July 29, 2020

34 Rorke Denver: Dad of two, U.S. Navy SEALs Officer & Trainer, assault team leader with 200+ combat missions

34 Rorke Denver: Dad of two, U.S. Navy SEALs Officer & Trainer, assault team leader with 200+ combat missions

“The fact that my daughters have learned how to shoot a gun, make a fire and play rough has helped them become resilient, self-reliant people.” Rorke Denver on DADicated.com.

Commander Rorke Denver is a highly decorated assault team leader with over 200 combat missions as a NAVY Seal and has run every phase of training for the U.S. Navy SEALs. Rorke has led special-forces missions in international hot spots and led BRAVO Platoon of SEAL Team THREE in Iraq in combat-heavy deployments.

Rorke is married and has two daughters. My feeling was that Rorke lives in a permanent state of heightened intensity and is also able to live single purposefully. The session is very interesting, fun, intriguing and I found it very motivational.

We talk about self-discipline, prepping kids for hard times, managing the transition between family life and combat deployment. Rorke shares his standpoints and values as a Dad and talks about his own father and upbringing. He also shares lessons from the battlefield and SEALS training and how those are applicable for families.

"If you avoid pain you’re not inoculated for when hard things happen.” Rorke Denver on DADicated.com

Commander Rorke Denver is a highly decorated assault team leader with over 200 combat missions as a NAVY Seal. Rorke has run every phase of training for the U.S. Navy SEALs and led special-forces missions in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and other international hot spots. As the officer in charge of BRAVO Platoon of SEAL Team THREE in Iraq, he was part of the most combat-heavy deployments of any regular SEAL team since Vietnam.

Rorke has a Master in Global Business Leadership and is the founder and CEO of EVER ONWARD, a leadership and human performance brand.

As a Dad Rorke is married and has two daughters. My feeling was that Rorke lives in a permanent state of heightened intensity and is also able to live single purposefully. The session is very interesting, fun and I found it very motivational.

We talk about self-discipline, prepping kids for hard times and how parents who are being deployed manage to transition between family life and combat situations. Rorke shares his standpoints and values as a Dad and talks about his own father and upbringing. He also shares lessons from the battlefield and SEALS training and how those are applicable for families. We talk about general parenting principles, how to keep your relationship strong and healthy, the importance of own pursuits, goal setting, operating at your highest point of contribution and holding your kids accountable whilst still supporting them. Not surprisingly Rorke is big on tangible over digital experiences in the family.

“The fact that my daughters have learned how to shoot a gun, make a fire and play rough has helped them become resilient, self-reliant people.” Rorke Denver on DADicated.com

The most powerful takeaways for me as a dad were:

  1. Trust yourself
  2. Share your failures more than your successes with your kids and why
  3. Keep working towards an end-state
  4. Do hard things and do not avoid suffering and pain.
  5. Build resilient, confident children
  6. Never leave a question unanswered.
  7. Let them be kids as long as they can
  8. As a father of daughters the example I set as a man is a fundamental gift for their future.

“Basics for my kids: Respect for yourself and other people. Spend very little time on electronics. No phones. I try and let them be kids as long as they can.” Rorke Denver on DADicated.com

Rorke Denver’s books, TV and film appearances

  1. His first book, the New York Times Bestseller "Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior" takes you inside his personal story and the fascinating, demanding SEAL training program
  2. His second book "Worth Dying For" speaks to leadership, service and the future of our nation
  3. Rorke starred in the hit film Act of Valor, which is based on true SEAL adventures
  4. Rorke starred in Season One of the FOX TV show “American Grit”

Rorke Denver (guest): 

  1. Rorke’s website
  2. Rorke on Wikipedia
  3. Rorke’s Twitter
  4. Rorke on Facebook

Philipp Hartmann (host): 

  1. Philipp Hartmann
  2. Philipp Hartmann on LinkedIn

Please share DADicated.com with other parents and please leave a review as I truly love getting that feedback from you. Thank you!


[00:02:13] RD: [00:02:13] The best advice I could give to myself as a dad is to totally be okay with failing to know that I'm going to make mistakes and give myself grace to do so and, and obviously work towards recovering. And then the best piece of advice my dad ever gave me that's carried me well through my life.

[00:02:33] And it certainly is something I apply constantly to being a dad and that's to trust myself, to just trust my gut and to do those things I believe to be right in a, in the raising of my kiddos.

[00:02:46] PH: [00:02:46] Awesome.I'm super stoked to have you.

[00:02:57] We found each other through a common friend, Warren Rustand, [00:03:00] and he's recommended you. And we had a call before and it was really good. I wish we would've recorded that

[00:03:05] RD: [00:03:05] night.

[00:03:10] PH: [00:03:10] So, I'm looking forward to the session. Yeah. Rorke Denver is your name. We all know that. And you're a Navy seal and a Navy seal. I know, which is quite impressive. I know that you guys are hot and, and, but do go through an amazing, amazing. Training. So, I do want to hear about that, especially before we dive into that, maybe you can give a quick intro about yourself and then we'll dive straight into rock the dead.

[00:03:33] RD: [00:03:33] Sure. Yeah. I grew up in the Bay area, California, kind of in the heart of, of, of Silicon Valley before it blew up into the tech You know, wildfire that exists there today, it seemed like a very normal place to grow up. I mean, it was, you know, by no means the rough streets of Northern California, it was a, it was just, you know, a lot simpler.

[00:03:52] I mean, there are apricots orchards and, you know, felt like normal schools. You had no idea they were building, you know, the computers, cell fighters and [00:04:00] all the tech that as boomed out of that part of the world when I was there, I struggled a lot in school. It wasn't because of any intellectual horsepower or ability.

[00:04:08] It was more the confines of four walls and sitting in a classroom is not something that's ever particularly been a great fit for me. I like physical learning and, and kind of be an out get in trouble and running amuck. So, sports were a real heavyweight grounding and, and successful place for me to kind of exercise.

[00:04:26] You know, gifts, I think in leadership and ability and teamwork and all the things I've enjoyed most of my life. So, I played a bunch of sports growing up. I ended up getting recruited to play lacrosse in college, in upstate New York at one of the, the real Titans. One of the big teams in the collegiate landscape, got a chance to win a couple of national championships at the highest level.

[00:04:44] When I was there, I ended up being a team captain and really enjoyed that experience of playing at that most elite level. And I wanted to continue that. So, I found through a bunch of my reading. I was reading Winston Churchill, my senior year of college, the idea of military service jumped out at me.

[00:04:58] And then I did a [00:05:00] bunch of research and found out about 75, 80% of the people that go to seal training, do not see the fence. And so, I was like, that sounds like the right Oz to me. You know, I'll do that. And it was a 20-year action packed career, little did we know nine 11 was going to unfold and we'd be at war the entire time, but tremendous, tremendous experience both on and off the battlefield and running training.

