[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: 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.
[00:00:18] Scott DeLuzio: And now let’s get on with the show.
[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Mike Liguori. Mike is a Marine Corps veteran and also the author of the book, the road ahead and miles behind a story of healing and redemption between father and son. We’re going to chat about his story. How he now helps others in terms of letting go of the past so that they can create a better future for themselves and those around them.
[00:00:49] Scott DeLuzio: So welcome to the show, Mike, I’m glad to have you on.
[00:00:52] Mike Liguori: Yeah. Thank you so much, man. I really appreciate being here and I’m excited to talk.
[00:00:56] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. So for the listeners who may not be [00:01:00] familiar with you, who may not have heard anything about your story before, can you just give us a quick little little bit about yourself in your background?
[00:01:08] Mike Liguori: Yeah, sure, absolutely. So, I’m Mike Liguori. I am a Marine Corps veteran. I’m not going to say former because if you’re a Marine out there, you know, that it never ends. So I did two tours of duty from 2004, 2006, operation Iraqi freedom. I was a senior in high school when nine 11 happened. And that was one of the things that propelled me to military service was that fateful day.
[00:01:28] Mike Liguori: And after doing my four towards a duty, I went out and I got out of the service and transitioned into the civilian world. And immediately the first thing I thought about was, God, this is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. Not only that war just seems so much. And so, I struggled with my transition.
[00:01:45] Mike Liguori: You had a diagnosis of PTSD at the time. And during that transition process, I learned so much about myself. More importantly, I learned more about the mind and about being a military veteran and service and the stories that we have to share. They’re so powerful and [00:02:00] impactful to our society.
[00:02:01] Mike Liguori: And so today, Coach people on letting go of their past and healing from past trauma and to creating abundant futures and seeing the realm of possibility that comes when we let go of things to create space for the things that we truly want in life. And then also sharing the story of this book today with you, which I’m really excited.
[00:02:19] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. And I want to get into the book, but first I want to talk a little bit about your deployment and what you dealt with as you’re coming back home, because I think that’s kind of an important part of your story, who you are. And I think that a lot of people have. Probably experienced something similar in terms of dealing with PTSD when they came home and not really knowing how to wrap their head around what was going on with them and stuff like that.
[00:02:45] Scott DeLuzio: So if you wouldn’t mind to the extent that you’re comfortable sharing please let us know a little bit about what that experience was like.
[00:02:53] Mike Liguori: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think the first thing to really dig into here is this theme of transition. We all go through transitions in our [00:03:00] life, whether it’s from college to our first job, we transitioned from the military into the civilian world.
[00:03:04] Mike Liguori: Even pro athletes have a sense of transition where they’ve been training their whole entire life for a sport to make it at the highest level of competition. Only to find out that when they can no longer play that sport. The civilian world the very same way now. Sure. They may have accessibility that most people don’t have during those transition processes, but it’s very important to recognize and understand that we all go through transition.
[00:03:28] Mike Liguori: And so for me transitioning into the military as a young high school, senior looking for purpose and direction. Finding purpose and direction and not just in the war in which I originally actually thought that was going to be my purpose. I was like, maybe I’m supposed to be meant to maybe I’m a warrior.
[00:03:43] Mike Liguori: Maybe I’m supposed to go to war. I actually found out it was so much bigger than that. What I found out was is that it was about being a part of something much bigger than myself. And that’s what the military gave me was this significance and this purpose that the men and women to the left and right of me, a part of my motor [00:04:00] transport unit were really the people that I was supposed to.
[00:04:02] Mike Liguori: Do this tour with of duty. It was learning how to trust and understand, recognize that it’s not about your individual accomplishments. It’s about the mission. It’s about getting the job done. And it’s about overcoming adversity. And knowing that you don’t have to have all the answers, there’s a bunch of people around you who don’t have all the answers either, but I bet you.
[00:04:21] Mike Liguori: If you all came together and critically looked at the situation and came up with that answer, or if you’re in the military, very familiar with the top-down chain of command, you had a leader, you had somebody telling you where to be, what time you needed to be there. What to wear, what time breakfast is, what time PT is that military environment created tons of structured, not just for myself, but for many of the people probably listening to this podcast is just so easy.
[00:04:46] Mike Liguori: When someone tells you what you have to do all this. Well, when you get home in from the military and you go into junior college or you transition into a job, you may have a boss there. But the reality is nobody’s telling you to be there [00:05:00] by your in-store. Well, it’s all by choice. You’re in the military.
[00:05:04] Mike Liguori: And technically you could get out of the military if you wanted to, but you don’t really, it’s not like, you can just sign a piece of paper and peace out. You kind of have to do a whole lot to get kicked out of the military, but for me, When I got out, when I came home, it was very difficult for me to find purpose and direction, because one, I didn’t have a unit and two, I didn’t know what it was like for me to take ownership of my choices.
[00:05:26] Mike Liguori: I knew how to be accountable by the actions that I took going against what I was told to do. But when you get into the civilian world and you make a choice or an action, sometimes there’s no. I shouldn’t say to it, sometimes it’s just not the right choice and you don’t find out later, it’s not the right choice until that result ends up.
[00:05:42] Mike Liguori: There’s no immediate consequence or reward like there is in the military. So, when I came home the transition process was very difficult and tough, trying to figure out different majors. What job I wanted to work being told that basically your role is you have military, you’re a military veteran.
[00:05:57] Mike Liguori: You have these intangible skills. [00:06:00] Now go find a job and then in those organizations, but meanwhile, I’m dealing with this diagnosis of post-traumatic stress. So what is that? Although I am not a clinician. I am not a medical professional, nor am I a physician of any sort, the simplest way that I can explain it for all of you out there who might know what it is and probably know what it is.
