The Anthem of the Adventurer

S2 E2: Brotherhood, Fatherhood, and Adventure - with Blayne Smith

Episode Summary

Today we get to talk to Blayne Smith, retired Green Beret and former President of GORUCK. He shares about his focus of adventure with his family, and how he uses adventure to connect with his wife, children, and friends. You'll love this one, especially how to go on low cost adventures with your wife, or friends you haven't seen in a while!

Episode Notes

Today we get to talk to Blayne Smith, retired Green Beret and former President of GORUCK. He shares about his focus of adventure with his family, and how he uses adventure to connect with his wife, children, and friends. You'll love this one, especially how to go on low cost adventures with your wife, or friends you haven't seen in a while!

Blayne Smith's resources:

Transcript link:

Grand Canyon trip video:

Episode Transcription

Dan Zehner  2:36  

Welcome to another episode of the anthem of the adventurer Podcast. I am so excited to share this awesome conversation with you guys. Today we have Blayne Smith, of G3 Consulting formerly of GORUCK and Team RWB is a graduate of West Point, was in the United States Army and served for 10 years. And among other things was a commander in the third SF group as a Ranger, served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thank you for your service, Blayne. And it is awesome. to have you here, man.


Yeah, dude, thanks for having me. Thanks for the nice intro.


Hey, Yeah, no problem. It's, you put together a really good bio on your website, which makes it really easy to make an intro as an interivier! Before we get into your background, and who you are, and what makes you tick, and why adventurous, so important to you. I was wondering if you could give us a challenge to kind of set the stage and get things started off, right? Some way that we can incorporate some perseverance into our lives, especially bonus points in a low risk regular way. Because we're talking about practicing perseverance this season.


Blayne Smith  3:52  

Yeah. So I'll give you one that maybe has come up before might sound a little bit lame, but I find it to be very challenging for myself, I would challenge you to sit down every day and take 50 breaths with your eyes closed. And I think a lot of times guys like us, and folks like us think that perseverance and challenge revolves around, you know, lots of burpee, or lots of miles, you know, just slogging through this kind of thing. And I think that we don't often balance that enough, against just really being still. And I think if you aren't careful, all that running can feel like you're kind of just running away. And sometimes you just gotta sit down and really sit in it. And I'm not much of a yogi or a meditator, like an Eastern philosopher, any of that. But I found to be extremely helpful for me, and also extremely difficult. Yeah, do 50 breaths is, you know, three or four minutes, maybe five, it's not a lot. But if you can sit down, close your eyes and just count 50 breaths in and out, I think you get a lot of benefit out of it. And I think if you're looking for a challenge, again, I think folks like us will find it quite challenging, especially if you just make a point to do it every that


Dan Zehner  5:00  

that is a fantastic challenge. And actually one we haven't gotten before. So that's really great. And you hit it right on the money. I mean, a lot of us are running going 90 miles an hour all the time, and then wonder why we wake up exhausted. And, you know, we just don't take time to even pause for that three to four minutes before we get going in the day or even the middle of the day. And just recharge and something simple like that is very challenging, but very rewarding. I going to do that later.


Unknown Speaker  5:34  

All right, check it out.


Dan Zehner  5:36  

So let's get into it. You are focused so much on your family, let's talk about your family first, and what that environment is like and then get into the rest of what makes Blaine Blaine.


Blayne Smith  5:50  

Okay. Yeah, sure. So you're right. My family is extremely important to me, as I'm sure it is, for most people. It's the thing after, you know, I just turned 40 years old. So after having a life that revolved mostly around me, and what I was trying to accomplish, whether that's, you know, going to West Point, or becoming a green puree, or any of these of these things, you know, I would like to think that what I've been trying to do with my life professionally least is to help other people and to serve. But been to be frank, a lot of it's been a pretty selfish endeavor to I mean, you really putting others in your family. Second, a lot of times, if you're in the queue course, or you're deployed overseas, or you're trying to run an organization, I mean, it can be a pretty selfish pursuit as well. And, you know, maybe to tee this up, the reason that I don't work at go rock anymore full time, while I'm not the president of the company, is because we had to move back to Tampa, for family reasons. And the short version of it is, I got married really young had kids with my now ex wife did all my time in the army became divorce in 2012. And so since that time, my two sons who are amazing, have split time between their mom's house, my house. And, you know, I've lived in Tampa for the whole time. And it was it's worked really well. It's not easy, but we've tried hard, but in grown ups about it, I think we've done an okay job for my two sons and trying to raise kids that are well adjusted,


which is hard enough in it. Yeah, I mean, it's super, super hard.


So anyway, when we decided to go all in on the go rock thing, and go up there and work with Jason and Emily, and try to be the president of the company, it was an amazing opportunity, and one that I didn't feel like I could pass up. And we thought really hard about it, and we thought it would, it would work out, okay, maybe the kids wouldn't be going back and forth as much. But we could really focus on quality time, and we thought it would be an okay move. And ultimately, the goal, rock experience would be very enriching for our family, long term. And anyway, and it just didn't really work out that way we got there. It was way tougher than we thought, I lost it ton of sleep, the kids really started pushing us away. And it just it just tore me up.


