Next Peak Podcast

Own Your Attention with Wes Woodhouse

August 31, 2021 Season 3 Episode 33
Next Peak Podcast
Own Your Attention with Wes Woodhouse
Chapters
Next Peak Podcast
Own Your Attention with Wes Woodhouse
Aug 31, 2021 Season 3 Episode 33

Wes knew in the 8th grade that he wanted to fly a fighter jet. Now he's spent eight years in the airforce as an F15 fighter pilot. He's learned a lot about leadership on the way and just how valuable our attention is. It's easy to lead when things are going well. But in a crisis, the actual colors of leadership start to come out. Leaders lose when they don't steward their attention and focus on the people they're leading. 

Time is the resource you'll never get back, but attention is the resource you can scale.

Wes's Book Recommendations 

  1. The Bible
  2. Atomic Habits 
  3. Mindset 

Action Item:

  • At the beginning of every morning, ask yourself: "What do I need to pay attention to today, specifically?"

Connect with Wes on his website or LinkedIn

If you got something out of today's episode, please subscribe, share it with a friend and leave us a review. You can find us on www.nextpeakpodcast.com. If you want to connect with Dr. Parker Houston, you can find him at www.leadyoufirst.com. Sign up for his weekly blog to receive some research-based tools that will help you transform your work and your life.

Show Notes Transcript

Wes knew in the 8th grade that he wanted to fly a fighter jet. Now he's spent eight years in the airforce as an F15 fighter pilot. He's learned a lot about leadership on the way and just how valuable our attention is. It's easy to lead when things are going well. But in a crisis, the actual colors of leadership start to come out. Leaders lose when they don't steward their attention and focus on the people they're leading. 

Time is the resource you'll never get back, but attention is the resource you can scale.

Wes's Book Recommendations 

  1. The Bible
  2. Atomic Habits 
  3. Mindset 

Action Item:

  • At the beginning of every morning, ask yourself: "What do I need to pay attention to today, specifically?"

Connect with Wes on his website or LinkedIn

If you got something out of today's episode, please subscribe, share it with a friend and leave us a review. You can find us on www.nextpeakpodcast.com. If you want to connect with Dr. Parker Houston, you can find him at www.leadyoufirst.com. Sign up for his weekly blog to receive some research-based tools that will help you transform your work and your life.

Wes Woodhouse:

Attention is valuable because the workplace needs critical thinkers and creatives and all that human attention capital that they can't teach computers to do. The people who are able to specifically direct their attention to take radical ownership of their own attention and put it into the places that brings the most value to themselves, their family, their communities, the world, their employers, their work, that's what's valuable. Time is the resource that you'll never get back, but attention is the resource that you can scale. So the attention that I'm paying to my wife and kids, and my project at work, that's going to scale over time. The time is gone, but the attention that I put in during that time, will scale in the future.

Clint Herndon:

This is the next peak podcast where we help you redefine success and achieve goals that are actually important to you. Based on research and real life stories. I'm your host Clinton Herndon. And I have a very cool guest on today, and it's not often that you get to talk to an actual fighter pilot. And that is what I get the pleasure of doing today. It's an absolute honor to have a Westwood house on today. He is a husband, a father. A marathon runner, which I'm excited to talk about too. And of course, a fighter pilot, F 15 pilot in the us air force, Wes. Thanks for coming on. Thanks for having me. I'm

Wes Woodhouse:

excited to be here

Clint Herndon:

and this is great. as you and I were talking about, you have such a unique perspective because you're in a very high level of lead position in the air force. and so I really want to dig into leadership. and starting back maybe into your childhood and growing up, usually we, when we've, grown into being good leaders, we've grown up with good leaders and looking back at that time, can you see some great leaders that influenced your life and what that looked like and getting you to where you are now?

Wes Woodhouse:

Yeah, absolutely. It's a great question, Clint. I would say, two of the biggest leaders in my life. my mom, my dad growing up, watching my dad work has work ethic, and he made it a point to teach us, as his kids, I'm the oldest of six, to teach us work ethic and get us out there. And, we went to work with him. he, he had a service job and so we would go and help him on the job. And then he thought it was very important to get us jobs too. So all throughout. middle school and high school. me and my brothers were, we're always working, little side jobs, mowing lawns or shoveling driveways, or, even umpired baseball games, during high school and whatnot, which was pretty fun. that, that was huge. My, my grandpa too. my mom's dad, he, he always similar. He always was big on, on the work ethic. but he also. When you think of a patriarch as in like a patriarch from the Bible that does exactly who he was. he was constantly, making sure that he was leading us, his children and then his children's children, his grandkids, spiritually. and so just seeing that, that spiritual leadership, from him growing up, that was huge. And that, that has definitely played into, where I've come up to this point. What

Clint Herndon:

does that look like from a practical sense of, I mean, we, they both the men in your life. Know, absolutely amazing. I'm just wondering, like, what did that look like growing up? What did you see? Not necessarily here, but what did you see in these two men?

