Three Steps Veterans Can Take If They Don’t Know What To Do

This is a conversation between the founders of High Speed Low Drag.† In this podcast Tom and Antonio share ideas about what veterans should do when they don’t know what to do.

Tom: Hey, everyone. Tom Morkes here with Antonio Centeno, your co-hosts of the High Speed Low Drag podcast.

Today we wanted to talk to you about what to do when you donít know what to do. Antonio, how are you doing today?

Antonio: Iím good but, you know, I donít know what to do right now so we didnít even script this thing out. I guess I should just not make a decision, maybe put my head in the sand because I — no, Iím just kidding us.

Thatís not the advice weíre going to give you. But I think thatís something that a lot of us do and sometimes without even thinking about. We kind of just put off the decision. We think that not making a decision is going to be okay.

But actually, not taking action is a choice and itís something that can hurt where youíre going or you can wake up one day and realize that you didnít take action or you didnít make a choice and you end up somewhere you didnít expect to be.

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Tom: Yeah, absolutely. And thatís why Iím excited about this topic because we were talking right before this about essentially three main things you can do if you donít know what to do. I think each of this is incredibly valuable but itís a kind of advice you donít hear often. So I donít know if you just want to just jump right in to it but Iím kind of excited just to start talking about this topic.

13271599423_90bca74ea8_zAntonio: Well, really quick, I would like to preface this with the fact that we’re making this for the guys in our private mastermind group over at High Speed Elite.

Weíre sharing this with everyone out there. But thatís the benefit is I know that the guys in our mastermind who right now for the first two months we are running them through a college level course on, you know, using my background from the University of Texas, Johnís experience making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.

Weíve kind of put this into a basically seven-week course that weíre running the guys through and weíre already getting them thinking. But a lot of them, they’re looking at the world.

Theyíre realizing that they can go out there and do anything, and thatís pretty overwhelming. So they are facing this question: what to do when you donít know what to do.

No, right now weíve got them going through this course. But we realized that, hey, weíve got to get these guys pointed in the right direction and starting to take action.

Thatís the first thing we recommend you do is donít think that not taking action or you can just sit back is going to be the right thing. I would say you need to take directed action because even if itís not having a huge effect, itís going to make you feel like youíre at least doing something.

Theyíve shown this with — I mean, whenever Hurricane Katrina — they did some research on the people that came out of there and the people that felt best about the situation were in some way volunteering, contributing, doing something. Thatís why even when people are really sick that we hear somebody say theyíre going to pray for them. Now I donít know if youíre an atheist or youíre a Christian or if youíre Buddhist but a part of prayer, actually the benefit for the person doing it is that they feel that theyíre actually doing something and that has a very positive effect and has a number of other effects in the body.

So that is the huge part about taking directed action is that youíre actually improving your mindset. Youíre becoming more clear. And even if youíre just making small steps in that direction, that will set you up for larger steps after that.

Tom: Yeah, absolutely. And I think an important part about, so number one, take directed action, is that I find that a lot of people especially when theyíre first starting out in anything — and Iím speaking from experience here — when you first open your mind up to whatís out there in the world whether it was the first time I started investing in real estate or the first time I tried to do options trading and stuff like that or when I first started building businesses online, I remember every time I walk into one of these new industries or these new places to learn new skill, to create something, itís overwhelming.

One of the things that I did a lot a few years back is I spent a lot of time reading and researching and talking and trying to wrap my head around things, which I think is important. But I think thereís a fine line there between the action taking of learning and trying to understand and then taking that next and trying to apply it directly like you said.

I donít know if youíd like to explain that or talk a little bit about that, Antonio. What are your thoughts on the difference between learning and kind of being somebody whoís trying to learn and read and all that? And whereís the fine line between that and actually taking directed action?

Insurgent_PublishingAntonio: Well, first off, Iím blown away that you are not only the owner of Insurgent Publishing but youíre also an options trader and a real estate investor. You are just like this —

Tom: I had a lot of free time in the Army or at least that’s what I spent my free time doing.

Antonio: Iím just thinking, man, you probably own half of Seattle or youíve just been buying up pieces here and there and things happen.

