Success Stories

Relationship Marketing With Kody B: Lt. Col. Waldo Waldman

Many times in life, we have an opportunity that comes up that’s really a distraction taking us off target, and out of focus of our goals. Avoid those distractions. Stick to the mission objective, be focused on the strategy, the targets, the things that are going to move the needle for your business or even your personal life. Surely you’ve heard the saying, “attitude determines altitude.” Well, Waldo Waldman believes “attitude plus action, determines your altitude.”

Who is Waldo Waldman? He is called “The Wingman.”  However, not only is he known as “The Wingman,” but he is also the:
Author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller ‘Never Fly Solo’…

Join Kody Bateman as he interviews Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Wadman on this week’s Relationship Marketing with Kody B!

Kody Bateman: Hey, everybody. This is Kody Bateman. Welcome to our Relationship Marketing Podcast show. I’m very, very excited for the guest that we have on today. And before we get started, I just want to thank all of our listeners for listening in and for sharing this show with others. Our viewership is growing rapidly and getting the word out there to a lot of people. We have incredible content on this show. I’ve been very fortunate to have amazing guests come on to Relationship Marketing Podcast and teach us golden nuggets of what relationship marketing really is all about and what today’s business tactics should be and how to be effective in today’s business world.

I love it when I get to interview people that have had adventurous experiences in their life. And the guest that we have on today is certainly one of those, not only highly successful in business but also highly successful as a pilot, as an Air Force pilot. And so without further ado, I want to introduce Colonel Waldo Waldman who is known as the Wingman. Waldo, welcome to our show today.

Waldo Waldman: Glad to be here, Kody.

 

Kody Bateman: Well, again, we’re going to have some fun. We did a little joking around in the pre-show and it’s going to – we’re going to have a good time here today. I want to share with our guest a little bit about you. First of all, your website is – is it WaldoWaldman.com? What is it? What’s the website called?

 

Waldo Waldman: YourWingman.com. I’ve known as the Wingman so if you go to YourWingman.com, that’s the way.

 

Kody Bateman: So you all want to check that out, YourWingman.com or WaldoWaldman.com. There are some really cool stuff on there, some cool YouTube features and different speeches that you’ve done and stuff like that, a high energy guy up there on the stage. But boy, I’ll tell you, some of the stories you tell are absolutely amazing. So let’s talk a little bit about who you are.

 

He is the Wingman, author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Never Fly Solo. He teaches tactics on how to build trusting revenue-producing relationships with employees, partners, and customers while sharing his experiences as a decorated fighter pilot and sales expert.

 

He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy, holds an MBA with a focus on organizational behavior. He is a former top-producing sales manager. He successfully led national sales efforts for several cutting-edge technology and consulting firms before becoming a motivation speaker and leadership expert.

 

Waldo overcame a massive – I want to talk about this too a little bit today, a massive claustrophobia and a fear of heights to become a fighter pilot with 65 combat missions in 2,650 flight hours. He was deployed worldwide and flew mission in Iraq, Southeast Asia, and Kosovo during operation allied force. He has been awarded five air medals, two aerial achievement medals, four commendation medals, and two meritorious service medals and the list goes on and on and on. I could scroll this and talk all day about all the accomplishments.

 

But I think that’s enough to kind of get us started here so that people understand who we are listening to today. So, the Wingman, I mean everybody is interested that when people sit in the seats and they come to listen to a motivational speaker and when you’re featured, obviously, one of the things that everybody wants to hear about are your pilot stories. I mean everybody wants to know combat pilot stories. So just to start off, just give us a little background on how you got into the Air Force and some of the stuff you did there.

 

Waldo Waldman: Well, I appreciate the context on that, Kody, because I’m 50 years old, married, got an 8-year-old little boy at home, got a buddy of mine, Taber [0:03:56] [Phonetic], he is my video and marketing guy. He is in the office here hanging out. The more I learn about the way the business and life and marriage and relationships that you focus on, the more I realized that the fighter pilot world that I grew up in is just analogous to set the foundation for the real world out there because most of us aren’t fighter pilots. We haven’t been in the military.

 

So creating this context about what it is to be a wingman, to be that trusted partner, to be somebody that you go to for help, to create that reputation capital within your personal and professional community is so important. And so for me, that’s kind of what I focus on now. But as an 18-year-old kid, smelling the smell of jet fuel at work with my dad when he was a mechanic at the airlines, when I was a kid, I smelled that jet fuel and I’m like, “I got to be around this. I got to be around these planes.” My dad fixed them. I wanted to fly them. I said I want to join the Air Force, which really ticked him off because he was a Navy veteran.

