshua (14:59):

And I think on top of, being a team sergeant, in a direct action unit, you realize how bad attitudes affect you and affect a team. So anybody that you deem as toxic in the team, I got rid of the next day. You can ask anybody, when I took over a team, their bags were in the hallway, you could still do at the time. And I didn't want them. And they weren't gonna be part of the team anymore. If they just had a toxic attitude, and when you go into business, I could relate that to real life, right? So your friends, if you have friends that are just like, oh, man, you don't need to do that you come out with us or I mean, you can get you go down a rabbit hole with that, but I did a really hard look at myself after I got out. And I found the people in my life that were very toxic. And just cut slim, and cut away from our full. It's the best people. Yes, it's brutal. And they probably still don't understand why. But I'm not going to waste the mind and brain power to continue that discussion. Because I'm on a different path, man, and you're not with me, you're against me, because it's a proven success model.

Athan (16:12):

Yeah, I think so many people, I mean, I think a lot of people who don't have personal success, and it doesn't matter what they're doing, it could be a military goal, it could be a personal fitness goal or whatever. But not enough people are willing to change their environment that we know where they spend how, what they spend their time doing, who they spend their time doing it with. In order to achieve that goal. They tried to accomplish that goal from the same place. They got him to where they are right now. And it just doesn't work. They 're a recipe for failure.

Joshua (16:45):

Yeah, as you're hanging around a bunch of other people, that is, blaming the circumstances of life on other people. That's wrong. People, you should take full responsibility for everything that happens to you. Everything from why I didn't wake up when my alarm clock didn't go off? Well, no, you just didn't set the volume high enough, right in my head. That's how it is like, if I didn't, if something didn't happen, my bad next time, it's not going to be totally fixed in this net. But if we start taking responsibility like that incrementally, over time, you begin to get more stuff hammered out. And then you can also recognize the people that need to be assisted.

Athan (17:24):

Yeah, I was just having a similar conversation with I think there's a generation just like us, that doesn't really understand that idea of ownership of everything that happens in your world, whether it's directly your fault, or not yours accident or whatever. You know, I'm a First Sergeant in the National Guard now. So I was trying to mentor this, this staff sergeant, this e6, and I was kind of educating them on like, Look, everything that happens in your environment is you now own it, whether you want if you believe that or not, and when you can walk around in your life for that, to the extent of even you walk into a parking lot, and you see a piece of trash on the ground. You walk by that trash you still own, you know what I mean? That's it. I believe that it's that extreme, you know?

Joshua (18:10):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Athan (18:15):

Yeah, so and I think having that type of a, especially in business, having that type of attitude, where it's like, yeah, I take full responsibility for all of this. And I've had to stand in front of my staff. I've had to stand in front of my clients before and say, I fucked up like, I thought,

Joshua (18:31):

You get more respect that way, and people trust you more that way. If you're just on like, Hey, man, someone wrong, I fucked up. It's not gonna happen again. Cool. Well, you start like, Well, no, he did. She did. They did. No, it was me. My bad. It's not gonna happen again. And this is how we're going to fix it.

Athan (18:51):

Yeah. And even I mean, even when somebody else on my team was messed up, I'll look him in the eye. This is what I loved about our culture in the military is that we have a culture of, brutal honesty, I can look somebody in the eyes and say, Hey, you're fucked up. And here's all the reasons why you're fucked up. And here's how I'm taking ownership for that. Because it's not going to happen on my watch.

Joshua (19:13):

Here's how I failed you, because I taught you correctly. Now we're gonna go back and retrain. Yep. Now we're gonna go back and figure out what was wrong. Break it down. I failed you by not training you correctly. This is how we're going to move forward. Yeah. And that was every day.

Athan (19:27):

Yeah. All that was sometimes I was on the receiving end of that, and sometimes about the giving. Yeah. So what's your staff like now? Like, how many people work with you and for you, and what kind of work culture do you have?

Joshua (19:43):

We do a very good job of vetting people that work for us. So and thankfully we have, we don't have as much of a problem with our workforce as other people do. And I think it's because we hold a higher standard and have people that work here star spangled, whenever we put ads out right now for servers and a general manager for the new facility that we're starting up here this year coming up. And there's no shortage of applicants because of the shortage of quality people. So when we scour the resumes, it's a pretty heavy vetting process or big resume background check. We do a lot of background checks. We also bring them in to speak with them. Social media scrubbed all that good stuff to see if there's anything that is outside of the morals of the company. And then if they pass all that good stuff, then we'll bring him in, we'll do a two week training period with them, saying indoctrination training or whatever, where we assess them type thing. And if they do, well, then they're on if not. Yeah, thanks for coming out.

