Episode 167 Jeff Clark Physical Health’s Impact on Mental Health Transcript

This transcript is from episode 167 with guest Jeff Clark.

Scott DeLuzio    00:00:00    Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. Now let’s get on with the show. Hey everybody, welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Jeff Clark. Jeff is an Air Force veteran, host of the Course of Action podcast, and author of the new book Hear These Truths. Welcome to the show, Jeff, glad to have you on, excited to get into your story a little bit and talk about your book, your background, and everything like that. Thanks for coming on.  

Jeff Clark  00:00:48    Oh yeah, man. I appreciate you.

Scott DeLuzio    00:00:49    Me. Yeah, absolutely. Why don’t you go ahead tell us a little bit about yourself and your background for people who may not be familiar with you?  

Jeff Clark    00:00:58    I was born and raised in Oklahoma, didn’t see a whole lot of the world,  needed a bit of a career. After high school, I went to two years of college and I just wasn’t feeling it. Went to two years of college left with one-year credits. It just wasn’t in the cards for me at that time. Me and my wife were kind of saying, if we want to start a family and go somewhere, we have to do something serious, and kind of halfway doing college wasn’t cutting it.  I looked at the military and decided on the Air Force. My brother-in-law was on active duty at the time. He kind of pushed me in that direction.  

Jeff Clark   00:01:40    I joined the military. Joined the Air Force 12 and a half years later after several joint assignments. A lot of really good experiences. I was medically retired and I had my master’s degree. I had my bachelor’s degree and all that at the time. I thought I’d step off into the real world, no problems. I went back to work for the government, for the Air Force as a civilian, as a civilian leader. And that was the 2019 Air Force civilian supervisor of the year, which was a really, really big deal and a testament to the people that worked for me at the time. I am now working for a space force, about to go back, back to the Air Force for another job. But yeah, that’s kind of me in a nutshell. 12 and a half years active duty, the last five is a government civilian and kind of loving every minute of it.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:02:35    You just mentioned that you’re working for the Space Force. That says a civilian contractor at this point.  

Jeff Clark   00:02:42    I’m a government employee for them. 

Scott DeLuzio   00:02:45    You’re the first person with any connection to the Space Force that I’ve had on this podcast. I’ve actually been keeping track of all the different branches, whether people are currently serving or if they’re veterans or whatever, and the vast majority are Army and Marines. I had a couple of Coast Guard and things like that, but up until this zero with any affiliation to the Space Force. Congratulations, you’re number one.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:03:26    I was doing some research for this episode. I was looking into you and your background a little bit. I came across an article that you wrote a few months ago about your story and you talked about how your physical health was affecting your mental health. Tell us about some of the physical issues that you were facing. What was going on with that and what you attempted to do while you’re still in the Air Force to address some of those issues?  

Jeff Clark    00:04:07     I didn’t know the medical process very well. I worked in a medical job, but I worked in logistics.  I was in the back of the building, I didn’t know anything about medicine. I did my CPR every year like I was supposed to do. That’s about the extent of it. When they called a code and they were running down the hallway, I stepped to the side. What did I mean? Like I had no business in there, I didn’t know the medical process any better than anybody else did. When I got hurt they told me nothing was wrong. I shrugged it off and I just kept pushing. I had torn my rotator cuff and my shoulder up pretty bad early on in my career. I did some x-rays.  

Jeff Clark  00:04:51    They told me it was just fine. It was just a sprain to go to physical therapy. That’s exactly what I did. Seven years later, I’m still having problems.  I’m still working out PT and all that. You’ll do what I’m supposed to, but I’m still having problems with my shoulder. I started having problems with my back and I went to the doctor again. I just don’t think something’s right. I’m having back problems, having shoulder problems. I’m feeling heavy. That heavy feeling you get. You don’t feel healthy. I had that. He was like, yeah, let’s take a look at your shoulder. Again, took a look at it and said, yeah, dude, your shoulder is jacked. I’m surprised.  

