S1E7. This week we speak with Army Special Forces veteran Herb Thompson. Herb retired from the Army and has wasted no time getting active in helping others through their transition process. He shares with us his journey on how he was able to get selected into Special Forces and articulates so clearly the internal fight so many of us veterans may have waged following the transition out. Herb is the author of the book, The Transition Mission.
More information about Herb Thompson.
Herb’s book, The Transition Mission.
AUTO-TRANSCRIBED – PLEASE FORGIVE ANY ERRORS OR TYPOS
Herb Thompson 00:00
That’s how I passed a colorblind test. That’s awesome to get into special forces. You know, there’s a will there’s a way
Aaron Spatz 00:10
you were listening to America’s entrepreneur, the podcast designed to educate, entertain, and inspire you in your personal professional journey. I’m your host, Aaron Spatz. And on the podcast, I interview entrepreneurs, industry experts, and other high achievers that detail their personal and professional journeys in business. My goal is to glean their experiences into actionable insights that you can apply to your own journey. If you’re new to the show, we’ve spoken with successful entrepreneurs, Grammy Award winning artists, best selling authors, chief executives, and other fascinating minds with unique experiences. We’ve covered topics such as how to achieve breakthrough and business, growing startups, effective leadership techniques, and much more. If you strive for continual self improvement, and enjoy fascinating and insightful conversation, if the subscribe button, you’ll love it here at America’s entrepreneur. So herb, thank you so much for agreeing to be on the show and for taking some time out of your busy day. But as we were discussing earlier, just the love to hear more about your story a little bit more about your background, what compelled you to join the military? And just tell us a little bit about what you did?
Herb Thompson 01:24
Yeah, so I mean, like a lot of folks, I talk with, you know, not, not everyone in the military, but you know, I didn’t have the easiest upbringing was not from a well off fam, you know, in upstate New York. Really poor college was an option. And I think though my family did instill like, Hey, we’re going to go to the Memorial Day Parade every year and the Veterans Day ceremony. And probably about the time, you know, 70 years old, I knew I wanted to be a soldier. So that’s all I focused on, which probably led to some, along with some immaturity, and not focus on academics in high school and past line. But you know, there’s definitely some trials and tribulations there. But some mentors helped me along the way and then join army straight out of high school at 17 wanted to be Airborne Ranger Airborne Infantry. And they said, Hey, you’re colorblind, I was like, I know that and they’re go okay, you could be the chaplains assistant, or these three jobs, which all of them are human resources, jobs. So I just wanted to join, that’s what I did, came in as human resources, did that for a while, did to the best of my ability, but did not enjoy it. But I loved being an army. So I had two goals was to be a drill sergeant via Greenbrae. So I went became a drill sergeant had an interesting drill, summer career where I was, you know, drill sergeant down and basic training, with brand new privates coming in Army. I was a drill sergeant instructor at the drill sergeant school, and then I was drills during the year for the army, which really opened my aperture to wow, there’s a big whole nother part of the army out there. And when the only people you’re working with pretty much are like, general officers, up to four star was my boss, and, you know, his Senior Enlisted Advisor, was my other boss, Section army’s calling me up to get information or have you do a task, or it was pretty interesting. From there. I like Special Forces, and did the, you know, the latter half of my career in Special Forces, fifth special forces group focused on, you know, area operations and Middle East that tons of deployments, 10 different countries throughout the Middle East and then retired almost a year ago. So I guess 1019 months ago, I retired and then, you know, the whole transition mission from there for me began prior to that.
Aaron Spatz 03:33
Wow. Well, so let’s, let’s back up real quick. So before you before you made your way into special forces, how did you overcome the MediCal waiver situation?
Herb Thompson 03:45
Yeah, two things. First of all, you know, direct question is, so there’s another colorblind test. And I wasn’t sure what that colorblind test, but knew there was the medical personnel at the clinic at the base house. So I made a test up and said, Hey, put a red square put a green square up there. And that’s tell you which one is the green square, put it on the right. And they did that. And I said, that’s the green square. And that’s how I test the color blind test. That’s awesome to get into special forces. You know, there’s a will there’s a way I don’t think I can choose till that a couple times. But it was just my goal and really getting to that was, I was at the midway point of my career, I was actually more senior than most people I go to Special Forces selection and army. And it came down to the you know, rocking chair, test, if you will, what I call a beat, you know, I want to be six years old, hopefully living on a porch somewhere in a rocking chair, drinking a colon and you know, what I could have should have added, you know, I didn’t want to have that moment. So I said, I’m just gonna go, I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna make it or they’re gonna put me in a body bag. And fortunately, I’m still vertical. So I made it.
