Episode 217 David Richards Finding Your Passion After Military Service

This transcript is from episode 217 with guest David Richards.

[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio and now let’s get on with the show.

[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Hi everybody welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is David Richards. David spent his early childhood as a military brat in various parts of the United States. And a few years in Japan later, he followed in his dad’s footsteps and joined the Marine Corps. And in this episode, we’re gonna talk about how David handled his transition outta the Marine Corps and realized that even seemingly impossible dreams can come true as he was transitioning out.

[00:00:49] Scott DeLuzio: So. Without further ado. Welcome to the show, David, I’m glad to have you on

[00:00:53] David Richards: Scott. Thank you so much for having me. It’s such a pleasure. I was thinking back because I’ve been promoting my last book for a couple years now, and [00:01:00] this may be the first veteran focused podcast I’ve done. So I’m really honored and excited to speak with you.

[00:01:06] Scott DeLuzio: Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah. And we love having veterans on to share their stories. Really the heart of it is, you know, sharing your story, telling. The things that you’ve gone through and what you’ve experienced and how you made things. Right. You know, like after getting out of the military, a lot of times, a lot of guys and women are coming out and they’re just trying to make sense of the world because it’s totally different coming out of the military to, into a civilian world just a little bit.

[00:01:36] Scott DeLuzio: And yeah, it is. And when you come out, it’s like a whole new world and. So hearing stories from people like yourself and other veterans, who’ve been there, done that and gone through stuff. It just makes it so much more relatable and lets people know that, Hey, so this guy did it, that, that gal did it.

[00:01:56] Scott DeLuzio: You know, whoever it was, they did it. And. I could [00:02:00] do it too. That gives some hope to people. So I’m hoping that we can kind of dig into your story a little bit and talk about where you were, where you are now and how you got there. So, I guess let’s start off, just tell us a little bit more about yourself, your background and that kind

[00:02:13] David Richards: of stuff.

[00:02:14] David Richards: Yeah. So, as you mentioned at the onset I grew up in the military, so I was born into a military family. I was born at Fort BEVA, Virginia. If anybody is familiar with the, that post there It was strange because you don’t know what life is supposed to be li I mean, just, you know, your life. And so growing up as a military dependent, I knew we moved a lot.

[00:02:34] David Richards: As I was saying before we got on air, we lived for four years off base, and that was a dramatically different experience than living on base, but living on base and moving, it was part of my challenge growing up was I. I hated losing my friendships. And this was obviously well before the internet. Well, before you could FaceTime one another and say, Hey, I miss you and all this other stuff.

[00:02:58] David Richards: And it was like, so [00:03:00] I grew up with this weird, in one sense, I was really creative. We spent three years in Japan when I was in fifth, sixth and seventh grade, that was hugely impressionable for me. So that was the late seventies, early eighties, which I know could be ancient history for some people, but but it was fascinating being exposed to Eastern culture and Eastern philosophy.

[00:03:17] David Richards: And. Also being a foreigner on foreign soil, like you knew you were in the minority and you were the one who kind of didn’t belong in this land, so to speak, which was impactful, you know, gave me a huge appreciation for why. The Marines had a base on OK. Island in the first place, but also the fact that Japan’s culture was so fantastically different and unique from American culture came back to the states went to Campo Jr.

[00:03:44] David Richards: Here on the coast of North Carolina. And Very different. Now, suddenly the mindset shifted, the culture shifted. It was high school popularity in the eighties and it was kind of like, okay, what does that mean? But I realized that such a small fraction of my classmates had [00:04:00] the experience of living overseas at that point.

[00:04:01] David Richards: I mean, they just didn’t. So that was a big change. So, I was really creative in English writing. Had a, some poetry that won contest, short story that won national recognition. That’s kind of what I wanted to do. But growing up in a military base, you just don’t appreciate how big the world is, even when you travel overseas.

[00:04:17] David Richards: And you just don’t appreciate what life is like on the other side of the fence. And that for me was just this big unknown. And so when it came time to college, I only applied to two places. I applied to Penn State and UNC Penn state, because that was where. My dad declared residency for our statehood.

[00:04:32] David Richards: So we paid taxes in Pennsylvania and UNC, just because Michael Jordan went there and I thought it was cool. It was like three hours up the road from camp June. But went to Penn state majored in English, ROTC not again, not knowing what to do and how to make my, as a writer. I just said, I’ll follow in my dad’s footsteps.

[00:04:49] David Richards: Follow my brother’s footsteps. Join the Marines. Did that for 15 years. And then I was kind of like, I don’t, I was literally falling in my dad’s footsteps. I was like, I will go [00:05:00] in until they tell me to get out and do all this spin I’ll retire. And I had I had surgery on my neck. I had the, a tumor on my neck and around 2005.

[00:05:09] David Richards: And that just kinda made me think like, what am I doing? Like, what am I really I’m? So as much as I’m terrified on what’s on the other side of the fence, because I’ve never been a civilian never in my entire life. I never will. You know, I never really will be, but what is on the other side of the fence? So I made the decision to get out immediately fell in love with yoga was not part of my game plan, not part of my roadmap.

