Episode 280 Jerry Dugan Living Life Beyond the Rut Transcript

This transcript is from episode 280 with guest Jerry Dugan.

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.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guest is Jerry Duggan Jerry’s an army veteran, the host of the Beyond the Rut Podcast, an author of the book by the same name, A Beyond the Rut. And we’d recently met at the podcast movement conference in Las Vegas where he gave an outstanding talk for podcasters to help fill in their show with guests that meet their audience needs.

Uh, it was, it was really an incredible talk. I honestly, and I’m not just saying this cuz he’s on the other end of the mic right now, and he’s, he’s sitting here listening to me, but I honestly thought it was one of the best talks that I heard all week while we were at that conference. So, um, it was, it was [00:01:00] definitely.

Enjoyable to not only hear him talk, but also to get to meet him in person. We’ve been following each other on social media for a little while now, but, um, finally to meet in person was, was pretty incredible too. So with that, welcome to the show, Jerry. I’m glad to have you here.

Jerry Dugan: Awesome, Scott. Thanks so much and thanks for the compliment too that, that, uh, Puffs up my ego a little bit more than my wife wants it to be.

She can’t stop it. It is done . It’s

Scott DeLuzio: done. That’s a done deal. Um, yeah. So for the listeners who maybe aren’t familiar with you, uh, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Jerry Dugan: Yeah. Uh, you mentioned all the other, the, the basic stuff and, uh, you know, When I joined the Army, I was a essentially a failed pre-medical student.

So I was a chemistry biology major with a whopping 2.1 gpa, which I probably wasn’t supposed to have. I think my faculty advisor, um, leveraged a rule that had just been passed to allow him to cancel out some grades to go from, cuz I think I was tracking a [00:02:00] 1.93. And, uh, I just went to get my transcript before I left for the Army.

And I remember the registrar asking me, Hey, do you wanna pick up your diploma while you’re here? And I looked at my dad, cuz he came with me and I looked back at the registrar and I was like, yes, please. And as soon as she left to go print it off, I turned to my dad. And I said, as soon as we get that form, we got a bolt outta here, dad.

And he’s like, I think they made a mistake. I don’t think I’m supposed to have this . And so she handed me the transcript, she handed me the, the degree, and I was like, thank you so much. It was a pleasure to know you these past four and a half years. I wish you the best. She goes, no, I wish you the best. And then I, I left my dad behind.

I walked out fast, looked at the transcript, saw the gpa, and I’m like, , Dr. Richmond. He was, he was awesome. He let me, he let me go and I mean, he knew I was leaving for the Army to be a medic and all that stuff. Uh, but he also recognized something in me [00:03:00] and that was I did not wanna be a doctor. Uh, and he knew because he was also the faculty advisor of other pre-med students who are passing their classes because some guy named Jerry Duggan was tutoring them.

And so he is like, Jerry Duggan, and they’re like, yeah. Jerry? Yes. Duggan. Yes. Jerry Duggan. Yes. He’s tutoring you and you got an A or a B in that class? Yes. He’s failing that class. like how back? And so I think he knew deep down, this guy does not wanna be a doctor. He doesn’t even like doing this work. He’s in it because somebody else told him to.

Uh, so anyway, that’s. In a nutshell, me, my life and, and why Beyond the Red exists because I was actually pursuing not my dream to be a doctor. I was pursuing my mother’s dream to be a doctor. And it wasn’t until I went through four and a half years of undergrad, uh, got the degree in ran, did four and a half years of army life.

Uh, both of these were four your commitments. By the way. They just ga you know, [00:04:00] I just got an extra six months . Why not? But it was after that I realized I don’t want to be a doctor. And, um, even though the hospital I’m working for, uh, doing training for new employees is offering to send me off to nursing school as a bridge to get me into the medical school I want to go to someday, and I’m turning that down.

Why? I’m hesitating why. And that was it. It was like, this is not my dream. And, and beyond the ru a lot of folks are finding success. But they’re not pursuing their own dreams. And so they, they feel stuck in a rut. They feel stuck in life. Uh, they’re doing the work that probably pays well, looks good on paper, but it’s taking them away from their faith and their family and the things they really wanna do in life.

And yeah, I just, I just love inspiring folks to, to thrive wherever they are. and not lose their faith or their family in the process. So that’s me in a nutshell. Yeah. And

Scott DeLuzio: when I hear the phrase that beyond the rut and, um, just being in that rut, and I think a lot of people have been there. [00:05:00] They, they’ve been working a job that they don’t like or, uh, you know, it’s paying the bills.

It’s not exactly what they want to do. They’re not passionate about it, and it’s, they’re, every Monday they’re struggling to get outta bed to go to work. Uh, and it reminds me of this commercial from way back, uh, probably when, back when we were kids, um, there’s. This guy, he’s, he’s got the, he’s got the nice house in the suburbs.

He’s got the nice lawn. He’s riding on the, the, the riding lo lawnmower. And he, he’s got this fake smile on his face and, and he is got the, the 2.5 kids or whatever, and the two cars in the driveway. And he is like, I got all these, all these things and I’m in debt up to my eyeballs. And, and it’s like with, with smile, right?

With a smile on his face. Right. And it’s like nobody wants that. . Ask any kid right now, like, go grab a kid off a playground. Not in a creepy way, but like, go talk to any kid on the playground. It’s like, Hey, in 30 years do you wanna be in debt up to your eyeballs? And you know, with all of this crap that you don’t really want?

They’d be like, no, that sounds awful. Like being an adult sucks. Like, no, I don’t wanna do that. So when [00:06:00] you think about that beyond the rut, there’s, there’s more than just that, that grind, that dead end job that you have the. that just miserable experience that you’re going through. Right. Um, and you kind of found that in, in your own life, right?

Yeah. You were doing something that you were not passionate about and you clearly knew what you were doing. Cuz if you’re able to tutor somebody and they were able to get As, but you’re failing, um, there’s something else going on there. Mm-hmm. , right? That, that, you know, what is causing you to not pass those classes, but these other people are passing with flying colors.

