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#8 - Kicking Doors Down In Life w/ Jason Dersch

In this episode, I chat with Jason Dersch. We talk about the warrior path, 31 practices, turning struggle into strength, and so much more.

Jason (00:00):

You know, I told you I don't believe in fate. I'm not a religious man, I don't believe in I CAN or anything like that. But I think I needed those 10 years of my life, those 11-12 years of my life, to be able to talk about this program and use my story in a positive way to show people that you can turn struggle into strength, you can turn every obstacle you have in your life into an opportunity. I just stopped kicking doors on the day that I left the military. I Don't wait for doors to open for me, I go and I kick them out. Because I'm ready to attack life and just give back as much as I can and show the people that they can do that too.

Athan (00:39):

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 empowered 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 Tracy's driving grocery backdrops iconic neighborhood grocery store, serving the community since 1946. And home at the best coffee in Bastrop. Check them out at www.Tracy' I was thinking about it. I don't think I've talked to you since I don't remember she left at seculars first or whether it was you or me, but it had to be around 98-99

Jason (02:06):

Yeah, that was December of 99. I was out.

Athan (02:09):

Okay, so I guess I left then. Yeah, I guess I left there. And now that I think of October ‘99. So I probably got out just a couple before. Yeah. And I haven't actually talked to you in person since then. But one of the things that I hate most is social media mostly. But one of the things I love about social media is that I get to keep up with people I care about your kindness, too and stuff so

Jason (02:34):

Trust me man, I'm following everybody as much as I can. Yeah, we get disconnected by that physical distance. But social media is absolutely great to just check in. You know, we don't have to set up a time to have a call or see how everybody's doing, just it's a quick Hey, man, you do it. Alright, hey, what's up? Or got a comment on one of your posts or comment on some of these posts? They know you know you're there. So?

Athan (02:59):

Yeah, I love that man. And, it's been kind of cool. You know, to see like that little group of guys who, I always consider that was like, I don't know if it was just kind of like that moment in time at that unit or whatever. But some there's just some. I mean, for me some really inspirational and like really good guys who came through that unit at that time. And so it's been absolutely, I haven't been able to keep up with all of them. I don't even know where all of them are. But just the ones I have been able to keep up with. Yeah, it's pretty cool.

Jason (03:33):

Yeah, there's a couple that have dropped off the radar that I wouldn't fall in love to. I would love to be able to reach out to or just see how they're doing. But it's we're all going our separate ways and, and struggling well, and just trying to try to make life the best that we can know how things are?

Athan (03:51):

Yeah, I assume some of those guys went off to places where they probably can't be in touch with other people. And I know for sure that we have fact with a few of those guys.

Jason (04:01):

Dude there was one I'm not going to name any names, but there was one so when I got out, I was out for like, a year and then I came back in, but I went to the Air Force. So I was doing an Air Force shift for like four years, and I ran everywhere. No, I did. I did command and control. Not even it's just the command control. Um, but I ran into him at a Barnes and Nobles and it was all like fucking secret squirrel shit you just like yeah, man. I'm doing well. Um, I love it. I love where I'm at, man. I'm never leaving. I must say I'm 35 years 40 years old. Man: Yeah, I'm good. How are you doing? Oh, cool, man. I gotta go.

Athan (04:38):

That's funny. I had the exact same experience with someone else who I won't mention their name. Probably not the same person but I was, so I was out for six and a half years and then came back in and I'm in the guard now. So I was at my house in the garden. We had to go to Bragg and I was In the coding and sales, like I needed some socks or some shit, and I looked over, and there's a dude wearing a suit, but I recognize his face. I was like, and I said his name and he looked at me. And, we just had a moment right there. He was like, I don't know, he was picking up something, too. He's in a suit again. He had the same kind of conversation. You're like, Yeah, I'm over somewhere. And I'm like, Yeah, that's what I'm doing now. I was like, awesome is kind of cool. That bump randomly bumps into him like that.

Jason (05:29):

Yeah. Well, it's amazing. What do you think about, who was there and where they all went? Because we were a generation ago. Then there were the older guys that were there. When we got there. They all went on to their stuff. Our generation went on and did our stuff. And you won't believe it. One of the guys that can't do the program in our major. He knew some of the younger guys that came after us that we were mentoring. Like when I'm doing a phone interview with music, oh, this guy. I'm like, fuck candlelit guy was my fucking RTO. Yeah. And it's, I mean, just that the world is ridiculously small, especially in that community. Ridiculous. Yes, more.