[00:05:21] And now my beautiful bride who, who joined me very early in that adventure. She and I met. Yeah, right at the beginning of my career. So, she suffered through all that, all those years of kind of sustained combat and fighting and separation. We luckily had our two kiddos; I've got two daughters that we luckily had them post my kind of active assault team rounds.

[00:05:41] So I was, I was as close to home as I could be in that job, running the training for the seals. And yeah, it's just been a great adventure. And you know, I've written a couple books, I've done some entertainment stuff and just kind of making it up as I go along. It's been a, it's been a lot of fun. Yeah. And

[00:05:56] PH: [00:05:56] impressive.

[00:05:56] I mean, you've done some impressive stuff on that in terms. I mean, [00:06:00] I know that you've, you've done what 180 missions.

[00:06:04] RD: [00:06:04] Oh yeah. I mean, I guess depending on how you, depending on how you count them, I'm probably over 200 combat missions, but certainly

[00:06:09] in

[00:06:09] PH: [00:06:09] the hundred really combat, obviously you were in, in ivory coast, you were in Iraq leading, leading seal teams, snipers, everything really have,

[00:06:18] RD: [00:06:18] correct?

[00:06:18] Correct.

[00:06:19] PH: [00:06:19] Yep. And how is that as a dad? So, you, for context, you've got two daughters. Yeah. And how old are they?

[00:06:26] RD: [00:06:26] They are nine and 11

[00:06:28] PH: [00:06:28] and nine 11 now. So 2011, you will obviously stay fully in the army operational, right? Yep. And how was that? As a dad, how do you prepare to go on a mission? Like you must change your mind from being a father.

[00:06:45] To now being in the battlefield and changing. I mean, I guess the arts, the mission is clear, right? You were, you were being deployed to protect your country. That's what you're doing as a seal. And you're doing special COVID missions often and dangerous stuff. [00:07:00] How do you. Switch in that sense. And how are you able to create that mindset for yourself?

[00:07:05] So you can actually function in the battlefield and not are not distracted in that sense, because you also are a

[00:07:10] RD: [00:07:10] father and you have those two roles.

[00:07:12] PH: [00:07:12] How do you get that together?

[00:07:13] RD: [00:07:13] Yeah, I mean, I think, I think everybody does it a little bit differently or probably has their own way of making that transition.

[00:07:20] I I've heard a lot of guys talk about it being a switch, they turn on and off. I find it less of a switch transitioning between two different people is more being a throttle, right? So, like, you can be on idle, you can be full blast, or you can be somewhere in between. And so, for me, you know, when I hope when I'm home and I'm with my family, I try and very much separate from the seal part of my life.

[00:07:41] I want to be present for them. I want to be engaged and not constantly in a red line of, of, of intensity and focus and, and commitment. To a very singular purpose. So, I think I had a unique, or I think at least a very disciplined and capable ability to do that. I [00:08:00] don't feel like I brought my work home. My bride before we had kids knew when I was with her, I was with her Of course, if the cell phone rang, it was time to go do our work.

[00:08:07] She knew that I'd have to drop it in a second and go do the work. So, it takes a team, you know, it takes a family just as it obviously doesn't parenting as well, or certainly you can benefit from, you know, the combination of, of two people doing the job. And she knew that very well. So, it was more of a throttle between a high level of intensity back to a more normal level intensity in my job.

[00:08:27] I think I probably always live-in a heightened level of intensity compared to a normal. You know, a normal person and that's just the nature of kind of the warrior life. But when it came to my kiddos, I was very lucky as a parent that I wasn't deploying into the combat theater. Once I had my, my girls, I just, I just, I had promoted and transitioned into jobs beyond that requirement.

[00:08:50] And so. While the job was still intense, nowhere near the level of, of, of focus and intensity or the separation and time away from family. My, my teammates who had to [00:09:00] leave their families and kids for big blocks of time. My respect for them is off the charts because I, I honestly can't imagine it. Yeah.

[00:09:06] PH: [00:09:06] I had a very, very interesting chat with a veteran who was shot on a mission. Actually, he was a Marine and he came back to. Well, you know, he came back, and his wife wanted a divorce, and it was a very interesting session because he said it kind of happens often. You know, you leave, you leave the country, and you are on this mission, gun, slinging, a soldier with grenades on your chest kind of thing.

[00:09:33] And then something, something obviously changes during the mission and often they come back with PTSD and you can't. Always switched on from that intensity. And, you know, you kind of crash into a very different scenario or different life. And on top of it all, he got, he was shot. So, he wasn't even able to use the bathroom on his own.

[00:09:54] So your kind of left

[00:09:55] RD: [00:09:55] as, as, as this Marine.

[00:09:57] PH: [00:09:57] Amazing powerful kind of [00:10:00] soldier situation. And then he got back into totally dependent and the baby and the baby was born while he was deployed. And the wife going, yeah, you know, I can't do this anymore. We were separating,

[00:10:10] RD: [00:10:10] it was

[00:10:10] PH: [00:10:10] really intense, like very, very interesting.

[00:10:13] He, they managed to get 50, 50 custody, which I found really, really great. Yeah. Okay. Different sessions.

[00:10:19] RD: [00:10:19] Yeah, no, no, no. I mean, look, I, I, I lived it as well. I mean, I saw plenty of buddies that came back with more, more scholars physically and emotionally than they are emotionally and kind of spiritually than they did physically.

[00:10:32] And then I saw buddies that came back physical, physically damaged in ways that change their life. It takes a tremendous, tremendous spouse to handle. You know what we do at any level of, of, of combat and warfare. I think special operations are unique in that. I think our guys tend to metabolize and handle the emotional intensity and the kind of physical intensity of the job better than the average, but by no means, are we immune to those things that can really impact your life negatively?

[00:11:00] [00:11:00] PH: [00:11:00] Yeah. Can you speak on that? You are ever onward System or principles and how you can apply them to dads or family, not just dads, I guess. There will be a lot of, a lot of that leadership learning and material that is a particular for family. Can you talk about that?

[00:11:17] RD: [00:11:17] Sure. You know, whatever onward I try and take and distill the lessons that I learned on the battlefield, both in the combat assault teams, then also running training for the seals and how do I apply that to my regular life, to a business life, and then certainly to a family and kind of parenting life.

[00:11:32] And I think. Many of the principles that lead towards success in any endeavor, cross rate over into something else. I mean, I think this is known about the progression of a human being. That if you discipline yourself and you build to a level of excellence or certainly mastery in any one discipline, it can often carry over into others because the principles that got you there remain very much the same.

[00:11:54] So I'm a huge proponent of doing, doing hard things. Not, not avoiding [00:12:00] suffering and pain. I think we've kind of established a world right now, certainly in the modern or kind of the advanced world where, you know, you could go from a climate-controlled car to a climate-controlled office and then back to your climate-controlled house and never realized it was hot or cold outside or experiencing anything of that.

