Military Veteran Dads
Ben Killoy is a Marine veteran, turned blogger, life coach, speaker, and podcaster whose mission is to bring Military Veteran Dads home to their families and step into their best life.
Links & Resources
Scott DeLuzio 00:00:00 Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast where we're focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community, whether you're a veteran active duty guard reserve, or family member, this podcast we'll 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. Everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Ben Killoy. Ben is a Marine veteran, turned blogger life coach, speaker, and podcaster, whose mission is to bring military veteran dads home to their families and step into their best life. So welcome to the show. Ben, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Ben Killoy 00:00:42 Thank you, Scott, for having this conversation with me a little bit about my background as I got into the Marine Corps right out of high school. I would have been voted least likely to join the Marine Corps. And I was a stone throw away from going into the Air Force. And in those times where I was going to the Air Force, my idea was all I wanted was computers. And so the Air Force was very computerized. I was not looking to shoot things up. I was not looking for any of the military ask things that people joined for. I was literally looking for computer education. And so I was all in the Air Force. And then the day that changed my life was a church picnic in August of 2002. And the Marine recruiter had a bouncy house. And at this picnic, my mom wanted to make sure that I was exploring all my options because she thinks I was making an irrational decision.
Ben Killoy 00:01:23 Why she thought I'd go talking to the Marine was a good idea because it's the complete opposite of safety from the Air Force. And, but she did. And next thing you know, I quickly find out the Marine Corps has all the jobs that the Air Force does. I'm talking to him on Tuesday of the next week and two weeks later and raised my right hand for the Marine Corps. And that became my defining moment. I served four years in the Marine Corps. I served my time in Okinawa. I never saw a time in Iraq or Afghanistan, got out in 2007, got stuck on the standard one lane American dream that they assigned to you on the other side of the transition, get a job, start a family, get a house, get your debt in order. And all of these things should post a lineup. And it all kind of came crashing down in 2014.
Ben Killoy 00:02:01 When I quit college, I dropped out and said, this isn't working. And then from that moment, all the grass dried up because like, they literally tell you, you get this piece of paper. World is supposed to be easier. The world is supposed to get better. You're supposed to feel better about yourself. Well, I just killed this one tool that was supposed to do that. And it was that pit, that tool that I was missing, that I really had to start asking better questions. And it was in the spring of that year that I found a real love of leadership, which I had in the Marine Corps. But as many people in the military transition out, they realize they don't trust you to run the copier. So you kind of turn off your leadership traits. And then once I realized these are in here, I was like, I need to figure out how to turn these back on.
Ben Killoy 00:02:44 I need to figure out what I can do. And that kind of sparked this journey of learning leadership, but then also getting it wrong, that leadership isn't about influencing people. It's about first influencing yourself. And that still took about another five years to really figure out that, that true lesson. And then 2018, I had the courage to start my own podcast, Military Veteran Dad, with this really this idea that I think I'm wrong about where I can't go. And I'm going to try to prove myself wrong because honestly the thought in my head, when I started my podcast was guys like me don't do podcasts. And I had to be like, you know what, maybe I'm wrong. And so I let the downloads kind of speak for that. And now almost three years later, I'm still going. And now I have a second podcast on the same topic of fatherhood, but more talking from the same ideas and issues with military dads suffer. But realizing that this is the pandemic before we had a pandemic and that many dads struggle from the same BS stories in our head that prevent us from fully coming home emotionally and just being physical within our homes and not being someone that's influencing our kids, leading our kids, shepherding our kids through their emotions. And we just become this person that feels only valuable when we're working.
Scott DeLuzio 00:03:53 I mean, that's, there's a lot to unpack there. And so we're going to,
Ben Killoy 00:03:58 Anywhere in the timeline, I set you up perfectly, you can go shopping anywhere. You want,
Scott DeLuzio 00:04:03 You do this on your show. When you have beyond, you're gonna, you're gonna pull out some of the strings and unravel some, some things. So I think I have a lot of strings that I could tug on here with your story. But let's go back to the transition out of the military, because that seems like where a lot of people, a lot of veterans I've spoken to struggle with that a loss of identity when they get out of the military. They think by having that piece of paper, that their DD two 14, that things are doors are gonna open for them magically and things are just going to just start happening for them but what was that transition like for you? Did you feel like you were prepared after, after getting out of the Marine Corps or, what happened as you were getting out?
Ben Killoy 00:04:49 When I was getting out, I felt almost overly prepared because I was a planner. I was the guy that always followed the rules. I was always the guy that did what he was told. And so if you tell me to do something, I'm going to do it. And so that's what I started doing about six months before getting out. And I was only unemployed for about two weeks. I had a job fairly quickly and the other side, and for me, the process was, this is what you need to do. And so I started doing it, but there was never any advice or thoughts related to first pause, survey the landscape and figure out what life looks like right now. It was about, you need to keep moving. You need to keep finding a place to go to work. And it was just as default regurgitated transition advice that you need a career.
