In this episode of Veteran Led, Vincent “Rocco” Vargas, former U.S. Army Ranger and Border Patrol Agent, actor, producer, and author of “Borderline: Defending the Home Front” joins John to share his incredible story and inspire others to pursue their dreams. Tune in as Vargas discusses how his military experiences inspired him to continue serving his country by defending the U.S. from threats at the Southern border. Vargas shares how his drive to achieve bigger things in life led him to further success as an entrepreneur, an artist, and the founder of a nonprofit aimed at promoting veteran wellbeing. Do not miss out as Rocco gives insights on finding your passion, trailblazing the Hollywood scene, and the hard work and dedication that is the foundation of success. Vargas has words of encouragement for all those who have served in this motivational episode.
Vincent Vargas: You’re never going to get there if you don’t know who you are and what makes you tick. I don’t think we’re being, um, cognizant of who who we are and what do we how do we see the world and what do we want to give to the world? There’s not enough people doing that. They’re just kind of they’re they’re they’re like still on military mode, like just attack the mission. Attack the mission was like, but what do you really love? What do you want to represent? How do you what’s going to motivate you to to to get out of bed and put your shoes on every morning?
John Berry: Welcome to the Veteran Led podcast, where we talk with leaders who use their military experiences to develop great organizations and continue to serve their communities.
Vincent Vargas: You know, I never thought about joining the military. Ever. It wasn’t wasn’t anything in my mind. My father was in the military, and I just never thought it was something for me. And then I played college baseball, and I struggled my academics. And eventually, you know, I lost my full ride scholarship. My family wasn’t, you know, wasn’t in a position to pay for college. So that wasn’t going to happen. And so I needed to kind of have a plan B. At the same time, I had a daughter who was born, and kind of my life kind of felt like it was falling off the tracks, you know? And my brother was like, maybe you should look into the military. I was like, ah, okay, fine, let me look into it. You know, I started like watching movies and kind of googling, just doing my thing. And, you know, I watched Black Hawk Down, and I was inspired by that. I was inspired by like, man, how scary that would have been. And do I have that ability? Do I have the guts to to take the fight to the enemy? And so I told myself if I was going to do it, I wanted to pursue at the highest level I possibly could. And so just by the chance of taking the test and I scored a 108 on my GT score, I was able to apply for the for, uh, an Army Ranger contract, which at the time it was called an RJR contract, but today would be called an option 40. And so I joined saying, let’s go to war, let’s do an infantry. Let’s just see it just dead on and see if we have the guts to do it. And that’s what I did.
John Berry: And eventually you decide I’m not staying in forever. Uh, you know, several combat, some several combat deployments, uh, a great career. And then after it was after your second enlistment, you said, I’m moving on. Why did you get out after that second enlistment?
Vincent Vargas: Yeah. You know, um, it was tough. After the after the three tours, I ended up losing some friends. One in a training incident, two in combat. I wasn’t there, I managed their funerals. And a lot of that had an impact on me. And I thought, you know, if I applied myself like I did in the military, in the civilian world, I could imagine what I could accomplish. I wasn’t sure, but I felt like I had more to do, and I felt like I could do more outside of the military because of the constraints of it and what I mentally wanted for myself. I just wanted more. Um, when I got off of active duty, I went into the reserves to kind of have my foot in the door. Also, the medical insurance was good for the family. It was kind of like, well, it’s cheaper to stay in for my family by doing medical insurance, so let’s do it. You know, um, I went to private prison and then I as a, as a prison guard there and immediately knew I didn’t want to do this for the rest of my life. And so I went I applied for the Border Patrol and got that, uh, I felt I was pretty secure in what I wanted to do in my life. Do federal law enforcement make good money for the family and continue to provide service for our country on our own soil? I really felt that the next big threat was going to come from the southern border. And instead of being deployed and gone for my kids all these years, I could actually kind of do it on our own soil. And so I was very blessed to be able to accomplish all that and to be able to kind of provide that same service that in my heart, I wanted to provide. But now in our own country, the.
John Berry: Message that you send out there, I think, is crucial to to veterans, especially veterans that are looking for a bigger future after military service is that, hey, look, your military service mattered. Not everybody’s a special operator like Vincent Vargas. Vargas as you said, some people are cooks, but that doesn’t that doesn’t mean you didn’t serve. And for some of us, we didn’t get the same opportunities. Right? Not every we get it like some people were Cold War veterans. Some veterans are Cold War veterans. Uh, some veterans did not get the opportunity to deploy. But you make it pretty clear, like don’t don’t look down on your service because you didn’t have those those opportunities. And I really I really appreciate that message. You know, for me, I was I went I was commissioned in 97, uh, was an infantry officer went to Bosnia in 99. We started bombing, uh, Kosovo in the march in March of 99. I thought, okay, this is going to blow up. And then it didn’t. And then so I got out in the summer of 2000, went to law school, and I stayed in the National Guard. I was a company commander. And they said, hey, uh, I was struggling as a, as a, you know, a new lawyer running a law firm had a new child.
John Berry: And I told my commander, I said, man, I’m out. And he said, John, I got some good news for you. You don’t have to do it all anymore. You’re you’re deploying with your company to Iraq. And so, uh, you know, I was a company commander in Iraq. It was great experience, but I went from being an infantry guy, active duty to a logistician, uh, in Iraq. So a little bit different experience than what I thought I was going to have. And I always felt like, wow. Like, I, you know, I didn’t get a play on the team I wanted to play on. I think there’s almost some, some, some guilt and shame around that. Right? When you’re a girl, you know, when you’re with all the infantry guys, you’re an infantry guy. And then and then it’s, hey, I’m going in here in a support position. But all those positions matter. And I really appreciate your message, which is, hey, go out, write the book, do the thing, whatever your service mattered. And it’s helping you to become a a better, better person and more importantly, a better leader.
