Episode 114 – Adam Smith; Green Beret, CrossFit Gym Owner, Tactical Training Specialist

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Adam Smith is a Green Beret, CrossFit Gym Owner, tactical training specialist.  He’s also a personal friend of the podcast host, JJ Pinter. In this episode, they sit down in person for a caffeine-fueled conversation that is sure to make you smile.  

In this week’s podcast, we discuss:

• How JJ putting cream in his coffee is adding “weakness” to it, in Adam’s perspective

• Adam’s transition from the military and his struggles

• What it’s like to come home again and lead in your community

• Leadership and his plans to influence large groups of people



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JJ Pinter: 

This is the Eagle Nation podcast where we talk about building richer lives and stronger communities. We have inspiring guests to have real conversations about things that you care about.

John Pinter: 00:00:13 All right everyone. Welcome back to the podcasts. This is JJ Pinter. I am going to be your host again today for a podcast that I’ve been excited to do for quite a while for a couple reasons. One, because the guest I’m talking to you today is a really interesting person, but two, I get the chance to do this one live in person, so I see that it’s very rare, so sitting across the table from me is my friend Adam Smith. So Adam, welcome. What’s up man? Thanks for having me. So I want to start. We just talked about this off the air. He’s drinking a cup of coffee that says thor on the back of it. I want you to tell me what you are drinking right now. It’s, I mean, it really, it’s the only way to go. It’s a black coffee with a double shot of espresso in it.

Adam Smith: 00:00:50 It’s like the extreme red eye. I could not do that. So I just have a regular black coffee and I will be sipping on this thing all day long. Coffee is not regular. It’s coffee and cream. Coffee and cream. Coffee and cream. The cream is just there to cool it down. I can do without it. Are you sure? I feel like adding the dairy adds maybe a little weakness to your coffee in the morning. I’ll think about that tomorrow morning. So it became a necessity when I was in the army. Because you’ve had cowboy coffee before it straight off a boil. Yeah. And that stuff is scalding hot so I would put something in it just to cool it down a little bit so I could drink it. And then that is just kind of stuck with me. I mean the only way we tested our coffee was it put a spoon in it, make sure it’s stood up.

Adam Smith: 00:01:28 If it wasn’t sludge coming out of the coffee pot, we weren’t drinking it. I thought you’re going to say make sure the spoon didn’t melt. Well, I mean you have that too, right? It’s the acidity level in the power. The potency of the caffeine is not there, we’re just not going to have it. So I think this is good for shattering how this conversations is going to go. I want to tell the story of how I met Adam First, which I think is really interesting. You know, team to is a, is a distributed organization. It’s a virtual organization. I’ve worked here six years now and I’ve worked from out of my home the entire time and for me I have three young kids so it’s hard to like be at home. Right. And so I’ve rented or been given a couple offices that I’ve shared and we’re currently in a town called new Albany, Indiana, which previously was, was.

Adam Smith: 00:02:07 It’s right outside of Louisville, was kind of a rough roughish town and it has really taken off and it’s really kind of a cool place to be right now. And I have an office down here now. Tell me about your office. Okay. So my, it’s really interesting. The, it’s like a guard shack. Yeah. So a friend of mine owns a, he, he’s remodeling an old historical home here and it’s going to be some offices upstairs in the coffee shop downstairs and I’m going to be up there, but that’s not done yet. So I’m in. Yeah, I’d say it’s like a guard shack if you’ve ever been one of those little used car lots where they have like the building that’s big enough for one desk or two desks. That’s what it used to be, but it’s been remodeled and it’s really nice. So we’re just kinda sitting in here rock in this little, uh, we got like, it feels like we have a little, I don’t know, it’s a beautiful day here and it feels like we’re on vacation or something.

Adam Smith: 00:02:53 It’s kind of, it’s almost like a little summer shack that you would get in Florida right on the beach. It would cost $2,000 day down in Florida. But here in new Albany it’s, well it’s, it’s not, it’s $2 a day. And so when I came down here, I try to stay pretty physically fit, but I run a lot and I had been feeling like I had been losing a little bit of kind of muscular strength and I decided that I wanted to start getting a little bit stronger again. And I had been back in the day, kind of done a lot of crossfit back in the day, but like a lot of people I had injured myself and kept injuring myself and just ended up walking away from it. And when I moved down here I knew that there was a crossfit gym downtown, just a couple blocks from my office, but I’d never been down there before.

Adam Smith: 00:03:35 And then I saw a face, I think it was a facebook ad for some kind of a challenge. And I see Adam on there and I thought, you know what, I’m going to walk down and just check this thing out. So I walked into the gym and Adam was there. And what was interesting is that I, I guess for people who have been in the military, like I, I knew as soon as I saw him, that he was pro ex military of some form or fashion because I think, I think he had ranger panties on and then he had a crossfit sandhills shirt, which I knew is a famous crossfit gym outside of Fort Bragg, southern pine, southern pines, southern pine, southern Pines. And so he was talking to someone else and I just kinda thought, okay, like, you know, I don’t know who this guy is, but I can only assume that that he was in the military probably at Fort Bragg, big beefy guy with a beard.

Adam Smith: 00:04:20 I was like, okay, well, you know, I’m generally pretty perceptive. I can guess where this is going. So he came over and I just wanted to started to talk to them a little bit and it turns out, and I’ll let him tell you the story, but I was pretty close on my assessment of what I thought his background might be. And Yeah. And we just hit it off for a bunch of reasons, but there’s a cool kind of veterans kind of service veterans type movement thing that’s building around here right now, really big time and we’re both parts of it and we just kind of said, you know, we should have a podcast and just talk about this. And then Adam has an incredible story that we’re going to go into here in a second. But I just thought, man, we should record a podcast.

Adam Smith: 00:04:57 Just get them Mike’s hot and talk about it. Yeah, and it’s coming. I mean the veteran organizations in southern Indiana and Kentucky areas is growing significantly and really what’s really interesting is the amount of impact they’re creating inside the space. But when you came in the door, I was like, man, who’s this skinny dude coming in here? And we had this conversation, which was awesome because what really threw me off was, oh, the challenge was a weight loss, weight loss. That’s what it was like. I don’t really know if I want to lose any weight. I run a lot and I feel like I need to get stronger. And my response was, sure, we think that’s total feasibility. We can probably make that happen, you know, what’s your background? And then, and then we found out all the details, right? Ring knocker the whole nine yards. And then the number one thing that came out was that year with team rwb, but not just with the team. You’re the chief, you’re the Huncho, you’re the man, right? Yeah. You’re the boss. Yeah, yeah. I, yes. And I pooped a little bit at that point because I was so excited that you were there because, you know, when we first opened the gym, we started the gym with another nonprofit organization that will go unnamed and then we, we got a really bad taste in our mouth

J.J. Pinter: 00:05:58 with that organization just because of some of the negative things that they were doing. And maybe we’ll go as far as saying unscrupulous acts that they weren’t really very becoming of individuals inside that space. And so we broke contact with them and immediately shifted away from that and sort of stood on our own. And in the process of doing that, we started driving hard to try and find other nonprofit organizations to support just because of the history. I mean the gym is full of law enforcement and military personnel. The other head coach is a widow of a fallen officer on the, on the line of duty. We, I mean we’ve got so many people that come to that space that are part of that community. So it’s really important for us to reach out and touch that. Yeah. And so just I guess to set some what we’re talking about here.

J.J. Pinter: 00:06:37 So Adam owns a crossfit gym. Yeah, let’s rewind. Yeah. So let’s rewind. He owns crossfit gym and he is, I’ll let him tell his story of some of the other things he’s involved with, but he is a, he’s a former special forces soldier. Right. What’s technically are we. I mean if you win, you’re greenbrier 80. Ever lose it. I guess it’s like marine, like Marines always say there’s no former marines. Like you’re always a marine. You’re always a marine. I guess maybe we can fall inside that space. Yeah. Navy maybe like not current. I don’t even know. I don’t know what you would say. Not currently active in the special forces community. Yeah. Yeah. We’ll go there and it was a green baret. He was currently a gym owner, has been been out of the military for a little while and as I started to learn a little bit more about him, I was.

J.J. Pinter: 00:07:19 It was. We were talking about this beforehand. His story is really powerful and it’s at one sense it’s really, it’s really unique, but in, in another sense it’s, it’s not, it’s, it’s very common to many veterans like the story arc is. And I, and I wanted to share that just to share that, the universality of the story, but then Adam did something that not a lot of people do and he came back home. Right. So he is from southern Indiana originally and where we’re at in southern Indiana, this is not like a mecca of military influence around here. Fort Knox is like an hour and a half or two hours away. But you know, you don’t really feel that influence up here at all. No, not at all. So would you mind tell me a little bit about your military experience? Oh Man. You can sum up my experience with a whirlwind of adventure and lots of stepping on my.