Wes Woodhouse:

Again? I mean, for my dad, it goes back to the, where he worked hard, but he always, he made a point to pay attention to us kids. he coached almost all my baseball games, growing up. And it was things like, just the little learning points, like it's 90% mental. and I never really understand that. I, I'm like 90% mental, but you know, I'm running around on the baseball field or on the soccer field, swinging pitches, trying to try to hit the ball. That seems completely physical to me. I don't understand. But, he was like, get to the fundamentals. it's a hundred percent mental. It's the mental preparation that you do and what you're thinking. that'll get you to the point where you're successful out on the field or, in studies or at work or whatever it is. and for my grandpa, the spiritual leader, I would say it's just the, it was the consistency that he had the consistency of. being in the word of, of memorizing scripture. He always, he has probably the most scripture memorized out of anybody that I know. and then just making it a point to, to pray with you is as you're going throughout your day, the consistency, I would say the good principle and then the consistency of it. That's awesome.

Clint Herndon:

And I could guess, but I'm going to ask, I'm going to guess that is what has led to your success and your ability to get to where you are as a fighter pilot.

Wes Woodhouse:

Very much so. Very

Clint Herndon:

much so. And what was that road like? I mean, I, we here, I guess from afar, we just look and go, wow, those people are pilots or those people are jumping out of airplanes or whatever, and we just think that's kind of, something that you do. I don't know if we think about the preparation that went into that or the journey that got you. There was that just a, you're an 18 year old kid and you just decided, you know what, I'm going to go fly planes. And it was as easy as signing up at the air force and then. Launching in your first plane before you were 19,

Wes Woodhouse:

it, it was not easy, but I will say, what you just said there about when I was 18 and I just said, Hey, I want to go fly fighters. It pretty much was that I was, it was eighth grade. but my family went to the air force academy and I'd always wanted to fly airplanes. But at that point, I was like, well, fly airplanes and join the military and have the air force, teach me how to fly airplanes. That's what I'm going to do. So I was lucky enough to have that vision of where I wanted to go that early on. And so, worked hard throughout high school, to get into college with an ROTC program or tarred throughout ROTC worked even harder than I did in high school. and then, made it into politics. from there as well, but it's the, there's two parts to that. There's the, the division. And this is the case for anybody, regardless of what you're going to, it's the same for you client here in your, in your CPA business. You have to have the vision of what it is that you want to accomplish, what you want to do, but then you have to get consistent on the habits that will get you there. And it's not going to happen all at once. This is going to be, it's going to be a long road. There's going to be a lot of work and you're gonna have to, figure out what works and what doesn't work. But having your eyes on that vision and then consistently getting after the work that it takes to get there for me, I hated math. And I was like, you know what, if I'm going to go be an engineer and fly airplanes, I'm going to need to learn math. And so I had to, I made it my, my goal to, to like math, and so that I could study it and do well. you have to face those difficult things. and the thing is too, and I'm sure you can say the same thing about your business. It's rewarding. You put in that hard work, but at the end of the day, it's going to be rewarding seeing the fruits of your labors. And, of course for me, getting to fly fighters is pretty awesome. And it's an awesome privilege, that I've been given. And you gave a

Clint Herndon:

distinction there about, you said that you worked a lot harder once you got out of high school, it's probably because you had that vision, right. You knew what you wanted to do. And you're actually doing things towards that instead of like, why am I sitting in Spanish class right now? Why am I sitting in, why am I taking English comp? But instead you're actually working towards the goal. You planted in your mind?

Wes Woodhouse:

It is. And I would say the same is probably true for you and all the listeners too, is when you find that, that thing that you're striving after, when you found the vision that you want to work towards, you're going to have to work harder to make it happen, but you're also going to want to work hard. To make it happen. and I think that's, that was part of it. The challenges did get bigger. Obviously college is a little bit more difficult than high school and pilot training is a little bit more difficult than college and, learning to fly fighters diff more difficult than, than pilot training. so, so just to stay afloat, you're going to have to continue working harder. but you also want to, and as you start to see the fruits of your labor and your goal is getting more and more tangible. Yeah, like I said, you just kind of want to work harder. So the little kid

Clint Herndon:

in me needs to ask this question. So I, I love to sit on an airplane and fly. I've always dreamt of what it would be like to actually be a pilot. Do you remember the first time in the cockpit where you actually get the fly, one of these air force jets? I mean, what's that like really?

Wes Woodhouse:

I do. So let me ask you a question first. When's the last time you were at an air show where either the air force Thunderbirds of the Navy blue Angeles flew, it's been a few years, but

Clint Herndon:

we actually have, we have an airstrip not too far from here. It's closed air force base, but they still do their shows out of there. So probably five or seven years ago.

Wes Woodhouse:

And so when those guys are flying over, a couple hundred feet and 500 miles an hour, and you just like, you feel the power that's going by and like, and the off, just like how close those jets are it's like that, but it's probably times 10. I mean, like in inside the cockpit, you feel the rumble, you get pushed back in your seat and you feel the acceleration. I will be honest though, probably the first time in the fighter. I was so, in that 15, I was so. Inundated with all the different things that were happening. And I wanted to make sure that I flew correctly and I didn't mess anything up. And I was following all the procedures and following all the checklist, that I really didn't take any time to look outside and just enjoyed. It probably was, it wasn't until probably like my 10th or 15th flight or so that I actually like took a half a second and looked outside and said, man, this is pretty cool. I'm not here flying over. The ocean and a fighter right now with a whole bunch of other fighters flying around. it's exhilarating, it's it truly is a once in a lifetime experience that I get to do just about every day and, I'm humbled, and very grateful that I've been given and continued to be given the opportunity to fly them. That's awesome.

