Episode 113 – Tom Connally on The Military Millionaire Podcast

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Tom Connally on The Military Millionaire Podcast

Episode 113 – Tom Connally on The Military Millionaire Podcast

 

00:00 - 05:00

David:

What's up military millionaires. Today's guest is Tom Connally, who is a retired full bird colonel in the Marine Corps, who has also been the director of defense contractor organizations. And he is now a leadership development author and coach, consultant, speaker. And this episode's great. We dig in for like an hour into some really solid advice on leadership and how you can become a better leader. And obviously, if you made it to becoming a colonel in the Marine Corps, he knows a thing or two, and then he's been the director of other organizations, and he's built some ease. This is just an awesome interview.

So take a look. Take a listen. Enjoy it all the way to the end, because the best answer is the one at the end because he gives a full synopsis of how you learn leadership. And it's a ton of great advice.

So make sure you stick to the end. Don't bail out early, but also, make sure you review the podcast if you haven't done so already, because we would be eternally grateful and to have Alex indebted to you is something that you may never have another chance for. So you should definitely take that offer up. And also if you got something out of the episode, share it and make sure you subscribe to the platform so you get notified when new episodes come out because we don't want you to miss this stuff.

This is the number one podcast on how to become a military millionaire because it's the only military millionaire podcast but you know, it's not a cool one. I said the only one so take it leave it love you all.

Intro:

Welcome to the military millionaire podcast where we teach service members veterans and their families how to build wealth through personal finance, entrepreneurship and real estate investing.

I'm your host David Pere and together with my co host, Alex Felice. We're here to be your no BS guys along the most important mission you'll ever embark on your finances.

Roger,Vick won Oscar Mike.

David:

What's up military millionaires. I am your host David Pere. And I'm here with our guest Tom Connally and my co host, Alexander Felice. And today is just going to be a really exciting episode. So I'm going to introduce Tom real quick.

Today's guest Tom is an experienced leader, strategist and change agent with proven performance leading, building and fixing organizations by creating a culture of performance. In over 30 years of marine leadership, he led organizations from 50 to 3500 personnel with budgets of up to $2.8 billion.

Tom served as the director for two different defense companies before founding the Tom, or the Connally consulting, where he helps leaders improve their performance and success professionally, personally, spiritually and physically. And Tom was a colonel in the Marine Corps when he retired. So I thought that was cool. So he's not only did he retire from the Marine Corps, but he's done a ton since then.

So we thought it'd be fun to bring him on the show and talk about leadership and coaching and speaking and everything that he's doing now.

So Tom, welcome to the show.

Tom:

Hey, Thanks, David. It's great to be here. And Alex, good to see you man. So yeah, it's wonderful to be here.

David:

Why don't you give, can you give a little bit of a backstory from you know, as far back as you want to go up to what's brought you up to where you're at now?

Tom:

Wow.

Um, you know that that's a long story. But let's just start right here.

Big family. My dad was a master chief in the Navy Hospital Corpsman served with the Marines on pelo during World War Two. Mom was a vet during World War Two. So we raised up learning what hard work was. Dad took us aside and said, you know, said to his four sons at different times in our lives, because we spread the range of ages and he said, hey, I would love for my son someday to serve their country. Okay, that was it. He didn't tell us we had to enlist. But he said, and I'll take care of you while you're here. But you gotta earn your way. If you want to go to college, and so do well in school, sports scouts and, but the rest is on you.

And so that's that's where we started. My mom was in the hospital a lot. My dad was deployed a lot. He spent 30 years in the Navy. You know, we grew up in a house where the flagpole had a flagpole out front 25 foot flagpole, how to yardarm a gaff spar, you know, our house did everything but pitch and roll. But we dug a mom was all about it. Dad was all about it. But my mom passed away when I was young.

So we were always in a tight, tight group. And my brothers ran the show. But when I got to see what they were doing and where they were going, I had three brothers, two brothers went to Naval Academy, one went off to an ROTC program. We ended up with three Marines and a sailor. And, but I got to see where they were going. So I apprenticed at a young age. My dad used to say that I spent 17 years as a seaman apprentice before I ever went to the Naval Academy and but go went to the Naval Academy, you know, so I learned the hard work part, my dad was always about, hey, whatever you do give it 110% whatever you do give it 110%. And so that was, you know, I heard that 1000 times, by the time I was, you know, thinking about college, etc.

05:00 - 10:00

Tom:

So, I was pretty sure when I went off to Naval Academy that I wanted to be a marine. But when I got to the Naval Academy, I realized it's not just all about hard work, you sometimes gotta be, you got to work smarter, not harder, right? And, and so, that became a lesson to me, you know, everything is about study action, reflection and refinement, right? And that's fundamentally how we do business in the military, right?

So you get out there, you get into your first set of yellow footprints, stand in front of your first Platoon, or are your first area of responsibility, you stand in front of your man, and you look at him and you realize, I don't know everything, right? So I need to start doing something. And so you know, you just start doing the best you can, and, and you, you, you study what you have to study, you act on, on that you reflect on it, what your results were, and then you refine, right? If you do that fast enough, right, then you are successful. If you do it too slowly, then then you aren’t, you know, because you're you can adjust. And some people would look at that tactically as Marines, you know, and say, hey, well, that's the ooda loop. Well, yes, it is that you know, that old observe, orient, decide and act, right. Except that from the leadership side, you do it from the front end.