Aaron Spatz 04:50
That’s awesome. And I’m glad you’re still vertical. That’s great. Yeah, so any, any experiences that you care to share in terms of your Your time. So obviously be a little more senior with special forces. And then, you know, how did that translate to your leadership? What did that mean for you, as you started to kind of eyeball your exit? You know, when did you know that it was time to go?
Herb Thompson 05:15
Yeah, so I was gonna stay in the military until I wasn’t happy anymore. You know, when I didn’t come home, take off the uniform or, you know, figuratively, you know, look in the mirror. And I was, you know, I wasn’t smiling. So, for me that I knew, probably Special Forces. Once you’re a team sergeant, and they listed side, you know, the, or the enlisted guy in charge of the team. That’s like, the pinnacle. To me, people don’t dream about, oh, I want to go on to be the ninth Senior Enlisted Advisor and hand out, you know, be in charge of beans and bullets. And it’s a lot more administrative. So, to me, that was the pinnacle. And I knew, you know, with that wrapping up, that was going to be then. So fortunately, I sat down with a fellow Greenbrae, who went to Warden, we’re talking Vietnam era. And he gives back to the community because one reason he says he got into ordnance because he’s a, he was a Green Beret, back in like 1971 or two. So I talked with him, and he kind of really those two years out from when I retired and got me thinking towards what I want to do next, how am I going to get there, and that’s really where it started. So I had a good two year stretch up, you know, my free time was focused on my transition, work time was work time, and I busted my butt towards it. But, you know, instead of doing any other things on my free time, it was focused on my transition.
Aaron Spatz 06:30
While that’s, that’s fantastic. I know, that’s not I know, that’s not the norm, like a lot of guys, they, they don’t think about it, or it sneaks up on them. They’re like, holy cow, I’m retiring soon, or, you know, I’m thinking about punching out at you know, at this time, but a lot of these guys come back, and they’re coming off a deployment, and then they’ve got to make that decision pretty quick. So how did you end up, you know, running into this guy, they just kind of help steer you and kind of make you start to think, yeah, fortunately,
Herb Thompson 06:59
for you know, for a lot of us, he started an organization that helps Green Berets, and they actually put on a marriage retreat. So then a bunch of speakers come in and are talking about impact, you know, effects on the brain from service, you know, marriage advice, relationships, all this different stuff. But really talking sidebar with him for you know, three hours, two consecutive nights, led to, you know, really like, Hey, how did you get to where you are, and he’s very successful, and really was the star, nothing was solved that, you know, those couple nights, but it got me started thinking about it, because truthfully, the only thing I thought of was I’m gonna have my bachelor’s degree by the time I retire. And I saw nothing else because I knew nothing else, you know, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And I knew I did not know a lot. So it was a it was the beginning of my, you know, a lot of
Aaron Spatz 07:52
self reflection in my journey. Yeah. So like, what do you think was the most important part of that self self reflection, part of the, of that journey?
Herb Thompson 08:01
One, knowing who you are. And, I mean, there’s some downtimes there, looks good on paper now, for me, but there was downtimes, of not knowing who I was, I mean, I knew who it was. But like, my life had been, you know, the time I retired 20 years, that’s all I’ve done my whole adult life, I’ve been in the Army longer than I had not been in the army. So it was a lot of my identity as much as I didn’t want it to be that that’s what it was. That’s who I was, that’s consumed my life. And as you know, like, it’s not a job. A lot of times being a military, for most people, it’s a way of life. So that’s self reflection of identifying who I who I am. And then where am I going? And that’s not what that’s two very difficult things for people. But fortunately for me, I had that time of two years, and I was open enough to begin to think about it and talk with people. And that’s the other way of trying to figure out where I wanted to go was figuring out where I didn’t want to go. And through talking with people that kind of started narrow me into what I thought I would like to do. And then you know, hey, my military chapter my life, it was great. There’s nothing you know, I’m more proud of them my service but that’s nothing I define my life. Hopefully, I you know, I live a lot longer and a lot more great chapters than just hey, he served he is Greenbrae drill sergeant, you know, drill son of the year for the army, do all these great things. And that’s it Well, to me that would, you know, a life unfulfilled because there’s so many more years left.
Aaron Spatz 09:31
And there’s a lot of wisdom, a ton of wisdom and what you’re saying and I think it’s like one of the threads I think I’m picking up on as you’ve been sharing your story is one to not isolate yourself and to like you really do need to spend some time in some really purposeful reflection and just to really wrap your head around, you know, who you are and and kind of where you’re wanting to head as sounds like you did that like perfectly.