Clint Herndon:

So when you got up there, it solidified. Hey, I chose the right path.

Wes Woodhouse:

we've talked about it. It's something I've been working very hard for us since eighth grade. So it was the combination of my dreams over the past, 10 years. That's awesome.

Clint Herndon:

And have you gotten to fly in combat missions as well?

Wes Woodhouse:

Yep. I have just shy of 500 hours in combat. I was deployed in late 2019, with my squadron. so lots of flying down there. Lots of there wasn't, it's probably a good thing. There wasn't a whole heck of a lot going on at that time. but we were still doing good work out there. and it was a lot of fun, just like, you get. the, just the relationships, the depth of relationships that happen when you're overseas with, with somebody you're both away from your family. and you're doing an important mission, in sometimes, not so good. Environments, let you know if we're here at home and, and we have a training mission scheduled, but, there's a whole bunch of thunderstorms in the area that are gonna, that are in the airspace that are, can preclude our mission. We'll either have to go to a different airspace or we may just cancel the mission if it's too much risk, but when you're down there and you've got 18 year olds with a rifle on the ground that you got to make sure that you're out there protecting. You're going to have to figure out how to make it around or through those thunderstorms. So you can get out there and execute the mission. So it's a bit of a different mentality too, which is, which is kind of cool to have that experience.

Clint Herndon:

Yeah, absolutely. You learn to adjust and adapt to obstacles, I imagine. Yeah. Yep. so along that vein, I mean, how long have you been in the air force?

Wes Woodhouse:

Coming up on eight years.

Clint Herndon:

Okay. So in eight years you've gotten to be around some probably elite level leaders that maybe some of us will never hear the names of, but you've worked under them. And I imagine we probably have to be a little careful with this answer since you're still active, but I imagine there's some leaders that didn't lead super well. And I'm just wondering what observations you've made about good leadership and bad leadership and, know, and kind of how did that. Stir inside of you to be a student of leadership and to grow yourself,

Wes Woodhouse:

I would say overall, I've been pretty privileged with a string of very good leadership, at least at the squadron level. and so because of that, I've had a lot of really good examples of leadership. there are a couple, a couple of instances where I can think of poor leadership at wa and what I would say, about that. it's easy to lead when. When things are going well. and when there's not much crisis happening and things are pretty much just going as schedule and the organization machine is going, but, in a crisis is when you're the true colors of leadership really start to come out. and I would say the biggest crisis time I experienced was probably while I was deployed, was when COVID started happening. and just like seeing the reactions, to, to that obviously, The mission goes on it just because there's a little a pandemic going on doesn't mean that the mission stops. but that's when the true colors of leadership commodity at every single level, as far as, as good leadership. And Babish, I think In the air force in the military in general, and really in business and any type of organization you've got the mission. And the whole entire point of the organization is to accomplish the mission. but the only way you're going to accomplish the mission is with the people that you have, who are going to support the organization in accomplishing the mission. So, in leadership, you've got a choice. You can either focus and stay focused on the mission, or you can focus and stay focused. People the good leaders are the ones who stay focused on the people and give the people the resources that they need to do their job and give the people the resources that they need to, to have a life, a healthy lifestyle, a healthy work life. balancing act. and the people, the examples that I've seen a poor leadership are where they lost sight of the people, for the mission. And they weren't giving the people, the resources that they need or the care that they need. and what that means is the people then just get, they, they lose sight of the vision. Of where this organization is going and the mission that we're trying to accomplish, because all they see is right in front of them, the problems that are facing them individually, and that the leaders, may or may not have their back. So. let me ask you a question. When, Jesus Christ walked the earth, he had his mission. Was he focused on the mission or was he focused on the people? Definitely the people. Yeah, a hundred percent of the people. And he led by example. he'd never said you go do this. He was always like, follow me. And come do this. And I think that's the exact same thing. It's, that's a prime example right there. And I've seen that to be true. I don't, I can't think of a single instance where that's not true. we're when the leader takes, takes the time to focus and care for the people, that the mission then doesn't follow and they can accomplish the mission even better. Yeah, no,

Clint Herndon:

I, I, can relate to that. It's something that you said actually kind of was a reflection of me because. If you've ever done the disc profile, they talk about the four different personality types or leadership types. and two of them are very task oriented and two of them are very people oriented. And what you said was under stress, kind of the true colors come out. And I know like for me, I'm a natural D maybe an I, but I tend to be very task focused in, in times of, not having stress. it's easy for me to incorporate my people and be all happy and cheery and looking out for them. But my default then is to go back to being task driven. And so, one thing that I've learned as a leader is I have to work extra hard to make sure that I've moved towards the people side, because it's really easy for me to default in that way. And when you look back at those leaders, did they have that? Was there any awareness of like, oh my gosh, Maybe I've put this as a priority. I need to switch back to looking after my