[00:06:18] Mike Liguori: It’s really just a normal reaction to abnormal events and your. Takes on a lot of anxiety and hypervigilance, and it’s just kind of stuck in this fight or flight mode. So for, with that, while you’re in college, when I, first of all, I was never a good student anyway. So to have a a mental health disorder on top of trying to study on top of trying to figure out what my place is in the world, it was really difficult for me, and it was very difficult sky in a lot of ways to wrap my head around this idea that I no longer could be.
[00:06:48] Mike Liguori: In the military service. And I didn’t have that guided direction from a Sergeant or a staff Sergeant or Lieutenant I was on my own. And so that transition process was very difficult for me.
[00:06:59] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think [00:07:00] that is a similar experience that a lot of people have when they are transitioning out bay, they lose that structure and that structure is something that has been in place.
[00:07:10] Scott DeLuzio: For a lot of people since a young age in their life, a lot of people joined 17, 18, 19 years old, and they stay in, you were in for, you said four years, but some people stay in much longer now. Now they just get used to living life that way. They may, by the time they get out, if they do 20 years, that’s more than half of their life that they spent in the military and they have that structure.
[00:07:34] Scott DeLuzio: They’ve gotten really, really used to having that structure in place. And then now you pull them out of that and they’re in their forties, let’s say. And now they’re. Figuring out life, the way all of their peers have been able to do for the last 20, some odd years, because they’ve had to be accountable to themselves.
[00:07:55] Scott DeLuzio: They didn’t have that superior that the Sergeant or the Lieutenant, like you’re [00:08:00] saying who who’s standing over them saying, okay, be here at this time, do this, wear this, all that kind of stuff. You didn’t have that. And it’s, it is difficult when you transition out to. Figure out, although all of those things, it seems like you should just know it by now, but that’s because everyone else has had that opportunity to learn and grow from their mistakes, from their, late teens, early twenties, all the way throughout.
[00:08:26] Scott DeLuzio: And when you get out, you don’t, you hadn’t had that opportunity. So you’re kind of playing a little bit of catch up. And so you kind of get hard on yourself when you are in that position. Right?
[00:08:38] Mike Liguori: Yeah. And then there’s also a level of energy expenditure too, because there’s energy expenditure. And when we talk about, when we talk about energy in itself, you have your mental energy that you’re actually exerting and what you have to make decisions, and you have to go through processes and figure out what’s best for you.
[00:08:53] Mike Liguori: And when you’re in the military, it’s almost the, a physical exertion. Like there is mental toughness and [00:09:00] fortitude that you have, but the decision-makings is very snap decisions. It’s been the moment it’s very reactionary. A much different energy expenditure when you go from the military and then you come out into the civilian world and you had to learn about more logical, critical thinking debates.
[00:09:16] Mike Liguori: It’s not black and white in the military. It’s not black and white, I should say, like in the military, as it is in the civilian world, there’s a lot of gray out here. There’s a lot of different ways that things can go. And so it can be very exhausting for military veterans. When they go from an organization, says, do this, do that wear your hair like this.
[00:09:35] Mike Liguori: There’s walk this way. No hands in your pockets. Don’t you gum and walk at the same time. No swearing. Get the chew out of your mouth, run faster, jump higher. You’re just following commands. Right. And you’re just going through that type of reactionary. Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes, Sergeant no Sergeant. And then you get on the civilian world and it’s like, Hey Scott, what do we like to eat?
[00:09:54] Mike Liguori: And you’re like, well, shit.
[00:09:57] Scott DeLuzio: Whatever’s being served, I guess
[00:09:59] Mike Liguori: What’s on the [00:10:00] menu today. Right? And it’s funny cause probably a lot of guys in here that you know, that the bid in the military for 6, 8, 10 years, 12 years, 20 years, you have food provided to you in a lot of ways. And then when you get out, you just kind of get into this mode of whatever’s available.
[00:10:16] Mike Liguori: I’ll eat it. And it’s something that minimal where if you talk to a look at a lot of civilians, Do you go to restaurants? Anybody that’s been to a restaurant with people that haven’t been in the military and they liked their food, a certain type of way. You’ve been on a date before you immediately.
[00:10:30] Mike Liguori: You’re like, why are you so picky? And it’s because we don’t understand that because it’s like, Hey, tonight’s menu is pot, roast and vegetables. That’s what you’re eating deal with it. And you’re like, yeah,
[00:10:42] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, it doesn’t matter if it’s, if the steak has done medium rare or well done it’s food that you’re putting in your body.
[00:10:51] Scott DeLuzio: It doesn’t matter how well it’s cooked or whatever is that’s what you get is whatever winds up on your plate, so
[00:10:59] Mike Liguori: that’s [00:11:00] interesting. Yeah, absolutely. And there was just one thing I wanted to say is like, the benefit of that is there’s a ton of gratitude that goes in that too, because military personnel and veterans especially are so grateful for just the fact that they’re receiving something.
[00:11:13] Mike Liguori: And so we’ve learned how to make the best out of every situation. Because, we’re kind of like modern day MacGyvers right. It’s like we could build a car out of like a toothpick dirt, and maybe some rubber, we would figure it out and, I don’t want, and I’m using that as a very extreme example and it’s very difficult for us because at the time it’s not so much our modes of survival, any military veteran, that’s listening to this I’ll bet you 10, nine out of 10, 10 out of 10 times, you already know how to serve.
[00:11:41] Mike Liguori: But the key is, do you know how to thrive? And a lot of the work that I do is getting people out of the surviving to thrive mode, where it’s listen to skills that you have right now. You don’t have to have that be the default option. We already know you can survive. We already know that you can live off of, if you got thrown out on the streets right now, because the stock [00:12:00] market crashed and you lost everything.
[00:12:02] Mike Liguori: Military veterans right now would know exactly what to do to survive, to get back on their feet and go out. They just do it. It’s just that programming. But what about thriving? What about creation of wealth? What about abundance? What about actually designing your life to where you can use your military skills and you can make not only millions of dollars, but you have an amazing marriage and your kids are wonderful and you’re giving yourself exactly what you want and not feeling selfish or guilty about that.