Tom: Yeah.

Antonio: If thatís the case, you need to send me a check.

Tom: Yeah, man, for sure. We can do a real estate related podcast later about how to use your VA loan to leverage into multifamily properties.

Antonio: Very cool. And you can only buy it to a four — is it still fourplex?

Tom: Yeah.

Antonio: Fourplex. I remember that. I looked t that actually. I remember being on the boat you have a lot when youíre deployed to think about.

Tom: Well, I took directed action.

Antonio: You did. I just read up about this stuff. You actually. So you do own a multifamily property?

Tom: Yeah, and a bunch of single-family homes actually. It was my hobby while I was in the Army.

Antonio: Gosh! My hobby was going down to the gas lab district myself under the table and starting fights with all my buddies. But I guess —

Tom: Thatís good too.

Antonio: Here we go. But letís get to the question about — and Iím going to use a more simple example that I know all of us have gone to or hopefully we have, and thatís learning how to ride a bike because you can sit and you can read books†and you can postulate. You can theorize. You can sit and talk about the benefits of riding a bike and how itís done and the mathematics and the physics of it.

If you think about it, itís actually pretty complicated and pretty amazing. Yet nothing will replace you actually sitting on that bike and starting to pedal and then falling down, scraping your knee, and then getting back up and continuing to ride.

So part of making things happen and living life and being successful as an entrepreneur, itís not just all the planning and the preparation and the study. Itís actually getting out there and taking those actions and learning from the experience of doing it.

So thatís why taking that directed action is so important because one of the negative things about being an officer is that we fall into analysis paralysis.

Youíve seen them, Tom. You know those guys. Weíre proud of these supposedly brains that weíve got that, oh, Iím going to overanalyze and figure this thing out. And then you got some hard charger who just shot right by you because he just said, “Well, it seems pretty simple to me. Iím just going to go do it.”

Tom: Yea. Well, you brought up earlier the hamster wheel analogy too. So I think this is interesting. Itís very fascinating to me at least. Itís that the difference between analysis paralysis where you’ve obviously just taken the ton of information and you donít actually do anything with it, and then you mentioned somebody blow and pass you because theyíre taking an action.

But theyíre probably taking the right action because then I think thereís two ends of the spectrum here that people get stuck on which is analysis paralysis, overanalyzing things, spending months and months when they could just spend like a week building something and shipping it. And then the other end of the spectrum where they donít necessarily analyze but theyíre just kind of throwing things at the wall but not in any kind of strategic or planned out way. So they end up going nowhere either.

So I think thatís what most people get. Itís either analysis paralysis or just trying to do random things without a feedback loop of learning. Does that make sense?

Antonio: It does. It does. And I think thatís a great transition into part two. Whatís the next thing you can do? Well, how about you actually identify a successful person and you find a place where you can add value because there are many business owners out there, many veterans out there kicking butt who, to be honest, they canít do everything perfect and oftentimes they donít have the time to do everything.

They are looking for a hard charger. They are looking for someone with initiative to come in and basically say, “Hey…” Not just tell them what theyíre going to do but you could actually do it, take the work and simply show them. You say, “Hey, you know, I took the liberty to go ahead and create this entire [0:09:47] [Indiscernible].”

The example weíre going to use, this is a real example of where weíre going to send one of our hard chargers is there’s a guy in Special Forces right now doing amazing work. He owns a company down in Texas and he’s trying to raise for a crowdfunding project. Iím looking at his sales page in his presentation, everything. Iím like, man, to be honest, itís not very good.

So I could take a very specific skill set and I could get one of our hard chargers pointed in this direction. And the hard charger, heís going to have to learn a lot. Itís not like he was born and knew how to make sales pages online. But there are certain things that he can learn.

One of the great benefits of veterans is that — I mean, we all know this. We got moved every few years to an entirely different job, maybe in an entire different continent. We had to make new friends, we had to get our kids in all these different schools, and we had to do our job at a level that literally lives dependent on what we did, yet we made it happen. So we can approach these things and realize, hey, I have no idea how to do this but I can see that they are not doing a good job. And I will, if I focus on this, figure out how to make it happen.