[00:05:31] David Richards: And I didn’t realize how much I needed that, but it was just such a big shift for me. And then was working corporate America and then kind of got to the point where I got back into writing and started working on my books.

[00:05:43] Scott DeLuzio: I find it very interesting. How you just said that you had never been a civilian throughout that whole experience.

[00:05:51] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And obviously you weren’t enlisted, you weren’t an officer or anything. Right, right. While you were in elementary school or anything like that, but you were [00:06:00] living the military lifestyle, you were living on a military base. You. J you kind of just grew up around the military and I get that, like, it makes sense the way you said that, like you’ve never been a civilian you’ve never really lived in.

[00:06:15] Scott DeLuzio: The suburbs or whatever, and just, yeah, hang out with the friends that you’ve had growing up all your life. It was that military life where you’re moving every few years and you’re making new friends and everything. And that’s very similar to the experience of a lot of active duty service members where they’re moving from one place to another.

[00:06:31] Scott DeLuzio: And. I never really thought about it like that. And in the area that I live in now we live right near in air force base. And so there’s a lot of military families in our neighborhood that we’ve gotten to know over the years they’ve come and gone because they’ve moved from one place to another.

[00:06:46] Scott DeLuzio: Funny enough, some of them have actually moved to Japan and with young kids. And so. I started thinking about them and their kids and what that experience must have been like for them. Obviously now, nowadays they have the internet and they can keep in [00:07:00] touch with yep. With you know, friends and things like that.

[00:07:02] Scott DeLuzio: But but still going over to a completely different culture where. You probably don’t speak the language. Probably can’t read the street signs and the things like that. Right? The food, the culture, the, everything is just totally different over there. And, you know, what’s that like for a kid to be just plucked out of yeah.

[00:07:23] Scott DeLuzio: America and dropped into Japan, like in that mindset of I’ve never been a civilian. It just, it kind of clicked with me. And I was like, wow, that, that I never thought about it that

[00:07:33] David Richards: way. Yeah. Well, I, so. It’s funny. You said it because I’ve been I was looking, reviewing my manuscript for my next book last night.

[00:07:41] David Richards: And there’s a part where I talk about when we were kids. And I mean, like when I was five or six, we used to play war. Like that was, it was just war. Like you had guns. Well, so like everyone on our street had plastic machine guns that made this like score, you know, the noise or whatever. My brother and I [00:08:00] had the rifle wooden frames of M one garons that the Marine Corps had gotten rid of.

[00:08:05] David Richards: So like, like who has that? Like, we were literally going around with M ones that the Marines had used world war II gotten rid of finally after Vietnam and my brother and I were like going around those were our guns. Like, it was just surreal. So now when we moved to Okinawa, it was, I mean, even just the experience as a kid, I remember we flew from.

[00:08:27] David Richards: I wanna say we drove across country. We sold our car in Los Angeles and then took a plane from lax to Alaska. And certainly that was the longest flight I’d ever been on at nine years old. And you crossed the international Dateline at some point and you’re like, okay, now suddenly yesterday it was like, Sunday.

[00:08:46] David Richards: And now it’s Monday. So we’re like fast forward into the future somehow. And then landing in. OK. Okinawa. We landed in July on 10 30 at night at Naja international airport. And literally the 50 yards. It took to walk from the [00:09:00] plane to the terminal. You are drenched and sweat didn’t feel like, okay, interesting.

[00:09:06] David Richards: And then we’re driving to our hotel and the HaBO is one of the most poisoned snakes in the world and it’s on Okinawa. It’s called the HaBO. And so we’re driving to our hotel and we see some kids playing the street with this giant snake and they’re like, okay. But Okina was fascinating. I mean, it’s, the island is not tremendously big and there are certainly points on the island where you can be at a peak and look both on both sides of the island to see the water.

[00:09:30] David Richards: And so being, and kind of this tropical paradise was fascinating. Like it was on base was so cool because I had. Two really good friends who were, they were a year younger than me, but we had so many things in common and we lived right next to each other. So it was fantastic. And then strange enough, we were the only three that I ever remember with any regular that would go off base.

[00:09:53] David Richards: And there was it. Wasn’t a fence that separated the on base from the, you know, the base from off base. It was more [00:10:00] like a. Cement, but an like an automated cement barrier kind of, and it had holes in it. And so like it had these little squares grid squares almost, and one of the grid squares right by our house had been popped out.

[00:10:12] David Richards: And so we would sneak through that or car or climb over the barbed wire to go off base. Like, so really here, you see 10 to 11 year old kids, like navigating with ease the guard between off and off base. But and so you would just like the candy, like you’re right. I mean, it smelled different, it looked different.

[00:10:31] David Richards: I mean, certainly Okinawa then, you know, was not welt affluent. It wasn’t like, you know, I mean, some of the places we’d walked by were these shanties and it was like corrugated aluminum houses. I mean, it was really thin stuff, but the, you could, you know, smell the food there. You could also smell, they had the The LA retreat, like the, they had what we called Bejo ditches, which is where, like the, basically the sewer is, but it’s air raid so you can smell it.