[00:12:29] Mike Liguori: How many military veterans Scott and I’m sure you’ve probably had that maybe in your point of your transition where you felt guilty or felt bad. We’re receiving an amount of abundance that you wanted for yourself because in the military you were saying, oh, Scott, you’re taking seconds, or you’re taking more ammo than the guy next to you.
[00:12:46] Mike Liguori: How selfish are you? Right.
[00:12:48] Scott DeLuzio: Or you’re the guy who’s rat fucking the MRAs and just picking through for the best possible meal choice. Right. But no one wants to be that guy, right?
[00:12:59] Mike Liguori: Yeah, [00:13:00] exactly. Exactly. And that’s the, and that, I think that’s a lot of struggle, not just with military people, but I think just people overall is that.
[00:13:08] Mike Liguori: When it comes to that type of transition to going from the survival to thrive mode it’s okay for us to truly accept the fact that we can have everything we want when we want it and how we want it. It’s a matter of designing our life and putting processes in place to say, I actually want tens of millions of dollars, and I’m not going to feel bad with this because we also associate a lot of money with selfishness greed.
[00:13:31] Mike Liguori: Or, we did something to get ahead of somebody else in an unjust way. Well, what if we changed our thinking and our relationship to money by saying the more money that I actually accrue in acquire the more impact I can make for people to help them and to serve them in a capacity. And so this is something personally, I’ve had to do a lot of work on and even still coaching and working with my clients, I’m still doing.
[00:13:55] Mike Liguori: I’m still working on that mindset for myself because when you’re in the military for [00:14:00] four years and it’s so exhausting on you from a physical standpoint, I can probably tell you right now, everybody on here at one point or time has got either a bad shoulder, bad knees or can hear. And, and you’re just, that’s just kinda what you get when you go.
[00:14:11] Mike Liguori: And you’ve had like your heavy dose of Motrin. Right. But, the reality is that, with all of that from the military, you’ve also been programmed to not seek out. To not take things in like massive abundance to not think you’re deserving of it. And it’s not because you don’t think you’re worthy it’s because you were never taught that it’s okay for you to receive things that you really truly wanted in life, even though you have that drive and that ambition to do so, because somehow some way you’ve been programmed subconsciously to think you’re somehow screwing over your unit, but you’re not in a unit anymore.
[00:14:46] Scott DeLuzio: Right. Your unit is you or your family, right? And so if you’re not looking out for yourself, newsflash, nobody else is either. And you really have to be out there. Keep an [00:15:00] eye on yourself, your family, the people who are important in your life, you get, you got to keep an eye out for them and take care of them.
[00:15:06] Scott DeLuzio: And so you’re right. All of that stuff makes a lot of sense. And in a transition period, when you’re coming out of that mode where everything is provided to you and you’re part of a unit part of a team. And you don’t want to be that, that one selfish guy who’s. Hoarding everything and taking all the stuff for himself and leaving the scratch for everyone else.
[00:15:28] Scott DeLuzio: Not that you want to be that kind of person in the civilian world either. You don’t want to be just screwing over everybody who you come across. Right. But it’s okay to work hard and reap the benefits of that work. Right. It’s not like you’re stealing from somebody else. You’re just getting the benefits of.
[00:15:49] Scott DeLuzio: Whenever the hard work is that you’re putting in. Yeah,
[00:15:53] Mike Liguori: exactly. And that’s what it means to thrive. And I think you said it beautifully, Scott is that everybody out there that’s listening right [00:16:00] now know and understand that you deserve to live an extraordinary life and you deserve to be happy and you deserve to design your life the way that you want it to it doesn’t have to be according to the Groose or anybody else successes your own determinant.
[00:16:12] Mike Liguori: Right. And there is no unit or Sergeant telling you pass or fail. Is your pass or fail life is your determined by your success. If you want to not have anything more than what you have right now, cause you’re content and you’re super happy. That’s incredible. Then be happy with that. Be in gratitude with that and live your life the way that you want to at your life.
[00:16:33] Mike Liguori: But if your desire for more is there and you’re like, I want to make more money. I want to be in a beautiful marriage or partnership, or I want to have better friends. I want to feel like I have that tribe in that brotherhood, or even just that comradery that I had in the military. Well, then. And it’s not, no Sergeant is going to tell you to go get that.
[00:16:52] Mike Liguori: You have to go get that for yourself. And that’s a lot of the work that I focus on is that, what does that actually look like for you to rewrite the [00:17:00] story that the past in order for you to create that button? Sure. What are the things that you want, what do you want to feel? What do you want to walk like and talk like?
[00:17:08] Mike Liguori: And I think that’s a lot of the stuff that I think not just military veterans, really truly focused. Struggle with, I should say, but people struggle with that because they actually don’t realize that everything starts only with them through choice. So if you don’t like your situation, you can choose it.
[00:17:24] Mike Liguori: Nobody’s keeping you there on your will. There’s a funny joke. I heard, I don’t know if you know who Peter Holmes is a comedian and he was relaying a joke or he said, there’s a famous joke about this guy who said, hi, my name is mark and I’m from Iowa. And I moved out to Iowa. When I realized I didn’t have to be there.
[00:17:39] Mike Liguori: Okay. And so, it’s a really, it’s a really funny joke, but it’s very true that a lot of us don’t realize we have the ability to have free will and choice to create whatever we want to. And I want military veterans to recognize and understand that we have an innate, extraordinary ability to accomplish things that the rest of society is not capable of [00:18:00] doing because they don’t understand what it means to be part of something much bigger than themselves.
[00:18:04] Mike Liguori: So you already know what it’s like to accomplish them. Imagine what it would be like for you to develop your own mission, your own objectives and execute and accomplish that and doing that and not just on a day-to-day basis, but over the next five to 10 years, you can turn your situation around whatever that may be into something much grander than you could ever possibly imagine.
