Episode 264 Stu Grazier & David Gutierrez Naval Academy Friends Reflect On Friendship And Business Transcript

This transcript is from episode 264 with guests Stu Grazier & David Gutierrez.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] 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.

Scott DeLuzio: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today. My guests, two of them today, are Stu Grazier and David Gutierrez. Both of them recently had me join them on their podcast which is filling the storehouse, and we’re fortunate enough to have them both on the show here today to share their experiences in the Navy and what they are up to now.

Scott DeLuzio: So, welcome to show guys. Glad to have you here.

David Gutierrez: Yeah, thank you Scott. Hey I just want to ask one clarifying question before we start. Is this video. Yes. Okay. I just wanna make sure, because you may want to ask Stu to turn his camera off so you don’t lose [00:01:00] listeners . It’s just a, you know, it’s just a, a general recommendation I like to make when we’re guests, but you know, nothing hard, nothing pressing.

David Gutierrez: I just thought that I should point that out.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, sure. I, I, I kind of was feeling like that probably should have been said before we started recording. I, I was kind of looking at ’em like gosh, this, this might be a bad thing, but

David Gutierrez: it’s, it’s good to give your ad your audience a heads up, you know, they, they can, yeah.

David Gutierrez: You know, for your audience I know your high class listeners, if you’d like to switch to to an audio version only right now is probably the best time to

Scott DeLuzio: do that. Yeah. You might as well just turn off the monitor and just listen to the audio. I think that would be better off.

Stu Grazier: So, so I’ll go ahead and start this introduction.

Stu Grazier: Yeah. About, about myself. So I. My name is Stuart Grazier, and I I was born, born and raised in Texas, went to the Naval Academy and David was with my roommate for all four years in school. And I pretty much had to carry him not only through school but also through life through our 20 years of service in the Navy.

Stu Grazier: And then also extending into now our, our multiple businesses that we have together [00:02:00] basically just carry him on my shoulders and he just kind of tags along for the ride. So, that’s me in a nutshell. I, oh, and I am, I’m married to my beautiful bride crystal for almost 15 years. And I have two children, eight and five year old daughter and son.

Stu Grazier: So that’s me. So, so

Scott DeLuzio: you’re used to this kind of abuse Yeah.

Stu Grazier: Coming. I’m used to it. Yeah. Coming from his place. He always tries to like, you know, get in there first and, and start jabbing. But I come, I come with the the right cross.

David Gutierrez: Yeah. He, Hey, look guys, he got, he got

Scott DeLuzio: me pretty good too before we started recording.

Scott DeLuzio: Just, just for full disclosure, Uhhuh there, there’s a few Army jokes that were, were dropped before I even had the opportunity to, to drop the Navy jokes. So I’m, I’m sure there’ll be more. I get it.

David Gutierrez: I’m sure there’ll be. Hey, look, gentlemen and I think we, I should emphasize that this is a, should be a gentlemanly conversation.

David Gutierrez: Chivalry is not dead. And I do think, look, I, I believe in honesty. Okay? Like, I think that that telling somebody something bluntly is, is, is actually a, a compliment because it helps us to, to fix our deficits and our deficiencies. And, and [00:03:00] I’ll just highlight. Stewart has plenty. So it just is a, it’s a, it’s a very rich, well, to continue to go back to.

David Gutierrez: But David Gutierez I was also a 20 year Navy guy, as Stu mentioned. We were roommates back at the Naval Academy. I was a cryptologic warfare officer, so, did a lot of intel stuff over the years. We, yeah, I’ve got a, a wife, Erica, beautiful wife, three beautiful children. My daughter’s 11, and then I’ve got two boys, one, nine, and one.

David Gutierrez: And I thank God for them daily because they helped me to become a better person through patients constant trials and, and it’s just a, a testing that I have never actually, I, I, I got a good taste of it at the Naval Academy of being ST’s roommate in the last 20 years. I, I got a good, you know, just like an, like an introductory to what it is, to like, to have to, to have children and you know, so it’s, I think I’ve, I’ve been well trained through our friendship.

David Gutierrez: But all joking aside, you know, Steve’s my best friend. We’re business partners and, and we’ll probably get into this but, but you know, you have to choose. So I [00:04:00] think it’s so imperative that you choose your friends wisely. I think it is absolutely critical that you choose partnerships in business with extreme caution and, and you give it at the diligence, almost like a marriage, right?

David Gutierrez: It, it, the, the almost the same level of diligence that you would give to your future. Spouse, I think you have to have at least very hard diff, you know, hard conversations when you’re in the dating phase and the courting phase. Like you, you really need to choose wisely and, and I thank God I, I believe I did choose wisely as challenging as it is.

David Gutierrez: You know, I, I think I made a great choice, which has really played into our transition in the military. Again, things we’re gonna talk about, it’s also played into a lot of the you know, the outlets that we personally have as we’re talking here today, we’re planning on a snowboard trip tomorrow, meeting some men up in the, in the mountains and, and just doing awesome, fun things.

David Gutierrez: But, but there’s an intent behind all of those things. So, that’s, that’s why I’m in a nutshell.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I, I totally agree with what you were saying there. I, I think. Marriage, business [00:05:00] relationship, whatever it is the one plus one should not equal two. That those, those two people together should be able to feed off each other and create something that’s better than each one of them would be able to create individually on their own.

Scott DeLuzio: And obviously that goes with a marriage, you know, you’re not making a kid on your own, obviously. Right? So one plus one can’t equal two, in that situation, you’re gonna end up making three or more potentially, but in a, a business relationship, like the one that you guys have you each have your own strengths and your own weaknesses, and you should be able to feed off of each other and work through those, those differences in a positive way, not not be butting heads.

Scott DeLuzio: Have this relationship where you guys are, are helping each other, lifting each other up and growing together. And so I, I totally agree with what you’re saying there, but

David Gutierrez: and be comfortable celebrating each other, right? Like, that should be a thought process. You know, be comfortable. When Stu Succeeds, e even if it’s apart from our business, I, I should be one of his biggest cheerleaders.