By working with a successful veteran or successful business owner or successful company, youíre going to surround yourself with high achievers, people kicking butt. Whenever they see that you come in there and do that, well, theyíre either just going to say “thank you” and youíre going to get some great references or theyíre going to say, “You know what, can we hire you? Can we pay you for this project? Because we donít want this to end and youíre no risk because you literally came in here and kicked down the door, made things happen and weíve been praying for somebody like you to come in.”

Click here to listen to†Three Steps Veterans Can Take If They Donít Know What To Do | High Speed Low Drag Podcast Transcript on iTunes

Tom: Yeah, absolutely. And itís funny, just because I think this is an appropriate analogy here or at least an example, itís the exact same thing I did with Insurgent Publishing when I was starting. I didnít necessarily have any background in publishing, traditional publishing or anything like that. But I kind of understood how to create and package stuff online and then I learned the physical aspect of book printing and things like that after I jumped in. One of the things I did was approach people who I knew had platforms but who I knew were too busy to do this stuff that I was proposing.

So I came to them and I said, “Hey, Iíd like to build a book off of the stuff that youíve already written. Weíll make a workbook out of it.” And thatís how I got my first few clients. Itís not rocket science but it is that kind of directed action. Iím saying, okay, I know this person is busy. I know theyíre successful. What can I do to add value here thatís in line with their platform?

So sometimes I got turned down but it was always a positive kind of turn down. It was like, “No, itís just not my focus right now,” or “No, Iím looking to go the traditional publishing route” or something like that. But I got a few yeses and thatís what matters.

Antonio: Exactly. And it is so rare that somebody comes in and does this. As a business owner, I rarely ever see and every time I do, it just raises — I mean, because these are the kind of people — I’ve got a team. Iíve got my own employees and very few of my own employees. As much as I train them, as much as I put into them, this isnít where, you know, they donít live and breathe the business the same way. Itís just very, very rare that you find somebody who comes in and theyíre going to realize too probably that youíre not going to stay with them for a super long time.

People like this come and go because theyíre going to start their own deal but what youíre looking is to build that relationship, to build up with — even the people that said no to you, Tom. When they see you successful later on, they go, “You know that guy, he did approach me and I knew he was going to succeed. I wasnít able to use his skills and we werenít able to work together, but I had a good impression of him.” Even if half the people say Ė even 75 percent say no, thatís a lot better than people I know that are putting out 100 to 200 rťsumťs and not even getting a call back.

Tom: Yeah, exactly. One, I enjoyed the actual process of what I was doing. I enjoyed learning. It was something I wanted to learn about anything. And hereís the thing, I wanted to learn this art of publishing and again, like I said, no traditional background in this. I came from the Army and my major at West Point was human geography and Russian.

So I have zero background in doing anything like this but I was like, this is something Iím interested in. Iíve seen people do this before successfully. Iíve seen small indie publishing houses do this. Maybe I can mimic and maybe I can learn.

Then while I was learning I was like, why — the traditional thought process I think is that people want to go out and theyíll learn how to do it, and then theyíll go work the contract or theyíll go try to get hired. And I was like, well, I want to get paid while I learn. So thatís exactly what I did, by going to them, proposing a solution, putting skin in the game saying, “Iím only going to take money if we make money,” and then thatís how I got paid to learn to do this stuff.

So again, I donít think itís rocket science but I agree with you. I find that itís rare. I donít see many people do that.

Click here to listen to†Three Steps Veterans Can Take If They Donít Know What To Do | High Speed Low Drag Podcast Transcript on Stitcher

Antonio: How to show, how to show. Okay, so letís go — you know I married a Ukrainian, right?

Tom: Yeah.

Antonio: I did not know youíre a Russian major. But no, letís hit the last point — itís building a valuable skill and this is something that can be tied right into helping a successful person but make sure youíre not there to get them coffee. Unless you want to become the best coffee maker in the world and youíre going down that path, perhaps then you will be delivering and making coffee for them.

However, you want to identify where something — and weíre going to use the example the gentleman that are running this program. Theyíre Special Forces. They already have a successful company down in Houston, Texas.