Wes Woodhouse:

people, not that I can really think of. I think usually, like you said, you're pretty much default to whatever you are and it's very difficult to make a switch, especially in real-time. And I think really it's, it's like, it takes a long time to, to shift the focus, or where you can, turn yourself through experiencing and. And debriefing yourself and becoming better to get to the point where, you know, when a crisis hits, you can take a moment and a breath and be like, okay, what do I do? I need to just put my head down and just, like a bowl through a Chinese shop, just, bang through all of these tasks and just get these things done or, and then, clearing out everybody in my way or do I need to actually take into account? All right. Who's the, who's my team who are the people who are actually doing the good work, because as a leader, you're probably not doing. A majority of the work. It's somebody else who's doing a majority of the work. and so you need to provide them with the best environment to do the work, but that takes time. It takes time and people are wired. Some people are wired that way and that's how they work. And they're naturally really good at that. And then others are not I'm similar to you when I, when the people aspect is difficult for me usually, especially in a crisis, I usually just like, I'm just going to get this done and, don't really know. and get some air and actually, consider those around me. Well, you made a

Clint Herndon:

great point when you talked about it. It can be done, but it's usually not in the moment. Right. We have to train ourselves. So if we're aware that's our default, we have to start doing things now to train ourselves, to, to. Put people first, even in a stressful situation, because if we wait until that situation comes again, we're just going to default to get out of my way or get run over, you

Wes Woodhouse:

know, I'm going to get this task done. Yeah. Yeah.

Clint Herndon:

On your leadership journey. Are there certain times that have stood out of kind of this, I call it like a crossroads of leadership or we get confronted with a situation. And we can either take the easy road, which is not necessarily going to be best for us and best for our organization. Or we can take a stand and say, man, this is going to be hard, but I'm going to dig in. Can you think back to your growth now through the air force or even in your family or in your community that you're affecting and think of, well, I had this crossroads in this is a time that I picked to dig my feet in and really work on this.

Wes Woodhouse:

That's a really good question, Clint. I'll give two examples. One of them on the like personal leadership side of leading myself and then one of, a little bit more tactical and, an experience I had in the air force. So for me, I think that crossroads happens. Every single morning when I wake up and I have the choice between leading myself out of bed and doing my workout and getting the right start to my day or taking the easy route and, and just, snoozing for a little while and then five minutes before, or I absolutely have to get up to, to shave and put my uniform on and go to work. And it, it does get easier as you get into routine, but still you're faced with that conundrum every single morning, especially if it was poor night of sleeper or whatever. So, making that choice to lead yourself well, and I obviously, sometimes I do, other times I don't, and I try and work on that everyday, but that's, and that applies to every. You're always at a crossroads when you wake up in the morning, to get the day started, right. And to, do what you need to do to get your mind, right. I, for me, doing some pushups or getting up and going for a run is what engages my body, which then engages my mind. And that carries me through the rest of the day. but more tactical exam. so while I was deployed, one of the, I flew pretty much every other day, for the most part. And then on the off day, usually either get a day off every once in a while, or I do have a ground duty that you do. And so, one of the days I was the, the operations officer for the day where I just basically man, the front desk. And it's kind of like the comm center, between. Based agencies and then the leadership agencies all around the, the area. and yeah. It goes through me. And then I have the radios that I can talk to the guys in the airplanes. They I'm the one who briefs them before they go out and fly on the kind of current situation and everything. So there was, there was one time where we had a four ship, four jets where they just accomplished a mission and they had to divert to another airfield based on, low fuel and not enough tankers up, out in the airspace. So they diverted, and they were gassed up and they were trying to just come back to the home base and. For whatever reason, the host nation wasn't letting them or the airfield, whoever was in charge of the airfield. Wasn't letting them depart. They were there just, weren't giving them clearance to take off. The engines are running. Everything was ready to go. They were ready to get out of there. but they just weren't given permission. So they, they called me up and I'm starting to, at this time. I'm like, okay, I know this, I could, I can pass this up to my leadership because it's a bit of a situation. We've got some guys, somewhere else or just trying to get home. and I had the, crossroads as I was sitting there. I could either, at this point, just take the easy route and be like, oh, it'll probably work out. I'll I already let my leadership know. So the responsibility is often me. or I could take the difficult route and start leading the people around me and starting to get a plan and figure out what's going on. So, that's the route I chose. I actually, at one point I, I said, I'll be right back. And I ran out of the building to go, get a, an airspace map so that I could bring it back and then like plot a new route back where they could go hit a tanker. Because at this point they were so low on gas that they couldn't even just take off and go straight to. To our base. It was far enough away. So we were figuring out all these contingency plans. And, I was calling the operation, the air operations center and letting them know. And, they ran it up. I think it was eventually like a one or two star general who was just like, Just made the columns. Like no, you guys take off and come home and we'll deal with any of the diplomatic issues later on. but that was definitely a situation where I could have easily just sat back and been like, it'll work out. Some, somebody will we'll figure it out. Or I could actually take an active role and, and, and get people going and figuring out a solution to this potential. Yeah. and it's situations like that, regardless of if you choose the right decision or the wrong decision where you have to go back and you have to think about and pull out some lessons, learned some things that you could have done better. And some things that went well, some things that didn't go well, and then ask the question, why did that happen? and really figure out and dig deep into yourself of, why did I make that decision, and faced with a similar scenario in the future, or feeling in the future? How can I make a better decision?