Ben Killoy 00:05:35 You need to find all these different things. And here's the process to find them, except these are all the same things that everybody else has. And the bigger problem with that is every veteran is different. And none of the process actually highlights our uniqueness for finding where we might be different and figuring out how we can fit into the world differently. So like for me, I had what I consider an easy transition. I didn't have a hard time getting a job. I had a good job, right? On the other hand, it was a salary position right away. I started, I had an apartment within the first two months of getting out. I was already moved out of my parents' house and I was like, man, I'm just ready to live life. I got this, I'm starting to date. I'm starting to do all these things that the check box has said you're supposed to have.
Ben Killoy 00:06:18 But really I was just an empty shell on the inside following this path that everybody else told me I needed to do. And there wasn't any reflection and figuring out like, let's pause for a second and figure out who I am and actually figure out where I could go. If anything, it was, let's take your skills from the military, find a job where you can reapply them. That's exactly what I did. I was a Jerry mechanic in the Marine Corps. I got a job at an OEM generator manufacturer on the other side, boom, that chorus followed me for 10 years, right up until the point of dropping out. And even to the point I was dropping out of an electrical engineering program. I was like, I love electricity. I like what I do. Let's just get a degree in it. Well, that process taught me just because you love it does make you good at it.
Ben Killoy 00:06:57 And math was always something I struggled with. And so it took me almost 10 years to figure out that it doesn't work that way, that you can't just adopt someone else's identity and someone else's common path, that there is, there is a process of slowing down and figuring out where you need to go. Now, one thing that would have changed everything in my transition and I had no wisdom of this because for me, I was behind. I watched my friends get married. My friends were starting to have kids and I was about 24 getting out. And I was like, I got to catch up. I'm not even dating. So for me, it was about racing to catch up versus slowing down. And what if I would have slowed down? What I would have realized is I didn't have a wide enough view. I had a very narrow view of life.
Ben Killoy 00:07:40 I grew up on a farm in Southern Wisconsin. I didn't have a lot of friends. The world was farming to me, and there's not a lot of wide view that comes on farming. There's not a lot of exposure for different ways of life, even from the city life that you might get. Or if you're living in the city, you might get to see what everybody else's dads are doing. I didn't have that. My dad was a farmer. And for me, that was like, that almost limited my blindness to how far I could see and how wide I could see. So if I could go back to one thing that I wish I would have done was get a wider view of the American dream because now almost 20 years later, I realized that it's not just a one lane, a two lane or a three lane, American dream.
Ben Killoy 00:08:15 It's a million lanes wide. It's paid with entrepreneurship. It's free pave with being a franchise owner is paved with starting your own business. It's paved with being a different type of career. That's more aligned to who you are with your skillset, understanding all of these things that you're not fixed to this set of reality of how you've experienced life, that you can actually rewrite your entire experience every single day. You wake up and that width was what I was missing. And then the other thing that I was missing was depth. I had no understanding of who I was. Again, I was just this person on the outside that knew how to be a chameleon in his environment and fit in where he needed to be, to be because they didn't have a lot of friends growing up. So I was always trying to feel like I could be accepted.
Ben Killoy 00:09:00 And when you're always trying to be accepted, you're really not trying to be yourself. And if you're really not trying to be yourself, all you're doing is hiding and suppressing who you could be. And eventually all that kind of came ahead in 2014, because I was trying to swallow down all of these things that I wanted to be, but everybody told me I had to do these things like even my dad, his advice was you get a job. You do your 30 years, you get your pension, you keep your head down and that's the road to the perfect American dream that didn't compute for me. And I didn't know how to change it.
Scott DeLuzio 00:09:31 Wow. I mean, that's insightful to, to look at that and be able to slow down and understand that, you know, that, that typical path that most people follow is not for everyone. And, and that there are different career paths and there are different ways of doing things. And you know, the course that you were on, wasn't the right one for you. And you were able to recognize that, you know, fortunately, and you didn't do it, where, where you're working in that job for, for 30 years and then collecting your pension. And then, that's the end of your story. And it was a story that maybe you wouldn't want to have you might have wanted to do it differentlyWhen you have other people who are in a similar situation, when they're getting out of the military, and they're just looking for jobs that align with whatever their job was in the military, maybe, maybe they got out of the military for a reason. Maybe they got out because they hated doing that job, but then they're going to go and find another job that does the same thing. So they're going to end up hating that too. So it's it running away from a problem or is it running to another problem?
Ben Killoy 00:10:53 The irony, and this is the number one reason I got out is because I wasn't good at shooting. I wasn't good at running. I was really only smart. And that was really how I performed. I was top of my class in my school, but that was the only place I was measured as a good Marine. All the other places, I was always substandard. I never was able to get promoted because of who I was. I got promoted because of time and grades. Eventually I got promoted because he eventually got enough points that eventually pushed you over the needle and you got to be a corporal, but I was almost a year delayed by that. And I was like, this process is limiting who I could be. And I was like, I'm not finding who I need to be on the inside. And so I need to get out.