 

So I knew that I needed to be around planes. And then it became more than that, Kody. It became about challenge, about being in an environment where I could be pushed and motivated and tested. That’s just how I am. I could give probably the same way you learn about your background as an entrepreneur or the things you with SendOutCards. You got to be able to thrive and crave challenge. And if you don’t like that type of environment, you definitely not going to be a fighter pilot. You sure as heck aren’t going to make it into your business role. And even in life because I think life – the gifts are given to those people who are in crucible, who are out there every day challenging, pushing, realizing that yesterday’s success can guarantee today’s, right?

 

So I joined the Air Force. I went to the Air Force Academy. I graduated pretty high in my class. I started to become an instructor pilot after pilot training and then wade my into the F-16. I didn’t get it at first. I was an instructor pilot at first. And then struggled with some claustrophobia and all that other stuff that we’ll talk about later because the Lord knows there was a bit a turbulence in the air and on the ground in my life.

 

And then I did that for around 11 years. I joined the Reserve. Went to business school and then got into the business world of technology sales, mergers and acquisitions, commission-only. I just thrived around that competitive sales environment and then one thing led to the next then I started speaking professionally and wrote my book and I’ve been doing that around 15 years and here I am today.

 

Kody Bateman: Well, it sure a delight to listen to you. I’m seeing you on some YouTube presentations, some of the speeches that you’ve done and I highly encourage all of our listeners to go to Waldo’s website and check some of that stuff up or just check him out on YouTube. And again, the book, Never Fly Solo, is something that you need to get.

 

So let’s go back. Let’s have a little fun going back to the Air Force days. First of all, what’s really an interest to me is it seems like flying these highly sophisticated jets, man, there’s got to be a ton of training that goes into being able to fly those. I mean how long does it take you to be trained to sit in that seat? I mean what do you have to go through?

 

Waldo Waldman: Yes. And that’s a really good point because you’ve heard the saying, “Altitude determines attitude.” Everybody says attitude determines altitude. But at the end of the day, I believe attitude plus action determines your altitude. I flew and train with a lot of great men and women but if they had positive attitudes or high energy, enthusiastic, full of vigor, but didn’t know how to execute, di dn’t know how to put their brain in their hands together to deal in a stressful environment, to operate as flawlessly as possible when the missiles are being launched, you will not make it.

 

And so, the training is spot on, Kody. So after four years at the Academy, I became an officer and everybody must become an officer before they go to pilot training. Then it’s one year of pilot training then around a year-long training of qualification training in that particular airplane. For me, it was F-16. And then after you checked out in the F-16, it’s another three or four months of qualification training for that particular mission in the theater of operations that you’re flying in.

 

For example, I was in Korea and in South Carolina, Indianapolis base some had more at a ground surface attack roles. Others had more of an air to air role. But you have to be qualified, well-trained on the specific weapon systems and ethics of that particular squadron.

 

And then deployed to Iraq or Kosovo, Afghanistan, night flying, mountainous flying, high altitude flying, everything was different. And you couldn’t expect your previous training in a previous weapon system to facilitate and guarantee your success. It was always new, new tactics, new technologies. So the training, the pressure, the sweat, the constant evolution was what gave us the confidence, the confidence that fighter pilots to go out there and execute as flawlessly as possible.

 

So we have a saying, “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in battle.” And so, friends, sweat. And if you are out there listening to this podcast and saying, “Hey, I’m struggling. I’m trying to build my business to be an entrepreneur. I’m trying to build relationships. I’m working these 12, 14 hours.” It’s a grind, man. And you got to work your tail off. There’s no substitute for it. I don’t care what bloodline you come from or the past successes you had. It’s about evolution.

 

And so that trust in yourself and I love when I read about you, Kody, one of your philosophies is you have to trust yourself, have a relationship with yourself first. And I call it the inner wingman. And that a woman staring back at you in the mirror when you put your flight sheet on every morning and you hear the cleared for takeoff call from your customer, your family members, somebody who needs you, do you have confidence in yourself to say, I want that ball, I want the aircraft, I want the expectation on me so that I can kick some butt and kick it back to the enemy and win?

 

So it’s about that that inner personal development that must be developed, that inner wingman, before you can build relationships with other wingman, men and women in your life that you can trust.

 

Kody Bateman: Wow! Good stuff. So what does it mean a wingman? You say a lot about wingman. I remembered the show Top Gun, in fact, here’s an interesting – Jodi and I, my wife, we were actually just talking about this the other night, our first date was in 1985 – was it ’85 or ’86? I got to get my story right here, 1986. Our first date, we went to see the movie, Top Gun, right when it came out. And we were talking about that the other day.