Jeff Clark   00:05:29    He said don’t ever swing anything. Don’t swing a baseball bat, don’t swing a golf club. He’s like, your shoulder will come out of the socket.  I’m not a very good golfer at all.  I don’t even play. That was the silver lining. It just got worse from there. Then they did an MRI of my back and it turned out that I had fractured my back at one point in time. It was misdiagnosed. The Air Force missed it completely, but I’ve been walking around with a fractured back, like two ruptured discs, a slipped disc in my back. He said I cannot believe you’re here. You walked in here under your own power without screaming in pain. That’s why I was medically retired. It was for my back and my shoulder.  

Jeff Clark    00:06:13    The VA did some surgeries on me. I still don’t feel the same. I just wasn’t fit for active duty anymore. It was the bottom line. I was a liability to people around me, health-wise. When I got out and was subject to the V.  They helped me out quite a bit.  I have better stories from the VA than some of my peers do, but it really caught up to me. For several years now, I never knew what my physical health was doing to my mental state of mind and to my attitude. And it was just something that eventually somebody brought to my attention, a former veteran, former GreenBeret and he said let me holla at you for a second.  

Jeff Clark    00:06:59    Let me see if you’re getting everything that you’re supposed to be getting from the VA. I was like, dude, I’m at like 70% of good like I’m not worried about it. He was like, man, here, let me see your record. Let me pull up your <inaudible> events and let’s go over it. He’s all these different things that were service-connected. I wasn’t getting a rating for it. He was like, what are you doing about that? I was like, nothing. I’m 70% of good. I got good paychecks.  I’m not concerned with it. He said no, man, have you ever talked to anybody about this said, Nope. He said, have you ever talked to anybody about PTSD and anxiety because of these injuries? Nope, never would have thought of it. I was like one of the many people who just associated PTSD with combat.  

Jeff Clark   00:07:43    I didn’t think anything of it, I didn’t think post-traumatic stress was anything other than combat-related type of experiences that was wrong. He kind of told me a little bit about it. I’ll look into it someday. I mentioned it to my wife, like a month later. She said I don’t want to, I don’t want to say anything to upset you, but maybe he’s making some sense. So I was like, okay, maybe so. I went to the VA and talked to him about it and it turns out I had anxiety. I had all kinds of feelings and thoughts and stuff that is driving home, my mental state. I wrote that article that you’re referencing, I put it on my website.  

Jeff Clark   00:08:32    I wrote to her on veteran’s day.  I kind of gave a shout-out to the Boot Campaign for some of the stuff that they’re doing in relating to that. I thought it was really important to share my message of why I went to do that and what I was thinking because I was struggling to do things around the house, anything from vacuuming, just putting stress on my back to fixing the stuff outside. When you’re on a limited budget, you only have one spouse in the house working,  you tend to try to cut some corners,  instead of paying somebody to come to fix your gutter, or you try to do it yourself. I’m a real hands-on guy. I like to fix things myself and I can admittedly be a little cheap, I was just at a point man, where I couldn’t do that.  

Jeff Clark    00:09:22    It was our move to Colorado. We moved to Colorado to take this job with the space force and I alone because my wife didn’t go with me on this one. I alone had to unpack our house, so I did that over the course of like a month and a half. I almost killed myself. I’m now able to wake up to every pop and Motrin. I was sleeping with a heating pad on my back. It wasn’t very smart for me to do. And two, it was just to the point where I was like, okay, I can not physically do the same things that I used to be able to do. Not because of age or anything, just simply because of the physical limitations from those injuries and it made me mad. I realized how angry and kind of emotional I was.  

Jeff Clark   00:10:09   That’s really kind of what kicked it off. I just kind of embraced it. I talked to the VA, went through some counseling with them, got the anxiety diagnosis and I just understood it better. I got on some medication to help me out.  I talked to some other veterans about it, realized that it wasn’t as big of a deal and it was more common than I thought. I really just kind of embraced it after that. It also helps that my wife is working now. So we have two incomes. When something breaks around here, I’m kind of like, all right, let’s call the best plumber we know or whatever. It was just one of those realizations. Well,I can’t be quiet about it. I need to share it because there’s other people out there who maybe are not in the same situation as me. They need to hear that. They need to hear that those things happen and it’s okay to be fragile mentally.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:11:05    That’s one of the things I wanted to touch on with you when we’re having this conversation. Like you said, PTSD and anxiety and some of these other mental things that are connected to things that happen to you in the service, don’t necessarily have to be from combat-related things. We have a lot of people, especially,  over the last 20 years, who’ve been in combat who have experienced a lot of these things and that’s the stuff that hits the news. That’s the stuff that we all hear about. PTSD can come from any number of different things.  These things that affect you physically. You go from this guy who’s physically fit and capable of doing things lifting heavy things. Swinging things, doing whatever it is. Now you go to a point where you’re telling yourself or other people are telling you you can’t do this anymore. You physically can’t do this anymore. That’s got to take a toll on you.