Herb Thompson 09:58
The I don’t know about perfectly, I’ve actually got there. But no, I think that’s important. And I think I don’t think just veterans, you know, a lot of people are taught to they struggle with that they just like they started a job because that’s the job they’re in. And then that’s who they are. And they don’t want to be in it, but they don’t know what else to do. And they, you know, I think a lot of that is just knowing who you are, and being comfortable with who you are. And really owning that. And through that, you know, it takes a takes some guts to be, you know, if you’re wanting to walk around with purple hair, and a nose ring, and, you know, be on TV, okay, you just got to own it. And a lot of people are kind of afraid, sometimes whether it’s social pressure, family pressure, just self, a lot of times, it’s self imposed hurdles, that prevent people from doing things. And if you just bust through them, then life becomes a little easier to get to where you want to go. And then again, nobody, very few people do things alone, like look at Bill Gates, you know, start a Microsoft phone the guy successful, but then you look back at the picture. Now there’s like 910 other people, I forget the number around, when they were putting it together, nobody gets anywhere on their own. So the more you talk with people, you understand, you’re not the only one struggling or you’re not the only one. That’s figuring yourself out. But it starts helping you to just helps to talk and be like, Oh, wow, that was a dumb idea. Maybe I shouldn’t do that. You know? And then just like, oh, no, that is a great idea. And you know, a few people tell you, it’s a good idea, well, then maybe you’re onto something or where you’re going or if you know, but again, you just got to be able to filter all that because like for me, I had 2000 informational interviews, I just kept seeking people out to gain information, because knowledge is power, more information I had the better inform I can make my decision. But if I believed every word of everybody said, you know, something was contradictory. Some people are like, Oh, you need to go into banking. I’m like, the ones I talked about five people, I realized I was not going to go into banking. So it was just like, hey, what, how does what they’re telling me actually apply to me? What can I take from it, and learn from this experience or this conversation and then apply it to myself. And, you know, then my thing has always been, I’m going to give it back on the back end once I figure myself out. And that’s what I tell people that I help and talk with a mentor is just, I don’t need nothing from you just give back. Help the next guy or gal in line. Yep.
Aaron Spatz 12:17
That’s fantastic. Let’s talk a little bit about so the actual transition. So when you you know, when you’re retired, then what did it look like for you? On? Yeah,
Herb Thompson 12:31
yeah. So for me, again, started tears. Again, I did not know anything about being a civilian, I’d done a couple of farm labor jobs and worked at Burger King in high school, like, I didn’t know anything. So she will have that up. But I what I had learned in the military was planning. And you know, how to plan for a goal and the backwards plan, you know, military decision making process, link analysis for networking, I learned a bunch of this stuff. So I was like, I’m gonna apply this because this is what I know. And this is just another mission, I’m going into X country, I’m going to be inserted, I’m deploying there, but the country was America. So through that, I found where I wanted to go, I want to be in a management consulting, to help me get to where I’m going, I realized, when I come in as a return Greenbrae, who’s got their college degree online, it doesn’t really instill confidence in the business world that wow, I know what I’m talking about for business sense. So I needed to get a top, you know, graduate degree for an MBA, because it applied to me of what I wanted to do. So I put all my efforts and focus on getting into the Tuck School of Business up at Dartmouth, I made three trips up there in a year, 20 hour, you know, drive each way for two of the times, one time I flew, put all my efforts into that. And then I got kicked in the nuts and I got waitlisted. And unlike all my planning train me to do was I had no contingencies, I’d put all my eggs in one basket. And I was like, Why should I listen to people along the way, they were telling me, hey, why don’t you look at other things. And I was so laser focused, which it helped me in a lot of ways. Not have to deal with some things or to deal with a lot easier because I was laser focused, but I had all holes rested on one goal, and I put all my eggs in that basket. So that was a little bit of a rough weekend, once I found out was waitlisted in everything I had planned over the last, you know, year timeframe there. At that time, I thought was for naught and it was wasted. But it actually it wasn’t because it helped me to get to where I was going.
Aaron Spatz 14:31
Wow. Yeah. So then you’re you’re able to pivot and move
Herb Thompson 14:35
on. Yeah, exactly. So I pivoted like okay, what why was that going there? And some of us for great reasons. Some of it was partially was haul going to do a full time MBA and I’ll take two years off and I can spend two more years finding myself and I had to be honest with myself was that was part of the reason that I wasn’t telling anybody. So why am I doing this? So I was able to pivot, start, you know, using everything I was learning that process. And then I got into the Cornell Executive MBA. So I’m still checking that education block for multiple reasons, you know, towards my goals, but also set a good example for my kids. And then I’m, you know, got hired at Accenture on the federal side to work as a management consultants, so I was able to pivot and do that. But a lot of that reflected again, more information, interviews, more figuring out how do I, how do I do this? And I was able to, you know, have some success.