 

And of course, we’ve seen the show several times and we were joking in the pre-show a little bit how real is the whole Top Gun story, how real is it? But there’s a scenario in the movie, Top Gun, about being a wingman. And it always stuck as Iceman and Maverick were always competing on who is the best pilot and all that kind of stuff and they wondered who is the wingman.

 

So what does it mean to be a wingman? What is – what that’s all about?

 

Waldo Waldman: So, I love the Kody and Jodi, by the way. You got to love that. That’s good, yeah. Destiny and that [0:11:46] [Indiscernible]. So a wingman – no fighter pilot flies in combat solo and this is why I wrote my book, Never Fly Solo, because in combat when you’re stuck to reject however you move in this tiny little cockpit, it’s impossible to see your most vulnerable position behind you.

 

So 12:00 o’clock is out front, left 9:00 o’clock, right 3:00 o’clock. You can’t see the enemy coming from your 6:00 o’clock that’s sneaking up on you. But when you have a wingman or what I call a Wingmam, female pilot, seating at your left 9 or right 3, it’s easier for him or her to look over their shoulder to see what you can’t see, to check your blind spot.

 

So this concept of mutual support is engaged and supporting role, by the power of support and what one’s supporting, building the picture, calling about fuel or threats. The other one is flying and taken out of target or dealing with an air-to-air adversary. You have to have a wingman to build your effectiveness. You can fly solo but the wingman allows you to be more effective and build the picture and build your situational awareness.

 

And so this concept develop in World War II and the tactics have evolved over the last century or so allowing us to really, really become more effective. So what I’ve done especially after leaving the Air Force and then going into the business world was taking this wingman philosophy, this trusted partner who has your back, who calls out the threats, who leaves their ego at the door, who is open to giving and receiving feedback, who cares about you to tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear, calling out the missiles, bruising your egos, pissing you off if necessary. That’s the type of person that a wingman is going to help you succeed.

 

And for the relationships that I’ve had, I’m sure it has been successful in your life because as an entrepreneur you wouldn’t have received or achieve that success without it. Consolidating those key members and building relationships with those folks, that trust, that connection, which is really the foundation of your relationship marketing philosophy is really, really key because you can’t see all on your own.

 

For the folks that are watching this or listening to this podcast, if you think you got it together, it’s a missile that you don’t see. They may be coming at you right now and it’s going to shoot your butt now. You really want people to call out those missiles and you want to have relationship with people that you could call now and know that that relationship is solid, that they’re going to take action on that, and ultimately achieve success. So that’s really the 30000-overview of wingman. There’s a lot more to it but that’s really the fundamental.

 

Kody Bateman: I noticed one of your YouTube stories that you did, you talked about it. I think it was titled Avoiding Distractions or something like that. You told a very compelling story. I’d like you to share story about – I can’t remember the pilot’s name but the story about avoiding distractions and it kind ties into this whole wingman concept.

 

Waldo Waldman: So a buddy of mine, Jim Ziegler, he was one of my mentors when I first got into the speaking industry and the automobile industry, he coined this phrase, I didn’t point it, and said, “Beware of distractions disguised as opportunities.” Beware of distractions disguised as opportunities.

 

And many times in life, we are going to have an opportunity that comes up that’s really a distraction taking us off target. So the story was of a General Lewis [0:15:13] [Phonetic]. He recently passed away. He was a legendary fighter pilot in both World War II and Vietnam, an ace, just an amazing individual.

 

So I watched deliver a speech at a graduation of a bunch of F-16 pilots who were pinning on their F-16 wings and get ready to become operational. And I just was starting [0:15:37] [Indiscernible] and I want to see these folks graduate with that picture in the end in mind. I wanted to see what it was like.

 

So Lewis [0:15:45] [Phonetic] restating how he was flying – I’ll make this brief. He was flying a formation at Air Force in Vietnam taken out of target and the number four aircraft with a young wingman called out a threat on the nose for 20 miles, “One, this is Four.” We never us personal names, “One, this is Four. I’ve got enemy aircraft on nose to 20 miles.” “Got that,” Lewis [Phonetic] acknowledged. A minute or two later, you see them on the nose for 10 miles, “One, I got the enemy four-ship of aircraft at 10 miles,” General Lewis (Phonetic) acknowledged. And then he said – and then they were all flying by – they could it flying right on top of those enemies. They can all roll in on them at any moment and shoot them out of this guy.

 

And so the number Four messaged, “Sir, this is Four. Confirm. We’re clear to engage. Enemy aircraft the weapon beneath us.” And the General Lewis (Phonetic) said, “Negative. Press.” Meaning we’re pressing for the target. We’re taking out that target that we were told to take out. So that was our strategy. That was our mission objective.