Clearly you knew your stuff. Yeah. You just weren’t a hundred percent in it,

Jerry Dugan: right? Yeah. And I wasn’t even paying attention to the, the external sources that were giving me glimpses into where I was gifted or where my strengths were. Like my faculty advisor, Dr. Richmond, like he, he put it all together. He is like, okay, the guy is failing science classes while tutoring people to pass [00:07:00] science classes.

This guy can teach. He’s passionate about it. He’s willing to help other people succeed. He is sabotaging himself in this particular field, and he asked me, have you considered switching over to education? and you know, like 19 or 20 at the time. And I said the, the dumbest cockiest thing you could say, and that was, you know, those who can’t teach

I’m saying this to a

Scott DeLuzio: professor and you said, I was just gonna say to, to someone who’s teaching .

Jerry Dugan: Yeah. And that was probably the last time I saw him smile when he ran into me like, oh, I’m stuck with this brat. Okay, got it. He’d signed my form, sent me on my way. And um, you know, he was always cordial to me, but you know, it was like, this guy’s not gonna get it.

He’s gonna just do it the hard. . And then, um, you know, in my army life, you know, I’m in there as a medic and I keep getting pulled out. Whether it was basic training, a i t, my actual duty stations, I was getting pulled aside and asked, or actually, When I say ask, I mean I’m told, uh, you will [00:08:00] make sure that guy passes basic training.

You will make sure that whole class of yours passes a i t to become medics. Um, you know, we have this thing called sergeant’s time in the Army. Every Thursday for the half a day, you learn and relearn your basic skills, and it’s led by the sergeants. Well, I’m an E four, so not even a sergeant, and I’m being told you’re gonna teach people how to, you know, go to the bathroom while actually I, I made that one up like it was in the manual.

Uh, How do you go to the bathroom when we’re in a chemical environment? Uh, you know, like, you gotta know guys, . And they’re like, right. It was a crappy lesson. I’m like, no way. And so, but teaching people that, and people would tell me like a year or two later, like, I still remember how to take a dump if we get slimed.

And, uh, but you know, people are tasking me to do training and I’m sitting here thinking, okay, fine, whatever. And then finally my first job out of the Army that would pay the bills was. To do training, uh, for new employees and uh, even bridge the gap for high schoolers to get experience in the hospitals.

And, and then so finally when I was going for my [00:09:00] master’s degree, I’m thinking in my head, I need to go after an mba. Cuz you know, the guys who make the big bucks in corporate life have MBAs. They run businesses, they own businesses, and then they make the big bucks. And I shared that with my wife and she looked at me, she nodded, and she kind of, uh, squeezed or furrowed her eyebrows a little bit and she said,

I don’t think that’s the thing you need to do. And I’m like, well, okay, Ms. Marney pass pants, what do you think I should do? And she’s like, you need something in education, you know, education, training, you know, that kind of thing because that’s, that’s what I’ve always known you for, even when we met in the Army.

And I’m like, what does she know? And as soon as I thought that in my head, like my whole life flashed before my eyes, but in the lens, Training, training, training, tutoring, training, training, tutoring. And I’m like, son of a gun. All these people were right. I do love teaching people and training people. So I went, I got a master’s degree in educational technology slash instructional design.

So it was like the dream thing, like learning about learning and learning psychology. [00:10:00] And uh, you know, from there I really saw my career take off my, my income quadrupled in the span of, um, Really about 10 years. So from about 20, well, yeah, 10 years, 2013 when I graduated with my master’s in a year and a half.

Uh, yeah, that was a brag guys. I’m sorry. Uh, . And then, you know, you fast forward to the end of 2022. Uh, my income had quadrupled from what it was and, um, You know, just, it doubled every time I moved to another job or another position. And that was just amazing. And, and that, that for me was just a me. Like I wasn’t measuring my worth based off of the income, but I was seeing a tangible result of working in alignment with something I love and I’m passionate about, which is helping other people have their aha moments and improve their skillsets, their mindsets, uh, the way they cognitively work through, uh, solving problems.

That gets me fired up. So, and,

Scott DeLuzio: and I could tell too, like, [00:11:00] there, there’s a difference between someone. You, you got those people who, they’re, they’re ultra successful financially, right? They’re, they’re rich beyond imagination. They get all these, you know, great contracts and jobs and all these things are, are going their way.

Everything’s going great. It’s on paper, everything looks great. Um, but they’re dying inside. Mm-hmm. , they are not doing okay. Um, and then you take someone like yourself and you’re following. What your actual passions are, and you’re doing those things. And it’s interesting that you went into the medical field in the army despite not wanting to be a doctor.

Yeah. Uh, in, in the civilian world. Right. But still, there’s that teaching component to it. And I think you, you probably could have ended up in any job in the military and still been able to teach people. Uh, I know as a sergeant in the infantry, I, I was teaching people infantry Yeah. Stuff. Right. There’s still, there’s teaching that goes on, no matter.

Branch you’re in, no matter what m o s you have, doesn’t matter. There’s always sort some sort of [00:12:00] teaching and lessons that go on, um, especially when, when you started advancing into the leadership levels. Um, but you know, you, you take this and you now you’ve figured out, hey, this is my passion, teaching education, that type of stuff.

That’s, that’s getting outta the rut, isn’t it? Oh yeah.

Jerry Dugan: Oh yeah. Essentially. Um, because I could have done. Most people do like, oh no, I went to school. I went to college to get into medical school. I joined the Army to go into medical school. I got a lot of writing on this. I need to, and, and my workplace is offering me for free to go to nursing school as that bridge to get into medical school eventually and, and go in with medical experience.

Now I can offset the mistakes of an 18, 19, 20 year old snot-nosed, know-it-all, who was lazy and self-sabotaging and then be miserable in the actual hospital or a clinic. Right. And the, the thing I, I started to realize, Thinking [00:13:00] about spending 10 to 12 hours on a floor in a building with very little looking out the window and pondering and, and wanting to, and, and just being there five, six days a week.

I felt trapped. It was like, I can’t take a day off because somebody might die. I’m like, oh, wow. That’s a lot of weight on my shoulder. Right? I can’t go to a kid’s birthday because somebody called in sick, and if I don’t go into cover, somebody’s gonna die. And I was like, wait, I left the army for this kind of pressure.