So if youíre coming in and youíre going to be adding value, make sure that youíre getting that skill. I can tell you that being able to understand copywriting, to be able to create sales pages, to be able to do presentation, to be able to convince people to open up their wallets so that they buy something thatís going to help them succeed in life, that is a skill that transfers to almost any business.

I canít think of a business — I mean nonprofits are selling in a sense theyíre trying to get donations. Theyíre trying to get — they are sometimes actually selling services and they do such a horrible job. So if youíre going down the nonprofit path, well this is a great skill to have because youíre not going to learn it from a nonprofit.

You can work for a for-profit company, develop those very, very strong skills, then be able to go down your chosen path and kick butt doing it. Or you go in there and you can — yeah, so you make sure youíre picking up specialized skills.

13271456315_ff6550fc5a_zTom: Yes, I completely agree and I want to make one point at this too for context. So you mentioned this is the Navy Seal. They have a successful business. So it looks like tactical training, shooting and things like that. Specifically, it looks like itís geared towards shooting and so therefore, Iím guessing, private individuals they teach, probably police forces, things like that. Is that about right, Antonio?

Antonio: Yeah, yeah.

Tom: So the important part here to recognize is that — so they already have an established business. They do a lot of in-person events. They do a lot of in-person training. Theyíre obviously very good at that because thatís their background. They have that unfair advantage.

Being a Navy Seal is just an incredible thing to say and of course youíre going to believe that they can teach you how to shoot. So itís a great business. What they obviously donít have though —

Antonio: Did you say itís like higher than an Army Ranger or Delta Force? I mean, itís not Marine Force Recon level, which I know everyone aspires to be. But, yeah, just curious, if you want to take a stance on there.

Tom: I donít know. I was transportation. So getting back to it though, so they have this successful business but what they donít have, at least from the outside looking in, is looking at this website where the website is actually pretty well designed so it looks great, but theyíre going this essentially kick starter, this crowdfunding solution for a new program that they want to build out. Itís essentially an online platform.

But if you go to the website or go to that specific sales page and you read it, theyíre trying to raise $15,000 to build this thing out. But the thing is that copy isnít very clear. The tiers, the rewards arenít very clear. Youíre either like, “What exactly are you getting?” or “Why would I pay $10 for what their — $50. Why would I pay $100?” So it doesnít quite make sense what the bonuses youíre going to get or at least if it does, theyíre not the most incentivized bonuses. Maybe they could build better bonuses into this. So you look at this page, youíre like, okay, these guys are great at what they do but they donít have this online marketing skill set.

So yeah, like you said, if you can learn a valuable skill like this, you can bring it to them and not only them but any company thatís like them. And there are a lot of them out them where people know what theyíre doing from a business context and a business standpoint.

They have cash flow and they have the means to build new products and to launch them but they donít have the online sales component done. They donít understand the copyrighting. They donít understand how to do the graphics on a sales page. They donít know how to move the customers through the sales process to actually close the sale.

I think if you learn that skill, you can literally just go ahead and apply that to so many other businesses that are out there. So you learn it once and then you go to the next one where you see that this person is having a problem creating a sales page and that is such a lucrative skill.

Antonio: It is. And so few people — they just donít take steps in that right direction. One skill, itís fine. Itís doesnít have to be. It could be something creative. One skill that I picked up was photography back in — when I left the Marine Corps — at the end of 2003, I went to live in Ukraine for a year and I was working with a nonprofit. Weíre actually delivering medicine and toys and all types of medical supplies and stuff to orphans basically throughout Ukraine. I was there for the Orange Revolution, all sort of fun stuff.

But one thing I really did learn is the power of photography. And if you can take a great picture — so I bought a digital SLR, this was when they were first coming out — and I just took thousands and thousands and thousands of images. I got a lot better. I studied. I learned all about this stuff.

So when I started my first company, guess what? Instead of having to hire a photographer, I was able to save a lot of money and we shot all of our own images, pictures. Now what was one of the things that really stood out with our business when we first got started is that we actually had good unique images. To this day, I can still use that skill because I have an eye for what makes a good photo as I grow my company.