Jeff Clark   00:12:25    You got to tell yourself that too that was the hardest part.  I was telling myself that because I had a really good doc when I was down in San Antonio. We kinda came to a problem and he redid the imaging and x-rays and MRI, he was like, dude, you should be medically boarded. He’s like, I’m going to try to hide you for a little while. But eventually, the flags are going to get raised and you’re going to be in trouble. He’s like, just know that it’s coming, but you need to take care of yourself so that this doesn’t become worse and you don’t wind up in a wheelchair or something crazy like that. I was like, cool. I didn’t really tell myself until I felt so physically painful that it made sense.  

Jeff Clark    00:13:09     I’d been told before by doctors and other people, you can’t do it. I’ll tough it out. Like I said, it was that move to Colorado. I had to recover every day from what I did on previous days. It seemed like I was doing just as much recovering as I was unboxing and putting things away, even though my kids are a little more grown so they could help. They couldn’t lift the heavy things. So that was a mistake on my part from not listening.  I hope other people when they hear this conversation, they understand that I made a mistake on my part and I didn’t tell myself I heard it from other people, but I didn’t tell myself. I suffered the physical consequences that, unfortunately, were a mistake on my part.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:13:58    The other thing that I wanted to point out to people who are listening to this too, is that you sort of have to be your own advocate as well. When you’re dealing with some of these doctors who might give you a diagnosis that says everything’s fine. Like in your case, I had a very similar situation. I was in Afghanistan. We were on a mission. We were getting off the back of a helicopter. It was at night. So we had our night vision goggles on, anyone who’s ever worn those notes, very limited depth perception that you have. Like you can’t tell if something’s five feet away or 10 feet, it’s hard to yeah. It’s not like we’re where it’s like, everything’s the same. It’s just green.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:14:44    It’s not that at the movies. We’re getting off this helicopter and I’m given the green light to go up on the first one to step off, and with all the equipment and everything I’m wearing, it’s easily over a hundred pounds that I’m carrying off of stuff. The helicopter isn’t fully touchdown at this point. It’s probably three, four feet up, but where I’m looking at is I’m thinking we’re down on the ground. I’m stepping off it as if I’m stepping down onto the ground.  I had three, four feet of a fall and I’m not ready to catch myself that way. I totally screwed up my knee. I got back home and I went to the VA to get it checked out. See what’s going on with that.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:15:38    You’ll be fine to stay off it for a couple of months and just take some, some Motrin if it’s getting real bad. Well, at this point he had already been a couple of months and I was suffering with it for a couple of months. I was like, I don’t know how much more I could stay off of it. Fortunately, I was in the National Guard. I had a civilian job and with civilian insurance, private insurance, and everything like that.  I went to go get a second opinion outside of the VA, because I was like, this guy clearly doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. It turned out I needed surgery and he was like, I don’t know how you’re walking in here, your knee was so screwed up.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:16:20    You kind of have to be your own advocate. If something doesn’t smell right. You gotta say something and you gotta stand up for yourself. Don’t just accept the fact that this person has their medical degree. That they’re a doctor or whatever.  That they know everything that they’re going to know what’s best for you and everything because they very well may not. They may have missed something in their diagnosis. If something isn’t right, like, say something. Keep pushing to get yourself the treatment that you need. Especially while you’re still in because that way everything gets documented.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:17:10    You can say this is service-connected.  Later on down the line. So that way, when it comes time to file for a disability thing through the VA, which I’ve talked about at length in other episodes on this podcast. So anyone’s looking for information on that. We can share a link to that. It is a process but one thing I do want to say to people though who might be like, oh, I don’t want to do that because, if I file and I’m not that bad, I’m going to take away from someone else who is worse off than me. it’s totally not true. That’s not how it works. As a matter of fact, I had somebody who used to head up the benefits department at the VA,  and he explained the whole process of how that works.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:18:01    It doesn’t matter how many people apply and are approved for this. You’re not taking anything away from anyone. It’s not like they have a fixed budget of X amount of dollars every year that they can give to people like that. That’s one of those floating numbers. They can increase the amount of money that’s allocated to it based on how many people are in need. Don’t sit around just not filing for the benefits if you legitimately are needing them. 