It was like, if I don’t go on this mission, somebody else will and they might die, or I’ve gotta go protect my country, protect my family. And um, it was always that aha moment of I can’t work in a building and that’s, that’s it. Like I’m stuck in that building. So there was a passion piece there that I recognized.

Um, and then of course the, the actual job part of it, like, the only way I’d be happy working in medicine was. , you just send me to every war zone and just like patch people up and Right. Because in in [00:14:00] field medicine you could yell at people like, shut up, be quiet, quit moving around . And, uh, my, my bedside manner, as nice as I am, that was my bedside manner because that’s how I practiced it.

Because you know, field, you know, field is different.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, it definitely is different. Yeah. And, and the military medicine is, I mean, I think the bedside manner with the experiences that I’ve had, Military. Medics and doctors and things like that, bedside manner kind of goes out the window. Oh yeah. In a lot of cases, um, you know, on occasion you’ll get someone who’s, who’s nice and kind of softer and, you know, whatever.

But yeah, , for the most part, it, it goes out the window. It’s like, you know, change your socks, drink water, suck it up. Butter cup, let, let’s get moving. Right. Yeah,

Jerry Dugan: in a military or in a civilian hospital, somebody who’s had like gastroenteritis, diarrhea, vomiting, you’re not going to hear the nurses and the doctor say, Hey, get up.

This isn’t a bed and breakfast . But in the army, if somebody’s in the aid station for that, you know, getting an iv, getting Phenergan [00:15:00] so they won’t be throwing up anymore and it’s chow time and they can’t move cuz they’re drugged up. Yeah. And they’re wobbly and they’re like, I can’t get, you know, a kilometer down the road to the chow.

You’ll hear a doctor say, Hey, get up, soldier. This is an event breakfast. And then they get up and they go iv, like still attached to their

Scott DeLuzio: arm. Like Yeah. Wheeling the thing down the road, like going down to, to go get chow. Yeah. I’m like, this

Jerry Dugan: doesn’t seem right. Like, couldn’t any one of us just gotten him a plate and Right.

Should he be eating anything in the first place? Like he’s on a brat diet to begin with and, uh, but it’s just like that, that harsh, you know, suck it up. Yeah. You’re, you’re in a combat zone or a pretend one for training and a very different style. But I know I’m getting this off track here, but Yeah, it was.

So, so yeah, for the first 30 years of my life, just pursuing somebody else’s dream and then realizing no, you know, training and development is the thing. But even before I got to that realization, I. I left my corporate job to go into real estate sales because I thought it was all about chasing the [00:16:00] money.

And this was 2006, had a really good first year, you know, as far as rookies go, you know, typical agent will sell about one or two homes on average. And I sold seven in my first, not even a full year. Wow. I’m like, yeah. Uh, 2007, I think I put 22 sales on the books. Wow. Um, But then 2008, the market caught up in Corpus Christi.

It tanked and I was fighting for tooth and nail. Um, I think I still sold 22 homes in 2008 or, uh, yeah, 2008. But my price point dropped tremendously.

Scott DeLuzio: I was gonna say, yeah, that that 22 homes in 2008 was not the same. 22 homes in 2007

Jerry Dugan: was not. Yeah. And, uh, so price point dropped, I think to get those 22 homes.

I had to put. 45, 50 homes into escrow. Uh, but then 2009, 10 and 11, uh, it, it dropped, I think I was doing about 10 sales a year. Price point stayed low. Um, I wound up having to take a job and, and then we hung up the real estate sales license and [00:17:00] my wife asked me to never talk about this again. , at least on front of her

And the idea of getting my license again is off the table. Like Jerry is never to go back into real estate as an agent. Uh, I can go back in as an investor, just not as an agent. Right, right. And it was just, and a big part of it is because so many variables were a part of a transaction. Like it wasn’t just based on what I did for the client, like I depended on myself and the.

and I needed the other agent and the other client to all kind of mesh and work together. And then I needed the home inspector to point out things that need fixing, but not so much that it scares people. Uh, I needed the repair guys to do their job on time, on budget and so on. Uh, the title company had to pull up everything.

Whoever owned the home in the past had to have all their ducks in a row. Otherwise, there’s a title issue. Uh, the bank not only is there the loan officer, but there. Praiser on the other end, there’s somebody originating the loan, there’s somebody else reviewing all the [00:18:00] documents, and there’s lawyers in the background.

All you need is one of these guys that have a bad day.

Scott DeLuzio: and

Jerry Dugan: the whole thing’s screwed up. Yeah. You’re not getting a $5,000 paycheck after a month and a half to two months worth of work, and you’re like, right, I needed that so badly. Right. So it was in that, that we finally realized teaching and education was my, my gift, my skillset.


Scott DeLuzio: uh, and I was gonna say, you probably were not all that happy doing that because it, there’s not a whole lot of teaching going on there. You’re out there selling and, and being a salesperson is, A different mindset than Yes. A teacher educator. Um, and then I, I also want to get into your podcast and your book as well.

Yeah. Um, so the, the podcast, you, you told an interesting story about how you got into that podcast and, uh, how it became yours? Uh, yes. Would you mind telling the listeners a little

Jerry Dugan: bit about that ? So, when Beyond The Rut originally started, there were three of us, uh, the host of the show, Brandon, uh, been a friend of mine at that time for about a decade, and we knew each other from church.

Uh, we served in [00:19:00] men’s ministry together and he wanted to start a show that would help men who are. , they’re in their thirties and forties. They have kids, they have all the boxes checked in what success looks like, but they feel stuck in a rut. And the reason why he wanted a show about that is because as a pastor, he hears men come up to him every weekend.

Hey, I can’t get my wife to respect me. I can’t get my kids to pay attention to me. My job sucks. How do I make more money in a job I love, uh, because that’s what’s holding us back. I’m in the current job. I hate that takes me away from my family because we need the company car. , all those things. And he would give them advice and that was probably part of the problem.

He was giving advice instead of coaching them to their own solution. But he thought, you know what? It’d be great if I could just record my answers. Somebody somewhere out there will listen to it and actually apply it. So that’s what started the show. There were three of us, the third guy, his name’s Shawn, uh, he joined us early on cuz he’s really good at writing.