It can be a creative skill. It can be a specific business copyrighting style. Guys, but you want to make sure it is a valuable skill, so valuable. It is something — look at what people would charge money for. Learn that skill. There are so many of things out there, many professions. Youíll be blown away with what you can charge money for.

It could be coaching. You can figure out what does actually — or project management because thereís a whole science to that. Many of you guys enjoyed, in a sense, managing projects in the military but we werenít technically project managers or at least we want in the Marine Corps. Weíre all rifle men in the Marine Corps. But when it comes down to it, there are certifications in their specific training.

Thatís what you want to get and you want to be able to have that little thing in your tool belt. Going Batman. So whenever you need it, you can pull it out there. You need a little bit of kryptonite. Thereís a reason why he always carries kryptonite. Just in case Superman turns on him and heís going to be ready for it. You always have that little bit that you can pull out and use when you need it.

Tom: Exactly. Again, just coming back to this, we talked about taking directed action, helping a successful person, building a valuable skill set and you can do — I mean, really, those are three unique things but tie them all together and I think you have a pretty winning combo.

So if you want to do something but youíre not sure what to do, I think thatís a good way to look at it. Take directed action, help a successful person, and build a valuable skill set while you do it. It might end up — this might not always be the case but I think in most cases — youíll be able to touch and make money while you learn a valuable skill set and be able to leverage that into other new relationships and new clients or however you want to build your business.

Antonio: Awesome. Well, I would like to end this, there is — and this is something I guess we could have start off at the beginning with but you’ll hear follow your passion, do that kind of stuff. Tom and I both agree; thatís okay advice if youíve already got a lot of skill sets and you know how to monetize all this stuff. But I think for a lot of people just starting off, thatís very dangerous because really what you become passionate about, what you enjoy doing are the things that youíre good at.

Think about it, when you first started learning how to swim, it wasnít something youíre probably passionate or excited about. But I know with my son, heís a pretty darn good swimmer now. Heís ten years old. Itís like one of the places I donít challenge him now. I can still beat him on a foot race. We raced the other day. Somehow I got to knock him down a little bit but I can still beat him. But in the pool, I canít.

The kid has just got the technique down. And he enjoys it now because he knows that heís good at it and it builds a bit of pride. He doesnít enjoy going and practicing every couple of days, but what he does enjoy is being able to do it and for others to see that heís great at it. That makes him very passionate and good about that.

So realize that once you start to develop these skills, once you take directed action, when youíre helping successful people, youíre going to find passions for things that you never even knew that you could have a passion for. And thatís when the magic happens.

Tom: Yeah, absolutely. I think Seth Godin — and I made a reference to this once, probably many times — he’s made the comment that maybe the question isnít to do what youíre passionate about but to be passionate about what you do, which I think is correlated to what you just said, to become good at something.

We do naturally, we tend to enjoy what weíre good at, but the only way we become good at it is by committing to it and learning and becoming that expert in it or becoming a master of it whatever that may be. But that takes kind of that consistent directed action like we talked about.

But yeah, I think thatís a great point to end on. I wouldnít recommend starting with passion if you donít have the fundamental skills built up to monetize that passion. So I think thereís a fine line there. But yeah, I donít know what your thoughts on that, Antonio?

Antonio: I just like to always throw in a Semper Fi. I think that’s a way to always end something. Itís like the cherry on top of anything.

I think we covered all the points. Tom, man, always good talking with you. For the listeners out there, guys, know that every Monday and Thursday, weíre putting out a great podcast for you. The one thing we would ask is that you please share and just let us know youíre out there. Comment on iTunes. Email us, send a message. We really care. We want to create content that will help you kick butt in the civilian world.

Tom: Absolutely. And you know I consider these Thursdays almost mail back Thursdays because we’ve essentially for the last few episodes been answering peopleís questions and concerns.

So if youíre listening to this and you have questions that pop up, shoot us an email or go over to or and let us know. We have a contact button on Thereís a Contact Us button and you can reach out to us and let us know what questions youíd like us to answer or to dig into, any kind of topics that youíre interested in.

But yeah, reach out to us. We definitely want to answer your questions and other than that, we will see you next week.

Antonio: All right. Take care. Bye.

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