Aaron Spatz 15:30
Yeah, that’s amazing. Because you said you done over 2000 informational interviews, which is nuts. I mean, that’s a lot of time talking to people.
Herb Thompson 15:40
Yeah, I was fortunate enough to my job, once I came off the team, I was no longer in charge of the team. You know, I had about eight months till I retired there while I was going through as I was going through medical board, so I’m a little different, a lot of people I hit 20, but I also did a medical board. So I have free time. And my command was, you know, nice enough to most of my afternoons were spent doing this. So I would just have calls lined up. And I was informed. And you know, through that, I figured, okay, this is what I want to do. Here’s my three targeted companies, to management consulting companies, and one of them was a tech startup, if you will. And I had two of my like, very close, dear friends in there, who vouch for me for the interview, and I’m like, I’m assuring. And then boom, I went did the interview, and they didn’t offer me a job. And I was like, Oh, this is a place that at the time had 40 employees, two of which are like my best friends who vouched for me, if I can’t get a job here, I can’t get a job anywhere. So that was another rough weekend of, hey, the reality is, it all looks great. But there was some rejection there. And I think that’s for veterans, but a lot of people we don’t, you know, a lot of times military, you don’t have rejection, because there’s no failure is not an option, you know, you know, come home alive. So you achieve the results you need to achieve, and then all sudden, you’re starting to get rejected. And that can be a difficult for people to go through.
Aaron Spatz 17:04
Yeah, for sure. And I mean, if you don’t mind talking about that a little bit more. Yeah, I’d like to circle back to that. And also to school. So like, you know, these are two very quick punches that you had to, you know, that you had to face. Right, right, right after you got out. I mean, sure, there’s punches that you had to endure when you’re in the army, and especially in the Special Forces community. And those are things that you may, you may see come and you may not see coming, but there’s always a way to get through it. And, and there’s usually some type of method that you’re going to use to get through it. But now that you’re in the, in the civilian space, it’s a, it’s a totally different world. And, like, the options are completely, you know, without limits. And so, you know, it’s like, I mean, there’s, there’s really, there’s, there’s no, there’s nothing or nobody keeping you from doing whatever it is that you want to do. And that can be both inspiring and scary at the same time.
Herb Thompson 18:02
No, it is it’s, you say exactly right. It could be inspiring, like, wow, I could do anything, then. Oh, my God, I could do anything. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. You know, the world’s my oyster, but Oh, my God, it’s a big world out there. Yeah. So, again, I reassess. So I did not get into, you know, Tuck School of Business, which thankfully, now I’m thankful for it. You know, I was like, what, what did I do wrong? Whatever you assess, and I really figured out a lot of it wasn’t my approach. I could not have done more to get into school. I had gone to tutoring, did multiple graduate school entrance exams, but I didn’t really know me and how to sell me, you know? So I was like, Okay, where can I better sold that and what my vision is. And then same with the job, I reassessed, and part of it was, it just wasn’t a fit. It was for the role they were looking at, it wasn’t really a fit for me. And that’s, that’s when I realized, like, just because you can apply for something or you do and you’re like, Oh, you get all excited. But really taking that time to think about why do I want this and being able to sell my abilities. And then I was able to sell my abilities more than that’s how I was able to get into Cornell and one is accepting that what I did in the military is I did you know, I earned it. It wasn’t we It wasn’t us, even though it is you know, it’s a big team. But you know, nobody’s hiring the team. Nobody’s hiring your platoon or squad, company, whatever organization you want to call it, the military, they’re hiring you. So or they’re admitted you to the you know, graduate program or this tuition for an undergrad degree. In some cases, you have to sell you and that is something we’re not really used to doing is selling us because a lot of times what we wear our uniform, our reputation, the schools we’ve been through in the military, the positions we held that sold and we just walked in and we took charge and you know, it was it was positions where, okay, we think you have the potential to do this position. So we put you in there do that and a lot of times and the civilian side is we’re not looking for potential that could be the graduate school that’s been, that’s like they are looking for all you have potential to do this job, they want to know you can do this job. And a lot of times that’s harder to show, especially for us mentors are the guys and gals transitioning out of the military right away.