Athan (20:54):

Thanks. Yeah, thanks for your time. Thanks.

Joshua (20:57):

But we were down to where we have seven people right now. And I would not trade those seven people. For anybody. I think we have the best people that work for us. And if I think it's a testament, if anybody watches this that has come star-spangled, I think they would definitely say that we have a pretty well run tap room.

Athan (21:15):

Yeah, I agree that I'm in the same boat, as my hiring process to bring in a coach or a trainer is extremely long. And I found that it's just like in your business, I always say that, when that person is on shift, when they're on duty, and they're working, they are the entire business. They're the owner, they might as well be the CEO, because that's the interaction. And if I'm not feeling good about that person, and what they're, how they hold themselves, their values, their work ethic, then I basically don't feel good about my business period.

Joshua (21:51):

Yeah, and how they represent your company when you're not there. Yeah, it's just 100%. That's why that's the discipline of it acting, in the right way when nobody's around.

Athan (22:01):

Yeah. So do you have a development program? Like, do you I mean, like, so you, let's just say you hire someone on and then like, they're now on do what are there any things that you do to kind of like develop people and create the keep the culture going and stuff like that

Joshua (22:14):

When I was working, when I was the brewer manager and all that good stuff like that, they would work alongside me, and then I would teach them we have certain protocols in place to determine what to see, I guess you haven't been here yet. But Star Spend grooming company is completely family friendly, 100% all the time, we don't have late hours or up until eight o'clock during the weekdays, 10 o'clock on weekends. So if anything comes to disturb the family friendly atmosphere of a brewery, somebody had too much, they were over-served somewhere else trying to come in the door, or we feel that they're just not the right fit. We have a corporate account, I get asked to leave and it's very professional, it's very, we're not arguing about it, we're just saying like, Hey, this is your, this is not the right place for you. And so now we have several cycles of employees that work for us that see that from the role models that currently work there, and they're coached by my general manager here on how to act and then how to take care of those situations. When I'm not there. But normally, we haven't, there's no, we haven't had any, any issues, knock on wood, the five years we've been open so far, because it's very matter of fact, it's not emotional, it's non negotiable. If you disturb the equilibrium of the taproom, the family friendly, it's just and you don't have to pay a dime, we have Uber waiting for you outside, it's a corporate account, get on in save your career, save your face, in your community, and just call it a nightmare.

Athan (23:52):

Culture is so big. I was reading an email from a friend of a business owner friend of mine and I am on his email list and he said he was saying to His people, I was talking about culture and basically how hard they were going to drive that line. And they're just said like you're the money that you spend with us isn't worth US destroying our entire culture. And the way that he said that I was like, wow, that you know, the 100 bucks that you might spend, today or this month or whatever, is not even close to worth US destroying what we've worked so hard for.

Joshua (24:29):

And it was a rough patch, it's a risk if you are establishing a new culture like the book you what you're talking about, or what you read or spoke with somebody. It was probably the first year and a half and it took training in the community. We kicked. We didn't kick them out. We asked him to leave at seven, a lot of people that came there thought it was a bar. It's not about Yeah, it's a brewery. It's a family brewery. You know, we have root beer sodas, ice cream cones, Child's games, it's a place where you can just come hang out. Have a couple pints and be on your way to dinner or to a movie or something like that. So we're not looking to make our money through just serving mass quantities through the taproom. We want consistency. And I think that's the long goal of stars.

Athan (25:15):

Yeah. I love that. I think it sounds like you're just not willing to compromise the parts of it that you love in order to make a buck or two in order.

Joshua (25:24):

I think it's integrity to integrity as a business owner, if you don't have the integrity, and you're looking to make a buck, you can tell the places you go in. Better just looking at slang, ears playing drinks, making as much money off of who's there at that time? As opposed to a restaurant style or public style place, when you get there? Yeah. And we get men who?