Vincent Vargas: I think it’s important for people to own who they are and be very proud of what they’ve done. You know, uh, anyone who’s served to me is like, especially in the last 20 years, you’ve signed during a time of war like that takes balls. Right? And I find that to be, like, endearing. What a what a beautiful, uh, statement that they’ve just made for themselves. Saying I’m willing to serve this country, especially during a time of war. I just appreciate that when I was young and, you know, 2007 got out of the military, I probably didn’t say it had the same, you know, uh, thought, you know, because I was very mature. But now that I’ve seen it, I understand the world. I’m like, man, I really appreciate anyone who’s ever just provided service. And people really need to just be proud of what they’ve done and proud of their selves, of their own accomplishments. We’re all so different. We all have very different upbringings. How we were raised, where we were raised, different socioeconomic positions, it all it’s all different. And so we should be very proud of our own position and the strides that we make in life. And and that’s kind of what transitioning out of the military was for me was like, I’m just proud of where I’m at and how far can I go. And more is a statement to I want to make my parents proud because what they’ve been able to afford and give me, uh, let me turn around and do show them out of respect and how far I can go. And it wasn’t about a military thing, and it wasn’t about holding on to the title of being a ranger. It was just really that was a good accomplishment. What else can I do? And it’s just I want to keep chasing that. It’s kind of a curse in a way. You know, I want to keep chasing big things, you know?
John Berry: Yeah. And you keep building that bigger future. Border agent. Actor. Right. Producer. You develop all these new skills because you chase that bigger future. And like I said, this is the great example that you’ve set for veterans. And I want to make sure I hit the most important pieces. And I want to go back to now you’re out of the military. You are now a border agent, and you foresaw this was going to be a big deal. And I read in your book about the training in Artesia, New Mexico, I have to tell you that my last two years of high school to New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, and we had the wazoo weekends back then in the late or the early 90s, where we would go to El Paso, go across the border, you could go to the clubs there and get a bucket of beer, some flaming doctor peppers and like dance and drink all night for eight bucks. You know, that was back then. It was it was safe. But when you like, by the time you determine that there was a new threat that wasn’t happening anymore, how did you know that? Hey, this is where the next battleground is going to be.
Vincent Vargas: Well, you know, we they talked about 911, you know, and we started that started becoming a bigger topic. And then the introduction of homeland security. And when you start talking about I was like, man, this is pretty crazy. And then we started looking at the special operations. A buddy of mine, who’s the one who told me all this, like, look at the special operations. He goes, that’s the threat, the threats from the southern border. And it just started becoming like, man, you’re right. And as that started becoming a bigger conversation, you know, now I’m working on the border and I’m thinking like, maybe I’m going to catch someone massive that comes through, you know, some terrorist cell or whatever the case is. And, you know, I think we all kind of think like we’re in a position to really stop something, but now it’s even bigger threat, right? In, in, in what’s happening in our country is just crazy. So I felt more compelled to like, tell the story of the career that most people didn’t understand by writing a book about it. Because, like, I knew how much I care about the career field, but as well as how important I believe it is to our country’s safety. And so I thought, you know, the best way of explaining something that is kind of foreign to a lot of people who only see what the news headlines tell you about them, to kind of give a better understanding of what the career field is. It was I was almost inspired from originally. I read Inside Delta Force by Eric Haney, uh, back in the day, and it inspired me like, wow, that’s a really good book about Delta because I had no idea. Well, then fast forward. I’m like, well, let me do my version of that and let me write about the Border Patrol that most people don’t know about.
John Berry: I was blown away by the training, the selection process. I didn’t realize this is a two year process just to get selected. And then maybe, maybe, maybe you’ll make it through. Uh, you know, my my experience has been I know that National Guard units got deployed to the border. I know that things blew up and flared up, but I really didn’t understand the the level of training or the level of complexity of the missions that you guys were handling. I mean, it’s the book is is an eye opener. We just assume it’s like, uh, you know, on a on a military or most veterans, I assume are like me and like, yeah, you know, you’re just like in the guard tower, you know, change of duty shift, you know, like you remember that, right? Right. Like you just, you know, you had guard duty and and you’d be looking out over the desert or if you were in Afghanistan, I know, so probably looking out over the mountains, it was. Okay. You’re you’re on guard duty and, uh, but no, that’s not what it was at all. You took the initiative.
Vincent Vargas: It’s an extremely dynamic job, and you can get into as much work as you want. As hard as you want to work, you’ll find work. Uh, it is a constant thing, uh, that someone’s trying to either smuggle drugs or smuggle persons across the border. It’s constant. It happens all the time. All day long. There’s very little times where it’s not happening. Or you can come up across something that, uh, you know, tunnels. People are finding tunnels, right? You’ve heard all the stories, but the job is so dynamic and how it works and that you never know what’s going to happen in any day.
John Berry: The difficult, the misunderstanding. Right. Why would someone whose family is, from my belief, from Mexico, correct. Who I believe relatives in a past generation came over illegally. But you’re here now saying no. I’m here to support and strengthen the border and the conflict around that. How can you be the guy that’s here because your family broke the law, but you’re here to uphold the law. Yeah. That’s a.