David Gutierrez: I should be the, the individual that. You know, there to, to cheer him on, but also in the times that aren’t that great, to be the [00:06:00] person that’s there to, to lift him up potentially. Right. And, and, and to also be humble enough to allow him to, to speak that same kinda life into me and, and enable him to be that, that person that, that, you know, lifts me up.

Scott DeLuzio: I’m, I’m just picturing you right now with the, the skirt and the, the pom-poms and the, the cheerleader outfit. Yeah. And it’s, it’s

Stu Grazier: pretty, he’s not, he’s not very good looking in that actually. Yeah. It’s pretty, it’s pretty gross. .

David Gutierrez: Hey, you, you, I mean, it is how you picture it, you know, next time we come on a podcast, maybe all dressed that way and, and you may be surprised, but, but there’s also I’m about I don’t know, probably 50 to 70 pounds heavier than Stewart, so that would be an, an awkward.

David Gutierrez: Effort on his part. So he doesn’t really believe in leg days or shoulder days or even arm days or chest days. So, so it, it would probably be a pretty pretty, pretty heavy lift, if you know what I mean. , I’m a cardio only kind of

Stu Grazier: guy. .

Scott DeLuzio: So, so you guys, you, you served your, your time at the through, through college, through the Navy.

Scott DeLuzio: Did you guys serve together while [00:07:00] in the Navy pretty much the whole time? Or did you guys were you stationed apart at, at any point? Yeah, we,

Stu Grazier: we were stationed apart almost. Most of our career, honestly. So I was, I was a pilot by trade. I flew helicopters for 10 years. A lot of that was spent in San Diego.

Stu Grazier: And then I transitioned to to the Navy, calls it fts, full-time support. The Army calls A A G R Active Guard Reserve. And I flew C 40 s Boeing 7 37 s David he, he went to Cryology and so we, we were in different fields, different lines of work, completely. But we did have an overlap of one tour.

Stu Grazier: We both got stationed in Naples, Italy together when we both worked on the Six Fleet staff. And had an amazing time. We, we all our families were there. We went and traveled together. We served not in the same building, but on the same, you know, base. And so, you know, we, we. We went and worked out in the mornings together before we’d go to, to work and we’d ride the bus back to, you know, our, our, our support site base.

Stu Grazier: And so really, really great time there. And that’s kind of when we all started having kind of these conversations. That was about the, the 14, 15 year mark [00:08:00] in our careers. We both kind of knew that we were gonna make it to 20, but we both knew that we really wanted to go into business together. We had, we’d had, we started to have those convers.

Stu Grazier: Didn’t really know what that looked like. But we, we both had been separately investing in some real estate and we were comparing notes and we both had a, a pretty challenging time with, with some of our investments. And so that kind of got all, all the, all the conversations started about doing business together.

Stu Grazier: And we kind of started focus on real estate at.

Scott DeLuzio: So around that time, you guys are starting to think like the light at the end of the tunnel is coming into focus. Now we know there’s only a few more years before we’re getting out. And you’re, you’re basically at this point, you’re coming up with a plan for what’s next what, what’s next?

Scott DeLuzio: After getting out of the, the Navy were was. Any like formal processes or was it just two guys chatting about what the future might look like?

David Gutierrez: Yeah, y you know, it’s a, it is a great [00:09:00] question and, and I wanna make a couple points clear. So we, we have a, we had a pretty extensive. Relation relational background, right?

David Gutierrez: We were Naval Academy roommates, we were best friends once we graduate. We were in each other’s weddings you know, around for each other’s kids being born and, and all these things, right? You just, this very long relationship. But I will say that even we were not intentional necessarily. We were intentional about our friendship and it was a great friendship, but we were not intentional in diving into, you know, to to, to your.

David Gutierrez: Diving into formalizing business agreements and all these kind of things. Once we decided, we were like, Hey man, we both love real estate. We both, you know, are looking at, at doing something and, and there’s gonna be a transition coming up. Let’s prepare ourselves. All these things, we dove pretty deep, not pretty deep.

David Gutierrez: We dove very deep in. Building our relationship very intentionally on the tenants of what a business looks like, right? So we had conversations like, okay, I mean, and, and, and I think, I personally think so. So again, the point to [00:10:00] this is you don’t have to have a 20 year relationship to have a business partner.

David Gutierrez: But I do believe even if you have a 20 year relationship, you need to be very, very intentional with the conversations that, that, that formalizes a partnership. And, and what that looked like for us is we spent a bunch of time talking about core values. We, we played a, we did a lot of whiteboarding on when things in our business go wrong, and we started thinking about the things that, okay, say we lose money on a deal, say a deal doesn’t appraise, like all these things.

David Gutierrez: Right? And then we even went into the personal realm of, okay, hypothetically, you know, you’re, you’re a highly capable dude. Like what if you have an opportunity that is just. Is, is is too good, is is too good to say no to, and it impacts our business and we have to dissolve our business. Let’s talk about that.

David Gutierrez: Are we still friends? How do we, how do we effectively break the business up And how do we separate things and, and how do we separate our, [00:11:00] our love for one another as friends and our families from the business? And can we. We had those kind of conversations before we ever did a deal, before we bo borrowed a dime.

David Gutierrez: We had those kind of conversations and I, and I would encourage folks, if you’re looking at business just because you serve with somebody and they’re your brother in arms or your sister in arms, I think those are great foundations. Beautiful. That, that, that is a, probably a pretty good person to explore a partnership with, but, but I am a huge, huge advocate for diving deep before.

David Gutierrez: Before you sign on a dotted line to connect your lives in a way that is very, very difficult. If your business is, is doing well and you start growing and you’re going in this direction, is a very difficult thing to, to just kind of move away from unless you have a very clear understanding of, you know, what that looks like in an exit plan.

David Gutierrez: And, and, and we still, we still readdress. We’re still having conversations. This is not [00:12:00] a one and done. You know, we just had an interesting conversation about our friendship, but it also plays in our business. And I asked him, I’m like, Hey man, how am I failing you as a friend? How am I, what are the things I’m doing that are, it was a long conversation.