Athan (25:50):

I mean, a lot, probably. So, if you've talked a little bit earlier about, you talked about affirmations, you talked about visualization and stuff like that, that's something I'm deeply interested in. And it's what I coach a lot of people to do. I work with people of all different types of goals in life and with their lifestyles, I should say. And so I coach people on those types of things. I'm really curious, like for you, do you have daily practice or regular things that you do to one keep yourself grounded to keep yourself moving forward? You know, I'm curious about just about anything like that.

Joshua (26:29):

Man, I'd love to tell you. I'd love to, I did. But I think it's just ingrained into us and certain people, when I determine I'm going to do something, there's no, it's it? Yeah, I want to start a brewery, I'm going to start a brewery I determine is going to be the best brewery in Tennessee, I'm going to be the best route, Tennessee, if I'm going to be the biggest in the south, I'm going to be the biggest itself. So I think through that, and it's in my mind constantly, as a business owner, you don't stop business, you don't stop it. Right? You go home, you're eating dinner, and whatever, you don't stop thinking about it, it's always present. So I think through the presence of always being in it. And having a work ethic that has been defined earlier, we talked about that later. But having the work ethic, I already visualize when I determine I'm gonna do something, it's happening. I know what it looks like, already. Yeah, like I said, when I bought this building, like, you'd have bought this building and put the brewery in there, I already knew in my head where it looked like, all I had to do was do the work. And I think that route that stops, a lot of you're going to have hard times you're going to feel like quitting. If it wasn't a dream worth doing, you wouldn't feel like quitting because then everybody would do it. But now I'm at the end of the rainbow on this project, we're getting ready to open up the taproom here. And in a couple of weeks, I already know, my next project and the project after that, wow, you guys sound like Yeah, I know, it's already gonna start happening. And I've already put stuff in the works to continue that and become the largest in this region.

Athan (28:17):

That's amazing, man, I think that there's a real, there's a certain there's only certain people who have that level of vision. Like, I'm similar where I'm like, I can just see, I already know. And sometimes the hard part is getting other people to see what I can see. So that they can contribute and buy into the process. And sometimes that's one of my frustrations and a lot of times that comes down to trust. You know, when I say hey, I'm gonna, I've got we're going to do this thing. And, I get a little bit of pushback from people on it. I get frustrated because I'm like, Just trust me. I know what I'm doing. I can see it. And like you, if I said it's going to happen, I'd like to know. It's gonna you know, it may not always happen, how I thought it was gonna happen. But I know that I see everything that I that I go for all the way

Joshua (29:04):

and in business. Nobody believes you until it's done. Right? Like you said, you're gonna I spent my plan hundreds of times hundreds of times different people and they're like, That's awesome, man. Good luck. And after right after you get it done, and they see the success of it like, oh, man, I'd love to get in on it. Now I can be like, sorry, man. You didn't? Yeah. You didn't see to begin with, you're not gonna see my next future as well. So, but I think okay, so work ethic. And I think that's something we should probably touch on when it comes to entrepreneurs, small businesses. I think when you're early on in life, I had the opportunity to work for a different tier, higher tier unit. You need to determine how hard you can work for how before you get burnout, you have to if you're just in your early 20s 30s If you just have a nine to five and all the sudden you're like, Hey, I'm gonna do this multimillion dollar A business and you have no idea how long you can work for 100% all out, you're gonna quit, and it's gonna be humbling, or you're just gonna knock it out, you're not going to have it. But when you're working 20 hour days, for six months at a time with a four hour rest break in between. I mean, you just, you just know how exhausted you feel. So mentally, Sunday's are my day. I work six days a week, I'll get up, I'll still get up on Sundays, do my admin stuff on the computer. But after that I'm crashing all day, because I went from Monday to Saturday night at 10pm. If I'm able to take off time in between there for stuff I try, but it says, it's a seven day week, and I try to keep that six, eight hours there on Sunday, where I just crash? And I don't do anything outside the house.

Athan (30:52):

Yeah, I love that. And I think, bringing that up is very important, what does it actually take to be successful? As you've mentioned earlier, business owners don't stop, something along those lines. And, and I don't think that people really understand that level of commitment, that level of work that it takes. And again, I think because of your background, you already knew you had the confidence and knew that you've had to work days on end with no sleep. And that's like no big deal that that part of it doesn't scare you or deter you at all. Where you know, someone will

Joshua (31:29):

Yeah, I know. And I think any young kid that even if they're not in the military, you can if you're disciplined enough, you're like, hey, I want the entrepreneur to run this business. Here's what I'm gonna do one week, a month. I'm setting it out. Yeah. Till I crash.