J.J. Pinter: 00:08:08 All right. I think in reality I had on one side of started later telling me, he said, Adam, if you’ve not been deployed and you’ve not stepped on your, your crank at least twice and you’re not really doing anything in the military. And so I put that to the test full on and she wanted to see if he knew what he’s talking about, wanting to understand what he was talking about. You know, it’s the same concept when I joined, when I went to selection and talked to the, the old guard within group, they also the same thing like, hey, you got to have a rolex, you get to have a harley, you have to have at least one divorce and you have to have at least one article 15. Once you do that then you can call yourself a green baret. And so again, let’s put that to the test. You know, I joined in 2000. Yeah. So pre nine slash 11 or pre nine slash 11 and I went to basic training and I joined the national guard and went to school and I was. I was in, I was at western Kentucky University when nine slash 11 kicked off and I was like, man, let’s go. So I started dumping my packet

J.J. Pinter: 00:08:56 to try and go active duty. I just wanted to get back to do the whole plan was for me to go to school, get my degree, branch into the infantry. And then once I became promotable go to selection as an o and all that went out the window. When nine slash 11 happened, when 9:11 kicked off, I was like, man, let’s go kick in doors and shoot people in the face. And in the last unit that was assigned to got pushed to Bosnia. So fast forward to 2007. I came back from my first tour to Afghanistan, a tour to Bosnia, did some other stuff along the border and went to selection, got picked up and then finish the q course and went to group and then a couple of tours later and some other stuff in DC stepping on my once or twice and ended up in communication.

J.J. Pinter: 00:09:39 I was in Central America for a little while and had a buddy of mine who is in seventh group have got medically discharged and that sort of where all of the veteran outreach and nonprofit stuff really kicked off and so I came back from overseas and linked up with my buddy and I was again still in the garden was I was working in the oil fields at the time and my buddy called me go say, dude, what are you doing? I don’t know anybody that can just like that. We’ll just say let’s go. And I said, well, what do you mean? And he’s like, well, I want to ride my bicycle across the country and I don’t know how to do that. So well, why don’t we do it and raise money? It’s like, I think that’s a great idea. Let me reach out. So he made a couple of phone calls and we got in contact with the taskforce stagger foundation and just a phenomenal organization for special operations soldiers and their families and they do a hell of a job and the guy that runs it, he and his wife are spectacular.

J.J. Pinter: 00:10:26 I mean they are, they’re amazing people and so sure enough, man, we put it together and we supported it and in 2015 we wrote 5,000 miles across the country from Washington state down to Florida hitting every major special forces base in the country, including Helena, Montana, which is the home of the first special services force. And so we did that and that was sort of, that was sort of the initiation and after that was done, I met with my wife and this is where, and now all of that time there was times of highs and lows, right? My first wife, we were very comfortable. We lived a comfortable life. We were financially stable. I came out of that, my practice wife that was a failed marriage practice wife, right. Like let’s let me get a do over in that and that routine, that realm. And then there was a period where I was homeless and I was literally living from one set of orders to the next set of orders living out of my truck. So you were in the guard still at the time? I was still in the garden. Yeah. And so it was a battle the whole, the whole time was a battles, a lot of up and downs and during, I mean during the war on terror, there’s a lot of dudes who were in the guard that were in group that lived that lifestyle, you know, that was like, hey man, I’m deploying and when I come home I’m gonna find something to do until I can deploy again.

Adam Smith: 00:11:35 So I was in the guard for two years after I got off active duty and that was really surprising to me. I did not know the girl guard word at all and there’s so many people who know. He would call them guard bums. Yeah, guard horse, you know, like not, that’s not like a, it’s like a term of endearment, right. It wasn’t a, it wasn’t a derogatory but it’s like all they wanted to do was deploy. Yeah. And they were just trying to find ways to stay on orders and like jumped from unit to unit to unit and it was almost like kind of mercenaries almost in full on man. It was just like all they wanted to do was stay on orders and some of them just had like, it would probably be different if you’re, if you’re a guard unit, was around a major military installation, but this is, this is more rural stuff in Texas and they had like campers and they would just like pull up behind the drill hall just like that’s where they would live.

J.J. Pinter: 00:12:20 That’s how I live, man. I literally, I would go from coast to coast, so I went to selection and Oh, seven, I finished a, I went back to the q course and oh, eight, no, nine, finished the q course and went from the east coast to the west coast and then the next year went from the west coast to the east coast and then the next year went from the east coast to the West. I literally went coast to coast every year for almost six years looking for orders and chasing them down. And then I went from, you know, I went from the West Coast to Utah to do, to do some stuff with the training debt and then from Utah Down to Florida for the next tour down into Central America. So yeah, I mean it’s, I was one of those dudes. I was literally homeless. I had, not only was I homeless, it was to the, to the extent where there was a point when I was homeless and had no income, you know, living out of the truck and hoping to get help from people who were willing to give me good will.

J.J. Pinter: 00:13:05 And of course, never telling my parents and my family, look at the end of the day, we all assume that our problem is our problem and we’re all unique in our problem, which is a bunch of bullets begin with. And so that assumption sort of leads us down to this path of living alone and being miserable and you know, trying to find the next opportunity to have purpose. So all that in the mix led to my wife and I, who was my fiance at the time, she was in Chicago while I was doing a bike ride and she was doing a prosthetic and orthotic residency school program. And then we moved to Kentucky for the actual residency program and when we moved to Kentucky mood, a little town called Lancaster, but in Kentucky they call it Lancaster right next to Danville, which is outside of Parkville.

Adam Smith: 00:13:46 Playful is just to put some reference in if anyone has ever heard of the hatfields and mccoys and that whole like West Virginia, Kentucky kind of feud. There’s actually a really good Kevin Costner’s and really good series if you’re not.

J.J. Pinter: 00:13:58 Yeah. That happened. That happened like in that area, right? Yeah. Packable sort of like the nearest aspect of, with regards to eastern Kentucky, sort of that space. It’s tribal, super tribal. Imagine like imagine Afghanistan and the United States with regards to how segregated the tribes are and how that, how sort of just closed off families are and there, you know, they live in their Holler, that’s their Holler, that’s their space. So we moved to Kentucky, we moved in and I couldn’t find work, couldn’t find a job, you know, I speak a couple of different languages. I’ve got a lot of background and experience, have done a lot of different things, uh, practically applied skills in the real world, but I could not find a job to save my life and I couldn’t put gas in the truck and I couldn’t put food on the table and we were living off of my wife’s like piss poor salary of less than $20,000 a year.

J.J. Pinter: 00:14:44 And it was miserable. No purpose. I went from 250 pounds to 300 and something pounds not working out. I was in the process of getting of the military and initiated my documentation and paperwork in early January. Why’d you choose to get out of the politics? Politics. I don’t know if that’s something we can touch on, but all politics, there was some under the Obama administration, there was a lot of rules of engagement that changed overseas and because of the rules of engagement that changed and because of some political backlash to actions taken by different ods in country, dudes died straight up. I mean we lost guys on the ground because of the administration and the rules of engagement that they were engaging in in combat zones. And as far as I was concerned, I was done rolling the dice. Priority started to change. I wanted to have a family. I wanted to get married, I wanted to live and not constantly deploy and as far as I was concerned at that point like you know what, if the administration’s not going to support the actions that we take on the ground that the administration, I’m okay with that and I’m okay with saying it because that’s, that’s the decision.

Adam Smith: 00:15:45 Yeah. And I mean, I think, you know, politics is a very personal thing, right? And so I think this is, I just want a quick disclaimer here. This is part of the story and that’s why I think it’s cool to talk about it. I just like, this is not official, this is not officially sanctioned or supported by team rwb nor is it their official political position in anything but people telling their real stories is right. Absolutely. That’s an important part of your story. So most people might know this, some people don’t. Can you tell people what Oda is? Operational Detachment Alpha. So it’s an a team is what it’s broken down to and, and depending on what team you’re on and that sort of thing. So that would be like a 10 person special forces team. Twelve, technically 12. That’s the official number. Of course, there’s always, there’s, I’ve never once seen a team deployed 100 percent. So that’s just, you know, so yeah. Cool. Hey, I just wanted to clarify that term so I didn’t want to interrupt your story. You’re good. You’re, you’re getting out, you’re in, you’re living in eastern Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, you’re, you’re getting out of the military, you’re out process, and this is the sad part, so in the sad part is this, and it’s not even

J.J. Pinter: 00:16:46 part because this is what is unique and not unique all at once and that is getting out of the military. No purpose, no mission. The paperwork is getting processed and once you step away, you’re dead. You’re dead to the military in general. They just, they don’t really have much of a purpose for you anymore, so you have this really awesome connection with your boys and your team and guys that are your in with when you’re in, but as you begin to step away, it’s not that they’re not connected with you, it’s that they have more important to deal with, which is the job and you are sort of secondary at that point and the military looks at you in the same aspect of that way and so limiting skeptical man cannot get a job to save my life. And so long story short, it got so bad and the progression was so bad that I ended up deciding that it was time to be done with life.