Athan (06:07):

Yes. There's actually a guy in the Texas guard with me now. I can't say his name, his name is Hoffman. And he actually came after us. He was there after us. And he was like, we knew similar people, and we shared some stories and stuff. So pretty cool. Actually, that's a perfect segue to kind of start in the podcast. I mean, your group of guys were like, what I can, everyone, when they first come into the military, they have like that spec for mafia that kind of mentors. And raise them up and, beat them up when they need to be beat up and hugs on them when they need to be hugged on and your little group of guys have e4, I was kind of like, I think I was assessed and got into that unit, I was like, 32, or something like that. And I looked up to you, and those other e fours that were in a unit. And so having looked at you as an inspiration, and kind of and then now seeing what you're doing now, I see the little clips that you put on social media and organizations that you're involved with, and just various different things. It's just really inspirational to me. And as I was trying to, I want to talk to people who have gifts and talents to share with the world and and through my little tiny platform here, see if I can, one learn from you and also share that gift with as many people as I possibly can. So thank you.

Jason (07:42):

Absolutely, brother.

Athan (07:43):

Yeah, what have you been up to lately, man, I see you. I mean, you're got your hands in a lot of different things. So like, what do you actually do, what do you do for a living?

Jason (07:53):

Okay, so I don't do anything for a living. I don't work, man. Okay, that's awesome. I get to serve you to continue serving and you know what, the second that you change that one little word from what do I have to do to what do I get to do your life completely changes, it's a mental thing. So what I do now is I get to serve next to a group of amazing warriors, first responders and combat veterans. And every month we get to jump down in the hole with another group of warriors who are struggling and help show them that there's a way out, that they don't have to live a diminished version of themselves, that they don't have to succumb to the symptoms that the VA puts on us. This is all you're broken, you're never going to be the same. Your best days are behind you. Um, you just have to suffer and live with how you are. So I work for a program for a nonprofit called the Big Red Barn retreat. It's here in Blackfoot, South Carolina, and we run a program called warrior path.

Jason (08:49):

And its path P.A.T.H.H, Progressive And Alternative Training for Healing Heroes. And what we do is, we have a week long training program. It's not therapy, although it's therapeutic. It's not counseling. We're not there to coddle them. We're there to talk to them like you and I would talk offline or like a buddy would talk to a buddy. Just real talk. No therapist, no counselors, no psychiatrist, and a psychologist, just worried for Warriors by warriors. And our program is based on the science of post traumatic growth, which is turning struggle into strength, turning those obstacles that we've had in our lives into opportunities. And we use several different warriors, ancient warrior tactics and techniques, such as walking the labyrinth, hiking bonfires to really get them this voyeurs to see that the change that they want to see in the world starts with them. And at the ends of their happiness and their success or in their pocket. They just needed a door open in a different way.

Jason (09:50):

And some material presented to them with a different approach, then, you're fucked up, you're messed up, you're going to be broken, you're never going to be better. And you just have to live with it because it's just not true. We don't want people to just survive and just get by, we want them to thrive. And when you ask somebody, Hey, how are you doing? I challenge you to always ask them a second time. Because the second time they're really going to tell you asking me how you're really doing, because that's what happened to me. A buddy of mine that I served with, was a roommate of mine. He's actually a program. He was up at the program in Virginia. And he called me one day and he just said, Hey, man, how are you doing? I'm like, What do you mean? I'm like, do you ever see my Instagram? You haven't seen my bucket on my Facebook? I'm great. I'm living life. And he said, No, man, are you really doing that? I pulled over on the side of the highway and I talked to him for about an hour. I broke down and man, I was faking the funk. For many years. I got out in 2009. And this was back in 2000, in the beginning of 2019.

Jason (10:47):

So 10 years. Yeah, outside, looking out, I was good. But inside I was battling demons or relationships, friendships, I was isolating, self medicating and doing all that shit. But the social media view of me was great. Yep, and I realized that’s just wasn't who I was. I wasn't the person that I was looking at in the mirror. Every morning wasn't the person that I was showing the world. And I finally was tired of my own bullshit. And they say growth happens when you finally get tired of your own bullshit. Yeah, what about this program? I went to the program in Arizona, like two and a half years ago. And I say it doesn't change. It didn't change my life at all. What it did was it changed my perspective on life. Because I had an amazing life, I was just taking it for granted. I was always looking for the bad shit, I couldn't get close to anybody, because nobody, we were just talking about the giants that walked among, back when we were serving in that one unit. And nobody compared to those guys, the guys that would give their lives for you, or the guys that you would give your life for nobody. I just found a way to pick apart everybody's character. I thought well, I just I'd rather be alone than be with people who didn't add up to the amazing friendships and Brotherhood's that are formed in the military. So that's what I get to do every month. Now we have a program a month, and it's amazing. We just finished one, seven warriors have a perspective on life.

