The Generosity of Scars with Scott Mann


I'm your host Alex Jones and today or conversation with Scott Man he's a retired green beret. Okay who is waging war against the loneliness epidemic by focusing on an answer that says old as time itself human connection and as as with most lessons of enduring value. This is one that Scott didn't learn in a textbook or in a classroom. It's one that he learned through pain through suffering suffering and through his own personal experience of rock bottom. Yeah I was standing in a closet. It is where I found myself my lowest moment coming out of the military holding loaded forty five pistol in my right hand and no intention of coming out of there alive. I had I stood there wonder. How in the heck I got to that point? You know. Just a few years earlier I had been a green beret. A career Green Beret. At the top of my game I had operated in at risk high-stakes places around the World Columbian Afghanistan and had led. You know very strategic missions and just in a short period of time just a couple of years. I had spiraled into this place where I was devoid of purpose. My mood swings were so unpredictable but that my wife and three sons would just literally get up and lead any room that I walked into my house awesome. I was starting to really question my relevance on this Earth that I had run my course you know my contributions were done and my time was over. There's just nothing left for me to give. The survivor's guilt had really come through strong the post traumatic stress. All the things that I had pushed down for years I once I got to this place where I was disconnected from purpose and and and really struggling then it came on full force and I just didn't know what to do with it. I had become severely isolated from Pierce Pierce in all of those factors created a very very nasty cocktail and so it sounds like you were in a place where you had literally lost. Hope for for the teacher. Yeah I think I think that's accurate. I had lost hope. And you know for a special operator. We pride ourselves at playing at the highest level and being super relevant to strategic situations. And I just couldn't see that relevance anymore and had it not been for the voice of my Middle Son Cooper out in the hallway I I heard his voice talking. He'd come home from school and it just totally jarred me and shocked me. I looked down at that pistol and I was just just so ashamed and so just at the bottom of the barrel when I saw that and and so on shuffled out of the closet. But I still wasn't where I needed to be. I mean there were many more moments like that that followed but that's the moment that sticks out in my mind and you know as as a point where in really I you know. I'll be honest with you. I never told that story. I I did it at a Ted talk just recently. Yeah I'd never talked about had not talked to my wife about. It had not talked to my kids about it because I had moved on. I'd found it was actually sharing. That story with a buddy who who was considering suicide himself had served in combat together so he told you this he did. We were at a conference for helping veterans transition and we pulled off to a corner and we were talking and he made it very clear that he was he was close to check it out. He told you that and at that point. Is that when you shared literally. That's the first time I had ever shared shared that story and when I did the color came back into his face I could see that he realized he was not isolated. And in that moment for just a moment I got a glimpse camps of what storytelling you know or what I call being generous with your scars. can do if you're doing the service of others and it was just a moment but I felt connected naked and there was something to that and so I just kind of kept pulling that thread for the next few years I started. I started pursuing storytelling and sharing lessons from my past in the military. That were not necessarily pleasant lessons but lessons where I had learned lessons where I had changed lessons that could serve other people and I used storytelling to do it and it really pulled me out of that dark place until finally just this past year. I made the decision to share that story about the clause in sole reason Alex's because because I've lost so many friends to suicide in the last few years were high-performers Navy Seals Green Berets. And I thought you know what if I can share my story about that dark place I was and it can help someone step into the sunlight. Let's do it you know I love that specific point where you tell your friend the story of where you had been. And you describe it as his eyes lighting up. Because it's like we've got two guys sitting in a corner of conference telling each other that they've both both had thoughts about ending their life. Yeah I would not think that that moment is when people's eyes start to light up but it sounds like something happens internally early in a person's heart and soul that I know the word you used was connection that creates connection absolutely you know one of the major things that I teach as a former the green beret in leadership around human connection. Is there certain things that draw us together right whether you're sitting down with a teammate from the military or whether you're sitting being across from a client where you're talking to your teenager struggle is a universal singular that binds us. I don't care what your religion is. What your ethnicity is is where you come from? We're all creatures of struggle. And if we have the courage to reach down and lead with our scars you know the things that scuff us up up in our life and we share those in the service of other people. It accelerates trusted accelerates connection and it makes you relatable to the people you serve and and their armor comes down and it's one of the most powerful tools that leaders can use today in almost none of them do and I love how you use the word scars so as we kinda China dive in to. How do we make this practical for people? I'd love for you to tell us. What is your personal definition of scar as it relates to all of this this and then how do people start to identify these in there so I started speaking in storytelling? As I came home. You know and using stories from my past brothers others. I'd served with lessons I'd launch. Did you ever think you would do whatever now acting. And and that's about a mid life crisis but all of that stuff you know do what scares you. I lost so many friends in combat and I think what they say to me still is hey manduwa scares you. Don't pull back because because they gave up so much at such an early point in their life that you know. I'm I'm still here. I'm still here and I'm still running and I think the best way that I can live a life that they'd be proud of is to do what scares me a healthy way. Yeah it's it's crazy to think about the fact like you've been shot at Scott and the thing that scares you is telling a story but you're you're being serious but you know there's a reason he's in that most people fear speaking more than death right in it's again it's because go back to human connection. We are status creatures. We worry about what the other people around us. I think it's how we've survived for for Millennia and so those things that we feel when we get up in front of people that we feel nervous about anxiety and our hands are sweating before that sales meeting or that call where we have to get up and give a keynote. Those were real physiological symptoms that we feel like we're GONNA die right. It's fight flight or freeze. The sympathetic nervous system is kicking in and the same thing. She fell in combat. It's the same symptoms right and it's because we don't want to be voted off the island so I started pursuing that it scared. May I love the way it felt. It had that familiar. Feel to run in missions. You know and so speaking to other rooms and groups of people in storytelling in particular. Just really let me up. I did a talk called rooftop leadership which really talks about how Green Berets go into these rough places and they helped villages to the rooftop and fight back and how does that work it it was a tedtalk and when I got invited a few years just recently to go back and talk about where the Ted speakers are now. I told the story of scars generosity of scarves because I wanted people to understand it from me. My rocket fuel in this world is it is that it is tapping into the struggle and leading what that struggle. That's how I define a scar and the scar you know webster in Google scholar is like a superficial mark on the skin. I define a scars mark on the soul. You know that has really scuffed us up but it has the potential to bind us to other people so our scars universal absolutely. They're absolutely absolutely universal. You won't find anyone that hasn't been scuffed up. That has an incurred those internal scars in their life. It's just part of living but what happens. Is We live in a society where we are conditioned to put those things away. Push those things down. Do not show those scars. Do the Selfie look at me. Look at what I've done. Look at what love accomplished in these five easy steps you can do. This people are so tired of that it's unwatchable we're already in a low trust society so if we're not willing to lead with our scars ars and be authentic in how we communicate where we've been in our life. It's very hard for people to follow where we're

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