Dan Zehner  8:05  



Blayne Smith  8:07  

And ultimately just had to go to Jason and say, Man, I gotta go back home to Tampa. And so that is sort of my my GORUCK version of the family story. But since being back here in Tampa, it's been clear to me that this was the right decision. stepping away from leading an organization for the first time in a long, long time actually has given me a lot of time to just focus on being a dad, my wife works, I'm very lucky, she's got a good job, I was able to pick up some consulting gigs and do some stuff that was cool, and pay the bills. So I've spent the last 15 or 16 months, really just, you know, being in debt, took my daughter to daycare this morning, I pick a school at three o'clock today. Like, I really spent a lot of time doing that. I'm not always doing a great job. But at least I've been putting in the work and put in the effort to focus on on being a dad. So that's really the dynamic in our family is my sons are with as part of the time. Jenny and I, my wife, who's amazing, we have a daughter who just turned three, man. And, you know, that's been a huge blessing for us and a lot of ways, but I just I find it so rewarding, to just be able to be her dad every day, you don't realize until if you become divorced, or you have to be separated from your kids, or maybe you're in the military, you're deploying. For me being a parent is incredibly important and not being able to be 100% present hundred percent of the time is, is tough. I think it's tough for them, it's certainly tough for me. And just being able to tuck Penny into bed almost every night, you know, be up there with her every morning, take her to school almost every day. It's been. It's been amazing. So I'm trying really hard right now to curb my professional ambitions. And just take some time to do with my family and do that. But it's um,


Dan Zehner  9:57  

yeah, it's ever shifting, or an adventurous bunch and slotted up with, that's really awesome. And, and, I mean, I know a lot of people have probably just said how great it is to see guys who focus on family first and, and, and go with all the messiness that that involves, but just want to applaud you for that. And I tried to operate that same way too. And it's really hard. You know, I've given up more than one dream job, or what I thought was a dream job to provide what I thought was, you know, a better environment for my family. And it's hard. We've got three kids who are younger, there's six, we got another daughter, who's three, and our youngest daughter is about to turn one. And yeah.


Blayne Smith  10:44  

You are in the thick of it my friend. Oh, yeah.


Dan Zehner  10:50  

I chuckled when you say your daughter just turned three and like, Oh, yeah, I wonder how how's the terrorist three's going?


Blayne Smith  10:58  

Yeah, so it's it. So this age is amazing. In that, you know, she can talk and she's so funny now. And then like, can do all these things. So she's really our own little person. And it's just, she's more of like a three major, I think, really been very precious most of her life. And she now is getting a little bit more sassy. Certain have a little bit more personality. You know, we try to have some fun with it, you know, but it's like, occasionally I just catch myself like this morning. I was like, come on, and yet don't brush your teeth. We're getting ready, go to school and just know, like, what do you know what, what what happened here? What's going on? I gotta go. I gotta go run her down. She's like hiding in the garage. She doesn't want to brush your teeth. And


Dan Zehner  11:44  

some It sounds like you You and I are very similar daughters. in that, in that respect.


Blayne Smith  11:52  

Yeah, I will, you know, to your point about how hard it is. I've I've had the privilege to do a lot of cool stuff professional in my life. And I've made an effort to do a lot of really hard stuff. And being a parent is easily the most humbling and the most challenging job or or thing I've ever endeavor to do and it's just not even close. It is so hard and it just because it tears you up emotionally Yeah, axes you mentally the team. She physically I mean, it is, it is hard in every way. Maybe it's because you care about it so damn much. So every little misstep, every little challenge just feels like a dagger in the eyeball. Oh, yeah. But


Dan Zehner  12:32  

it's night, I lost it on my son because he wouldn't go to sleep. I was trying to, funnily enough, get out to go laser engrave something with a friend of mine. We've been trying to put this together for weeks. And I was like, just go to sleep. It's 830 you should be asleep already. You usually are. And I lost it on and I am just torn up inside because of my lack of control my emotions. Sometimes when I'm like trying to do something that, you know, is ultimately selfish. Right? Like, they don't need me to do that to build a brand. They need me to be dad. And yeah, lose sight of that sometimes.


Unknown Speaker  13:15  

Yeah, it's you know, it's funny. I just this morning, I got in really late from a flight last night from San Antonio, I was out with the Green Beret Foundation, doing some stuff. And I got in really late on a flight and got up this morning. And my wife said, Man, Penny just would not go to bed last night. She just kept getting out of bed and come to the stairs and calm down and had all this work to do. And I said that's why she would go to bed. Because that's just how this works. You have something that you want to be doing, quote after bedtime. Good luck with that. Yeah, I've never worked for me when I was single dad in it. And starting to we're doing the Team RWB thing running really hard. I had this, like 9pm Monday conference call every week. And my kids would never go to bed on Monday night. Because it's like they knew I had a conference call to be said they were they were committed to screwing. And I'm sure there's some I'm sure one of my like Yogi friends or somebody could could tell me about like the energy that I'm putting off and they can sense it and I'm not being present with them because I'm trying to rush off this other thing like, I don't know, I just think that they're they're saboteurs.


Dan Zehner  14:21  

Yeah, I think that's that's definitely part of part of every kid's got a little bit of saboteur in them. But they're very perceptive of like, when we're not our normal relax, chill selves, because we want to get off and do something they can totally pick up on that.


Blayne Smith  14:34  

Oh, yeah.


Dan Zehner  14:35  

What's wrong with that tonight? Maybe it's just stay awake and figure what that is? Figure out what that is? help them out. Yeah, exactly. I want to go with you. Yeah. So with all that craziness of the the two boys and a little Penny going on? How do you use adventure in your life to fill your your cup back up? Is that one of the ways? And how's that work for you?


Unknown Speaker  14:58  

Yes, certainly. So it's really to ways. For me, well, it's probably more more subtle than that. But there are two big ways that we use adventure in our family, to maintain our sanity. Number one is we try really, really hard to take the kids on adventures, to include them as much as possible in our adventures, big and small, but the word adventures and we use very, very often in our house, and we use it with the kids. And we say we're going to go we're going to go on an adventure. And so it's something we try to do together as a family. Because we want to a get out of the house. If you're in the house with all the kids, it's just going to be miserable. So you got to get out of the house. So how can we do that? That's kind of the first thing we're looking to always accomplish. But also we want to build memories with them. And we want to we want to we have a saying that we don't buy stuff, we do stuff. That's like Smith family motto, we don't buy stuff, we do stuff. And so we want to give that to our kids as a gift to them. We want to show them some of the world and we want to you know, so we've taken them on I had to go on a work trip once over the Fourth of July to Oregon. I was at Team RWB but it was able to do this thing at Nike headquarters. It was kind of cool. And I remember having to tell my wife, I was like, I gotta travel Fourth of July. And then immediately I was like, What if we just took everybody so we took our kids who were pretty little the time the boys and we we flew him out to Oregon, you know from Florida and then like state in all the kingdom and the industrial park. Well, I had to go work and then we went on these adventures. And then we do little things like on Saturdays will go to the indoor rock climbing gym, bring all the awesome is taking rock, just do


Dan Zehner  16:30  

that with my son last night is a blast.