David Gutierrez: It was a long conversation. , what are the things that I’m doing? You failing in a lot of ways. Yeah, A lot of ways. Yeah. Terrible friend. And, and one of ’em is that, You know, when, when you hang out with someone who’s better looking than you, like, oftentimes it makes you feel bad about yourself and question yourself, right?

David Gutierrez: So Stu has to deal with that every day, and that’s not my fault. We had to talk through that. But, but you know, all joking aside, it’s, it’s a genuine concern of mine that I am bringing my best self to our relationship and not taking stew for granted. Just like in my, my marriage. I’m not that guy that’s taken my wife, you know, for granted.

David Gutierrez: And so, Stu being my work wife, I have to have the same considerations and, and really, like, I, I can’t emphasize this enough. You have to continue to have these conversations [00:13:00] evolve and grow your relationship because business is not, it’s not a playground, right? Like this is a very serious thing, especially when you get your families tied in and all that kind of stuff.

David Gutierrez: So it’s you know that, that. As we looked to transition and formalize it back to your question, to formalize these things, the, the formalizing was relatively easy. You go to a, a legal zoom or a whatever, a small biz.com, and you put in your L L C and to pick a name and all that. We did hours and hours and hours of work before we ever went online to make that commitment.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And it, it’s very similar to a marriage like you were saying before, right? You, you, before you get married, do you want to know whether or not the person you’re about to get married to wants to have kids? And those contingency plans that you’re talking about, like, what if you can’t have kids, you know, if there’s some medical issue, you can’t have kids.

Scott DeLuzio: Do you adopt? Do you just not have kids? You know, what, what is that next one? Do you get a dog, ? You know what? Whatever it is. What is that next plan? But you want to have those conversations. I know my wife and I had [00:14:00] those conversations before we got married as well, and, and we just wanted to make sure that we knew what we were getting into before.

Scott DeLuzio: We made that commitment because, I do feel like it is, it’s a commitment. You know, same thing with a business relationship that is a, a commitment as well. And you don’t want to be blindsided by something that is just coming outta nowhere because you hadn’t thought of it before. You know, even, even thinking all the way to you know, end of life planning, like what is, what is that gonna,

David Gutierrez: you’re talking about that now we’re, we’re talking about.

David Gutierrez: We need to take action on getting life insurance policies on each other in the business. Yes. Like with, I mean, we are having no kidding. You talk about end of life planning. You don’t know when that is or what that looks like. Right. Ideally it’s a, it’s a, a long ways down the road and, and there’s Sure, but, but there’s no guarantee.

David Gutierrez: Right. It was crazy snow outside today there’s something could have happened. So, and one question I do want to emphasize also that, that it’s introspective, right? And I ask myself this question, does this person make me? and I can [00:15:00] point to some very specific things, like when Stu and I started talking, I wasn’t a podcast listener.

David Gutierrez: I was a pretty avid reader, but I wasn’t a podcast listener. I wasn’t doing there, there are a lot of things now that are just habitual that I do on, on, on the, on a regular basis that were not a part of my life be before Stu And I like really started getting you know, everything kind of tighter and closer and, and so.

David Gutierrez: Oftentimes sends me things and pushes me things and makes recommendations, and gives me feedback that make me a better person. That’s who you wanna be around, right? And so when exactly. Looking at partnerships, and I would recommend, even as friends, assess your friends and who are you hanging out with? Do they make you better, spend more time with those folks?

Scott DeLuzio: Right, exactly. And when you have someone who is in your corner who’s looking out for you, send in those recommendations like, Hey, check out this podcast or read this book. You know, whatever it is, I, I think that might help you in this area that I know you were having trouble with. That that’s the kind of person [00:16:00] you want in your corner.

Scott DeLuzio: Not, you don’t want just a, a drinking buddy that you can go out on the weekends and, you know, grab a beer with, I mean, obviously that’s, that’s a part of it too at some point. But you, you want to have that person who also is looking out for you. Helps you as a person to, to grow in your, your professional, your personal relationships and everything that that’s, that’s exactly what you’re looking for.

Scott DeLuzio: So, alright, so we, we talk about get, getting up to the point where you’re getting out of the, the Navy. What was that transition like when, when the uniform came off for the last time and, and you found yourself getting into the civilian world? What was that transition?

Stu Grazier: Man hard if, if I, if I wanted to say, give you one word.

Stu Grazier: Hard. And, and you know, it’s interesting because I think David and I thought we, we had a pretty good run at it as far as preparing for that transition. You know, we, we, we really had started our, our real estate business in 2018. We, we got out in [00:17:00] 2022, so, Four years in advance, and, and we started, you know, building this real estate business out.

Stu Grazier: We started purchasing our own real estate to kind of start creating that passive income to, you know, the goal is to replace our military income with, with our, with our investment income. And we had done a pretty good job of that. And, you know, along the way our, our goal of this business was to create relationships and create a community.

Stu Grazier: And what, what we ended up finding out well, we found out a lot of things, job and, and money honestly, was probably the least of our concerns. And, and what we ended up finding out there’s, there’s all this other stuff that, that kind of started coming into play as, as we, as we took the military uniform off and then just went to civilian.

Stu Grazier: We, we really wanted to get focused on, on being president at home. And so, you know, we did not want to go get a, a, another, you know, nine to five W2 job where we were sitting in some desk all day long being a middle manager somewhere. And, and not that that’s wrong. We just, it, it [00:18:00] wasn’t what we had visioned for our life.

Stu Grazier: We wanted to be able to take the kids to school, pick them up, go to all their events, my kids in preschool, so like, pick ’em up at noon, right? And, and take ’em on a, on a dad date and all that kind of stuff. And so for me, and I’ll, David, I’ll let David kind of speak to it as well, but for me, like I went like all in on, on like the other side, right?

Stu Grazier: Like I went all in on like just being present and being dad, being home all the time. And for a period that was good. But it was like almost like too much. And, you know, I, I, I wasn’t getting anything done at work and, and I had all this time on my, on my hands and I wasn’t. Putting stuff on the calendar.