Vincent Vargas: Deal with that. That’s the hardest. Like, I guess answer I have to give to people because to explain to them, like, you know, at a time when when illegal immigration wasn’t, uh, kind of a, an an iconic situation right now, it’s the biggest thing we’ve, we’ve had to deal with in years. And back then, it wasn’t uncommon to cross the border or come back. There wasn’t there wasn’t established border per se, but there wasn’t these policies that were making it. There was a threat when my grandmother came across illegally and she stole the identity of her sister. Right. Um, it was just part of like, well, let me just get the benefits of what America is. Why? Well, because they believed in America, and they wanted an opportunity in America. They wanted the they wanted to continue to to, you know, have the. And when I say opportunity, they were migrant workers, you know, it was just to work in the fields to make enough money to eat. And so my grandmother believed in America, so much so that she was willing to steal the identity of her sister to come to America and further, furthermore, her kids serve in the in the military to continue to respect the country that gives them opportunity. Uh, her willingness and the family’s willingness to invest back into the country is a form of gratitude, and I felt it would be disrespectful for me not to continue to believe in that same ideology.
Vincent Vargas: They wanted to invest in America because what it’s given them these days, I don’t know if we have that same idea. My family assimilated. Now, when I say assimilated, that doesn’t mean we lost our culture, you know what I mean? I know all my Mexican culture. I know the, the, the ethnic foods that we have and the different things that we celebrate in our families, you know, and the food, the music and everything. I know my culture, but we still assimilated to America in gaining almost the gratitude of continuing to invest back into it. I think that’s lost these days. Sometimes people are confused in the fact of what they should do. How far do you invest into a country? Do you lose your identity? No, not really, but people feel that, you know, they’re being pressured to lose their identity. And I think it’s just, uh, it’s part of an argument that that is hard to even explain. I’m actually that’s what the next book I’m working on is trying to explain culture and how we as Americans, we have to have borders. But two, we have to understand is, as a Latino man coming to America, I’m not I’m not turning my back on my culture.
Vincent Vargas: I’m gaining and changing and evolving with culture. I want my kids to have better opportunity. I want my kids to be more educated. My parents couldn’t pay for college. My kids are now afforded the opportunity to go to college, and hopefully their kids will never have to worry about that as well. And we advance socio socio economically as a as a generation and generational wealth in a sense of giving them a better position in life. My daughter is going to law school now, you know, and that is such a big jump from my mother who picked fruit, who picked cotton as a kid. That’s a massive generational jump that her kids will never know what it’s like to have to work in a field just to be able to afford food. That’s a beautiful thing, and that’s what America gives us. And if you don’t invest into America, well, then we start to lose these ideologies, right? We start to lose the kind of the cornerstone of the foundation of what we’re built on, the land of opportunity. How hard do you want it? How bad do you want it? Work for it and you can make it happen. And I think that’s why I really stand on this. I really believe in. And at what.
John Berry: Point did it change then from, hey, this is the land of opportunity. Anybody who cares about their family wants to give their family a better future. So of course, it makes sense that that this was happening when, when when your family came over. But then there was this paradigm shift where it wasn’t just about a better future, it was about getting drugs out over here, uh, human trafficking and then terrorists coming through our borders. You know, when did that change historically, when did that change happen?
Vincent Vargas: You know, I think that’s been happening. I think we started really focusing more on the homeland security aspect of securing our borders because of nine over 11. That really is what the implementation of nine over 11, uh, of of Homeland Security, we started to realize, like, wow, a gathering a lot of Intel. There’s a lot of, you know, um, terrorist organizations using the southern border because it’s vulnerabilities. And when you start to we learn that back when we were in Iraq gathering Intel from a mission, you’re like, trace it back to, like, oh, crossing the border from the. Whoa. So that’s old news. But it’s now becoming more prevalent because of the massive influx of immigration. You’re starting to think of just the numbers by just the odds of the numbers. If 1% is is an outlier wanting to do harm on our country, that’s a lot of people coming to this country illegally. So it becomes the biggest fear that we have is a porous border, essentially. Or also a porous border policy can create more issues in America by the fact of allowing or loosely, um, having policy that kind of creates an easy stream of access. This becomes the biggest threat America has right now.
Vincent Vargas: And that’s a fear, right? That’s a fear of mine. Knowing that the numbers of of as you apprehend individuals, you know, those that are trying to get away and you do catch them and you do do the background. Boom, you. Find out that they do have connections to terrorist organizations. This is one of our biggest threats. And so it’s a big challenge right now because we’re fighting against, you know, it’s a political battle, which it shouldn’t be, right? This should be an American kind of we need to protect our country. We also, as a country, need to allow legal immigration. And we do. We allow 1.5 million legal. Last year was 1.5 legally admitted migrants into this country because they went through the proper channels. That’s a beautiful thing. That’s what America is built on. But at one point our borders became so vulnerable and the cartels and smuggling operations has created this area of mass chaos. That becomes a very concerning area for our country in a, in a, you know, in vulnerabilities, if you will, you know, in the sense of potential threats when it comes to terrorist organizations. And so, yeah, it’s a big concern.
John Berry: It’s interesting, it seems that the uptick in cartel activity, right, right around the time that we’re worried about terrorist activity, it all seemed to be happening at the same time. And as a criminal defense lawyer, I handled several federal criminal cases where there were individuals, uh, coming from Mexico who, you know, were grabbed by the cartel, who didn’t have any other future, said, hey, you’re going to get across the border and you’re going to take this dope with you and you’re going to get it delivered. And if you don’t, I’m going to kill your family. Yeah. And they were, you know, that that and it was.
Vincent Vargas: Just a promo, right. They say silver bullet. You either take the money, you take the bribe, or we kill you. You got to do it.