Aaron Spatz 20:17
That’s great. And it’s a great way to kind of take a look back and reflect on the things that you had to face and the things that you had overcome. And then but also, just being really realistic, I think, is probably the best word. It’s just very realistic and very just honest, you know, in your assessment of it’s not in it, and it is a two way street, right? It’s it’s not just you, it’s also, you know, is this a good fit for them too? Or is this just a good move on on their end? And sometimes one or both? don’t line up?
Herb Thompson 20:50
Yeah, definitely. And I think I think it works, a lot of times, we can sell ourselves short, too. So there’s that fine, you know, there’s a gap there, between selling ourselves short and just reaching too far to where we’re overextended, and we’re not going to get the position or get into a certain program. So finding that medium, and sometimes you got to fail to find that. Sometimes you just got to put yourself out there. But there’s definitely I think a lot of times I talked to be like myself, you know, past high school, heck, I did a summer school in ninth grade of high school, got my degree online. And I’m applying to Ivy League graduate business schools. Now part of that was because a lot of I was selling my brand selling the brand, or the Greenbrae. And what the my skills and capabilities experiences were and then what I was going to do afterwards, but, you know, that was a reach, but I thought it was a within a it was at the top of product I was reaching quite far but doable. From having talked with people I wasn’t the norm they were looking for, and that was on the graduate school assignment scene for jobs. But you know, with jobs, they’re not putting a class of 300 together how they wrote institution is they’re, they’re putting one person in this one job. So you got to do a lot more, like you said, with knowing yourself and what what is the value you’re going to bring to them, because that’s why they’re hiring Sure, to impact their value and, you know, bring basically almost every business, increase their profits and decrease their losses. And a lot of times, you know, hey, I’m a great leader. That doesn’t mean anything to
Aaron Spatz 22:21
you. That’s, and those are tough words to hear. For some folks know, I mean, seriously, hey, I, you know, I’ve led soldiers in combat, or, you know, I’m a decorated Marine Corps veteran, or I did all this in the Navy, or in the Air Force. And but the other reality is, they’re, they’re looking at you, and they appreciate your service. No doubt. Yep. But there’s, but there’s also that element of like, okay, you know, we got, we got all the niceties, you know, taken care of, let’s get down to business. And, and sometimes they have to make that tough call. And, and that’s, that’s not always what I wants to hear. And so I like to segue this into a book that you published recently, the transition mission, so tell us about that.
Herb Thompson 23:08
Yeah, so again, I plan mine, like, a mission. So okay, and semi on my way. Some could say success. I don’t think I’m where I’m going yet. But I talk a lot of veterans all the time, and, you know, having nightly phone calls. And I was like, wow, I can affect so many more if I could put this out some way, and how do I do this. And then I had a call and with a, you know, female soldiers got out. And she’s like, Hey, I’m lost. And she was on her transition leave, not knowing what she want to do with the rest of her life, you know, after the military. And it really hit me a while, like, there’s other people doing this. And, you know, I’ve fortunately started early, so I had two years in there to kind of get way ahead of what most people do. Like you said earlier, most people are working right up to the last minute or kind of sneak up on them for different reasons. And boom, all of a sudden, they’re getting on the military, and they don’t know what they’re going to do. So how can I help. And, you know, the book was born, I knew nothing about writing a book, and nothing, publishing and marketing anything. So I spent the next 30 to 40 days, diving into that just like I did, how to get into graduate school, how to get you know, trance, translate my skills, to resumes and interviews to get into business. And then I published the book and we’re now over 1500 copies have been sold less than where I want because I have lofty goals. But for a grassroots campaign and 45 days, people told me that’s pretty good.
Aaron Spatz 24:41
Yeah, that’s great. That’s pretty cool.
Herb Thompson 24:45
But I just broke down my process of hey, here’s how it was not just talk about me. I throw personal anecdotes in there. And, you know, a little bit of humor, a little bit of raw reality. I talk about, you know, the failures there and just I think a lot of it resonates because part of it is getting a job when you go, but part of it is that mental there’s up, there’s more to it than just you know, getting a different paycheck and taking off a uniform to put on a suit or put on work clothes, whatever you’re putting on, as you know, there’s you’re leaving your tribe out, you’re leaving your team, some self discovery, like we’ve been talking about, oh, by the way, you need a resume now, and you don’t ever have your military records to show what you do anymore. Your awards. You got to go in and articulate your value views. So I go through that whole process and what I did in a short condensed, you know, easy read for folks. And so far, the feedbacks been very good.
Aaron Spatz 25:39
It’s fantastic. And I think if you’re a veteran listening to this, even if you’ve been out for five or 10 years, they’re there or longer, there’s still value in this book, in terms of being able to understand kind of how to orient yourself. So
Herb Thompson 25:54
yeah, I’ve heard from dozens and dozens of veterans, and, you know, probably 1520 non veterans who found the book, valuable, and then the veterans who, you know, who’ve been out even longer to hear from bunches of them. It’s helpful, so that to me, it makes the whole project worthwhile.
