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Welcome to episode #49 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. In this episode I interviewed Wes Woodhouse, a fighter jet pilot and the owner of the Vector Mastermind. In his spare time he runs marathons.

Top Talking Points

  • The importance of sitting in your own thoughts rather than filling all your empty time with music and podcasts.
  • The qualities of a good leader.
  • One of the keys to success is to understand how to control your attention.

Share Link for this episode

Connect With Wes at weswoodhouse.com

Find The Books Mentioned on Kindle or Audible

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Mindset by Dr Carol Dweck

48 Days

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Thank you for listening to this episode of The Morning Upgrade Podcast with Wes. Don’t forget to leave a review and subscribe so that you never miss an episode of the podcast.

Episode Transcript

Ryan  

Hey guys, it’s Ryan real quick. So my mission with the Morning Upgrade blog and podcast is to raise the awareness of morning routines and personal development. And I now have two products that are also helped me with this mission. The first product helps you start a 20 minute morning routine. And the second product is a book that outlines how to use personal development, upgrade your life and business. You can get full details on both products over at morningupgrade.com. Thanks for letting me share. And now on to the show.

Announcer 

Welcome to the Morning upgrade podcast with Ryan Cote where we feature casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.

Ryan  

Hey, Wes, welcome to the Morning Upgrade podcast. How are you?

Wes  

Good, Ryan, thanks for having me on. I appreciate the opportunity.

Ryan  

Yeah, absolutely. So you are officially the first fighter pilot I’ve had on the show. So I’m really excited to talk a little bit about that and learn more about your story. You want to start off by telling everyone who you are and what you do for a living and what your hobbies are.

Wes  

That’s awesome. Yeah. So I’m Wes Woodhouse. I’m a husband, father, marathon runner. And like you said, I fly fighter jets for my day job. I’ve been doing that for the last seven years. And then I also run the vector mastermind. It’s a group geared towards young men who are wanting to make an impact on themselves, their families, their communities, and the rest of the world. So I’ve been doing that for the last year. So keeps me busy.

Ryan  

Yeah, I’m sure we were talking before we start recording, I was like, hey, what’s the rest of your day look like? Like, I’m gonna, I’m actually flying today. I’m like, Well, I’m gonna be sending some emails and exciting, but it’s really cool.

Wes  

It is. Sometimes I wonder the fact that what I wonder, and I’m humbled by the fact that the Air Force allows me to do something like flying a fighter jet for my day job. It’s, it’s a, it’s a lot of work. But it’s, it’s a really good time.

Ryan  

I’m sure. Yeah, absolutely. Not that I know anything about that. But I’m sure it’s a ton of work. And I’m sure you’re learning a lot about leadership, just from being a fighter pilot. And then you transit transition that into the mastermind that you’ve started. So I definitely want to talk about leadership and maybe some tips that you share with us. But why don’t we start by talking about your morning routine? How do you start your day off?

Wes  

Yeah, that’s a great question. So I recently moved to Las Vegas. And that’s when my wife and I, my wife, Kate, and I decided we really, we’ve been talking about getting morning routine for a while and we just need to buckle down, we’re in a new place. So let’s make this thing happen. So what it looks like for us, I believe the morning routine really starts the night before with how your while a when you’re going to bed, and then and kind of their team that that goes into that. So we typically will go to bed around 930. Sometimes it’s as late as 10. And then that kick starts, you know, getting enough sleep, which is important for performance throughout the next day, we get up pretty early 530. Typically, there are a couple of days, we get up a little bit earlier than that. And this is just during the weekdays, the week, weekends are a little bit different. But so we’ll get up at 530. The first thing that I do is I put on my workout clothes, my running shoes, and I’ll go do a workout. What I’ve begun to do and that I would have really enjoyed is I have a standard workout for every single day of the week, I do a lot of running as I mentioned, I’m an runner, so that’s three or four days a week that I’m hitting the road running, what it does, for me is an I’m getting my exercise in which is, which is very important, especially, you know, being in the military, there’s a huge emphasis on physical fitness. But the other aspect is mental fitness. And I use my runtimes to work on that. Sometimes I’m listening to a podcast or a book. But most of the time, especially recently, I intentionally don’t listen to anything I just let I use that time to think and process and think about what’s going to be going on today or, you know, think about strategically, where I’m going or what I need to be thinking about for the week and the month and beyond. After the run. Usually, that’s about just not quite an hour, depending on the specific workout after stretching, and all that. Then I get into my Bible time. Read, read the Bible, go through devotion, and then spend some time in prayer. And then I also after, I usually pray for about 10 minutes, and then after that, I’ll meditate for a couple of minutes usually, lately, I’ve been meditating on a specific piece of scripture, and I think that’s really helped. But other times I’ll just use it to create some stillness and open some space in my mind. And then after that, usually it’s about 730 Or no, sorry, skipping ahead of myself, and then I spend about a half-hour writing. I don’t really get into journaling. I know you’ve talked about journaling a little bit. I haven’t been able to stick with that. But I do write mostly for my business and put articles online and whatnot. After that. It’s usually 730 and we’ll get up my daughter at that point in then get on with the rest of our day. But I think the morning routine is, is essential for caging the rest of your day, there’s nothing like walking into work. Having worked out with that, that feeling both physically and mentally, having a nice shower, so you feel clean, and you’re just ready to hit the road. Get going,

Ryan  

What time is your day start at the Air Force, like what time do you have to start?

