Mental Health and Leadership – a Soldier’s Perspective

Dan Joseph Mental Health and Leadership - a Soldier's Perspective Drive On Podcast
Drive On Podcast
Mental Health and Leadership - a Soldier's Perspective

Dan Joseph talks about his background, including his experience in the biotech industry and how meeting military service members inspired him to join the Army. He discusses the challenges he faced as an older recruit and the lessons he learned during his time in the military.

Dan also shares insights on leadership and resilience that he gained from his experience in the Army. He also talks about his book, “Backpack to Rucksack,” and offers practical advice for anyone looking to develop leadership and resilience skills. In addition, Dan shares how his experience in martial arts has helped him develop mental toughness and respect for hierarchy.

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Timestamped Chapter Summary

  • Introduction to Dan Joseph and his background (00:00:00)
  • Dan’s inspiration to join the military (00:01:00)
  • Dan’s background and his parents’ experience as refugees from Iraq (00:03:00)
  • Lessons learned from military service members (00:05:00)
  • The impact of ISIS on Dan’s family and community (00:07:00)
  • Challenges faced as an older recruit (00:08:00)
  • Advice for older individuals considering military service (00:11:00)
  • Overview of “Backpack to Rucksack” (00:12:30)
  • Leadership lessons from the military (00:14:00)
  • Resilience and mental toughness in the military (00:16:30)
  • The value of practicing martial arts for military service (00:19:00)
  • Importance of self-awareness (00:21:00)
  • Building trust and effective communication (00:23:00)
  • The role of mentors in leadership development (00:25:30)
  • Lessons learned from military deployments (00:28:00)
  • The importance of teamwork (00:30:00)
  • Dan’s transition from military to civilian life (00:32:30)
  • The impact of the lockdown on military personnel (00:34:00)
  • Dan’s motivation for studying leadership academically (00:36:00)
  • The benefits of academic study for military leadership (00:38:00)
  • The importance of humility in leadership (00:40:00)
  • The role of leadership in building a positive culture (00:42:00)
  • The importance of building relationships in leadership (00:44:00)
  • The connection between leadership and mental health (00:46:00)
  • Dan’s advice for developing leadership skills (00:48:00)
  • The impact of suicide on military personnel (00:49:00)
  • Using self-care to control the controllables (00:50:00)
  • The power of incremental change (00:53:00)
  • Dan’s experience fitting in with different crowds (00:54:00)
  • The importance of being oneself in the military (00:56:00)
  • Dan’s motivations for writing “Backpack to Rucksack” (01:00:00)
  • The importance of talking about mental health and seeking help when needed (01:02:00)
  • The benefits of controlling the controllables (01:04:00)

Dan shares his motivations for writing “Backpack to Rucksack,” including his desire to process his own angst about the weight differential between good and bad leadership and how that can contribute to someone wanting to take their own life. Dan talks about his friend Cody, who survived a suicide attempt and wrote the introduction to Dan’s book. Dan also shares the story of Austin, an unlisted marine who is now an officer in the Army and who had 12 members from his unit commit suicide. Dan emphasizes the importance of talking about mental health and seeking help when needed.

Dan also shares how he focused on controlling the controllables during his time as a junior officer in the military, using self-care to optimize his own mental and physical health. He emphasizes the power of incremental change in any aspect of life. Dan talks about his experience fitting in with different crowds, including the challenges he faced trying to fit in with a wealthy, substance-abusing crowd and how he found his tribe with military service members.


View the transcript for this episode.

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