Aaron Spatz 26:14
Oh, heck, yeah. Yeah, that’s great. So the book aside, so let’s say that if you’re a veteran, and you may be floundering, or you’re frustrated with your current career, and or just, you’re just your station in life, one, I’m going to say, grab this book and read it cover to cover and read it with a pen. So you can take notes and highlight and underline things. But what else like is there? Is there any takeaways that that you really want people to understand? Like, if you’re just really frustrated, and just feel like you’re kind of floundering and floating along, like, what’s something that you’d want to share?
Herb Thompson 26:52
Yeah, pop to start cluster, pop, the red smoke, there are so many people that want to help. A, there’s 70 million veterans in the US, you know, give or take a lot of them or help people who have never served want to help but they don’t know, unless you say something, or they even have help is just to have a conversation helps not going to be Hello, here’s your job, though, there, you’ll find somebody like that. But a lot of times they just have a conversation to know you’re not going through it alone. You’re not the only one, let’s be real over 200,000 servicemembers exit the military every year, you’re not the only one, if you’re struggling, you’re not the only one. And you’re probably not the first person to have whatever problem you’re having. Because so many people, you know, exit the military. So people want to help and you know, there’s an abundance of resources. But nobody knows unless you say it, because not many people are coming knocking on your door going, Hey, we’re here to help you because we know you’re struggling. Or we know you know, it looks okay. And but today’s not the, you know, the best day for you, let’s pick you up, just doesn’t happen in life. So you gotta you got to let people know, and that’s okay. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to talk to some folks and gain some knowledge that that’s okay, that’s a sign of strength. To gain that knowledge.
Aaron Spatz 28:10
It is so critically important to know when to reach out, and it’s okay to not be okay. And, but we also can’t read minds. And so and so if you need help, I mean, you gotta you got to reach out for it. Because exactly what you said, if you’re not gonna stand up and say, Hey, I’m really struggling right now. Chances are no one’s really going to know. And you know that that shouldn’t be.
Herb Thompson 28:42
Yeah, we’re in a sick a lot of stuff. Or a lot of times I talk to folks, and there’s certain things that we did the military, for a lot of people, you’re not going to find the same thing, again, the level of responsibility, the level of just sheer, hey, if you mess this up, people are going to die. A lot of times, you know. So I think part of is the reality of understanding that. Okay, what I did was awesome. But probably in the same way, if we look at it the same way, it’s not gonna match up. But if we look at it a different way of how can I still find purpose? How can I still be happy make a difference? Because a lot of us have that call to service. I think we can find some similar and it may not be the same team element, or the same people, the guy on your left or the gal on your right will die. So you come home, but you can find like minded folks, in companies or in you know, service organizations around the community, whether it’s a church, whether it’s a you know, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, baseball coach, whatever it is, you can, you can find it around that, but again, it’s getting it’s gonna take some work, it’s probably not just gonna find you.
Aaron Spatz 29:53
Yeah, that’s, that’s great words of advice right there. For sure. So tell us we’re not sure where Working on Is there anything else that you’re that you’re up to?
Herb Thompson 30:03
Yeah, so along these whole lines, and I don’t want to get too far into it, because but by the end of the year, the book was meant as the first thing to get this conversation started. And I, I’m encouraged by, you know, different units, different services, but they’re starting to embrace the military transition, and all that. So my plan by the end year is to totally implement something that is game changing that everybody that wants, it can have easily access to as much transition advice as they could ever want or resources. So that’s what I plan for the next six to nine months to be doing is working on that. Well, I continue to, you know, help the folks I talk with. That’s fantastic.
Aaron Spatz 30:51
And yeah, so I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned. Cuz. Yeah, that’d be really cool.
Herb Thompson 30:58
Yeah, it’s, it’s just, it amazes me that, you know, we’ve had a military for over a couple 100 years, and people get out again, I said, 70 million veterans or more than 70 million veterans in the US. And there’s a lot of resources, but they’re not brought together. You know, Congress has mandated Hey, military, you’re gonna go do this. And as much as the military is good at, you know, you could say, hey, go in and win in our nation’s wars, we’ve in mass amounts of equipment halfway around the world humanitarian efforts, transitioning out of the military is not anything that anyone in the military is good at. It’s not their expertise, most of them haven’t done it. So that’s part of the problem is people that don’t have not done it themselves are doing it and teaching it. And you know, it’s a check the block, so everybody can say it a mass scalable number. Oh, yeah. Everybody, I checked the block, and everybody’s happy. But as you know, having gone through yourself, it’s more than just checking the block on a checklist and everything’s gravy moving forward.