[00:12:15] And I think in some ways that's a mistake and very much so. I think, I think life is hard, no matter how gifted you are, how you know, how lacking gifts you might be. I think hardship and toughness and tough times hit all of us. And if you've avoided pain, if you've avoided doing hard things, then you're not inoculated and prepared for those things to take place.

[00:12:37] So I think doing hard things and kind of being prepared to fail and waiting into those things is a huge part of our life. And then as a parent, as hard as is. I try and, you know, project that, or at least offer that to my kids. I mean, I think there's a lot of parents that, you know, hover and, you know, help a kid zip up their jacket and tie their shoes and, you know, get past every single obstacle and you [00:13:00] realize very quickly, how are they going to learn to do it?

[00:13:01] Themselves, if you're doing, if you're doing it for them. So, I've had some wayward eyes from parents and moms and folks on a playground that see my kids sort of in a spot that she's going to have a hard time getting out of. And I would never put them in harm's way to the point where of course, I think something catastrophic has happened of course.

[00:13:17] But I have had a few moments where somebody zipped in to get my, my, my daughter's snow gloves on. I don't like it. She can put her gloves on. I mean, how's she going to learn how to put her gloves on? So, I try to inject that I'm kind of prepping for the hard times and prepping for, you know, real life is, is, is a benefit.

[00:13:35] I'd give my kids as opposed to helping them through everything.

[00:13:40] PH: [00:13:40] Yep. Yep. Yeah. And that's powerful. And I guess there's a certain line of like, you know, where you do a pre sleep. Come to the rescue and, and where you don't. And it, for sure, if you don't cross that line, it's fine. You know, the children are actually very resilient, so to speak, like, I mean, we're a similar age.

[00:13:56] I think you were five or six years older than I am. And I mean, [00:14:00] When

[00:14:00] RD: [00:14:00] I grew up,

[00:14:00] PH: [00:14:00] we were like walking in the forest, making a fire great idea, but you know, that's the kind of stuff we did. And now you can't walk anywhere as a child. We took our bicycles everywhere. You know, we were out and about every, every day out in the streets and that's kind of changed.

[00:14:15] RD: [00:14:15] No, I think the fact that my daughters, you know, have learned how to shoot a gun and play rough and make fires and, you know Get dirty is, is only going to carry them well in life because they're, they're the things that, you know, help build confidence. And the only way I see you building confidence in a kid is, is giving them opportunities to fail and push themselves and get to a place where they realize they can do it.

[00:14:38] You know, you hear stories constantly of kids that were, you know, almost mismanaged as children or are somewhat left to their own devices. And those become often, it doesn't always work, but often very resilient. Self-reliant capable people. So, while I want to give my kids as much guidance and as, as many lessons, as I've learned, I've realized that.

[00:15:01] [00:15:00] Particularly one of my daughters doesn't take a lot of my diamonds or life lessons. Well, she, she just rather figures it out on our own. I'm kind of like, you know what, she will, she'll figure it out. Oh. And I'm there to give advice and offer, you know, wisdom or experience, but. Not too. I recognize the heavy hand with her is not something that works.

[00:15:18] Whereas my youngest she's all about it. She was like, go ahead and teach me now. And I'll, I'll just step off from that foot. So, they'll walk different paths. And I think that's another thing is realizing that every, you know, every one of your kids, if you have more than one, they're different and they need different type of parenting and different types of leadership and different kinds of guidance.

[00:15:35] And being able to read that I think is going to make you more successful than

[00:15:40] PH: [00:15:40] what's the age difference nine and

[00:15:41] RD: [00:15:41] a nine and 11.

[00:15:43] PH: [00:15:43] Okay. Nine 11. So, they're quite close together in terms of age anyways. Yeah, I get that too. I mean, mine are almost the same age as, you know, turns and triplets and only like six- or eight-months difference, really.

[00:15:56] But, they are pretty much the same and the younger ones are learning from the older ones, but they are [00:16:00] very many individuals. They are very different as different person, not because of their age so much or less and less so, but as people, they are very different. Yeah. And I mean to further what you said. I think it makes a lot of sense to let your kids fail more when they're younger, because it costs the opportunity. Cost is much less.

[00:16:24] RD: [00:16:24] No for sure. I think that's the thing is, if you figure it's the same, you know, again, it goes back to military training, as you're asking me about it is, we, we make the intensity, we ramp it up, right? Like we start somebody with very basic marksmanship skills, basic swimming skills, basic diving skills.

[00:16:41] We don't just jump right into the advanced stuff. You've got to, you know, qual crawl, walk and run. So, I think when you let your kids in particular as a parent, make mistakes early and then support them in those mistakes. Then you build somebody that becomes like a learning supercomputer. That's willing to take risks, [00:17:00] willing to evaluate what they can and can't do and recognize that if it doesn't work that's okay.

[00:17:05] And it's time to move forward and get to things that work. I mean, that's, that's something my bride and I take very, very seriously as in some ways she's a very high performer. She's been a high performer in work. She's into musical theater and is in lead roles in, in big shows in the area that we live in.

[00:17:21] And so she's a very successful person and there's probably a pretty good argument to make by a lot of metrics. I've had a lot of success in my life. And one of the things we recognize early is we need to share our failures. Probably more than our successes with our kids. We need to let them see.

[00:17:36] And not only that we have failed show them when we fail. I mean, when I make a mistake, I actually try and jump at the opportunity to tell my girls, oh man, Papa just blew it on this one. And this is where I made a mistake and I'm disappointed by it, but I'm going to keep working to an end state. Those are the, those, the examples that I think build really resilient, you know, confident kiddos.

[00:17:56] PH: [00:17:56] Yeah, it also kind of levels the playing field. Doesn't it.

[00:17:59] RD: [00:17:59] Do

[00:18:00] [00:17:59] PH: [00:17:59] you, do you struggle with, so your wife has access to it successful in your odds of successful in that sense, do you struggle with accepting that your kids. Are not sometimes as successful or if you want something to happen. And you've, you know, you try now you try to try and pee all the time.

[00:18:16] How do you deal with that? If it doesn't happen, how does it feel for you?

[00:18:20] RD: [00:18:20] I mean, I think it's a work in progress. I think there was a time when I probably was more interested in kind of who they're going to become and helping guide that, giving them paths that would get them to where I think they'd.

[00:18:32] You, you know, kind of have a rich or enriched life and kind of path. And I think as a parent, if you don't realize that it's very hard to do that and probably not worth the time you're going to struggle. It'd be an unhappy and unhappy person in that pursuit. I mean, my, I was an athlete my entire life.

[00:18:48] I think I just. I figured my kids would be athletes. And they're not, I mean, my first, my first daughter's is super coordinated. If she wanted to be an athlete, I think she'd be great. She has no desire. She likes, you know, like her, [00:19:00] her mama, she likes musical theater and singing and dance, which is all very athletic, but it's, it's a world that's been very new to me.