Athan (12:12):

Man, there's just so much in that, first of all, thank you for the work you're doing. I mean, we need more people who take it upon themselves to serve others, too, I have a saying that I try to live by. I really love to see this in other people, that none of us make it until all of us make it. You know, that's part of the brotherhood that you and I were raised in, you were out there with your guys in the middle of nowhere. And if all of you didn't make it, none of you may not have and you and I try to live my life like that. And so thank you for being the kind of person who steps up for others. But there's so much packed in what you just said, like I have so many questions. Yeah, so well, one how to guys. So guys are kind of self selected into this program. How do you guys find it? You know?

Jason (13:02):

Yep. So what I would suggest if you want to get some information on the program, just Google warrior path, and it's pathh with two H's. We have 10 programs around the country. Now we start off with the original nonprofit is the Boulder Crest Institute in Virginia. And they started the program or your path in two and a half years ago, three years ago was just those two. And over the last two and a half years, they've expanded to eight other locations across the country and got one in Maine, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas, Washington, just didn't want in Big Sur, they're opening to Texas, and we've got an NTT mobile training team that kind of goes around all over the place. And what you do is, for my program, I'm here in South Carolina, you can go to the big red barn, and look up our programming and it says warrior path on there. Now you can go through any of the nonprofit's that are running around the world around the country. But when you fill out an application for this, it actually will shoot to the main headquarters up in the main nonprofit up in Virginia.

Jason (14:10):

And then they kind of filter down to the locations that the person might be closest to. And then what we'll do is we'll reach out to you and I do a lot of recruiting for the program. I'll sit down actually, I've got a call after this on when we just sit down and listen to the Warriors struggles, what are they struggling with? Now, the key distinction here is to understand that we are not rehab, we're not a detox. We're not a 12 step program we're training. So you need to be in the right mindset to come to the program. You have to be willing and ready to make a change for yourself and for your family and your community. It can't be forced on you. This isn't a go to jail or go to the warrior PATHH program. It's not like that. Yeah, people who are ready to open to see some change in their life and to do the hard work because we say life's not hard, but it is hard work.

Athan (14:57):

Yeah. I like to think that it's simple, not easy. You were living your life back in 2018-2019 Doing what you were doing. And then you went through the program. And how did you get through being someone who went through the program to be in someone now who works in the program?

Jason (15:17):

Okay, so I had the amazing opportunity to go through with one of the most amazing NCOs that I've ever met, SAR major Lamont Christian. So that was seven of us in our team. He was accommodated at the drill sergeant Academy, he was the post Sergeant Major for Fort Jackson up until 2018, and 32 years of service and just all around Airborne Infantry guy. So we clicked right off the bat. Yeah. So a year to the program. So the thing is, this program isn't just seven days, it's 18 months. So you do seven days in house at an amazing retreat to do the training. And then it's 18 months of follow up continued education. I'm expanding on the stuff that we worked on that we talked about during the seven days. So during that 18 months, I'm in contact with my team, it's having that small fire team, again, that support network to close three to five people who you want to be like, and over the course of the first year, he let me know that they actually wanted to open up one of the warrior path programs here in South Carolina where he lived. And he's like, man, what do I have to do to get you on my team? Is that a possibility?

Jason (16:24):

And I told him, I said, Chris, you just tell me what day you need me to be there and the address and I'm there. So we came out here and we came out to South Carolina, from San Francisco was where I was at. I was a firearms instructor actually and a driving instructor there for Brinks. armored car company in Oakland. Oh, yeah. So voyage is one of the many things that I did. I know. I'll ask about some of that stuff in a minute. No worries, man. So I came out here for a weekend, and we ended up buying a house. We were ready to go like me, my fiance, my partner. She's like, I don't even have to ask her. Hey, you want to do this? She's like, yes. So we came out. And we came out here for about 14 months, and started the program. And it was just a, I don't want to say it was a happy coincidence, because I don't believe in luck, or fate or Karma. I don't believe in any of that stuff. It was just the right opportunity. And Chris saw something in me that would be able to help other warriors who were struggling and, I'm humbled that I have the opportunity to work with the team that I've got. Chris is my mentor, he helps me on a daily basis, the team that I have that I work with, we've got like seven other guys that work with us now. And all combat vets. All struggle. We're all struggling still on. We just tried to make today better than yesterday. And that's basically it. And they're for us. We're able to do it as a team, we're able to deliver that program to other warriors who are struggling as well.

Athan (17:54):

Yeah, I'm so glad you brought that up about Chris, who has become a mentor to you. Because someone asked me recently, before I went into the military, I was a complete fuckup. I had never been successful at anything in my entire life. I was constantly in trouble. You know, it's a classic story that you and I all know, that in the military, and I was that kid. And then they asked me, Well, what was different when you got into the military, and what you just said was exactly, I got to walk with giants. And they looked at me and saw me as nothing other than a huge ball of potential, they didn't see me for what I was doing. In that moment, they saw me for what I could be, and what they knew I was capable of, and they would accept nothing less than the standard, like what I was capable of.