So anyway, I got commissioned I did, I became an artillery officer, I served with all three divisions, I had the opportunity to you know, command at every level, did a tour on recruiting duty did a tour, a couple tours at headquarters Marine Corps, was standing in the Pentagon on 911, when the airplane hit, then, that was an interesting experience nonetheless, but I thought it was going to retire in 2003. And somebody flew an airplane into my office building today in 2001, and kind of made it personal. So I stayed around and the Marine Corps kept giving me good jobs to do. So I kept doing them. And then I looked up one day, and my time was up.

So I said, I guess I'll go to the next best thing, you know, patriotic thing. And that is the businessman, I always kind of figured that if you were in fact, I heard one of your guests say this the other day that someone had told him that the next best thing to you know, be in the military, or patriotic thing to be an in the military was being a businessman or providing jobs, and so on.

So I looked at it and, and of course, I stepped out with the idea that I could carry on kind of what I was doing in the Marine Corps. And, and I discovered that you really can't do that. Once you take the uniform off, everybody kind of looks at you a little differently.
But I knew that I didn't want to be in government service. I didn't want to continue, I just wanted to be a businessman.

So I did that for about five years. But every time I was in, you know putting together a proposal or sitting in a conference room with a bunch of people it always seemed to be that I was talking about dynamic organizational dynamics leadership how we put a team together, how do we make this thing happen? And so after a couple of companies, great companies and work for a great friend of mine I was about I guess my daughter was a senior at the Naval Academy I was gonna write her this epic novel right or this epic essay right my dad used to do this kind of stuff wrote a couple of manuscripts and and and I thought you know, I'll writer writer this book, well, I got started on it. And I was not making great progress.

You know, you when you start writing something like that, you start really thinking about what you know, right? And, and how well you can really represent that and can I say that? Is that really my and so you really think hard about these things, stuff that you may have thought forever as a Marine, hey, we know leadership, we understand that stuff. We do it every day. And then you start talking about you start putting it in writing Ah, is that really? Is that really what I think is that really what makes it go so I was kind of struggling with that. But at the same time, it came to me I said, you know what, I know I need to be doing this. This is what I need to be doing. So I called my boss and I said, so hey, boss. I want to be doing X, Y, and Z when my son graduates from high school next year. And he said, well, you better get started on that. And I said, Yeah, that's why I'm quitting. He's like, what can I do to help? And so, but it took me a little while to figure out what that space was, what was I talking about? What was I going to do? Is it consulting? Is it coaching? You know, I knew that writing a book, hey, I'm actually contemplating a second one right now but it was like getting pulled through a knothole. Um, you know, it was, it was a struggle, it was tough work. I'm a pretty good writer, but I don't want to write for a living.

10:00 - 15:00

Tom:

And so, I started looking at what I do? And I said, you know, what, I have done this my whole life, what can I do that moves the ball forward, that helps people succeed? What can I do that is still in the business world? What are these things? And I, it came, I came together. One day, I said, look, what can I get paid for? What? What makes sense? What helps people? What's a passion? And then what can I, what can I do with that? And so here I am. And I've been putting this thing together.

Now, in the last six months I have. Everybody else has been in this COVID thing as well with me, but I moved my entire family or I moved my entire setup family to Texas, from Virginia. And so I'm two months in this house. And in Denton, Texas. So, so here I am. Yeah, fire away. What can we do?

Alex:

Yo, I don't think an hour is going to be enough.

Tom:

I'm trying my answer short, man.

Alex:

No. So look, one thing I really um, I mean, there's a few things I wanted to pull apart. But one of those things was you say you start to write. He said, as I started to explain these things that I said, I'm paraphrasing, supposedly new, when you try to articulate them in words, you mentally I find, I find the same exact feeling. That's why I bring it up, I go down rabbit holes. I'm like, hang on a second. I could I gotta do I know this? And how do I know it? And how do I then sell it on paper, which is much harder?

You said, you're a good writer. And then you said you got through what you wrote and you ended up writing a book? How did you get through that?

Tom:

Well, you know that it took me like two years, okay.

The first year, I was working for somebody else. And I figured, you know, I was just going to do this in my free time in the morning, right? You know, for like, the first hour after PT. I was gonna, I was going to sit down and write a little bit. And so I talked to a bunch of people. I mean, it's like everything we do, right? I mean, part of the book, one of the things I came across in one of my aha moments was, hey, leadership is an apprentice vocation.

Well, so is most everything else. You learn it from a mentor, you learn it from somebody who's done it. So I was like, you know what, I'm not stupid. I'll talk to people who've done this. And, and so, you know, I talked to a few folks and you're if you're going to write you write every day, you have to do it, you set a time you make it a priority, it can't be your free time. It has to be the job. And there was a book Steven Pressfield right the guy who wrote the, you know, gates of fire he wrote a book called The War of Art and that's what it's all about. It's all about him struggling to be a writer and so there was some actually some good stuff in there. Oh, wow. Okay, but it was all that the hard part about doing it yourself is you got to find somebody to read it. You mean you can buy an editor program you can do this but you need to find somebody who reads it who will give you the no shit, can I say that?

David:

Yeah, whatever you want.

Tom:

Well, you know I'm trying to be a polished man.

David:

I’m a Marine.

Tom:

Yeah, okay.
David:

Still active.

Tom:

Wait, it doesn't matter you'll be a marine forever. That's the key point. But that doesn't mean that you have to wear the uniform forever.