Ben Killoy 00:11:30 And so I got out with the symbol belief that I'm meant for something bigger and the Marine Corps was going to hold me back. Now, there was also some irony in that I wasn't asking for help to work on these deficiencies. It was just accepting that these are the verdicts of why I suck, but still I got out with this idea that I need to be doing more. But instead of doing more on the other side, I just found what to do. Everybody else was doing instead of being or different. I just was trying to blend back in because I decided I'm not going to re-enlist for four years because of this reason, but then the tax code, they put you through, get you thinking a certain way. And that kinda got lost in that disbelief of figuring out where I could go and what I could do.
Ben Killoy 00:12:09 And now as a professional speaker coach, like there's another irony in this whole 20 year story that when I was in high school, I loved electricity as well. Even though I like computers, like electricity, I took a few circuits courses, and I was like, man, this stuff is really good. I like playing around with it. I can visualize it, my head is really good. And I think that's why I did good with the Marine Corps as well, because my ass van probably said the exact same thing. And so when I got out, I did troubleshooting for generators over the phone and I could visualize electrons in my head. I couldn't rotate an engine to save my life visually, but I could watch this chromatic light up and the relays fire with nobody's business. I could teach people that same idea. And I was like, I just love electricity, which is why I went for the EAD degree, this whole path.
Ben Killoy 00:12:48 I drop out. It quit in 2014. And I'm like through the next six years, as I continue to struggle, I went into, I did find a path in IT where I was working. I also made another pivot into marketing. And I was like, I'm either drunk on my curiosity and to figure out what I want to do because everything I did, I fell in love with. as I was struggling on the inside, like what idiot just leaves behind this level of electricity. He can make $130,000 a year. If he were to go back and put his nose to the grindstone, like, why am I making my life so hard when there's this easy path? Like I just left it behind. Like there wasn't any part of that story. That's in my current story. And then this past year, April of 2021, I was grocery shopping.
Ben Killoy 00:13:30 And I don't know what exactly it was. The kind of combination of all the years of information that combined, I got hit by lightning metaphorically. But pun intended that I realized like elecTricity is energy and people are energy. And the reason why I'm good with people and understanding where there are their emotions and all these different things that I do now, I was just applying my skill set in the wrong category because the one lane road told me if you like electricity, you should work with electricity. But me, I didn't understand that there were other areas of energy and people are energy and there's stuck energy inside of us and troubleshooting where the energy gets stuck. I can visualize that energy just as well as I can, an electron and a diode. And so for me, 20 years, it took to figure out that my life purpose really wasn't aligned towards electrical engineering. And I never left anything behind. I was just actually plugging my natural gift into a more common area that has me making a bigger impact that actually fuels me up even more than sitting behind a cube troubleshooting people's generators,
Scott DeLuzio 00:14:31 And that, that was going to actually be my next question was,how did you find that, that new passion or purpose in life and, and,how did you kind of stumbled into what you're doing now, but, that, that's an interesting way to look at it because it's, an outside the box kind of kind of
Ben Killoy 00:14:49 20 years to get outside of the box. Well, crazy person. It's like how long it took that together. And that's the only two ideas and to say it out loud now it's like, yeah, duh.
Scott DeLuzio 00:14:58 Right. When you think about it, when you're inside that box and what you're looking at is electronics, electricity,that type of stuff, that it's a big leap to go to people in human interactions and that type of stuff
Ben Killoy 00:15:21 For veterans, because there's a whole lot of BS. So you have to process to get to that point where it's right. Visible, because you can't be a coach and hydro shit, you gotta, you gotta own it. You got to advertise it, you're gonna use it. And it's going to be marketing material that allows you to help someone else. And it takes a whole lot of extra growth to get to that. So the invitation and the odd thing with me being a military dad and choosing military deaf my podcast for those like maybe first 15 years of my transition out after I was hiding from being a Marine, I didn't want to be acknowledged by it. I had to testify at a court martial on my way out of the Marine Corps and not for me, but for someone else and just loved this horrible taste. And I didn't want to deal with any of it anymore. I didn't like to be a dent attached to my identity. I didn't like attaching the integrity failures that led up to that court martial. And so I ran from it. And so it took me facing that darkness and that fear to step into it, to start my military debt podcast and heal my own journey. As I'm helping other dads hear their journey of talking about being a father
Scott DeLuzio 00:16:22 And being a, being a father, being a military dad, it is kind of interesting because I think you touched on this a little bit before, because as the father in a family, traditionally, you're looked at as the breadwinner,, you're going to work. And you're providing for the family that, that traditionally is the role of the father in the family. And, when your job in the military takes you all over the world, it's a dangerous job,similar to, perhaps a police officer where it's a dangerous job. And you don't know if you're necessarily coming home at the end of the day. And, whether you've deployed or not, doesn't matter because there's accidents that happen in, military training as well and, and things, things happen. It is a dangerous thing. And it probably puts a kind of a unique stress on the father, when they're, when they're dealing with their family life. And, they do have to focus a lot on their job, because that's part of what the service requires of you. but, you also have a family at home. So how do you balance the two?