Blayne Smith  16:32  

It's so much fun, and they're so good at it. They're so strong and flexible under this age, I'm so jealous of both. But we so we try really hard to be very intentional about going on adventures big and small with the kids. And one of things we've discovered is that it's just never going to be easy. But we've got to be willing to just kind of take the pain and overcome the friction of doing it like and getting three kids in the car and driving that all rock climbing is terrible. It's it's never go smoothly. And it's usually like at least one of them will not want to be there when you get there. And so your expectation of how awesome it's going to be is not going to be realized. And it's it's very hard. But it's worth it. And it's almost always a much better time than we would have had if we stayed home. And it just increases. So like we've taken our kids to Costa Rica a couple times. We take them to Maine a couple times a year where my wife's family is from Maine is it's so it's great, right? So a week at the lake or two weeks to Lake in Maine is a real memory where they can spend time with their cousins. And we can do all this cool stuff. But it's every moment of it great. No, it's not really vacation. It's just like you're just in a different place with your family, you're still making grilled cheese, you're still trying to get people down for naps. mean it's still very difficult. But it's worth it three kids to the Boston Logan Airport. None of that is great, but it's worth it. So that's the biggest. So that's the one big bucket we try really hard to include the kids in as many adventures as possible. And to instill that in them is like doing school stuff is important, our family and it's going to be great for your life. Right. So that's number one. The other one is my wife. And I try very hard whether as individuals or as a couple, to make sure that we're incorporating some adventure, for justice, whether that's like a buddy and I are just going to go on a trip, or the two of us are going to go. And so we've created this thing that we call the adventure fund. We started a separate, we started a separate savings account. I'm good. We don't we don't have a lot of money. We both have jobs, we do fine. But like we're not we're not wealthy people. So we started a separate savings account. And we said, Look, we're going to during our weekly meeting with my wife and I have a little weekly meeting like a family sync meeting, we're going to look at our finances. And if at all possible, we're going to transfer $100 into the adventure fund every week. And then we figure is there 13 weeks. And of course, if you can figure out a way to get 100 bucks over there every week, which is hard, but also more doable than you might think, yeah, that's pretty doable. You get 1300 bucks saved up every quarter. And so our goal is to try to go on some kind of


ventures with 30.


Unknown Speaker  19:17  

If you're not fancy, you can do a lot of fun stuff for 1300 bucks. And so we try to save 1300 bucks a quarter. And we try to plan an adventure once a quarter for the two of us to do so last quarter. What we did was we went to Asheville, and we went hiking for a couple days. We found flights from Tampa that were like I think our round trip tickets are like 90 bucks each on Allegiant airlines. We packed a GR1 each. So we didn't have to pay for the baggage fee. Yes, we stayed. We stayed at a little Airbnb. And most of what we did was free. You know, we went and hiked for a couple days, we jumped off some waterfalls, we went up on our little trail. And, and we and we drank a few good craft beers and met some friends for dinner one night, right. So for hundreds of dollars, we were able to do a pretty rad adventure that involve flying and like they don't don't all have to involve flying. But the quarter before that. We went for my 40th birthday, we went for like two and a half days to Costa Rica, again, found some cheap flights flew directly down there. Surf for a couple days, one of the couple hikes and like came Oh, cool. We and we're lucky in that, like my parents are really great about watching the kids and and doing things so we have some things in place that help us do that. But we we try really, really hard to make sure that we get it in and it's like it's just massive. Its massive for for us as individuals. It's great for our marriage. And like I think our kids are benefiting from us. He had a little time away from them at least.


Dan Zehner  20:50  

Yeah, I totally agree. We need to celebrate our 10th anniversary and and part of that was taking only one of the kids with us the baby because he was fairly easy to travel with over to Normandy in June. And,


Blayne Smith  21:04  

man that's why I'm so jealous. I miss that trip. Oh, by the way, God, dang it so much fo mo from that one.


Dan Zehner  21:09  

It was I mean, I've still got a picture from Omaha Beach on my background on my computer. But that even even though we still have one of the kids with us was just such a connecting experience for us. Because Tracy's family and background like the European Theater of World War Two is just not something that was in her radar at all. But very much in line. And we got to kind of go through some of my family history and things that I was interested in, but also like experience things that we both like together like exploring new food and culture and stuff. And that's it just makes up everything that a good adventure is, you know, some element of the unknown and learning a lot and growing together.


Blayne Smith  21:54  

Yeah, I liked it. You mentioned that because we do view our trips as adventures and not as vacations. And it takes it takes a lot of pressure off for me at least because you don't have to have every little thing planned out. You don't have to stay somewhere nice. Like the first trip, the first adventure that Jenny and I ever really went on together. Out of the countries, we went down to Nicaragua, we went to Costa Rica. And we stayed in this hostel that was $19 a night and didn't have air conditioning. And it was like, there's one more day. And I was like, this is this is a bit of a test, you know, and I didn't really look at it that way. I guess I didn't certainly didn't say it to her. But it was like, what you really want in a partner, someone that you can go on adventures with? Yeah, because for one, it's fun. And you bond, like you said, but for to life is not going to be perfect. Yeah, and it's not all going to be you know, four star hotels and you know, meal delivery services, like you're going to have to do some stuff that is sub optimal, probably a lot of it. And so embrace the suck as