So anyway, but we but you, you need to find somebody who reads it and really gets and really gives you their honest opinion. So, a friend of mine at church, a business guy in the consulting world, younger than me, never been in the military. I said, can you read this for me? And it's not long. I mean, I decided early on that, you know, if I write everything, I think I know, I'm gonna have like a 1000 page book, it's gonna take me 100 years to write this thing. And what I really wanted to do was try and put something together. That was a roadmap for my, for my kids and for the beginning leader. And so I said, You know what, I need to make this really short, I need to, I need to bust it, it's actually harder to be at Lincoln that said, You know, I didn't have time to write you a short letter. So I wrote you a long one.

15:00 - 20:00

Tom:

Yeah. I mean, you can ramble on forever, but you got to it, when you're trying to keep it short, you got to really aim in on what you want to pass on and what you know. But anyway, so I got this guy to read it. And he read it. And he got through the whole thing. And he was like, listen, I really liked it. I mean, there was stuff in here that, you know, there's some language things you speak in marine.

But he said, you know what, this, these four, these five things you present at the very end, they're really the whole book. And so I was like, holy cow, I got to go back and completely reorganize this thing. Because he was absolutely right. Yeah, now, and so you got, I got to take, like every, well, fortunately, it's written in like three, three page sections. So that, you know, a young leader who's spending a lot of time and energy taking care of their people that doesn't have to, you know, read a 40 page chapter, they're reading, you know, three pages, and they can do that in 10 minutes. And, and then move on and be done with it in a week. You know. So, that's, that's the long story, the short story, you know, it's not the full story, but it's the story of the book.

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David:

I resonate with that with a lot of what you said in regards to a book.

So I have several friends, who’ve written books, and I have a book at the editor right now. And obviously, it's getting completely reworked because I'm, I always attribute that it is that being a marine has prepared me for writing more than anything else ever could because there is nothing worse as a young Sergeant than handing a naval letter format to someone who just graduated from the Naval Academy. And, and so it's basically the same thing you get back from the editor, and it's just a red piece of paper with a like a word left on it, you're like, oh, alright, thanks.

But I did the same thing, followed other people's advice, and sat down every day and said, I'm gonna write this many words, whether I feel like it or not. And then it went up to the editor, and it's guy, I just got an email this morning actually saying, like, yeah, I think this whole section should probably be somewhere else in the book, and we're gonna have to reorganize this. And I'm like, alright, so all that to say, I resonate a lot with what you're saying. And it absolutely is, like, challenging to try to figure out what's actually worth saying, what's not worth saying? How do you keep a book from like, the perfect balance of fluff and not fluff. And so I appreciate what you're saying. And I can't imagine trying to condense the topic of leadership into three pages chapters was an easy topic, or an easy thing to do.

Tom:

Well, you know, the great thing about it is, it's another lesson in humility. It's another lesson in, you know, trying to pull your thoughts together and it's also a lesson in, you know, to reflect or not reflect, but how do I communicate? How do I organize my thoughts? You know, I mean, we can go through life with SMEALC right? Situation, Mission, Execution, Admin Logistics, Command, and second, we'll get right the old five paragraph order, hey, that's a great way to communicate a business memo. But it isn't a book, you know, so there's got to be it. Yeah, there's some real challenges there. Congratulations. I mean, yeah, it's just the idea of doing it and committing to it is a significant challenge.

20:00 - 25:00

David:

Absolutely.
Alex:

Now, if only he knew anything to teach.

David:

That's my hype, man. He's my favorite person in the world. And they're talking about humility. I don't even need a book. I just have Alex around.

Tom:

Yeah.

I mean, you gotta have those people. I mean, you know, fortunate, you know, if you're fortunate as a leader, you always get the, your platoon sergeant, your gunny, or whoever, if you're, you know, you've got you've got somebody that you can turn to, right, who calls you on your BS, right? Is this really a good idea? You are blowing smoke up my skirt. You know, what is this? You know, and I was always very fortunate to have people around me that, you know, that's you, what you're talking about is not exactly what you're going to get out of this. And so, you always gotta have those guys right?

Alex:

In your opening intro. You had to touch on having, you know, people around like that. You said you had three other older brothers. They were basically the mentors? Young age mentors? That's an outstanding benefit to have, right?

Tom:

Oh, yeah. Absolutely was, and still still is, you know.

Alex:

Who’s older than you?

Tom:

Once 10 years older, ones 8 years older, ones 5 years older.

Alex:

That’s awesome, that’s awesome.

Tom:

Yeah. And, and they weren't my dad was the icon. You know, he taught them. You know, and they passed it on. And, and they and they still do you know, I still call my brothers for advice on whatever it is. Yeah. It's always an interesting conversation. Every once in a while they call me for advice on something but you do it, you know, you when you're doesn't matter if you're 50 or 60 years old. When you all get together. Still, the little brother. You know what I mean? So but yes, it was great. It still is great. They're great, guys.

Alex:

Yeah, finding mentors is such an important thing we talk about all the time and like to have so many, it's because young age is such an it's a very fortunate advantage. And lucky, you got along with them. Well, I mean, I know not always right, like me, my editor, but me and my brother Rogers throats until I left, and then we didn't speak for eight years. So I'm very envious of that situation that you had.

Tom:

Well, you know, we're scotch Irish.

So you know, there was a fisticuffs going on, I you know, on just about a daily basis between somebody. But, you know, but they made sure I knew what I was doing, and where, you know, where I was going and, and what I was getting into, you know, so, but yeah, it is unusual. You know, the one thing about, you know, in the military is that you have you have, you know, mentors all around you.