[00:10:57] David Richards: So it’s not necessarily super pleasant.[00:11:00] But it was, I mean, it was just, everything was so different. Everybody obviously Okinawans looked completely different than Americans and they’re everywhere. Very few blondes. You know, you saw people who had bleached their hair, you could tell kind of. All the school kids wore uniforms.

[00:11:15] David Richards: The most of the mama songs you saw still were like the traditional kind of older kimonos. But it was just, it was so different. And that was the cool thing was I remember, you know, as a kid you’re focused on like toys and so we’d go see like Japanese toys and they were so much more intricate and detailed.

[00:11:31] David Richards: It made me a pre like, like American back in the time, it was like, I remember we had action figures like GI Joe, which was probably like a foot tall or you’d have little Superman, you Batman things, but they’re all really rigid. And in Okinawa, they’re like very detailed and incre intricate and they’re small.

[00:11:46] David Richards: And so it was like fascinating. And, you know, we used it as a stepping stone. My dad was very. Having been in Vietnam. I think my dad wanted at least to expose us to the orient to a certain extent. So between the three years in [00:12:00] Japan, we went to South Korea twice. We went to the Philippines twice or three times, and it was fascinating because you know, their rituals they’re festivals, their temples completely different.

[00:12:10] David Richards: You’d walk through the woods. And see, or the jungle rather, and see like tombs built into the mountainside stuff. And so it was, I mean, it was a really fascinating experience.

[00:12:22] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that’s great. And I think that’s a unique part of the military life is you get to go and experience all these different cultures when you travel overseas like that.

[00:12:32] Scott DeLuzio: Whether it’s to Japan or Korea or Germany, or, you know, other places around the world that we station troops you know, it’s just. Really interesting that you get that experience. And a lot of the civilian counterparts, the other nine year old kids in America, just, they don’t just get that kind of experience.

[00:12:48] Scott DeLuzio: Let’s say we’re fortunate enough to travel someplace on a vacation, but they usually don’t go and live someplace else and experience a culture for an extended period of time like that. Yeah. [00:13:00] So let’s fast forward a bit. So, after you get out of the military and you were you talked about how you know, you got into yoga, you got into the corporate America, and then you got back into writing.

[00:13:12] Scott DeLuzio: What was that transition all like for you? Did you have a game plan coming out of the military or you sort of wing it as you’re coming out? What was that all like for you?

[00:13:20] David Richards: Yeah, so not having a frame of reference of. Something outside the military looked like, and I just, I it’s even just reflecting on what you just asked the question.

[00:13:30] David Richards: Like, I don’t, I didn’t have a game plan. I knew salary wise, what I hoped to make. And I didn’t like, I didn’t, again, it was kind of like I was in, so I had started out in artillery and I LA moved to communications around the time the Marine Corps is merging single channel with digital. And so I felt like it was a place that I could play in, but I had I only applied to like three places to work.

[00:13:53] David Richards: I applied to a defense contractor outside Quantico. I had applied, I applied to Cisco systems, the I, the it giant. [00:14:00] And then. One, I had gone to a special school and had I got a bachelor’s degree, but it was also like a very specific school on kind of the art of war fighting that the Marine Corps did, the school of advanced war fighting.

[00:14:13] David Richards: And one of the alums had gotten out and had started a security firm in the middle east, out of UAE, I wanna say, or Bahrain. And so I applied there cause I was like, I can be like mercenary and it sounded like this romantic swash buckling kind of thing, which right. Okay. And then I, as I kind of looked at my O options I knew the swash buckling thing was, it certainly could be cool.

[00:14:36] David Richards: I mean, that would be like cutting edge stuff potentially, but also I would never have a normal life. Like I was just. That’s saying that’s committing yourself to a lifestyle and that you don’t necessarily come back from the defense contractor. It was someone that I had worked with previously. And so I thought that could be a good option, but I also kind of wanted to, I like, I wanted to do something different.

[00:14:58] David Richards: Like I wanted to like [00:15:00] challenge myself. And so Cisco. We worked with Cisco to an extent in it and comms in the Marines, but not obviously like not the company itself. And to step into that world, I thought would be really compelling. So my resume got passed on from someone I went to school with at Penn state.

[00:15:16] David Richards: The hiring manager that I spoke with was a former Marine to our Marine. So we clicked on that space and he was like, I want you to come in and manage our Navy accounts, you know, from a post sales perspective. And I was like, okay, whatever that means, post-sale, I’ll figure out. But so I did, and it was honestly Scott for me again, even though I wasn’t on active duty the first 18 years of my life or 20 years of my life or whatever.

[00:15:40] David Richards: But I had that military mindset. I like I lived in the military for that time. And so getting out, I was like for the first five or six years, I compared every week I compared what happened that week in corporate America, to what my experience was in the military, cuz it was just, I was the only frame of reference I had.

[00:15:57] David Richards: And so it was in some ways it was very cool [00:16:00] in some ways I wanted to really focus on what it meant to be in a place where. You didn’t like, I mean, it was just such a fascinating transition. You asked specifically, I’ll give you some examples. Like in the Marine, in the Marines, you don’t really have boundaries.