Jeff Clark   00:18:31    Yeah. I kind of felt like that at first, too. I was at 70%. It’s not a bad paycheck, it’s not bad at all. There’s things that I needed to get documented.  My son’s on active duty now. I told him the best piece of advice I got on active duty was by an old, retired 87. He was about to retire walking out the door as I was walking in. Basically, he said, hey, make sure every time you have a cold, every time you have a temperature, every time when you have to listen to it, you go see the doc and get it in your medical record. I thought I asked pretty stupid advice. I’m not a baby. I’m not going to go every time I need that.  

Jeff Clark    00:19:10    He was like, no, seriously, you tweak your knee. You hurt yourself, at PT, you do this, that he’s like, just go and have it documented, even if they brush it off because it’s going to matter later on when you take that medical records to the VA and they’re looking over stuff.  It might not be an issue now, but when you’re 52 years old and your knee gives out, you’re going to need help and you’re going to want help. And he was like, you might as well get all of you can. I’m glad he told me that because eventually, the healthcare system changed. The federal laws changed and healthcare is a different thing now in the United States. So it’s good. Have all the help you get. I’m like triple insured. Now I am a Tricare retiree. I have stuff from the VA, my wife’s insurance. But they come at a cost  

Scott DeLuzio    00:20:05    If you didn’t have all that documentation going into this, it would be harder for you to get approved for, for some of the stuff that then you’d have find it  

Jeff Clark    00:20:16    Because I get the documentation, you got to give it to the VA, they gotta run their process. Then you just sit there, praying that they approve it. Then it doesn’t happen the first time, every time. You gotta do every little thing.  Talking to other veterans, listen to podcasts like this and get all the tips and tricks you can, because you could shoot yourself in the foot filing through the VA, like an appeal. If you do an appeal, appeals take forever. You’re better off saying, okay, you tried. That claim I’m going to refile, it’s little things like that that you got to learn. The documentation itself is a monster. That’s why I told my son the same device. Just go to the doctor. It’s free. It doesn’t cost you anything. You have no reason not to go. Just go and talk to them because you’re gonna want to have it documented later on when you really, really need it. You don’t want to assume you do you want  

Scott DeLuzio     00:21:15    I got that same advice from people too. It was a little different being in the national guard. Because it wasn’t like that. It was like an Army doc that we could just walk into, while we’re at our weekend drill or whatever. B it wasn’t like that, but whenever something big did come up, make an appointment to go down to the local facility and get that documented and make sure that it’s in your record.  It makes a ton of sense. It doesn’t make any sense that you wouldn’t do that. just get all that stuff in writing in your permanent record. That way, when it comes time to file for things down the line.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:22:06     I was one of those people who, back then, I was like, I’m never going to file for any sort of disability. I don’t need that. I don’t. I was one of those people too. It was like, I’m not, I don’t want to take away from somebody else who needs it more than me, I’ll be fine without it. Now I look back on it and it’s like, well, if I didn’t have all this documentation, there’d be, it would be much harder, right now trying to figure that stuff out. So that’s a good point that you’re making there as far as documentation, all that kind of stuff. So you mentioned you got out. You’re medically retired, obviously. There’s a recovery process for some of this stuff.  There’s stuff that you have to do not only for the physical stuff. You probably had some stuff that you had to do for that. You mentioned some surgeries, but also the mental side of things, like what was the process?  The recovery process and the healing for you, but throughout, throughout this whole process?  

Jeff Clark   00:23:12    I think I was kind of in a haze for like six or seven months after I left active duty. I had enough time where it lasted like two and a half months on active duty. I was chilling at home, growing the beard out,  just enjoying collecting the paycheck. My wife was like,  eventually, you’re gonna have to look for a job.  I’m just enjoying this moment. Nothing that doesn’t really dawn on you.  Even at retirement, when you get the certificates and you get the flag and, you go home and you hang the uniform up for the very last time it’s real. But at the same time, you don’t really realize it. It was the next day that kind of hit me a little bit. I had to decide what I was going to get up to and where I didn’t have camouflage to just put on interviews.  