Stu Grazier: I wasn’t planning out my day. And to go from 20 years of basically everything being handed to you, you know, here’s your uniform, here’s your duty station, here’s your, you know, office. Here’s your time and place to show up. Here’s all your meetings. Here’s your deployment schedule. Here’s all this stuff.

Stu Grazier: Here’s your [00:19:00] friends. You know, you’re gonna make friends for three years, and then you’re gonna move, and then you’re gonna make more friends. Everything’s handed to you on basically a silver platter for 20. And then all of a sudden that all goes away. And now you’re on your own to do everything right, to, to find your own community, to create your own calendar, to build in your scheduled work time to, to exercise, to show up for meetings.

Stu Grazier: Like all that stuff is on you now. And I didn’t, honestly, I didn’t know how to do because no one talks about it. No one teaches you. And so I kind of found myself just like flailing. I found myself. Not knowing to do it with what myself like, and, and then time gets in there and you’re, and then like stuff you push down for so long starts to come back up.

Stu Grazier: And, and you almost start to feel this like anxiety kind of start to come up and, and, and again, like we were pretty set up for, for, for job, for money, for, for income you know, with our retirement and then eventually our, our VA disability. [00:20:00] Honestly, we were financially free and, and we didn’t really have to work, so to speak.

Stu Grazier: But it, it was a really interesting discovery that took a while to kind of figure out and still, honestly, still figuring it out.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, it’s a difficult thing to figure out. Like you said, all of those things are handed to you. Where you need to be, what you need to be wearing who you need to meet with.

Scott DeLuzio: And all, all these things are basically handed to you. You don’t get much say in the matter with when it comes to the military. . And then yeah, when you get out and you have to figure this stuff out on your own and you know, figure out that that work life balance where you, you have a family, you wanna spend time with them, but you also have the reality of you have a job and you need to spend time with that as well.

Scott DeLuzio: It’s like, yeah, I, I’d love to spend my entire day with my kids going and goofing off and doing fun stuff. Of course I would like that. Who wouldn’t? Right. , but then they’re gonna be starving because I won’t make any money in there. There’ll be no food on a table. Right. So that, that, that would be a terrible thing to [00:21:00] do.

Scott DeLuzio: So, so yeah, you kind of have to figure that stuff out. Who, and, and you, you said you’re still working on that, but what, what helped you kind of get to a more balanced way of, of living? .

David Gutierrez: Yeah. And, and, and I’ll, I’ll take this cause I think it’s for, for both of us, very similar, but what I will say is, and, and I wanna acknowledge a couple things.

David Gutierrez: One for us to get out at, at, at retirement is, you know, there’s benefits to that, right? That we have income coming in, we have the VA stuff, and then we had our, our, our businesses on the side. But, but I wanna acknowledge that, you know, I get it. Money and job is, is, is a, is a. What I think most people do when they get out is they make that the concern.

David Gutierrez: And I think that’s where we go wrong. They make that the primary effort and they make it the primary focus. And, and not only until you settle in, do you realize all these other things potentially more important, but also they’re, they’re coming up, right. So for me, I am not an anxious [00:22:00] person. Never suffered with anxiety.

David Gutierrez: That that just wasn’t a part of. Of who I am when I transitioned, and this was, this was, this is relatively recent, so we tra we got out in June so what, six, seven months ago? Something like that. When I got out you know, we, we kind of went through similar phases to and I, but then about a month ago I started feeling anxiety and I didn’t know it as anxi.

David Gutierrez: I didn’t know it as anxiety. My chest started getting tired. I had these breathing issues. I was, it just, it was really strange. And what I came to realize is that there’s a lot of things we have pushed down for years, especially, you know, as officers or senior enlisted, you take a lot of. For your sailors, your soldiers, your airmen, and, and in the name of leadership, you push forward and you push your stuff down.

David Gutierrez: At least I did for 20 years. I pushed it. I just buried it and buried it, and I didn’t think it was a problem. And now that I have this time that I don’t have to do that. Nor do I have, you know, 300 sailors. I, things start coming up serious things, right? My last command, three, [00:23:00] three sailors committed suicide under my command.

David Gutierrez: The, the, the pressure of that, not only that, but the families are reaching out to me as the co directly, they have my cell phone number. They’re calling me. I’m not a therapist. I’m not a counselor. I’m not trained for this, but, but they’re calling and they’re, they. Laying all of this, these burdens, and we sign up for that.

David Gutierrez: But there’s a, there’s a consequence to that that you, if you never process it, which I didn’t, that that’s gonna come back. And so what I would say is, yes, money, job, and all these things are important not only for money, but for purpose. Like Stu and I are now very driven by our purpose and our businesses, and, and that’s a huge focus for us and our mission.

David Gutierrez: Self-awareness. I cannot say this enough. Take the time before you transition out to spend, to ask yourself some very difficult questions. And they’re not difficult. They’re fun questions. What am I passionate about? What do I love? What do I believe my purpose is? What’s my why? You go through that little thought exercise and say you start that a year out.

David Gutierrez: Man, you, [00:24:00] you, you may find that you’re positioning yours, positioning yourself way better for success because you actually know what you want to do and then you could pursue whether it’s an area. I always tell people, Hey, pick an area that you’re gonna go to or a job, but don’t just leave it completely open.

David Gutierrez: If it’s a job that you’re passionate about, okay, I’ll take anywhere in the country for this job. You do that knowingly. Or for me, Colorado was the only option. Like we were like, we are going to Colorado and everything else will make it work. But at least there was a, there was a. Decisive point to that, to that thought process.

David Gutierrez: And then finally, I think you just, what I would recommend highly, I wish I would’ve known this or someone would’ve said it, cause I would’ve done it. Find a mentor, reach out to somebody who’s gotten out, and just whatever, go on LinkedIn. If someone reached out to me on LinkedIn and was like, I’m gonna transition.

David Gutierrez: Can you just like, can we just talk a little bit on what to what, what I can expect? [00:25:00] A hundred percent. I’d be like, yes, at $500 an hour you can totally come and talk. Joking. , I’m joking. No. If for a veteran transitioning I would, I would make time in my calendar to talk to that person. I wish I would’ve known to do that.