Ben Killoy 00:17:47 It's not so much about balancing it's about, so I'm going to talk to the dad. That's not using his service in the right mindset, because it's actually the biggest liability to us being a better dad, because no one in their right mind is going to call someone out for serving too much, because it's dressed up as you're doing something that most people don't, you're serving your country, it's dressed up as you don't have a lot of choices in that. But in reality, if you could have a real conversation with yourself, you might have had the chance to leave at five that day, but maybe you stuck around at the base because you knew you had to take care of paperwork, or you knew you had to deal with something. But if you're fucking honest with yourself, you have to also acknowledge, am I hiding from what's at home?
Ben Killoy 00:18:30 Because military dads hide from what scares the shit out of us. And typically if you've had some motion that you've never processed your kids, untethered emotions become those things that scare the shit out of you. And you want to keep at arms distance because of how insecure it makes you feel on the inside, because you can't control that feeling. And that makes you feel really vulnerable. We don't like feeling vulnerable because in war, vulnerability kills us. And so we hold back from it and we have good places to hide. We have T D D wise that we can volunteer for that look just like, oh, wait, we're told to go do this TDY. No, you may be volunteered because you're not trying to acknowledge that. So it has this, this crux you have to realize is you are using your service to hide from being a dad and acknowledging them, but then also realizing there is a balance.
Ben Killoy 00:19:15 There is an integration, like the other downside of being a military dad is the military. Doesn't often acknowledge you are a dad in the Marine Corps. There's a joke that if they wanted you to have a family, they would have issued you one. And it's that mindset right there. That doesn't let you be a dad when you're at work or deal with an emotional issue at your, at, at home with your other brothers at work like that are also dads. But because we don't have this safe place to acknowledge it, it just becomes something we hide from. And then work becomes this place where we don't have to be dad. And that just kind of feels nice. And that feeling nice can be the drug that allows you to hide from a PTSD, hide from an emotional stress, hide from a marriage issue, hide from a kid issue or a conversation with a teenager that is maybe rebelling.
Ben Killoy 00:19:58 And you're just like letting your wife take care of it. That's not how it fucking works. Your family is looking for your leadership. Your kids are looking for you to help lead them in their life. Not as this person, that's going to go in there and drill instructors through their emotions. They need someone that's going to remind them who they are, reflect back the best parts and ground them when they're feeling insecure, not you, but you can't do that. If you feel insecure, this is why all the things I'm going through therapy, going to counseling, all the things of acknowledging your PTSD. If you have it, it is so important and crucial because you can't calm down a screaming child. If you are not calm yourself, you cannot grow up through some childhood trauma, which may be the reason you joined the Marine Corps or the military branch.
Ben Killoy 00:20:40 Maybe you joined to run from something yourself, and you're still running from that. You can't take care of what's in front of you. If you haven't taken care of what's on the inside. And the reason why I love military dads, the reason why it was my first podcast on fatherhood is because we've lived rich lives, not in the money, but within stories and depth, we have a view of the world that nobody else has. We've seen pain, war and hardships in a way that no one else has and can, we've seen poverty in the exact same way. If we can come home and be dad, we have the ability to gift that depth to our kids. A kid who understands that view of the world better than anyone else will have the courage and belief to understand how they can actually go into the world to make it a better place.
Ben Killoy 00:21:24 And as a dad, that is my invitation to every military dad listening to this, that you've lived a rich life. And your objective is to help your kids understand that richness through understanding your own story. And that process requires you to come home, be calm, lead them through their storms, just like people have led you through your storms and your ability to lead them will change the world. Because if you can help your kids grow into someone that understands who they are, has the courage to go out there and the courage and hope to go out there and influence it. And that's what we need in this world. And military dads are perfectly designed to be able to do this. We know how to get along with people. We don't like it, we know how to get along with people with different ethnic groups. We know how to get along with people all across the country that live different kinds of lives. Those are skill sets. We need tenfold and in spades in 2021.
Scott DeLuzio 00:22:13 Yeah, for sure. We definitely do need that. And being able to have that ability to instill that in your children, I think sets them up for success in whatever they choose to do, you talk about all these different problems that society has. If, if we have these, these kids who are growing up into adults who already have this understanding of, of the world, that, that we've learned oftentimes in the hard way, by going to some of these poverty stricken places or, experiencing war or whatever we've experienced in our time in the military, working with, people that you don't like, or,working with people from all different backgrounds, if we can have kids who, who grow up and are able to,, kind of step into that, that role, because that's their mindset too, is that they're able to work with these people to, that just gives them a step up in, in life.
Ben Killoy 00:23:21 There is another story within this that I want to share from my own kind of dealings with all this, that for my daughter, we've often, she's nine years old and she's talked about all these different things that might be having a conversation with my daughter. We talk about her emotions. We say she's nine years old. So we talk about all the different things that go on in her life through school. And we do it at bedtime talk is what we call it. And she can bring anything to me. And it's just, we talk about anything, literally anything going on, and it's all like nine-year-old problems, but here's the lesson that I can tell you that military dads still suck at. And there's 50 year old dads out there that still suck at this. There is a QR code in their school that says, if you scan this QR code with your iPad, you can pull up a Google form and schedule an appointment with the school counselor.