Clint Herndon:

And I think that's the important part, right? It's not just the experience that builds or grows us. It's the reflection on that experience. and understanding what we did right. And what we could've done better and all those types of things. But I that's a great example. as you're leading folks and leading yourself even. You, and I had talked about some observations that you were making about kind of the world that we're in. And what do you think is the biggest challenge we're facing now? for either personal organizational

Wes Woodhouse:

success, biggest challenge. I think there's two things. it's one, one challenge, but it's, it's getting pulled at different directions in today's world. The requirement for human attention, I think is constantly increasing. Yeah. W we've got a lot of computers that are taking a lot of, a lot of mundane mental tasks off. but the reality is industry increasingly is in native more. Critical thinkers, decision makers, people who can lead and who can communicate with people, and people who are creative at coming up with, with solutions that don't follow the mold and bring a unique perspective to a problem. So the industry is needing this increased level of human attention. And at the same time, we have smartphones and we have computers and we have the internet and we have TV and we have, on demand streaming and we have social media and the endless scrolls, the death scrolls, I was reading a book and they called it the death scroll. where you just, you get on Facebook or Instagram or whatever web. And it's easy just to constantly scroll. And so what's happening is myself included. you get sucked into these, into these vortexes of your attention where, the creators of these devices or, shows or apps. Are specifically designing these things to grab a hold of our attention and to hold it in a death grip and to not let it go. And why is that? It's because attention is valuable because they're able to make a profit off of your attention. they get paid directly by how many eyeballs they have on their content because they sell advertisements on there. And so they're selling your attention. So that's, what's valuable. Attention is valuable because the workplace. needs Critical thinkers and creatives and all that human attention capital that they can't teach computers to do, or machines to do. but it comes at a time when our detention, our attention spans are decreasing. We were talking before the show that if a webpage doesn't load in, in less than a half, a second, people are already clicking off and going somewhere else. And so there's this gap for me, this attention gap for me. And that's creating a, a ton of value. And so the people who are able to specifically. Direct their attention to take radical ownership of their own attention and put it into the places that brings the most value to themselves, their family, their communities, the world, their employers, their work that's, what's valuable. And it's the people who aren't able to take ownership of their attention and who get caught up in the vortex of the desk. Girls. Who aren't going to be valuable because they're not producing anything valuable other than, revenues for the companies that are selling their attention. So back to your question, what's the, what is the biggest thing that, that we can do as, as leaders to help ourselves and help our people? I would say it's take ownership of your attention to a, just realize that your attention is being bought and, being sold by a lot of big tech companies. and be that, that you are being paid for your attention. I'm being paid for my attention to the cockpit. They're not paying me for my, my, my hand and, and foot skills a little bit. But that's a result of the attention that I can put on the mission and accomplishing that mission. Given the vehicle that I've been given, it's the same thing for you, Clint at your work, your clients pay for your attention. They don't really pay for your time. They pay for your attention because it doesn't matter how much time it takes for them to. Get what they need. it's the quality of the attention that you pay their exact situation, which is where they get the value. And then you get paid for it. And you for your employee too. You're paying them for their attention, to get done whatever task it is and to be autonomous. there's very few jobs in the jobs that require no attention are starting to go away. I mean, we have computers can do almost all of the just root, things that people used to do. factories are becoming so much more automated with robotics. Computer systems that are running everything. The people that are still there are the people who are there because their critical thinking is what's going to keep that manufacturing process going or keep the business going. and so it's like, I keep going back to it. it's the attention. just take today and just observe where your attention is going. when I come home and my daughter wants to read, read one of her books for the seventh time or whatever, And it's easier just to stay on that desperate, because I have to answer this text or I have to see, what's going on Facebook. It's so much easier to do that. But when I look back at my life, am I going to remember the times that I was just sitting on the couch scrolling while my daughter is on the floor playing and asking me to read a book, or am I going to appreciate? And as she can appreciate the time that I take. To read her another book for the seventh time. when you look at it everywhere, you just see the value of people's attention everywhere versus being,

Clint Herndon:

especially stretched. I understand. Cause you've got a very young child that you said, just finally

Wes Woodhouse:

slept eight hours last night. Yeah. she's taking a lot of my attention right now and it's exhausting.

Clint Herndon:

I bet that's a little hard to stay focused when you're getting like two, three hours of broken sleep. Yeah,

Wes Woodhouse:

yeah. It is. Absolutely. And that's just one form of the many stressors.

Clint Herndon:

So there's a word that, that you and I appreciate. And for some reason, our society's making a kind of a dirty word, which is discipline and as you were talking about, yeah. Attention and staying focused and all those things that seems to give back to are you disciplined and how can we lead ourselves in that? And then start to lead others in being disciplined or developing healthy habits. I guess that's a nicer word that people are okay with. but how can we be, I'm just going to say, how can we be more disciplined so that we don't get our attention drawn into things that are just a waste of time?