Dan Zehner  22:53  

they say,


Unknown Speaker  22:55  

Yeah, you do. And like, that's the other thing I found personally, is that if you're not, if you're not independently wealthy, you can just do so many more adventures, if you're able to lower the bar, just a little bit on the accommodations and that kind of thing. And so like, my buddy and I went down and went surfing a couple months ago, and we just stayed this place, that was like 30 bucks a night. And you know, we drove we were willing to drive to Orlando to get on direct flight. We just a couple little things, right? Yeah, you don't do if you've got limitless resources. But like, we were like, damn it, we're going to go on this trip. And again, for like, hundreds of dollars. Yeah, going on an epic adventure. And like, we stumped, we, you know, we stumbled across all these Swiss people that were staying at this hostel and stayed up with like, two in the morning, you know, drinking rum and hanging out and listen to the American country music with them. Like, you can't plan that kind of stuff. And if you had you missed it. Yeah, really cool stuff. So like, the key is to get out the door with like, one thing plan, like on this trip, I just want to make sure I can serve a couple times on that trip. We just want to hike one or two days. And like everything else, screw it, figure it out,


Dan Zehner  24:11  

is something that I've been incorporating our planning lately, I wonder if this lands for you is planning more about the emotional environment you want to create rather than the stuff you want to do.


Unknown Speaker  24:19  

Oh, I love that. I love that man. I think that is massively valuable. So that's another sort of saying we have in our house is that we we want to care more about how our life feels and how it looks. And I think what you're alluding to there is exactly the same thing, right? And I think if you go on a on a vacation, it's very easy to think about, like what sites do I want to see what photos do I want to get? You know, what boxes do I want to check? And like, but really, that's not what you're going for is you're going for how you want it to feel like what do you want it? What emotions do you want to evoke? Like our national trip, like we're like, oh, we'll go to the Biltmore and we'll check it out. Like we didn't go to the Biltmore, we didn't make it. We literally sat at this little cafe by Airbnb and like, drank coffee for like, three hours. Because that's what we wanted to do. Yeah, we don't get a chance to have a long breakfast and drink. Talk about shit. Like, you don't get that is not a luxury we have. And like, I'm sure the Biltmore is cool. I'll catch it next time. You know, we don't get to the Biltmore. So


Dan Zehner  25:23  

yeah, that was what a lot of our France trip was like, you know what, we're not going to see everything while we're here. But we're going to have some days where we're it being adventurous. And some days where we want to feel like we've experienced history. And some days, we just want to relax and like, hang out at this cheap Airbnb we found in the middle of nowhere, and, you know, hang out on the back porch with glass of orange juice, and some, you know, fresh jam, you know?


Blayne Smith  25:50  

Yeah, yeah, I think the documentation of adventure for us has been more about evoking the emotions that we experienced while we were there, at a later time. So my wife and I are both just notoriously bad at documenting, we're not good on social media, we always forget to take pictures of things. And I think ultimately, it's okay, it's a good thing. Yeah. But the balance we're trying to find now is like, Look, we should take a few pictures, or videos of some of these trips, because we want for us and our kids to remember these in some way. Yeah, but we don't have to go over the top with it. Because like, the science will support this, all you really need is one or two images of that adventure. And it will, it will jog your memory. And it will allow you to sort of relive it all and like, feel those emotions again. So like, you know, and one of our recent trips down to Central America, we just like we woke up the last morning and realize we took zero pictures the entire time we've been there are like, All right. So like we went to breakfast and like took some pictures of us walking down the street and like of the beach, before we got on the shuttle. And it was like, that's it. That's all we need. Because when we see these now will remember that little clip we took for my birthday.


Dan Zehner  27:03  

That's really great. And, and you can combine that, you know, being present in the in the adventure with those couple of trips. And the challenge you gave at the beginning of our talk of just having some time to sit quietly and reflect and maybe part of that time is reflecting on your couple of pictures from your last adventure and how that felt.


Blayne Smith  27:27  

Yeah, sure. I mean, that's part of the reason you do this is to like, refresh yourself spiritually, so to speak, you know, need to go on these adventures, and you need to have time away. To put some put some gas back in the tank and to you know, re energize yourself or just to rest and in some case, yeah, since you can't do it all the time. And you wouldn't want to if you could, because then it wouldn't be special. All you really need to do is be able to just remind yourself occasionally and like that's, that's good enough, you can kind of get back to that place. Yeah, we have to be in the mountains or at the beach or wherever. If you can evoke the emotion that you earn while you're there.


Dan Zehner  28:08  

Yeah, that's really key. And like I talked about the kind of spiritual renewal part like for me what I've been experiencing and reading about a lot. I don't know if you're the author john Eldredge, by any chance.


Blayne Smith  28:21  

Think so.


Dan Zehner  28:22  

Oh, man, you would love it. His his book he wrote catches like 18 year old book now. Anyway, book called Wild at Heart, where he talks about our hearts as men, especially are created for an adventure to live a battle to fight and a beauty to rescue and how adventure, there's something about it that's brings out joy, and challenge and it shapes our masculine hearts a lot. And there's just something spiritual renewing about it.


Blayne Smith  28:56  

Yeah, there's no doubt about I mean, you might have seen the, the Jason and I and a bunch of my former Army buddies went on a kind of a smash and grab adventure to the Grand Canyon.