 

And so when they came back to the briefing, the debrief because no mission is ever done until we take off our rank and name tags and we debrief the good, the bad, and the ugly, it came time for that young aircraft to kind of share what he saw on that mission. And he said, “Sir, why do all roll in on those mix? We could have all shot them out of the sky.” And obviously, if they turn hot, I think we’re a factor to that aircraft that they were going to shoot them down. They would have but they were not a threat at the moment because no one was pointing.

 

So General Lewis [Phonetic] said, “Listen son, I saw those aircraft 10 miles before you even saw him. But what you didn’t see was the enemy four-ship of aircraft that are right 5:00 o’clock in the sun where we couldn’t see him, blinded by the sun, waiting for us to roll in on the decoy so they can roll into us 6:00 o’clock and shoot us down.”

 

And so, it brings up a lot of points in that story, Kody, about avoiding those distractions. The mission objective, the strategic imperative was to take out that bridge, and they were taken out. Not to go after the aircraft and shoot him out of the sky.

 

And so, being focused on the strategy, the targets, the things that are going to move the needle for your business or your life, the big picture concepts that are important yet not maybe the mission critical, important yet not necessarily the timely or easy target to take out, that’s going to be very, very important.

 

As you think about the distractions popping up in your head, the phone calls, the emails that come in, the request from people of your time that’s going to take you off from your trajectory, your mission for success.

 

Then timing means communicating with your leaders. I got a wingman did the right thing by calling out the threat to General Lewis [Phonetic]. You have to communicate threats that are popping up that your teammates may not see. But then you have to trust the leader who has the big picture on whether or not to take out the target or stay on his or her wing to continue the mission. So that’s the big picture perspective.

 

Kody Bateman: I love for my staff to hear this. This would be great because we do, we talk a lot about sometimes the leader has the big picture or has the overall big picture and vision of what’s going on. And there are people that work with you that have specific assignments, it’s kind of like a wingman, specific assignments, specific things that they’re supposed to be looking for and that kind of thing but they don’t have the full big picture.

 

Waldo Waldman: Right.

 

Kody Bateman: And I think that’s really important for all of us in business to remember is have a leader and follow the leader and trust the leader because that’s kind of how things have to work. And then a leader in turn has to like you said, listen to the wingman and all the other people that are backing them up.

 

I tell you – yeah, go ahead.

 

Waldo Waldman: If a leader says, “Hey, I’m the general on the flight. You just shut up and call her.” And if they’re not going to listen to the feedback, those off of threats, that’s when relationship also can get soiled so it’s incumbent upon the leader as well to be receptive, coachable, approachable, “Hey, what do you see that I don’t?” And different ideas from your teammates if they are younger than you or millennials or different backgrounds and passions and skillsets, that’s how great teams can collaborate and build that relationships.

 

You don’t want your clone in your office with you. You want somebody with different ideas, different perspectives. The core, the integrity, the service, the work ethics, the accountability, that’s not negotiable. You need those soft skills. But those tactical abilities, the communication styles, those are all things that are important to build a holistic view on an organization that adapts the change and ultimately grows.

 

Kody Bateman: Wow! That’s powerful. So today, you’re a speaker of course, motivational speaker, one of the best out there. You got all kinds of speaker awards in the speaker’s hall of fame and all kinds of really neat stuff. Congratulations for that by the way. Well deserved.

 

You also coach. You coach sales organizations and do a lot of things in the business world today. So my question, my next question kind of goes in that direction. As you are out there and you’re consulting with organizations, you speak to them on occasion, you coach with them on occasion, what are the biggest distractions you see? What are the biggest distractions in business today that you have to help people get around?

 

Waldo Waldman: So one of the big things is the wall for talent [0:21:40] [Phonetic], Kody, it’s hard to extract as much out of people as possible. It’s hard to attract and retain qualified personnel, the wall for talent (Phonetic) series. And so, turnovers that [Indiscernible] especially for leaders, they train people, they were forwarded to the system, they put time in, invest resources, training, et cetera. And then the – because people are so busy and so much goes on, they’re putting out fires all day that they forget to nurture the relationship side of that.

 

That’s not to say that it’s all about the relationship. I disagree. I think it’s about the mission, keep doing it right, making sure you’re safe, get everybody home. But all things being equal, assuming that everybody is well-trained, everybody knows their job, everybody is committed, now, it’s about nurturing relationship, showing them that you care, connecting with them as people first and its employee second knowing that they have their back and you have theirs. You have their back and they have yours.

 

And so, that’s a really big thing and that’s that wingman philosophy because it’s – in order to create an operational excellence, on the tactical side, you got to be able to create this relationship component which is really something that you are obviously very focused. So I keep some of the tools for that, the connection from the heart, having each other’s back, et cetera.