J.J. Pinter: 00:17:30 And so I wrote my suicide note and I drank every drop. It was a Wednesday morning. I drank, I drank every drop of alcohol in the house. And the only reason why I didn’t go through this because I passed out, I passed out because I was so drunk and I woke up to my fiance coming in the house. My fiance, who’s now my wife, greatest one I’ve ever met my entire life. She came in the house and I was like, okay, now I’ve got to hide all this stuff. Incentives. So you know, I gotta hide the gun, I gotta hide the note. And the worst part was, is that when she came in, I even looked at her and I just had this ultimate meltdown in front of her and I was like, I can’t even do this right. And it really sucked, which led to the phone call the next day.

J.J. Pinter: 00:18:05 And so the next morning we woke up and my wife stayed home from work and didn’t go into work because she was worried about me and of course now we’re losing more money so I’m, I’m even more angry at that point and I got a phone call the next day from a good friend of mine who he owns a tactical training company in southern Indiana. And at the time we were located in Louisville and I’d send them a text message on Monday, not looking for work, just wanted to reach out and say hi. I wanted to buy him a beer. Now mind you, I didn’t have two pennies to rub together and I couldn’t. I didn’t have a pot to piss in. But I really, this guy, I like him a lot and you know, I owed him a beer. I wanted to buy him a beer. I met him when I first got back into the United States after my tour in Central America and time and Central America.

J.J. Pinter: 00:18:43 And a mutual friend of ours introduced us and he’s a former seal and I’m not going to name names because he wouldn’t like it and so he’s pretty humble fill. So the next morning he calls me and he’s like, hey dude, what’s going on? I’m like, Hey, what’s up? He’s like, uh, you know, getting a beer would be awesome, but are you, are you like, back then I was like, yeah man, I’m back. He’s like, no, no, no. I mean like, are you back like backpack? But you saying like, am I living here? Yes, I’m living here. And he goes, no, yeah man, when you looking for work, brother, I will look there off your toilet. What do you got for me? And he said, hey, we’re going, we’re going to go train some dudes up in northern Ohio next week. You want to come along? I’m like, Yep, I’ll play that game all day long.

J.J. Pinter: 00:19:21 And that was going into the last week of January, 2016. And when we got back from that, he really made sure that I was taken care of. He helped me get back on my feet, he gave me purpose and mission again. He honestly believed in me and he gave me an opportunity that’s not really ever been presented to me before ever. And that was an opportunity to really own what talents and abilities that I have and put them to really, really, really good use and the impact that we’re creating in the region is spectacular. I mean we’ve got teams that are all. We’ve got swat teams, law enforcement agencies that are operating in the area that we’re working in and training and that, that have never done this stuff they’ve done before and the continuity of effort between elements of different areas. It’s spectacular.

Adam Smith: 00:20:03 Yeah. And so we, I don’t know if we can say the name of it, so. So Adam does a couple things. There is a, there’s a tactical training company that’s very well known around here that he’s affiliated with that he does a lot of work for. And then also, I don’t know the details, but the gym at some point was split off.

J.J. Pinter: 00:20:20 Well, yeah. So that’s part of the story. So. So I came into the company, the training company with my buddy in the beginning of February from being almost homeless with my fiance in September of that year. We got married and bought our first home in May in May 2017. My good friend and I, we opened the gym together in a partnership and then in July of this year I was able to buy it from him. So in a two and half year span

J.J. Pinter: 00:20:48 I went from ready to eat a pistol to owning the gym, which brings its own headaches. But it’s really awesome because you go from like, life is horrible and I’m ready to be over with this. And then you are now in a position where you get to share your story and you see other people go through do this is horrible and I’m ready to Nsu. Whoa, wait a minute. It’s not that bad, but yeah. So we. I owned the gym, it’s called Greystone crossfit in your performance in downtown new Albany. I do tactical training for Title Training Company in Southern Indiana and we train a lot of law enforcement agencies in the region down to New Orleans and Louisiana Outta you, North Carolina up to Wisconsin. My hobby is making knives on the side. I do a little blacksmith work on the side, which is a lot of fun and I teach survival courses to wilderness survival courses to two people in Central Indiana.

Adam Smith: 00:21:33 I have to tell you, you don’t even know this yet, so some Monday I get a phone call in our team already be chapter here in Louisville. One of the leaders, I’m just not going to say anyone’s names here, is this fairly senior NCO in the national guard and he called them Monday and said, hey, we had a. We had a soldier in our unit died by suicide over the weekend and you know, we’re a national guard unit and we were just trying to pull in as much resources as we can. We actually have a four day drill coming up this weekend. Starting Thursday. We have a bunch of people coming in and would you mind coming down and just talking to our company and I just kind of said, well, I mean I’m not, I’m not a clinician but I’m happy to come down and just talk.

Adam Smith: 00:22:14 I’m happy to come do that. So yesterday, Thursday I drove down to Fort Knox and spend some time with this company. It’s an MP company and it’s an national guard and p company and it’s full of a bunch of civilian police officers for also mps and in the national guard. And I was just talking to a couple of them, you know. So we spent some time together and then they had launched and so we went and I had stayed and had lunch with them and I’m just sitting at the table talking to a couple of them and we were just talking about where everyone is from because they’re all, you know, from all around the region. And a couple of them are saying, Oh, you’re from southern Indiana. We’re coming up to do some training next week with the, you know, our police departments coming up to do some like weapons training or something. And I said, no,

J.J. Pinter: 00:22:55 I know exactly where you’re going to be. It’s a bit of a small world. It is. It’s awesome. That’s really awesome. And it’s, it’s, you know, you, you said early on me and the story is unique but it’s not unique. It’s my story. It’s my story to own, but it’s not, it’s not unique man. There’s so many guys that are going through the same problem.

Adam Smith: 00:23:12 Yeah, I mean I hear. So this is something that we deal with the team. Red is like transition, right? Yeah. And I see, I see this story so many times of people getting out of the military and you know, a lot of people look back their military experience with rose colored glasses, like it was the greatest thing ever. And you know, there’s a lot of things that are really can be really incredibly frustrating about the military too. And there’s, there’s a reason that people get out. If it was the greatest thing in the world, everyone would stay and retire. There’s a reason that people leave, but people for whatever reason, and maybe it’s because like public sentiment is so high, they think that they’re going to walk out and like life is just going to be handed to them on a platter and that that’s not the case necessarily. That’s not the case for sure, and a lot of people struggle with the transition.

J.J. Pinter: 00:23:56 It’s so much about people thinking that it’s going to be handed to them on a platter. I think it’s more along the lines and I think honestly it’s more centralized in the concept that when you’re in the military it’s about team. Yeah, and it’s always about how can I help the team be better and do better. It’s never about the me, unless you’re one of those dudes who sort of. And you’re completely self centric and a narcissist and all you care about is me and then the team, but in the civilian world it is that way. In the civilian world, it is very much so narcissistic. Mimi, me not about the team so much. Yeah, and making the transition and more importantly trying to speak the language like, dude, we, they don’t understand me when I talk. I mean they don’t understand military people when we, when we talk in general, you know, there’s a lot of, we’re very direct in how we communicate and people are not used to that and that is. I mean that’s one of the number one things that we, one of the number one things that we do at the gym, it’s not just about fitness at the gym, it’s not just that it’s about mentality and it’s about helping people understand truth and understanding that the longer we beat around the bush about something, the less we actually directly address the problem, then we’re never going to be able to one, identify it to finance to we’re never gonna be able to get over this and deal with it.