[00:19:08] And so it's something that I'm just. And now I see the delight in it as well. So, what I recognize is when they're happy and doing the things that bring them pleasure, it's, it's super pleasurable for me. My, my youngest kiddo is an athlete. She's played a few sports. She hasn't really found the one she loves.

[00:19:25] But she so much also likes older sister that she tried. Some of the things that are her big sister does. So, at this point, I kind of realize I just want them involved in pursuing things and trying lots of things. I want them exposed to as many different experiences and opportunities and pursuits as they can.

[00:19:43] So they find the thing they want. The one thing I do think my bride and I talk a little bit about is that I think if. I think for her, if her parents may be, had pushed her a little bit more towards a certain discipline, like music, which he showed a proclivity for at a young age, she's a little frustrated that [00:20:00] she probably didn't get a few more opportunities coming from a real small town to maybe go to the big city and try some of that stuff.

[00:20:05] And that that's not a mistake in any way of her parents. It just probably was kind of small town thinking a little bit. And, and, and how You know how much you're willing to push or not push with your kids. So, we try and strike a strike a balance. Like my, my eldest is an unbelievable dancer, having never taken dance.

[00:20:23] And for whatever reason, we've offered her to go to dance classes so many times. And for whatever reason she's been resistant, I think we've now got her convinced to try it. And we've only said it because we're like, look, there's good discipline there. There's good. The physical exercise and energy to expend there, but like, you're good.

[00:20:40] Like, I mean, people will try really hard and never be as good as you. And you have it out of the package, you get some training and instructor and someone that knows what they're doing. You could probably really Excel at this. So, we try and stoke fires in places with our, with our girls. I think they might have success or be a path that we think they'd enjoy.

[00:20:58] And, and then I'm going to let them run with the ball. [00:21:00] You can't, you can't manage it as much as I think you want to.

[00:21:04] PH: [00:21:04] Yeah, and I think it's very difficult to teach outside of your own bias. Right. Because you don't understand it so well, maybe you should go to ballet class with her.

[00:21:12] RD: [00:21:12] Yeah. Yeah, you don't have, look, anything that's in the physical space is stuff I enjoy.

[00:21:17] So I like dancing myself. So, I don't know if the ballet will be the spot, but we'll see

[00:21:23] PH: [00:21:23] if you do give me a shot. I want to be there on

[00:21:26] RD: [00:21:26] your bed. No pictures, pictures. No, no video.

[00:21:31] PH: [00:21:31] We posted on dadicated, Hey,something that I didn't bring up about family and, and your, your positions that you take and your experiences.

[00:21:41] RD: [00:21:41] Yeah. I mean, you know, the thing that I really try and hold omnipresent in my mind is that It is a full-time pursuit and one that you have to strike a balance with, you know, your personal kind of path and journey in life, but being very present and engaged with them. And that's where, when I went, when I kind of, kind of [00:22:00] started with my initial concept of just giving yourself grace, grace to fail there's times when I sit there.

[00:22:05] And I just think I'm absolutely. Blowing it as a dad, you know, sometimes I'm too harsh. I feel like I'm too tough, particularly on my eldest, because she's got a very challenging, aggressive and kind of intense personality. I think it's the thing that's going to make her an absolutely fantastic human and woman.

[00:22:22] But we tend to have similarities that make us bang heads. Whereas my youngest. It's just easy. She's just an easy kid. She's just happy. And you know, kind of in a great way, like a puppy dog, she wants to feel good. She makes you feel good. She doesn't really stress big things and is not combative in a way that, you know, my first, my eldest is so.

[00:22:41] I realized that I make, I feel like I make more mistakes with my, my, my eldest kiddo. And I just got to give myself grace to be like this wasn't a catastrophic mistake. And there's probably no way any one individual piece of the greater, you know, tapestry that will become our relationship and who she's to become as a person is [00:23:00] going to be affected by any one thread or any one thing I do.

[00:23:02] I think we always come from a place of love and respect and desire. To help them to become good people and good. Good human beings and citizens, and that greater context of kind of love and care and genuine, genuine passion for them will bear out, I think, much greater than any individual decision point I make.

[00:23:24] But you know, my bride and I do a lot of checking in with each other as well, as far as parenting. I mean, she'll hold me accountable to things that I'm not seeing. She'll do some that she didn't see and I'll, I'll try and, you know, be a mirror and reflect back some ideas that she hadn't thought about.

[00:23:38] And, and so, yeah. We're partners in, in the adventure and really, really do lean on each other to take advantage of both of what we bring, you know, bring him to the Richards,

[00:23:48] PH: [00:23:48] those, those check-ins have you originally for those,

[00:23:50] RD: [00:23:50] have we, what.

[00:23:51] PH: [00:23:51] Ritualize those,

[00:23:53] RD: [00:23:53] I wouldn't say we've done it in a disciplined fashion.

[00:23:56] It's like, Hey, every Sunday night we kind of come together to talk about [00:24:00] things. But I think we're big communicators. I mean, we're just not we're not people that we'll miss a whole lot. Cause we like to talk. I'm a pretty introverted person. She's exceptionally extroverted, but I liked talking with her and breaking things down and kind of debriefing everything that happens in our daily lives.

[00:24:16] She’s the person I like talking to the most. And so, we partner up hugely on how we're doing and where we could you know, improve, adjust and, and, and kind of get. To a point where what we're doing is, is having the impact we want it to have. Yeah. So, we work pretty hard at it.

[00:24:34] PH: [00:24:34] Are you as a, I mean, as a Navy seal trainer, that must be pretty intense.

[00:24:40] Yeah. Can you, and as a businessman, I'm sure you similar, so full, full speed. Can you, do you also throttle when you become a husband or do you switch.

[00:24:49] RD: [00:24:49] I, I think, I think it's a, it's a unique balance in that. I think my bride very much knew what she was signing up for as soon as she signed up for it. [00:25:00] I think the type of man she wanted to be around probably comes with the intense.

[00:25:05] Reality that, that the path I chose very much could have led to me not coming back and not being there. And obviously that being the most catastrophic, horrific, emotionally intense result of what our relationship could have ended up as unfortunately that didn't happen at least up to date and on the battlefield.

[00:25:24] But I think. She was willing to pay that price, to be with the personality and who I am as a person, as a warrior, as a man is something that appealed to her very much like you know, her pursuits in the theater world and the thing she does takes her away from us now, probably equally to how much I go away when she's in a show she's focused and committed and, and I actually have to be more of a parent and pick up the water and carry the water.

[00:25:51] For us as parents, you know, more every evening during rehearsals and weekends for shows. And I actually think it's been a gift. I think it's just been a gift that her having a passionate [00:26:00] pursuit one is a great example for our daughters. And two kind of forces me into a function of doing more than I probably would have done otherwise.

[00:26:07] So yeah, I think we strike a good balance.