 

But then also, a lot of people are afraid to ask for help. They are afraid to take their mask off. They are afraid to being bashed in front of their teammates. They are afraid to admit their weaknesses and seek advice because they feel that the culture of the organization is going to look down on them because you’re not god enough. You’re weak.

 

And that’s definitely not how it was in a fighter squad but those guys or gals that were there were the ones who seek out help, who expose their chest, “Hey, humble me. Criticize me. I’m messing up. I want to be better.” Why? Because we are going to war tomorrow and if I’m on your wing and you’re on mine, I want to know that you’re going to be prepared and we have each other’s back.

 

So obviously, in the business world, it’s not life and death, right? But it is the life and death of your business, the life and death of your future, your dreams, the charities you support, and all that stuff. So this relates back to another issue with people finding meaning behind the what, what I call meaning to your mission, the why before you fly.

 

So many folks and I know you can attest to this, Kody, because you are a hard charger. I could tell you’re a busy guy. If you lose sight of what it is that you’re fighting for, the thrill of the hunt, your family, the people who need you, the fact that you’re truly making an impact on other people in the world that there’s something inside of you, the spiritual connection, this connection with your creator, whatever it is that you believe in. If you lose sight of that, the driver then when adversaries come, when the missiles, when the panic attacks happen, the claustrophobia that I had to deal with, when that happens, it would not be enough to keep you in the cockpit and keep you driving forward, becoming resilient.

 

And so the snowflake generation in all due respect that this country is promoting right now is not good. You got to be able to be – have your ego bruised and be through crucible and deal with a lot of change and pressure and challenge because that’s what builds character up. So I’m really impressed with people that the challenge is in the pain, the missiles, the scars and battle damage that you’re going to get when adversity strikes. That’s the fuel to your future. That’s the thing that’s going to create more context in your life, give you more confidence in yourself, build more courage to create a greater future for yourself and for those people that you love.

 

Kody Bateman: Boy! That’s powerful. I was recently reading a book called Bluefishing and I can’t remember – Sims I think is the author, very brash guy, big guy. He owns – it’s kind of a connoisseur type of business where he has a big client base and goes out and does these special things for him. Incredible guy and a speaker now, does a lot of stuff. He tells a story that it kind of relates with what you just said. He tells a story in there about how he finally after years and years of struggling and struggling, finally he had some breakthroughs and they had success. They got featured in Forbes Magazine or something like that and an old high school buddy saw his article. And the old high school buddy was down on his luck. He had a tough life, things didn’t work out for him, that kind of thing

 

So the high school buddy calls the Sims guy and congratulates him on his success and then he starts talking about the problems of his own life and he just says, “Guy, just wish that I could have some success in my life.

 

And like you and Sims, his – I hope I got his name right, the Bluefishing guy, he said back to the guy, he says, “You got to be willing to be an idiot.” Then the guy says, “Well, I’m not an idiot.” He said, “No, no, no. You don’t understand. You need to be willing and wanting to be an idiot. The only difference between you and me, my friend, is that I’m willing to go out and be an idiot. I’m willing to go out to places where people are smarter than I am. I’m willing to show up and say, ‘I am the idiot in the room and I’m here to learn and my goal is to get 1% better after being in this experience.’ And once I master those things, I’m going to find a new room of people where I’m an idiot in the room again. So that’s the only difference between you and me because I’m willing to be the idiot.”

 

So that’s kind of what you were saying and we do talk about the whole snowflake thing that’s going on. It’s this whole accountability. That’s what I love about military training is just accountability. It’s like, “Look, you got a job to do and you got to return and report on the job. That you either get it or you didn’t.” And if you didn’t, there’s going to be hell to pay. And if you did, there’s no political correctness in that. It just is what it is.

 

And how important is – I mean I think it’s obvious how important that is in today’s business world. But I know you talk to that all the time.

 

Waldo Waldman: It is critical. And there’s tact, respect, empathy, appreciation, compassion, those are very, very critical too. And you can still have a rubber now. You could still critic somebody and reprimand them necessary if they are not doing a good job. And by the way, 33% of the fighter pilots in every training program, it’s washed out, not because they are bad men and women, although sometimes there are bad folks that make it through. It’s very, very rare.

 

But if you’re not making it great, if you’re doing the job, you don’t fly. It would piss me off if I went to battle and somebody wasn’t prepared. I don’t care how much I like you, how much I thought of you as a person, a guy I would play baseball with, but if you’re not getting the job done, you’re going to be a liability to the formation. You don’t want that person to be you.

 

So with a sense of pride in the fact that when I walk into this squadron, there’s an expectation, a standard. And this is really, really key. I’ll send you another video on standards that I did.