Adam Smith: 00:25:05 Yeah, I think so many people, maybe I didn’t phrase that right, but there are. She thinks I want to hit out here. So many people get out and they get and they start working in the private sector and all of a sudden, and this happened to me, I got out my first job out of the military and there’s this juxtaposition, right? Because in one sentence, like I’m a competitive person and I want to do well, but in another sense I’m. When you take a step back, you’re like, what am I really trying to accomplish here? I’m trying to improve the share price of the company. Like I’m trying to make a bunch of rich people even richer. Like I’m really having trouble getting my head around that. How do I win? Yeah. What’s that? Even how I win, it’s like, what am I efforts going towards? You know what I mean? It’s like, what am I really trying to. You come off of being in the military, it’s like you’re, you’re part of something bigger than yourself. There’s a sense of service and then it’s like, okay, what am I really doing here? Right? Like you can kind of wrap it up when saying I’m taking care of customers are like that.

J.J. Pinter: 00:25:56 No, no, no. What’s what is the instate, like what’s the higher purpose concept of the instate of it?

Adam Smith: 00:26:00 Yeah, what, what am I trying to do? And so that was like the thing that led me to doing what I do now, which is, which is working in the nonprofit space, but Adam, what’s interesting is that there’s a lot of research around transition right now and when people think of transition, when veterans think of transition right now, they have this very like kind of benefit centric mindset. Yeah, absolutely. And, but what we know from the research is like there’s three things that, that you can do to facilitate a pretty successful transition and they all involve work one, but they all are something that the veteran can do themselves. And you know, if you listen to the podcast, you’ve heard me say this several times before, but the first one is the average veteran gained 40 pounds when they get out of the military. That’s bad for a whole host of reasons. Yeah. So continue. I always tell whenever I talk to people, I always say, listen, don’t stop working out. You’re going to gain weight. Like you don’t have an hour and a half set aside for pet anymore every day. Like just be mindful of that and not only can I add to that.

J.J. Pinter: 00:26:57 Yeah, so I would go one step further. If there’s a process of transitioning and getting out, then your first, the very number one thing is not work. Don’t look for a job as the number one thing that you want to find. Look for tribe. Look for the transition tribe. You’re. Yeah. You have to have community.

Adam Smith: 00:27:15 So that’s the second thing is most people don’t go back to where they’re from and they’re lonely because they don’t have friends. Yeah, there’s no, there’s no, there’s no support network. And making friends as an adult is hard. Right? Well, I mean I guess I mean it’s, you know, it, it can be more difficult, but if you can do things, what I always tell people is put yourself in a position where you have to make friends. Did you join a crossfit gym? Like you’re going to have to make friends, you know, if this is your thing, like join a small group at a church, you will, you will meet people there or you know, do something, put yourself in a position where you’re going to make friends because if you don’t, you’re going to be lonely. Loneliness is the CDC right now, says that loneliness is the biggest public health epidemic in America right now. That’s the second thing, and the third thing is you’re going to miss a sense of service. You’re going to miss it and always tell people like, start right now, go start volunteering somewhere right now, coach a youth sports team, be a big brother.

J.J. Pinter: 00:28:09 Don’t rely on the thought process that disability benefits are gonna are gonna. Be there, but listen, I’m, yeah, I have, I have plenty of issues. I’ve been beat up. There’s, I got plenty of issues, right? And I’m not drawing disability right now because I’ve never had the opportunity to go through the disability process to get it filed one and two. It’s an absolute to navigate the disability process, so don’t expect that you’re going to be able to med board out on the way out of the military, do the due diligence now and that that was the number one thing I didn’t truly understand was what are the steps that I need to take in the immediate to facilitate short term and medium term longevity of success as a civilian inside the civilian community. You know, and regional get it. Yeah, no, this is not our place, but that comes back to the mentality too, right?

J.J. Pinter: 00:28:55 That’s the other thing. It comes back to mentality. What is your mentality? What already pre established expectations do you have and if you’ve already got projected expectations when you get out of the military, be ready to be horribly disappointed because expectations breed resentment and if you have an expectation that something is going to go a certain way, get over it because it’s not going to happen. It’s just not gonna happen. If you aren’t willing to step into the civilian market space as a military person, as a veteran, and actively identify your targets and work towards achieving those targets and actively and always working, not like, you know, oh well I tried. No, you didn’t try. If you tried then you just made an excuse as to why it’s not gonna happen. You know what I mean? You just have to do over and over and over and over again and was.

J.J. Pinter: 00:29:41 I think one thing that I found really interesting was I, I’ve, I’ve gotten in contact a lot of veterans since I’ve been out. We have a lot of veterans at the gym and a commonality that I’ve noticed is guys, for whatever reason, are quick to give up because of lack of knowledge in the military. If you have a question, there’s an answer provided it says front towards enemy on a claymore. Right? I mean it’s, it’s, it’s so, it’s so dumbed down for us in the middle of this side, towards the end of this side, towards intimate. Yeah. And then it says back on the other side. I mean, just think about that. So if you think like everything we do has an instruction, everything, you know, the 84, how many instruction? Little. There’s little pieces of instruction on the eighth. It says front back, right? This is how you charge it, the whole nine yards.

J.J. Pinter: 00:30:23 It’s on the 84. You have a manual for everything. How to disassemble the weapon. There’s a manual for leadership and communication. You know what I mean? Yeah. No, we have people, most of our employees that you might have your veterans and so a lot of them who come to us straight out of the military, they are not used to it. We operate very loose here in the sense that we try to give good intent and then just like let people go, wind them up, give him left and right limits and wind him up and let them go. And they’re so used to saying like, oh, I can look this up and fm whatever, whatever, and it gives me like the 27 steps to do this particular task. It’s like, well no, that doesn’t exist here. No, it takes a little while to get used to that, which is I think as a man straight up.

J.J. Pinter: 00:31:03 Are you afraid to fail? If I afraid to fail, I mean the short answer is no. Very good. The short answer is no, but I, I do want to be honest in caveat that you know, I have three young kids and I have a wife and so me personally failing. No, I’m terrified to fail in some way and I will not. I will never allow this to happen. That would affect my family. Sure. Right. And so I think two things, two aspects of that concept. The first aspect is this, when we’re in the military, we are driven to succeed in all things, right? If you’re in the enemy, it’s, it’s close with and destroy, write it. I don’t know what all the terms are for like the MP core, like maybe the MP core is his lights and sirens and make sure your handcuffs are ready or something like that.

J.J. Pinter: 00:31:48 Not to make fun of MPs by, hey you guys, you’re always ruin the fun. But with that being said, the concept of failure is something that’s driven always like, hey dude, we’re not going to fail. We’re not going to fail. We’re not going to feel. However, when you step into the special operations community, the concept of failing a mission and failing and training are two separate concepts and that’s not really well taught across the board, and so what we have to be willing to do in the civilian world is understand how failure becomes an asset and not a liability, and to take an action based on fear where a fear is a liability or to have inaction based on fear will lead us to true failure, which means that we’re not even doing. But I think the thing that most people, most veterans need to understand when they come out is to don’t a about it.

J.J. Pinter: 00:32:40 Don’t be afraid. Step into the space and do take action. And if you fail, it’s totally acceptable. Just imagine if you will, everybody in the middle, every single person, military has to qualify with a weapon. Every single time you pull the trigger that bullet’s gone. If you miss the target, you have to readjust your point of aim and reengage that target. Again. It’s the same concept in the civilian market. Now we’re not doing it with guns. We’re doing it with business, we’re doing it with finance, we’re doing it with family. We’re doing with our own spiritual connection to whatever higher power you believe in. I mean that’s, it’s the ability for us to take action with a lack of fear. Knowing that failure is acceptable. Then we just have to readjust and do again because we don’t.

Adam Smith: 00:33:18 Yep. I tell you, I’ve had a really good kind of sideshow to watch this with my boys. My kids have been involved in wrestling since they are very young and that is a sport that you fail at everyday. Like you know, they wrestle live in practice everyday day and they get pinned every day. Right? And so you have to learn how it’s been so interesting for me to watch them and how resilient they’ve gotten because you know, something happens that causes them to fail every day. And it’s like, okay, well the conversation then becomes what are you going to do differently next time? Right. That’s exactly right. It is this because someone else was in better shape than you. Is this because you were slacking and you gave up. It’s just because someone is more skilled than you. Did you make a mistake, whatever it was. And like just getting that mindset and it’s like, okay, well, you know, I failed this time and like I’m going to try to learn and do something different with that.

Adam Smith: 00:34:10 It doesn’t, doesn’t, doesn’t happen again. It’s an interesting dynamic, right? Because in the military it’s beat into your head, like complete the mission, right? Like what do people like Charlie, Mike, Charlie, Mike, like always continue the mission, your mission. Right? Right. Never quit. And in some senses like failure’s not an option there, but it’s a really good point. Right? I hadn’t made the distinction in my mind between training, but I mean just thinking about exercise, right? Like ostensibly you want to be going close to muscle failure almost every time, like doing something until you can’t do it anymore or challenging yourself to where you can. You know you’re doing something that is going to be hard enough that you might fail. Right? If you, if you go to try to do it, I don’t know. It’s an interesting thing to think about.