Wes Woodhouse:

that's a great question. And I agree. I think, discipline is very important. The formation of good habits, healthy habits is very important. there's lots of different definitions for what discipline is or what self-discipline is, but, For you and for the audience, just think of somebody in your life right now, who you would say is disciplined. When you think of them, you think, wow man, they're like they can just get a lot of things done. And they're very consistent and very disciplined. What I would say is I think we view them as disciplined because they. Over time developed a lot of those healthy habits that always keep them on track and always keep them consistent in the things that they value and the things they know are going to bring value to themselves and their family and their work. for example, working out, if you think of somebody who exercises regularly every single day or every single weekday, they're always doing a workout. They're always hitting the gym. They never miss a workout. Is that a habit or is that discipline? It took a lot of discipline to get to the point where they were consistently doing that habit of exercise. But what you're seeing is just the habit. And once it's a habit, it takes a lot less willpower and a lot less motivation to keep it going. It's a lot of work. There's a lot of discipline, willpower and motivation in search of a resolve of a vision of a goal of your purpose that gets you to the point where you've formed. People say it takes 21 days, 66 days, a hundred days to form a habit. It takes a long time. but once you've got that habit dialed in, once you've applied the willpower and the motivation to get you to the point, of having a habit in an area that you value the results of that activity, that. When it becomes a habit and then it requires a lot less discipline, and now you can focus that attention willpower on a different area to develop another habit. And then once you've got multiple healthy habits that are all stacked up, it appears that you're very disciplined and you have been to get to that point. But it's the momentum of all of your healthy habits that are carrying you and that are getting you those consistent results. And that's why, that's why you're fit. And you can run a marathon or that's why, you're so smart at your job. You've got such a knowledge base because you've built a habit of always studying on a consistent basis. To slowly build up that knowledge base reading. Some people hate reading. Some people love reading. Some people developed a habit to read consistently because they know that's, what's gonna build their knowledge and wisdom base so that they are better prepared to face situations, listening to podcasts like this. it's a habit. I had a really good habit of listening to a couple solid, podcasts on my way to work, during my last assignment. Helped me in a huge way. And it became a habit. And then I got in the car and boom, I just turned on the podcast. I didn't have to think about it because it wasn't discipline anymore. It was a habit. So, so that, that is what I would say to that. it's discipline is the effort that's required to get to the point where, you know, a stack of really healthy habits and the really healthy habits are going to be the things that keep your attention focused on what you need them to focus on to lead yourself and your family and your community and your peers at work and, and your organization to, to accomplish them.

Clint Herndon:

Yeah, that's a great distinction that you make there, that I hadn't thought about that the discipline being the early part, where you have to force yourself to do it. And then once the habit is in place, you're right. It just kind of goes, this is what I do at five o'clock in the morning, but I also liked the honesty that you shared, because I think a lot of people, including myself at different times of my life, I would look at a person like you and go, oh, well, they're just built differently than me. But what you said was. There's a decision that this was a few minutes ago, we were talking about the crossroads of leadership, but you were saying every morning you have this crossroads. Do I want to get out of bed and go for my run or do I want to stay in bed? and now you've built the habit of it. I'm sure it's still not easy when the alarm goes off super early in the morning, but it's a habit that you're now, continually doing. You don't have to fight it like you probably did in the early days.

Wes Woodhouse:

It is it's still hard, but it gets easier.

getting up at 5:

00 AM or five 30 to, to work out the first time is going to be infinitely harder than after you've. Been going for, for three months. And it's like, I don't want to miss a day. So I just have to do this and it's more or less a habit and you've already got your clothes laid out and you already know what workout you're going to do. So there's almost no thought to it. That is the habit that's happened. That's

Clint Herndon:

awesome. and that leads me into this group that you've formed called the vector mastermind, which people can find on your website, Westwood, house.com. What is the premise behind the vector mastermind group. And why is this important to you? and the reason I bring it up in this discipline conversation is, well, I'll let you tell about it. And then I'll expand on why I think that the discipline kind of plays

Wes Woodhouse:

into that. So, yeah, the rector mastermind is it's a group, I've had gone for, just over a year now. It's, it's a couple of us guys who really are striving to live a life of purpose. and I truly think I'm 30 years old. It is my generation. Who's gonna, who's going to be taking leadership roles in organizations and government in the military over the next decade. And it's gonna. It's going to be my generation who are making the hard decisions when, when a crisis comes up similar to COVID, but different a crisis that we have no concept of what it could possibly be. It's going to be, it's going to be us who are making those decisions for our organizations, for our families, for ourselves. and so this, I formed up this group so that we can. We can come together, provide each other with bide counsel wise, counsel provide each other with accountability. Capabilities is very important in the growth process. and then to make sure that we're keeping each other on track, striving for that life of purpose. So, like I said, it's been going for just over a year now and it's been awesome to see, the growth of the guys. It's been awesome to see the growth in myself. as we've gone through the last year, we, we usually are reading a book, and we talk about the, the concepts in the book and how to apply those to our lives and how to apply those to our, pursuit of our goals. and it's been great. it's been an awesome experience. I think anybody who has a growth mindset, it doesn't matter if it's my mastermind group or even a mastermind group. But you, we need to be in a group, where the goal is mutual, growth, where we are helping and keeping each other accountable to growth and keeping each other focused on the right. Yeah. And