Athan (31:46):

So talk to me about the other side that you mentioned, like Sunday sounds like a reset day. Are there other things that you do so you're I always think you're a vessel, you are a vessel of, energy, ideation, leadership, your conduit of all of that, and sometimes the instrument gets worn out and needs to be tuned up and has some maintenance on it. So what kind of maintenance do you do to keep yourself kind of performing at that level?

Joshua (32:13):

It's very important to have a physical fitness regime 100%, if your body is not in physical shape, give me you don't have to be peak, I'm sure you're way better shape than I am. But I still go to the gym every morning. And it goes from either an hour to 30 minutes. But you have to do something to invigorate your mind. And then continue to work on yourself that way. And then, as bad as it seems, or is that bad? It's just knowledge. And people will try to brush it over or whatever people put more trust into physically fit people. Yeah, absolutely. If in the military, like when we were coming up here, you had to do the shine boots, the starches in the fatigues, you could be a total, no go in physical fitness. But if you looked like you were squared away, yep. Your first impression is everything. And it's always visual. So you get a lot of confidence from people, first of all, being in shape. And always try to do your best to dress well. You don't have to feel good. But you just still have to kind of be presentable to people because you never know the opportunities, they're going to come out of that. Right. So I think physical fitness is not only good for the reset of the brain, but it's also good just to show that you're not. You're dependable, and you're not lazy in that aspect.

Athan (33:37):

I think and I am one of the reasons, I'm a gym owner, who really doesn't give that much of a shit about how strong someone is, or how fast they can run or, what their, how ripped they are, or anything like that. I love that gym business, because I think it's a microcosm for how you do anything in your life. Any problem that you have to solve any challenge, it's in front of you. It's just really about sets, reps, it's about setting goals, getting in your sets, getting in your reps, pushing your, you know, overtraining a little bit, pushing your boundaries, getting uncomfortable. And, and the way that you do that in the gym is the same way that you're going to do that in your career or your family life,

Joshua (34:19):

that goes back even to being in special operations, like you could be the best shot on the range. But if you can't get off that helicopter, doing a 5k, offset, carrying ladders and all the others, you can't make it to the target. You're useless. Right? So be able to at least get to target and be useful to the force. Other than spending all your time just doing the shooting. You have to be a little master of everything.

Athan (34:44):

Yeah. Do you do anything for your mind? Like for your mindset, or, for the mental aspect? I mean, certainly the physical component. But do you mean, it's stressful. What you do is stressful. You're playing a high stakes game. I know you've got a background in that but is there anything you do in particular to kind of keep yourself sharp mentally.

Joshua (35:02):

I get good sleep. And that's huge. And then you kind of do a little bit of meditation before you go to sleep. But here's what's here's what's helped me out big time, especially as an entrepreneur, your mind is always racing, right? So you can't, I couldn't go to sleep a lot of nights because I have a lot of stuff on my mind, if I just kept a tablet paper beside the bed and a pen, wrote it down. I was asleep like that, my mind shut off, because I'm not trying to constantly remind myself, so I don't forget it. So I keep the pen and paper, I don't have to see it. Like, it's just on the nightstand. And I just do this. And scribbles I know to look like in the morning, but then my mind shuts off and I get great sleep. That's just me.

Athan (35:48):

I don't think you can overlook that I coach people to journal all the time, because it's a powerful practice. And I have a journal every single day, I have a very specific way of doing it. But exactly what you just said is really my only reason why I never read it again, I write it. And I might as well burn the damn thing. Because there's, I don't ever even go back and read it. But I have a process because it's the same thing. It's just kind of all this craziness that's going on up here is I have to organize the thought I have to get it out of here and get it out, wherever and then I can go about my day without feeling anxious and stressed out and everything else. Because you

Joshua (36:22):

I have so many outside influences that want you to do something else. Aside from what you're supposed to do. You know what you're supposed to do, but then things start popping up. And if you don't write them down, like I have, I make lists upon lists upon lists. So I can stay on track with some things on my list. I can even earmark where I shut my phone off for this. Shut it off. No outside communication, like I have to do this for 30 minutes, get it done. Then after that I'll turn my phone back on and I can continue the really important stuff. The fungus turned off for I don't answer anything until it's done.