Ben Killoy 00:24:03 My daughter did that all on her own. She came home one day and said, I scan this QR code and booked an appointment because I got this problem with the playground of how to talk to a few friends and I don't have the solutions and I'm going to see if she can help me. And I was like, whoa, you just did something at nine that 50 year olds don't yet understand that. Imagine a QR code in some type of unit in the military that did scan this to book an appointment with an OnBase counselor, nobody would scan that thing. But here's a nine-year-old who has the courage to understand that I don't have all the solutions. Letting go of my emotions actually feels better and bringing them out, allow someone else to help me reframe them to get a better perspective of how to get through them.
Ben Killoy 00:24:43 That nine-year-old just taught everybody a lesson and how to deal with emotional intelligence on the inside and interacting with the world. And that came from me, just showing up and being more me and present in those moments and helping guide her through her emotions. I calmed down so that I could learn from her, teach her to calm down and grow through these things. And I was so proud and now we've used it a couple of times, she's had more playground problems. And I was like, these aren't my area. But this woman deals with these things every day, let's keep using her as a resource and you'll be able to build this rapport of having a problem, bringing it to someone and getting a solution that actually works. I mean, at nine years old, she just created the solution that every military dad needs to go through, but doesn't have the courage. So if she can do it at nine, every dad out there can do it at whatever age you're listening to this episode.
Scott DeLuzio 00:25:29 Yeah. I mean, when I was 28, getting back from Afghanistan I did the exact opposite of what your daughter did. Your nine year old daughter had more courage and more ability to handle the problems then I did at 28 years old.
Ben Killoy 00:25:50 And she was so happy to come home and tell me about it that day, the success of it. And I was just like, I'm out, Mike dropped this, this, I'm just going to see where this goes, because I think I've, if like, if I'm done and I die next year, there's some good base programming. That's going to take you a long way into this world because you just know something that someone else doesn't 30 years in the future.
Scott DeLuzio 00:26:10 Right? Exactly. And,it took me an embarrassingly long time to be able to figure that out on my own. And, but I think part of it is just how we're programmed in the military, , suck it up, be a man and deal with it. And you bottle that stuff up and it's, it's not good. It's not healthy to keep that stuff bottled up when, when you could talk about it. And sometimes, literally it seems so simple, but literally just talking about something could make it feel so much better. I'll put a
Ben Killoy 00:26:43 Cherry on top the other day. She came down for lunch and she's like, dad, I really appreciate you. Just letting me say these things get out of my head because I have a lot more room to be happy. And I was just like, boom. Another lesson that most people still suck at is making space for the good things in your life. Instead of holding onto the things that have no service to your life, going forward, the thoughts saying in your head are just taking a Bram. And the more things you hold in, the less Ram you have to experience life. And if you feel like life is overwhelming you right now, and every day, you're just on edge of anxiety. That's not because you're fucking not figuring it out. That's because your Ram's fucking filled with all this other shit that you haven't dealt with.
Ben Killoy 00:27:21 And there was another conversation we just had last night. It was a bit sad, but she was talking about all these kids in the playground that are often mean, or like just not like connecting or just doing mean things to each other.Because I'm in fourth grade. Like the, the main level can really get into a whole new world. Their emotional intelligence is a little bit higher. They can see the world they can influence and they realize how their words could actually hurt someone. And she's like, when I see other kids that maybe are not making the right choices and because they don't have dad sitting down with them every night to talk about things and I was just like, Ugh, there's a chance. Maybe that doesn't mean that they're not trying, but she already had the awareness of like, why she has this ability to do it is because we sit down and talk about it. So no matter how long I'm on this earth, she's always going to have at least five years of the memories of bedtime. Talk to sit down and remember, like, this is what dad would do. I'll just keep doing it because it's what worked early on.
Scott DeLuzio 00:28:13 And that's an amazing thing that she'll be able to take with her growing up. And, if she's fortunate enough to have a family of her own, hopefully she passes that tradition on. And at some point,
Ben Killoy 00:28:26 I mean that literally could change the world by this little girl understanding a gift of conversation. Right?