J.J. Pinter: 00:34:52 I think it’s based on perspective. Are there really is. It’s based on how you perceive. Like, man, I can’t tell you how many people come to the gym and they’re like, oh, you know, I just don’t know if this is for me. I’m nervous. I’m going to look like a fool and my response straight up my response every time as, yeah, I can. I completely understand. I do. I really get it. But do me a favor. Stop talking like you’re afraid to stop. Who are you? What’s your truth? What’s it? Doesn’t? Doesn’t matter. Nobody cares about what you look like. The only person that cares about what you look like is you. You’re the only person that cares about how you perform. Nobody else gives you that. The beautiful thing about the civilian market is that we are literally free to achieve whatever height of greatness we wish to achieve as long as we’re willing to do the work for it, but if we step into the civilian market and we especially veterans, especially veterans, because we come from a place where all the answers are already provided, we seven to civilian market as veterans expecting the answers to be provided, we’re never going to get anywhere.

J.J. Pinter: 00:35:47 You have to work for it. You have to work for the answer. You have to be an independent thinking asset. If you’re not independent thinking asset, then you. You are yourself. Your own greatest liability period. You know all of that and it. It’s about perception. Take anything that we do, anything that we do in the military, any mos that we worked to, perfect. It doesn’t matter what it is, doesn’t matter if you’re a green baret. It doesn’t matter if you are a private. That’s a truck driver. The only way to learn how to do what you do is to do over and over and over again and fail constantly, right? I was a special forces communication sergeant. I came from the infantry, right. I’m a knuckle dragger. I eat crayons. I am not a smart man, and I became a communications aren’t for the US army special forces and I. I wasn’t a bad comms guy, but the only way for me to get better was to constantly drive towards getting communications and then we’ll.

J.J. Pinter: 00:36:35 I can do that is if I failed multiple times, well that’s setting didn’t work. Let’s try something else that’s setting didn’t work. It’s called theory for a reason, right? It’s theoretical. It shouldn’t actually work at radio shouldn’t really work. Just Fyi. Everybody out there in podcast land understand this right now. Technically if you turn on your radio, it shouldn’t technically work because it’s only theoretical. It’s. There’s a lot of science behind it, but it’s all theory, right? So it’s just try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, try and fail and the perspective that we have around that, it’s really weird when we can positively identify. It’s something that we can’t control, right? I can’t control how the frequencies are received by the antenna, but I can control the antenna. I can’t control the frequency I’m transmitting on and I can control where my site is setup and I mean there’s all sorts of things that I can control, but the biggest fear that we have is when it’s inside of ourself, right?

J.J. Pinter: 00:37:26 That personal failure and that was my number. I’ve lived that life. I was in the army for almost 17 years. I’ve been all over the world, every continent in the world except for Antarctica. I’ve climbed on parts of Mount Everest. I’ve almost died twice on glaciers. I’ve climbed on Mount Rainier. I, I’ve been. I’ve done so many awesome things and I’m not an. I’m not. I would never claim to be extraordinary, but for the longest time I lived a life of, especially out of the military, projecting expectation of what other people wanted from me and never being good enough. Never being good enough for myself. No self confidence, no self esteem. I mean, the day I got my green Baret, my family was there and they were excited for me and I was excited and I was like, Yay. Know. My Dad was like, dude, congratulations, aren’t you excited about this? And I was like, yeah, well, you know, it’s, it’s a good day. Those guys, they really deserved it more than I did.

Adam Smith: 00:38:17 Yeah. I think the. Adam, this is a good place I think to transition to talk. You were talking about purpose earlier and then you were also talking about other people’s expectations versus expectations of yourself. Right? And I think the thing that is interesting about you is that, you know, from the outside you could be really content right now with your life, right? You’re doing tactical training. Something I can tell you really like to do. It’s fun. You love doing it. You own a gym, you have a bunch of great members at the gym, like that’s great. Like you could just do this and from the outside looking in, there’s a lot of people would probably be pretty envious of and say like, that guy’s got a pretty good, pretty nice life and you know, you could probably, if you were a different person, say like, Hey, this is good.

Adam Smith: 00:38:56 Like I’m just going to keep. I’m in a community that I like. I’m around people that I like, I get a chance to, to, to scratch kind of the military edge with this tactical training. I liked doing that. Like I’m around good people, but I know that you have much bigger aspirations for yourself, what you want to accomplish. And that’s what I wanted to talk about a little bit right now because every time I talked to you like this is like one of the wrong one on the ladder of where you want to climb. Right? So let’s start there. Like why do you feel so strongly about being able to impact me? Because you are impacting people in a very kind of direct way right now. Absolutely. Yeah. But I know that you want to, you have aspirations of impacting so many more people. Like where does that come from? Yeah. Where does that come from and

J.J. Pinter: 00:39:44 where do you want to go, man, where it comes from? I have no idea. I don’t know. I’ve always wanted to be in the military my entire life, my entire life. I want to be in the military when I was four or five years old, I, you know, in elementary school or grade school, whatever, whatever grade that was, I wanted to be in the military. I wanted to be an air force pilot. Then I wanted to be in the Marines as a force recon guy because my grandpa was a marine and then I got intelligent and smart and educated and decided that some point that I think the best path to have effective change was in special operations community and that, you know, guys will tell you they joined the military for a lot of different reasons. I honestly truly joined the military because I believed in a higher purpose.

J.J. Pinter: 00:40:23 I mean that was my thing. Like I believed in country. I believe in United States, the national anthem is still gives me goosebumps. The fourth of July is like the greatest holiday on the face of the earth. Yeah, and that’s. I don’t know where it comes from. It’s just always been that way. On the other side of that where I’m at now. You’re right. I am so honored and blessed and humbled at the opportunity that I currently have. I mean, a lot of people have done a lot of things to help me not be in jail, to help me not be dead, to help me succeed. I’ve had mentors come out of the woodwork to support me in literally every endeavor I’ve ever taken and where I’m at right now is is this is there is a message to be delivered. There’s a way to deliberate that people receive it and that’s where I want to go.

J.J. Pinter: 00:41:07 I mean, I want to be able to help guys learn and hear the story and know that it’s possible to go from the bottom rung ready to eat, a pistol being done. No money like you had a pond out upon on my military stuff to try and put gas in the truck. No money, hating life, completely miserable, no purpose, no mission, no drive to understanding what it is, what your why is, what, what is your why like you know your wife, dude, you get to do it every single day and I didn’t really learn my why until earlier this year and it came, became very clear for me and my why was presented to me everyday. I didn’t even realize it. Every time that we get a chance to train the law enforcement agencies that we work with, I’m actioning my why. Every time people come into the gym, I get a chance to action. My wife. Physical fitness and tactical training is nothing more than a foot in the door for the y. The Y has mentality. That’s the why and that’s that’s where I want to go. That’s where I want to be. I want to be in a place in a position where I can tell the story and help demonstrate and show to people that living a miserable life, living depressed and constantly reinforcing that negative mentality of lies that we tell ourself is just that it’s a lie and it can be different. I don’t know. That’s it. What’s it like to,

Adam Smith: 00:42:21 to be back home again? Right? Like you grew up in, you grew up in this area. There’s a lot of people who say you can never come home again and I think what that really means is it’s never kind of your high school days or whatever, like it’s never going to be the same, but you were gone for a long time, came back and you’re, you know, you’re not in the exact same place that you’re from, but pretty stinking close. Pretty Damn close at 10, 15 minutes from it. Yeah. And so what’s it like to be back home again? A lot of veterans do that initially and it doesn’t go well and then they have to go somewhere else, right? Because for a whole host of reasons, what is it like. And then do you think that this journey you’re going down of service, like is that different because you’re here kind of in your, your, your home community? Man, that’s a really good question. Being back home and surreal. I swore I’d never moved back here when I. When I was like, man, I’m gonna. Join the army. I want to be gone. When I went to college I’m gonna be gone. Right? I wanted them. I want to live in Montana. That’s where I want to go. But more than anything else, I want to live in Montana

J.J. Pinter: 00:43:22 and it’s not because of this area. It’s because I love the mountains. They’re gorgeous. But man, being back here as surreal because back in the space I see people I went to high school with, you know I’ve got, I’ve got guys I went to high school with who are dead because a bad drug deals guys went to high school with who are in jail and will be in jail for the rest of their life. Guys that I went to high school with who are in jail because they pulled the trigger on somebody else during a bad drug deal. I got guys I went to high school with who are firefighters, who are law enforcement officers, guys that are looking actively to be in politics. People that own gyms, people that are poor and homeless. The spectrum is so spectacular and broad and all encompassing from the people that I went to high school with that it is its own microcosm of the reality of the United States.