Jeff Clark    00:24:05   When I went to an interview that was different. I had to figure out never really worn a tie unless it was given to me. I was working for a beer distributor here in town. nobody there was former military, nobody. There was one other guy that eventually came on board around the same time and I did, but nobody else was there. It was just really me and him. That’s when it struck me. I’m different,  not in an egotistical way, but these guys didn’t talk the talk that I did, they didn’t walk it the same way. I realized the difference between me and the civilian.  That’s when it was a little different, that’s when, oh man.

Jeff Clark  00:25:00    I looked at the base. I looked at the gate differently. Beforehand, I looked at it as a burden. LI hope there’s not a lot of traffic, just this stupid place. Again, we all had those mumbles to ourselves. I looked at it like, I wish I could drive through it again. So for me, it was kind of, I miss the culture, I missed the environment and, I really had to focus on my physical health and, I was just getting off of back surgery. I needed to have shoulder surgery and, trying to get all my affairs in order to get back to being a civilian again and not wearing the uniform. It was a lot of focusing on getting those needed things done, but I was missing the culture. So when I went back to work for the government as a civilian, I was right back in that same culture as a civilian, but I still gotta be around it.  

Jeff Clark    00:25:54    That helped a lot. Just because my career didn’t end a lot of people that hit 20 and they say, I’m gonna stick it out a couple more years, or now I’m done 20 I’m punching it’s their decision. It wasn’t my decision to leave. I didn’t want to go. I had things I wanted to accomplish in my career. So a medical retirement, although the med board process takes a long time, you just kind of don’t want it to happen. When they give you that result and you have 45 days to leave, you don’t have time to process it wasn’t until, probably six or seven months later where I was kind of like, okay, this, this is different. They need to get back to that and kind of move on.  

Jeff Clark   00:26:40     I was telling somebody the other day we were about military transition and I’ve been retired almost six years now.   I think it’s just one of those things where it’s ingrained in you, it’s never going to fully go away, but you have to learn how to kind of embrace it and understand it and use it to mold yourself and kind of push yourself forward.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:27:08    Yeah, you definitely do. I think in your case, it’s a little bit different, other people kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel coming. There’s a certain date and they know, okay, I want to put in my 20 and be done and whatever the time period is. They probably can prepare for it a little bit better than that. It’s not uncommon for people. Like you said, you never wore a tie other than the one issued to you with your uniform.  

Jeff Clark    00:27:43    So I didn’t even know how to get a tie on.

Scott DeLuzio     00:27:45    Yeah, there you go. So there’s that then on top of that, you’ve probably never really had to go to an interview right. Going into the military. That’s not uncommon either,  so now you’re floating around in this whole new world.  I’ve said this before anyone has joined the military, they were a civilian at one point, but they have to relearn how to be a civilian after getting out. It’s so strange to say it that way. Because we’ve all experienced being a civilian, we experienced it at a different point in our lives.  A lot of people getting in at 18, 19 years old, didn’t have to apply for a professional job with a resume and all that kind of stuff, going on the interviews and everything just didn’t need to do it.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:28:44    So then you go and spend 20 plus years in the military and you’re getting out now you’re in your forties, potentially mid-forties, and you’ve never been on an interview in your life. You’re going and sitting down with someone who’s interviewing you. And they’re looking at you like, how the hell do you not know how to do this? Where have you been all this time? It’s like, well, you didn’t need to. Because all that stuff was just an experience that you’ve just never had. Your situation is not really much different from someone who put in 20 plus years. It’s just that timeline got a little accelerated for you.  

Jeff Clark    00:29:29    Yeah. I didn’t really know what to do at first. My very first interview was with the beer company. I went in for the interview which was like 15 minutes long. And they asked me all the cliche questions. What do you bring to the team? What’s your greatest strength? What’s your weakness? Those are fairly easy to answer because being from the military, I know leadership, I know this, I can stay organized. I can stay on task. I’m a doer, That wasn’t bad. It was the civilian interview for the military that I did because I had never done one of those before, where it was like an hour-long for a specific job. I had my sheet of notes reminding me of all these things that I used to do on active duty and what it had to do with the specific position and all that.  