Aaron Spatz 31:59
And that’s, that’s one thing I just don’t understand. Because I mean, we have hundreds of 1000s of people going through transition assistance every year. We also through the same briefings, we hear a lot of the same information. And yet, there’s still this massive gap. I mean, how do you articulate that like, well, like what is like, what is the gap? Like, what’s missing?
Herb Thompson 32:23
One is knowledge. Because, again, the people running it don’t know what they don’t know. Or, because a lot of times, especially in the military transition you have, I’ll just say, I think the answer is not the military. But come back to that you have the, you know, the Department of Defense, and then you have the department of labor, labor, excuse me, and then you have the VA, and then there’s, you know, small business, there’s all these different government organizations in there. And I just, you know, to me, that’s not the answer, the answer is not the government fixing it, because they don’t know what the problem is. They can’t, can’t do it in there more, they have to do something to the lowest common denominator. So some people get something out of it, but it’s not meant for all so to me that that’s the problem. And then how do you in something that you can’t necessarily put in a box? How do you put in a box, because we have to have a pretty package that we say everybody checked it off, checked off that box. So you know, having some flexibility there. What you do for your transition may be different than mine. We have Ember, they’re starting to make some headway towards them. But still at a, you know, when you’re talking about that largest scale, they’re just not getting there.
Aaron Spatz 33:41
No, I don’t see it. And the one thing that I would guess, like, there’s, there’s one thing that you said earlier, and it had me thinking about transition, and I’m just going back, looking at my notes real quick. The entire process is really like people going through medical boards to get out or they’re going through, like their VA evaluation after they get out. And then they’ve transitioned but what role do you see? And I think this is kind of where, like, this is one of these topics that doesn’t get talked a lot about a whole lot, but I feel like it’s getting a little bit more publicity, but mental health is specifically with guys that maybe it doesn’t have to be PTSD. It can be or could be guys that have experienced TBI. It doesn’t mean once again, it doesn’t have to. But what impact do you see that playing into the process and in the people transitioning out? Versus Hey, like, let’s make sure we get the help that we need on the front end. I don’t think I’m articulating my question. Well, so forgive me, I’m trying to I’m trying to I’m trying to frame I’m trying to frame it also gonna ask a question, and I don’t know how to ask the question.
Herb Thompson 35:03
Yeah. So, so I had a conversation with, actually. Morning, we got out a couple of years ago. We’re talking last week. And this may answer the question, and then I called go to another part of it. But I think there is a component even if you think your brain is perfectly okay, your mental health is fine. No, you know, most people don’t go through mental health issues when everything is great. When they’re making tons of money. They’re the house white picket fence, everything is perfect in their life. They’re all the relationships, there’s usually bad stuff. So I think having a successful transition in the military helps in that regard, but also addressing that. And, to me, like I said, I don’t think you can do certain things are not going to match certain things that I did in my career. It’s just not, that was like the pinnacle. So how do I have to address that personally, but then, like, it’s okay, again, talk to other people and see that they’re going through stuff, and understand that it’s okay. So I think that that’s part of the answer. Yeah. But I think, you know, the, again, it’s, you got to ask for help. People may not know, and a lot of times in that case, it’s mental health, whatever it is, a lot of times before other people are within. It’s too late, or it’s very severe. Yeah. So why does that get that way, because we were not designed to do a lot of stuff, we do it, whether that was just seeing it or actually feeling it. And I’ve talked with a few Navy SEALs, some other folks about, you know, they brought up like, going to the red line, the average person color red lines, you know, their self, maybe once you when they almost get in a car accident, or they have an unfortunate incident where they’re a victim of a crime and whatever, their blood pressure spikes, everything goes up. They’re all their senses. And they met that may happen once a year, maybe once every five years, whatever it is, how many times is that happened to people on combat, you go 100 times a day with that girl, and you’re on Full Tilt boogie. And that has to have some mental aspect of it. But there’s got to be some physical components. And I think they’re starting to look at those studies into that. Yeah. And figure that out. But I don’t know if that answered the question. But yeah,
Aaron Spatz 37:19
no, it just it definitely answers a question that I never was able to ask. Like, I was never able to actually articulate it. But yeah, no, I, I do feel like though, that the mental health situation amongst the veterans community, you know, has finally been getting more discussion, it’s been getting a lot more focus. Probably, there’s still quite a ways to go. But I think it starts with breaking the stigma within our own community that you know, you’re weak, if you go and you get help in that in that could not be any greater of ally. And that’s, I mean, you absolutely have to get help. And and there’s nothing wrong. There’s nothing wrong with you doing that. It’s just like, if you had a broken leg, I sure would hope you’d go get that thing fixed.