Dan Zehner  29:07  

Speaking well,


Blayne Smith  29:10  

right, but look at that's another one where it was like, I you know, what that was born of, was I had had a number of conversations with a couple of the dudes that went on that trip. And some other guys just about life, you know, and luckily, I have these good friends that I can talk to, and they can talk to me. But I had a number of conversations with them where it was like, man, it just seems like struggling a little bit, you know, like kind of bogged down in the job and the family and like, and then you get in this weird, twisted place where like, everything's fine. Everything's good. Like I had Healthy Kids, and I have a good job. And so like, Why do I feel sort of dissatisfied? And then you kind of feel shitty for feeling shitty? And you're like, yeah, so shame spiral. But I had enough conversations with enough of these dudes to be like, you know, there's just something missing here. And it was actually my wife said, you should just go on a trip, like, just invite these guys on an adventure, because that's what needs that are right now. Because there's nothing fundamentally wrong with their lives. You know, there's it's just, they're just need a reminder of who they are. Yeah, you guys just need to spend some time together. And I was like, Wow, that's a fantastic, you know, suggestion. I'll do that. And so it all was like one text message with like, eight guys on it. Hey, you want to do this? Doing this and Jason's like, all go? I'm like, Okay, cool. And then then he was like, we'll bring Andy so like, we can get, we can get some video and some pictures of it and stuff. It'll be cool. I'm like, all right, fine. And then we were supposed to go to the habit, Sue Canyon. But it turned out, like I found out literally the week before we're going they were closed for January that year. or something. I'm like, oh, we're not going there. Plan B, let's just go to the Grand Canyon. Fine. Yeah, we'll figure it out. there was almost no planning, I did 100% of the planning, basically, you know, when we should arrive, I rented a van. And I'm like, and I'm not much of a planner. So was it was very basic. We got to the southern rim. And like where we're going to camp like, I don't know, I heard you can go to the ranger station, pay some meter or something. And whatever. We bought firewood at a gas station. I mean, we had


no plan.


Unknown Speaker  31:13  

rain, it was, it was so awesome, because of the guys that we were there with. And but the reason I brought that up, it was like


Blayne Smith  31:22  

your point about


men needing to spend sometimes spend time with other men on an adventure pursuing something that's challenging. And part of it was there was not much of a plan. And part of it was it was kind of a long walk. And part of it was there's some elevation and part of it was it was really cold. And like, if you've watched the video, you'll see the guys faces, like there's just nowhere they would rather been right then than freezing.


You know, on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in three tents that are made for sixth graders.


Unknown Speaker  32:00  

You know, it was, but it felt so renewing. And I think that I don't want to tread into like delicate waters here. But


Blayne Smith  32:11  

there are just too many men out there that are not spending time with other men supporting each other weekend treading


Dan Zehner  32:19  

water that you want to go man.


Blayne Smith  32:23  

This is a total sidebar, I did a whole thing just just as like on a whim because this was occupying so much in my head, I created like a four week course that I called the whole man endeavor. And I pumped it out. When I was still working at go rock, in fact, and I was just like, it just was it was it was preoccupying me so much. And it was around this time of the Grand Canyon trip and all that I was like, dude, you know what, it's just just really hard to be it to be a guy right now. Because like, we're still have ourselves, like, we're trying to be a great dad, we're trying to be, you know, leaders in our community, we're trying to make a living and support our family. You know, we're, you know, we're trying to like stay fit, you know, maybe achieve some goals of our own. And it's really hard, and we don't give ourselves a break. You know, the world expects a lot of us and like no offense to our dads, but like, We're living in a world where was much, it's much more difficult now. Because like the idea that you can like, get up, go to work, make a living, put food on the table, come home, and like, put on your slippers and read the paper or whatever like that. That may have never really been true. But like, it's certainly not true now. You know? And, and by the way, our female counterparts have it just as hard if not harder, like talking about being hard on themselves. And oh, yeah, a lot of them, they have to have a career and they have to be amazing mothers, and they have to like, dude, all of us are just living in a world right now where we're expecting so much out of ourselves. And if we can't get together with people who are going through those same, you know, struggles and walk in that same path and say, like, Look, it's hard to be a guy right now. And but I'm here to support you. And I'm going through that, like we do, if we have to apologize for that, and then we're in we're in real trouble. And I just want to be the kind of guy that can be there for my friends and offer that kind of thing. And there's no toxic masculinity there. There's no, like, look what


Dan Zehner  34:23  

masculinity is. It's


Blayne Smith  34:26  

all lies. Yeah, exactly. Like, I, you know, I just want to be the best version of myself because I'm terrified to death, but I might let somebody down that I care about.


Dan Zehner  34:35  



Blayne Smith  34:36  

you know, I mean, I'm, I am not a fearful person by nature. But if the real fears in my life are that I will let my kids down, I will let my wife down, I will do I will make some decision professionally or otherwise, that like compromises our financial security, or, you know, I am eternally fearful that the people that depend on me in my life for that they're counting on me, or that I share a partnership with that I'll let them down in some way. And so any effort that I make to become a better version of myself is just because I just want to be the best I can for those around me. And I know that all these guys that have had the fortune of being friends with at West Point in SF and whatever, they're cut from the same cloth. They're just crushing themselves trying to be the very best version of themselves, they can be for their business partner, their employer or wife, their kids, you know, their community. And like, it can be just crushing. Yeah. And you just deserve, you know, a break from that every now and then to, to have a bit of an adventure.


Dan Zehner  35:44  

Man, this is exactly why I'm doing what I'm doing for that reason, because I felt that so much in my own life. And in a lot at just about every guy I talked to the same thing, like, being a dude is just really hard right now. And so many of us don't even allow ourselves permission to be men. And even more so to be men in the company of other men doing man things. Like not having a plan and going sleeping out in the middle of nowhere and a grant in the Grand Canyon. Like, we don't even give ourselves permission to think about doing that.


Unknown Speaker  36:24  

Yeah, and it's, it's really, it's, it's too bad. And there's probably a bigger narrative that's above my pay grade around some of this. But, you know, much is the same as I have this conscious my wife, like the best thing you can do for yourself and for the women in your life is just support each other and take the time to spend time together. Yeah, yeah, let's absolutely let's go to dinner as a couple, let's have a pool party over with all the families like the vast, vast majority, the time we spend is going to be with our family and with this broader group of people. But don't you know, you don't need to apologize for me if you need to go have coffee with your girlfriend once a week or a couple times a month and just spend a couple hours talking about life. Like that seems like a pretty reasonable thing to do. And I'm very lucky in that she supports me at you know, in times of saying like, hey, if you need to go, like I have a buddy here in town that we meet at 6am on Sunday mornings to work out, you know, like, and she knows like, I need that time to go to just go ruck in the woods or do a circuit workout, or go for a mountain bike ride with another couple of dudes just to like, we oftentimes we don't talk about anything serious. Sometimes we do. But she'll be like, Oh, did you? Hey, I heard you had a date last week how to go. I'm like, I don't know. We didn't talk about it.