Scott DeLuzio 00:28:33 Exactly. And, and so not only will she be able to do that with her own children in the future, uh, with her spouse or whatever. but other people in her life too, just,, if she becomes a manager or a boss or something like that you're going to have people who work for you and, and maybe it's just
Ben Killoy 00:28:53 It's her own shit. She'll be able to help people through their own shit. Like, it's exactly this isn't meant to be some like generational trauma that's passed on like an inheritance. This is something to be meant to be like, I'm a big believer that the things that happened to us, aren't just happening to us are happening for us. And there's a Proverbs 13, four that speaks to loosely translated. It takes a lot of shit to make good soil and great soil bears, great fruit. So if you want a richer life, you need to put more fertilizer on it and the shit in your life, no matter what it is, matter how dark it may be. That will be the fertilizer. If you work it into the soil and what grows from your soil will change the world. And the shade of Tree that grows in that soil could be the shade that someone needs. That's just been in the sun for far, far too long. And you are that capacity to do that because the soil that grew from that created something that was amazing, that a lot of other people to just feel break,
Scott DeLuzio 00:29:42 That's a great way to look at it.I think, uh, you k, another way to kind of think of that is that anytime you, you fail at anything, uh, any, any point in your life, it kind of makes you stronger. I think we might've even used this example on, on the podcast up so that we've recorded for years. But when, when a kid is learning how to ride a bike, they fall off when they first start learning and, um, they learn what not to do because that hurts when you fall off the bike, And, and so, all those little, those failures w little or big failures throughout your life will make you better., if you let them, if you fall off the bike and then you're afraid of the bike and you never get back on, then you're letting that failure, uh, overwhelm you, and you're not going to succeed, but, but by, by getting back on the bike and learning, okay, well, don't do that thing that I did last time and do something different.
Scott DeLuzio 00:30:45 You get better at it. And, and I think that's the same with a lot of things in life where, where you can learn from, from those, those things. They will make a better outcome., just like the fruit that you were talking about, you put all that shit in the ground and you're going to have, uh,, a much better, uh, better tree that grows out of it.
Ben Killoy 00:31:11 Yeah. My garden this year actually sucked for being a farmer. I was horrible, my wife gave me shit for it every single day that our garden grew, you better be damned if I didn't put a big pile of shit on my garden this fall to enrich it for the next spring. And to make sure that I get some big size tomatoes and good cucumbers and zucchini, because this year it was atrocious, everything. Like we had some cherry tomatoes, and that was what, the only success this fucking garden had. And the Bush maybe grew like a foot high. So it wasn't even something you'd take a picture of the ride home about. So these lessons are applying in real life. And this also this idea that really comes to the surface over the, like the, when I think of all the different things in my life was trying to teach me.
Ben Killoy 00:31:48 Someone recently came into my life and they were looking at all the different things that I did. And they were like, Ben, you just don't fucking quit. And it hit me like, what? I don't fucking quit, but man, if I come close, I probably quit at least three times a week, but have to dig back in and keep going. And just this fall, there were moments where I'm like, I'm out, I'm done. I'm done with this shit. I can't do it anymore. It's overwhelming. I can't figure it out. Literally within like 48 hours, something happened and poof, it was all okay. Again, there are so many times where I'm on the edge of quitting that I need to always remind myself. Faith is really what I need more of, not this idea of quitting. And I've recently heard it said that the best way to spell faith is R I S K.
Ben Killoy 00:32:29 And so the amount of risk you take in your life is actually portional to the amount of faith that you have, or things are going to work out that you are a valuable person. And this idea of quitting is actually even more ironic because that's exactly what I did in 2014. I quit college at that moment. I did what the Marine Corps told me, never to do. You don't give up on the mission in front of you. And that's exactly what I did. I didn't drop out the pivot. I dropped out. I couldn't handle this anymore. I'm out. I failed two classes. This was a verdict in the universe. This isn't working. And now almost since then, whether it be in fatherhood, whether it be in business, it doesn't matter like a big part of everything that I'm saying is don't fucking quit. Don't quit being a dad.
Ben Killoy 00:33:12 Don't quit on fucking what you're trying to do in front of you. Don't quit the mission to make sure that your marriage is intact. Don't quit on the mission to figure out whatever is going on inside your head. That it's quitting is the one thing the military gave us as this gift of never quitting. Cause the mission accomplishment was our primary objective and you can't fucking quit, but that's exactly what we do as veterans. Anytime you take your own life, anytime you'd say I'm getting divorced, because that just seems like the easier route. Any times, you've let your PTSD be the nuke that blows your family apart. You are quitting on the imitation that military train has to do to never fucking quit focus on the mission and keep going. And fuck. If that's not the one thing that I have to keep reminding myself of, and now it's almost become this kind of this theme of, as I continue to figure out what is a never fucking quit mindset look like, making sure that everybody understands my story of almost quitting and where could that have taken me?
Ben Killoy 00:34:04 Had I figured it out because I don't regret quitting because it taught me everything that I did, but let me fucking tell you it's been a long seven years and there was a lot shorter roads that I could have gone on. Had a more head, a more resilient, never quit mindset from the beginning because I probably would have pivoted well before 2014 because the warning signs were on the, on the dashboard. I just was not paying attention to them. And so I let them go far too far and it disappointed I'm out. It seems safe, but I didn't even have a fucking drive back then. I didn't have someone else to like to be a board of directors. So like, Hey, what do you think I should do? It was a war inside my head. It was a conversation inside my head and it came to the conclusion I'm out.