Athan (36:57):

That's huge. Distraction is huge for me. And I'm really bad about that. Because I'm about to make an excuse about it. But I might go, I was just about to say because of the nature of my work and blah, blah. But it's really just an excuse in a lie that I tell myself about why I have to have my phone on and be looking at it all the time. I would probably be at least 25 to 50% more productive if I didn't allow myself to be distracted.

Joshua (37:25):

By the time it's just certain events, certain tasks I have to do throughout the day that it gets shut off for because I know I can't do my other tasks without this one being done.

Athan (37:36):

Right. Yeah, that's awesome, man. I feel like there's there's so much packed into it, which you're the Pat there's a powerful blueprint to what you've built in terms of your business and, and I and I think that it's inspiring to me, and I know a lot of people are would be inspired also just listening to it.

Joshua (37:57):

I think once I start slowing down, I'll be able to reflect back and be like, This is how I compartmentalised this from this and this is how I really focused on you know, just come up with a blueprint for how I've done so far. But right now I'm still grinding man I know Yeah. The work ethics there cutting out toxic people have a one day reset mandatory getting rid of social media, cell phone on specific events and just doing the work.

Athan (38:32):

Yeah, you are just saying a second ago something about like one day I'll take a second to look back and you know, and reflect and all that. It makes me think about you know, as you and I know, life is precious and fleeting and we've lost brothers in horrible circumstances. And and so I wonder if you think much about not waiting till tomorrow to do certain things or like do you How much do you live in the present and how much I'm a very future oriented person I'm constantly all I'm thinking about is the 300 meter target and like what I'm going to have to do to get there but I'm curious if you take much time to smell the roses and and enjoy your day to day life and all that good stuff.

Joshua (39:19):

Yeah, no, I do. Sometimes I sit back. Like now it's a Saturday at the brewery. Oh, have a cigar and a beard and just be like, Yeah. Damn. Yeah, this is what I do. This is completely crazy. I just, I get up and I just, I can't go back to work. But having that one little little piece of solitude quiet, just sitting back and looking and being like, that's good. Yeah, I like it. That's awesome. And then how do I continue to stay on this path? keep the momentum going.

Athan (39:58):

Yeah, I love that. and it's just so clear how driven you are, man. And that's it's I love to see it,

Joshua (40:06):

It can be a detriment to to your, my friends or like, like to to people now but if it's there, you're kind of do what you do become a horrible friends because you're so driven at just in business all the time, but that's the price you pay, you work like others won't now so you can live like others can't later, I find that that resonates really, really, well with me. And that I can also see how I can help first responders with this breed with a spear. And we've done a lot over the holidays, a lot over the fifth group of unions, we've been fortunate enough to provide a substantial amount of money to these organizations. And a lot of that, it's not you I don't put we don't post it online. We don't socialize, we don't mark it as that. But the people that get helped know, they get help. And they appreciate it. And it doesn't everything doesn't need to be posted online.

Athan (41:06):

Yeah, I feel good. Yeah, it's a big part I giving back and supporting your community and supporting people that you care about supporting causes that you care about, is is really a huge part of, I can say for me of why I do what I do, I think be you and I entered service for, or even maybe I didn't enter service for this reason, but it grew on me, as I became, through the military is about like, caring about your brothers and sisters and supporting others, I'd be interested what kind of what kind of things do you contribute to and what are the things that you try to support through business?

Joshua (41:44):

We are staying very local, just start out with get you get a foothold and you know, when you start a business, don't think you're gonna start a business and you're gonna be able to start contributing right away, you have to take care of your business first, before you have the ability to take care of anything else. So for the first two, three years, the brewery wasn't able to contribute much, maybe two or 300 bucks there. But as we continue to grow, we got into college scholarships, foundations for fifth group, and then we got into supporting 911 Memorial x and then we got into supporting local foster children. And then we're also supporting homeless veterans through other means. So it's, everything stays local right now until we grow enough to where I can spread the outreach a little bit a little bit further. But that's all through selling beer. You know, what else if we had more people to help out like what we could really accomplish with it, but I like keeping it local.

Athan (42:51):

Yeah. There's something so fulfilling about it, like getting to do what you love every day, getting to do something you're really passionate about? And getting to leverage that. Yeah, it'd be you know, and having something that letting that contribute to your lifestyle, of course, your personal lifestyle, but then others also,

Joshua (43:10):

When you do stuff like that, you leave you like, you got a lump in your throat, you're like, Yeah, I know, that was, he's like, you're 45 years old, why are you crying like that? Yeah, it hits you every single time that you get back, that makes you feel twice that like, that makes you go twice as good, anything given back, and that gives you additional drive to do better. So you get back more next year, the next time they ask.