[00:16:15] David Richards: Like anything is you can discuss anything virtually with anybody. Like, I mean, it’s just, especially if you’re deployed, like there’s no hold bar. So I’d been at Cisco three months and had gone to lunch with some, I was a manager I’d gone to lunch with some of the engineers who were employees who reported to me.

[00:16:33] David Richards: And then some who were just on our team and were walking back into the building. And the guy I was talking to I’m like, man, I gotta take a. I said a colorful way for having to go to the bathroom and he looks at me and disgusted, he’s like, keep it to yourself. And I was like, oh, you don’t talk about that.

[00:16:53] David Richards: Oh my gosh. Like, You guys have boundaries like, whoa, and it was this big revelation. And so in [00:17:00] some ways I was like, I have to really careful what I say, like you can’t just be like, oh, this is whatever. And and so that was kind of that, that pumped my breaks a little bit, but it also made me appreciate the people.

[00:17:13] David Richards: The biggest piece that I came to realize about the transition was in a lot of ways in the military, people are the last thing you’re focused on is yourself. In many way, like the last, the absolute last you’re not talking about designing or shaping your life, you’re doing your career and going where the needs of Marine Corps or military sends you.

[00:17:31] David Richards: And in the surveillance world is completely different. People have like, this is my thing. This is what I’m doing. I don’t care about you. I don’t care what you’re doing. And it was just this fascinating shift. And in some ways that was as radical as shift as yoga was, that was also the pathway for helping me kind of.

[00:17:49] David Richards: Connect myself to something outside the military, because obviously being exposed to Flo, you know, Eastern culture in Japan, I took away some symbols of like a meditation practice started meditating when I was [00:18:00] really young. Wasn’t great at it, but that was part of what lo what led me into yoga, but then really it was understanding what it means to be successful in the job that I was in and how to interact with people in a way to respect and appreciate that they had boundaries.

[00:18:19] David Richards: In terms of how they want to be interacted with, right. Which again, in the military, you don’t really have to worry about. And that took time. I mean, that just, that took a lot of time for.

[00:18:28] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that is something that it’s actually interesting when you said those boundaries, I thought to myself. Okay.

[00:18:35] Scott DeLuzio: I think I know where he is going with this because just the way you talk to people in the military is totally different. Yeah. And those boundaries don’t exist the way they do in the civilian world. You can literally talk about, just about anything and. People will laugh it off people, you know, they it’ll, it hits, resonates differently with people in the military than it does outside in the [00:19:00] civilian world.

[00:19:00] Scott DeLuzio: And yeah. You know, I found myself too just biting my tongue sometimes. Like, I know I want to say this, but if I do everyone in the room’s gonna be looking at me, like I got three heads because this is not gonna fly. Right. So, oh yeah. So that was a big. Thing. I think for a lot of people coming out of the military, it’s like, how do I even talk to these people?

[00:19:20] Scott DeLuzio: It’s like, I’m on a foreign land trying to learn new culture customs. And it is things like

[00:19:27] David Richards: that, you know and especially, and, you know, what’s, and that’s the what’s made, having been at Cisco. So fascinating. Cisco is a global company. Yeah. And part of the realization of the company is. The internet in particular, since that’s where really what they do is about.

[00:19:41] David Richards: And for everyone, it’s not about certain people with certain beliefs and it’s really, it opens up the company in a lot of ways. And that makes you appreciate that everyone wants to be treated as an individual and certainly in the military or individual identity succumbs to the organizational [00:20:00] identity to a great.

[00:20:02] David Richards: That is a huge transition to make, because again, like you said, in the military, I mean, I remember used to like, I mean, we used to joke unabashedly and nothing. Like nothing was really off limits and it wasn’t insensitive because anything was game. And like, it didn’t matter if you were an officer or enlisted, if you were gonna participate, it was a brotherhood or a sisterhood and to get out and you say, well, it’s not that way.

[00:20:26] David Richards: But that’s the great thing about being a civilian or being in civilian world is it’s not supposed to be that way. Like the whole purpose of the military is to afford people, the luxury of being able to create their own life on their terms. And even that was for me, the biggest adjustment to make was.

[00:20:44] David Richards: Certainly growing up in the military and feeling like I didn’t have a choice in where we lived and obviously no kid really does. And then deciding that’s what I’m gonna do for an occupation for a while was a great way to realize that, oh, well, like this is what I thought I’m supposed to do.

[00:20:59] David Richards: Yeah. [00:21:00] And then find that I got this point and I’m like, wait, I can do something else. And when you get out, you realize, oh, I can do. Anything, I set my mind to, as long as I have a plan and it’s tenacity to see it through that is a completely like, and in some ways the resiliency that you find in the Marine Corps is a tool or the military is a tool that you can use since, okay, let me start to get really clear on the future that I wanna create for myself and my family.

[00:21:26] David Richards: And that at least for me, that took some practice and time to figure out how to do that really well.