Some of them are good. And some of them aren't, you know, you learn from the bad ones, just like you learn from the good ones, right? And, and you don't have to walk up to somebody and say, hey, will you be my mentor, you know, you go, that guy's got stuff together, I'm gonna pay attention to what he does. You know, and, and so you always have those people, I was very fortunate to have, you know, great leaders, especially early on, you know, as a lieutenant, my first battery commander was the best battery commander, I think ever walked the earth. And I've told him that before. I mentioned him in my book, you know, he's, he just knew his business inside now. And he was a great leader, prior enlisted sergeant, you know, fought in Vietnam. It was just a fantastic guy. And he treated us all, like, we were his sons. And, you know, he, there was no stepping down from the standard, but at the same time, you know, he was ensuring that we, you know, we figured out where we were going, you know.

So, should those kinds of people find them. And it's not, it's not rare, but you gotta be you got to be open to it. And you got to recognize it.

Alex:

I love what you said, uh, in fact, one of the single the david that we could pull that as an audio clip, because part of real estate, investing or business is finding mentor, that's why I kind of harped on it and what you said was perfect, because people you know, they have this question, how can I find a mentor and they think that it's like, you know, dating, like, I have to go to somebody or they agree, we will sign a contract. No.

And so it's really like you said, You know, I haven't and you kind of touch on two things, right. So one of them is, you know, find somebody you Want to emulate him just watch them even if on the internet you can kind of stop them from from afar and learn from somebody you can listen to podcasts like be around mentally the same place that somebody who you want to be like, is that and you'll get that mentorship, they don't have to know you're, they're mentoring you to get it.

25:00 - 30:00

Alex:

And the other one is I'm anti models, people you don't want to be like, and those are good to pay attention to, right. It's like, oh, that guy is screwing up. I don't want to do that. Whatever he's doing, I'm gonna do the opposite. But I really like that you said that because the way you said it was perfect. You know, you don't have to. I forget the way he said it. So I one day pulled an audio clip of that. Like, you don't have to have a formal agreement with somebody for them to be your mentor. You can just listen and you can just oh yeah, I'm watching you from across the room or through the internet. And it's really beneficial.

Tom:

Well, it was for me.

Alex:

Yeah, well,

David:

So it's funny, I did a video, three weeks ago, two weeks ago, someone was asking me like, what would be my advice to a young lieutenant from like my point of view on a lot of financial advice, but you know, and whatever. And one of the things I said in the video was like, from Elite like your first, your first job as a, you know, young officer is leadership. So find like, the moment you get your unit, like, figure out who the best leaders are in the unit and grab a hold of their curtails and ride along, like, figure out what they're doing, figure out what they're not doing, and emulate it.

And if you can find that, and the Marine Corps makes it incredibly easy, because you always know who the leaders are. And as long as the said leader is doing a decent job, right, which you can identify pretty quickly, like, as long as you have access to talk to them, which you can get because a good leader will make themselves open, you can learn a ton. And I mean, I've got a list of people that I've worked with in the Marine Corps who I'm I get that guy, that guy, that guy, I'm having lunch with one today. And you just get so much off of them just by watching how they work. And you don't have to, you know, I don't have to go stand in the stand of the Colonel's office and see what see here all his conversations to know how he operates. He publishes a memo that nobody reads, but if you read it, you learn how he you know, it's, it's, it's amazing how, and I think that's kind of the same as social media, right?

Like, the guy who you want to learn from about real estate. And the reason they're posting that stuff, yeah, sure. It's to grow their platform, but they're posting that stuff. So you can kind of see what's going on in their head. They're like, leaving those breadcrumb crumbs for you, if you just pay attention. It's pretty cool.

Tom:

Absolutely, absolutely.

You know, my dad's advice to me, you know, he was a Master Chief, he had six kids, you know, you he wouldn't make a lot of money in the 70s. And, and I said, what about investing? You know, he said, that's something rich people do, you know, and I was like, well, I'm not sure that that's where we want to be.

So when, when I was a lieutenant, that first battery commander, you know, I didn't know what I was supposed to do with my money. That first battery commander, he said, you will go to this investment, you know, seminar, you It's free, you don't have to sign up for anything, but you will go and he made all of us lieutenants go. And, and I and I started investing. And, you know, I've been, I was very fortunate and that I, I, I lived through a couple of, I lived through a couple of, you know, downturns about three or four of them.

And, but I was, but, you know, but my, my problem then was, I was scared to death of real estate. And, and every time you know, throughout my life, every time I did, I bought a house, sold the house, whatever it was, it was like getting sucked through a knothole. You know, it was like somebody, you know, beat the heck out of you when you were done. And you never knew whether you got a good deal or you didn't know, and so, you know, a couple years ago here I you know, I went through a class with some guys. Yeah, I don't know if you've heard of White Feather Investing. You know, buddy rushing.

David:

I've hung out with him once or twice.

Tom:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. He used to, he used to work up there. But, you know, I watched the video and I went, you know what, I got to do this. I got it. I got to do this. I got to do this class. I gotta do it. I got to at least find out what the scoop is. And it was brilliant. It and I, I will tell you, it opened. It caused me to reevaluate not just where I was investing, but in how I was investing.

But it also caused me to look at my own leadership skills and how I was working with people and things like this. You know, before all of that. Would I be sitting on a podcast with somebody and would I Have you tried to arrange that to do this? I don't know. I doubt it.

You know, my daughter listens to podcasts, you know, all day long. You know, whenever she's driving somewhere, she's got something, you know, piped into her head. And like, that's fantastic stuff. So, but yeah, mentors open doors that you don't realize.