Athan (18:43):

And every time I didn't meet my, what my potential, they were not afraid to tell me that I was fucked up. They were not afraid to do the work to help me get right. And that changed my life. I mean, those having men in my life who loved me enough to not let me be the legal version. Yeah, fucked up the weak version of what I was showing them. And, and then just the opportunity, like you said that, what we did in the military gave us a chance to, your commander would give you the end state, but you got to kind of get there however you got there. Yep. And, that was powerful for me, because I wasn't the type of person who could just like, do what you're told to sit down, shut up, do what you're told. I needed to kind of be able to do things my own way. I had those kinds of leaders who allowed us to do that.

Jason (19:35):

Yeah, I think it was a standard that was set for me in that unit. Um, a good leader tells these troops, the soldiers, what needs to get done, he doesn't tell them how to do it. Yeah. And then you sit back and you'd be amazed at their ingenuity, their determination, their motivation, and that's kind of stuck with me this whole time is, we all have a mission To accomplish whatever that admission is, and if you've got a team and you're leading that team that's tell them what you need to get done. And let them blow you away by their, by how they do it.

Athan (20:09):

Yeah, and I think the powerful part of being a leader, I'm a leader, in my life, the difference between a good leader and a great leader are people who they kind of check their ego, they I realized, I know very little, right. And if I can put myself in my people in a place where I can be constantly learning and growing from them, then we're all gonna throw to be better. And I think some leaders or even you might call managers, we might call leaders, they just want that. They don't want to admit that they don't know very much. And so they're going to bark orders at you, they're going to tell you all the time, what they know and how to do it. Because they're insecure, and they're not very good leaders.

Jason (20:53):

So yep. Epsilon

Athan (20:55):

I'm glad that we were kind of raised up in a different way.

Jason (20:59):

You know, we were raised that you're gonna suck, right now. We're gonna make you suck, because that's how we were raised. That's what was done to us. We're going to do to you, it was done to us. But you know what they say? What is it? Hard times make hard men, hard men make easy times, easy times make hard men and that cycle, right. So we were heartbroken. I mean, I think you were a little bit older than me when I went, I was literally I didn't turn 21 yet. I look back at pictures. I'm like, I was like a kid. But we know we were doing this shit that grown ass men do. And we expected, there was a lot expected of us. And we went through that suck. And we realized what our potential was. I think that was the main point of all that. No Ranger creed out in the back and just getting smoked all day long every day and just running harasses into the ground was to show us what we could actually do. And that's what turned us into the leaders that we were the soldiers that we were in. I mean, the success is written all over that unit, and the soldiers that were in it. So the testament to that style of leadership.

Athan (22:07):

Yeah. And there's just not enough of that going around anymore. You know, I long for that. Because of who I am now, who I've had some successes with, I'm nowhere near where I could be. I know that I'm there, there's more out there for me. I'm sometimes left with trying to find those people in my life who are willing to kind of be hard on me, who are willing to hold me accountable, who are willing to kick me in the ass when I need it. And it feels to me and maybe you feel you're in a different environment than I am. Well, it might not feel like this to you. But to me out here, it feels like there's there it's few and far between to find people like that to keep you going.

Jason (22:53):

Absolutely. Yeah, we always talk about accountability. And accountability is nothing without consequences. Not I mean, consequences like physically hurting anybody but like holding someone accountable. And that's a big part of our program is accountability for yourself. And then you also have accountability for that small fire team that you know that that support group that you have now and accountability can simply be Hey, you said you're going to work out you know, three times a week I'm let's do a zoom call and workout together. I want to hold you accountable. I'm going to physically hold you accountable for your actions. And if you don't, then I'm going to call you every morning. I'm going Hey, man, get up. Let's go workout, some kind of accountability. It's easy to say, yeah, I'm gonna hold you accountable and never really do anything about it. But that strong three to five network that you had that can hold you accountable. You know? That's a great motivator. Because where we come from our mentality is we don't want to let our brother to our left and our brother toward our right down. We don't want it. We don't want to do that. So being held accountable is super important.

Athan (23:54):

Yeah, accountability is huge. And or even just you know, ownership like taking a part of accountability is a guy lost, okay. You went a little staticky there. Oh, so part of it is also taking ownership like I am my brother's keeper. I am responsible for how he does, that's a big part of accountability.

Jason (24:23):

Absolutely works. We're responsible for what happens and it will fail to happen. Remember, that patrol leader is responsible for everything that happens on a mission and everything that fails to happen. Now it's right. After all the time we were in the military, we don't just stop the day we ETS or the day you take the day you take that uniform off, man, you're not going to stop being that person. What we need to do is to re-hone those skills, repurpose the skills we had in the military, because they're absolutely transferable to the civilian to civilian world. It's a little bit different. You just have to repurpose them for a different environment. And no, it's it. Accountability is a huge thing.