David Gutierrez: Cuz I would’ve done it in a heartbeat. I just didn’t know that. I thought I had things lined. And, and we did, we did have things lined up, but it still was very difficult to transition because you lose more than a job, even though I wasn’t, I didn’t identify myself with my job with being in the Navy.

David Gutierrez: I’m an naval officer. That’s number one. But it, there’s still a part of it. I promise you there’s still a part of it that is, you know, built in. And so there’s gonna be loss and you should step into that with your eyes wide. And

Stu Grazier: let me add something, Scott, if you don’t mind. To, to David’s, to David’s comments about you know, your question was, Hey, we’re, we’re still in this thing, right?

Stu Grazier: Like, we’re still trying to figure it out. And, and, and David’s point of, of finding a mentor, great, great advice. I [00:26:00] would even go a step further and say, find a community. Not only find like one person that’s done it, but surround yourself with a community of people that can, that can like pour into you, right?

Stu Grazier: And, and that, you know, it might not be one answer to one question, but it could be. 10 answers. 10 ideas, 10 thoughts, 10 networks, 10 connections. You know, and, and if you’re in a group and if you’re in a community and you’re in a place where there’s like-minded individuals that, that just wanna serve and just wanna be there to, to help, you know, and you know, you can go to them and you trust them and you can be vulnerable.

Stu Grazier: That is a place that can be truly, truly amazing when helping you through this transition. And, and, and, you know, David have been, and David and I have been a part of that and that, that in itself is, is the answer honestly for me, is, is, is helping me realize like tricks and trait, you know, different, different like ideas and thoughts and strategies and, you know, [00:27:00] Time blocking calendars and you know, like just random stuff that like other people will come with, with an idea.

Stu Grazier: And that helped tremendously for me. And, and you know, I know I helped for David as well.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And having that group of people that, that network of, of people in that community like you said, they’re gonna have different perspectives. They’re, they all have tried different things and some of them have worked them for them and some of them haven’t.

Scott DeLuzio: And you know, they’ve learned and they’ve grown on their own. But then, They can impart that wisdom on you, and, and you can do the same for them as well. It’s not a one way street where it’s just you take, take, take, take, take. You’re getting that, that benefit from those people, but you’re also giving your own advice and your own wisdom from your experiences as well, and, and.

Scott DeLuzio: When you have that, it’s kind of like a business relationship where, where your strengths and, and your weaknesses play off of somebody else’s strengths and, and their weaknesses and, and you guys rise up together. And similarly in a community like that you, [00:28:00] you’re able to help everybody succeed and, and achieve their goals by imparting that kind of knowledge and, and wisdom on, on each.

David Gutierrez: Yeah. I’ll tell you one thing about these communities and, and, and I, and I wish someone would’ve told me this because it, it changed my life. But when you’re seeking them out, be very intentional and be, be willing. Change your mindset. Be willing to pay for it, right? Whether it’s coaching or being part of the mastermind or whatever it is.

David Gutierrez: Be willing to pay for it because that adds skin to the game. I spent so much time being like, ah, I, I just, I don’t know if this is worth it. And now I’m like on the opposite side of that, right? Like, I’ll just go to the library. I’ll check out books, I’ll read all this self-help stuff. That’s all great.

David Gutierrez: That’s, that’s a good, that’s a good habit. You know, I, I think that’s good, but when I started paying to be surrounded by people who think very different than me and big, like, quite frankly, just being honest, they thought a lot bigger than I thought. They experienced a lot more than I experienced when I started.

David Gutierrez: Considering and being willing to write a check to do that, it, it changed my [00:29:00] life. And so I only say that not because I want you to pay to be a part of our mastermind at all. What I’m saying is be willing to put skin in the game to change your life in a way that that adds jet fuel, that you will not be able to.

David Gutierrez: Achieve through any single book or outside of a community because those communities, man, they are like, like ours. Sp I say it every time when I talk to, talk to a guy yesterday about it. It’s full of ninjas, like ninjas and, and it blows me away. I mean, we had, I have to share this story, a army vet, army vet, and he actually, when he got on the call yesterday, it was disgusting.

David Gutierrez: He had a West Point shirt on and I meant to make fun of him about that. This guy runs a business in Chicago. And he is a, this is just a level of like that, that opened my mind yesterday and he was sharing how and he wasn’t gonna share it. I wanna make that too, share your story. So there, there’s another point to that.

David Gutierrez: He wasn’t gonna share it, but I called on him. I’m like, dude, you, you, you gotta talk to us cuz I know you [00:30:00] got something. I don’t know what it is. He basically is opening his business to a real estate business and he’s housing. Refugees. So he’s a lot of the Afghani and, and the Ukrainian refugees, they’re, they’re flowing into Chicago.

David Gutierrez: And so his business, because he is so, he’s so focused and he went through core values and all these things, he, he opened it to meet a very specific need, which is feeding a part of him. In self importance and, and, but mission driven and feeding a part of that army side of him. And it’s, and it’s a beautiful story, right?

David Gutierrez: It’s a beautiful story, but everybody in that group, Was now enriched and challenged by what he highlighted, and that’s what you get. You get stuff like that. Well, man, that may be, and it could change your life. It got me thinking very differently and he said they’re his best tenants, right? And so it’s like a win-win, win.

David Gutierrez: But. But it’s just, when you surround yourself with these kind of people, they’re, they’re going to, I’m, I’m telling you, they will absolutely [00:31:00] open your mind and challenge you and potentially give you the path for what it is that you’re gonna transition into. That’ll be very rich, fulfilling. And, and it saves you a lot of time and a lot of pain and being like, oh my gosh, I just don’t know what I want to do.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And to that point of, I, I, I do wanna talk more about your, your mastermind and, and what you guys are doing now, but to the point. Paying for something. There is a, I don’t know what it is. Psychologically, there’s this weird thing that happens when you pay for something. It doesn’t matter how much it is that you pay for, it could be $5 or whatever it.