30:00 - 35:00

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Alex:

Before the show, you said you were, you said yeah, I started doing this real estate investing. But you know, I'm not a superstar like David. And I really want to address this because this means we'll be back at it.

So look, I want to personally extend so if I can help because you're definitely if you think David's good at this, you're on a terrible trajectory, and want to make sure we nip that in the bottom.

Yeah, he's blushing. That's how good I got him today. Um, so but let's talk about real estate real quick.

David:

I'm just gonna hold the contract I signed today for five units for dirt cheap, and then I'm gonna just drop. I don't know how you drop a mic that's on a boom stand. But consider this dropped.

Alex:

Okay.

Let me see your income statement from last year.

So, so Okay, so you’re military, and I do consulting the leadership business. How, what, what transitioned you into real estate, and you said, you've done a few houses along the way. Buying and selling real estate is an incredibly stressful process. So I understand it's like buying a car, but actually less liquid. It's harder to buy a house than a car. Um, so what I know, you said you went to this class, what's it been like since then you bought some investment properties? What’s the deal?

Tom:

Yeah. Well, you know, the idea and the premise, I mean, fundamentally, they start off with, you know, essentially, you know, buy and hold forever kind of approach, right. And, I liked that book. And, and that's, that's kind of where, you know, I thought this is good.

Well, fundamentally, the first thing that got me was looking at it and go, hey, you know, what, you can make money four ways on real estate, you know, and, and I've got a bunch of money sitting in mutual funds that only making money one way, you know, and I've been given it to some dude with a green eyeshades on for 30 years, you know, who I don't even know who's in the back of the room, you know, moving it around telling me he's doing great things for me. And sometimes, yes, and sometimes, no.

But over the years, over the last few years, you see a tremendous amount of volatility. And I'm like, you know, what, I'm not 30 anymore, I don't have 50 more years to make up that difference, right? So great dollar cost averaging, and everything is fine. When you're 30 because you got like 50 years to make up the difference, right? When you take a dip? Well, when you're 60 you don't have 50 years to make up the difference. In fact, you may want to use some of that now, you know, or in the next few years. And if it's all down here, right? If it takes a dip and you're going I yeah, you can't really get to that right now. Because if I do, I'm giving up, you know, a tremendous amount of money right? A tremendous amount of value.

So I said you know what, I need to start I need to start figuring out what I can do with that and shift some of it around and put put some of it you know, in real estate in fact, a lot of it in real estate and you know so that because it's I won't say it's more stable but it is it's more stable and and if you're not flipping houses and you're not you know trying and you're not doing multiple multifamily syndications, etc over you know, all the time. It's not as stressful, right? Because what makes it stressful is the thrill of the deal. And if you're into it for the thrill of the deal, I'm, I'm good, I'm good with that. That's a business.

35:00 - 40:00

Tom:

You know, what I'm, what I'm looking at is, you know, can I produce income over time, right and defend against the volatility of the market. And so I can do that buy and hold forever, I can do that with one or two Commercial Investments, or a handful of multi families, or whatever it is.

But what it all really comes down to is, in my observation, just like leadership, right? It's your network. It's who you know, and who you deal with, who are your property managers, who are your bankers, who are your, you know, who are your wholesalers, who are the people that are in your network that you trust and deal with, you know, I just bought this house. And I didn't, I didn't sweat any bullets over buying this newly built house, because I knew who my loan officer was, I knew my realtor was, and I knew how to do the homework. So to look at it and go, you know what, I get it, it wasn't like getting sucked through a knothole. Now, this is buying this house.

And the most recent, you know, rental properties was not, you know, was painless as well, because you know, who's in your network, you establish your network, you look at where it's at, you learn how to you learn how to do the analysis of the market. Were you investing in, you know, can I make a return on this year? Those are the questions that are now that if you don't trust your network, then you're going to read a lot, a lot, a lot of books for a long, long, long, long time, trying to figure those things out, right?

Because otherwise, you know, otherwise, you are taking everybody's opinion a little differently, and it's your niche. What do you want to do? Why are you in it? And what do you want to do with it? Can you make money? Absolutely, you know, I would, I would be right there to tell you if you can afford to buy a house every year, buy a house every year, you know, at least until the point where you know, you have enough money to be able to do other deals, right? But it doesn't have to be your life either, right? It is this. So real estate's my side gig, you know, could it become my primary, maybe, you know, but I'm not looking to, I'm not looking to build real estate. A real estate, you know, business that, you know, that that's a that makes me a multimillionaire.

Although I will tell you, I got my daughter started in it, and I'll get my son started in it, because it's good stuff. And guys, like you, you know, you, you know, David, you and Alex, you are doing the right things, putting this out there. Helping youngsters understand that you know what they can do, and how they can improve their situation, improve their life, you know, and, and grow with, you know, in, in a reasonable way. And you control it, at least to a degree, much greater degree, you control it, you're not just giving it to a banker or some guy who's sitting in the backroom that you don't know, you don't you don't know what he was doing last night, and you don't know what he's going to do with your money.

So anyway, I’m like an odd man, tell me to shut up.

David:

That's all good. I I agree with the last piece for sure. I mean, a lot of what you said obviously, like the four pillars of real estate, and all that good stuff.

The piece that I always liked with real estate is, you know, at the end of the day, if something goes super wrong, it's my fault, and I can fix it. And I am a fan of knowing that there are things I can do to improve the system and improve the process and make a better return and make a worse return and cross collateralized or do whatever and ultimately know that it's on me whether it does well or not as opposed to you know, I definitely invest you know, I have a lot of money in the TSP and stuff like that but as opposed to just letting something ride and not really understanding it, you know, every but all the all the really successful investors talk about investing what you know, and investing in what you can control. And I think that's a powerful piece for sure.