Athan (43:36):

Yeah, I think about guys that I know. And you probably also know that in their transition from their military life into their civilian life, they haven't done very well. They're suffering. They're in pain, physically and mentally. And I think about like, well, what's the difference? You know, I'm, I'm thankful I don't have any, any issues, like a lot of the guys that I know. And I think part of it for me, I can just say, is that right? Like I got to continue a mission that I cared about. And I got to continue to serve in a way that I felt was important, and I get to continue to contribute. And not everybody kind of takes that on for themselves in their transition, you know?

Joshua (44:16):

Yeah. And that's man, we're all you can't do 20 years wasn't full 20 You can't do 15 years of all our combat and not be changed. Different. Like I saw Yeah, I watched all the nurses' interviews here. He's doing some great stuff, but I think that you have to know yourself. Before you get out, you have to know what helped me and I don't have this. I didn't I haven't spoken to Jason about it. But what helps me is, you have to replace one stress with another. I had the right so you know, in the military Special Operations. Probably not an excuse. If you are on a cycle of anxiety, all a little bit of depression, anxiety, low, a little bit of depression, anxiety, you're on this constant roller coaster. And if you're deployed, the roller coaster is magnified. So you're going on target, your, your adrenaline spiked way up. But then your cortisol goes to meet it so that you can still have steady hands and still shoot accurately.

Joshua (45:27):

But then when you come down, your cortisol stays up there, which makes you depressed when you come back. So until the next thing, and then you know, you're on this constant roller coaster. The army doesn't recognize that well, it didn't tell no, it could now so when you see people coming back from these parents, you see these young soldiers going out and getting this crotch rocket screaming down. You know, they're looking for that high again. And outside sources. Because combat if you like it or not, I mean, everybody that we were, you couldn't wait to get back to combat you couldn't wait to get back to fighting because you love that feeling that exhilaration of the ultimate test, right man versus man, it's a grown ass man, Hide and Seek and with ultimate consequences, but that gives you a certain high that you try to find throughout the rest of your life. If you just get out and say I'm gonna go buy 90 acres, man, I'm gonna live in a cabin in the woods. You are a ticking time bomb.

Athan (46:23):

Yep. 100%.

Joshua (46:25):

And, or if you move back to a place where there's no military, you can't talk to anybody about what happened? Or what went on you're ticking time bomb. And people don't realize that because the VA is answering at the time when I was just throwing meds at you, man. Yeah, dramatic. And when you get diagnosed with PTSD, whatever, what they do is they throw pills at you and they don't know the correct doses of it at all. So when I got diagnosed with PTSD, which everybody in Special Forces has, in one degree or another, they threw some some pills at me and I sat for an entire row for entirely 10 hours in my brewery with my face, like in my hands, like just contemplating like, what am I doing on this earth? I knew it was direct. I knew it was a pill, I went home and dumped it right down the trash man. So I knew I had to find something in life to keep me on that. That stress that I need to stress and why not make it useful? Why not make it? You know, a business that can help other people?

Athan (47:32):

Yeah, I feel like they do nowadays, it's like everybody's just trying to throw pills at everything. And what they forget is that there's other types of medicine out there. You know, your nutrition is medicine, your sleep is medicine, you know, your physical fitness is medicine, and everybody wants to go to the quick fix, rather than doing this stuff that takes a little effort and takes you know, and isn't sexy, honestly.

Joshua (48:02):

I've known a lot of attempted suicides just because they threw the pills and it didn't work. It took them away. There was no coming down. Oh, you know, why don't you just oxycontin brother for like six months straight, and they determine it's not working and they pull it out from underneath you? Oh, man, you're just you're just like you're an ad went through a job. And there's no treatment for it. And the medical facility is either you're on it or you're not. So that's when that's when you get the phone calls. And that's the ambition 22 starts and stuff like that. That's when you call and talk to a brother about that kind of stuff. Because there's no treatment for weaning you off of those where there wasn't there might look up every time for three years. So there might now

Athan (48:43):

It's not any better right now. Trust me. Okay. Yeah, but But yeah,

Joshua (48:47):

That contributes to a lot of the suicides of it. And I think you're a ticking time bomb if you don't replace your stress, man.