Scott DeLuzio: When you pay to, to do something, it has that much more importance to you. I, I was a part of a group, a a a few years ago that they had free meetings, like everyone just, you know, come, come for free. And they, they thought they’d get more people showing up to the meetings if they just offered everything for free.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, no, everyone, like, everyone and their, their brother were signing up to come to these meetings. But then when it came the day of the meeting, nobody showed up. [00:32:00] It was, you know, just like a half a dozen people maybe at, at best were, were showing up when, when they were having like 25, 30 plus people who signed up to come.

Scott DeLuzio: And so they were like, okay, how do we, how do we do this and get more people to come? Well, they just started charging $5 for people to come. Yeah. It, it’s not that they needed the money for it. The, the event space that they were using was donated to them. It’s not like they needed the money. It was just charge the $5 and people.

Scott DeLuzio: Now they’re, they’re invested in it and now they’re gonna want to come. And so they had fewer signups as far as, you know, it wasn’t the 30 plus people who were signing up. You know, it was 15 to 20, but those 15 to 20 people showed up. And so it increased the overall number of people who, who actually came to these things.

Scott DeLuzio: So, you know, to that point, it’s fascinating, right? It’s fascinating,

David Gutierrez: right? And also, and the $5 example may be a little bit different, but if you choose a right group and you potentially pay. , you are now getting a level of commitment from whomever it is that you’re paying, right? Yeah. Like you are not [00:33:00] a lot of us.

David Gutierrez: I mean, I don’t know. I’m, I’m a, we’re, we’re church guys, you know, student, our church guys and a lot of the, the free, the volunteer men’s groups, well, a lot of times the leader in that group, he’s volunteer too. And, and the quality, and I’m not bashing that at all. There’s a place for it and I love it. And I’ve been a part of a bunch.

David Gutierrez: When push comes to shove, the level of that person’s commitment is also very limited because he may have another job, he may do whatever, whatever comes up. There’s not a, there’s the skin in the game for him is also just not that high. And so again, it just depends on how quickly you want to, how, how, how, how, how bright of a fire you wanna light under this, this process, right?

David Gutierrez: And, and how quickly you want to get to where you want to get. And, and so I think there’s, there’s a lot of validity.

Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. So let’s talk a little bit about what you guys are doing now. I know you guys briefly mentioned the mastermind, but tell us about your, your business now and [00:34:00] where you guys are helping out people in, in your community.

Stu Grazier: Yeah. Thanks man. I appreciate you, you giving us this platform. So, you know, it was interesting, again, all about this transition that, that we left military and going into the civilian world. You know, we built these real estate business and, and we were, we were essentially flipping houses. We were doing 40 to 50 houses a year.

Stu Grazier: We were keeping some rental properties for ourself. We were selling a lot of rental properties. And, and honestly man, it was a full-time job and we were doing that full-time job while still being you know, in leadership positions in our Navy job before our transition. And we were just running ourselves.

Stu Grazier: Ragged, you know, I was up at 4:00 AM doing real estate work from 4:00 AM to like six 30 saying hello to my kids. But then getting out the door, going to my Navy job, doing my Navy job, coming back, eating some food, saying hello, and then getting right back to work after I put the kids to bed. And, and, and a lot of times, like trying to do work while kind of tr.

Stu Grazier: Kind of trying to be present with my family, right? Like I’d have the phone right here trying to answer emails while I’m like eating food and trying to play with my kids at the same time. Like that [00:35:00] multitasking thing doesn’t work. But we, so we were, we were in another mastermind group. We were paying for coaching as a part of kind of helping us transition, and one of the, one of the the exercises that he, they put us through was you know, close your eyes.

Stu Grazier: Imagine yourself five to 10 years down the road. And imagine you do nothing different. You don’t change a thing about what your life is like right now. What will your life look like in five to 10 years in the future? And so I did that for myself and I, and I, I honestly, I just saw myself just getting worn down.

Stu Grazier: I saw my wife and my relationship just continuing to go apart and have nothing in common. I just was hustling, grinding, working, trying to provide for my family, trying to make a living. I had no relationship with my kids. I wasn’t present at home. I wasn’t doing anything with them. I wasn’t going to their events, and, and I just envisioned that happening as I continued to.

Stu Grazier: Build out this real estate business. At the same time, [00:36:00] David and I had a really, a, a heavy heart to like just build community, build solid relationships. We hoped that we had, were trying to build relationships through our real estate business, but again, it was very transactional. It was just flipping a house, selling a deal, doing the next deal, and it was very transactional.

Stu Grazier: And so, you know, to make a long story short, We, we, we really had to, to make a change, and we really had to really focus in on what was most important in our life. You know, our, our family our friendship having fun again, you know, like we hadn’t had any fun in, in forever. Focusing back on our faith.

Stu Grazier: You know, we built all these businesses around our faith, but then we just were like hustling and grinding and wasn’t really a part of our lives. . And so we kind of slowed down, we pivoted with our real estate business and we started building out this, this mastermind group focusing on 10 areas of our life that we really were missing in our own lives, that we knew were very important.

Stu Grazier: And, and it was all because of that, that vision that that kind of both of us had of going down the wrong, wrong direction with our lives. And so we started building out, we invited 10 of our really close friends [00:37:00] who we knew would show up and knew, have these, these weekly conversations. It was on Zoom, we just have an hour conversation on Zoom.

Stu Grazier: And we were just diving into these 10 core topics that we knew were important. And. Amazing, just transformative in all aspects of our life. We just built this solid group o of men, and we, David and I started learning and taking away just as much value from, from those guys as, as they did for us.

Stu Grazier: And it’s just a group of men that, that I say, I love you too. You know, they’re, they are, they are true brothers. And so we started building it out. We, we’ve now since have three other kind of groups. They’re small groups in this master. And we also then started doing retreats. We do three day retreats.

Stu Grazier: We just, were in, in Arizona, close to you. And we just, you know, rent out these, these big Airbnbs house houses. Men come in. We, we just break bread, have fellowship. Do you know, something hard, something fun, something educational. We’re bringing guest speakers. And, and it’s been amazing. It, it really has, and it’s been [00:38:00] really the, the glue that has helped us with our own transition.