[00:18:26] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, for sure. And I know when I was deployed to Afghanistan, we. Limited resources. We’re out in a fog and we had to make things happen. And so sometimes we got creative, right. And we made things happen. Like you were saying before, we’ll get things done with a toothpick, some dirt and a little bit of rubber or something.
[00:18:46] Scott DeLuzio: We’ll figure it out. We’ll make something, something work. It may not be the prettiest thing, but I’ll be functional as all health. It’ll definitely damn the job and it’ll get it done. So, Why do we lose that? Why do we lose that mindset? When we [00:19:00] come back into the civilian world, when we want to get things done and accomplished in our lives.
[00:19:07] Scott DeLuzio: Where does that go? It, we have it in us. We’re able to do it. We’ve done it before. We just need to tap back into that, I think.
[00:19:15] Mike Liguori: Right. Yeah. And I think that’s where, and I think that’s where a lot of people get tripped up is that ambition and that drive, it’s so much easier when you’re seeing 10, 20, 30, 50, a hundred of your company.
[00:19:28] Mike Liguori: Fellow company members, right? Or military friends and peers and brothers and sisters that dressed in the same uniform wear the exact same hairstyles that you have shaped face. I mean, I can tell you right now, just even being in complete total alignment with other people around you. They’re already going after the mission.
[00:19:48] Mike Liguori: And then remember it’s like the motivations and numbers. That’s why PT runs are so motivating and powerful. And you may get tired on a PT run if you guys remember that. But think about this too. You loved [00:20:00] PT runs because everybody was yelling cadences. Everybody was in staff. People would be like complaining the entire time.
[00:20:07] Mike Liguori: But as it’s like through shared misery, we find the deepest bond to a human being. Everybody remembers that’s been deployed how much the war zones suck, but you had the best time because you were miserable with the people closest to you. We lose a lot of that stuff. You were talking about Scott, that internal drive and ambition is because we don’t believe in ourselves enough to actually think we can do it on our own.
[00:20:29] Mike Liguori: And I want to stress this to everybody listening. You have the choice right now in the ability right now to change the circumstances your life right now, there is no tomorrow. There is no in the past right now you have the opportunity to change everything. You have the internal drive, the motivation, the ambition to be much greater than you are right now, you can create a future self and step into that right now, when it is more enhanced than the life that you’re living.
[00:20:53] Mike Liguori: But there’s something stopping you along the way. And it’s because it is your disbelief in yourself that you matter. And that you’re [00:21:00] much. And it’s because you’ve associated a lot of your identity to the actual. To yourself as the individual, but know this, that you are part of that unit, you were an individual part of the unit and the unit does not exist if all the individuals are not there.
[00:21:16] Mike Liguori: So you’re just as important as the team needs you and you need the team. When you get out, take that same mentality as an individual in society, I can create a life for myself and I can help other military veterans, or I can help my customer. I can help my client. I can even help my friends. Hell, you could even say, you know what I’m doing all of this to provide for my family.
[00:21:38] Mike Liguori: So just. Don’t make excuses for it. Go in, step into what you want to become. And if you need guidance around that’s the purpose of having masterminds and tribes and companies and leaders and teams at your job. You that’s why you have people you go to that’s why there’s support groups. That’s why.
[00:21:57] Mike Liguori: Even just the beauty of the internet. There’s a [00:22:00] Facebook group for almost anything. If you wanted to start your own business, you can go in there right now and say, Hey guys, I’m a military veteran, transitioning out. I’m looking for a job or I’m looking to start a business. Can someone help me? I’ve done this Scott and I’m sure you have too that when I came home, I did this. I’m sure you did this to Scott that when you actually have. You’re looking for a question and answer. Google is your best friend and Facebook groups where you can interact real people.
[00:22:27] Mike Liguori: There’s no YouTube. There’s nothing you can’t search today. They can’t teach you how to do something. What I think is really important for military veterans to recognize is that there are other veterans working at these big companies are, want to help you transition out or find the job so you can provide.
[00:22:42] Mike Liguori: So remember, don’t do it alone. Just don’t you have the opportunity to create whatever you want. You have the resources. But stop telling yourself you’re not worth it. Cause you are.
[00:22:53] Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. And I think this is a good transition here because I want to get into talking about your book. And. How [00:23:00] that helped to shape a better future for you and your father your family life got better through this road trip that you took with your dad, that you talk about in this book.
[00:23:10] Scott DeLuzio: Tell us about that. Tell us about the road trip, how that trip came to be and kind of what led up to that. And then tell us about the transformation that took place between the two of you throughout that.
[00:23:22] Mike Liguori: Yeah, well, like, probably like a lot of, and I think this is just a problem we had, we talked about this before we started recording that, there is a massive issue in this country and that is the absence of.
[00:23:34] Mike Liguori: And there are a lot of men out there right now who wish and desire to be better fathers to their kids. And I applaud you for that because you’re trying and you’re there and your kids want nothing more than for you just to show up and be involved in their lives. But this crisis among the many other things that is happening in.
[00:23:51] Mike Liguori: And just for the sensitivity of this issue, I won’t dive into it as much as the what’s been happening with these shootings. But what I will say, what I will [00:24:00] say is that right now, more than ever boys need male role models, they need strong role models in society, and they need tribe and support groups.
[00:24:09] Mike Liguori: They just need it right now. And. It’s interesting as these events have kind of unfolded for us, in this country, I have found that there were. Themes of not feeling that I had a dad who was extremely present, not feeling like I had to support them, not knowing what to do as a young man. When I had questions in my teenage years, shaving my face, I had to take a girl out on a date, driving a car properly.
[00:24:36] Mike Liguori: My dad taught me some of those things, but there were other things I had to figure out on my own. And I actually even mentioned in the book that the Marine Corps was the dad that I always knew. Not the one that I always wanted because the Marine Corps taught me how to go from boy to manhood. It taught me how to dress, how to talk, how to take accountability and responsibility.