And uh, he also bowed out really early on. So the show was really myself and Brandon for five years. And one day early [00:20:00] 2021, uh, we have a discussion where it, it’s apparent he pod faded without me in pod fadings where you just sort of like phase out and fade away from the podcasting space. And so he was done with the show.

He was ready to hang it up. He wasn’t, uh, feeling it anymore. And it was at a time when I was amped up, ramped up and wanting to build the show and make more impact with it. And, uh, so I was left with a choice. I either start my own show from scratch or. Build off this momentum that I, I was already noticing with other podcasters, with the listeners and so on, and uh, so I just asked Brandon, I’m like, Hey, do you mind if I take over the.

And, uh, so February we have that conversation and he hands everything over to me and I’m like, awesome. Thank you so much. And, and even more awesome was that he, it was the beginning of the year and he’d already paid for everything in advance and he wouldn’t take any money from me, . So it was like his apology to me wasn’t just handing over all the reins.

He’d already prepaid for everything and refused to take any, um, compensation from me to pay for those fees. Like, [00:21:00] The, the domain name, the server, uh, all those things. And I was like, okay, cool. Once I got all that settled, and this is the part of the story you also heard about in, in Las Vegas, was that it was now time to look at, all right, who do I interview next weekend?

and there was nobody there, , . And so the evidence of that, my friend Brandon, had pod faded without me, was starting to appear. It wasn’t just that, um, he wasn’t marketing on social media and, and he wasn’t bringing in new people to interview. And so I looked at March, nothing. April, nothing. The only guy I had left was in May, and it was somebody I had to reschedule because I forgot to hit record.

The one time I forgot to hit record. Uh, and I just thought, uhoh, I’m in trouble. And so I, yeah, I scrambled, got guests and then as I’m doing that, I didn’t share this from the stage because the topic was so narrowed down to how do you find guests? But I also had to rebuild connections on social media that, you know, we had stopped following people over the.[00:22:00]

Course of the pandemic, uh, and for different reasons. And I realized, okay, I gotta reconnect with these guys. We, we love these guys. They loved our show. Why are we not following these guys back and engaging with them? Right. And you know, I was just going through the social media trails and realizing. Wow.

We, we’ve been unplugged from the world for about a year at least, and it’s time to get reconnected. And so that, that was my introduction into taking the show over and , uh, you know, since then. So two years later, I now have gotten the show to a point where it’s consistently publishing twice a week. Uh, I just moved up into the top one and a half percent on listen notes.

Scott DeLuzio: I was just gonna say that , I, I was just gonna say that cause I, I pulled up your, your, uh, your show on there, uh, the other day and I was looking at it, I was like, holy crap. He is, he’s killing it with this, right?

Jerry Dugan: Oh man. Yeah. Just trucking along publishing every single week. Yeah. And, um, honing in on what the audience.

The avatar that I had shared with you of, of the show holding in on what they need and what they want to hear has really helped get that [00:23:00] consistency going and move that needle up. And it sounds really cool on listen notes and it’s something that’s humbling, is that top one and a half percent of all the podcasts in the Apple podcast directory, so that’s like what, 3 million shows somewhere around there?

Yeah. And, uh, the majority of them are defunct. They’ve all pot faded. So there’s really about 300,000 shows maybe is, I think the lowest I heard is 200,000. The highest number I’ve heard is 400,000 shows that are live and active. So if you do the math of like, well, where does that put you in the top one and a half percent of 3 million shows, I think it’s like in the top 50,000 shows, give or take,

Scott DeLuzio: um, which is still like pretty incredible.

I mean, think about all the shows that are out there and. I mean, there’s, yours is specific to a certain, uh, demographic that avatar that you shared in your talk. Um, but there, there’s true crime podcasts that are in that, that’s a different demographic. Yeah. Different people are listening to that type of thing.

There’s other [00:24:00] types of podcasts that are out there, and so if you were to even narrow that down to your specific category of podcasts, like it’s, it’s even more impressive. It’s not that 50,000, it’s, it’s something. Even higher up than that. So, yeah. Uh, so it, I mean, I looked at it and I was like, man, this guy is, he’s, he’s killing it out there.

He’s doing, doing a great job. So I I, I am definitely going to be, uh, snooping around and, uh, awesome. Know, kinda taking some best, best, uh, practices from, from what you’re doing, so. Awesome. Thank you. Yeah, and, and I honestly, I, the show is great too because the, the topic, I think you being the host is a perfect.

Being in that situation where you are in that rut, you’re in college, you’re studying for something that you were not passionate about and like you’ve lived it. You know that. Yeah. And there’s other people who are currently living it right now. Today, they’re in that place and they don’t know what to do.

It’s like, I can’t leave this job because I need the money, [00:25:00] but I hate the job. There’s this other thing I’d love to do. I just dunno how to make any money doing it. Yes. Um, how. , how do I fit that in to my life? Right? And so, um, that’s basically, I, I think, am I summarizing that in a nutshell? Like that, that’s pretty much what you, you guys are talking about.

Jerry Dugan: Right? And I don’t know if I shared it from the stage in Vegas, but uh, yeah, more recently I, I found myself in a rut and didn’t realize I was there. And that’s the essence of the book, is that if you’re not cognizant of that rut and where you are in life, It’ll sneak up on you and boom, put you in there.

And, uh, and it might be because I didn’t have time, but it also didn’t tie in with the specific topic of the talk. Um, but yeah, the end of 2022. I’m attending podcast movement in Dallas, uh, in August, I believe. And I’ve got these ideas for the podcast. How am I gonna grow the podcast? Uh, I really need to get my book finished and out there.

That’s been a goal for a long time. You know, it’s been on Sunday aisle way too long. I need to get this thing done. I need to make an investment to [00:26:00] commit. And, and so I hired self-publishing dot com to get me there. Uh, and that’s all at podcast movement. Well, I go back to work the next week and it turns out all pandemonium just broke loose while I was gone.

Um, you know, not to get into too much detail, but there was a toxic element present that we could never address, and it reared its head up to a point where my team decided I’m out. I. and now I’m left with a team that has quit and my choices are either a, I stick around and rebuilt the team, answering the awkward question of, so why did everybody quit in the last six months?