Dan Zehner  37:45  

Yeah, it's


Blayne Smith  37:45  

really funny was like just a different dynamic. Yeah.


Dan Zehner  37:49  

Oh, you know, this guy had a baby. Did you ask like how things are going like, Oh, yeah, we didn't even talk about that, like serious, you know, things that should be big. We don't even talk about


Unknown Speaker  37:58  

talk about anything at all. Like, it's just you spending time in the company of another guy that you know, is going through similar things. And you're just and just having a bit of an adventure. And like, sometimes we'll talk about like, kettlebell programs, or we'll talk you know what I mean? Like, random stuff, like I this really weird, quirky business idea, what do you think about that, like, we just just things that are interesting to us that like, in your day to day life, maybe you don't have time to nerd out on, you know, fitness programming, or you know, skateboarding, but like, these are things that I enjoy talking about sometimes, and I don't have a lot of time for that. So like, you just you just need it, you know, what would you say to somebody who's like,


Dan Zehner  38:39  

Okay, I need some of that. But where do I start?


Blayne Smith  38:42  

Yeah, man. So it's a, it's a really good question. And I think there are a couple different angles you can take. It's not a one size fits all. So number one, the most important part is you need to be the catalyst of this. Because if you're waiting for a buddy to call you up, if you're waiting for the perfect time, when schedules are going to align like it is not going to work. You can look at my phone, right now, I have three or four text messages just from yesterday, where I reached out to buddies and said, like, Hey, man, just checking in. Maybe let's grab lunch next week, like, and sometimes people reach out to me, but for the most part, I am the initiator or the catalyst and getting a workout going, or those kinds of things. And like I'd say, for pretty much every guy, or every person, if you want to start, you know, building these little micro adventures in your life, or making sure that you're well connected with people that you care about. You got to be the initiator, you know, you got to call your mom, you got to text your buddy, you gotta you gotta do that kind of stuff. So that's the biggest thing. You gotta lead. Right? You got to go first, right?


Unknown Speaker  39:47  

You might even need to start


Dan Zehner  39:48  

your own book club. Yeah,


Blayne Smith  39:52  

exactly. So that's a big one. And then I say, the next thing to that is, you can't have grand aspirations are expectations for what it's going to be like, it's going to be what it's going to be, it's better than nothing, right. And so, you know, if you want to have a, a workout, or a group of guys that meet for a rock on the weekend, you don't need have 20 people to show up, you don't need 10. Like, if you and one other person show up, that's great. And sometimes it's even better, you know, right. And so don't set the bar too high. For what it's going to turn out to be like, if it grows into something amazing, great. And if it ends up just being you and one or two other people meeting every so often, that's great, too.


So don't have great aspirations. Just start with what you got when you got it.


Dan Zehner  40:38  

Good quote by Teddy Roosevelt about that, you know, like, Yes,


Blayne Smith  40:41  

I do. I just thought the other day, it's basically what do do what you can where you're at what you have, or something. Yeah,


Dan Zehner  40:47  

pretty much.


Blayne Smith  40:48  

Yeah. It's, it's, yeah, it's huge.


But I mean, the other thing, I would, I would say, too, is cast a wide net. But don't wait perfect alignment, because like people are busier now than they've ever been. And so, you know, one of the things I found it's really important is, you just, you just put something consistently down, and whoever can show can show, right. And so it's like, if you have a group of friends, and every year, you want to do some, like a long weekend fishing trip or whatever, Look, man, if only three of the seven dudes that were, you know, on your team, or you went to college with whatever can make it one year still going. You know, and if seven times can make it, that's great, but if only three can make it, that's great, too. But just kind of adhering to it. And staying consistent, I think is really important. If it's only going to be you that can show up. Sometimes that's fine, too. But I think that's, and maybe that's part parcel number one, but I would say like you got to go first. Don't overthink it, you know, don't have too many grand aspirations, and then just stick to it for a while. And let it be whatever it's going to be.


Dan Zehner  42:00  

You know, all those things are what I have found to create a extremely fulfilling, regular adventure practice. Like, when was a January or February I found myself in the same situation. Like, I don't have any guys around me to do adventures with like, I'm doing this podcast, and it's cool. But like, anything local, like our nearest rock clubs an hour away. And I wrote by myself most of the time like this isn't, you know, it's adventure, but it's not as fulfilling as it could be. So I just started showing up regularly at this boy scout camp down the road from us that some of our friends recently took over. Management of and we just show up every Wednesday, I take the kids, you know, most weeks and I'm like, hey, anybody wants to show up, show up? Sometimes it's two guys. Sometimes it's five. And it's turned into this just nourishing, fulfilling, awesome thing where Yeah, sometimes we're we're just taking the kids down to the creek and talking while they're splashing around the looking at crowd crowds. Sometimes we're carrying sections of trees around and chopped into firewood with axes. Sometimes we're crushing each other in a in a workout for something like something like this Navy SEAL foundation workout in the creek and getting some awesome video footage of it from our professional videographer who's part of the rock club somehow, like, yeah, turned into something I never would have imagined just by doing what you're saying. Just being that catalyst going first. Let it be in whatever it's going to be. And just keeping consistent with it. And whoever is in the net is in the net and not worried about who's not there.