J.J. Pinter: 00:44:10 And so being back here and seeing that is is of crazy. You know, it’s Kinda crazy to to know that that’s the case. People that I thought would be successful or not as successful as I thought they would be. People who I thought would be not successful or more successful than anybody else. And I think being back here has provided me an opportunity to create actually more impact than I think I would’ve created anywhere else in the country. Only because when I came back to this place and I found myself in my why, my voice was actually heard. Does that make sense? Yeah. You know, my family, they’re a big support and not everybody has that. I’m very lucky and blessed in that aspect. My wife, huge support. I mean, like I said, man, best teammate in the entire world, she is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and she has provided me an opportunity to change my perspective and above and beyond all of the, all of that, the network and community that we have in this space, you know, they believe and that’s, that’s been a huge.

J.J. Pinter: 00:45:08 I think that’s been a huge aspect of, of why we’ve been able to do what we’ve done so far. Yeah. Well man, I want to talk with the feature instead with the feature for you. When you look two years in the future, where do you think you’re going to be personally, but then also the GM, like what, what are your aspirations are in terms of touching more people? Like what do you think that’s going to look like? Oh Man. Uh, so like every good, like every good special operations guys started writing a book. That’s a complete sarcastic statement. I’m not a good special operations guy. Did you start writing a book? I did. I did actually start writing a book. Yeah, that was totally tongue in cheek. Uh, I know I did. I started writing a book about training mentality and about some lessons learned that I learned from being in the military and stepping on my own crank in the process and then big takeaways with regards to how to apply training concepts in mentalities into, into real world operations and training on the civilian side.

J.J. Pinter: 00:46:01 So that’s, that’s been coming along well, but you know, in the next two years I see the gym growing 100 percent. So I see the gym being at its capacity in the next space that we move into being in a bigger space and building that tribe. I see us doing like small group get togethers for men’s groups in this area where we’re doing outreach to local men who want to change their life. I think, you know, this concept, this modern society and modern community has changed so many things in modern society is basically hammered us with regards to the mentality of like, Hey, you’re not supposed to tell people you’re having a bad day and as the man you’re supposed to be the principle provider of the family, but that looks like you always being gone and never being home. That doesn’t look like you being a leader inside that space.

J.J. Pinter: 00:46:44 You know, and, and dudes so many times distract themselves with all sorts of stuff, booze, alcohol, social media, porn, you name it, right? Drugs, gambling, yet gambling, whatever can take place of avoiding the things that stress us out. And so I think that that’s something that needs to be addressed and should be addressed. And I think that reestablishing that mentality for local men in the region would provide a big benefit to the community because now we have community leaders that are going to constantly be growing inside of that space and continue to spread that message. So I’d say in two years, you know, the gym will be at capacity again, which will be awesome. We’re going to start a men’s group, I’m finished the book and I mean success for me is an opportunity to, like I told you before, standing in a stadium in front of 100,000 people sharing my story and letting people know that there’s a choice they can choose to change their life and they have permission to do it.

J.J. Pinter: 00:47:35 That the only person they have to get permission from his themselves have. I think we forget that. You know? And that’s really, that’s it, man. That’s the thing. The thing is the thing is impact this big bubble of impact and how do we create it and that is when the military we can. Do we see our higher purpose as doing the mission. Yep. And I’ve told everybody I, I feel like doing what I do now creates more impact than anything I ever did in the military. And I love my job. I loved it, but now they’re like, what change did I see? What changes did you see? Right? Our operations had strategic value based on strategic concepts, but real time change is oftentimes hard to see here. You see it everyday when people lose weight in the gym, you see it when they do a six week challenge or 12 week challenge, they come into the gym, you see it, and then you see how they changed their lives and then their families come to you and say, thank you for providing this opportunity.

J.J. Pinter: 00:48:34 Thank you for helping my husband. You really changed his life and the answer that we always give because this is a God’s honest truth, is that we didn’t do anything. He did it or she did it. All we did was provide an opportunity for them to see that they could change and that’s been huge and that impact is. That is real. That is palpable. It’s and it is powerful. You know what I mean? I mean it is super powerful. Yeah, because it’s, it’s right there in front of your face everyday and when you hear law enforcement officers that you had the opportunity to train and they come back and go, dude, that stuff you showed us, it works. It really works. Like we did this thing over here at this place and when we were making entry into that room, if we had done it the old way, we would have gotten shot up, but by using this new technique, we have more control over ourselves in the situation and it really. It’s saving lives. And you’re like, man, there you go. Yeah, I mean that’s it.

Adam Smith: 00:49:27 Hey, you went a little bit of Intel that I heard. Yeah. What you got? So when I was talking to these guys yesterday down at Fort Knox, these, these police officers, they were talking about coming up to the chorus and they kind of said, I don’t know much about it, but what I’ve heard is that we get better, be prepared to be at the high ready all the time because that’s what those guys like. And they said the other thing we heard is don’t bring in 1911 because they’re going to make them. Oh all day long. Don’t bring a 1911. Yeah, don’t, don’t do it. We’re going to make fun of your ridiculous. If you, if you don’t know what we’re talking about here, what is a 1911? Adam? Just like so people know what they look in. Nineteen 11 is like the Cadillac of firearms, right? It’s the classic. It’s, it’s the, it’s the Goto classic pistol that was developed in 1911 to be carried by US Army military and other military personnel. It’s a 45 caliber pistol, semiautomatic and if you were in the military up until recently, right? They’ve switched to sig, like you carried a military version of a colt. Nineteen 11, right? Well, for a long time, but then they went to the Beretta nine millimeter worse and then after the Beretta they’ve got some units have switched to sigs and some have gone to glocks and now there’s what? The big contractual changeovers

J.J. Pinter: 00:50:28 now with the Sig p three slash 2015. I kept up with it. Yeah. I don’t know. But modern ballistics and technology’s changed a lot and I mean you’ve had guys on here that will tell you in the hall I was at Mcloughlin, right? They go full geek mode on that and I’m not that guy, but not millimeter. Nine millimeter. Is it in modern modern ballistics does a really good job there no need. I’ve watched 45 rounds bounced off of windshields because it hit it at the wrong angle. So guys that are shooting 1911, there’s. They’re kind of stuck in the old days of, of weapons technology and not moving to the new days. And I’m not saying it’s a bad weapon system, I’m just saying it’s not necessarily the best choice, but there’s other ways to do things. Just saying. So with that being said, these guys coming in, you know, high risk versus low ready.

J.J. Pinter: 00:51:10 There’s all sorts of different carry positions, but some are more and everybody has an opinion. So guys, if you have an opinion on the higher low, I don’t care. You do whatever you want to do, whatever’s more comfortable for you do that. If you don’t like the other way, that’s okay too. But just like in the world of weapons, like let’s say precision shooting, if you have five, five, six and you’re shooting and close, or if you’re shooting at distance and have three away, or if you want to be competitive shooter and shoot a six point five creedmore, right? Or if you want to like hammer down and shoot a 3:38 Lapu of all of these different weapons systems have a place depending on what you’re using them for. It’s the same concept with the stuff that we teach the ready for different ready positions have a place, the only ready position that doesn’t have a place as a school.

J.J. Pinter: 00:51:54 And if you disagree with me on that, I really don’t care because the school has no place in anything. The schools, our range resting, it’s an administrative range. Resting position is not even a real thing. It’s not even a real thing. It’s, it’s not. So that’s the reason why we teach it. We teach high and low. We want everybody to understand how to apply them across the board except the school. If you do, the sooner we’re gonna. Make Fun of you relentlessly. Right, yeah, no, I just, I heard that talking about this and I say I’ll go this back and share that with that because that’s. They had never been there before and then it’s like that’s what our expectation was. That’s good. It’s a good expectation. Yeah. Don’t bring a 1911. We’re gonna. Make Fun of you and if you know you’re going to have to learn a different ready position so that you know how to apply it in the real world because there’s a time and place, you know if you’re moving and your muzzle up, your high ready if you’re moving in your muscle down your low ready.