Clint Herndon:

that's, I think having learned about it, I think that's where that discipline question or undermined is. It's a lot easier. I'd say, I don't know. Easier may not be the word. but when you have a team behind you and you have people that are challenging you to be better, discipline kind of kicks into an extra gear versus, you're a marathon runner. So, if you just decided, you know what, I'm going to, I'm going to go run a marathon. I've never run. I've been sitting on my couch my whole life, but all of a sudden I'm going to go run. If you try and do that by yourself. It's very difficult and you might be successful for a couple of days, but to stay with it, you need those cheerleaders in your life and are saying, Hey, how's that run gone? Hey, did you get your, did you get your run in? So is that what you see with this group? Or are you guys, you get your help. To identify these habits and then you're kind of through accountability. You're helping to build discipline in each

Wes Woodhouse:

other. Yeah. It's clean. It's just, like you said, you've got a, you've got the internal motivation, the self motivation, but then adding that aspect of external motivation where, you're going to be accountable to one of your 20 year guys as to whether you accomplished your one thing for the week, or whether you stayed on track for the, the specific habit that you're working on forming. And that's the external motivation and that kind of completes the, the puzzle. If you will, the two sides, you've got your personal motivation, you've got the external motivation and it makes you much, much better for it, much better for it. So

Clint Herndon:

my goal by the end of the year is to run a marathon. So that's why I'm particularly interested in this. I haven't run a marathon. I don't know if I've ever run one day. I've hit some 20 milers, but I've never actually run a marathon. So, so give me some, helpful hints on how I'm going to accomplish this by the end of the year west.

Wes Woodhouse:

I mean, you gotta hit the road. There's that's the biggest thing there, I would say. I'm a natural runner, so I have the advantage of, it's just always been my go-to. It's easy. but it's, it is my natural go-to and I enjoy it. I do a lot of my best thinking while I'm running. I try to one tip, and this may help too. I don't know what your, routine is, but I try to only have earbuds in. 50% or less of my runs. I try to have, at least half of my runs have nothing in my ears so that I'm just chewing through whatever's current on my mind. And I found that helps a lot. because now my mind is in, is engaged in it. Then the thinking that happens during my runs, it goes beyond the runs. but I think one of the biggest things, just for a practical, like health standpoint, Don't miss the stretching at the end. don't miss this. it's easy. even if it's just for, up a minute or two, just stretch those legs because you'll be so much more healthy for the following run the next day. but yeah, I mean, just gotta, you gotta hit that. I'm not one to really run with people either. so it's mostly just me, myself and I when I got there to run. But, yeah, it's just, yeah, you gotta hit it. Make sure you provide enough time for rest. but yeah, just hit the road. When do you have a marathon? That you've signed up for it all or,

Clint Herndon:

I haven't, no, I was looking for a destination one. okay. Then one of my buddies, from the police department, we used to work together. He said, I'm signed up for the CIM, which is the marathon here in Sacramento area. and he finished, you should sign up. And I, I noticed the, The late signup is about $150 more than it was about two months ago. And so I told him, I said, man, this thing's expensive now. And he said, well, you'll be super committed if you sign up, then that's true. Yup. Got to put it

Wes Woodhouse:

down. When are you going to sign

Clint Herndon:

up? Yeah, I will today. Actually. You have my word. See, there you go. I'm going to do it now. I'm a natural runner too. I, I went the other direction though, when I was younger. Yeah. Bulked up. and I thought that was the coolest thing to do. And so I've been trying to undo that for like the last 10 years of my life and getting back into running. But, but no, I love what you're talking about. Just the clarity that you can get out on the runs and doing those things, so, okay. I'm gonna, I'm going to do it worse so you can show you, you

Wes Woodhouse:

can check in with me, I assume. Well, I was sure will.

Clint Herndon:

Awesome, man. So, is there anything that you're working on now in your leadership journey is that you've identified like, Hey, I need to grow in this area and kind of what are you

Wes Woodhouse:

doing to it? I, we've been talking a lot about the, about attention and discipline and all that, and it's funny because. when I get home and my wife sees a post that I wrote or a video or podcasts, and she's like, she'll hold me accountable when I'm home. But when I've got my two year old, she must've read another book. I'm like, no, I really don't want to do so. I struggled with all of that as well. And I think, I think I've become so aware of it now that I'm paying more attention, if you will, to, Where my attention is, that I've become a a little bit hyper aware of what I'm doing and I kind of where I'm failing. But, so that's one of the biggest things is. when I go into work, do I have a plan for what I'm going to do and what I'm going to accomplish? and I think it starts the night before, with writing down every single night, I try to write down the top three things that I need to accomplish, so that when I show up at work, I've got my notebook right here and I can take a look and be like, okay, I need to gather some data on XYZ so that I can, so that I can do this other thing or work on continue working on this project. And then I know exactly. And then, at a practical tip, what I do and what I've found, it helps me maintain my attention, and kind of avoid distractions is I set a timer on my watch, 20, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever it is. And as long as I've got that timer going, I'm not allowed to think about anything else. I'm not allowed to look at email. In fact, I try to not open email until 11 in the morning. It doesn't always happen, but I try because email is one of the biggest distractions, at work. but that, I think that's the biggest thing that I'm working on is really just, actually taking command of my time and attention, and making sure that I'm always spending it on something that is valid. for me in the future for whatever project I'm working on or whatever it is. And it's not just that I work either it's at home because, spending time with the, with my wife and my kiddos, time is the resource that you'll never get back, but attention is the resource that you can scale. So the attention that I'm paying to my wife and kids and my project at work, that's going to scale over time. My The time is gone, but the attention that I put in during that time, Well will scale in the future.