[00:21:32] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And when you talk about like getting out of the military and saying you could do anything that you put your mind to and put the effort in for, that’s a big thing.

[00:21:43] David Richards: You could do anything.

[00:21:44] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

[00:21:45] Scott DeLuzio: Like that you could be a politician, you could be a doctor, you could be a janitor. You could be like, there’s some choices you gotta make. Oh yeah. With your life as you’re

[00:21:54] David Richards: coming out. Right. You could be a filmmaker, anything. I mean, you could do. Yeah. And that’s it. [00:22:00] It’s not, it’s a little overwhelming, but at first it’s right.

[00:22:03] David Richards: Like for me, it’s just first. Okay. What are the rules of the game here? Cuz it’s obviously different than what I was doing for the, you know, last part of my life. And that takes time to figure out it does. And thankfully at least now I feel like there’s a lot, a greater BU than of veteran friendly communities in a lot of companies and stuff because it’s essential help.

[00:22:24] David Richards: And that has certainly helped me. Like how do you. Like, I remember talking to vets about how you talk to other people. How do you talk to women? Because I didn’t spend a great deal of time in the Marine Corps around women. Like certainly not the first, you know, five or seven years when I was in combat ARBs.

[00:22:37] David Richards: And all those things require practice and familiarity. And then when you kind of say, okay, I get it, then it’s like, oh, wait a minute. I can like I have a lot of control. Like I have an incredible amount of control. And that’s what, you know, especially in this day and age where technology has transformed and Evolv the way it has, there’s this rise of the entrepreneurial spirit within the United States.

[00:22:58] David Richards: Now, certainly we’ve seen. [00:23:00] Recent years like Amazon has basically shut shuttered. The mall industry, Etsy is this unique home for unique things that people come up with in their own. And it’s fascinating. It’s like, okay what do I wanna do in the next phase? And how do I make a big impact to society and contribute?

[00:23:17] David Richards: So, yeah.

[00:23:18] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. I, did you have any doubts about yourself and like where you were going as you were making this transition and if you did. What were you doing to overcome those doubts and that that stuff that you were, you had talking yourself in the back of your head, like, can I actually do this?

[00:23:34] Scott DeLuzio: You know? Yeah. Well, I,

[00:23:35] David Richards: The best example is probably my writing. Because the reason I gave up on writing one, the reason I gave up on writing when I joined the Marines was because I needed to figure out. What does it mean to be a Marine? Like how do I lead Marines and then going into Somalian, operation, restore, hope like writing, isn’t something that’s top of mind for you.

[00:23:52] David Richards: Like, you’re just, it’s not in the brain. Right. But then in around 2000 I got inspired. I had a boss who was a full bird [00:24:00] Colonel, but had been a Boston police officer when I was now military police is my battalion commander. And he painted, like, he had paintings that he had done in his office and I was blown away.

[00:24:11] David Richards: I was like, whoa, because you just don’t do not. I love my fellow Marines. All of them. I have never seen that kind of artistry in the Marine Corps. Like I just, I did not see it. And so we connected like best boss I ever worked for in the military. Certainly brought the best outta me. And I started writing poetry again also like I, there was a, I was taking a, pursuing a master’s in psychology and there was a woman in one of my classes, shared a really poignant story and she kind of became my muse and I got inspired to write poetry again.

[00:24:39] David Richards: And and even that, but even that, like, I’ll just share candidly that when fellow officers found out I wrote poetry, their first question was, are you gay? And I was like, what? You haven’t even read my poetry. Like, you don’t even know, like I wrote about Achilles and it is not a good poem. Like it’s not a happy poem, but that was kind of the mindset that [00:25:00] people had.

[00:25:00] David Richards: And so like, this is not something that I promoted actively, like, Hey, come read my poetry. It was just like, it was this weird thing. So when I got out and finally, even though I was traveling a lot for work, I was sta like I, I came home to the same place and. So much of my life, literally for the first 36 years or so had been measured by how much time I had left at the place I was, and I made base, I made decisions on relationships.

[00:25:28] David Richards: I made decisions on like what I was gonna do. Like in the time I, I just made those decisions. And now that stop gap wasn’t two years out or three years out. I could potentially stay in one place for as long as I wanted. That was fascinating to me. And that opened up the door for me that I could start writing again.

[00:25:46] David Richards: And so probably about two years after I got out, I was settled enough in the corporate world. I was teaching yoga and I like, okay, I’m ready to start writing my first book. And I wanted to write horror stories. I love Stephen King [00:26:00] growing up. I love Frankenstein, Mary Shel Frankenstein. And so I kind of wanted to be the next Stephen King.

[00:26:06] David Richards: So I had an idea because I’d lived in this place at the same time and I knew it wasn’t going anywhere. And I just had a feel for the town I was in and I wrote about 110 pages over, I don’t know, a couple months. And wasn’t great, but I just couldn’t make it go any further. And so I got really dejected and finally found an excuse in stop writing and then let it go probably about a year later year and a half later.