Athan (25:00):

So what is it about you? I mean, I know some of your background, but like, why is it that you chose to do this now? Like, why was this a good opportunity for you? What is it about your character? What is it about who you are? And again, I think we'll eventually get into like some other stuff that you did in the gap there. Like you're a very talented person, you're a very intelligent person, like, what? Why do this?

Jason (25:25):

Alright, so, I mean, I joined the military right out of high school, and I was in for just about 15 years. So I got out. And the last thing that I wanted to do was be a cop, or be a security guard, every contractor, I was done. My life didn't revolve around it at that moment, my life revolved around my job, the military, unfortunately, I started to struggle, I started to chase the adrenaline. And it was in the form of a little white powder lined up on my damn kitchen counter. And it caught up with me. And unfortunately, the military doesn't, doesn't look to highlight upon that, and didn't matter what I did. And in the previous years of my career, on many deployments, in all the success that I had as leader, it was irredeemable. So I ended up separating from the military after just about 15 years, and I was completely lost. Dude, I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I said, Fuck it, I'm going to run away. I sold everything I owned, I bought a motorcycle, and I left sick. I'll figure it out along the way. I ended up going out of the country for about seven years, and did some other stuff and tried to figure out who it was that I was, because everything of who I was, what it was based off of a little black and gold tab, it was on my shoulder.

Jason (26:44):

And that's all I was. That's the only thing that I knew how to be an airborne unfortunate. That's all I knew. That was my whole identity wrapped around. I remember specifically on my journey, I was taking the trip on my motorcycle, and I stopped for leaving to have dinner at someplace else on board. A book started talking to some guy and the bartender ticket was and I told him, You know what I did? And he's like, it was an Army Ranger. I jumped out of airplanes, infantry, school, Sniper, and he's like, What, Ranger? Was that like a park ranger like Yogi Bear, man, and I wanted to fucking punch him in the throat man. I, at that moment, I realized, and it was like a sledgehammer to my chest that people who don't know. And yeah, that's all my identity was wrapped around. And I was like, fuck, who the hell am I gonna be? What am I? Who am I, if I'm not that. And so for 10 years, I did a bunch of different stuff, most professional chef, some restaurants, and I became a hairdresser. So because Oh, it's cosmetology school, I became a barber in San Francisco, and none of that was really filling the niche that I wanted, I was making money, I lived a great life. I had a nice car and an amazing place.

Jason (27:55):

Excuse me, but I didn't, I hadn't found that. What was giving me purpose again. And that's kind of the ultimate cycle of what we teach our program is getting back to service getting back because warriors are men of service. Warriors are people of service. And we want to be able to give back and I had the opportunity to and that's what I did, man. I do it now. Because I think now I needed to 10 years or 12 years, to really figure out how fucked up I was, and how much I was faking myself out, I was trying to convince myself that I was okay. And that the problem was everybody else's. Everybody else is fucked up. Because they don't do it my way. Everybody else is fucked up. Because, hey, I've survived multiple combat deployments. I've never lost a guy in combat. I went to a foreign country, opened up to restaurants, I didn't speak the language, I was successful. I did this. I was one of the only alpha males that attended a cosmetology school in San Francisco. And I was like, honored graduate. And, I know what the hell I'm doing. You got to trust me.

Jason (28:58):

And yeah, unfortunately, that's not nobody looks too kindly upon somebody who talks to them like that, or treats them like that, and I finally realized it, but I needed that all that perspective, so that I can have a better perspective and I think, it tells you how to believe in fate I'm not a religious man, I don't believe it con or anything like that. But I think I needed those 10 years of my life those 11-12 years of my life, to be able to talk about this program and use my story in a positive way to show people that you can turn struggle into strength you can turn every obstacle you have in your life into an opportunity and I didn't stop kicking doors the day that I just stopped picking doors in the day that I left the military I Don't wait for doors to open for me. I went and I kicked them down. Because I'm willing to attack life and and and just give back as much as I can and show the people that they can do that to the best days of my life are not behind me by any stretch of imagination.

Athan (29:59):

Yeah, And I love that man, like, I look the same way, I bounced around a few different career fields, I tried a few different things. And some of those things didn't work out for me at the moment. It's not what I stuck with. But I now know what I know, now I look back, and I was like, that's the education, I needed to be here where I am now. And to be able to give what I'm giving now I had to go through that you can't learn that in a book, you can't learn it in a classroom. You know, and so I can relate. So much to what you were just talking about. I think that what you're in is also just kind of the identity piece. I spent a lot of time, I came into the military, same as you 17 years old, immediately out of high school. And what I didn't realize then, but that I know now is that I wasn't doing any of that. For me, I didn't go through all the military schools I went through, I didn't volunteer for the combat deployments that I went through. For me, I was trying to prove to everybody else that I was worth something, I always tried to give myself the quote, unquote, tab, so that I, so people would look up to me or something. And once I let go of when I tried to be no one when I tried to just be nothing is when I finally was able to give my gifts to the world and be content and to be happy.