[00:24:54] Mike Liguori: And that’s not to say that my father wasn’t capable of that, but that is to say something about the fact that [00:25:00] generationally our dads before us were taught by their dads, our grandfathers to provide that was your main job vide and lead the family. Some were more involved than others, but this is not their fault.
[00:25:15] Mike Liguori: And this is not a weight on them. This is just simply to point out that’s the culture that they grew up in. The men went to work, they provided for their families and they came home. And that’s what they did this generation of men, people my age in their thirties, who have children. Who have children who have a family people who are entering that part of their relationship with their planning to have a family, the generation is completely different.
[00:25:42] Mike Liguori: Men are being encouraged now more than ever to share their emotional state, especially military veterans. Two years ago, men did military veterans. Didn’t talk about. We didn’t share stories about that in the early two thousands. We didn’t even talk about that now more than ever, we are encouraged to [00:26:00] share those stories.
[00:26:01] Mike Liguori: So I’m tying this all back to the fact that I never learned when I was a kid to express how I felt or expressed the difficulties in the stress of just being, going from boy to manhood. And so joining the Marine Corps, I found that purpose and I found that significance to take accountability and responsibility.
[00:26:19] Mike Liguori: That wasn’t the answer to my problems of not feeling like I had that attention from my dad. It actually got worse when I got up, because I started recognizing, realizing that I was trying to change my day. And this is the irony in this. This is that when we’re kids, our fathers tried to change us. Our parents tell us what to do and what not to do.
[00:26:42] Mike Liguori: I bet you everybody in here at one point in time, mom and dad said, Scott, eat your vegetables. Don’t jump on the. You need to finish your homework? No, you can’t go out on Saturday night because you were late with your homework assignment. No, you can’t go hang out with your friends to do a sleep over at their house over the weekend because you [00:27:00] got detention on Friday for cursing in class.
[00:27:02] Mike Liguori: Right. I’m just using these as examples. So it’s funny because our parents tell us what we can do and can not. And then when our, we get older and our parents get older, our parents want to start letting loose and they want to start doing things. And so mom and dad go out a little bit more. My mom I’ll tell you right now, it goes and plays pickle ball a couple of times a week.
[00:27:21] Mike Liguori: Right. And it’s great. And my mom’s in her seventies, but there’s this thing in the back of my head that says, mom, you’re too old to be doing pickleball dad, you’re too old to be driving. Why are you flying all over the country and traveling and having. Oh, here we are getting mad at mom and dad that they tried to change us when we were a kid.
[00:27:41] Mike Liguori: And then yet when they get older, we’re trying to change them and tell them what not. Right. So imagine the friction already being caused, especially from my perspective, I’m already sitting there dealing with massive amounts of friction from when I was a kid, not feeling like I could be my, be myself, truthfully.
[00:27:58] Mike Liguori: And then as I get out of [00:28:00] the military, I’m watching my dad and I’m saying, well, you know what, dad, that’s not how things are. And I’m already looking for resistance and battling him with friction. So that led to a almost a 30 year. Relationship full of friction and resentment and anger towards him that I’d never just felt like I was good enough.
[00:28:16] Mike Liguori: The only time I ever felt truly appreciated was I wore the military uniform, but the moment that came off and depression and PTSD and anxiety, and being a combat veteran with little to no purpose or guidance. That was the uniform I was wearing. So what level of significance should a father be proud of this son when he’s no longer wearing the uniform of the Marine Corps of honor, of pride, of courage of this country and wearing a uniform of the aftermath and the effects and the consequences of war.
[00:28:47] Mike Liguori: So going into this road trip and approaching, what it was at the time, my 37th birthday, I said to myself, God, if you’re listening to me, I [00:29:00] would just want to have a relationship with my dad. I’m tired of carrying this weight and this burden in my life. I just want to have something with him, a cordial ground to walk on.
[00:29:08] Mike Liguori: If you could give me that would be everything to me. Well, the funny thing is about God universe source spirit is that, whatever you choose to call your higher power. When you ask for something, you will receive it. You just don’t know when the timeline is. And so I asked for something for months, years prayed to just have something with my dad.
[00:29:28] Mike Liguori: So he delivered it, higher power decides to deliver. And a phone call from my dad completely unexpected. That says, how would you like to go on a road trip with me for 11 days to an auto race in Sebring, Florida called the 12 hours of Sebring. So for you motorcar fans out there, if you haven’t been our race fans out there, that haven’t been, I highly suggest you go is 12 hours of endurance racing.
[00:29:51] Mike Liguori: It’s around this airport track and Scott, I got to tell you it’s one of the best experiences. I’ve ever had, and I am not a race fan, but going with my [00:30:00] dad and watching man and machine and watching guys go around a track for four hours at 130 miles an hour in these Porsches and Lamborghinis, it was really phenomenal.
[00:30:11] Mike Liguori: But what I love about that, that call more than anything was is that it was so unexpected. And I actually deep down was like, this is my time to finally tell my dad after the years of resentment and friction. I’m not going with you. But Scott, before the moment, I said that there was a voice that came into my head and I mentioned this in the book.
[00:30:32] Mike Liguori: It was this voice, very similar to if you’ve ever seen the movie lion king, it kind of sounded like James Earl Jones, but faucet was of this very kind, but very powerful, very masculine voice. It said, Michael, you need to go on this trip with your data. It may be the only one. If you get with him. And so, as I’m listening to my dad pitched this whole entire, oh, it’s going to be great.
[00:30:53] Mike Liguori: This story. Remember he’s a former ad agencies and now he’s an ad agent ski guys. So he’s kind of like Don Draper, vented buddies seen madman. That’s what [00:31:00] my dad is. He’s not selling you ever the product he’s selling you the experience of what you’ll get from the product. That’s what. And so I’m hearing about how great this trip’s going to be, not the fact that we’re going to be in a number, Sadie, sprinter van, for those of you that don’t know that it’s basically an Amazon delivery van.