Jeff Clark    00:30:14    They didn’t ask me anything related to it, nothing. It was like a phone call. I didn’t go in for it. I’m texting my buddy because he knows I’m at this interview. I’m texting him as they’re asking me questions. I’m like, dude, they’re not asking me any of this. They’re not asking me anything. He’s like, don’t freak out. Just keep going. I’m losing it. That was like, it was crazy. Then years later, I go to work for that same squadron and I’m doing the interviews and I’m like, I had to ask my boss. I’m like, Hey, I don’t know what to do here.  

Jeff Clark   00:30:55    I’ve barely had enough interviews myself in that let alone, what, like, what do I ask? What’s legal to ask what isn’t legal to ask.  I don’t know. He sat me down and helped me out. It was like here, ask some of these things as some of those, just make sure you ask everybody the same questions. If you only get through six or seven of them, that’s fine. It’s weird. You think being military, you’re so equipped to go out into the world because you have all these skills, you have all these intangibles, but you have intangibles for the job you’re currently doing. You don’t necessarily have the intangibles for things you’re going to go do. So learning how to do that, I mean, even writing a resume, could be a cakewalk. I didn’t realize how far behind the power of government was. I missed out on so many jobs because I thought my resume was just basic. I probably wouldn’t even be in consideration because of the way, it just looked right. Learning those things is tough.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:31:55    One thing that I’ve learned too, over the last couple of years is that certain companies, especially bigger companies, when they put out a job opening they get so many applications coming in and it would just be impossible for any one person to sit down and read through all these applications. So they have this software that actually will go through some of these resumes and the cover letters and all that. If these things don’t include certain keywords, it just kicks them out. Boom, all of a sudden that person isn’t even in consideration, they could be a great candidate,  

Jeff Clark   00:32:35    But it’s about the resume. It doesn’t, yeah. It doesn’t speak. You like it used to. Yeah. It seems like the resume used to be, if you were good on your resume, you’re interesting enough to talk to nowadays. You have to have like you said, you have to have the right things on your resume to even be put in the other pile or go to the trash can. I didn’t know that nobody told me that nobody, nobody around me. I knew that my parents had all gone from job to job, but it was because they knew people, so they didn’t do a lot of interviews either. So they weren’t, a huge help because I couldn’t be. nobody told me that and I didn’t learn that until I talked to some of my buddies and I was losing out on jobs.  

Jeff Clark   00:33:18    Let’s be perfectly qualified for this. Why am I not getting it? One of my friends was like, man, let me see your resume. I sent it to him. He was like, what is this? What is this? It’s my resume. This is what they taught me in transition assistance. How to do my resume. I kind of did it like they did it. He was like, no. Send me these documents that you’ve gotten from the military. Send me all this stuff, your old evaluations. Then let me read you your resume. Then he sent me back like this 20-page thing of everything. He’s like, this is your master resume, save this. Don’t ever edit it. I’m going to send you a smaller resume, like a two-pager.  

Jeff Clark   00:33:57    I just didn’t know. I think that in Memorial, the store for people that are listening to this is don’t be afraid to go out there and get some transition help from other veterans. People who’ve been doing it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s tons of people out there who want to help you. We’ll do it for free and you need that help. I promise you. You need that help because the way things are going today, electronically you’re out of the running before you even apply if you don’t do certain things correctly.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:34:30    Right. Exactly.  I was going to mention that too. There are organizations out there who just exist to help veterans. Whether they’re starting a small business or starting a new career, looking at their resume, going over even just doing mock interviews. So that way it’s not the first time that you’re doing an interview when you’re sitting down in the actual interview that counts and matters. Then they can give you points and tips on how to do it better. You might have said wrong or did wrong or whatever. Why not take advantage of those things? It may seem like it’s a drag and it’s a pain in the ass, but just do it and you’ll do so much better with the actual interviews. 

