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Self-Discipline with Matt Drayton

George Grombacher April 10, 2022

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Self-Discipline with Matt Drayton

LifeBlood: We talked about the importance of self-discipline, how our values change over time, why doing the right thing is always the right thing, and the importance of agency, with Matt Drayton, US Army Veteran, Founder of Drayton Communications, speaker, and author of Leading While Black. 

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Matt drayton

Matt Drayton

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on one level, this is George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest strong, powerful metric. Matt, are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:19
I am ready, George. Let’s do it.

george grombacher 0:21
Let’s Let’s go. Matt is a Sergeant Major, having spent 20 plus years the United States Army, six of them, 16 of them working with the Special Operations Forces. He’s the founder of Drake communications. He’s a speaker, a consultant to coach and author his newest book is leading while black leadership strategies and lessons for today’s black professional. Adam excited to have you on tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:51
Well, George, thank you. So as you said, as you mentioned earlier, you know, I spent a lot of time in the US military. And what that allowed me to do is learn quite a bit about leadership. So I spend most of my time writing, speaking and consulting about leadership. I also spend a lot of time working with young people. I’ve done some mentoring with at risk youth organizations here in North Carolina, as well as I served on the board with Youth for Christ ministries, which is a national organization, but we have a chapter here in North Carolina, that I work with. So my primary thing in life is, you know, I have a saying, and I and I believe in that, you know, leadership or the lack thereof is the primary cause of most of the problems we have in America and in the world. And then, the other thing, I always try to drive home, you know, leadership is just not about being in charge of people. It’s about being accountable in your daily life in your personal lives as well. So that’s what I talk about. That’s what I write about. That’s what I’m pretty passionate about. I’m married, I’ve got two grown children. And, and I’m a dog person. I’ve got a little dog that I kind of wrote rules my house kind of he’s in charge around here.

george grombacher 2:10
Got it? What is the dog’s name?

Unknown Speaker 2:13
His name is gizmo. He’s a Shizu. We got him right before COVID kicked in and 2020. So you know, he, we picked him up March 1, and then two weeks later, everything shut down. So it was kind of good, we were able to keep him. He got us through COVID We had to get him housebroken. You know, sleep schedule, you know, everything you have to do with a puppy. So he’s striving now doing great. And he’s kind of a therapy dog for me and my wife.

george grombacher 2:41
Good. Good. totally get it. Perfect. Yeah. So I certainly I couldn’t agree with you more that leadership or lack thereof is at the root cause of a lot of the problems here. And while I can’t speak to problems all over the world, it certainly makes sense. From your training experiences framework with the army, how do you look at that time, and then look at your work from a religious standpoint, with with with Christianity, similarly different?

Unknown Speaker 3:14
You know, I look at it in the same. So. So discipline, from the word disciple means to teach. And I think that Christianity and our, the military, I think there’s applications that can be applied to both. I think discipline, though, is the key, just being able to govern yourselves, make sure that you’re trying to do the right thing at all times, and just just doing things the right way. And I think when you do that, life’s tends to be a little bit easier. When you when you do the right things you get you get better sleep, you can focus a little bit better. And I think you feel a little bit better about yourself when you’re doing things the right way.

george grombacher 4:04
Yeah, we certainly know when we’re not.

Unknown Speaker 4:08
Absolutely, and that’s, that’s my point, you know, we know, we’re taught right from wrong at a fairly early age, George. So when when we’re not doing the right thing, and even in a leadership position, if you’re a leader or a manager and you you make a decision that you know, you shouldn’t have made or, or in your personal life when you do something, or allow something to happen that you know, you probably should have took a different course it kind of weighs on you. So what I try to tell people is try to make the best decision based on your value system. And if you do that, and in your heart you feel like hey, you know, I have given this is the best course of action I feel that will make things better than you You’re good, you’re fine with it. And if it turns out wrong, that’s okay. Your heart was in the right place. But if you knowingly do us wrong, then it kind of weighs on you a little bit and keeps us up at night. Yeah. So

george grombacher 5:08
knowing and being having clarity, whatever term you want to use, I have a value system. I am either following on that, and I’m viewing everything that I’m doing through that lens of those values and making decisions based on those is an I know when I’m doing things wrong. Is it obvious what that value system should be? How, how do I figure out what mine is?

Unknown Speaker 5:36
So I think our value systems are taught to us through our parents, and through our life experiences, I think we should seek out value systems that are good instead of evil, I think we should seek out value systems that are positive instead of negative. And the one thing about value systems, you know, they can change, you know, when I was a young man, and I went into military, I will tell you, I had a different value system, you know, I wasn’t a father, at the time, I didn’t have a whole lot of responsibility. Being an only child, you know, there’s a certain amount of selfishness that comes with that, there’s just no way around it. You didn’t have to share anything or whatever. So. So then once I got into military, and I started to get put in leadership positions, and I became responsible for other people. And when I’m talking, I’m responsible, you know, it’d be in combat or back in Garrison, or it’s their livelihoods, you know, I’m looking out for these people and their families in a way. So then I had to, I had to change, I had to make some changes. And then then, on top of that, you know, I meet my wife, and we get married, I, we have a couple of children. Now my value system really has to change, I have to think about all the things that I’m doing now impact my children’s lives. So I guess, to answer your question, probably the best way to find your value system is, as you go through life experiences, try to do what’s right. And then also make adjustments as required. So you can continue to do what’s right.

george grombacher 7:26
That makes sense. So now you’ve done a great job. You’ve got two grown kids, and they’re out, doing whatever they’re doing wonderful stuff. I’m, I’m confident of how now, are you thinking about your next season of life? For lack of a better term?