John Berry: Yeah. And that’s just it’s heartbreaking because then they come across and then they’re facing many of them tend to life in a in a federal prison. And of course, there’s, you know, their chances of ever becoming a US citizen are now completely shot. And it’s.
Vincent Vargas: Horrible. Yeah. It’s exactly. And that’s the hardest part about it is when people, you know, they want to argue about the whole border concept. Like, we really have to talk about how vulnerable these people are to, to be manipulated in this. They want the opportunity. They’ll do it the right way if they could. But lack of information, lack of education, lack of of of anyone who’s going to give them the information they need to know how to do it legally and the only thing they have is these organizations who are who are corrupt, who are going to manipulate them and saying, this is the only way, or you do it or we kill you. And that’s unfortunate. So those are things that it’s that’s a hard battle to fight. All we can do right now is focus on who comes into the border and how to protect that, and what policies we put into place. The whole conversation is, is something that I think we need to start focusing a little bit more on. But also the reasons why I wrote the book is like, well, we have to have a little baseline understanding of what the career fields that do the job first, too, because I think the only way we really start to attack this immigration situation is having better understanding of what’s going on in our border. And for me, what I like as a subject matter expert of the border career. Sorry, my kids are out here. Um, my daughter’s laughing. Um, but, you know, I felt like, well, at least let me do my part and write the book about Border Patrol. So then people will know that. And now they can go research other areas, even immigration, whatever they want to do. But I felt it was my part to do that.
John Berry: Yeah. And I think it really painted a picture that most of us, like I said, our perceptions were much different because of the media portrayals of Border Patrol. And look, as you know, it’s just I imagine just like the military, it’s the bad things that sometimes get to get caught on, on, on video and then they’re shared and the good stories, you know, if it doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t lead. Right. But but if we understand, like holistically how all this happens and going back to, you know, what the cartels are doing, that was no different than what the insurgents were doing in Iraq, where we would have, you know, the the Taliban or ISIS or whoever, you know, the terrorist flavor of the week would pay somebody. Right? I remember this. They were paying them. They’d say, hey, look, what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna take this Toyota truck, you’re gonna drive right outside of al-Assad, you’re going to launch this mortar from your truck, and you’re going to drive away. And if you don’t, we’re going to kill your family. But if you do it, we’ll give you 20 bucks, right? There was no choice. And it looks like the cartel uses the same tactics of, hey, you’re you’re going to take this, this dope across the border, like you said. Hey, silver lead. Yeah. Your choice. Yeah. Wow.
Vincent Vargas: It’s crazy times.
John Berry: How many years total did you serve then? As a as a border agent?
Vincent Vargas: Just under seven years. And then I at the time, I was just kind of a weird transition in my life. I was going through a second divorce and I was like, really? I had some businesses doing really well, and I was like, well, let me try and be home more with my kids, let me try and be a better dad and see what that looks like. Because I’ve been running and gunning for so long, I haven’t been able to heal myself, especially with post-traumatic stress. I had a lot of issues with drinking at the time, and so it was kind of a let me focus on me for a little bit, because right now I’m always dedicated to the mission, giving the government everything I could. But I was losing everything in my life. And so I decided to kind of make a pivot and walk away for a while and try and pursue acting, uh, because I felt it’d be a healthier, uh, avenue for me.
John Berry: Why make the leap to Border Patrol? Make the leap to entrepreneur? What? What in you, uh, made you decide to take that leap? Because some people shouldn’t. But what about you? Yeah, I.
Vincent Vargas: I’ve always been a risk taker in that sense, but, um, I think it’s more of a strategic risk. You know, I, you know, when I, when I decided about the Border patrol, I knew that the border Patrol in three years would make more money than I’m doing now, than I was doing at the time. And I felt it had better, I guess, longevity and career fields that that what I wanted to do, I wanted to kind of look into the tactical medicine. I wanted to look into the special operations teams as well, as I felt like it was kind of a day in, day out, exciting kind of job that I thought, you know, would fit with my personality. And it was right. And then the same thing when I when I chose to leave the Border Patrol, I already had a business that was making, uh, was matching paychecks with the Border Patrol. And so it wasn’t just a, you know, a whim. I didn’t just leave and say, okay, we’ll figure it out. Like, no, I knew I could cover my bills. I knew my family was fine. Uh, it was just emotionally, am I ready to take that jump and risk it? And I felt financially, you know, if you had the money, why wouldn’t I just risk it? I could always go back if I needed to. And so, like I said, it was a calculated risk. I knew what I was doing and I went for it. It’s the same as, you know, going from from acting to writing and everything I do. I just kind of like a really calculated, what’s what I want to do for myself. Uh, how how far do I want to go, what’s longevity possibilities? And then, uh, my family be fine. If they are, then then we take the risk. And this is something I do quite often.
John Berry: So how did you start your entrepreneurial career while at, you know, while serving as a Border Patrol agent, what was the first what was the first moment where you thought, wow, this might take off? How did how did you get started?
Vincent Vargas: We we, uh, we did some YouTube videos. They my friend invited me to do YouTube videos. I said, yes, uh, and behind the YouTube videos, we marketed a new t shirt, a new t shirt design. It would be a military kind of focused design. And we put out a video and the first one I think was called tactical or How to Be a veteran, one of those, it’s just funny you’re making fun of ourselves, essentially. And, uh, you know, the shirts would sell since you put the video up. I, you know, I ran the back end of the, of the site and ping, ping ping ping, my phone’s going off. People were purchasing shirts, and I was like, this is crazy. I remember one night I woke up and. We sold $100,000 worth of shirts in, like, about an hour. Uh, and that’s when I knew I was like, oh, man, this is this is. We got something real here. You know, our first year in business, we made 1.5 million, second year, 2.5. And so we had a viable company. It was doing really well. There was a lot of things we did wrong, but there was a lot of things we were doing right. And, uh, it’s it fired me up. It was exciting. It was exciting to do something, try and try and understand that that, you know, solve that problem. Right? That business is nothing like a problem solving. And so it was fun. And so when we saw the success in it, um, I knew there was a chance I could walk away from the federal career and really just try and have some fun with this.