Tom:

Absolutely. Good stuff. Good stuff.

40:00 - 45:00

Alex:

I like real estate as a side gig too.

I sort of kind of did real estate primarily for this year, and I found I don't really want to do that. I want to keep it as a side gig. I think it's a really good side gig. I think a lot of people in our circle that are trying to move to real estate full time.

I think, I think they really just hate their jobs, they don't really want to do real estate full time. They just don't want to do what they're doing. And they're, and they're making real estate. They're, they're a, you know, passion project, but it's not really their passion project. And it's not as lucrative as it was five years ago either.

So I love real estate as a side gig. And I realized, I think that I'm going to continue, like you said, I'm going to buy a few properties here. I'm flipping houses right now, but primarily doing buy and hold forever. I don't intend to sell anything. And I love to buy one a year, for 40 years, and you're in real good shape. And it's not that stressful.

Tom:

Amen.

David:

Oh, man, I agree completely. Awesome.

So I really like and we touched on at the beginning, I like that you said leadership is an apprentice vocation. So I really like that you acknowledge, you know, that great leaders might be born, but they're there. They're made, right?

Tom:

Absolutely.

David:

Like, you learn this. So and you know, I'm looking at some of your other stuff in here as far as some of your leadership points, but you had some really good stuff that you talked about, can you brush up briefly? Could you go a little bit deeper in what you mean by an apprentice vocation?

Like if you were, we'll ask it this way, if you were fresh out of school fresh out of college and join the military or you join a business or whatever? Like what would be what do you think would be the first thing you would do? If you were really trying to become like, grow into that leader? What would that look like if you had to go back in time?

Tom:

Well, it's easy when you go into the military, because somebody gives you somebody, gives you a job and says you're a leader, right? You know, maybe they even give you some classes on it, right? But that's not really what being a leader is, right? I mean, being a leader means first off, you got to commit to being a leader, you got to say, this is what I'm going to do. You know, in my book, I talk about competency and competency being one of those things, but you have to be competent in whatever you're, you're technical specialty is right? Or your industry is, right.

So I mean, if you get out and you become a CPA, you're a CPA, you better be a good CPA, right? Because there's rules and standards and all that. If you are all by yourself, you're not leading a lot of people, but you're still in a network of somebody, you're leading clients, you're leading whoever, but you have to figure out and that's why I say leadership is its own vocation, right? I mean, if you have to study leadership, you have to figure out how to lead? Who are the people that are doing those kinds of things.

Leadership is fundamentally about relationships, right? I mean, you have relationships with everybody, but it's, and it's really easy to say it's the, you know, once you're a leader, you're a leader, but that we that's not true, either. It's different in each industry, it's different at each level, right? It's different with every person.

Okay, somebody asked me once, you know, is it that it was leading in combat hard? And I was like, no, it's not. If you're technically competent in the warfighting stuff, right. Everybody knows that the enemies over there, we're going to go do that. And the leading part, you know, is it's not hard to motivate people to do what they're trained to do. And that's much easier in many respects, than trying to lead people in a headquarters back in the rear where everybody works in a cubicle, right?

How do you keep everybody on the same sheet of music? How do you move the ball forward? How do you coordinate and integrate? I can put 50 guys in a formation and say go that way. You know, that's, that's relatively easy. But when you're not, whether that's in a civilian job, or in a headquarters or it, it is you have to figure out what needs to be done, what does my organization need, I have to be the leader for them.

So the first thing you gotta do is you got to commit to the idea of being a leader, right. And then the next thing that you have to do is to say I need to be competent, okay, what do I need to be competent at, right? And, and you start at your desk, for God's sake, you know, if you have a desk, I mean, there was a time when I was a lieutenant when I didn't even have a desk, right?

So start at your little, you know, your little green book or whatever your responsibilities are for the day and you go, what do I have to know I have to know SOP’s you know, standard operating procedures for my people, or for my organization.

45:00 - 50:00

Tom:

I have to know. You know, all the technical manuals that all have all the equipment that I own. I have to know, what the rules of the battalion are the SOP’s? And the rules? What are the orders that exist? What are all those things that I have to know? And that's true, whether you're in the Marine or you're out in the civilian world, what am I responsible for knowing? And what do I have to do? And then you got to think about, okay, and I'm responsible for taking care of these people. And what does that mean? You know, you know, and what it really means is, your job as a leader is to help your people transcend to something greater than self.

How do you get them to grow? Because a leader is just somebody that people follow, right? And sometimes, they follow you just out of idle curiosity, curiosity, right? And sometimes they follow you because you got your stuff together. A lot of times, they follow you because you give a shit. Because you care because you're willing to go the extra mile. You're willing to put yourself out there and say, what can I do for you today is tell a funny story. And when I was a lieutenant, there was a Marine, he comes in with his 19 year old wife, and they have a child already and another one on the way and, and they're financially gummed up like Hogan's go. I mean, it's, it's ugly.

And so I sat him down, and I started talking to him about okay, listen, this is how much you make this as what you can afford, here's how you do it. And I showed him how to make a budget.

Whenever they had a marital problem, I became the chaplain and they didn't. She didn't want to go see the chaplain, she only wanted to go see Lieutenant Connally. Okay. And is that painful? Oh, yeah, it's painful. But the point of that was because I was willing to take the time to do that my other Marines realized that I was that I gave a shit. And I was willing to help them. And so it opened, it opened their doors that I know, I was doing that now, I didn't know I was doing that I was trying to solve a problem.