[00:26:10] PH: [00:26:10] What'd you say in the, in the stuff that you've shared now, are you also trying to, to help instilling that warrior feeling or warrior soul into your daughters?

[00:26:19] RD: [00:26:19] I hope so. I mean, I think it comes into the example. I think every parent that was ever in the military and probably parents that are police officers or do difficult.

[00:26:29] You know, challenging, dangerous jobs, probably on some part of their spirit would love their kiddos to follow their same footsteps and would be very proud of that was the case and would also be a complete and utter disaster emotionally and, and worrisome wise for my kids. I mean, if my daughters decided to go in the military, I'd be a, I'd be proud as can be.

[00:26:48] And I'd probably be an emotional wreck at knowing what was coming for him. But again, it’s kind of talks to what we talked about earlier. I think they, and all of us in this life walk our own path. I truly believe that you walk your own path. I think if [00:27:00] you've got good friends and good people, good family around you, it helps you along that path.

[00:27:04] But everybody's journey is theirs to walk.

[00:27:07] PH: [00:27:07] Yeah. Okay. Can you share some very practical advice on, I mean, we talked a lot about respect and, and in the household how do you instill that? Like, you know, we've got to better with three-year-old’s and five-year-old at the moment. So, it's very interesting for me, you know, three-year old’s do whatever they want.

[00:27:23] It's really, it feels like it anyway, the five-year-old's a little bit better, but how do you instill that? What. Can you say some practical advice of what you did, your daughters when they were younger?

[00:27:34] RD: [00:27:34] I mean, as a, as a father, I see, particularly as a father of daughters, I see the example I set as a man as being a fundamental part of, of what I can do and give them as a gift.

[00:27:46] I don't by any means, think, you know, my personality, my, you know, behavior is, is the way it just happens to be the way I've developed and who I am. And I think there are components of that, of respect and discipline and [00:28:00] honor, and focus and drive that if I can set that example that maybe that's, you know, in some ways the men they pursue in their life, if that's there, you know, if that's their kind of journey that, that that's a gift.

[00:28:13] I would give them that I'd say, look, this is how I think a man behaves when it comes to the Ray, he relates to his bride, to his kids, to his family, to his coworkers, the type of manners he exhibits, you know, in his daily life, the respect he shows for women and, and you know, the, the, the most important women in his life, those are examples that I take very, very seriously as examples I set for them, because I feel like I'm modeling behavior that I hope they would pursue in the future.

[00:28:40] One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given by a good buddy, who's raised three, I think by every standard, very successful kids, a buddy of mine from Texas told me he's like, Hey, never leave a question on answered. And that was an amazing piece of advice, because if you think about that and if you're, you know, your listeners and you think about that, you can [00:29:00] think of how many times.

[00:29:01] You know, your kid has asked a question and, you know, you felt like you didn't have time. You didn't give it it's you didn't honor it. And I think that's a mistake. Cause kids are nothing but full of questions and they want to learn, and they want to know what you think. And so, I try and never leave a question on the answer to if my kid asks me something, I try and be present and answer that.

[00:29:20] And I think that's been a very practical piece of kind of performance. That's been hugely, hugely powerful in our, in our kind of family parenting life. Yeah,

[00:29:30] PH: [00:29:30] that is powerful. Yeah, because kind of, if you leave it open, it just. Dissipates into nothing. And the next time maybe she doesn't ask her anymore.

[00:29:37] RD: [00:29:37] That's right. I want them talking to me and that's, that's another nuance and kind of the tangible thing is, is really just that skill of listening. I think my bride has helped me with that more than anything. I mean, I think, I think I'm a good listener. I think she's a great listener. And I think she realized very early on that my girls would bring.

[00:29:55] You know, either problems or concerns or questions [00:30:00] about what was going on in the world, or maybe even making a statement about whether they, the way they'd feel. And it was a statement where I thought maybe they weren't, you know, in some ways seeing the whole picture or reacting the right way, I would try and explain that.

[00:30:11] And I think my bride has kind of groomed me over time to be like, you know, sometimes you just need to acknowledge what they said and. Let them think it through. You don't need to give them the perfect name. Oh,

[00:30:23] PH: [00:30:23] I know. I know. It's the worst.

[00:30:25] RD: [00:30:25] Worst. It's the worst. And I think if you can do it, you are better for it as a parent.

[00:30:30] I think if you can just say sometimes, they just need to hear you be like, yeah. You know what? That sucks. I hear you. That's a bummer. That's a bottle and not give them any tools.

[00:30:37] PH: [00:30:37] Yeah. I will remember. I mean, I do that mostly with my wife, which is a problem I've always problem solve. I shouldn't, but I mean, the kids are so young that I would remember to not do it to my children.

[00:30:48] Yeah. Because I can set that intention there. Right. That's the powerful, that's really the powerful concept around being a parent. If you, if you screw it up, like you said, in the beginning, the best advice, you know, give yourself, [00:31:00] just cut yourself some Slack because tomorrow you can just try to be better.

[00:31:03] Yeah, that's fine. Yeah. You know, and, and, and, and it also kind of, it, that also kind of assumes that you have the that you're humble enough to accept that you're not always perfect and

[00:31:12] RD: [00:31:12] that's not always

[00:31:14] PH: [00:31:14] easy. Yeah. Yep. Okay. And can you Translate more of your leadership principles into family. Do you have something concrete that where you can say, ah, this is something that really applies to family.

[00:31:26] Something that you speak to for in business or in the military or in doesn't matter but apply it to family.

[00:31:33] RD: [00:31:33] Yeah. I think one of the things I see in the best leaders that I ever worked for, and then the leader I really tried to be, as I realized that the higher, I kind of went up the chain of command, the more.

[00:31:43] You know, impactful or senior position I ever earned in an organization. I always try to make sure that that power, that position was in service of those. I led, you know, instead of thinking that they work for me, I try to [00:32:00] think that I work for them. So as a parent, I try and do the exact same thing. I don't try and sit there and be like, Hey, I'm the parent, you do what I say, I try and figure out how can I turn the script around and be like, okay, I'm the parent, how can I serve you?

[00:32:13] And the way you serve your children and the way you serve your family is, is very similar to the way you'd serve. I mean, it sounds crazy maybe, but a combat team or, or a disciplined, you know, military unit, which is. You know, what do they need? What do they need? That's the thing I absolutely am required to provide.

[00:32:32] And then what do they want and figure out of the Watts, which ones I'm willing to, you know, give or say that's a good thing to want, are those things that they want, that they shouldn't have. And then, so I'm always, you know, focused on the service to my family as opposed to my family meeting my needs and they do.

[00:32:50] I mean, that's, that's why I think our family You know, it was a wonderful place to be in a, in a place I want to be more than, more than not is, is we all take care of each other, but [00:33:00] that idea of service to the people that you lead directly relates to family and, and parenting. I think if you think of yourself in service to your, your kids, you're going to have a very good perspective or kind of lens to look through, as opposed to thinking that they need to bend to your will.