Jason (31:32):

You know, Viktor Frankl, he wrote a book called Man's Search for Meaning. I don't know if you read it yet. But yeah, so he talks about happiness and success. Don't make it your goal. Um, happiness, and success will come simply because you've forgotten to pursue it, if you stopped pursuing it. And that's so true, I did the same thing. And I was the skinny kid in high school, I was the, my sister used to beat me up in high school. And we look at people who join the military for one of two reasons, they're running from something, or they're looking for something. I was doing a little bit of both, I wanted to have something that I could be proud of, I wanted to run away from the, oh, that's just getting Jay Z's kitties. He doesn't know anything. I was chasing that. The next school, I wanted to be the best. I wanted to be the baddest, I wanted to be, you know, I wanted to be a mentor, wanted to be looked up to. And I kept chasing and kept checking. I did it until I got out. And then I continued to do that after I got out. And then I realized, this program helped me realize the warrior path helped me realize that just be you, happiness will ensue, simply because you've forgotten to pursue it. Because you've forgotten about it. You know?

Athan (32:49):

Yeah, I think what I tried to coach other people to do is, find that thing in your life that you would do for free, if money wasn't a thing, and bills weren't a thing. And, a lifestyle wasn't a thing. Find that thing that you would do for free, that thing that just makes you feel whole and complete, and fulfills you and then find a way to make money do it that, find a way to and if you don't make that much money, at least you have joy, happiness, love, you know?

Jason (33:23):

Yep, that's what we focus on is life is a series of ups and downs. It's making it so that it's like a heartbeat monitor where it's consistent. It's not extreme highs and extreme lows. And it's staying in that liveable band, right? That livable band is where Joy's is where joy resides, we understand that there's some ups and downs, there's highs and lows, but we just try to keep them in a regulated or regulated band. And that's where joy is. And if we could find that thing inside of us, that gives us joy, like you just said, that spirit is the thing that you get up every day to do. It's what gets you out of bed every morning. And, if you could do it for free, and you still want to do it, then that's great, I think it's a great sign that that's what you meant to do. And that's what you should follow. I absolutely have an amazing opportunity here with what I'm doing. I don't do it for free. I got a mortgage to pay, just like everybody else.

Athan (34:17):

I'm the same bow I have to make money. I gotta make money doing what I love doing is absolutely no oh man.

Jason (34:23):

I say you never work a day in your life if you do what you love. I absolutely love every day being able to jump in a hole with a warrior or group of warriors and show them there's a better way.

Athan (34:32):

And that's clear to me when I see again, I caught glimpses of that in your social media and stuff that you were posting is that, because I was also watching when you were posting about like when you were a chef and you were making food, there's just a different energy, a different vibration about you. Even that comes through the screen to me in what you're doing now versus the glimpse of what I mean. Of course, I don't see you in your everyday life. It's just my outside observer, of course. Seeing it, I noticed a difference. Personally.

Jason (35:02):

Absolutely. And what I don't post anywhere near as much as I used to when I was trying to portray this lifestyle, or this life that I had or how I was. So when I post now, it's something that comes to me and it'll be every couple of weeks I'll post something that just hits me. I think it's more powerful when you have something to say. And, all I'm doing is putting out my message, what I feel, and, I'm excited about life, I have a renewed sense of excitement, and gratitude, which is a daily practice, being grateful for what we have, because we both know guys that, unfortunately, aren't here to be able to enjoy it. And what a waste if we just, if we waste that life away, the pissed off all the time, looking for the bad things, being negative, isolating, self medicating, it's like, What the hell did they die for the guy to our left and our right, the brothers that we know that didn't make it back? If anything, I have to live the most amazing life for them.

Athan (36:05):

Yeah, same. It's like living, just having the gratitude of knowing you and I, unfortunately, have lived in circles encircled through circumstances where we might not have lived through it. And that creates a level of gratitude. And, thankfulness knowing that nothing is promised, I could die tonight, or my loved ones, someone around me could end. So I don't want to waste this moment that I'm in right now.

Jason (36:34):

Because you know what? Yeah, I would hate to waste the experiences that I had the word hero gets thrown around a lot for stuff that we did. And I don't think I'll ever think I was a hero for anything that I voluntarily did in Army combat in the military. But I can relate to another version of the word hero. And that's an ordinary person who survives extraordinary circumstances, and lives to tell about it and comes back to his community and shares those lessons that he learned or she learned from those experiences to help other people be able to deal with them if they're faced with them, as well. And, that's what I get to do. And if I can help somebody else, live a better life. Through my experiences, then I mean, that's the ultimate giving back for me.