Unknown Speaker 7:44
Yeah. So one of the things and you know, I’m, I’m in my early 60s, so, you know, I realize I’m closer to the end than I am the beginning. So you look at life differently when you get to where I am. And I will tell you now, mentally, I’m not that age, because I mean, I, I still play video games, and I still play peekaboo with people’s kids, when I’m in line at Kroger. You know, when the parents not looking, you know, I just, you know, I’m pretty immature is what I’m saying. But, you know, go back, go back. What was your What was your original question again,

george grombacher 8:18
now, just just now, you talked about how our value systems change value

Unknown Speaker 8:21
system, how life has changed. So, so now, I try to spend most more of my time giving and doing for others, you know, you know, George Carlin had this thing about stuff. You know, there was a skit he did about stuff, you know, I’m, I was looking around and I’m not thinking all the stuff I had, I don’t really need so I’m trying to kind of declutter focus more on giving, giving back helping people, you know, the books I’ve written, neither one of them were really written for monic monetary purposes, they are solely written to help people to try to share some of the life lessons I’ve learned, and some of the mistakes I made with other people, so they don’t have to make them. And so that’s where I’m focused at now. Hopefully, I look forward to having some grandkids that I could, you know, share with and have some joy with. But right now, my focus primarily is just making sure that I share my leadership experience my leadership lessons and strategies with young people and others who are in leadership positions, and those who are not just things that can help them in their daily lives.

george grombacher 9:32
Yeah, we’ll certainly touched on that that when we were getting started about how we need to be the leader in our own lives. So whether I’m you know, leading a team of people or whatever it is, you taking responsibility for your own stuff, I think I’d certainly hit home for me. So what does it mean to lead while black man

Unknown Speaker 9:54
so leading while black, so the so the leading the wild black phrase always has some on what have a negative connotation with it, you know, driving while black, you know, it kind of always alludes to something being done wrong to you. So I took that phrase and try to turn it on its head a little bit, and put something positive in front of it. So as a African American as a black leader, you it’s a little bit different, you know, and one of the things you have to do, you have to prove yourself, you know, I share the story about the current Secretary of Defense who, when he was on Army General, he talked about this on 60 minutes, a little over a year ago, he talked about his experiences when he was in the 82nd airborne division and how he had to let a white officer brief, because he felt that would be more effective, and more people would listen, which, which was very admirable on his part, because he realized, hey, this isn’t about me, this is more about getting the mission done. So whatever means I have to do us to get that done. These are the these are the methods I would use. So he realized, Hey, I’m going to let this guy brief because he will be more effective at it because the men are more amenable to listening to him. So so my, my, my strategies, and lessons come from my experiences, and it’s just a kind of a blueprint on hey, here are the things you need to look at. Because at the end of the day, when we get when we’re born, we’re given a hand we’re born as something, we don’t get to control that we have to live through that live out that that whatever that hand is, and if you find yourself in a leadership position, as a, as a black person, it’s going to be different for you. And that’s what I’m trying to stress here in this book. You know, there’s been a lot of times people lift a title, and they assume, you know, there’s some negativity in there, but there isn’t, it is all about, hey, here’s the things you will experience as a black leader. Here’s the things you need to do to be successful as a black leader.

george grombacher 11:59
I appreciate that. Do you see a time? Are we getting closer to where that won’t matter anymore?

Unknown Speaker 12:09
Unfortunately, no. And here’s why. I, so I am I am positive that a lot of the things we deal with, in relations to race, these things are taught to young people. So it will only be a time when we don’t have to worry about anymore. When parents when they have young children, they teach them, hey, that everybody has value. everybody’s the same. Everybody’s equal. We’re all human beings here, the human race, right? So unless that happens, it’ll never change. And unfortunately, there is a deep rooted hatred in some people, towards others. And that’s all kinds of different races, not just whites and blacks, but you know, Asians, Hispanics, I mean, there’s just that, that, that, that that hatred that is taught through generations. And as if that continues, then we will continue to be where we are, but, but I am an optimist. So I do think that we will, things will get better. And I think they have gotten better. You know, I grew up in the 60s and 70s, in the south, I went to school, I was one of the first schools in my neighborhood to start the busing program and start integration. Because before that, in elementary school, I was in an all black school and then they bussed white kids in and vice versa. When I went to junior to middle school or junior high, we were bused out to the white schools and that was a great experience for me because it gave me It exposed me to other people and other ways of life. And I think that is good as well. So I think integration is great, I think allowing yourself to to learn about other’s culture and what they what they’re about. And and I think just looking for the good in people, vise looking, being looking for the nefarious things or the bad things in there.

george grombacher 14:07
Yeah, I think that’s well said, you know, perspective is is said it’s it’s obviously it’s sensual and powerful. It’s hard to get easier to lose that that your experience going to element or grade school, middle school or whatever, that just wasn’t that long ago. And, you know, I think it’s sometimes it’s easy to for, for me, I’m 43 to sort of lose touch with that, because wasn’t my experience, but it just wasn’t that long ago. So I appreciate that. Right. In terms of playing the hand that that playing playing the hand you’re dealt, I am. I am a believer. Not that I need to be a believer that agency is so important that there’ll be have personal agency that we feel like we have the ability to be successful and to get out there and do what we want to do and pursue what you want. pursue, what are your thoughts on that?