Blayne Smith  43:44  

Yeah, so this. So I'll just add one little thing that's basically just to tack on is that there's really no adventure too small. And I think it's huge. You don't have to go far away doesn't have to be exotic doesn't have to be for really long time. There's so many cool adventures that are right there. I mean, I was on the way back from an adventure one time. And you know, you get sort of the post, post adventure blues, you know, when you're in the airport coming home. But you also feel really inspired, you know, you've created a little room for yourself, think and feel inspired. And I remember writing in my notebook, adventure under our noses. And I just wrote a whole bullet list of all the cool things you could do in the state of Florida. There's a couple hours away, and I'm like, man, there's so much so like three, three weekends ago, my buddy Ian and I who's been he's been a bit of a consistent adventure buddy. He and I took my my two sons, the four of us and drove like an hour and a half. Early one Saturday morning, we drove up to the rainbow River, which is like Florida logical don't know, has all these natural springs, where natural spring water comes up out of the ground. It's like 74 degrees year round or whatever. And some of the rivers in Florida are spring fed one of the big rainbow River. And so we just got up early Saturday morning, you know, met at Dunkin Donuts piled in my car, drove up there, rented a couple of tubes. And we just tuned for like three hours down the spring fed river and swam around and brought some goggles and just looked at the fish and like


it was a Disney World, way, way better than Disney World. But me, but it wasn't the Grand Canyon. You know, it wasn't.


It wasn't Canyon, Canyon Lake or anything. It was just the rainbow river in the Central Florida, you know, rural country. But like, it was awesome. Yeah, it was awesome. We had a great time. The kids thought it was really cool. They didn't want to do it for a long time. We ate lunch at a Wendy's at a truck stop. On the way back. My one my one son lost my flip flops. He was borrowed. She didn't have shoes. So we're in a truck stop barefoot, having Wendy's noble like, what more could you ask for it cost almost nothing. We were back by like two o'clock in the afternoon. And it's now it's a memory now. It's something that will always will always think about will always remember and it was a dang good time, you know to boot.


Dan Zehner  46:13  

That's, that's really key. And another reason I really like John Eldredge and his team as they put the categories around adventure one of the casual, the crucial, and the epic. And that casual one is so great because it gives dignity to these small adventures, these, these small scale low risk adventures that you don't


have to plan anything for.


And then of course, there's the crucial ones that are you know, higher risk and get to your kind of character growth. And you know, there's some self reflection involved and the epic ones we all kind of knows, like, you know, with other people or recognized by others, they're high physical or mental or emotional risk things. But that doesn't have to be what it is every time.


Blayne Smith  47:01  

No, certainly not. And I think the other thing too, is that you can create momentum. And so it's amazing how fast a year will go by and like you'll have this thing on your like your your bucket list for epic adventures maybe. And like time will just keep going by and I'll never be the perfect time to or you'll never be able to save up enough money or you know, there'll be some reason why that one keeps getting pushed off or your buddy that you really want to go with is unavailable or shoulder surgery, like, these are real things and like, we've all experienced them. But if you can do these smaller, more casual adventures, like for one, you just you just get, you appreciate them and you get in a bit of a rhythm and you build momentum. And this becomes now part it's like, it's like a ritual, it becomes a part of who you are like you're a person who goes on adventures, you know, even if they're local, that kind of thing. And then you start having these bigger adventures more consistently, because you've built it in to who you are. And it becomes like a practice almost. And then yeah, you make a point. Go on some of these, or they just sort of emerged, like there's, you know, like, Oh, I didn't know, but like a buddies that invites you to go on this thing. You're like, okay, yeah, I'll go. So


Dan Zehner  48:08  

normally happened. I saw the post from Jason like last July. And I jokingly said, Oh, haha, I'll you know, I should bring my three kids along. And my wife is like, yeah, you should, we'll meet you there, like and started this thread on the comments section of that post. And it ended up with me and Jason kind of becoming friends. And he actually messaged me, when we were in the hospital when my third child was born about like, how to be a better, best the best husband, I could be that night for my wife delivering Felicity. And, you know, few months later, we're all hanging out in Normandy together just because of that's just what happens now.


Blayne Smith  48:50  

Yeah, okay. So let's, let's keep talking about misconceptions that need to be overcome. For this, I think this is big. One of them is like, I gotta wait until my kids are older, or I gotta wait until they're out of the house or these kinds of things. And we've already talked to us a little bit, not just bring them with you. Yeah, it's just a little harder. Right? But don't wait, you know, kind of bring them with you. I think that's a big a big misconception that needs to be overcome.


Dan Zehner  49:15  

Yeah, it's hard to create an environment where it's a bit easier, you know, you keep snacks and diapers and stuff to clean up puke in your car all the time, the bullet ruck was made for that. Yes, I've got diapers and extra clothes and gallon Ziplocs all the time.


Blayne Smith  49:34  

So I mean, there, there are ways to do it. You don't wait. I think another thing to point out here is that you just you mentioned it, is that you've got to share your aspirations with people, you can't keep them to yourself. You know, I think there's there are far too many people now on the internet, sharing things publicly, I think with the hope of getting credit or affirmation, something they haven't done yet. And I think that deters other people from sharing their dreams and aspirations. So let me let me let me give you an example. What I mean, yeah, you can you see this, you'll see people post, and I'm not trying to like throw stones at anybody, but like, we've all seen it. So I'll call it up. starting up a new paleo diet this month, you know, and like, and what happens is you get this, this this big, you know, outpouring of support, like good job Way to go, you're awesome. And it's like, and then what you get is you get that dopamine hit, you get the positive reinforcement you were kind of looking for, without actually having to do the work. And so that makes you then the less likely to actually do the work. It's, it's, it's, unfortunately, like, sabotaging kind of thing. And we just we need a little less of that just in general, right. But what we see too little of though, is someone just saying,


I just really want to get to Normandy.