Athan (37:25):

Yeah absolutely. You mentioned a little while ago, while you were talking you were talking about it's a daily practice. There are certain things that are a daily practice. I'm curious, whenever I talk to people who I look up to or who inspire me, I'm always curious about what are the things that they do to continue to keep themselves caught in the military to suit your PMCS? Right, your maintenance that you do to keep your weapons and your vehicles and everything running? Tip Top? Do you? Do you have things that you do? Or are there things that you coach your guys to do? You know, stay at the top of their game?

Jason (38:01):

Absolutely. So let me ask you a question on your tools. You got a toolbox full of tools, right? When do you use your tools?

Athan (38:08):

Usually, whenever you've broken.

Jason (38:10):

Exactly, when something's broken, what if I told you there's a way to do something where it doesn't get broken. So you don't have to react? You can be proactive. So what we teach and what we do are practices. So practices are things that you do on a regular, consistent, intentional basis, so that you can get ahead of the struggles and you can get ahead of the stress of life where you have to build a capacity to respond versus react. I mean, we all know battle drills, right battle drills back to contact, you know exactly what you have to do. You don't even think about it. Well, when you make that shift from the military first responder community to the civilian world, most of the time, we're not in situations where you have to react, you can actually take some time to respond to make a thoughtful decision. But we're never trained how to deactivate from react mode to respond mode. So we do that by practices and no program we teach, we introduce our warriors to 31 Different wellness practices, anywhere from meditation to archery, on eating healthy journaling, practicing gratitude, breathing techniques, music, situational awareness, modeling to look out for the negatives in life, but look out for the positive, literally stop and smell the roses, don't just walk by all the good things in your life and ignore, ignore them and only focus on the bad things.

Jason (39:35):

So for me, what are the things that I do on a daily basis? I do a guided journal. I'm actually right now reading the daily stoic issues. Yeah, so I do my journal there. It's actually a read. I'll read the passage and then the interpretation. I'll do my journaling in that and then I will practice daily gratitude. Just something it could be something as simple as man. I'm grateful that I had an amazing night's sleep or I'm grateful for the team that was able to help me yesterday through the program, because I was struggling with something, it can be anything. But I think they say it takes 27 days or 28 days to start to form a habit. And once you start doing those things on a regular basis, it's amazing, you'll see your mind start shifting, your perspective starts shifting, and it's all about a perspective changed, changing the angle that you look at something that was the same weapon system on the same exact person. But now I just have a different scope, a different scope in life. And those practices are things you do on a regular, consistent and intentional basis to be better today than we were yesterday. So it could be anything, we introduced them to 31. But there's I mean, there's infinite.

Jason (40:39):

We'd all hunt, fish, I mean, there's a lot of stuff, working on cars, whatever you do to help yourself with self care, because that's what that's what it's all about, is taking care of ourselves. We are, we're it's like it's in our DNA to help everybody else. And it's funny, because of all the words that come through our program, almost all of them tell a story of how they're helping other people. They're helping other people do this, they're helping other people get through this situation in their family, and they're not taking care of themselves. And it starts as easy as you know, just you know, physical fitness, eating right? Do some meditation, sleep well, get a good sleep routine down and it doesn't have to be anything crazy. But yeah, those are the wellness practices.

Athan (41:22):

I love that there's 31 of them, I'm gonna have to be those on the website, or anything? Do you know where someone could see those?

31 Practices

Jason (41:29):

Yeah. Then, what you do is you fill out an application at the Red Barn retreat that we're doing, and you come to the program, and I'm going to tell you about this man. So when you look at the spectrum of struggling, you got guys that are on one side, one side of the this that one end of the spectrum who might be ready to suck on the working end of a shotgun, they don't know what they don't know what to do, they don't know where to go. Yeah, fortunately, that's not where I feel a little bit on the other side, where it's just, I don't feel right, I don't feel normal, I don't feel like I have a purpose. I've got some anger issues. And the great thing is go into this program, it's all the same training. And you get out of it, what you put into it, and if you want to get something out of it, you don't have to be on the edge of taking your life or making that ultimate decision, to a temporary problem to come to this program. It gives you a different perspective on life. And it's amazing. So those 31 wellness practices, you will get a great deeply for seven days, when you come to the program.

Athan (42:30):

I love it, I would let this like I said, I'm out there seeking, like what you're talking about people who are going to help develop me and you know, I want to get I have more to give. I know that for me to give I need to grow. So I love that. There's so many differences. So habits and all that when I think about optimization, I think more about, like what you were talking about guys, the warriors who come through, and I see a lot of people like this, certainly people who enter service, right? So you're thinking about your military, your law enforcement, your firefighters, they want to give up but they forget that if you are thinking of yourself as a tool, right? Then then your tool isn't worth much if it's not being maintained, optimized, and you're not gonna be able to give nearly as much. And so I find that it helps people to kind of grasp taking care of themselves a little better when they frame it like that, you know.