John Berry: So at that point, the business was at that point, let’s face it, there’s like three veteran t shirt labels and you’re one of them at that point, right?
Vincent Vargas: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. We were competing with, uh, we had grunt style and Ranger up to the lead, uh, companies, whoever did it. But we did ours the way we did marketing was kind of, uh, at the time was just different. We didn’t have a back end solidifying, you know, emails. We didn’t do anything right. You know, we didn’t have, like, the whole structure behind us. It was just make a viral video and sell a ton of t shirts. And it worked for a while. It worked until it didn’t work, you know.
John Berry: And then what you do once it stopped working.
Vincent Vargas: You know, we we we knew we weren’t sure when that was going to stop, but we started working on other things. And so we launched Lead Slingers. Whiskey was a whiskey brand. And then you know, what most people probably didn’t realize was range 15. The movie was a big marketing push for lead singers, whiskey. You know, we we used producing a movie. And the main sponsors of that movie was one of our whiskeys, you know what I mean? And so the whiskey essentially spoiler alert, was the cure for the zombie apocalypse. And then, you know, it was kind of a it was kind of a cult classic movie that every military base, installation, location, we try to get the, you know, the distribution rights to the city, and we’d be able to sell more lead singer’s whiskey. And it was just a very smart kind of marketing plan. And it worked well in the in the videos. Uh, they were powerful because veterans could kind of relate to us. You know, they resonated with the message. It was fun. It was guys like them. You know what I mean? When you’re looking at someone and represents you, it makes you want to support them a little bit more. And, you know, we were we were in the front end of all that. And it was a really exciting time.
John Berry: Warning to Non-veterans you’re probably won’t get a lot of the humor, uh, or you will and you won’t like it. But, you know, I think it was the the first cult classic for the veterans community since Team America. I think range 15 was the next one. And that was, what, like 15 years later or whatever, you know, it was, uh, but I mean, what a what a you know, what a great, great, uh, opportunity for veterans to share our gallows humor, if you will, right, for us to, you know, to and, you know, like I said, most most veterans laughed at it. I’m sure, uh, some found it offensive. Uh, you know, I always say, look, if you’re if you’re offended by something, uh, I’m sorry that your parents didn’t raise you to be tougher to not allow people to offend you. Get over it. If you’re offended. That’s a reflection of you and your problems and your issues. These guys, veterans out there having fun creating a movie for veterans to lighten. I think, you know, I think to, you know, to make light of some of the issues, but to laugh together, right. Laughter is a is a great medicine for all of us.
Vincent Vargas: And bringing the communities together was was so powerful. You know, it was something that was special, you know, and it actually inspired me to continue to pursue, uh, the acting space. I since then, I walked away from all of those companies and started a few of my own and and really pursuing acting in itself as entrepreneurship. Uh, I am the, the you know, I am the product, you know, and I have to market myself. And so, you know, it inspired me to kind of continue to pursue the messaging. Right. And as being being someone who could hopefully write, uh, the next movie that would be iconic in the veteran space or the law enforcement space or whatever space, you know. And so I’ve been very inspired to continue to do that, you know. Right now I’m working on, um, bringing my book to, to hopefully a television show concept. And so I’m working on that and continue to I have a ton of military stories, I think, that deserve to be told, uh, you know, and I’m hoping that I’m putting my foot in the right places here in Hollywood to be able to, uh, to get those stories told, you know, and so trailblazing the Hollywood scene is not easy, uh, you know, and and so I’ve been able to, you know, get my place in some, some good, good meetings and hopefully it continues to pursue. But, you know, it all comes down to the same thing. You know, what I did in the military is, you know, I’m the special operations military, but it was all just hard work, you know, and then becoming in the Border Patrol, hard work, and then in the acting space and writing spaces, hard work, you know, and so, uh, I’ve been very fortunate to continue to, to see, uh, you know, a target that I want to kind of acquire and I pursue it.
John Berry: So for veterans looking to going into acting. I mean, you got a winning smile, I can tell you that. But how did you get how did you get the role in the Mayans? I think that shows about like seven, eight seasons now. And, uh.
Vincent Vargas: Yeah, I was pretty successful, um, you know, right place, right time. Right. Look, I tell people I had the training, I did two years of college in theater. I did three years of YouTube, kind of kind of improv comedy, essentially. But. But it worked. And then I produced a couple things on my own as well. And so, you know, I had a good foundation, just enough to get in the door. Right. And, uh, when I was able to get the audition, you know, that was enough to close it, you know? And so I was given a friend made a call for me to get me the audition, which is very, very rare, but it happens. And and I’ve done the same for other veterans. And some of them landed it. Some of them didn’t, you know. Um, but for me, it’s right place, right time, a little bit of luck, you know, a little bit of talent. And, uh, I’m now just pursuing other things. The show is over. Uh, I finished the show as one of the writers on the show as well. And so I was able to to kind of move up that echelon and get myself in positions that I never imagined. And so now we are in a position right now where we’re pitching television shows. We’re we’re writing, and we’re hoping to get something new.