Like I just think it will be so epic to get there for the 75th anniversary. I don't know how I can make this happen, frankly. But it's like stuck in my brain. And I just want to figure out a way to make this happen, like sharing that publicly. like you'd be stunned at how many people might be able to figure out a way to help you do that. I listen to a great TED talk recently by this lady. And I forget what it was titled it was something like it's not your bad attitude. That is killing your dreams. It's isolation. Yeah. And, and what she describes in the TED Talk is, like, if you're in a group of 100 people, or 200 people, and you just raise your hand and say, I have this dream, this aspiration, and I have this hurdle or this roadblock or this obstacle, it's preventing me from doing it. There's like a way better than average chance that someone in that group can help you do that. Oh, yeah. And you just keep it to yourself, you know, you have this bucket list adventure, you have this thing you want to do. And you just keep it to yourself, and you wait for the conditions to be perfect. It's probably going to die on the vine. But if you have the ability to ask for help, or just share that with the world. And again, this is not, I'm starting a 60 day, you know, super CrossFit challenge and was like, Oh, you're so amazing. You're inspirational, like, I don't know,


this is I have an aspiration, but I think I have some obstacles.


What do you think?


Dan Zehner  52:19  

Yeah, mine was on the way. Yeah, I would love it always comes up GORUCK Cadre or Navy SEALs for me me. For some reason, I was never the military. So I think I just gravitate towards like thinking you guys are amazing. But cutter DS recently, like he was one of the cutter in Normandy, we became friends. He posted something about going to Morocco. I'm like, dude, can I come? And now I've got it in my head of like, how freakin cool would be to scuba dive in Africa? You know, I don't even know how to scuba dive one of many obstacles among how I'm going to afford a flight over there. But like, how cool would that be?


Blayne Smith  52:57  

Yeah, I mean, that's the thing is most of this stuff is very, pretty doable. If you can break it into its component parts. You know, you just think it's so you know, it's such a lofty thing. And like, I see this all the time, because like, I've been added a while now. And I'll have friends just kind of say off off the cuff. Like, um, it'd be cool to go down there. But tickets are expensive, or this or that. I'm like, actually, you can fly direct from Jet Blue from Orlando, it's 21 bucks to rent a car from Tampa to Orlando, and then you can get direct flight down to Managua, Nicaragua, and you can, you know, and for 12 bucks a day, you can stay at the surf hostel, and it's like, oh, okay, well, maybe it's not that hard, you know, but like, you got to give yourself. This is another thing that that my wife Jenny and I, like instituted a long time ago is like, will always pressure test an idea before we just say no. Yeah. Right. And so it's like, all right, maybe it's a no, fine, but like, it's gonna take us 10 minutes or maybe 30 minutes to actually pressure test our assumptions against why this idea is out of reach. Yeah. And really, there's only three outcomes. One is it turns out, it is out of reach. And you're like, Okay, well, now at least I know when I can sleep. I'm not just like being lazy about this. And, you know, another outcome is it's out of reach. But right now, and you realize, well, I'm actually a little closer to it than I think. And maybe this is doable, just not right now. But I can start putting things in place to make it doable. Or, you know, if you're lucky, it's actually doable. But all three are positive outcomes. Yeah, there's no downside to that exercise. So I mean, I would just ask everybody to, like, challenge themselves, challenge your own assumptions around what's possible, you know, maybe in life in general, but certainly around this, this idea of adventure, is that the vast majority of them are much more doable than you would think. And there are very few that are truly out of reach. Most will be either out of reach, but just right now, or actually doable.


Dan Zehner  54:46  

Man, that is so key. And so awesome. And I think in the interest of respecting your time might be a great place to cap this off. And we may need to have another call some other time. Yeah. Everyone job. I feel I feel motivated. Now. I got good.


Blayne Smith  55:03  

I gotta get on like kayak and start like


Dan Zehner  55:08  

we're Skyscanner? Let's go. If you do, let me know. But man, this has been great. Where can people connect with you? online, they want to maybe ask you some questions about the adventures you're up to, or how to get into the kind of things you're into, or just just follow along.


Unknown Speaker  55:27  

Yeah, okay. So um, I'm not great at social media. I've been pretty poor lately, but I've made a bit of a bit of a resolution to get a little better out of here and to share a little bit more so on Instagram, I'm just at Blaine PS. You can we can become friends on Facebook, I'm just Blayne Smith share a little bit of stuff. They're mostly just pictures of my kids doing cool stuff. But I do share some of the adventure stuff there. Professionally, on LinkedIn, you can find me there just just Blayne Smith, I try to share some more thoughtful person professional kind of stuff there. And then I have a website,, which is right now it's just a little bit of background on me. And there's like, I think maybe three or four blog posts on there that I've written. But if you look at my whiteboard here, you can see them the video, the folks listening can I've got like a list of 13 blog posts that I'm trying to be better about maintaining a battle rhythm of sharing some stuff. So I, I really deeply want to start further developing some of the ideas that I have and that people have shared with me. And then sharing those with people like yourself and like people that listen to your show. That will find it beneficial. So I'm going to do my best over the coming months to be a little bit more generous with my time and sharing some of these things with the broader audience. So stay tuned to, and I think that will will have more stuff coming that way. So awesome.


Dan Zehner  56:50  

Yeah, I've really enjoyed the stuff you've written up there so far. It's really, really well done and insightful. So I think everybody's gonna really love reading what you guys have to say.


Blayne Smith  57:01  

Yeah, I'm just I can become a little more prolific. That'd be great. It takes me like six weeks.


Dan Zehner  57:05  

You know, you've heard of this guy, Tim urban. He really


Blayne Smith  57:09  

loves him. Right. In fact, I've


Dan Zehner  57:10  

three years to write his latest book, essentially, but it's a blog post. Yeah. Oh, yeah. You know, you don't need to be prolific to be impactful.


Blayne Smith  57:21  

Yeah, well, thank you for the reminder.


Dan Zehner  57:24  

I still haven't read all of the all of the latest post of his anyway. Man, thank you so much. And hang on for like five minutes after we hit the stop on the recording. I got a couple of parting things to ask you. But just thank you so much. Looking forward to the next time where you get to connect point Have a great rest of your day.


Blayne Smith  57:42  

Yeah, right on man.


Transcribed by