[00:26:29] David Richards: Same thing happened, new inspiration, new story. And. Same thing happened a hundred, ten, twenty pages. I couldn’t develop the characters further. And I was just so frustrated. I couldn’t understand it. And at some point, like I was having success in work and I felt that was good. Yoga was, I was still learning what it meant to really what yoga was about and what it meant to be an instructor.

[00:26:52] David Richards: And. But the, like the writing thing was calling to me. So it went on for 11 years, 11 years. I tried to write my first [00:27:00] book from 2006 to 2017 and I’d gone through a marriage during that time. I got into a relationship and it just so happened. Like my last attempt to write a book had how her horror story had been in 2016.

[00:27:14] David Richards: And it was the best idea I had. It was a really cool, like. End of days, apocalyptic sort of thing. I mean, just really powerful, but same thing happened 120 pages or so, and then for Christmas, someone gave me a Whiskey & Yoga t-shirt cuz I was a big scotch drinker at the time and obviously with yoga and it was the irony of it all.

[00:27:33] David Richards: And then I started re reading the pulling Hills think and grow rich. And that book transformed my life. I read the first or second chapter in the chapter. One of the chapters he talks about what is your purpose in life? And Scott, I was blown. Because the idea that my life had purpose was fascinating to me.

[00:27:50] David Richards: Like I just, it was this huge wake up call. And so I did, I had tremendous doubts up until that point. And I was so exasperated because I knew that [00:28:00] writing was a passion that was calling to me that had called to me my entire life. I postponed it when I was in the Marines and now I wanted to reinvigorate it.

[00:28:07] David Richards: And initially the angle was I would write stories that would scare people. When I read up polling Hills thinking real rich, it became about how do I contribute to other people and how do I like, how can I help them find their purpose in life? I got so excited. I wrote a life purpose statement, and then I stood on writing my first book and six months later I wrote it.

[00:28:27] David Richards: So tremendous doubt and certainly tremendous doubt in the corporate world too, for a while I thought about, should I join the reserves? Like I do still wanna do that. And I had a boss who was like, you make just as much money if you don’t do that. And. And in some ways he was right. But in some ways I was like, you know what I’ve been I mean, I was just tired of the military, like, and I love the service.

[00:28:47] David Richards: I love what it did for me, everything, the opportunities I had to do. But after 30 something years, it was like, okay, that’s tough. So, absolutely full of doubt because it’s just, it’s, you know, doubt is you kind of have to turn it into your down, [00:29:00] face it because it’s just, Wentling away. Helping you, it’s helping you understand who you are supposed to be and who you’re not supposed to be kind of.

[00:29:08] David Richards: So,

[00:29:10] Scott DeLuzio: yeah, it’s great how you kept coming back to the writing and didn’t give up after that first you know, a few times that you were writing and then it seemed like you hit that. That roadblock and you couldn’t keep going. You kept trying, yeah. Try something else. Okay. Fine. This story, maybe this story.

[00:29:28] Scott DeLuzio: Wasn’t the one. It’s not that one’s not working, but try something else. And you start new and okay. Fine. That one’s not it either, but you kept going and you kept going. And eventually you got to the point where you’re doing the thing that you wanted to do in the first place the writing and And I wanna be sure that we leave some time to talk about these books too, because that to me is an important part of this whole thing is the end result, you know, you just talked about how much of a struggle it was for you to keep going and push through and overcome that doubt and figure out what your [00:30:00] purpose was what that was.

[00:30:01] Scott DeLuzio: And you ended up with a couple books and you’re still writing at this point. And that. That’s amazing that you’ve gotten through all of the obstacles that you had in your way, and you kept pushing through, and here you are now with something to show for it, for all of that hard work. And during that time I’m sure it must have been a struggle to be going through all of that and thinking to yourself maybe I just don’t have what it takes to be a writer or whatever.

[00:30:30] David Richards: And. Absolutely. No, I honestly, it was first. I didn’t have a good writing practice. What I mean by that is. You know, we live in this day and age where the internet provides such instant gratification all the time. And I felt like if I was taking the time to write that what I was writing must be perfect.

[00:30:47] David Richards: That was kind of my mindset going in. And I labored, like it took, I would like write. But I wanted everything to be perfect. So like I would spend what felt like probably minutes trying to get the right sentence and then the [00:31:00] next sentence. And it was just like, it wasn’t flowing and I didn’t appreciate, and I didn’t, and didn’t write just for the sake of writing.

[00:31:05] David Richards: I didn’t write to like, make it organic. And so it was incredibly frustrating. And then when I made this shift to be like, okay, I’m not going to be a horror writer. I’m now going to write self. It was different because now it’s about all right, I’m going to share my personal experiences and how I grew from those things.

[00:31:24] David Richards: And that was a little exasperating, but at the same time, it was scratch that hitch. Like you have wanted to be a writer your whole life. Is it important for you to be a horror writer or is it important for you to write and get a message out there and contribute? And that was a big shift and even writing Whiskey & Yoga with my first book That was like every day I sat down to write, it was a struggle because it was like, can I do this?