But fundamentally, leaders solve problems. But if you're a leader, and you're trying to get your people to, to improve their performance continuously, as well as your own, then you have to be competent. And then and that means you also have to know what you believe. What do you know? Do I know what I believe? I had a conversation with a lieutenant once upon a time, and he came over to my house for Thanksgiving. We lived eight miles from the basic school at Quantico. So we, we grabbed a bunch of them and brought them over, you know, that didn't have any place to go. And I said, so what do you believe? And he was like, Huh, I'm like, Okay, yeah, I mean, the Constitution, you know, your, your, your oath of office, you know, church, what do you what do you believe? What's your core? What are your fundamental core principles in life? What makes what causes you to, to base a judgment on anything?

And he was like, wow, never really thought about it, like, well, you better think about it. Because you're going to have a whole bunch of people that are going to look to you, and you need to be thinking ethically, morally, you know, professionally, you need to know what that's all based on, and who you are, you know, so how do you do that? Well, if you weren't raised with all that, me, you go read books, you go talk to people you go, you know, you could find out what sets those things up, you know, and, and, but you got to know what you believe, because then you can figure out what your highest priorities in life are, is your highest priority in life to make a million dollars is your highest priority in life to, you know, run the fastest, you know, drive the fastest car? Or is your priority in life to lead people to make help people to be their best to accomplish a mission to move forward? What are your goals? What are your values, you got to figure that out?

So if I'm a leader, I'm a new leader, I need to know what I do at my desk, where that expands out too and my basis for decision making, right? I need to know what I believe, you know, and then you need to think about your mission. Okay, that's me, I'm taking care of me, I get up every day I PT, I do my ad, and I do whatever I need to do. I take care of my people. And you do this, whether you're in the civilian world or you're not. And then you got to say, what's my mission? What's the mission of our organization, I have to stretch out now I got to start figuring out how I fit into that. How my people fit into that.

50:00 - 55:00

Tom:

And then if you want to make that mission happen, then you've got to be willing to go the extra mile. They Need to Know Your people need to know if you're a marine that you'll stand in the mud with them in the coldest, darkest night, bring them coffee, if that's all you can do pass them ammo, if that's what it is, or you'll, you know, fix bayonets and you'll be going over the berm with them. They need to know that.

So they need to know that you know that you're there and your care at the apprenticeship is continuous. That's probably the hardest part of it at every level. You're a master and an apprentice, the PFC that checks into your unit thinks that the lieutenant, you know, if you're halfway decent, right, because, you know, he just thinks you are something to be, he doesn't really want to be you though he wants to be the Gunny. Because he does, he wants to be the Gunny, I look, I spent 30 years trying to make Gunny and I couldn't do it. I could only make Colonel.

Alright, so. But, but the but you know, so you're, you're the you come into the to the organization and you are both master and apprentice. And every level your master and apprentice. So at every rank, you know, when you become an NCO, new role, new job, you know, I'm now I've mastered these things, I can mentor the people below me. But I'm still an apprentice at being an NCO. So I need to look up to my sergeants, my gunnies, my Sergeants Major, you know, and the same thing is true with with officers, you know, at every level, and it's true in the civilian world, if you're running a 50 man organization, well, let's talk about entrepreneurship.

If you're an entrepreneur, and you when five guys start a business, okay, are you lead in it, you're kind of leading each other depending on how you do business, right, and you're building that organization. But, and if you sell that thing off, because you're turned a great widget, and you sell it off and make a bazillion dollars, well, okay, great. But if you decide to sustain that and move it into a, you know, a revenue producing organization, you're now at a completely different set of requirements, responsibilities, etc, that you are now dealing with.

So leadership, at every level has its own requirements, its own learning. But now you move through it as a master and an apprentice continuously. Because my dad taught me lots of things, one of the things you should always say, we should learn, you'll learn something every day. I kind of took that and said, you know what, I need to learn something every day. So I pair that with, learn something every day and teach something every day. Because if you're learning something every day, you're growing. If you're teaching something every day, then you're building and you're building everybody around you.

So you know, that's another thing that I follow.

David:

I like that a lot. That's awesome.

Awesome. So there are two questions that I asked at the end of every interview. And they're both just very quick, whatever the first thing is off the top of your head, right?

Tom:

Okay.

David:

The first one is if you had one word of advice for any e one e two, or youngster, what would be the one thing you would want to tell them about being successful as a leader?

Tom:

The one thing about being successful as a leader. It's a commitment. You commit to that, you decide to be a leader. Leadership doesn't find you. It may provide the opportunity for you. But it's a commitment. And you have to take it seriously. So somebody just showed up with a bunch of tracks in front of my house.

David:

It's exciting.

Tom:

My dogs are going nuts.

Alex:

I can barely hear, but don’t worry about it.

Tom:

All right. Good to go. Keep rolling, man. I'm sorry. I don't mean to interrupt.

David:

No, no, no. Easy. Cut it out. It's all good. We're all wrapped. We're wrapping up anyway.

So the second question is, what is one resource, book, course, website, whatever that you would recommend anybody looking to either start a business or become a better leader, and we'll let you plug your book in a second. So.

Tom:

Wow, one resource? Wow. I think there's a bunch of resources out there. I mean, I plug your plug, you plug your site and your and your show here. Absolutely. That that's a that's a that's a key resource. I think because you're doing so much more than just real estate.