 

The standards that you have for your life personally, professionally, the people that you hang out with, look at their standards when it comes to their moral compass, their health and fitness, their relationships, showing up on time, the fact that you can count on them.

 

We have very mediocre standards often in the world today. And so, when you look at your standards and the people that you could potentially be stupid or an idiot in front of. I want to be around people like you, Kody, and this is why I invest in coaches myself. And I’m very careful of who I spend time with on the weekends like my would say, “Who are you spending time with maybe outside of work holding you to a higher standard?”

 

Take your friends, Kody, I guarantee you, you can name a few guys and gals that will kick your butt, humble you, you want them around. The folks in my life who I respected where the ones that told me I was being a butthead, that I was missing up, that I was disrespectful, bruising my ego, making me feel like garbage because they care about and they love me more then they try to make me feel good about life.

 

And so, that’s the type of people you want in your life, the ones that you could be an idiot in front of them. Take a risk and have somebody say, “Hey man, whoa Kody! Hold up. You’re being a winged up here. Here’s how you can get better.”

 

So you want those examples in your life. And also, I do it because I have 8-year-old son and I want to be an example to him. And so the crucibles, the challenges, the tough things that I’m going through my life, that’s going to give me fuel to help this young man be a better leader and better human being in life. And I assume you could say the same.

 

I don’t know if you have any kids there, Kody.

 

Kody Bateman: Jodi and I have three kids. They’re all married off so we’re empty nesters now. But we have three kids and six grandchildren. So, our family is amazing and it’s growing every day and it’s just – that is what life is. Everything we do is for our family and for posterity. It’s just so important in life today to have that big why. What is your big why? And to go after that.

 

So yeah, I tell you man, there are just so many things that I’d like to ask you. I keep going back to your pilot days. I keep going back to being – literally being up in that era. I can’t imagine – I’m a big adrenaline junkie myself. I mean I love speed. I mean the horsepower – motorized, any sport I’m in, we were up at our cabin doing snowmobiling right now. So anything with speed, I really like it.

 

So I just have – I have fantasies about being in one of those jets. So you flew an F-16, right?

 

Waldo Waldman: Right. Right.

 

Kody Bateman: I have fantasies about being in that F-16 pilot seat and actually having control of that aircraft and doing some of those incredible things you did. You had to have learned some incredible lessons in that seat. And so, I just want to ask you, what are some of the most impactful life lessons you learned in the pilot seat?

 

Waldo Waldman: So, one of the things that goes back on, it’s just a preparation piece. A lot of people are afraid, “Is she going to come back?” It’s kind of fear inside in you. You think about jumping into a plane by yourself. You’re wholly responsible for taking off and landing that plane, that could incite a lot of fear.

 

But the thing that gave me the confidence to jump from that plane and say, “I’m ready to go. I’m ready to be the guy or gal that gets asked to go to war to fly a $40 million F-16.” It’s that preparation piece. And it happens before you get in the cockpit. That happens before the missiles come. That happens before other people ask for help.

 

So the sense of accountability to myself to realize that I got to put in the time, that I have to train with sweat and continuously prepare mentally, physical, emotionally, and then all those skillsets. So that’s very, very important. I have a saying, “Wingman never wing it.” You can’t fly by the seat of your pens. So preparation is really, really key.

 

Another thing is the love of the fight, the love and the passion of what you do every day. Look, I choose to go into the business world when I got out of military. One of the things I learned in the military is the passion and drive. You got to love jumping into that plane and being exhilarated knowing that missiles may come, knowing the adversities will be there for you.

 

And so, I became craving of those challenges even when I lost an engine or if a missile would come out and there was an emergency, there was something inside of me that says, “Yes, maybe if you kick some butt.”

 

And so that exhilaration that came from it but also, obviously the joy of being out there and fulfilling a challenge and being tested, tested and pushed because in order for fighter pilot and any soldier to be better than they were yesterday, it’s going to take drive and adrenaline and risk and people pushing you to be better.

 

And so that was one thing that I love about the fact that every day you’re stuck in with something different that you are learning, getting better, and that being humble to those mistakes being the dumbest guy or gal in the room, being an empty vessel and saying, “How do I get better?” was a key to success in life. And I love that about the fighter pilot. I didn’t want to fly to the airlines because it’s boring. I wanted a new challenge. And so, the love of challenge is important.

 

And also, here’s one of the biggest things about flying. When you’re up there, Kody and the listeners, and you look to your left and right and see your wingman there knowing that they are your brother or sister in your life, knowing that you guys are going to fly fight and win together.