[00:33:16] Yeah,

[00:33:17] PH: [00:33:17] that's a powerful concept. And the way put, because servant leadership works obviously in business and, and in, in the community. But if you apply it to family and that makes total sense to me,

[00:33:28] RD: [00:33:28] you get paid back

[00:33:29] PH: [00:33:29] exponentially. Anyways, they'd be successful. They'd be happy. They will like you.

[00:33:34] RD: [00:33:34] They don't

[00:33:34] PH: [00:33:34] actually want to speak to you.

[00:33:36] And so that, that helps everybody. Yeah, that's a big topic. I, to, to actually have a relationship. And you just touched on it earlier to actually have relationship past the age of 18 with your kids while you didn't say it in that many words, but that is really what, what we're trying to do, make a foundation to have.

[00:33:55] That's what I'm trying to do anyways. I can speak for my safe to have it make a foundation [00:34:00] that lasts past 18 years or 20 years where they are really financially dependent. And so, they're not just walk out. You know, and I know it enough

[00:34:08] RD: [00:34:08] now for sure. And I have lucky examples. My, my I've got a younger brother three years.

[00:34:13] My younger were thick as thieves. Best friends have been buddying our entire life. And, and we had great parents and very different parents. Our parents divorced when I was young, but they really did the job all in my mom's very artistic and kind of dreamer. Anything's possible and not particularly disciplined, whereas my dad is unbelievably disciplined and focused and, and the two of those have come together to kind of create some really neat.

[00:34:41] I think behaviors of my brother and I, but what you said and what I pray becomes the same thing. As I talked to my dad in particular every day, I mean, I talked to my dad almost every day. I mean, he's just always been an anchor point and there to, you know, give advice and, and kick ideas around and, and boy, that's a relationship I [00:35:00] hope exists.

[00:35:00] You know, I, I see. Other families. And I see other friends who almost don't have relationship with their parents and I'm like, man, I mean, I, I, you know, if I did that, the time when my dad moves on is going to be a tough Meridian to cross because I spent so much time talking to him and I sure hope my daughters feel the same about me and my bride as they get older.

[00:35:20] PH: [00:35:20] And how did he manage to do that? Can you put your finger to it? Or

[00:35:24] RD: [00:35:24] it was much what I was saying with the, you know, sometimes less is more, I think my dad was sparing in in major, major kind of affection, although he was never in affectionate. He just is not a huge kind of heart and, and, you know, big hugs type person, but he's very, very much sincere in, you know, disciplining yourself, working towards a goal.

[00:35:47] Educating reading, seeking out good opportunities, believing in yourself. And so that stuff was just a huge example. And then he's lived at, you know, my dad's in his mid-seventies, he's still practicing law. He's one of [00:36:00] the smartest human beings I've ever. Talk to in my life and that exists to this day, as best I can tell.

[00:36:05] He's only getting sharper and smarter as he's getting older. And so, I, I want to be in his life. I feel like the things he knows and the, the knowledge he possesses is stuff I want. And so, I think I've led a path in my life to where I've had enough experiences across a lot of different planes and spectrums that.

[00:36:23] You know, if my daughters asked me a question, I'm probably going to have some good, you know, some good, good advice. I just got to not beat them up with it now. So, I think they seek it later. I think right now it's just; you know, I love you. I want you to find your path. I'm going to help you on your way in that path.

[00:36:37] I'm going to hold you accountable to a level of behavior that represents yourself and our family. Well, but when you find your path and you run up against walls don't hesitate to call. I'm happy to help knock them down for you. Yeah.

[00:36:50] PH: [00:36:50] And that's almost again, you a tiered approach to kind of build it up.

[00:36:53] Yeah. That's very powerful. I wanted to ask you something, but [00:37:00] now I forgot.

[00:37:00] RD: [00:37:00] No,

[00:37:01] PH: [00:37:01] that's good. And yeah, I forgot. Sorry. It was about your dad. Something. It doesn't matter.

[00:37:09] RD: [00:37:09] No. Yeah. I'm lucky.

[00:37:11] PH: [00:37:11] I know. I remember. So, the divorce, so you said they divorced, but they kind of managed to bring it to app together, or how was that?

[00:37:20] RD: [00:37:20] I was eight when, when they split and my brother and I live with my mom, my dad moved out, but he stayed close. So we were, you know, 15, 20 minutes away. I think my dad was a young attorney, very aggressively pursuing. You know, kind of his path and fortune and success in, in the business fortune was actually the smallest thing he ever focused on.

[00:37:38] I think it was, it was success and excellence in what he did. But I think as a new young lawyer, as we were growing up, you know, he was exceptionally busy working long, long hours to kind of prepare cases and go to trial and, and to succeed in his disciplined work life. And so, I think when they were together, it didn't feel like we had.

[00:37:57] As much time with my dad. And when they [00:38:00] separated based on kind of, I think the parameters of the divorce, but also him, you know, trying to be present. We actually saw my dad a lot more because of that. So, you know, two nights a week, he would be he would take my brother and I to dinner. Every other weekend, we'd be over at his house and spending time.

[00:38:16] We love to go fish and be out of doors and, and, and have experiences together. And then my brother and I were both athletes. My dad was a big athlete, a college athlete, actually the same school I went to. So, sports were a huge connecting force for, for us, you know, he was at every game. I mean, I don't, I don't remember him missing.

[00:38:32] I'm sure he did, but I almost don't remember him missing a single game until I went to college. He was just always there, and you know, he loves sports, he knew sports, so it was a language we all spoke together. So yeah, it was, it was great. I mean, I think it brought, you know, my brother and my relationship with my dad closer, frankly, the divorce did.

[00:38:50] I don't know if that would have grown naturally if they'd stayed together and then we had full-time immersion with our moms. So, I think in some ways we kind of get the, got the best of our parents, [00:39:00] frankly, because of the divorce. I can't say would have been like, if they'd stuck together,

[00:39:04] PH: [00:39:04] Yeah. And they didn't do parental alienation or

[00:39:06] RD: [00:39:06] something.

[00:39:07] Yeah, no, they were fans. I mean, my mom's a marriage and family, you know psycho psych psychologist. And so, she knew she knew how to handle it. And I think my dad did too, but it was like, my brother and I never felt like we had anything to do with it. It was nothing other than adult, big, big, big kid problems.

[00:39:24] And, and we were both you know, fine. They'd never made any of the burden on us.

[00:39:29] PH: [00:39:29] Yeah. And just because the relationship doesn't work doesn't mean that the parenting should suffer. You know, that

[00:39:35] RD: [00:39:35] that's very different. It actually leads me to a concept I think is important. And that's another thing that my bride and I are really serious about is, is we really don't.

[00:39:43] We very much are focused on letting our kids be kids. We, we try not to make any adult or things that we think are, are, are too adult or not something that should be bearing on their kind of spirit and minds right now. I mean, our kids have, they're just now kind of gaining a concept of money and in the [00:40:00] simplest terms, it's like, Hey, here are the chores you can do at the house to earn this level of money.