[00:31:14] Mike Liguori: So imagine being with your father that you’ve fought for the last 30 years in a van with him for 11 days driving across the country, how pleasant would that be? And at first I’m like Mike, absolutely crazy for doing this, but when that voice came in, And I started realizing that by dat just truly wanted something and he wasn’t there only there.
[00:31:34] Mike Liguori: I said yes. And I remember getting off the phone, wondering what did I just say yes to? And that’s what started this entire trip was I leaned into and surrender to the idea that there was something greater on the other side of the thing that I was most scared. Which was being in the car with my dad, thinking this is going to be our last shot.
[00:31:53] Mike Liguori: We’re never going to have everything. And it’s just going to end up for the rest of his time here on this earth that we were [00:32:00] going to be mad at each other or have resentment. And
[00:32:05] Scott DeLuzio: when you got into this van, yeah, day one on this trip, right. You get into the van. What’s going through your head, is it, is this like, I’m making a big mistake or was this something like optimism?
[00:32:22] Scott DeLuzio: Like I’m hopeful that there’s something good going to come out of
[00:32:26] Mike Liguori: this? Well, I think anytime we put ourselves in a situation where we’ve had so much friction and we give it one last shot, we immediately think it’s going to turn out for the worst. And I think for me, when I’m sitting there with my dad, I’m the first thing I’m thinking about is like, what am I.
[00:32:42] Mike Liguori: Why am I even here? This is like a complete waste of time. I can’t believe I said yes to this. I’m actually spending my birthday weekend with him at this time to go be with him during COVID during the pandemic, during one of the worst times in human history for a lot of people. And [00:33:00] I’m spending my birthday in the middle of this pandemic with my dad, driving from Las Vegas to Sebring, Florida.
[00:33:08] Mike Liguori: I’m like, am I making things worse for me? Like, the whole entire world shut down. Businesses have been impacted. People are staying at home and like, COVID for me was kind of an up and down thing. I grew a lot personally during COVID, but recognizing that, am I making this worse? Am I making this worse by getting it like, am I trying to make COVID really hard for myself.
[00:33:30] Mike Liguori: It’s already hard as it is. And everybody’s trying to like stay massed up and stay away from each other. And there’s no social interaction the way that we used to have it. Now I’m sitting here going like, oh great. Now I’m going to get into a van with my 73 72 year old dad at the time and ask us like, Hey, let’s hang out for 11 days, Scott.
[00:33:49] Mike Liguori: There was no way I had any sort of optimism with that. And so. The thing that really changed everything at that time was I started to realize that [00:34:00] I was there for a reason, and there was a reason why this was all happening. And I shifted a lot of what I would say, the quote, the survival, which we talked about earlier in the podcast.
[00:34:09] Mike Liguori: Right. Which is many of us have been taught to survive. I, my survival default was I’m just going to do this trip with him. I’m going to stay where I’m at. I’m just going to keep it safe. We’re going to talk about stocks, business, and sports, and maybe a little bit of life here and there, but that’s it to a thrive mentality.
[00:34:27] Mike Liguori: And the thrive mentality is what is it that I truly want to know about? What is it that I want to create out of this experience? And the more I thought about that, and I started shifting that and trust me, it was not easy. But the moment I started thinking about that was this question came up to you actually only know your dad as a dad.
[00:34:49] Mike Liguori: You don’t know him as a man because you don’t know what he was like before you were born.
[00:34:56] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that’s true. Because I don’t, obviously you weren’t [00:35:00] around for that, as time goes on, there’s more more ways to record things as we’re younger and things like that. So for future generations, maybe that’s not going to be so much of an issue because there’ll be able to watch things and see some of the stuff that their dad did before they became a dad.
[00:35:17] Scott DeLuzio: Right. But. But even still, you’re not going to get the full picture of who that person was. So by sitting in this van, I got, imagine there’s only so much, stocks, sports and weather that you could talk about. Right. So the conversation just naturally is going to start to get a little bit deeper.
[00:35:35] Scott DeLuzio: And so, so when did the transformation that took place from kind of. Being the type of people who would butt heads with each other, to the type of people who now are more than just father and son, but your friends, right? Yeah.
[00:35:51] Mike Liguori: Yeah. Yeah. I will say the first thing is most of us have difficulty with our parents because, and this is just my perspective.
[00:35:58] Mike Liguori: Most of us have difficulty with their parents [00:36:00] because we’ve only scored mom and dad. Based on how they parented us. So a lot of what we’ve experienced is dad, let me out of the house, said, 16 years old to go drink my first beer plus one mom grounded me because, I got caught smoking weed, listening to Nirvana at the time minus one, or I D I didn’t turn in my history, examined on an on time.
[00:36:21] Mike Liguori: And I got a D mom grounded me minus one. So we scorecard our parents. But we don’t know, our parents is people. And so that causes a lot of friction for us. So imagine that I’ve scorecard with my dad, my entire life. What if I just asked him, Hey dad, what were you like before I was born? And so Scott, the moment I asked him that question and lo and behold, he opened up, he told me everything.
[00:36:44] Mike Liguori: He told me about his struggles. He told me about, what I’ve referred to in the book is the generational curses and traits that we inherit from our fathers and our parents is that we all inherit some good from our parents and we all inherit some bad. And for men out there, you have inherited things from your father that [00:37:00] God, from his father and his father beforehand, and some of these things you are aware of and you recognize, and some of these things are beautiful and extremely powerful.
[00:37:08] Mike Liguori: But some of these other things are really detriments and, you need to work on them and I’ve inherited things from my dad that I’m working on too, but you have the choice right now to stop that. And so the conversation really changed when I allowed to position it as, Hey dad. I actually don’t know.