 

Now, fly fight to survive. You are there to WIN. And WIN stands for Work It Now. We don’t put if off tomorrow. We do it today when there is work. And to have that incumbent trust that you have each other’s back and that we’re both in it together keeping us together. It’s an amazing feeling.

 

And when you come back to the squad with great friends, sip a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee and then have the sense of accomplishment. That’s that sense of community that a fighter pilot squad, a fighter squad then has it. You just can’t place a name on it anywhere else. It’s just – I still crave it. You had your team. You still have your team. Now, Kody, you know what it’s like to have this victory as a team and the fact that there’s a brotherhood and sisterhood and a bond, that culture of trust, that and all things is what I missed more than anything else. Not the flying.

 

But that feeling of being with a bunch of great men and women who are taking the flight to the end and running knowing that we’re one unified team. That’s something that I crave every single day and I love being around my buddies who were ex-military because we can share some good stories and some pit fun ones too.

 

Kody Bateman: So we’ve been in combat flying, it’s all about relationship. Isn’t that interesting? It’s very, very interesting.

 

Waldo Waldman: Relationship with yourself first and trust yourself first as a by-product of your hard work and your discipline and your sacrifices and your relationship with others. You got it, brother.

 

Kody Bateman: Yeah. No, that’s really good stuff. So you talk a lot about the preparation side, I’m assuming that – do you spend a lot of time in simulators like you do at the same later flights and stuff like that. OK. So yeah, so there’s a lot of time spent there.

 

What’s the difference of being in a simulator versus being out there for real? What is the difference? Because there has to be – I mean I’m sure a lot of the tactics and a lot of things you learn, a lot of the operational that are probably very accurate. But there has to be moments in the air that a simulator would never be able to give you.

 

So yes, preparation is important but at the time – but there comes a time when it’s game time and sometimes it’s only in game that you learn important things. Do you see what I’m saying?

 

Waldo Waldman: Yeah. Yeah.

 

Kody Bateman: Are there examples of things that happened to you in the air that could have never happened in the simulator?

 

Waldo Waldman: Well, a lot of it has to do with real world pressure. When you’re up there in the air and you experience an engine failure where you see a missile coming at you’ve got that dynamic of pressure and fear that cannot be replicated in a simulator. And you got to learn how to perform under that field, perform amidst that pressure in order for it to be effective. So a lot of times when fighter pilot practice, we call it share flying, rehearsing in a chair, doing any type of simulation.

 

We practice under pressure. We don’t listen to Tchaikovsky in a live varying notes of it but having each other, we’re having each other. “Hey guys! What are you doing, Kody? What’s the bald face for an engine failure? You’re 30,000 feet in 250 knots. And then he comes up in your left 9:00 o’clock two miles. What are you going to do? He’s kind of 2 x 8, aim 11 or whatever. What are you going to do? You’re delayed, you’re dead. Get back in the simulator. We are going to war next week.”

 

And so that simulation is important under pressure. But when you’re in that carpet and fee the fear. And you fear the physiology. Tune in at 550 knots and pull it back in the stick and pull So that basically, it’s like it’s going to rip off of your skull and it’s huge forces and all that. You got to operate with that physiological pressure too. Very, very important.

 

And obviously, when the enemy is there and trying to shoot you down, that’s big a deal. And then obviously, the three dimensional view and that altitude, turnover, it’s just very, very different.

 

However, the military was very, very critical in developing computer-based training. Have to hit the numbers. Read your radar. It’s practical stuff. Instrument flying, a lot of thing that you could practice on the ground and it saves an enormous amount of time, enormous amount of fear, enormous amount of money and you are able to practice this one again and get instruction.

 

So when you’re thinking about your sales calls, when you’re thinking about your business, leveraging technologies, and this is like – obviously, we’re using Zoom here, video conferencing, YouTube, or social media, customer relationship marketing leveraging technology and finding an expert hopefully yourself that you learn it as well.

 

But outsourcing those things is very, very key. So don’t be intimated by technology. Don’t be intimidated by simulation and practice. Get people around you. Make the mistakes. Be the idiot. And the simulator on the ground before you in the air or in the boardroom or at an important sales call where you’re – success is going to be riding on that preparation and your confidence.

 

Kody Bateman: Well, it’s Listen we ga – we could go on all day with all these different stories. I got a million questions for you. But I always like to end our show this way and sometimes we get some of our most impactful messages in the closing statement. I usually save the closing statement just for you. I want to say, “Waldo, the floor is now yours.” I’m not going to ask you any more questions. I want you to give a good four or five minutes of wisdom from Colonel Waldo Walman? Anything that you want to share with our audience in terms of your military career, your sales career, your coaching career, or your speaking career, the floor is yours, go ahead.