John Berry: So for a lot of listeners that think that acting is is easy and it’s just a talent you’re born with, right? You know, I got to tell you, I was an English major at the College of William and Mary, and I studied, you know, I didn’t really know what I started with history. I didn’t know what I wanted to do to be commissioned as an officer. I had to take some math classes, but I could choose whatever major I wanted. And I really wanted to learn how to write and write well. And I absolutely loved reading plays because it was the show, not tell. Right? This is really how we capture, I think an idea is not just in the words, but in actually presenting those words vividly in three dimensions in real life. And so I, I really enjoyed reading, reading the plays and even trying even tried to write some, took some theater classes, took some acting classes. Uh, and it’s it’s tough. It’s tough to write. It’s tough to do. It’s not like you just show up and you know, you’re you wing it. You got to read the script over and over, change it, adjust it, and do it again and again. It’s almost like military rehearsals. You can never do them enough.
Vincent Vargas: Yeah, most people don’t. I mean, it’s funny, I have a lot of people be like, hey, man, I want to be an actor. I was like, what have you done? Like nothing. I’m like like, it’s crazy. Um, you know, it is not natural to do it. It’s not natural to to play someone that’s not you, to play a completely different character, to change your, you know, your demeanor or falsify your emotions. You know, I mean, for a moment, it’s not normal. It’s it’s there’s a process. And so throughout the years, I’ve developed a very good process that works. Uh, and it’s always evolving. So to, to learn how to be better at it, from being emotional, to learn how to cry to to learning how to be angry and being able to shut that off when you go home, you know, there’s a lot to this. And as well as what people like. Yeah, I was watching a show last night. You know, I always I’m always studying different films. And there was a long scene camera straight directly onto the actor. You know, it’s probably about a five minute dialogue scene. And my daughter’s like, did he have to memorize that? I’m like, oh, yeah, but you don’t just memorize the words. You have to emotionally know those words. You have to emote the emotions in that while cameras are watching, why 30 people are doing their jobs behind you, and you have to give everything you can to make that the most believable moment.
Vincent Vargas: And she goes, that’s hard. I’m like, it is. It’s absolutely hard. It’s challenging. And it’s and I think it’s beautiful as well. It is an art form that I find to be therapeutic for me. I think a lot of veterans would really find therapeutic value if they dig deeper into the theater, because it allows you to have emotions that guys like me and you might want to shut off at times because we were raised a certain way in these alpha bravado, uh, groups that we probably aren’t allowing ourselves to get emotional because it’s like we shouldn’t, you know, in moments. And I found it to make me human again. And that’s not easy for a lot of guys to say. It’s not easy for a lot of guys to, to, to be vulnerable. And so the acting is not easy. It is a it is an art. It is a is a is a skill that you have to work really hard at. And you know, and again, I love it, man. I think a lot of veterans tried it. I think they’d find a lot of therapeutic value in it.
John Berry: You know, one of the things I’ve learned as a trial lawyer is the most powerful person in the room, is the most vulnerable. And I have found, you know what? Look, when I get into a great cross-examination and I am just in the moment, I’m in the zone, right? Like I can just feel it, right? You can just. It’s all coming through me. I’m just, you know, there’s no better. It’s just like flow state. I think some people call it right. But I just feel it all coming through. And I know every word and I. And I’m ready. But I haven’t rehearsed, you know, I’ve rehearsed it as an outline, but word for word, right? I am going to adjust in the moment to get the feeling right, so that the jury can see the emotion that they need to feel to really understand the story. And for, you know, I had some, I had some. Experiences where I couldn’t get into the zone. You know, maybe it was a tough witness, or maybe it was a tough subject matter and I couldn’t do it. Is it the same thing in acting where sometimes you just you have days where you just are not in the zone? Yeah.
Vincent Vargas: You know, we have a, we have the, the fortunate position to be able to do multiple takes, you know, and I’ve learned I’m better after, you know, three, 4 or 5 takes of someone else’s takes because now I’m in the moment of it, you know, and I’m allowing it to kind of brew. But when you first get on set, you know, it takes a few to kind of get it out of your system and be like, okay, I’m here, be here now, shut the phone off, forget what’s going on at home, and be really good at this. Because when you’re really good in your moments, good at work builds good work, right? It builds more work. And so we have to be good at all times. And so us as producers want the best scene. And so we allow the actors to take multiple takes. And once that take is perfect, we go back and edit the best version of that. And so because we need the best, you know, we need people to see the best version of what we’ve created. And so us as actors get opportunities to do it multiple times. And that’s that’s a fortunate thing about it. We don’t have to be perfect once we have to find a way in three, 4 or 5 takes to get it perfect. Now how do.
John Berry: You do that? And then I’ve noticed the Vinnie Rock podcast seems pretty. I don’t even know if you edit it right. I don’t know, but it seems like you just come in there. No editing, right? Yeah. You just come in there. Hey, this is me. This is what’s. And I want to have an honest conversation. I want to get to the truth here. And it’s just. This is me, uh, as I am. Right? So we got the polished version on screen, and then we’ve got the, I guess, the more real, authentic version. Uh, in the in the Vinnie Rock podcast. Uh, how do you do that? How do you not say, hey, this has to be perfect. And then this can be free flowing? I’m fine with it. Mistakes are good. Whatever.