[00:37:25] Mike Liguori: You let’s talk about who you were before. And I realized that we’re actually more alike than we were the same. And I always had a fear of being the same. Never had a fear of being. And that’s where the curses and the traits thing comes in. When you start separating the categories that you are your father’s son, or you are your mother’s son or your mother’s daughter, your father’s daughter, good and bad that come with it.
[00:37:49] Mike Liguori: I’ve inherited my dad’s innate curiosity for the world and how things work, but I’ve also been inherited his ability to be stubborn. And sometimes, often at times, grind people down and it’s like a default, it’s like a [00:38:00] switch that gets turned on and I have to like subconsciously take myself out and go, okay.
[00:38:04] Mike Liguori: You’re acting like dad right now. And that’s not a bad thing, right? It’s not a bad thing, but it’s something to be cognizant of because as you grow older and you want children, is that something you want to pass on to them or do you want to teach them something different? So stopping the cycle of these generational curses that are in families have had for years and years, and stopping it with you, but also at the same time, embracing and emboldening, the traits that you’ve inherited from your parents that made them love you.
[00:38:33] Mike Liguori: Batch that made them successful in their own. Right? Maybe there was nothing good about them and that’s okay. You can create a whole entire new identity, but you know, going back to this book, Scott, I think the major thing that I learned from this book was is that your questions that you ask your parents are so vital to truly understanding who they are as people and why they parented you the way that this.
[00:38:56] Mike Liguori: And that allows you to [00:39:00] practice the art of acceptance and forgiveness, and also being able to heal the relationship through this concept of, I called the healing power of tough conversations, which is often tough conversations are needed, not with your parents, but with yourself, can you let go of the weight in the burden that came from the fact that mom and dad did the best they could with what they had at the time that they had it.
[00:39:21] Mike Liguori: And if you can accept it, forgive yourself for that. You are now freeing yourself for the ability to live as an individual, as a human, to go from survival mode to thrive mode.
[00:39:32] Scott DeLuzio: That’s really incredible. I appreciate all of the insights that you had to offer with all of this. Before we started recording you, you briefly mentioned how the writing process was.
[00:39:45] Scott DeLuzio: Therapeutic team that you were writing to heal and help yourself get through some of the difficult time that you were going through. How did that help you in your own healing?
[00:39:58] Mike Liguori: Yeah writing, if one [00:40:00] of the things that I teach with my cards, I’ll just take a step back. I teach this concept called authoring, which is basically a wave through the power of the written word to examine your past and memories and experiences.
[00:40:10] Mike Liguori: You had to identify beliefs that are holding you back from the things want. And I use the word and I use the phrase power of the written word because right. It’s such a memorable and powerful tool for anybody. Even. I’ve heard this plenty. I’m not a writer. I suck at writing. I can’t spell, I can’t write a sentence for a life of me.
[00:40:28] Mike Liguori: I don’t even know where to start. I want everybody to forget that and just focus on the idea that you do know how to write, and it’s not about impressing other people when it comes to the art of offering, it comes actually to the ability for you to do write out what it is that you truly want. So writing for me, when I started writing my first book, the sandbox, the stories of human spirit and war about my tours of duty in Iraq, I had no clue what I was doing.
[00:40:52] Mike Liguori: All I knew is that it was a commitment to a practice of show up. And write a hundred words the first day, then write [00:41:00] 200 words and then I ditched the word count thing and went right into time. You’re going to write for one hour a day, some days I was like, you know what? I’m not going to class today.
[00:41:08] Mike Liguori: I’m just going to write off. Writing for me, became a way for me to process the past and created a whole entire new future. And it was the same thing with this book. As I wrote this book, I actually had healing from this book because I committed to the story and I allowed myself to feel things. I cried the entire time.
[00:41:25] Mike Liguori: I wrote this book because the pain and the suffering and the burden that I carried from this story, the 30 years I let it go. It was. And when I finished writing it, I was like, man, I’m now looking at my dad, not just as my dad, but as a man, he just did the best he could. And all he was trying to do at the end of the day was giving me a future better than the, give me a life better than the one he had.
[00:41:50] Mike Liguori: And how admirable is that? How many of our parents are actually have done that for us? And we haven’t given ourselves or them, the grace and space to [00:42:00] acknowledge that they were just doing the best they could with what they had at the time that they.
[00:42:05] Scott DeLuzio: That’s true. And a lot of times when you’re dealing with these strained relationships it’s people who don’t have a lot to offer.
[00:42:15] Scott DeLuzio: Right. But they’re not, they’re not super rich. And so they can’t offer all of these experiences or whatever. And so they’re trying, but they’re trying to do the. With what they have to offer. And so even if that’s just showing up to the baseball games and, doing that stuff, being present, they’re trying to do the best that they can with what they have to offer.
[00:42:37] Scott DeLuzio: And so that’s important too. And when you look at that, it’s important to, to look at the individual of the parents, right? Look at them and. See things from their perspective, not see things from, oh, well, my friend down the street has all this other stuff and now I’m comparing myself to that other person.
[00:42:57] Scott DeLuzio: Well, you don’t have their parents. Right. And so [00:43:00] it’s not an apples and apples comparison. So you really can’t compare things that way. Right. So, so interesting how you, you put all of that. I appreciate that perspective, right? For the listeners. Are out there who might be in a similar circumstance with their family or with their own battle with PTSD.
[00:43:20] Scott DeLuzio: What advice do you have for them? What sort of things did you learn in your own journey that you wish maybe someone had told you about before you went through this whole process and kind of would help you get through things a little bit? I don’t want to say easier necessarily but differently.
[00:43:38] Scott DeLuzio: Maybe get through it a little bit quicker.
[00:43:41] Mike Liguori: The beauty in life lies in the road ahead and not in the miles behind. And what I mean by that is, is that oftentimes you look back into the past and we relive our glory days. And a lot of us, even in the military, we think, well, those were the best years of my life.