Wes  

So, it varies, which is what usually makes it difficult to stick to the schedule, I have a fairly flexible job and the hours down here are fairly gentlemanly. So typically, if I leave shortly after 730, I get to work at about eight. And that’s usually good enough. For example, today, I’m not my brief for my flight isn’t until three in the afternoon. So I won’t even go into work until like 11 or noon, get a couple of hours of work, and before the flight. And then other mornings, you know, watch show up at like 430 in the morning, in which case, usually, I don’t do very much in my morning routine, because I just get up and go to work. So it varies. I always try and do at least something if even if it’s just a set of push-ups in the morning before getting dressed, to kind of gauge my body physically and mentally.

Ryan  

Yeah, I think that’s we just sit there and think it’s really important because life happens. And sometimes you can’t fit in your morning routine. But if you’re doing something at least keep that habit going. I think that’s mentioned in atomic habits, but I might be wrong about that. But basically, if you can’t do the full routine, you just do a little bit to keep the habit formed.

Wes  

Yep, scale the scope.

Ryan  

I also like that you talked about the fact that you run without listening to anything, that solitude and just I know like me, personally, you know, I have the habit of like getting the car, I naturally want to put on a podcast or audible like you mentioned. And I think having a time where you’re just by yourself processing your thoughts and not taking things in, you’re just being there with yourself by yourself. I think that’s really, I think it’s really important.

Wes 

100%. And today, some people will say we live in the attention economy, where that type of thing is becoming the default. You know, it’s the easy option is to you’re in the car, you know, you turn on the radio, or you listen to music, or if you’re kind of like you and you and me, Ryan, you listen to a podcast and get some personal development. And we’re just always turning on the firehose of information and never allowing like you said that solitude the time to process, it is important. And you know, you won’t feel the benefits after day one. But you certainly will after you’ve been making room for it after a time.

Ryan 

Do you find that when you meditate? Do you have thoughts coming up? Is your mind still? Do you find that you have thoughts or issues that you couldn’t resolve? Often you have a resolution? Does that happen to you at all? Or is your mind completely still?

Wes  

My mind is not completely still. And I think that unless you’re almost you’re training to do that specifically over a long period of time, it’ll never happen. Our minds are, they were designed to think and process and so you’re always going to be processing and that’s the thing for meditation or when I’m out on my run is just realizing that you’re, you know, take a step back, you’re gonna have those thoughts, observe those thoughts and make a note of them. Okay, this is something that’s, you know, that’s weighing on me. Is this something I want to stay with and address right now? Or is it something? Is it a thought that I want to let pass and then get back, focus on your breathing or focus on the passions of Scripture, or whatever it is? And then observe the next thought that comes in?

Ryan  

Yep, I resonate with that. Since you are in the airforce. And since you’re a fighter jet pilot, I have to ask you these questions I want to I want to talk to you about leadership, and mindset, you know, leadership in terms of what you’ve learned, and maybe tips or advice and how you’re translating that to your mastermind. And then your mindset in terms of like when you’re flying? I’m assuming it’s very stressful like, how do you keep yourself focused and your mind strong and resilient? So those are two separate questions. But let’s start with the leadership side. You know, what have you learned? What can you share?

Wes 

Yeah, the military does a really good job of developing leaders. It starts from day one and training, especially for officers. That’s everything is all about the leadership. As a fighter pilot, there’s a different style of leadership that I get to do. It’s the more tactical style of leadership where you’re, you’re leading a two-ship or a four-ship or even had the privilege of leading a multi MDs, which is our term for a fighter jet. There were three different types of fighters that were up there as leading as I think 12 Total aircraft on an operation. And so it takes a level of leadership to build a plan, get everybody on the same page and then get up there and execute make sure that you know when things go wrong or different than what was expected, you can revise the plan and keep everybody on onboard with that. I think the biggest thing with leadership is you have to start with the objective. What’s What are we trying to get done here? It doesn’t matter if it’s, you know, a small project in the office, or if it’s a multinational operation during a wartime, start with the objective and then work backward, get everybody the buy-in on the objective, give them the why, why do we need to do this? Why is it that we need to, you know, have our paperwork or computer system set up in this way? You know, why are we going after this specific target? And then work backward from there. Alright, ask the questions. What do you specifically bring to the fight? Okay, that’s what you bring to the fight. Alright, now what this other person, what do they bring to the fight? Part of that is asking the question, what are your strengths? What are your weaknesses, and then part of it is just knowing your people, and being able to make that assessment for yourself, and then going from there? But the big thing is, as a leader, primarily, you’re a leader of people, you know, if you’re strictly only focusing on the mission aspect of it, it’s going to be a struggle, because it’s the people who who are going to get the mission done. And like I said, it doesn’t matter if that’s in the office or out in the field, it’s the people who are going to execute, you can’t do it by yourself. That’s why you’re the leader, and you’ve got the people because it’s the man who’s gonna, they’re gonna be the ones getting the job done. You’re just there a, as a mentor, making a couple of decisions along the way, and then setting everybody up for success. I think that’s the biggest thing, start, start with the objective mission plan backward from there. And then make sure that you’re asking the question of what the strengths and weaknesses are the strengths and limitations of each of either people or entities, fighter formations, whatever it is.