Jeff Clark   00:35:23    For your mental state too, go get some help. If you can beat out on an interview after you got all that assistance, you can kind of know that you got beat out by a better candidate, as opposed to something that was in your control. If you don’t go get help and you just submit what you think is good, and then you lose that only job, that’s your fault. That’s, that’s you, you have control over that, go get some help. If you get beat out by a better man or woman, it is what it is, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:35:54    You can’t do that. You need to take advantage of all the help that’s out there. Absolutely don’t try to just wing it and be like, oh yeah, I’ll get this. Just because I have this experience or that experience, like a lot of times some of the employers don’t even care about some of that stuff. They don’t know the military the way we might know the military. Some of that experience doesn’t even matter to them. So don’t get like this inflated ego thinking that all that stuff is gonna just write yourself a ticket to whatever job you want. I mentioned at the top of this episode that you’re the host of the course of action podcasts, and also the author of the book, hear these truths. I’d like to give you some time to talk a little bit about both of those if you could.  Tell us about that. I know that the book is coming out here shortly, or it may be out by the time this episode comes out. Tell us about that stuff and go from there.  

Jeff Clark    00:36:59    So I started the podcast as kind of a way to have some conversations with people, that I wouldn’t normally get a chance to have conversations with some authors, some business people, non-profits, if something I started during the kind of the height of the pandemic and kind of established and built. Then I had to build up the courage to do it because I was really worried about people judging it over their lesson. Then when I finally got to the point where I was like what, I really didn’t care. I don’t care if anybody listens. I’m having these conversations kind of for me. The by-product is getting listeners and helping other people out through the conversation. So I did that just as kind of a way to have conversations and kind of reach a new audience and be able to just have conversations mainly because I was stuck at home.  

Jeff Clark    00:37:49    I was working at home. I wasn’t talking to a whole lot of people as it was. So it was kind of perfect for me to do, and I enjoy it. I’m not overly worried about cranking out episodes or anything. I do have some guests lined up. I have some episodes recorded and it’s a good little thing to do to kind of give me another avenue of creative expression and I encourage anybody who’s listening, to go do the same. Find out podcasts like this one and say, what’s, gauge your interest in, being a guest, and have some conversations. Because you don’t know what your story is going to do for someone else. So why not share it? Podcasting isn’t exactly free to do, but it’s free to be a guest.  

Jeff Clark   00:38:36    You might as well look around and give it a shot because it’s fun. I’m enjoying it. Probably around the time, this is released. It’ll be coming out. We’re looking at an April release date here in 2022 for the book. I wrote the book because when I won that civilian supervisor of the year award, I won it kind of on the accomplishments of the people that worked for me. Because I was in a civilian leadership position where I had a whole lot of responsibility, but all these people below me, or not below me, that worked for me. They had a lot of responsibility. I looked good because they did good jobs and they were, they looked good. I looked bad, when they didn’t have their stuff together, that was how it worked. 

Jeff Clark    00:39:28    I just happened to look really, really good for all the really, really good work that they did. And I just kind of told myself, the trophies are nice, the recognition is nice, but what is it if you don’t do something with it? And I had a conversation with one of my employees at the time and they were like, you want it because you’re an excellent leader. You want it because we all wanted to work hard for you. So just understand that there’s two sides to that. We did great work and you can take a lot of credit for that, but it was because we wanted to, we wanted to show up to work every day. You really need to share your side of it with people because it’s something special. I didn’t really think much of it at the time, and I’m not a self-centered type of person either.  

Jeff Clark   00:40:12    So I was kind of like, well, I’m not going to write a book about myself. I mean, how egocentric is that I really just started writing down all my leadership thoughts and some of my experiences and molded me and got me there. I hated it. I absolutely hated it. I was like, this is just a book about my stuff. Nobody’s going to read this. Nobody. Why does anybody care? And it was even having a discussion with a publisher. They were like we focus on veterans writing books and using it as a creative outlet. As a means of therapy, I started telling him about the idea of this book. He was like, I like it, but you need a little something. Let’s talk again in like six months.  

Jeff Clark   00:40:56    He called me that December and said, Hey, are you going to submit anything to us? I said, no, I’m not ready. He’s the guy. I don’t care. Submit me what you have. I want to see you. So I submitted him like the first three chapters and liked this idea for organizing the book around an algorithm. And it was effort plus processes equals progress. How you, as a leader, have to put effort into that. A lot of things into a lot of different processes. A lot of times you’ll get some kind of progress as a result. It’s good and bad sometimes. The things you need to focus on and how you do that. All this fancy, big global strategic stuff that I learned from being a civilian leader.  