Ben Killoy 00:34:44 And that was the most reinforced by my running habits in the Marine Corps. I never could keep up in formation. And I was always the guy that fell out and I could never hold that run in formation. And there's a story that I use in my keynotes. That was about on the island of Okinawa, maybe about two months and our platoon Sergeant wanted to run us to that day. And he was a motivated poster board Marine. And we're about halfway through the run. So about maybe three miles around base and I'm dropping out and he's just yelling at the top of his lungs. Are you awake? Trying to motivate me, get me excited. Instinctively. I say yes, sir. And just kind of cemented this quitting mindset. Yes, I am fucking weak and I can't keep up. And I'm just out. Had I had this awareness of never quitting that would have changed everything in this process because we don't get to fucking quit in life. The invitation to life has experienced how these obstacles are meant to change. The way by Ryan Holiday is a great idea within this. The obstacles that you suck at right now, and you're going through, those are the best, richest roads you can travel. They may suck when you're on them, but those are the roads that are going to take you to the places that are far beyond where you think you can go.
Scott DeLuzio 00:35:51 They will. And, and I think that is an important mindset to have because the people, like you said, the people who get a divorce, because it's easier than, than putting in the work to make that marriage work or, quit school or a job or, or whatever, because it's easier than making that work., it, that easy stuff doesn't necessarily produce the stuff that you're going to be proud of.at the end of your life, you're not going to look back and be like, y what, I'm glad I made that easy decision, but you might look back and say, what, I'm glad I did that hard thing because look what it produced.I put that work in and on my, my marriage when, when we were struggling where we're having some troubles and, and look at the good life that we ended up with,after putting in that work and doing the heart of,
Ben Killoy 00:36:49 And when you're in the shit, it doesn't feel like there's a way through, but just like in boot camp, it was a mindset that I had back then before I even knew what mindset thinking was. It was, if we're getting PT in the sandpit right now, there was a mindset. I always tell myself, if I can get through 15 minutes of this, we'll be eating breakfast. Like the shit doesn't last. We learned that in bootcamp, it eventually ended. We eventually graduated. Eventually it ended. You eventually got treated like an adult. Again, only become a private and then get treated like a private again. But we still had this process. And eventually you get promoted where you don't get treated like a private anymore. It doesn't last forever. And even father doesn't last forever. That's why it's so important to deal with your shit. Now, because these years you don't get back.
Ben Killoy 00:37:32 There's a reason why I became a stay at home dad for 18 months, because when I'm 50, I'm never going to regret that. I slowed my life down to the point of intentionally getting connected with my kids and getting through them this past 18 months in Corona. Now, all the kids are in school, but man, those 18 months were hell and Groundhog's day on acid, every single fucking day. But I'll never regret that. I'll never even remember the pain. I'm only going to remember the really great field trips that I did with the kids, sledding, going to apple orchards, going to the park, going to ride bikes. Like those are the only things I'm going to remember. 20 years in the future. I'm not gonna remember this shit I walked through to get there. I'm just gonna remember like, fuck, I'm really glad I did that.
Scott DeLuzio 00:38:06 Yeah, you will. And I'm sure your kids will remember that as well. And they'll, they'll have good memories of the time that dad was around. And
Ben Killoy 00:38:13 You remember that within Corona, that they think of it like that this was the year the dad came home. Like they don't think about it. When about masks, when their kids ask about it, like, what do you remember about Corona? When the kids ask my kids, right? They're going to be like, this was the year that dad lost a job. And this is the year the dad came home that we actually got to know dad on a much deeper level. And he got to know us on a much deeper level as well.
Scott DeLuzio 00:38:35 Well, with that, let's tell us about your podcasts, both of them. And, uh, and, and your coaching, the things that you do. And I want to make sure you have an opportunity to promote yourself and talk about what you do as well here.
Ben Killoy 00:38:49 So the military dad podcast, there's over 235 different episodes out there. I've done solo shows for the last almost two years. So there's solo shows and interview content, military veteran, dad.com is where all of that information can be found if you're a non-military dad listening to this. Cause you just liked the content that Scott puts out. Also check out the business of fatherhood, because what I've learned within the Military Dad is like I said, in the beginning, this shit that we suffer as military dads, it's the same stuff that a lot of regular minded dads suffer at home. We just call it different things and we dress it up with different language. And we swore a little bit less when we're talking about it. That idea is what I spoke about with a business, a father. So what there, I was like, there's busy dads that don't have the time to really get in touch with a lot of this information to come home, to traverse that physical transformation of walking through the door and emotionally come home.
Ben Killoy 00:39:33 So I started the daily podcast, the business of father. So it's five days a week, short, five minute episodes dropping my best advice over my seven year journey of things that I had to learn the hard way and giving a human on a daily basis of this is what would have changed everything. So the business of fatherhood is my second podcast. My coaching essentially takes this entire lesson of what I've come through and tries to create an operating system of how to get through it. So I take my eight years of kind of transitioning through all this and compact it down into eight weeks. And in those eight weeks, I helped take you through all the weeks. Each week has a theme, and it's a theme that would have changed everything. If it would have been applied in this order. And those results essentially lead to this idea that there's dads out there that desire more.