J.J. Pinter: 00:52:37 Just depends. How do you see yourself spending your time moving into the future? Right? Because there’s like these two different lines of work that you’re both equally passionate about. Yeah, I know, right? Yeah. And not only that, like everything else, I want to legitimately start a knife making business and I want to turn it into a nonprofit as well, so I really want to do. I want to have a like a week long how to make a knife nonprofit course to you. You have like have, have a, have a origin stuff and like you actually blacksmith. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I have made a few times in the past the blunt force trauma approach of like cutting down files or like other pieces and I like to make things I really do. And that is I thought at one point in my life that one of the ways that I like to tell people or show people that they’re meaningful to me is make things for them.

Adam Smith: 00:53:26 Right. And so I was going to go down the road of making knives and giving them for presence and I made one or two and it is

J.J. Pinter: 00:53:32 messiest time consuming genx. And I was like, oh my wife walked out into the garage and everything is covered in a quarter inch of like she just said, you need to find something good to do something else. Oh, my garage is horrible. I mean, my wife, she comes out and works out and I have to turn off the grinder and not hammer on steel because she says it’s too loud. It hurts her, her ears. And uh, and it’s dark. It’s dusty. It’s got to wear masks and stuff, but I think it be super cool. I’d be really cool to like teach guys to do that.

Adam Smith: 00:54:06 I’ve got a link you up with my friend Mike Rodriguez.

J.J. Pinter: 00:54:09 I know Mike, do you? Okay. Mike Rod. He’s a former green beret too. Yeah. Yeah. He makes. He makes amazing, Nice, beautiful knives. In fact, he’s got one of his in the George Bush Library Library. Yeah. That he gifted to him. That’s got a piece of a nine slash seven steel on it and yeah, he. So he makes 42 and that’s like one of the things that I’ve been making as a VI 42. And uh, it’s a replica copy of it, right? Not really a copy, but it’s the nomad version. No matter iron works is the, is my blacksmith company, but it’s the nomad version. So it’s a little beef. You’re, it’s a little bit bigger, you know it. We’ll call it the Viking version of the [inaudible] 42. I love it. His work is amazing. I mean really his beautiful.

Adam Smith: 00:54:45 I’ve gotten to know him pretty well the last couple of years, you know, like he’s, he’s a pretty incredible guy. He’s been getting

J.J. Pinter: 00:54:51 hour and a half podcasts with him as well. Yeah, man and his stories in St Mike’s Story is absolutely insane. And the stuff that he’s done since he’s gotten out and the work that he’s doing, I mean, you know, his, his blacksmith is this therapy, my blacksmithing is my therapy very similar in that aspect and the stuff that it’s pretty phenomenal. So you might not know this, but

Adam Smith: 00:55:07 as a, there’s a nonprofit called the global war on terror memorial foundation. Never heard of it. So it is the organization that is building on the mall in Washington DC, the memorial for, for our war, for the global war on terror. So in the same way there’s the Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial, so rod is the executive director of that and I’m on the board with him so. So I get a chance to work with him on a professional basis right now. So the mall in Washington DC is one of my favorite places in the country and so I really want to be a part of building our memorial there and having it be on them all so. So. Yeah. So that’s really cool. So he’s working on that in a full time capacity in addition to all of the other stuff that. All the other things that he does because he does a lot of stuff.

Adam Smith: 00:55:54 Yeah. That’s so cool, man. I think that would be a. I lived in, worked in DC for a little over a year, almost 18, about 18 months, something like that. And a man, the history there. So cool. The malls, awesome. The Smithsonian’s amazing, but just the history of Washington dc is, is insane. And like the goings ons that you can walk into a place on the hill and go to lunch and be sitting at lunch and have, you know, senators and congressmen around you having conversations and their aids doing work and it’s pretty crazy. The hustle and bustle. Yeah. I got a chance to CDC and a little bit of a different way. I think I told you about this earlier, but I uh, some of my friends and I, you know, there’s a company called go ruck, which we worked with the team rep for a long time and they host events and they, they did an event or they did a series of events this year that, that are our star course type thing.

Adam Smith: 00:56:40 Yeah, it’s a. and it’s a combination of that. And it started with Teddy Roosevelt and I went to JFK. This like 50 mile challenge. It was basically 50 miles in I think 18 hours with 25 pounds I think, or 30 pounds or something was the challenge. And so I signed up to do the first one with some of my friends in, in DC. And so when you walk around dc for 50 miles, you know, you get the chance to see the city pretty well. So yeah, not going to do that again. It was 50 miles with anything on your back and nothing on your back. It’s still 50 miles. Six miles is a long way to go and it rained five and a half inches at the beginning of it. Really? That’s perfect. Yeah. So anyways, but, but we got that done. Never going to do it again.

Adam Smith: 00:57:22 But you get a chance to see a city in a very different way when you’re, when you’re bouncing around kind of blindly following a gps, you know, trying to go from place to place as fast as you said you had a gps to do your land navigation course. Yeah. So did you retire as an officer? Is that. I did not retire as an officer. Would you retire as I did not retire or what did you get out as? As a captain? You were an officer when you got out? Yeah. Okay. I was just checking and ceos would have used a map and compass I guess I had much is on my team and they were manning the GPS. They were worse than you. It wasn’t. It wasn’t. Um, it wasn’t a land nav event. So the move to point event. Yeah. So the way it was set up is the first like 32 miles was like just a long walk, so it was just kind of a gut check and they.

Adam Smith: 00:58:06 There’s a thing called the C and o canal trail, so it was like 16 miles out and 16 miles back. So he started at like 9:00. You go 60 miles out, 60 miles back rain the whole time muddy and you get back into Georgetown. We get back at like 6:00 in the morning or something. He started to walk all night. Then once you get there then you had like 12 points to hit or something like that. It was just 12 places and it was like, it was all the things you would think about all the memorials supreme court that Dah Dah, Dah, Dah. And you had to plot those 12 points. You had to hit all of them. Yep. Right. Yep. But you want it to obviously set out a route that was going to take the least amount of time and space for you to do to get there.

Adam Smith: 00:58:49 And so it wasn’t really an exercise in like Land Nav, it was really like, okay, how can I lay out a route and get to the most efficient means to get to these points to get to these points and get back in time so I don’t have to do 50 miles. Yeah. Well there was no way that you were not going to do 50 miles but you. So you don’t end up doing 60 miles, if that makes sense. Let’s limit the pain as much as possible. Yeah. We made one mistake, you know, we were kind of down on the mall and we, you have to go to all the different memorials and you know, so it’s like maybe we started at 9:00, we’re maybe like 44, 45 miles in, something like that. And you know, at that point had been walking for our, been up for power long.

Adam Smith: 00:59:32 It wasn’t terrible, but it was like you’re just at the point where you’re not thinking clearly and you know, you’re not thinking clearly. And so we were getting ready to kind of leave the mall and go up to the supreme court or something I think. And we kind of said, you know, what, we better sit down and like just double check this just to make sure that we got all the points. So we sat down and we realized that we’d missed a point so he turned around and got to check it and so, you know, we turned around and we walked back and we’re kind of like feeling all of us are kind of like feeling sorry for ourselves for a second, you know? And then the point we missed with the world war two memorial and like you walk into that thing and you look around and you’re just like, I’m like, I feel so little right now that I’m, I was feeling sorry for myself because I have to walk an extra mile and a half and then I walk into this monument and it’s just like, okay.

Adam Smith: 01:00:17 I feel like the biggest, like the biggest turd ever right now. So. Okay. Okay. Attitude adjustment time check noted. Noted Jane’s perspective. Time to go. Let’s go finish this thing. Oh, it’s crazy. That was. That was an interesting experience in the. In Germany. I don’t know if you ever a chance to go to Germany, but Germany and went to [inaudible] when we were there and you want to talk about powerful, the experience of dark out. They had pictures and stuff like that, but you walk, you walk into, you walk in the on your like, man, holy crap. This is intense. I mean it’s eerie. It’s dead silent. Yeah. That no birds, no nothing. It’s dead silent and then you leave and you. You really can’t. Some perspective, like maybe getting up at 4:00 in the morning is not that big of a deal. Yeah. You know what I mean?

Adam Smith: 01:01:03 My sole experience in Germany was when I was a cadet and you do something called Ctlt, which is when you go for a month or five weeks or something and you go out to an army unit somewhere and you shadow a platoon leader and it’s your opportunity to get a chance to know kind of what the army is like. And I was so excited because I got Germany and to get to go international is a little, you know, it’s not a big deal but it’s, it’s, you know, it’s not average. And so I was super excited about it so I show up to my unit and my sponsor picks me up from whatever, like we’re on that you sign into on post. I don’t remember and I’ll never forget. He says, Hey, we got to hustle because we get to go to cif right now and draw your gear because we’re leaving to go to graph and veer in the morning.