Unknown Speaker 15:02
Yeah, I totally agree. And I also think that with that agency, we should pursue those things, we should pull the trigger. In other words, because a lot of times we load the hopper up with ideas, we loaded up with things we’re going to do. And we never pulled the trigger. And before you know it, and listen, I am a witness to this. I, I look up one day, and I’m 61 years old. And there were so many other things I wanted to do. Now, I will say this, I have, you know, I’ve got a pretty full plate, I’ve gotten my hands into a lot of things, things that I wanted to do that I felt, you know, so I pursued those things. And I think we should do that. I think we I think, you know, they talk about if you doing something you love, you’ll never work another day in your life. And I truly believe that. So, if you’ve got if there’s something you’re very passionate about, pull the trigger, pursue it, and work hard to achieve it. And now, you know, and the other thing too, Joe, you know, we live in a time now where, man, there’s so many advantages, because you know, the internet and search engines, I mean, there is nothing you cannot pull up on YouTube and learn how to do you know, I pulled it up the other day, I had a hitch on the back of my truck, you know, a lock, that’s that jammed, and I pulled it up near some guy doing it. And I mean, exact same truck. He just walked me right through it. So So there’s so many things available resources available technology wise, to help you further your goals. I mean, there’s really, you know, back in the day, you know, you had to go to a library, you know, you had to pull up microfiche, all this old stuff. I don’t even know what microfiche is. But so there so it’s, it’s there’s a lot of advantages now and a lot more opportunities now to, to do things. So I think we should I totally agree with you about the agency part.

george grombacher 16:53
I love it. Well, Matt, people are ready for your difference making tip, what do you have for them?

Unknown Speaker 16:59
So from a leadership perspective, you know, I tell people, be accountable, be compassionate, and helpful and try to learn as much as you can, you know, one of the things I, I was talking to a young man the other day, and he was struggling with his boss and whatnot, I said, what have you, have you ever asked him to teach you stuff? If you just went to him? And said, Hey, will you teach me this, or we teach me that people don’t want to do that people are, it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay. To ask someone to teach you something. And it’s okay to be mentored. You know, that’s rarely will you go to someone and say, Hey, can you teach me and they will say, No, I’m not teaching people will reach out to you when you do that. And then, you know, we talked about this earlier, you know, just the right and wrong stuff. If you make every effort to be a good person, I think, you know, your life is going to be better. You know, I think if you make every effort to be a good person, then there’s less stress on you. Because you’re doing what you think is right, you’re not having to cover up and go behind and fix things all the time. Because you know, because because you did something wrong, that you knew you did wrong. And it just takes a lot of stress off you in life. And that’s God. That’s how I’ve tried to live my life. And, you know, the other thing too, I think being a good person is like the foundation of being a good leader. Rarely will you find a bad person, a person with bad moral character. Rarely will you find a person like that. That’s a good leader. Because the two just they don’t they don’t match. Now, being a good leader, doesn’t mean the person can be a little honoree or little gruff, around rough around the edges. But just because I’ve had them all, I’ve had leaders who were not the most personable people, but they were good, they were good in the heart. Then I’ve had one son that were very friendly and very a welcoming. And But same thing, but they were still good at the heart. And that’s what I think the core is. And so that so so those are those are the things that I think will will make you a better leader will make you a better person, and will impact not only you on in the workplace, but it will impact your personal life because we need leadership in both.

george grombacher 19:18
Well, I think that that is great stuff that definitely gets come up. Matt, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage? Where can they get a copy of leading Well, black leadership strategies and lessons for today’s black professional?

Unknown Speaker 19:32
Well, George, thanks for having me. I enjoyed it. You can reach me at my website, Matt All of my social middle media handles are out there. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. My book leading while black leadership lessons and strategies for today’s black professional can be found at Amazon and answer and some bookstores but Amazon definitely has it and And I encourage everybody to get it and take a read because not only are there leadership lessons in there for young black professionals, these leadership lessons applies to anyone. You know, I talk about a lot of things in our talk about running effective meetings, effective communication, those are just not synonymous with black people. Those are for anyone. So I would encourage you to look at that. But I really appreciate appreciate you having me and giving me the opportunity to speak to your listeners today.

george grombacher 20:24
Yeah, it was wonderful talking with you. If you enjoyed this as much as I did, show your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. Go to Matt Ma TT Dray to and pick up a copy of leading wall black and dig into everything that Matt is working on. Thanks. Good, Matt. Thank you. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

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