Ben Killoy 00:40:13 There's a military dad listening to this right now that has a deeper desire on the inside to have a richer life, but is scared to death of trying to live it that desire for more is the best coach that I can, or the best candidate that I can talk to because it's a dad who desires more, that I help light their soul on fire so that they can start living intentionally. That is the most important part of this bridge. It's almost like that piece of like often I think of it as a powder keg of potential. And they're just trying to find the fuse. Well, I help find that for you as we light it and your entire life becomes something that becomes richer every day and you learn how to apply it. You don't get stuck. You may have hard days, but you're going to learn a process to get through it and how you keep growing and that you don't ever get stuck again, that all information is [email protected] for that.
Scott DeLuzio 00:40:59 And I will have links to all of that in the show notes. So anyone who's looking to get in touch with Ben and, and either listen to either of his podcasts or,, get involved with some of his coaching. And I like how you,, acquainted that to an operating system, you know, going back to your technical roots, you know, and, and make making that,
Ben Killoy 00:41:21 I did design it that way, but the clients that were going through it, they were like, when life gives me a hard deal, like weeks after they're like, I just keep thinking about the operating system you gave me. And I'm like, okay, I didn't think of it that way, but it really does. Like, it's, it's not this once and done in life begins perfectly. It's this way of thinking to handle obstacles as they come into your life, that you don't get stuck, then you have more power and potential in your life to live life. That's like the part that we don't get as military dads life is meant to be lived, not just like, not just meant to go through the motions. And we get that so backwards. And one of the things I'd like to offer to the audience is if you've struggled with something in conversation.
Ben Killoy 00:41:59 So my story really started, I was able to get visibility and something I wasn't sitting on or seeing by talking to dads at the park. So at free dad, chorus.com, I have a five audio lesson course on how to create more friendships because the number one thing that would have changed everything in my Marine Corps transition and my life today is realizing that the amount of opportunity you have in life is directly proportional to the amount of new people you're talking to. And if that scares the shit out of you, head on over to free dad courses.com, I teach you in five short, 10 minute lessons, how the power of how low could change your life in that, what you're deeply looking for is on the other side of a single hollow, you just need to repeat it enough times, and that will happen.
Scott DeLuzio 00:42:41 Well, that's a great resource to have. I think that that's definitely something that guys especially have trouble with.
Ben Killoy 00:42:52 There's a reason why SNL created man park as a commercial. I don't know if you've seen that or not, but they did a synopsis where their wives bring the men to this common area of the park where they, the band can play together like a kid's park or a dog park, but they call it man park.
Scott DeLuzio 00:43:05 Right? Well, and, and you know what I think, you know, guys, especially need something like that. You know, where, you know, and I know that's a joke and everything, but it's, it's hard. It's hard for guys to just walk up to each other and, you know, w women seem to have an easier time. Like my wife goes to the park with the kids and, and she comes back with like three new friends. And I'm like, I, that just blows my mind. I don't know. I don't even know how that happens.
Ben Killoy 00:43:31 I got three new friends, but I can probably get within 50% of my park visits, a new friend. It's a joke. I come home with like, Hey, I got a new dad's number today. Like, if you want to talk about the front lines of being a military dad, you've, you've won when you can go up and ask another dad for his cell phone number. Right. Because I feel so weird backwards out of place, but that's exactly what you need to do if you want to start changing your life.
Scott DeLuzio 00:43:55 And it's, it is a hard thing to do. It's tricky. Guys are not comfortable doing that a lot of times. And why, I don't know. It just just is for some reason, but you know, if, if, if you can, if you can get through that and, and push through and actually get, make those connections. I mean, I think, I think that's just gonna make things better, right?
Ben Killoy 00:44:19 And the most important part from military dads, those friends, those conversations, those hellos, they're the reflective surface for the value in your life that you can't see. That's what other people did for me. That's why I'm here today. That's why I stepped into this work because they reflected back something that I couldn't see. And you can't see everything you need to see on your own. And you're most likely walking around with beer goggles on and friendships. Don't have beer goggles. They see you for who you are, not where you think you've been or what you've seen in your own eyes. And it's that reflection that allow you to believe something new and then step into it and then start living it.
Scott DeLuzio 00:44:56 Well, this has been a great episode. Great, great advice,, from you Ben, I, it really has been a pleasure speaking with you, and I really do enjoy this. So, again for anyone who's listening, free dad course.com, Ben keloid.com, Militaryveterandad.com., we will have links to all that in the show notes, and you can find,, social media links on, on all those sites and find where to find, find Ben and get in touch with him to, to learn more about him and listen to his podcast as well. So,, yeah, again, Ben, thank you for joining me. It's been a great conversation, really appreciate you taking the time to come on the show.
Ben Killoy 00:45:38 I appreciate you, Scott. And I'm looking forward to having this episode out there and impacting fathers as well.
Scott DeLuzio 00:45:44 Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website driveonpodcast.com. We're also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.
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