Athan (48:56):

That's powerful. I think that what you just said is I think a lot of guys need to hear that. You got to replace the stress. You know, I haven't heard it said that way but I think that that's it's a simple enough concept to understand that guys can be like, okay, like, let me and obviously healthy stress, not like with a bad relationship or fight

Joshua (49:18):

Yeah, but if you don't realize that about yourself all you know is that you're wanting you're needing this, this combat high that you're used to that you'd like or this or the stress you don't realize it your body finds it your mind finds it regardless. So you're going to go out and get our fights. You're going to go out and race that car down the street, you're gonna be drinking and driving because it gives you that exhilaration, right? If you identify it early on and know that it's in you. There's ways to combat it and ways to deal with it if you want to go to a shooting competition. Competition, I think is the best way to deal with it because that gives you both the highs and the lows. And, you know, the kick in the dick. That yeah, that hurts. And that makes Then at the end of it, you feel great. You know, I think competition is a great way to do it. If you don't want to start a business, and you feel bad, just get into a shooting competition or run marathons. I've been really starting to get into those eco challenges, man, when you start doing like three or four days, like minimal sleep, I think that would be great for guys in our community that are getting out. Yeah,

Athan (50:21):

I've been talking about that for a long time. I am actually trying to put together some sort of event like that that's like a 100 mile or four day event where you know, you as a team, you get your likes, six man team together or whatever. And so I've been kind of talking about that for a little while.

Joshua (50:37):

I think that would go over? Well, yeah. Especially for people getting out that are having issues, man, because you can talk all you want to do the trust balls and stuff like that, that you know, big corporations like to see and say that you're fine and teach about compartmentalization and use your cell phones to put things but you they need to get out there. And they need to be with people, like backgrounds, and do stuff that's kind of hairy. Yes. But you used to be off leash, not too much guidance, and then all the effects are on you as to how you get the mission done.

Athan (51:15):

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. Well, what's next for you, man? Like you keep mentioning this other facility you're working on. And, you got some big things coming in, like, what's going on?

Joshua (51:26):

Uh, I don't want to say too much. But I like that online, not online or offline. But my overall end goal is to be the biggest brewery in the south. So keeping that in mind backwards planning, figuring out how to finance it and bringing unapologetically patriotic craft beer to, to those who need it, man. So backwards planning to that, but it's gonna happen and yeah, I think I've cracked the code on it. So awesome. Wow, I see it is guys got to do the groundwork to get it in there and get in there.

Athan (52:07):

I mean, this is why I call the podcast doing the work because that's what it takes. You know, it's honestly just like, dig in. You just got it. There's no secret. There's no special secret. There's no quick anything. It's just like literally rolling up your sleeves and like, doing the shit that needs to be done. And, sometimes sleepless nights.

Joshua (52:27):

And if you don't know, learning, don't ever be too proud to ask for help. I've asked in the military, there's no shortage of mentors, right, get out and do something totally different from everybody else. You no longer have mentors, you need to realize when you get to a place that you can't ask questions to your buddies anymore. And I've reached that place a couple different times. And I have to go out and ask for mentors. It's something like hey, like, can we go out to can we go out to dinner, we go out to lunch, I buy you a beer, and then I'm just like, I That's my just start questioning. Yeah, find somebody that's already done it and just, pick their brain, they're happy to do it, but you have to find that mentor, or that group of mentors that can talk you through that kind of stuff.

Athan (53:17):

Yeah, I agree. I think there's not a lot of that going on out here. And but also, when you ask someone, when you have the courage to ask somebody, it really is giving them a gift. I mean, people have spent all these time and years learning this shit. And they would love sharing it. And so you're gonna find a lot of people who are willing to give you the knowledge.

Joshua (53:38):

And if you're too proud, I guess ego to not ask questions, that's cool, too. But your success curve is going to be a lot shallower than somebody else's if you're gonna if I'm going to ask the best person in Clarksville here for his help on this my mind. Now my learning curve is like this as me just knocking it out trying to YouTube. You know, you get

Athan (53:59):

up. It can be done. But your headline, your timeline is gonna be triple. You know, it's gonna be way slower.

Joshua (54:08):

You can do it, you can still get there through that method, if you don't want to ask for help. But yeah, if you ask for both, you're exponentially increasing your success.