Herb Thompson 38:01
Exactly. It’s a sign of strength. And I, again, I think what and I don’t think it’s just a military issue, I think mental health, all regard is it’s hard to define, right? A lot of it is not exact science. If you do X, take x pill, you’re fine. So it’s hard to let’s just do a tech less than stellar takes a lot more to figure out individually, what’s wrong with, you know, the person. So it’s, it’s, I think, a nationwide problem, not even just with, you know, military, but then, you know, for veterans to what they want, and it’s gonna, you’re gonna have some, some people are gonna have some issues from what they’ve seen or done, even if they hadn’t done I think, because that’s what the normal segment of the population has anyways. Right. But there’s no easy, no easy answer, which leads to no answer.
Aaron Spatz 38:52
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Well, before we close out, I always like to let you have the last word and share with us if there’s anything else that’s kind of on your mind or on your heart. If you have any other pivotal moments from your career, or during your transition that you really feel like were, like a big setback, but you overcame those. I mean, we’d love to hear if if there’s any more there that you’d like to share. But if not just you know, happy to hear from you.
Herb Thompson 39:24
Yeah, again, during the self reflection, I looked back on a lot of things I thought were negative in my career, whether it was you know, something happened, and they say, Hey, you’re going to move units, or hey, you wanted to go do X, for example, I want to go be, I want to go deploy, but I also want to be a drill sergeant and the main account for deployment. And how’s it going, I want to cancel this drill sergeant, because I want to go and deployment and thankfully a mentor was sitting up in a place to make sure that my address our orders cannot be rescinded and said, Hey, go do this. It makes more sense. And I look back a lot of times that happened for Merkur so I was fortunate enough to have, if I didn’t understand it, people making the right decisions, and then also had a friend go, Well, you realize you’re a part of all those making those things better. So I think it led me to two things is trust mentors that are leading you the correct way. And then the other thing being make the best out of anything, you know, say, Make martinis or lemons, make lemonade out of lemons, but make the best out of it, you’re in that situation, you’re there, smile and make the best out of it. And that’s all of us don’t start at a certain place and everything’s not great. But you can make a great as long as you have, have the right attitude and work hard and small.
Aaron Spatz 40:43
That’s fantastic advice. And I hope people I hope people take note of that, because there’s a lot of pain and heartache that you can avoid if you just simply alter your mindset and you know, focus on what is it you can do next and just stay positive. I mean, it’s it’s a lot of things that we hear all the time. Right. It’s, it’s, it’s the stuff that you that you think is so obvious, or it’s or you hear it all the time. So it’s begins to kind of, you know, getting numb. Yeah, you know, so yeah, I
Herb Thompson 41:15
think it’s perspective of, a lot of times I’ll joke, it’s a first world problem. Like all the cables out God dang it like, Okay, right now, there’s somebody starving in multiple, maybe in this country, you know, like, right cables, not that big a deal, or we don’t get a cell phone reception right now is, you know, just a little perspective and reality and then make the best out of there. So make the best out of somebody gives you some meat and some bread mix, sandwich. Enjoy.
Aaron Spatz 41:42
Right? That’s great. That’s great. Well, I can’t thank you enough for taking time to be, you know, on the show today. Really appreciate you just being open and just sharing a bit of your story, your background in some of the things you’ve had to go through. And no doubt there’s there’s plenty, plenty more battles ahead. And, but thank you for the work that you’re doing to help our community.
Herb Thompson 42:08
Ya know, it’s it’s everyday make the best offer, right? And then hopefully, you get somewhere good at the end because you’ve been doing the right things. And I think if you have the right attitude and the grit and the, to work at it, you’ll get there. So I appreciate having me on the show. And you know, this truly my privilege to share a little bit of you know, what’s, what’s going on inside my brain?
Aaron Spatz 42:30
Yeah, that can be a scary place sometimes.
Herb Thompson 42:33
Right? Yeah, there’s a couple things you know, like, okay, we’re not sure. It’s good. I appreciate the opportunity just to get on here with you, man. I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Aaron Spatz 42:47
Thanks for listening to America’s entrepreneur. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review or comment on your preferred social media platform. share it out with friends, family, coworkers, others in your network. And of course, you can write me directly at Aaron at Bold media.us. That’s a Ron at Bold media.us. Until next time.