Stu Grazier: And we’ve really, really found our purpose in just helping men refocus on the most important areas of our life and to be the best husbands that they could possibly be, to be the best friends that they could possibly be, and the best dads that they could possibly be. And it’s, it’s been, it’s been awesome, man.

Stu Grazier: It

Scott DeLuzio: really. And one of the biggest things, or actually a few of the biggest things that are difficulty for veterans who are, are just leaving the service are things that you’re, you’re mentioning in this mastermind is that sense of purpose and the community or, or the camaraderie or that, that brotherhood or sisterhood or, or whatever it is that you had in the military.

Scott DeLuzio: When you get out and you’re all alone trying to figure out things like your schedule, your work life balance and all these other things, and you, it’s all gone, right? Yeah. And, and it’s gone overnight basically. Like you, you get your DD two 14 and you’re out and you’re done. You, you lose all of that stuff.

Scott DeLuzio: And, and [00:39:00] when you have a group like this it, it enables you to get some of that back and. Be there, be present for it, for your families and and your, your business and your careers and, and everything like that. It allows you to put, put a lot more into perspective because you’re not struggling trying to figure out how to get that, that community back.

Scott DeLuzio: Cuz you’re, you have it kind of built in through the, these groups.

David Gutierrez: Yeah, and I wanna emphasize a couple points. We’re also, I mean, we are extremely, we call ourselves kinetic men, right? Kinetic being the opposite of potential. We’re, we’re action takers. So we have built, we’re very, very, very intentional.

David Gutierrez: Not only in, in the. Curriculum that we built, but in driving ourselves and, and challenging the men in the group to take action on things. So it’s not like, you know, there, there’s a time and a place for Kumbaya sessions and, and part of that is built in to what we do. We have a, you know, a, a kumbaya session.

David Gutierrez: We talk through things, get different perspectives, all very powerful. Just, [00:40:00] just opening your mind to other perspectives and hearing. That you respect, talk about their perspectives is, is hugely beneficial. But then the, the big focus where we spend the preponderance of our time is, okay, so what, what are we doing about it?

David Gutierrez: What are the action steps that we’re taking? Okay. I wanna be a better dad. It’s everybody wants to be a better dad. That sounds great. Like that. Yeah. Obvious. I wanna be a better businessman. Awesome. Me too. Yep. Sounds great. But really, okay. What, what am I doing? What is on my calendar? Every single. To be a better dad.

David Gutierrez: What are the things I’m doing to be a better husband? Okay. I’m taking my wife, I’m committing to this group to take my wife on dates. Awesome. Report back and let us know how it goes and give us ideas to incorporate in our own lives and, and, and so it’s filled, the group is filled with these examples of men doing things.

David Gutierrez: That are, that are no kidding benefiting themselves and those around them because it’s all about [00:41:00] action. It’s all about intention, intentionality. And that’s what I say when you, when you pick a group, you, you want to pick somebody or, or you know, a coach that you want to be like that is pushing you to be closer to the person that you want to be.

David Gutierrez: And it has to be explicitly stated that this is what we do. And so, you know, Stu and I, you know, these businesses. We are so passionate about seeing other men achieve that, that, you know, and we’re, we’re doing, you know, our one-on-one coaching, that, that’s something else that’s coming out of this is because we’re passionate about making ourselves available.

David Gutierrez: And if that’s free, like you pointed out, then not only am I not honoring my family, but, but the skin in the game is not there to make the changes that were staying are important to. And so I think it, it all goes back to this, how do you become the best person possible? And how do you do that as quickly as possible?

David Gutierrez: Do you do it, you do it with somebody or with a group of people that, that are doing it? That’s how you do it. And, and, and you put it into action.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think that action [00:42:00] is the key component there because you, you can talk about things all you want. You can, you can go on social media and see people talking about, All the time and all day.

Scott DeLuzio: They’re not doing anything about the things that they’re talking about, or some of them may be, but all you’re seeing is just the people talking, talking, talking, and they’re not showing the end results. This is the result of these actions, these specific actions that I took to get better in X area of my life.

Scott DeLuzio: And so yeah, you, you can talk about things until you’re blue in the face, but you know, it talk. Well, like they say, talk is cheap, but like, you know, what are the actions that you’re, you’re gonna put into this to actually achieve the goals that you’re, you’re trying to achieve? Right? Yeah. And I’ll

David Gutierrez: tell you, I I wrote something down earlier in the conversation and, and I, I don’t want this to be misconstrued, but I, I wrote I find shallow relationships to be exhausting.

David Gutierrez: And, and it’s an interesting shift because I’m a very people [00:43:00] per, like, I’m always, we’re always doing stuff. We’re very social. Like I, I, I’m, I’m, I’m an extreme extrovert and I get energy by being around people. And what I realized recently, because I am surrounded by such high caliber individuals by design, right by design, we, we, we’ve created, We, we’ve set the boundaries up that the dudes that are funneling towards us are, these are ninjas and.

David Gutierrez: Now when I talk about if someone just wants to talk weather and football and, and gas prices, I’m just like, ah, man, this is, I feel like for me personally, I feel like I’m watching tv. Like, it, it, it’s just I feel like time is passing and I’m not really accomplishing anything. And I’m not trying to say that to be as a pejorative to anybody or to bash relationships or anything like that.

David Gutierrez: It’s just when you get a taste of what life could be and who you could spend it with and, and. People that you’re hanging out with are so much better than you in so many ways. It, it makes all the other [00:44:00] stuff just feel cheap, right? It makes that experience and, and anybody could have it. You just literally have to choose to, to put your energy somewhere else.

David Gutierrez: Like, that’s it. If you’re scrolling on Facebook, like I found Facebook to be, to be exhausting for me, and I found LinkedIn to be something that, because I’m reaching out to people on LinkedIn and getting on the phone and talking to them and doing Zoom calls. And, and so it’s given me energy and I’m meeting some amazing, incredible people.

David Gutierrez: I wasn’t finding that on Facebook. I’m not bashing Facebook. I’m just saying I made a very intentional choice to be like, okay, my, I’m not being fed here. I’m not being fed in these conversations or these relationships. And Stu, I didn’t want to do this publicly, man, but I’m breaking up with you. I’m sorry I didn’t want to do this.