Like, I can’t tell you the answer cuz I report to the guy. You know, it’s like , uh, so how do I not throw that person under the bus? And then on top of that it was like, but also by staying am. Condoning the behavior that happened and the words that were used. And, and I realized, yes, if I stay, I’m associating my brand as a leader with that person’s brand as [00:27:00] a leader.

And that doesn’t matter to me. Like that’s a no-go. Um, but the deal clincher for me, cuz up to this point I’m still thinking I can still, you know, I’m a good leader. I know how to do team building. I know how to communi. It’s still on me to kind of try to fix this. Uh, but something my wife had pointed out to me that weekend while, you know, we’re trying to contemplate what do we do about this, this is Labor Day weekend.

And she just said, Jerry, quit the job. And this is Miss. I need security. I need to know that we have a plan for ourselves, person in the family. She’s, she is the, uh, common sense in a way. And, and plus we’re recovering from. What we experienced in real estate when the market tanked. Right? So just leaving your job is not a great idea, but here she is recommending this.

And I’m like, what? I mean, that’s how I feel. But it’s coming outta your mouth. Well, I don’t get it. Let’s, what happened here? Did we switch places? And she said, Jerry, I, I’ve [00:28:00] been up here in Dallas with you for the last year and a half in a job you’ve been in for three years. . And the one thing that it has been clear to me since I moved up here is that you’re not happy in your job.

And I thought this was a great move for you. I thought it was a great, you know, climb in your career. The pay is nice. Um, you know, but the pay is not worth losing. My husband and I. I was like, but you’re not gonna lose me. She goes, well, maybe not in terms of marriage and divorce. No, but I’m losing him in terms of his happiness.

That right, that bouncing your step has been gone for over a year. And you know, I thought it was me and then I realized, no, it’s not me. And it’s not really you, it’s kind of the environment you’re in. Uh, but I can’t tell you to quit your job, but I’m gonna tell you now, quit your job. And I was like, . Wow.

Okay. I need to think about that. And she said besides, um, you remember when our daughter visited us before she moved up here? And I was like, yeah, well I didn’t tell you this before she, before she [00:29:00] went back and I was dropping her off at the airport. She said, mom, are you and dad? Okay. Ah, and you know, our 19 year old, and she was probably 18 at the time, she had recognized there’s a strain going on with Jerry.

And, um, her fear was, It was a marriage strain. And, uh, my wife said, no, we’re, we’re fine. We love each other. I know he loves me. He knows I love him. Uh, but he is going through a lot at work right now. And, and that’s what we’re seeing. And, and, and Emma, she was like, okay, but I, I just worry for you. And, uh, it’s so worried that she contemplated renting a two bedroom apartment when she moved up here, just in case mommy needed a place to stay.

And I’m like, That breaks my heart. My baby girl thought that that’s where we would go. Um, but then our son visits a few months after that, and this is like a month prior to all this stuff falling apart. He goes home back to Corpus Christi and then he calls my wife and he asks the same thing independent of this other [00:30:00] conversation that happened and he is asking, are you and dad okay?

Same conversation and live, uh, you know, put his fears at ease, but it was clear to live by that point. Okay. The. Is straining Jerry so much that it’s taken a toll on us in a way that our kids noticed it. Yeah. It’s

Scott DeLuzio: noticeable at this point. Yes. Where it’s not, it’s not just a, you know, let’s just stuff it down and deal with it kind of thing.

It’s now, it’s exactly boiling to the surface. That pot is overflowing now. Yeah. And, and you’re noticeably upset and agitated, whatever it is that you’re experiencing to the point where, They’re concerned and, and probably rightfully so,

Jerry Dugan: right? Oh yeah. And here I am on a three day holiday weekend, staying up till three or four in the morning contemplating how do I talk to this guy?

How do I convince my team to not quit? How do I fix what’s happening? And it just kept coming back to the same result. It’s not gonna fix. Yeah, your choices are leave or stick around and be [00:31:00] miserable and just collect the paycheck and wait for this guy to retire. And where are you gonna be when that happens?

Because he’s probably got another five years left in him. And, uh, what about, you know, what else is at stake if, you know, you stick it out and you, you wait to get his job someday or you grow or maybe you don’t grow because have you really grown in the last three years? In some ways, yes. In some ways, no.

Um, and it just, and start to grow in a toxic

Scott DeLuzio: environment too.

Jerry Dugan: It is, yeah. Like there were some wins that I had that I could really brag about, but then, you know, somebody with three years of director experience. In any other organization will have really grown and accelerated. And for me, I, I felt like I was just a glorified manager, not a director.

I wasn’t really driving or influencing the culture of the organization. I was just getting a paycheck and Yeah. You know, having somebody bypass me. So it was, it was that, and so I, I, yeah. Put in my. 30 day notice and, uh, put my focus on the book. It was like, all right, well we’re gonna take three months off to [00:32:00] focus on healing, finish this book, and then by January decide what you’re gonna do.

Scott DeLuzio: And so was there, so there was no real plan outside of focusing on the book and, and your, your own wellbeing. Uh, you know, as far as income goes anyways, like there’s no, what’s next for Jerry? It was, I’m outta here. I, I just, Whatever it is is not this. Right,

Jerry Dugan: exactly. Yeah. Cuz on and beyond the rut. I, I ask folks to take a look at life, and this is both in the podcast on a regular basis, but also in the book, um, the Five F’s.

You know, how are you doing in your faith, your family, your fitness, finances in your future growth are future success, just your future in general. And um, if you feel stuck in life, you know, you just feel like there’s this weight on your shoulders. There’s this sense of like, no hope really. Take a look at those five areas and how are things going and, and so we took that job situation and we applied the five Fs.

Like, well, I still believe in God, so there’s no impact there. [00:33:00] Family. My kids think I’m about to leave my wife of 21 years going on 22. Um, And it’s probably putting a strain on us. You know, my wife’s having to deal with the sludge I’m bringing back from work. Um, so there’s a strain and fitness. I think I wound up gaining 30 pounds, 40 pounds in the last year and a half.

Um, and I’m confident almost all that was stress induced and it’s like, okay, physically that’s not good. Uh, emotionally what’s happening? I’m staying up till two or three in the morning thinking about how do I navigate my boss the next day, uh, even though I’m doing a great. You know, I don’t feel like I am because I have three out four people quitting on me and um, and the fourth one’s just sticking around because I’m sticking around and so, That was a big eye-opener for me that I, I have a rut.