 

Waldo Waldman: Well, relationships matter. The fact that I’m on this podcast with you is a by-product of some folks that know that the connections that you make that isn’t made, those connections don’t have to be made when they have to be made. I think you build those relationships because you’re a giving person, that you trust people, that you’re letting your wings away, that you’re not just networking, I call it wing worker, caring about people, finding out ways.

 

Now, a lot of what I do in my life all the time is I try to help people. I try to give advice. You have to be inconvenienced a little bit in your life to truly be a value to somebody else to build that reputation capital as a wingman for other people, somebody that’s going to keep them well.

 

When it comes to business, a lot of people will write you a check for that acumen, for that trust, and those relationships.

 

So put in the time. A buddy of mine, he says, “Oh, you got to learn how to say no. say no. have more valuable time, be very disciplined in your time.” I think there’s a lot to be said about that, knowing what to say yes to or what to say no to. But I think before you have the ability to say no because you’re so darn busy and you want to have so many hours in the day. You got to get used to saying yes. Yes, to the volunteer job. Yes to the person who asked you for help. Yes to the fact that you’re going to go out of your way to help somebody else because you’re that type of person.

 

And so being convenience, it’s hard to do that. But do bad reputation capital. And here is why it’s important, not just because people can come to you for help and you hopefully get paid for because of your skillset. It’s because God forbid, those missiles come shot at you, your test results are positive. You’re having a down day in your business where you’re struggling with the relationship issue. Now, you got all these men and women you can call on who were going to pay that sacrifice that you gave them forward. So my life and anybody’s life, when you put that time and effort into building those wingman relationships, it’s going to help you.

 

And I think it’s also important to think about, life is a journey, not a destination. As soon as you think you’re good, as soon as you think you got that, that business hot. The revenue set, your health and fitness as well wants to be, your their relationship is good.

 

So I’m just going to come at you, a little crosswind, a little turbulence, a little missile perhaps, that’s going to force you to reevaluate. And when you reevaluate, it forces out to become relevant. More value to yourself for the people around you.

 

So continue this passion for life long running. Keep building relationships. Keep asking for help. Keep reading the books. Leading people enjoy the journey of growth and humility that’s critical to being better than you were yesterday. And this is how you can enjoy the spice of life. Sometimes it’s apple spice and cinnamon spice and sometimes it chocolate.

 

Other times, it’s going to be sour and not taste so good. But that’s why God gave us taste buds and God gave us the ability to feel heat and cold and feel pain and pleasure. That’s what makes life a little bit more enjoyable.

 

But willing to go through those tough times and then stay for the good times. Let me tell you, Kody, anybody listening, I spent a year on a remote toward Union in Korea. I spent months living in a tent. They shut down multiple kinds of combat.

 

And when I came back in the United States of America, I kissed the ground that I was on literally. I had a whole new appreciation of the beauty of this country, the people, the freedom, the fact that we can wake up any day and be the master of our destiny.

 

And so, that’s the blessing of capitalism, America, freedom, no hypocrisy. It doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be buttheads around. But it doesn’t mean we have a responsibility not to be the butthead, to the giver, the worker who till the soil, and to really reap everything that our beautiful flag and our beautiful country, regardless of what country that you’re in gives us every single day to be in business with people and to enjoy life despite the missiles and challenges.

 

So that’s a little overview of some of the things that came to mind, Kody, and hope that answer.

 

Kody Bateman: Right. You give me the chills, brother. That’s really cool. I love your patriotism especially and I think that’s so important in today’s day and age. Like you said, no matter what country you live in, that patriotism is very, very important. It’s a matter of community and keeping people together.

 

And like I said, what came out of this show is that even in aerial combat, relationships are the most important thing. Relationships are everything in a business, persona life, and wherever we go.

 

We have a grand summit coming up, Relationship Marketing, Grand Summit coming up August 9th in Salt Lake City, Utah. I don’t know if our guys have down with you. But we’d love to have you come and speak. I don’t know if your calendar will allow that. But we would love to get you out there to speak to at our event, just incredible stuff.

 

And appreciate all that you do out there, my friend. Keep on doing what you’re doing. And so, people can go to Amazon and get your book, Never Fly Solo. I want to remind people to do that. You can also visit WaldoWaldman.com or your YourWingman.com and see all of the cool stuff that Waldo has. So thanks again for being on the show with us today, “Appreciate it very much.”

 

And for all of our listeners, appreciate it. Make sure you share this thing and get it out there. This is very, very good, good stuff. I mean this is – I love the whole idea of downloading podcast and listener into while you’re drive somewhere. This will be a great show to listen to. So again, Waldo, thank you very much and we will see you all on the next show. Take care, everybody. God bless.

 

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