Vincent Vargas: I think my wife always asks me the same thing in college. Like, I would get like, C’s. And she goes, how are you okay with that? I was like, yeah, it’s okay. I mean, I’m all right. Um, I don’t want to stress on things that I don’t need to stress on my work. My real work is work, and that’s unprofessional. I’m gonna show up to be the best at that. It possibly can be. But everything outside of real work, I don’t want it to feel like work. And if you make me rehearse a podcast that feels like work, you know, I want to be able to have a conversation and be myself and be comfortable because then I enjoy it, and then I actually like doing it. But when it becomes work, I don’t want to do that no more. I want it to be anything I do at my house, my fun. I do that the studios here at the house. Right. Like there’s the podcast, you know, I do it all here, right? Because I want to be my own comfort. I want to have my my friends join me. I want to have conversations that hopefully they’re enlightening and, um, you know, and so, like I said, if it’s something I do outside of of real work, uh, you’re not going to get, you know, you’re going to get me. That’s that’s honest. It’s like the book. The book is a professional book, but it’s my my honest version of me.
Vincent Vargas: Right. When you read it, it probably if you ever audiobook it, it sounds like a podcast, like a long podcast. And so, um, I try and I like to be honest and real and I want people to, to see that side of me. I think it’s important because I don’t think being an actor and, you know, this, this, say semi-famous, uh, has any value. I think that’s absolutely worthless. I think, uh, you know, I’m really I really believe in my family. I believe in God and believe in country. You know, in no particular order. I think God is always first for sure, you know, but God, family and country. And so as long as I have that and I’m grounded to that, uh, I don’t care about the fame stuff. You know, it’s an interesting thing. It’s a it’s a, you know, it’s a social construct. It doesn’t really matter. Uh, but, you know, it’s been able to open some doors that have been valuable. You know, I have a new podcast coming out here soon. I’ll be launching a podcast will stay. That’s my baby. But I am creating something that’s, uh, going to focus a lot on the border, stuff that I think is an interesting topic that we need to really discuss in a deeper way. Uh, and so it’s opened a lot of doors for me, and I’m really and I like that, but I’m able to be myself, and that’s valuable to me.
John Berry: You do a great job of. Telling veterans it’s okay to be yourself. And in fact, through through your nonprofits and some of the work that you do, you try to bring that out. And I know it’s not just, hey, let’s have a conversation. It’s, hey, let’s do some things that bring that out. So tell us a little bit about that. Yeah.
Vincent Vargas: You know, I started doing a lot of research. So I’m finishing up my master’s in psychology, and only because I felt like I wanted to understand better, uh, the struggles we have as veterans, uh, the suicide epidemics we struggle with, the alcoholism and everything else. And so as I’ve gone deeper into studying that and kind of understanding it, I really fell into the positive psychology side of things and understanding messaging. Part of my military career was psychological operations. Right. And so in the psychological operations side of things is understanding messaging and how we use that for it to be successful and then doing social media, all these things. So I’ve kind of brought my worlds together. And for me, what we do in one with the nonprofit but two with Light the Fuse, it’s just a men’s group we do to help with men’s mental health is we we’ve kind of reverse constructed this whole suicide focus, right? Everyone was like, suicide was like 22 a day. And I said, well, let’s I’m not going to focus on the outcome. That’s the most negative thing ever. I’m going to backtrack and say, how can I mitigate this? And so if you research the top five reasons why anyone would probably take their life, you know, it’s going to be relationships, finances, it’s going to be post-traumatic stress or, you know, untreated.
Vincent Vargas: It’s going to be alcoholism and pain. So or addictions and then pain. And so those top five are the reasons why most people statistically have ended their own life. And so what I’ve introduced is, well, let’s figure out how to manage these five areas of people’s lives. So let’s teach people how to be financially, um, literate. Let’s teach people how to heal trauma, right? Let’s teach them the different modalities of healing. We could introduce them. Let’s teach them how to have healthy relationships. Let’s teach them how to be sober if needed. Right. And let’s teach them where they can, how they can manage pain. Right. So, so I have a bunch of resources. Through just my relationships, I’ve been able to direct traffic for guys to connect the dots for them, whether it be sobriety, whether it be financial literacy, whether it be, you know, I get guys hormones checked to see where their hormone testosterone levels are. A lot of veterans have low T. That’s a start to mental health, right. So then as well as we go into counseling, I introduce them to eMDR. I introduce them to breathing meditation. I introduce them to, um, plant medicine, if that’s they’re interested in it. I just open up the doors and say, here’s options. If we can heal those five areas, if we can teach them and give them tools, then hopefully they’ll never reach to Terminal Crisis, or what I call it would be another word for suicide for me.
Vincent Vargas: I want to mitigate, like us in the military, you as an officer, you’re like, wait, is this training safe? You know what I mean? Well, what are we implemented? Right. It’s the same thing for me in life is like, is this safe? What have we implemented to make sure that we’re safe? Well, we’ve implemented breathing tools. We’ve implemented different, uh, social groups. We’ve implemented different. So I just created a world that has my nonprofit. We write checks to veterans and law enforcement officers to get the help they need, whether it be any kind of psychology, any kind of counseling, any kind of, uh, modality of healing. You know, in our men’s group, we focus on creating a community of men who are willing, ready to grow and get better and become, you know, the best version of themselves. The company better is a positive psychology on the word veteran. It’s promoting positive veteran, you know, movements, positive veteran flow. And so everything in my world has been able to kind of direct traffic towards I’m not going to talk talk about the negative. I’m focusing on where we’re at now. Let’s let’s make it better. Let’s fix it. And so that’s what we do.
John Berry: Uh, one thing you brought up and. Yeah, as an officer, right. I’m always a little bit skeptical, but the, the, the plant based stuff. Right. Is that the is that the ayahuasca, the the marijuana, is this the microdosing of certain substances or what? You look at all of them.