It’s impacting my family, it’s impacting my fitness. Uh, finances aren’t impacted. They will be when I leave, but we had savings because of the five Fs we had. Uh, and I [00:34:00] calculated, I was like, you know what? We can do everything we’re still doing and have Christmas and we’re good for five. We can pinch pennies a little bit and we can go six months.

Uh, income tax return will come in right around the end of the sixth month. That’ll get us another seventh and eighth month out of that. Um, and we also have a credit card if we really have to, and, and, uh, so we can, we can make it, we can go six to eight months. as we are. If we go beans and rice, we can go about nine to 12 months.

And she said, no, I, I like the first option. I’m like, cool . And then she’s like, isn’t there like an option C? And I’m like, yeah, option C’s. Ah, screw it. We cash everything in. We have one great month. And uh, and we celebrate or we take a whole year off and she’s like, No, let’s go with plan B. Yeah. Let’s Or

Scott DeLuzio: middle ground.

Middle ground. Yeah.

Jerry Dugan: And, and so that’s where we were and that’s where we are. And the thing I didn’t expect to do was to start a company, though. That was the, the big aha, like original plan was January. Start looking for a new [00:35:00] job and I’ll take two to three months to find something in my field. Instead.

November I file for an LLC and I start btr Impact. Delivers training and development for leaders who want to learn how to be a servant leader. So, uh, that’s something I’ve been building and offering up. And, uh, right before I got on this call, I received a contract to do a leadership development series for a local hospital.

And I’m like, what? Okay, cool deal. This is how, that’s awesome. Yeah. Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: And, and it fits too because I. Throughout your whole journey, I’m seeing this transformation going from you’re in college, doing something, studying something I should say that you don’t want to be doing. Eventually, you know, being a doctor, uh, and you, you’re moving through your career, doing things, going in the right direction.

You’re, you’re making those course corrections. You’re, you’re making those improvements. , but it’s not fine tuned. It, it’s like a sculptor who gets this big block of marble and he just [00:36:00] starts chipping away at it. You’re making the right, you’re the right moves, you’re going in the right direction. But it’s not fine tuned quite yet.

Yeah, it’s not, it’s not the, that clean, polished sculpture, you could tell there’s a face there, but it’s like, yeah, my kid could have drawn something better than that. You, you’re getting, you’re, but you’re moving in the right direction. Right. Um, and then now you’re, you’re in a situation where you. your own boss, and now you don’t have to worry about toxic leadership or toxic employees or things like that because it’s you and, and if, yeah.

if there’s anything toxic going around, you just have to look in the mirror and be like, okay, well , that’s my problem. Problem is me. Yeah, , it’s my problem. I need to, I need to fix this problem so that it doesn’t affect other people. Um, which I think you’re intelligent enough to figure that out. And so, you know, but you’re, you’ve made all of these adjustments and I think the reason why I’m bringing this all up is because for the people who are out there and they’re stuck in a rut, um, that might be listening to this and say [00:37:00] like, okay, well that’s great, but I, I don’t have those.

Finances saved up. I can’t make this big drastic change. Well, you didn’t make this big Jurassic change either, right off the bat. You made small incremental changes to the point where now you have something that’s a little bit more fine-tuned. And you know, obviously as a business owner, I, um, you know, I’ve had businesses myself.

The next paycheck is never guaranteed so that you lose some of that, that comfort. Um, but as you continue to progress and grow again, you’re gonna fine tune things even in this business, and it’s gonna get better and better and better. And you’re gonna get to that point where, Yes, the next month’s paycheck is pretty much guaranteed.

You have the contracts in place, or you have the, uh, the whatever deals that you’re working on that’s in place. Um, but none of this happened overnight. We’re talking, I mean, how many years has this been since you were in college to now? I mean, this is. We’re talking [00:38:00] decades, uh, that, that have gone, you have to say this on record here.

No , no, you don’t have to say it on record. No, I totally put you on the spot there and you totally don’t have to say that.

Jerry Dugan: It’s over two decades. Uh, I’m 27 now. I graduated at about 23, so almost 25 years ago. So 1998 when I left college. Uh, and. Yeah. So what, 20? Yeah, 25 years. This is a 25th year since I left college as an undergrad.

And, um, you know, a little less time since I got my Master’s, so about a decade since I got my master’s degree and Right. Uh, but yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: it’s just, well, all of that, even the, the master’s is just another incremental change. You know, you, you were originally thinking, you know, let’s get the NBA and, you know, go out there killing it like all these other guys that are out there making tons of money and stuff.

But that wasn’t what. Ultimately wanted to do. And so, yeah, you don’t need an M B A to start a business. Like anybody can start a business, right? And, and you have this marketable skill and you’re out there, you’re selling it. Uh, clearly you just did [00:39:00] after, you know, just before getting on this call. So, I mean, it’s not like you’re incapable of doing this and you get to do exactly what you want to do.

Um, one thing I noticed when I had, uh, had a business is, Was able to kind of pick and choose the people that I worked with. And if it didn’t seem like it was a good fit for me, I was like, okay, well yeah, this sucks. I’m, I’m not gonna get this paycheck for this particular client, but I know that if I’m working with this person, it’s gonna kill me inside and I can just walk away from it and no big deal.

And, um, focus on the next client and. Make things that much better for that client. So I’m not Yeah, exactly. Bringing the, the, the toxic person’s craft into this person’s world that doesn’t exactly make a good customer experience. So, um, yeah, I mean, everything that you’re doing is just those incremental changes to get to where you’re at now.

Um, you know, ev even with the podcast and the book, um, you, you’re doing all of these things, [00:40:00] um, and I, I’ve written a book too. It, it takes time. It does. Yeah. But you, you, you have to chip away. It’s like e eating an elephant. You, how do you eat it? One bite at a time. And it’s the same thing with writing a book, starting a podcast.

I mean, you just have to start and eventually you’ll finish. Yeah. Right.