Jeff Clark    00:41:42    He was like, I love it. Go for it.  I cranked it out in like three months just because I had that thumbs up. I titled it Hear These Truths because it’s honest, look at leadership, it’s honest. Look at my leadership experiences. Then I built it around that algorithm of effort plus process equals progress and how you handle those things as the leader. It kind of just is my way or method the perfect way. But it’s what got me where I was. So I felt like I should share. And even if it only helps one person out of only one book it’s sold. It’s mission accomplished.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:42:17    Sure. Yeah, absolutely. I think, sharing stories like that, where there’s success there, it opens up people’s minds to other ways of doing things.  I think that’s important to share with people because sometimes we get in our own way and we stand and we stand there and do the same thing over and over again. And we’re expecting to just, okay, if I just do this same thing and do it harder and do it, I’ll come up with a different result, but you’re not doing anything different. You’re just doing the same thing. How do you expect to have anything,  better come out of it? So, when you have someone like yourself who has a success story, who has been successful doing the things that you were doing with a certain process that you’re going through, that might just be the light bulb that goes off in someone’s head when they pick up this book.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:43:22    This does make sense. Where was I all this time? Why wasn’t I doing this all this time? And now they look at it and say, \well, crap. Now, I know what I need to do. I now have a roadmap to get me to where I need to go. I think it’s incredibly important to share stories like that. and that goes for anyone, not just yourself, but anyone who’s out there who has had any sort of success doing something in their life. Even if it’s overcoming adversity, you may not feel like that’s a success, but, if you’ve had a struggle in your life or whatever and you figured out how to overcome that success could be somebody else’s roadmap to get them to where they need to go.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:44:14    Your story matters.  I think I say that to a lot of people, but I think everybody has a story in them. We’ve all experienced life in different ways. We’ve all done things in different ways. If we just keep all that information to ourselves.  How’s that struggle worth it to other people? How are you bettering the people who are around you even, even if all you tell is your, your family, your friends, neighbors, coworkers, whatever, at least that helps that those people in that small circle, people like yourself who’ve written a book and have it out there for the whole world to see? Now you’re not just impacting your own small circle of people.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:45:02    You’re impacting people all over the place. And You may never even know some of the people that you’ve impacted, which is a cool thing too.  You’ll know that at some point that there’s going to be that effect where it’s helping other people. So, I encourage other people to go out there and share their stories. Whether it’s writing a book, you may not be the best writer. I wrote a book and I probably have English teachers who are scratching their heads. Like, how the hell did he do that? You don’t just, just put something out there, even if you just start out a blog or something. Just start writing and putting stuff out there. You can always tweak it later on if you want. I’m glad you got to share that.  Where will people be able to listen to your podcasts and find the book? 

Jeff Clark   00:45:59    So you can listen to the course of action podcast and all the major platforms.  I just started a YouTube channel where I’m uploading some of the episodes there. So just search for a course of action. You can find it there. The book will be available, through a link on my website, but it’ll be available to throw at all the big retailers,  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all that. And they do the print on demand. So they’ll print it, ship it right to you. I think my publisher is going to run a deal on it. I don’t know the details of that yet, but to find that out, just find me on social media,  official JS Clark, and I’ll be posting about those kinds of things as well.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:46:44     I’ll have links to all of this in the show notes. When the book is out, I’ll have a link to the book. I’ll have a link to your website and all your social stuff as well. So anyone who’s looking, get in touch and follow, Jeff, just check out the show notes. You’ll, you’ll have all the links that you need, right in there. Jeff, it’s been a pleasure speaking to you today. I really enjoyed the conversation. I enjoyed the openness that you’re able to share with, some of the things that you’ve experienced in your life. I think that it’ll probably help some people out who might be listening to this. I appreciate it. Thank you for coming on.  

Jeff Clark    00:47:23    Yes, sir. Thank you very much. I appreciate it, man. I’m a big admirer of the podcast and what some of you guys are doing out there in the world. I really appreciate what you’re doing, man. I think it is absolutely helpful to people. 

Scott DeLuzio    00:47:37    Gotcha. Thanks for that. I appreciate it. Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website, Drive On Podcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.

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