Adam Smith: 01:01:55 And I said, well, I had all these aspirations of like traveling around Europe on the weekends. I show up. We went straight to CIF. I drew gear, we went to graph and beer in the morning, which is a training area, and I spent my entire time in Germany at Grafton, added to a graph rotation. Oh Man. Came back, went to CIF, turned my stuff in. I had one day back on the bird back home and so I’m like, okay, now you know, there was an experience for you. What did you do in Germany? Nothing. I did nothing. We, it drove around and yeah, I was at a field artillery unit so they did shoot lot of artillery, so that was. So that was good. But yeah, I didn’t get a chance to see. I could have been, could have been anywhere. I could’ve been in Nebraska, you know, because I was just like on the training field and the training facility didn’t get a chance to see anything that’s.

Adam Smith: 01:02:43 So that’s not it. That’s not an awesome experience, but it’s probably a good training experience on the other side of that. It’s pretty good. It was. Well, I had a man. We have been going at it here for awhile and this has been fantastic. I want to end on a question that I ask everybody on the podcast and this is always really interesting to me and it’s a question about leadership. So here’s the question and I’m going to ask it in because I don’t want to put you on the spot too much. I’m going to do a drawn out version of it here so you can think a little bit. You can just hammer me. What’s the most important lesson that a leader has ever talked to you in your life? And so when some people answer this, they think to some very specific moment, like, I learned this thing from this leader at this point.

Adam Smith: 01:03:19 It stuck with me and some people answer it and they say, you know what? I was around, you know, starting with my, like coaches as my like teeball coach, you know, all the way up. This characteristic stood out to me and it was something that I learned that I wanted to use in my leadership. You know, when I got to be a leader. So that’s the question. What’s the most important lesson that a leader ever taught you? Now you see why I tried to answer it. It’s a hard question. It’s not a like put you on the spot question. It’s like a reflective question. So I’d like to give people a second to think about it.

J.J. Pinter: 01:03:50 It’s a really good question and I will say the lesson learned is a two fold thing for me and the first thing, the first one is to be present. That’s the very first thing. Yep. I’ve had really good leaders and they were really good because they were present that were present in the conversation. There were present with instruction that were present with feedback. They were present. They were there. Yep. They weren’t both physically and mentally off somewhere else and I’ve had leaders who not only were not present when they were there, they just cause problems, you know, which wasn’t conducive to anyone. So I for the first thing would be to be present. I’m gonna go three fold. The second one, the biggest. The second part of that would be to provide the opportunity for, to allow your subordinates to take ownership. So by that I mean as leaders all too often leaders issue orders, period, right?

J.J. Pinter: 01:04:51 Because they believe sometimes that they have the best answer, the best leaders that I’ve ever had, not only were they present, but they also provided an opportunity for their subordinates to take ownership in the process and ownership in what the actual hire established mission would be. So ownership and planning, ownership and execution by providing ownership, they really, they really sort of developed a community within that space of being present and ownership from the subordinates. And I think the last biggest take away is being a good follower. That’s a really, I guess sort of counterintuitive thing to think the best leaders I’ve ever had and I can think back to like two or three really, really good leaders. No, I don’t. I don’t want to name them. I’m going to let them. I’m going to let them all, whoever’s been in my life as a leader can, can consider themselves one of the two or three.

J.J. Pinter: 01:05:41 I guess there are some that were horrible leaders, really bad leaders. I won’t name them either. Now. It’s not seen as a guessing game, but that’s what I mean by that is so being present in the moment and really truly understanding what’s going on, allowing ownership to be taken by the support and it so that you’re not just dictating, but providing opportunity for them to take ownership in the process and being a good follower. And by that I mean as a leader, you have to know when to ask for assistance and support and you have to understand when it’s time to shut up and allow everyone else in that space to give you information that you might need and if your lane is. You’re really good at task organization, but you’re not really great at tactical concepts on the ground. Then shut up and let the guy who’s really good at that give you the information that you require versus dictating to that dude who’s way better than you. Even though he might be your subordinate. What it is that you want to have happen on the ground when that’s not even your lane. So I think being a really good follower, being present and providing ownership to your subordinates. I think those are the biggest lessons learned I’ve taken away from the best leaders that I’ve had in my life.

Adam Smith: 01:06:51 Those are all very similar for me. And there’s like one on the end and that is, and this is so I think you learned this the way that the army does this is really weird. So you think about this, you know, you’re, you’re kind of thrust out into the forest as a second lieutenant. Right? And so you know, kind of by doctrine, if you think about a platoon, you’re the, you’re the person who’s in charge of the platoon or the highest ranking person in that platoon, but you’re probably, when you show up, you’re probably the demos junior, if not the most junior in the platoon. And so there’s this, there’s this process where you go through where you’re like, oh, hopefully you have good Nco who’s around you, who are trying to make everybody successful. Like not every NCO is good NCO. There’s some, there’s some crappy ones too, but hopefully you have good ones around you who are trying to help make you successful.

Adam Smith: 01:07:40 And hopefully you can check your mouth and learn, but there comes a point where someone has to make a decision. That’s the other thing that I’ve seen is that like, people try to be so collaborative that no one will make a decision. And then there’s a point where I think good leaders say, okay, like I acknowledge all of this stuff around me. Someone has to make a decision and own it, and I’m going to do that and I’m going to own it. Here’s the decision. I’ve, you know, I’ve taken in all of the feedback I can, but here’s what we’re going to do. Go do it. You know, that’s the thing that I’ve seen is like sometimes people are unwilling to make a decision. So blayne Smith, who’s a longtime friend of mine, I’ve known him forever, you know, we worked together to Marta be, he was, he was a music greenbrae as well.

Adam Smith: 01:08:26 And third group. One of the things that he would always say, some frustration that he would have is that, you know, he would put together missions that we want to do or whatever. And then he would never get kind of the, the answer would be like, Oh, if you want to do what you can do it. And he would just kind of say, well, this is really frustrating to me because not only am I am I accepting personal risks here because the missions are dangerous, but I’m accepting professional risk as well because because someone will not make the decision, yes this is approved or no, this is not approved. Right? So. So like all of the risk is sitting on me because I don’t have leaders who will say yes, like I’ve done the risk assessment, I’ve taken everything into account and I’ve determined that this mission is worth whatever it is. Yes. You know, approved stamped, you know. So for me, that’s, that’s the thing that I’ve seen difficult in a leader who will say, okay, Yep, okay. Discussion. Debate is done. You know, we, this is the decision, this is the decision, this is clear guidance. Now it’s time to execute.

J.J. Pinter: 01:09:24 I think that’s interesting because that concept of leadership really falls into it. But if you look at, if you think about how operationally speaking things take place, a lot of times guys will fall into this place or this, this realm of analysis paralysis. Yeah, and they’ll lack decisiveness. And what’s even crazier is to think that a strategic, the strategic level, those decisions are being made real time on an operational level, on the ground. Those decisions are being made real time and when you watch new guys, new lieutenants or new officers, law enforcement officers or new special operations guys who don’t have a lot of experience in ground operations with close quarters tactics and things like that, that when they make entry into a room, they become overwhelmed with data or when they’re presented with a bunch of different courses of action that become overwhelmed with data and rather than rather than picking it apart piece by piece and going, I like this, I like that, I like this, like this. That’s the decision. Go. They go, what now? And analysis paralysis and Susie, I agree with a hundred percent. I think being decisive is. But here’s the thing though. It’s decisiveness based on facts, right? Not Decisive enough based on what you think is gonna help your career the most.

J.J. Pinter: 01:10:26 Yeah. Yeah. No, absolutely. And so it’s an interesting. As a young officer, it’s interesting because it’s like he, you, you go from this place of having to put a lot of trust in everybody that they’re, that they’re telling you things that are correct and then you start to learn more and more and more and more, and then there comes a point where it’s like, okay, I now feel comfortable. You know, I, I now have have learned enough that I feel more comfortable that I can really like, be, be more decisive and, and yeah, it’s an, it’s an interesting place to go. So. Well I had a man. We’ve been going at it for, for awhile here. This has been a fantastic conversation. Thanks guys. Thanks for joining me. I really appreciate it and we’ll have to check in in, in a year and see what.

Adam Smith: 01:11:04 I appreciate it too, man. I really appreciate it. I’m going to do a high five across the table here. Hopefully you can see you can hear it better. All right.


Comments on Episode 114 – Adam Smith; Green Beret, CrossFit Gym Owner, Tactical Training Specialist