[00:40:04] We don't give you an allowance without doing these chores or, or any amount of money. So, if you want to work towards a goal, that’s what it takes work. So, you do this work, you get a goal and then you can buy the fish tank or the, you know, the, the, the shirt or the toy that you want

[00:40:19] PH: [00:40:19] for chores, or do you, do you actually define different other work?

[00:40:23] So the chores they're not paid for in my mind.

[00:40:25] RD: [00:40:25] No, no, no. Yeah. Chores or chores, but if they say, Hey, I want to work towards a goal of earning something, then exactly. They can send out, like, these are the extra things I can do. Or, you know, if I increase the level of work, I'm doing a certain place that's above and beyond then yes.

[00:40:39] That's something that they can get benefit from. But you know, I think. Yeah. Yeah. And I think we're just at a very intense time in our world, obviously. I mean, as we're recording this, since it'll hopefully live for a long time, you know, we're in the middle of a global pandemic, we're in the middle of a, it seems like extreme tensions between, you know, political parties and, and, you know, [00:41:00] racial tension.

[00:41:00] These things are taking place right now, the world over and certainly here in the United States. And you know, there's, it's really interesting that my Brian and I are talking a lot about like, what. What do we teach them about this and what do we expose them to? Because it feels like some of these things, even the smartest of adults, philosophers, thinkers, and educators don't really have the answers.

[00:41:20] And I don't want to muddle them with a whole bunch of, you know heavy weight, you know, emotion and feelings that are just going to make their lives more challenging. They need to be at a certain time. So, we stayed at the basics, you know, here's, here's the respect we have for ourselves and other people.

[00:41:35] Here's how you command it. For yourself. This is what we think is important, but not get into the heavyweight stuff where all of a sudden, our kids are just stressed out. They don't spend a lot of time on electronics. They don't have phones. We're going to delay all that stuff as long as possible, because I want my kids to be kids as long as they can be.

[00:41:51] They get to be adults for the rest of their life.

[00:41:53] PH: [00:41:53] Shoot guns in your house, then that's awesome. Anyways. Yeah,

[00:41:56] RD: [00:41:56] they can shoot guns. They could shoot guns. They can't have a cell phone, but they can shoot guns. Yup. [00:42:00] Yup.

[00:42:00] PH: [00:42:00] Exactly. That's much more fun. What I wanted to ask you a different topic though. And that is I'm as a leader or as a trainer also.

[00:42:09] And having gone through an intensive training in different areas, including physical, but also psychological. How do you make sure you operate on the things that have the highest impact in your life? So, I find myself to scruffy context as I find myself in family, but also in business too, sometimes. Get stuck into menial tasks and I try to be very, very, very intentional around my time.

[00:42:35] I schedule everything. And I really tried to think about what I'm going to do for the highest impact. Do you have advice on how to make sure that you operate in those quadrants where you can actually have the highest impact?

[00:42:51] RD: [00:42:51] I think I do. I mean, I, I I'm with you. I, I, I, you know, the thing I miss the most from my time in the military is the schedule is the very [00:43:00] disciplined regimented schedule.

[00:43:01] I mean, my days that part of the military life is something that very much appealed to my personality, even if I didn't realize it at the time, the fact that I got it. Oh, every morning, the exact same time I was at the team. I drag a razor across my face at the same time. This is the uniform we have today.

[00:43:16] This is when we're going to be working out. This is when we're going to be learning a new piece of technology. This is what we're doing with this was, was. Awesome for me. And in my post-military life, I actually really do wrestle with my schedule because I'm a discipline person, but I'm not naturally kind of an organized person.

[00:43:30] So having a daily schedule, I know myself well enough that I'm an early morning person, my brain functions at a high level. The second I wake up. And somewhere around day, it's pretty much a slow degradation into being dang, dang, near and competent by sometime in the evening. So, I know for me, I've got to get all my work done up front, and then I need to figure out these times as a parent on when I can kind of give my kids the best.

[00:43:55] So actually getting up early and doing a little workout with them or getting out is a great way for, to do it. Or if it's [00:44:00] afternoon when I'm not as. You know, kind of high-functioning brain-wise then I just try and make it fun. So, I try and really cut out times to where, you know, I kind of give myself to my girls.

[00:44:09] I say, Hey, this is your time. What do you want to do? Let's go have fun together. And I'll, I'll play whatever game you want to play. You know? I mean, there's been plenty of times I've shown up. At my CrossFit gym with a rainbow colored and pink toenails, and I get a halfway way stare. And I think because people know my background, they probably won't say anything, but I'm like, I got daughters, man.

[00:44:27] And I don't, I don't care for toes or

[00:44:32] PH: [00:44:32] and I like it. And so, I used, is it kind of, can I say that the routine, for instance, in the military, I've been in the military too, you know, I'm a high-altitude mountain. How do you, I don't know the English word, high altitude, mountain soldier,

[00:44:46] RD: [00:44:46] special forces. And

[00:44:48] PH: [00:44:48] that routine. Would you say that routine helps you take away?

[00:44:52] Let’s say it kind of. It takes away to thinking you don't need to do any thinking. You know, you shave at that time. He said, this is what you [00:45:00] dress. You don't just make a decision, no decision. So, you can just execute on the stuff that you have to execute on because all the rest has been planned and decided, and you make a big decision and that's that all other decisions taken care for.

[00:45:12] Would you agree with that?

[00:45:13] RD: [00:45:13] I would agree. I mean, I just think when you have a discipline schedule, it gives you a framework. It doesn't mean you're. Bound by it. So, to the letter, you know, in a biblical sense that you can't adjust off it, it just gives you a good platform or framework to work through your day, your week, your month, your year.

[00:45:28] I mean, I think all of us can agree. There are so many choices and obviously that's a gift that we have all these choices, but in many ways it's an excess. And I just think about when I go to buy something nowadays, you know, you go on Amazon, you go to a store and you're like, Goodness. There are 75 pairs of shoes in the category of shoe.

[00:45:47] I want to buy for this purpose. How can I choose which shoe? And I'm not particularly a wishy-washy person, but I kind of wished there were two. And I'll be like, I'll take that one on the left. You know? I mean, it's just like, there are so much, there's so much choice. And I also [00:46:00] think it's a thing that's putting tremendous.

[00:46:02] Stress on our children. Is there so much information? There are so many media there's so much you know, that's coming through these screens and coming through their world. That it's just, I feel like that there's, it doesn't surprise me that like depression amongst kids and horribly suicide and things like that seem to be on the uptick as opposed to downtick.

[00:46:23] We think we have this connected. You know, awesome world and it feels like the connection is separating us more than it's bringing us together. So, we, we like living in the tangible world. You know, I want my hands on my kiddos with, with hugs and wrestling and being connected than we do you know, want to be sending each other emails or on the phone and doing that stuff.