Clint Herndon:

description too, because it's one thing to just be sitting in the room. It's another thing to be turning your attention towards somebody. I know people that have wondered why their marriage fell apart. And I said, well, I was checking all the boxes we were going on date nights, we were doing this and go, okay, well, what were you doing during those times? Well, we were sitting at the table and we were both on our phones. Okay. So you're not paying attention to each other. You're just sitting in the same venue. But so I really liked what you're talking about with the. You know the attention and how you can scale that up or down.

Wes Woodhouse:

It's tough. it's tough,

Clint Herndon:

but that's the thing with this, why we started this podcast was really just to have real conversations with real people who are accomplishing things, because this is all real stuff to us. I mean, the reason you and I, and people like us talk about this stuff all the time is because we're trying to remind ourselves and if we're, but the change. Begins when we start to become aware. And so like, you're talking about, your wife's holding you accountable, but you're holding yourself accountable because, you just got off the podcast talking about this stuff and it's really easy to default to like, okay, well, geez, I'm really tired. I'm like, I'd rather just go sit in the chair and throw up throwing the baseball game or whatever, but, I talk about this for a reason. Cause I would do want this to be part of my life and I want to lead this for my family. So anyway, I appreciate you sharing and being

Wes Woodhouse:

open about that and your journey. Yeah. That's exactly right. Clint. That was a really good summary.

Clint Herndon:

so, okay, so I'm going to wrap this up. One of the questions I love to ask. people like yourself that are really operating at an elite level, both in professional are at your professional career, but also at home and with your kids. I love to learn what you're learning, what are your resources? So if you were to look back at your top three books that you've read, why should everybody pick those up? And what change can they expect if they pick them up?

Wes Woodhouse:

That's a good question. well, for me again, the Bibles is, is the biggest one. got to stay consistent in the Bible and every single day you have a new insight and it's always related to what's going on with your life right now. number two, I think, and I know it's already been mentioned on your show at least once, but atomic habits by James clear, I've read that book multiple times. I've recommended it to many people. that one's a solid book. and I mean, take all the conversation that we just had about discipline habits and then put it in a very well-written book with a lot of stories and, and practical way he gets into the science a little bit. but that's a phenomenal book, but James Clair in general, I get his, his three to one email, every Thursday it's phenomenal. and then the last one, I think. mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck is really good on that. One is it's a little bit more, technical, if you will, it gets into the really nitty gritty of how our minds work, but, but just differentiating The growth mindset versus the fixed mindset and what implications that has for people and for, for the goals that they're striving after is huge. And it's everything that we've been talking about today. Clint is, are you in a growth mindset where you're taking the feedback and you're attempting to achieve. And you're constantly trying to make yourself better. in my mind, that's what it's all about.

Clint Herndon:

That's awesome. I've heard of that. And I think Parker's talk to me about that book. So I'll have to pick that one up. Atomic habits is sitting right behind me. I haven't read it yet. So I appreciate the recommendation. I'll definitely dive into that. It's a great read. Awesome. Well, thanks so much for your time, Les. This has been a really enjoyable, any parting shots for our audience.

Wes Woodhouse:

The one thing I would say, as I said before, it's tough. I work on it. every single day paying attention to the right things. I ask myself, I'm trying to get in the habit of asking myself every morning, What do I need to pay attention to today, specifically? if it's Saturday, maybe it's a project or the family or something. but it changes every single day and it depends on what's going on, but if you can take that, two minutes in the morning to, to just hone in on what you need to be thinking about throughout the day or where you need to make sure that you prioritize putting your attention. You'll be so much better off for it throughout that day. And then, like I said, since your attention scales, it'll you'll build on that continually. that's. That is the biggest thing I can leave with you and your audience. Okay. I appreciate

Clint Herndon:

that. Hey guys and gals that are listening, if you want to catch up with Wes again, his website is Westwood house.com. definitely. Engaging with him. if you want to join, I believe it's only for men is the V Victor mastermind group. Yep. So if you're a man out there and you're thinking, man, I want to get involved with somebody who's at an elite level and can help me become a better man. Definitely joined up with his vector mastermind group. But, we appreciate you joining us today, Wes. Thanks so much for being on. and if you guys have gotten anything out of today's show, we'd appreciate that. if you would subscribe, share with a friend. And even leave us a review until next week. Keep climbing your next peak.