Athan (54:19):

Absolutely. Well, what did you think I was gonna ask you about? Was there anything that you wanted me to ask you about or anything you wanted to talk about on the show?

Joshua (54:28):

I was just happy to see again like it was passing by Second Division learners. Yeah. Catch us all moved on from there. I actually ETS out of there.

Athan (54:38):

Did you realize yes.

Joshua (54:41):

Yeah. Went back to Ohio. 911 happened and I was like, I'm coming. I didn't realize that.

Athan (54:46):

I can do active duty. Yeah, okay. I thought you went straight to selection from there.

Joshua (54:53):

No, I did. 14 months. I came back in after 911 happened. I went straight to corollary

Athan (55:01):

Okay, at its core

Joshua (55:03):

at Dearborn core, yeah, right there. On that brag, we deployed for the initial push into Iraq, two weeks later. And then we did 14 months over there. I got back and went straight to selection, then you know what the fifth group? Okay, from there, but yeah, it's been a long time, man. Yeah, that's

Athan (55:21):

crazy. What did you do in the time you were out? What was your bio?


Joshua (55:24):

I was a private investigator, really? doing surveillance man type tailing people. And it was a good time it paid well, but you train so long for the big game, the big game happens. And now you can't get into it. Like, for me, that was crushing. I was like, Hey, I am. But Crooker should know, I'm getting back into this game. And yeah, because I loved it and did well at it. Here we are.

Athan (55:55):

Yeah, I tell people all the time it is like, guys, like you and I who had like, basically half of our career prior a big section of our career prior to 911. And then after 911, I think we really have a leg up because we really did get the cotton to take, we were doing all the training and all the skill. And so like when, shit happened, we had done, we had been distracted. Like you said, after that it's just deployment after deployment after, you don't really get time to do all the training. And so I think our generation is kind of lucky in that way.

Joshua (56:29):

Yeah, I think we're lucky, especially the universe we went to, and I know your shit on this as well. He knew we went there and there were people that actually cared about what they were doing there. Yes, it was a specialty unit within the regular army. When you showed up, you got the SOP book. Yeah. And if you expected to learn how to cross linear danger areas, you're expected to know how to do subsurface hides and how to make comms no matter who you were, it didn't matter. So knowing those SOPs when I went to Special Forces, they're like, oh, you're a Bravo. Can you make comms? I was like, fuck yeah, I can make up the echo for this. But do you want to HF? Or do you attack and like, what do you want? You know, right. But just having that cross training in the SOPs laid out for you, it'd be constantly trained on because you had the time to do it because you weren't in war. Right? Or knew you were going to war? That helped out?

Athan (57:20):

Right. Yeah, I totally agree. Well, man, it's been so great catching up with you. I always tell people I'm the worst at staying in touch with people, like you said, like, I keep my server generally small. But, it's something as I'm 44 now and as I'm like, trying to get on in my life, like, I think something I really, I want in my life is to kind of have well, you actually have a three part purpose. One of them is optimal health, health of myself and others with optimal health. The second one is deeper human connection, and that's something I really want more like, there's other people out there doing stuff that I can really, I'd like to contribute to and that I know that I could I could also receive from and so with all that being said, Man, I'd love to stay in touch more with you. I really believe in what you're doing. i It's inspiring. And, Dave Hall and I talk all the time by traveling up to your brewery and come in and see you. So hopefully, we'll make that happen. Oh, man,

Joshua (58:19):

We're doing well. Hopefully, we have the grand opening in February for this new Taproom. And you guys can make the trip.

Athan (58:25):

For real. Let me know when that day is and that'd be a perfect day for me to come show up.

Joshua (58:30):

Perfect, man. Yeah. All right. Well,

Athan (58:33):

Thank you for the time today. I really appreciate it. And that's a wrap. We'll see.

Joshua (58:39):

I appreciate good talking with you.

Athan (58:43):

I'm so grateful that you joined us for this episode of doing the work podcast. Providing you with value is why I do this and I hope you got something out of this episode that you can put into action into your life. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please share this episode with your friends and family who are looking to level up in life. Sign up for our email list at To receive special offers and discounts from our sponsors. subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, YouTube, Amazon and anywhere podcasts are hosted. Thanks again for joining the doing the work podcast. And we'll see you in the next episode.

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