[00:46:42] So we, we try and make our experiences, you know, tangible as opposed to in the virtual space.

[00:46:48] PH: [00:46:48] Yeah, I agree with that. Yep. And on goal setting, speak on goal setting.

[00:46:54] RD: [00:46:54] Yeah. You know, that's actually, that's interesting. I think, I think we probably do more of that than I [00:47:00] realized, but we probably could do more that have given our kids, you know, Hey, this is, if you want this, here's the steps you need to set to kind of get to the end state you want and to kind of work towards that and then to manage.

[00:47:12] You, you know, that work and that effort to achieve their goals, we probably could be better about, but giving them some goals. I mean, I think, I think we do a little bit on the, you know, like my eldest daughter right now wants they've wanted pets forever. We love to travel as a family. I really want to show my kids the world and we've done some great overseas trips and we have a bunch more planned because I think the travel I had in the military and of course, you know, most of the place I went to work.

[00:47:35] Pretty tough, challenging, dangerous places. I still think that travel and immersion and other cultures is such a gift to anybody in the world. That that's what I really want to give them as much as anything before they move on to their, you know, their own lives. I want to show them the world before the time's done.

[00:47:50] But so we haven't gotten, you know, a dog or kind of a bigger pet because we want to be able to drop, drop things and go at it at a dime and there's ways to manage that. But we just, we just have [00:48:00] decided not to do that, but my eldest. Really wants a pet. She gave me an entire brief on, she wants to do a fish tank and not just a bowl with one fish, like a full-on tank with you, you know, the lights, the whole deal is a multiple fish.

[00:48:11] And she kind of put a whole like brief together and explained to me why it was important to her. And the work she'd do to kind of earn the tank. And there was no way I could say no, see you like laid it out and said, this is what I want to do to get there. And I said, all right, well, it's going to be more of these chores and I'm going to.

[00:48:26] You know, I kind of doubled what she thought, just because I want her to know that, you know, the job isn't as going to be as easy as you want. I mean, she, she didn't game the system, but she definitely made it too easy. I was like, manna, it's going to be about double that, but you know, she's, she's a day or so from her goal and she's going to get a fish tank.

[00:48:42] Yeah.

[00:48:43] PH: [00:48:43] Yep. Okay. Wow. That's impressive. Hey rock, we still have time, no stress, but I'm mindful of your time because I

[00:48:50] RD: [00:48:50] know you have to,

[00:48:52] PH: [00:48:52] is there anything that That I haven't brought up yet, that you find is really important as an experience share for other [00:49:00] dads and moms. Many moms listened to this podcast

[00:49:02] RD: [00:49:02] too.

[00:49:03] Yeah. I think one of the things I would say is My bride, as I described, got into musical theater only about three or four years ago. Okay. So, our kids have been born we're up and running you know, our, our, our six and eight or, you know, five- and seven-year old’s. And. She, like I said is, is, is, you know, has been successful in everything she's done.

[00:49:25] She's also really wanted to be a full-time mom. She had a successful professional career before we had kids. As soon as we, as we had kids, she just went all in on it. And I think it's the gift of gift for our families and for our girls. But. Finding that musical theater brought her into a real passion that I think everybody needs.

[00:49:45] You know, I love my time in the military. One of the things I've transitioned to post the military is I've gotten big. I was always a big fisherman, but I've gotten into hunting and kind of outdoor pursuits and it's become a tremendous passion. I mean, it's, it's the same thing as my last life. I just get to [00:50:00] eat what I shoot at afterwards and feed my family with the best food on earth.

[00:50:03] So it's a pretty neat. Transitioned from the old skills of, of being able to shoot and you know, move around dangerous terrain. And I think when we, as parents have passions and have pursuits that are our own, it only makes you better for your kids. And I think so few people are pursuing I think you need to pursue what you need to pursue and do what you need to do to be a provider in and in your work life at that happens to be coupled with something you love.

[00:50:27] Awesome. But I think having a real passion pursuit, that's your own is one of those things that kind of ignites your spirit and soul, and one serves as an example for your kids. So, they see you're pursuing something that you're passionate about and that you want to do, and that makes you happy and brings you joy.

[00:50:43] But it also, I think just makes you a better, more balanced, happy person. To be the type of parent you want to be. So, her doing that has been a gift because it felt like I really had passions. And while she had them, she wasn't really executing on those. And as soon as she did, I feel like I've seen a big shift in our family [00:51:00] to the positive, across.

[00:51:02] All kinds of facets, she's happier, she's more refreshed and ready to kind of be a parent to be a wife and be a partner in this experience. And we kind of balance both our passions that just makes us all better. So, I would say if you're a parent and the only thing you're doing is parenting, or the only thing you're trying to do is balance your work life and your parenting life.

[00:51:22] You're missing a really big part of, of kind of the thing that makes us all. You know, happy as humans and I would, I would pursue your passions and make sure you're showing that as example for your kids as much as what it does for yourself.

[00:51:35] PH: [00:51:35] Yeah. Those are powerful words because you didn't marry. Just the parent that goes from the mum ended that of course.

[00:51:43] And so when the kids come and you just stop being, you're safe and you just are just a parent and you stop being a lover and you stop being a best friend and you stop, that's not relationship based, but at the same concert, you're safe and your own passions and your hobbies and what you love doing.

[00:51:58] You're also not true to yourself, right? [00:52:00] If you begin to yoga or begin to dance or begin to whatever it is, hunting, going away with the boys and doing that, and you deny yourself that your kind of cutting off. The reason why you went into the relationship in the first place, right?

[00:52:14] RD: [00:52:14] No doubt about it.

[00:52:14] PH: [00:52:14] You're taking that away. Yeah. That's powerful Rorke with this. I would wrap it up and let you go.

[00:52:21] RD: [00:52:21] I appreciate it, man. That was an easy conversation. I enjoyed it.

Rorke DenverProfile Photo

Rorke Denver

Commander Rorke Denver has run every phase of training for the U.S. Navy SEALs and led special-forces missions in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and other international hot spots.

He starred in the hit film Act of Valor, which is based on true SEAL adventures. His first book, the New York Times Bestseller: Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior, takes you inside his personal story and the fascinating, demanding SEAL training program. His second book Worth Dying For speaks to leadership, service and the future of our nation. He stared in Season One of the FOX TV show “American Grit”.

In 2006, Denver was the officer in charge of BRAVO Platoon of SEAL Team THREE in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province in one of the most combat-heavy deployments of any regular SEAL team since Vietnam. He was an assault team leader for over 200+ combat missions. Denver was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” for valorous action in combat.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University, where he was an All-American lacrosse player and captain of the varsity lacrosse team. He earned a Master’s Degree in Global Business Leadership from the University of San Diego. He is the founder and CEO of EVER ONWARD, a leadership and human performance brand.