55:00 - 58:16

You're talking about all kinds of things as well, as far as becoming a better leader. Man, I tell you to read everything that you can read on leadership, right? Read everything you can read on leadership you want to learn about, you know, there's 1000 books on real estate, choose the niche, right? I like to buy and hold forever.

If you're, if you're, if you want to be a great leader and you know it's in business, then read Good to Great, you know, if you want to read, if you want to be, you know, a fantastic leader in the military, then there's a whole series of them that comment on the reading list is, you know, it's got a ton. My favorite, you know, military one is, you know, defeat into victory. That's the, that's all about the Field Marshal Slim's campaigns in India during World War II, and you mean net huge, massive defeats against the Japanese, and then it turns it around. So, there's great, great stuff there. But

Alex:

Read everything. That's good advice. That's the advice I give when people ask me, what's the one book I'm like, that's the wrong answer. That's the wrong question. Read everything.

Tom:

Yeah. And then, look, there's a great book out there called the tax and legal playbook by Kohler, which is a great place to start if you're starting a business.

David:

Awesome. I really appreciate it. And last, but not least, where can people get a hold of you? And what's the title of your book?

Tom:

They can find me at Conallyconsulting.com.

And the title of my book is becoming a leader, a roadmap for my daughter and the aspiring leader. And you can find it on Amazon. So.

David:

Awesome.

Well, Tom, thank you very much for joining us today. This has been a lot of fun.

Tom:

Listen, I really enjoyed it, guys, you guys are doing great work this, you know, military to millionaire airs, you know, podcast and what you're doing. I'm sure your book will be great as well as a nod to you on that.

You guys are hitting home runs with this stuff. And it's great to see and you're young enough that you can keep doing this for a long time and continue to be successful. And that's really cool. And so I appreciate it. I appreciate the opportunity. And man, give them hell every day, right?

One last thing. I have a saying. It says all things are possible with prayer and heavy deadlifts, right? Faith and effort, right faith and effort.

So, you know, keep lifting man.

David:

Alex definitely loves his deadlift.

Alex:

I love my deadlifts.

David:

We appreciate that. Thank you very much.
Tom:

Thank you.

End:

Thank you for listening to another episode about my journey From military to millionaire.

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Tom Connally Quote Card

Episode: 113

Tom Connally

Join David Pere and Alexander Felice, with Tom Connally, as they talk about why becoming a leader is a lifelong commitment of study, action, reflection, and refinement.

Tom is a retired full bird colonel in the Marine Corps. He has also been the director of defense contractor organizations. Currently, he is a leadership development coach, consultant, speaker, and author. He wrote the book “Becoming a Leader: A Road Map for My Daughter and the Aspiring Leader.” He also founded Connally Consulting in 2018 with the mission of helping leaders and organizations improve their performance and success professionally, personally, spiritually, and physically.

In this episode, Tom shares some really solid advice on leadership and how you can become a better leader. Stay tuned!

About Tom Connally:

Tom Connally is an experienced leader, strategist, and change agent with proven performance leading, building, and fixing organizations by creating a culture of performance. In over 30 years of Marine leadership, he led organizations from 50-3500 personnel, with budgets up to $2.8B.

Leading tactical formations of artillery, infantry, and security forces, including an artillery battalion conducting provisional missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom, a Headquarters Battalion in Japan, and a Security Forces Company in Iceland, he was responsible for every aspect of the mission and organization. He has lead staff organizations in operations, training, human resources, and recruiting, he developed goals, strategy, policy, procedures, and processes to support the highest levels of command. Leading organizations in Joint rapid acquisition, strategy, wargaming, and future force development, he shaped the future force organization, missions, and strategy.

As a Director for Camber Corporation and then R&M Technology Solutions, Tom developed the business strategy for the Marine Corps market, performed as a Subject Matter Expert, Technical Lead, Senior Wargame Consultant, and Project Manager for a study of Model-Based System Engineering Support to Combat Development. Tom founded Connally Consulting in March 2018.

Outline of the Episode:

  • [03:10] Learning about the concept of hard work and leadership from his family
  • [05:25] Working hard versus working smart.
  • [08:09] Transitioning from military to civilian life and figuring out his next career path
  • [12:46] How to stop overthinking and start writing.
  • [14:08] Finding someone who can read your book, who can give an outsider’s perspective.
  • [19:16] Writing a book is challenging and teaches you lessons in humility and good communication.
  • [22:16] Finding a good mentor is such an important thing. You have to be open to it and recognize it.
  • [32:50] The advantages of investing in real estate versus mutual funds.
  • [35:41] The importance of your network, both in leadership and in real estate.
  • [38:54] Investing in what you know and investing in what you can control.
  • [41:34] Leadership requires both commitment and competency.
  • [46:36] Why it is essential to first be aware of your core values as a leader?
  • [51:02] Leaders are both masters and apprentices.
  • [56:57] All things are possible with prayer and heavy deadlifts – faith and effort.

 Advice to an 18-20-year old:

It’s a Commitment.

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My name is David Pere, I am an active duty Marine, and have realized that service members and the working class use the phrase “I don’t get paid enough” entirely too often. The reality is that most often our financial situation is self-inflicted. After having success with real estate investing, I started From Military to Millionaire to teach personal finance and real estate investing to service members and the working class. As a result, I have helped many of my readers increase their savings gap, and increase their chances of achieving financial freedom! – Click here to SUBSCRIBE: https://bit.ly/2Q3EvfE to the channel for more awesome videos!

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David Pere

David Pere

David is an active duty Marine, who devotes his free time to teaching personal finance and real estate investing for service members, and the working class!

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