[00:43:57] Mike Liguori: If you think that’s it, then you’re missing the big [00:44:00] picture. There’s so much more to life outside of your military service. And when you come home and you’ve been diagnosed with certain, illnesses or disorders or whatever the case may be, don’t focus so much on the fact that you have.
[00:44:15] Mike Liguori: Burdened with this because it’s actually not a burden. It’s a blessing because now it gives you an opportunity to change your circumstances. And so when I talk about what the road ahead means is that you have miles and miles way ahead of you. There’s so many different things in front of your life. It’s a completely blank canvas and you can create anything.
[00:44:35] Mike Liguori: If you reflect so much back on what you’ve been through or so, and so screwed me over, or, Jason down the street has a beautiful wife and kids and he’s got a big house and I don’t have anything. Then you’re always just living in those miles behind you. You’re not focusing on the road ahead of you when you’re driving on a freeway.
[00:44:55] Mike Liguori: You’re not looking back, putting your head outside the window, going, wow. Look at how far [00:45:00] we’ve come, because where are you taking your eyes? The road in front of you, the windshield right life is through the windshield, not the rear view mirror. It’s through the windshield and you have to keep going. So if you’re struggling right now, ask for help.
[00:45:14] Mike Liguori: They’ll get you to focus on the road ahead. If you’re learning or want to be better as a person, work with a coach, build a business, build a trial. Don’t focus on the friends or the experiences or how easy it was at one point in your life, because you’ll always have those memories, but that’s not your life right now.
[00:45:35] Mike Liguori: That’s what you’ve experienced. The road ahead is creating new friendships, creating new opportunities, a new business, new abundance for yourself. So life is the road ahead. It’s not the miles behind stay focused and just keep moving forward because life’s going to go forward with, or without.
[00:45:56] Scott DeLuzio: I love that analogy that you use with the car.
[00:45:59] Scott DeLuzio: [00:46:00] Driving on the freeway, right with life happens of the windshield, right? It’s the stuff that’s happening in front of you, not behind you, that matters the stuff that’s behind you. You can’t change that. You can’t change the fact that you’ve already driven, however far that you’ve driven. You’ve already gone that distance.
[00:46:17] Scott DeLuzio: And like you said, life is going to go on with, or without you. But you said something else in this vision popped in my head in terms of the analogy that you made with the car. And he said, sometimes you’re going to need help. And you’re going to want to go talk to somebody and get the help.
[00:46:29] Scott DeLuzio: Right. I think of that as you’re driving on on the highway and. Bugs or dirt or something from a dump truck or something lands on your windshield and it covers it all up. And it’s all, it’s dirty. You can kind of see through it, but it’s not real easy to see through it. So you take your car through the car wash and you get that stuff cleaned off, right?
[00:46:49] Scott DeLuzio: You’re not going to just wish the bugs splattered on your windshield. You’re not gonna just wish them away. You’re not gonna wish that stuff to just disappear and magically. It just [00:47:00] goes away. You go and you do something about it. And. That analogy to me just makes a ton of sense. And it, I love how that vision just popped in my head.
[00:47:09] Scott DeLuzio: As you’re talking and you do something about it, you get, get it done, right? You just, like you were saying earlier on in this episode, we are very resourceful. We can figure things out, whether it’s, a toothpick and stick a gum or something to make something work, we’ll figure it out. And when.
[00:47:30] Scott DeLuzio: You have the that attitude that, that drive and determination to go out and get something done. It, nothing is going to stop you. And I think as long as we’re open and willing to receiving help when we need it we’re unstoppable. And we should look at ourselves that
[00:47:47] Mike Liguori: way. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:47:49] Mike Liguori: And I encourage everybody here. It’s okay for you to ask. I don’t think that you don’t deserve help. Don’t think that you don’t want, it’s going to help you. We are wired as human beings to help [00:48:00] one another because coincidentally, we’re all part of the same unit and we’re all part of the same tribe. So people want to help you.
[00:48:07] Mike Liguori: So let them help you. And, but you have to ask for it. Don’t let your pride and ego get in the way of providing for the people that you love.
[00:48:16] Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. The book again is the road ahead and miles behind a story of healing and redemption between father and son. Mike, tell us where we can find the book and where where we can find you online and look you up.
[00:48:32] Scott DeLuzio: If we’re interested in getting in touch.
[00:48:35] Mike Liguori: Yeah, absolutely. Well, again, thank you so much for having me. It was such a wonderful opportunity and honor to be on the show, a very active on Instagram. So you can find me on Instagram at Mike dot Legare that’s L I G U O R I a. The book is available on Amazon and Barnes and noble, and it will be released.
[00:48:52] Mike Liguori: The week before father’s day on June 14th. And if you want to find out more information about me my website, Mike [00:49:00] liguori.com again, M I K E L I G U O R i.com. And I’m also available for anybody that’s interested in working with me and creating, healing their past to unlock their future. And also learning about the practice of authoring that I coach on.
[00:49:14] Mike Liguori: So if anybody has any questions about they’re as interested, please reach out to me. And last but not least, if you are a military veteran looking for resources and help. The best thing I can tell you to do is just tap into your networks, go on LinkedIn there’s organizations out there. There are people who really truly care about you and your service, and they want to see you thrive.
[00:49:33] Mike Liguori: So just ask for help.
[00:49:36] Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. A great message. And I think very inspirational in terms of how you deliver this message messaging. The people that are out there listening. I really encourage you to get a copy of this book again, the road ahead and miles behind a story of healing and redemption between father and son.
[00:49:54] Scott DeLuzio: I will have links to Mike’s website, social media, and the book in the show notes. So [00:50:00] you can check it out there. Mike, again, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. Thanks so much for taking the time to come on this podcast and share
[00:50:07] Mike Liguori: your story. I’m very honored to be here. Thanks Scott.
[00:50:09] Scott DeLuzio: 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. driveonpodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at drive on podcast.