Gadi Pollack, Executive Coach and Vistage Master Chair, joins us to talk about his newest project, Lead Beyond Trauma, a peer group for combat vets that allows them regular contact with their peers and the benefits of a peer-to-peer network.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. I’m your host Matt Register. Jay Curry will join us again next week. He’s got something going on. We’re, this is a Veterans Day special. I want to wish you all a very happy Veterans Day weekend, hope you’re taking some time and enjoying it. We’re talking about veteran owned businesses and some veteran issues. We have this segments, a friend of the show, somebody that has been on before that is a executive coach and runs some peer groups. And has started a peer group specific for combat veterans that I think is, I’m actually a member of it. It’s something that I think is very good and very helpful. Gadi Pollack is the Founder of LeadBeyondTrauma.com. Gadi, welcome back to the show sir.
Gadi Pollack: Thanks Matt. Good to be here.
Matt Register: So talk to me a little bit about Lead Beyond Trauma. What is, what is it you are trying to build to help the veteran business community?
Gadi Pollack: Well, as a veteran myself, who didn’t really acknowledge myself as a veteran. Or the things that had happened to me in combat, had made any difference at all. And I just went about my life, trying to fit in like everybody else. Over time I discovered that the experiences, what had happened to me in combat, it really kind of shaped my life and defined my life. And I’ve drawn certain lessons from them and was living my life a certain way that I didn’t necessarily have to.
Matt Register: Right.
Gadi Pollack: And that I could move beyond a sense of constant vigilance, a sense of life being prepared for the next disaster, always on alert and kind of taking pride in that. That, you know, I’m the person who is ready, I’m the person who’s protector. But I’m not actually as involved with my life or my family as I could be.
Matt Register: Sure.
Gadi Pollack: Mentally, emotionally from a gut level and taking the joy in the relationship, in the connections. Because I’ve got one guy, one eye open, if you will.
Matt Register: Sure.
Gadi Pollack: And so, I went through some work to kind of find out what had happened to me and kind of release those experiences. The most stunning thing was that my body was actually holding them. And I found that I could, I could release them and have a whole new life. And that’s, that’s what I did. And as I started talking to clients and members, you know almost everybody could relate to some, some area in their life where they were stuck or they knew a veteran or a family member. They didn’t quite understand because they’re not quite there. And so, I just encouraged to keep on digging and delving and be as powerful as I could in the present moment. And that’s what I did.
Matt Register: Well, the peer group model as it applies to business owners… And if you’ve listened to this show for any length time, you know Jay Curry is a Vistage Master Chair, as well as you, Gadi. Is a very effective tool when it comes to, when it, when it comes to growing your business. Right? Having a group though, of only combat vets, someone, some people that share some common experiences, allows you to, you know, kind of help them work through some of the things that may be holding them back in, in business. How long have you been doing this specifically for combat vets? And what do you think the future holds for them?
Gadi Pollack: Well, this group has been running for about a year. And my experience, when I compared that to the other four groups I was running. Which were not specifically…
Matt Register: Sure.
Gadi Pollack: Combat veterans, just business leaders, CEOs and executives. I found I truly found my peers and I was unleashed in a way with new energy. Because what I learned after the war was, people would ask you “Well what is combat like? What was it like for you?” Everybody’s really curious until you start telling them and…
Matt Register: They don’t want to know details. Right?
Gadi Pollack: They really do not want to know details. So, what happened for me was that I just learned to sensor it and I censored a big part of my experience. And when I put this group of combat veterans together, I would just, uncensored, unleashed. And I think it created a whole new energy for me in my life that I was unable to bring back into my other groups. So it was really, for me, accessing a part of myself with my energy of my story of my experiences, my value, helped me get unstuck. The more I was unstuck, I could help other people who might be stuck with a business problem with… And the most difficult problems that I’ve seen over 10 years and seven thousand hours of coaching people is, most of the difficult problems are relationships with somebody in the business. A partner, an important customer, an important employee, somebody, that, that there’s difficulty in the relationship. And moving beyond that, I think can help grow us as individuals, as leaders, then the business flourishes.
Matt Register: Yeah. I don’t doubt that at all and I’ve seen it, I have seen it happen. The, the, everybody experiences that kind of trauma a little differently. And, and you know we were talking, you know, during the break, everybody is the sum of their experiences in their life. And I think there is a difference between, perhaps, being shaped by your experience and being held back by your experience. Right? And, and some of these guys are, are definitely being held back by some of the things. Talk me through, you know quickly, how you discovered how to kind of work your way through those.
Gadi Pollack: Through that trauma?
Matt Register: Through the trauma. Yeah. Through the trauma that, that’s holding you back from, from what it is you’re trying to achieve.
Gadi Pollack: Well as we had mentioned, I underwent a form of therapy called EMDR, eye movement desensitization reprocessing. In a nutshell, what that does, it’s the connection between the eye and the brain that helps reprocess core beliefs, that we may be stuck in the past, unbeknownst to ourselves, just like I was.
Matt Register: Sure.
Gadi Pollack: I found out after 40 years that I’d actually carried a heaviness in my body related to the guilt, over a sense of guilt over somebody who was killed that I felt responsible for. I did not know consciously that I was aware of that but yet, that I was laboring under that but when I was able to release it, I felt physical lightness in my body and more power. So, and then there were a number of other, many other episodes that I was able to release. To me, the power of the peer group is people can sit around a table, there’s nothing wrong with anybody, we just share our business problems in the here and now. And everybody has a chance to process on their own, has listen to somebody else and decide for themselves. It’s not like you go to a doctor and the doctors the expert. He doesn’t know what’s going on. He or she doesn’t know what’s going on with you.
Matt Register: Sure.
Gadi Pollack: Doesn’t know your history. Only you know that, only you’re in a position to evaluate that. Bringing people together to share and hear, gives us the opportunity for each one to evaluate for ourselves. Where are we? Where are we stuck that we’d like to move beyond? And what’s the best way for us to do that? What’s the best timing for us to do that? Who are the best people? It’s up to us.
Matt Register: Well you certainly have a gift for being able to talk people through some of this. And the Web site is leadbeyondtrauma.com, to be able to learn more. But you’re very interested in finding business owners that are combat vets that, because you’re interested in growing your current group and perhaps forming additional groups of these specific type of people. Correct?
Gadi Pollack: Oh, absolutely. I mean my experience with our little lunch group was just so phenomenal for me in terms of unleashing me. And I could just be totally uncensored and the energy that came and then the increased effect of it. And just working with everybody, really directly and just going for the jugular, for the heart. And people’s response was amazing. So I, yeah, I love working with veterans and talking to them.
Matt Register: Yeah. Wonderful. So if you know of a business leader, a owner of a business that is a combat vet that may benefit from some kind of a peer group to be able to, you know, work through business problems. But with like minded people that certainly understand their level of past experience. Gadi Pollack, Leadbeyondtrauma.com, again is the Web site. Gadi, thank you very much for joining us back on the show.
Gadi Pollack: Thanks Matt. Appreciate it.
Matt Register: We’re going to go to a break. We have a lot more to talk about here on our Veterans Day special. You know, veterans are a group of people that are near and dear to my heart. I am a veteran. I have a lot of friends and people in the community that are veterans. I think it’s something that… I love to see the community get behind veteran owned businesses. I think they bring something special to the, to the table. And we’re always behind guys that are, you know, having, you know, veteran business plan competitions and things like that. We’ve got to go pay some bills. We’ll be back after this. Don’t go anywhere. Happy Veterans Day. We’ll be back.
Sponsored in part by:
In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.