[00:31:46] David Richards: I’ve been trying for 11 years to write a book. I haven’t can I finish? Like, and I remember even like how I set the book up, I was just like, let me get to 150 pages. Just let me get to 150 pages of think, which [00:32:00] is like a silly way to write. But I did, like, I got, I don’t remember what it ended up being but I did.

[00:32:04] David Richards: And that was this great relief and the book went to number one on Amazon. It was huge, but it also opened up. I like, I remember I did the big book launch to help support it and A week after the launch, someone who helped me with the launch, who’s had some success already said, well, okay, what’s next?

[00:32:20] David Richards: What’s your, like, what’s your platform? What are you gonna talk about? I’m like, oh, I have to have a platform. I thought my book was just gonna change the world. I didn’t know I had to do something else. And so it kind of started pulling on this thread, but again, that’s the magic of really getting clear on what you want.

[00:32:36] David Richards: And for me, it was. Writing became not an obsession, but I kind of started to understand the process of writing. And that’s why, you know, a lot of people think that, or a lot of people say that public speaking is the scariest thing in the world. I would contend for most people. It’s private speaking.

[00:32:53] David Richards: It’s how you talk to yourself because invariably, if you journal or if you start writing a story, You were having a conversation with [00:33:00] yourself in some way. And for a lot of people that is too terrifying, a concept to grasp, but we can all do it. Like we can all have that conversation. And so certainly my writing process has shifted since then.

[00:33:11] David Richards: I write just almost every day and it’s very organic and it’s one of my favorite things to do. Yeah.

[00:33:16] Scott DeLuzio: And we all do do that. Whether we are writing a book or not, we all do have. Conversations with ourselves. We talk to ourselves and, you know, just that, that little voice that’s in the back of your head, that’s telling you yeah, that’s a good idea to go do this, or don’t do that.

[00:33:32] Scott DeLuzio: Or, you know, oh man, that was stupid that you did this or man, you should really feel good about that other thing that you did. Right. And so we all have that voice and you’re right when you’re, especially when you’re writing about your own personal experiences and story. And I did that with my book as well.

[00:33:48] Scott DeLuzio: It’s kind of like you’re having that conversation with yourself or, oh yeah. Oh, in a weird way. It was like, I was having conversations with people who I was writing about in the book, but I was having that conversation in my [00:34:00] head. Yeah. What would so, and so say if I said this and you know, what was that conversation like?

[00:34:04] Scott DeLuzio: And it was, it’s just a strange process, but you know, I’m glad that you found the thing that you wanted to get out there to benefit the world. Not to say. Being a a fiction writer, a horror writer or something like that, wouldn’t be impactful. Obviously people like Stephen King and other writers oh, sure.

[00:34:25] Scott DeLuzio: In that genre, they have had their impact on society. And. People need those kind of books too. And those are great, but it just didn’t seem like it was flowing for you. So, you know, pivot and just change directions. And you’re still writing, like you said, you write every day and you’re still doing this.

[00:34:46] Scott DeLuzio: It’s a thing that you’re passionate about and that you love doing. And here you are and doing it. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about the books that you have? So Whiskey & Yoga, you mentioned is one of ’em and then the light housekeeper is the other one, if I’m not mistaken. Yeah. [00:35:00] And tell us about those books and what they’re all about.

[00:35:03] David Richards: Yeah, for sure. Thanks, Scott. So Whiskey & Yoga again was really kind of a lifetime journey to publishing my first book. But it’s a very simple book. It’s a weekend read. Really? It’s a quick read, but the book is about finding a purpose in life and how all of us have a magnetic north that we are guided to.

[00:35:21] David Richards: And it’s not a job. It’s not a specific function. It’s something deeper that guides us to. Have a fulfilling life while doing tremendous achievements in the accomplishment to help other people to serve other people. And it’s really just a series almost of vignettes on kind of experiences I had and what led me to find my purpose and how people can find their purpose too.

[00:35:42] David Richards: And a lot of it is simple as just writing the question down, what is my purpose in life? Because if you write that question down and physically do it in the active, right? Not necessarily in a computer, but in the. Pen and paper, your mind will come up with an answer. And, you know, I wrote my first one in 2017.

[00:35:58] David Richards: I rewrote it later that year when I went to [00:36:00] a Tony Robbins event. And then I rewrote it again this past December at a previous to another Tony Robbins event. And so Whis and yoga gave birth to the light housekeeper and it was the Lighthouse Keeper was two, two little sections in Whis yoga. And it was really born out of my experience as being a yoga instructor and part of what drew me to yoga.

[00:36:22] David Richards: And it’s probably a good place to talk about. This is when I got my last assignment in the Marines was working in Southern commands outta Miami. And so I spent a lot of time in central America and this was like I said, mid mid two thousands. But I would like on average I would get like 50 email, a.

[00:36:39] David Richards: Just, I wasn’t spending a lot of time on the computer, especially if I was in Honduras or Panama someplace. And then when I got to Cisco, I would get 50 email, like in two hours. And it was it, I mean, it was nuts, like the volume of email and just like, how do I manage this thing called an inbox?