Jason (43:36):

Absolutely man, you can't take care of anybody if you don't take care of yourself. If your glass is empty, how are you going to help fill somebody else's glass? It's just, I mean, to me, it's a very simple analogy, but that's just the truth. Um, yeah, but most of us spend years and years trying to do that. So what I say is imagine if you steal your glass First, you take care of yourself, you do a little self care, some self maintenance. Imagine how much more effective you could be at helping other people with whatever it is that you're helping them with.

Athan (44:09):

Yeah. 100% agree. Well, were there things that you thought I was going to ask you about or that you hoped I would ask you about that you wanted to make sure that you share?

Jason (44:22):

No, man I honestly was just happy to catch up with you. I've got I remember once I remember I was thinking about this one time you and I went out to Raleigh and I'm gonna leave it I'm just gonna leave it there. Remember you and I went up to Raleigh once and no yeah, we paratroopers do up there. And yeah, I remember and but that's what I was thinking about it honestly, it's the opportunity to just catch up with you. All are amazing men. Because we don't, we just don't do that enough. Not just you and me but all of the board community. We just don't do that enough. We have our lives in the military. First responders. And then we go back to our whole genome, especially the military, we go back to wherever we were from, which is usually not where we were stationed at or where we're together. So we use contact. Um, I appreciate the opportunity to get to talk about the warrior caste burger. And because it is, everything you see here, this is genuine man, this is my, the zeal that I have for life now is, is 100% because of this program, and what I get to do on a regular basis with warriors who are struggling, so I mean, I'm just going to share the message with you and catch up with you, bro.

Athan (45:36):

Yeah, me too. I'm so glad. It's, well, one, what you just said is, I think rings true. There's like a level of authenticity that you that people recognize in somebody when they're like, This is who I am. And I see that in you. And that's why because I love the history that we shared together. And I had been seeing how you've been growing, I wanted to catch up with you too, because we don't do it enough. I didn't know the whole story of like, what you were working on, and how you were serving. And you're doing such great stuff that I knew it would be a good opportunity for us to capture it. But I am so bad that I am the worst. I don't know why it is this way. But I don't reach out to people as much as I want to. People will always come to mind, but I don't take the action to reach out to them. And it's something that I'd like to be better about.

Jason (46:32):

It's about being an intentional man. There's two things that can never be taken away from your attitude, the wake up every day and your effort. So yes, do it. You know, and again, that keeping in contact with people doesn't have to mean we were going to spend an hour talking everyday like schoolgirls. But yeah, it's just being intentional about just reaching out to brothers that hey, man, I'm thinking about you. I've had several guys that I worked with at the DOM obviously reach out just a quick message, just quit Facebook messages or a messenger and just say, Hey, man, think about it, I'm here if you ever need anything. And when people do that, to me, I know. It means the world. So it's real. So yeah, real simple.

Athan (47:12):

Absolutely. Well, thank you for the gifts that you're given to the world. I'm so grateful. There's people out there like you. And I'm going to commit to reaching out more often, not just to you back to a lot of those other warriors who are just not even people in my life who have touched me. So thank you so much. And I appreciate the time today, man.

Jason (47:37):

No, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to sit down and share my message. The more we get this out, the more the better it will be. We got warriors out there that are struggling right now that don't know where to turn. So once again, if you're struggling, reach out, we're here on you can you can just look up the warrior's pathh on Google, or go to the Big Red Barn retreat.RG and look up the programming and, and reach out. That's all that's all I can say, reach out because if I could get one message across, it's that you're not alone. I didn't get help for 10 years, man, because I didn't think anybody would understand the struggles that I was going through once they sat down with a group of warriors like myself, I realized that. Oh, shit. I'm not alone. There are other people that understand. Um, so that's all I could say, man. And it's so what we're trying to do is get that 22 A day down because it's ridiculous.

Athan (48:32):

Yeah, it's insane when I think about that number and it's unfortunate when I see it's now somewhat that you just become accustomed to just getting the news. So, there's gonna be a lot. I'm sure there's a lot of my buddies, military buddies out there watching this or listening to this. So I hope that they take you up on that offer. Absolutely. We're here, bro. All right, man. We'll take care of ourselves. And I appreciate you.

Jason (49:01):

As I always say, Wake up, hook up and get shit done. Readers lead the way, man.

Athan (49:05):

Yes. Alright, brother. I will talk to you later.

Jason (49:09):

All right later, but

Athan (49:13):

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 www.doingthe 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 world podcast and we'll see you on the next episode.

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