Ryan  

Yeah, I like that. Putting people in the right position based on their strengths. It’s good advice. What’s the right mindset? Well, how have you worked on your mindset to be able to handle what you handle? What does that look like for you?

Wes  

Yeah, great question. I love talking about this type of thing. Because this is, this is what I like to think about the mindset, in my opinion. Growing up, my dad always taught, I played baseball, he was my baseball coach, and in Little League, and he was like, It’s 90% in your head. And I never understood what that meant. And it always made me angry, because I was like, no, because when I get out there, and I need to, to swing and hit the ball, that’s all physical, it truly is 90, or, you know, in my opinion, even more, a battle of the mind. And the biggest thing is, my mantra is always attentive. Everything is in in the world is about attention. Where are you focusing your attention, if you’re, if your attention is scattered across a whole bunch of different things, you’re opening your mind up to the endless scrolls of the social media, or letting Netflix define what you’re consuming as far as, as your information in intake, that’s going to be a factor, you’re going to start to think like the director of those TV shows, wants you to think or think like the algorithms of Facebook wants you to think you need to focus on improving your education by you know, reading or listening to podcasts like this one. And then when it actually comes to the execution of it, making sure that you’re focusing like I said, start with the objective, what’s, what’s the objective, focusing on that objective, and then making sure that every effort from you and from your people is aimed at achieving that objective? It’s a process, you know, it’s not like you can turn around tomorrow and be like, oh, yeah, it’s all about, it’s all about mindset. All right, sweet, got this. No, it takes, it takes time to develop that. And that’s, you know, you talk about the the number one thing that we can do for, for our personal development, and my mind, that’s just that’s setting up the system, and then being consistent about it. And a lot of that is the mental I mean, you know, looking at my morning routine, I’ve got the physical, the physical fitness aspect, where I got and take a run, but the rest of it is all mental and even part of the physical part of it, you know, I’ve, I’ve implemented spending time in the mental realm because that’s, that’s where it’s all about, that’s where you’re gonna, where you’re gonna make your money in putting the reps to  write, and like anything, it just takes a certain amount of experience to get used to being uncomfortable. And then you put in the reps, you build up the callus. And that’s been my experience, at least. 

Ryan

That’s right.

Wes  

And in doing the reps, you’re training yourself, you’re automating portions of whatever process it is, and then opening up your mind to be able to think going outside to be able to think about other things because you’ve already got the processes down and that becomes muscle memory.

Ryan  

Exactly. Well, this was great, Wes. I appreciate you sharing all the information you did. I want you to tell everyone how they can connect with you. But first, before we go to that, you mentioned you listen to the podcasts and books. What are like one or two podcasts one or two books you could recommend to my listeners.

Wes  

I mean, you already mentioned one of my favorite books, Atomic Habits by James Clear. I think I’ve read that book three times. One of the other really good ones is Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck. That one it gets a little bit technical, it dives into her mind work but the main takeaway from that one is the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset. And I think I think that’s huge step. Okay. I highly recommend as well, as far as podcasts. Lately, I’ve kind of bounced around between a couple different ones. And one that I always come back to is Dan Miller’s 48 days podcast. It’s an entrepreneurial tip podcast, but he even gives just a lot of, you know, good life. Life tips.

Ryan 

48 days? I haven’t heard that one before. I haven’t listened to it. So I’m definitely gonna have to take a take a listen to that. You know, of course, I have to after I said, I need to spend more time in solitude now. I’m now I’m going to subscribe to their podcast, but that’s a personal development journey. You know, it’s you’re always trying to improve. 

Wes

It is. Yes. And it’s just, it’s all about the balance, you know, you got to have a balance because you have to you have to be in the game, you know, reading and learning, but then also taking the time and space to process what you’re learning.

Ryan 

Exactly. Well, what’s the best way that people can connect with you if they want to learn more?

Wes  

LinkedIn. Just search Wes with Us on LinkedIn, or WesWoodhouse.com is where I post all of my articles and, and all that. For email, Wes@Westwoodhouse.com. That works as well.

Ryan  

Awesome. Yeah. We’ll link up both in the show notes. Thanks, Wes. This was great.

Wes  

Yeah, thanks for the opportunity, Ryan. This has been a fun. 

Ryan

Absolutely. Thanks, everyone for listening.

Ryan 

Thanks for listening to the Morning Upgrade podcast. Please subscribe in review. And don’t forget to visit us at morningupgrade.com for more content.

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