David Gutierrez: I’m just kidding. But, but in all reality, Man, it, it can be. I’m just, I want to encourage your listeners. It can be so amazing and fulfilling and it’s right within your grasp. It could literally be a phone call away, one hello away [00:45:00] from an amazing experience to challenge you to be the person that you want to be.

David Gutierrez: And, and, and I think that’s what’s amazing about it, and that’s what makes the transition bearable. That’s what makes the transition even exciting. For, for me personally, it’s exciting because now I’m using this time and capacity to build these other relationships that are all purpose driven. They’re all mission driven.

David Gutierrez: We’re trying to accomplish a thing and, and that’s what’s exciting about it.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And it’s not just bearable. It, it makes it successful when you have these relationships, these people in your life who are gonna help propel you forward in whatever aspect of your life, that it’s going to help. First off, you’re accountable to those people.

Scott DeLuzio: They’re, they’re gonna ask you, okay, what are you doing? Like you said you know, I, I wanna, you know, take my wife out on dates more, more often. Okay, well report back. You know, you don’t typically have somebody to report back to if you’re [00:46:00] not intentional about finding these relationships in these communities of people.

Scott DeLuzio: And. Then it’s easy to just let things slip because oh, well something else came up and it’s, it’s easier to just not do it this week or this month or whatever. So yeah, absolutely. Having, having these, these communities I, I think is super important. For the listeners who are out there who wanna maybe check out your mastermind and, and you know, everything that you guys are, are doing is there a place that they can go to check that?

Stu Grazier: Yeah, for sure, man. So, you know, a part of a part of our discovery and, and David hit on it a little bit, is, is just this self-awareness and you know, figuring out who you are as an individual and figuring out what your purpose is in life. And again, This was an idea from another member of our mastermind group in a, you know, deep conversation.

Stu Grazier: You know, the question was, well, what’s your role? Define your role as a dad, a husband, a friend, you know, what is that role? Right? And so we actually came up with, with an exercise and, you know, we want to give that out as kind of just a [00:47:00] free, a free resource to go through. Where it just asks that question.

Stu Grazier: Like, what, define, define your role as a dad. You know, name three things, and then what does that look like? Action, like, action steps. What are you doing to, to fill that role? What can you put on the calendar? What can you be held accountable to? And it’s, it’s a really fun exercise and resource. I wanna make that available, you know, to your listeners.

Stu Grazier: You can go to storehouse three ten.com/rolls. And, and they can get that for. So that’s one way they can kind of just dig into to just the self-awareness piece. Like you said earlier, you know, you were a guest on our podcast, we have a podcast called Filling the Storehouse. They, it’s on all kind of major sites, iTunes, Spotify, castbox, all those.

Stu Grazier: And then our, our main website is just storehouse three ten.com and they can find out all about the podcast, our mastermind and and then, you know, anything else that they want to, you know, dig. And

David Gutierrez: if you’re local to Colorado mm-hmm. . Yeah. Uh, We, we, every Thursday we do, it’s a meetup. Just go to our meetup page.

David Gutierrez: We do something. We just get [00:48:00] together. And, and this is 100% purely to build community. Yeah. Uh, This isn’t a mastermind commitment. This is, there’s no commitment. It’s you know, we do coffee. We’ll sometimes go to a brewery, have beer and a lunch. Tomorrow we’re going to Keystone to go snowboarding. So you know that, well, when this comes out, you know, it’d probably be out of the, out of the snowboarding season almost.

David Gutierrez: But, but the point is, you know, we go mountain biking, we transition to hiking. So we’re doing things locally here in Colorado every Thursday. And, and it’s just an, it’s an opportunity to, to show up. And, and, and be with some dudes that are, that are like-minded and you, you know, you can have some, some really good conversations.

David Gutierrez: So that’s a, that’s another resource

Stu Grazier: out there. Yeah. And that there’s a banner at the very top of our website, Scott, that just will get you to the, the meetup page, you know, for those that are local to Colorado.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. So if you’re local to Colorado, check that out. Get involved with a group of guys who are out there getting outside.

Scott DeLuzio: Doing some physical activities, maybe maybe meeting up for [00:49:00] coffee or a beer or something like that. Having

Stu Grazier: fun, man. Like, like having fun, enjoying life. Like yeah, enjoying life like a lot, I think. And that was a big, you know, we forgot to do that for a while. Right. So that, you know, like

Scott DeLuzio: go have fun. Yeah, exactly.

Scott DeLuzio: Don’t, don’t let work consume your entire life. Like there. Bigger and better things that are out there. Not, not say, you know, slack off at work and don’t do your job and things like that. Like, that’s obviously not what I’m talking about here, but there are other things in life that you you, you can focus on and actually enjoy all of that so that you don’t get to the end of the road and look back and you’re like, oh my God, all I did was.

Scott DeLuzio: Myself, literally to death. And what do I have to show for it? You know, no relationships, no, no family, no you know, nothing good came out of that other than you know, a healthy looking bank account that you can’t take with you anyways. So what difference to make? Right? So again storehouse three ten.com is the website.

Scott DeLuzio: I’ll have that linked in the [00:50:00] show notes. Guys, it’s been a great conversation. I really do enjoy you guys in the, the conversation that we had on your podcast. I’m gonna also link to that in the show notes as well, so people go check that out. I, I enjoyed that conversation. I enjoyed this conversation as well.

Scott DeLuzio: And you guys are, are out there just crushing it. So, you know, keep doing what you’re doing. I really do appreciate you guys taking the time to come on and, and sharing your stories. But, but really appreciate it.

David Gutierrez: Hey, Scott. Thank you, man. Thank you for, for honoring us with having us on your show and, and having us be able to engage with your audience.

David Gutierrez: And thank you for what you do, man. I’m just inspired by you. I love your mission. I love your passion. I love what you’re doing, and, and so I wish you the best. I wish you growth on the podcast and, and blessings, everything you’re doing, brother. Thank you.

Scott DeLuzio: All right, thank you. See you.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On [00:51:00] Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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