[00:36:57] David Richards: Like, what is this? And I would [00:37:00] leave work. And my mind between the radio being on, I would have, my mind would just be. Congested freeway of track, it would be to-do lists. It would be reminders. It would be meetings that I had to have. It would be people I was meeting with and how I was gonna like deal with that meeting.

[00:37:17] David Richards: And it was just all this stuff. And what I found really quickly, it probably after my second or third class took doing yoga was when I got onto a yoga mat. All that noise went away and it was like, whoa, what is this? Like, It’s quiet in my head and I can focus like my attention on stuff. And that was a really cool experience.

[00:37:38] David Richards: And so that was certainly for the first few years as an instructor, that was really what I focused on was what’s the relationship between you and what you observe because how you observe something is the most important as what you’re observing, where you’re putting in your attention. And two, two people can look at something and have completely different experiences.

[00:37:56] David Richards: I, I can look at evasive roses and say, oh my God, that’s so beautiful. [00:38:00] And someone else can look at it and say, Hey, it makes them think of a funeral they just attended. So it’s two different completely experiences. So the Lighthouse Keeper was really this idea that our mind is an ocean. And that’s where all your memories are.

[00:38:10] David Richards: Everybody you’ve ever met is in this ocean. And then your lighthouse, the lighthouse is where you put your awareness. So this idea that most of us develop patterns and routines in our life. So day after day, especially if you’re working the same job for an extended period of time, your lighthouse just goes in the same pattern.

[00:38:26] David Richards: Well, the premise behind Lighthouse Keeper is with. Focus with meditation, with willpower and a kind of a direction on where you wanna take your life, who you wanna become in the future version of yourself. You can start to direct your awareness to go where you want it to go in the lighthouse instead of reacting to this pattern that you’ve created.

[00:38:44] David Richards: And it’s a larger metaphor for life. Obviously, that’s what we focus on would bring more of into our life. And so the key is then to focus on things that we want as opposed to things that we don’t want so that we can bring the things we want more into our life. [00:39:00]

[00:39:01] Scott DeLuzio: I think both of those sound like they have some pretty incredible messages there that analogy or that the visual of having the, your life being that ocean and every experience, every person, every, everything that you’ve experienced in that life is in that ocean.

[00:39:20] Scott DeLuzio: And then, you know, what’s drawing you, you know, towards the lighthouse and everything. I think. All of that just seems like it has a lot of good. Stuff in there. So, definitely want people to go check out those books. Where can people go to find your books? Yeah.

[00:39:37] David Richards: Thank you. So they’re both available on Amazon, so you can find ’em on Amazon with skin yoga and the Lighthouse Keeper, or you can go to David Richards, author.com my website, and they’re both available there as well.

[00:39:47] David Richards: So I’d encourage you to check them out. I’m really looking forward to releasing my next book in December. But the light housekeeper is a great read. It’s fun. I just had someone who gave me some nice comments about the other day, but it’s, that was fun for me [00:40:00] because it became, it was a fiction book.

[00:40:01] David Richards: And that was finally like, I got to write a fiction book. It was still self-help obviously with what I just shared. Sure. But the fact that I could make a story out of it was pretty exciting to me.

[00:40:10] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. And. it got you into that fiction world as well. It did. You were, it did. You were trying to get into and so that’s good.

[00:40:18] Scott DeLuzio: It’s maybe wasn’t the horror that you were looking for necessarily, but. It’s still a step in the right direction to, to get there. And who knows, maybe one of these days you’ll have a horror book in you and that will come out as well.

[00:40:29] David Richards: I did, but there, there are some spooky spots in the light housekeeper.

[00:40:33] David Richards: I will say there is some, the first night in the lighthouse is a little tric ball book and the storm comes in. So it’s pretty cool, but yeah, it’s not it’s not Stephen King. Quality yet. So ,

[00:40:44] Scott DeLuzio: well, you know, honestly, when you mentioned the lighthouse and I started thinking of the old, the Scooby do episodes and thinking of them like walking through and, you know, finding the ghost or something like that in there.

[00:40:55] Scott DeLuzio: Nice. So, so, so it kind of had that. Spookiness [00:41:00] to it as well. Probably not exactly what you were going for. that was the first thought that popped

[00:41:04] David Richards: I’ll take it. Scott, I’ll take, if it’s scoopy to much props to scoop, so I’ll take it.

[00:41:10] Scott DeLuzio: Awesome. So, I will have links to your website, into your books in the show notes.

[00:41:14] Scott DeLuzio: So anyone who wants to take a look at the books and pick up a copy. Definitely check out the show notes and you’ll find all the links to them there. David, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. I really do appreciate you taking the time to come on the show sharing your experience, your transition out of the military and how you got to where you are now as a writer and following that passion and overcoming all those doubts that you had about your yourself along the way.

[00:41:37] Scott DeLuzio: I think it’s. Inspiring and I hope other people will take a page outta your playbook and apply that to their lives as well.

[00:41:44] David Richards: Scott, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on I’m looking forward to promoting this with my audience and so grateful for what you’re doing.

[00:41:54] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more [00:42:00] about the show, you can visit our website DriveOnPodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.

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