Jerry Dugan: Yeah. And the cool thing about this particular leap in general is it’s not all fly by night either. Like some of the details are opportunities I didn’t know existed a few months ago or a few weeks ago, even. However, the. , like what I’m executing right now was really what I was gonna gradually build up to and launch Three years from now, I mean the book was still gonna launch soon, but like a training business, a speaking, um, a public speaking business, a consulting business, uh, all lumped under B T R impact, that was a gradual growth over three years.

So that when I decided maybe I do wanna leave corporate, [00:41:00] There’s this other thing I’ve been gradually building, and then now I can, you know, scale it up, right? Well, instead of doing that, it was like, all right, well instead of three years, let’s get this thing ready in three months. And, uh, that’s where we are.

And it’s like, okay, so, uh, we, we don’t have the audience that we thought or, um, yet we, we know people though, and we could build that out and get the word out. And, uh, and what are the priorities? And this is something my wife helped me really reign in. . We actually had a business meeting. Uh, so my daughter came in and moderated, uh, my wife sat down with me and it, it was like an inter, I thought it was gonna be an intervention, and it, it was in some ways, however, instead of saying, we don’t think you should pursue business, it was, Jerry, we’ve been watching you for the last few weeks.

In your excitement of not being in your job anymore, um, it feels like you’re going in 50 different directions. and we wanna know where are you, what do you want to do? What’s the direction you want to go in? And um, and I realized, you know, [00:42:00] now, now the planner and my wife has come in and I’m realizing she is seeing my external processing of thinking out loud, sharing what I’m learning as each one of these things is a plan.

I’m gonna. . So that meeting, that intervention was all about if you had a plan right now, what would it be? And this was a conversation we had back in, I wanna say the end of October. So a few weeks had gone by since leaving my job and I shared with her, um, if we can help it, I don’t want to dive right back into a corporate job.

Not yet. That is our plan B or plan C, uh, if, if all else fails. And so I showed her the finances again. I was like, this is where we are financially. Uh, and so this is where I have the room to play with to make this happen. Ideally, I wanna start this company. Boom. Um, that’s, you know, that’s actually. Stage two.

Stage one is I need to get this book done, get it published, and [00:43:00] get it launched because that’s gonna feed into the speaking business and drive traffic to the podcast and, and help people change their lives. So that’s one arm. The other one is taking what I love about my corporate job and doing just that like a grandpa, you know, like I come in, I play with your kids, I give them back to the parents.

I don’t have to worry about the responsibility of the aftermath. And that’s kinda like consulting and doing like guest training and speaking spots. You come in, you get to hang out with that company and help build their culture, help them learn something, and then you take off, let them handle all the reporting and the follow up and all that stuff.

Uh, and so that’s what I love doing. And, and then so I told her that’s the second piece I wanna work on is the training component of the business. And then the third thing is, is really live out. The dream that we’ve had, you know, I wanna be able to travel, I wanna be able to, when our kids get old enough and they’re getting there to have kids of their own and build their own families.

I know one thing my wife wants to be able to do is be [00:44:00] there for those grandkids and be there for our kids. And if we’re broke and we don’t have financial freedom and we don’t have freedom of movement, you know, like our, our schedules are dictated by a boss. Um, Then we’re not gonna have that freedom to go and work from where we want when we want be with our family when we need to be there.

And, and so that was, I told her that’s the third thing we rebuild our savings and our financial freedom, uh, and our, our mobility freedom so that we can be with our kids when they need us and, and be with our grandkids when we wanna be there. And, and she’s like, I love that plan. And I’m like, cool. She’s like, where’d you come up with this?

I’m like, that’s been the plan all my life plan. Years. Um, now’s the time to execute it instead of three years from now. And she’s like, wow. And my, my daughter was like, wow, you had all this? I’m like, oh yeah, it’s, it’s tucked away on an Evernote somewhere, , and I can email it to you if you don’t believe me.

She said, no, I don’t feel like reading that. Like, that’s cool. That’s fine. . So, yeah. But I [00:45:00] mean,

Scott DeLuzio: I, I think all of this is just, yeah, obviously you’re accelerating this, this timeframe, but I think all of this is really made. Because of a few things that you had going in the works. Yeah. And you may not have even realized that you had these things going for you, um, years ago perhaps.

But, you know, being smart with your money and, and putting stuff into savings so that you do have this financial freedom be because now you’re not in this position where you’re literally stuck in a rut and you can’t get out cuz you financially, you can’t afford. miss one paycheck. Yeah. That, that’s a, that’s not a great place to be.

Um, and so you that’s that point. Yeah. Oh yeah. Oh, that, that’s, and that’s where a lot of people are. They’re stuck in that rut. They can’t leave the job because they have no place else to go. And if they leave, they’re broke and they, they’ll miss their mortgage payment. The car payments are all the other [00:46:00] payments and stuff that they have going on.

Maybe they can’t even put food on the table at that point. Um, . And so yeah, being smart with your money, put, put some money aside, ev every paycheck, and, uh, put that in a rainy day fund so that you have something. Set aside so that you can survive for a few months if something happens where you have to leave a job for some reason, like in your case or, or maybe you get laid off or fired, a company closes something.

I mean, there’s unforeseen circumstances that happened all the time. I mean, just look a few years ago with Covid where. , all these businesses were shutting down and there were people outta work all over the place and they had no savings to fall back on. Yeah, I can’t say everybody had no savings, but there were people out there with no savings to fall back on, and that was a terrible situation to be in for them.

Um, but the other thing that you had going for you, and you knew this was there, but. Maybe not to the extent that, um, it, it made itself evident. It was just the, the family support and the family structure that you had, [00:47:00] um, I think is super important. Um, your, your wife being there in your corner, like looking out for you, that’s huge.

Um, you know, without that, uh, you know, maybe, you know, if you had a crystal ball and like kind of looked back at your life without that support, maybe you’d still be in that, that job that you didn’t. and you were continuing to be miserable. And that misery is just gonna compound itself. It’s gonna grow and grow and grow.

And we wouldn’t be sitting here talking to Jerry who’s smiling and having a good, positive attitude. We’re gonna be sitting to, you know, salty. Pissed off Jerry, who’s, I hate my, you know, just mad at the

Jerry Dugan: world, but I hate my job. Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh yeah. Right. You know, so, so that’s, I mean, that’s a great thing too. And so I, I think for me, the takeaways here are, you know, plan, plan for those unexpected things.

Um, have a, a backup plan, [00:48:00] have the, the B plan, the C plan, even the D plan. If need be. Hopefully you don’t have to fall back that many times on, on different plans, but you never know. Yeah. It’s nice to know that they’re there. So should something happen, you have those backup plans. Um, and then just taking stock of what your interests are and what you are capable of doing, what, what are the skills that you have that people actually pay money for and get into that type of.

Environment where you can let that go and, and unleash and, um, I forget who said it now, but uh, I’ve heard the saying before, if you find a job that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Mm-hmm. . You think about all these people Monday morning, they’re standing in line at Starbucks, just hating the fact that they have to go into work and sit there for eight to 10, 12 hours, whatever it is, uh, doing their job.


Jerry Dugan: hating it [00:49:00] and they’re probably standing in that line to avoid or delay going into that job.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, it’s not so much that they need the coffee, it. I just don’t really want to get in there right now. So , I’d rather

Jerry Dugan: buy four coffees for the people at work than to be in there at work. Yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: right.

Exactly. Yeah. Let those suckers handle it. , yes. .

Jerry Dugan: Like, because if you love your job, you just, you bypass that, you get right into the office early and you’re like, I love this. Hey, right here in east. Start getting things going

Scott DeLuzio: and, and that’s not to say that you have to fake it either. Like, if you don’t like your job and your job, is draining.

You find something that you do love and find a way to make money at it. Um, you know, I, I did that for, for several years. I had a, I had a business that I was doing things that I, I absolutely loved until I didn’t. And it, when I, when it got to the point where I found I was just getting burnt out and it.

Not what I wanted to do. I sold the business and [00:50:00] moved on to the next thing. It it, and that’s okay. It’s not like, oh, he’s a failure because, uh, you know, he is, he sold his business and he is not doing that anymore. It’s like, no, I, I use it for what it was worth. It was great while I was doing it. Um, paid the bills.

We, we kept a roof over our heads, everything like that, all through that job, but, or, or the business that I had. And it was great. I. I, I got into work and I enjoyed what I was doing until I didn’t, and then I just moved on. Yeah. And, and that’s okay too, I think. Yeah.

Jerry Dugan: And, and Brandon, uh, we talked about him earlier.

It’s exactly what he did too. Like it’s not bad that he pot faded and that he left the show. Um, he, he left on really good graces in terms like he didn’t have to. Not have me pay for that first year. He could have said, all right, it’s like this many dollars and I pay him and here’s your receipt and all that stuff.

No, he handed it over and he said, I think you’d be the right person to carry on that torch. I’m happy to hear that you want to carry on that torch. [00:51:00] He and I still talk. He wrote a review for my book and you know, we still wish each other happy birthday and all those good things and Right. Uh, you know, it’s just the pod fitting is just where he was because.

Five years into the show, he was now a grandfather of five. He had five grandkids. He didn’t have that when we started the show. And, and so when you thought about, okay, it’s recording day, we’re gonna spend five or six hours together, he’s thinking about, I’d rather be playing with my grandkids right now.


Scott DeLuzio: And that’s a, I think the point is life changes. Yeah. Your, your interests, your priorities change. Yeah. Things change. And it’s okay to pivot. I, I think pivots are not failures. New information has been entered into the arena here. Exactly. And now we have to adjust to that, right? Yes. So, awesome. Well, Jerry, it’s been, gosh, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today.

Um. Let people know, uh, where they can go to. Uh, first off, find your book and your podcast.

Jerry Dugan: Awesome. So the book is available on [00:52:00] amazon.com. Just search Beyond the Rut. Uh, it’s available as an ebook, as a paperback, and I just saw it. It’s well by the time y’all hear this, it’s live on Audible as well. Uh, the audiobook is also available for sale on places like Spotify, Google.

Apple Books and so on. Uh, but if you want to hear the audiobook for free, there’s two ways you can get it. Uh, you could buy a copy of the ebook or the paperback and there’s a page in there that tells you how to get it for free, or if you wanna bypass all that, cuz you’re like, I still don’t know if I trust this Jerry Guy.

Uh, I, I, I’m giving away the audiobook for free. And, you know, just go beyond the rut.com/audiobook, uh, and it’ll ask for your email. You get a copy of that audiobook and listen to it on your phone right then and there. And, uh, and if you want, you can still buy a copy of the book. That’s, I’m not gonna stop you

Uh, or maybe you hear it and you say, you know what? I wanna pass this on to other people. Uh, feel [00:53:00] free to share either the audiobook link that I just did beyond the rut.com/audiobook. Show them the listing or get a copy of the book for your friend, your family member. That neighbor across the street. Uh, I got friends who were buying, uh, one of my friends just bought 20 copies for the people she knows in Indiana, and I’m like, that’s a very specific place to hand ’em out.

She goes, Jerry, you realize I live in Indianapolis, right? I’m like, oh yeah, okay, that makes sense now. It’s not like, cuz I know her when she lived here in Texas. For her to say she was buying ’em for people in Indiana to me, which sounded funny. But anyway, there we go. So if you wanna buy them for other people, for your office, all that good stuff, uh, you can do that as well.

And I, again, I won’t stop you. I, I really want the word of this book to get out. I want it to inspire people to live their best life now cuz life is really too short to live stuck in a rut.

Scott DeLuzio: So it is absolutely, and, and the podcast is on, you know, all the standard places where you can listen to podcasts.

Uh, it’s a great show, def, definitely check it out. After you’re done listening to this episode, go follow, [00:54:00] subscribe to the Beyond the R Podcast. Uh, check it out. Um, definitely an awesome show. And, uh, yeah, again, Really happy to have you on the show and I, I really do appreciate taking the time. Uh, this was a really enjoyable conversation.

I had an enjoyable conversation with you when we were in Vegas too, and I, I had no doubt that we are gonna continue having a great time, uh, talking on, on this podcast as well. So thank you again.

Jerry Dugan: Awesome, Scott. Thanks for having me on here. I’m glad we finally did get to meet. Um, I know we got the introduction from Bode, uh, Trip Bodenheimer, so yeah, thanks.

Trip .

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks. Trip . Awesome. Thank you.

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 Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.[00:55:00]

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