Vincent Vargas: Yeah. There’s different versions. You know, there’s non-psychedelic plant medicine. You know, there’s things like hoppy is just like a tobacco you can in ceremony. You they, they blow it into your nose, they blow it into your nose. Right. And in the ceremony of that, it’s a community of guys sitting in a tent and there’s music and there’s prayer, right? And not like any particular God, your God. You just pray. We’re just it’s almost like a community of meditation, and it’s painful in the nose. It kind of hits with the it’s a tobacco essentially. It’s like hits in your nose and it gives you kind of this flush of your body. But that moment, that little ceremony is connective. It makes all of the guys in the room feel like, okay, we’re all part of something right now, and we’re part of this transformation of growth, and we’re using this moment to be very, uh, with ourselves. And in this moment, it’s very powerful. And it doesn’t have to be psychedelic. I for me, I don’t want to guide anyone in any direction. Just say, here’s the options and you choose do the research. What do you want to go? Where do you want to go with that? But there is people that see a lot of success in the psychedelics. I don’t partake in that personally. Right. I’m nervous of that, you know, and I’m still connected to the federal government. So I’m like, I’m gonna keep my security clearance right now. You know, you don’t.
John Berry: Want to get indicted, you know? Yeah, yeah. And yeah, that’s the thing. It was, right. I mean, I think a lot of this stuff is I always stay paranoid on the side of, hey, I never want to tell anybody to ever do anything illegal or, you know, and but it’s interesting that, uh, you know, that the medicine has, has evolved, right? Because, I mean, it used to be that, uh, like, the biggest concern about the drug that was coming across the border was for at least from Mexico, was marijuana. Yeah. Now it’s legalized in most states, not federally legal, but but many states have one.
Vincent Vargas: Of our podcasts. You know, I had, uh, a gentleman, uh, doc, uh, Askins he does assisted ketamine therapy. I’ve never done that. But I looked at his research and everything. Sounds interesting. Uh, I will direct traffic to to someone like him if they need it. And if someone wants to partake in that and feels good to help them, fine. I don’t want to be a place I want people. If someone comes to me and says, I’m really looking for answers like, well, here’s a lot of different answers. We really have to. Everyone has to kind of take that upon themselves to choose what route they want to take. I’m trying to work on my fitness. I’m trying to work out more. That helps me. That’s something I read a lot. I meditate, I do breathing. Those would work for me. Vince Vargas right? But not everyone’s the same. I’m sober. I’ve been sober just under five years now. All those things are different things that I’ve chosen to do in my life and given myself tools to, to, to make sure that I’m in a mental, mentally healthy, physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy. And so that’s what I’ve done. And if all I can do is help guide other people, I will. I’ll show them like, here’s the different routes you can take. It’s on you. It’s up to you what.
John Berry: Works for us, right? What works for one person won’t work for the other. And that same way that some people, some people should not become entrepreneurs. Some people should not become actors, some people, you know, shouldn’t, uh, become Border Patrol agents, especially after leaving the military. Right? It’s just it’s just it’s what works for you. And I think, unfortunately, uh, people see, you know, Vincent Vargas as this guy’s ultra successful army ranger, uh, border agent, author, actor, producer. Uh, entrepreneur, seller of t shirts and whiskey and every, you know, guy’s done everything like, you know, and I want to be like him. And I think, you know, it’s. You got to be like you. And it doesn’t always work for everybody. And. And how do you, you know, how do you help veterans that are looking for that say, hey, what’s my path now, Vincent? I’m I’m no longer in the military. I don’t know, I don’t know where to go because it seems to me you always knew where to go.
Vincent Vargas: Yeah, I mean, I’m even when I wasn’t sure, I kind of faked it, I guess, you know, um, you know, a lot of guys, they they always say that, right? They’re looking for their purpose or, you know, and for me, the only thing you do is find that in yourself. I, I tried a lot of things. I made a post one day. It was like 18 different jobs I had before I was an actor, you know what I mean? Like, I’ve had a lot of things. I tried a lot and figured it out, but you’re never going to get there if you don’t know who you are and what makes you tick. I don’t think we’re being, um, cognizant of who who we are and what do we how do we see the world and what do we want to give to the world? There’s not enough people doing that. They’re just kind of they’re they’re like still on military mode, like just attack the mission. Attack the mission. I was like, but what do you really love? What do you want to represent? How do you what’s going to motivate you to, to to get out of bed and put your shoes on every morning? That’s what you should pursue. And it doesn’t mean it has to be an actor.
Vincent Vargas: This is like I said, this doesn’t mean anything to me. I have I feel a lot better about some of the border consulting I do. I feel really good about it. That kind of fills my cup. Working with veterans, working with men, trying to find happiness in their lives. That fills my cup. The acting stuff pays bills, you know? And so I think people kind of see on the social media thing think like, acting would be great. Like, what is that? What’s going to fill your cup? Because I think you need to pursue what fills your cup. And how do you know? You really have to get to know who you are. You got to know yourself and you got to try things, and you’re going to find things you don’t like and say, okay, I tried firefighting, right? Not for me. And so that’s the only way I’ve been able to find it for myself. And I think I’d recommend that for others to really just dig deep and really find who you are. Like, you knew you wanted to be a lawyer, right? Like, did you have any other questions in your life? Maybe, you know, and we all have to kind of go through that ourselves.
John Berry: So let me get to the the hardest question before the after action review, the one thing that you admitted you struggled with in the book. And we we have all struggled with this when we’ve left our families to deploy and coming back and that guilt and making sure that we’re taking care of our families, but also understanding that, you know, we’ve made decisions that have taken us away from our families. And now you have eight kids, uh, and this and this full career, all these things going on. How do you manage it? How do you prioritize and how do you not feel guilty about all the things you’re doing to pursue your career when you have all these? Look, I got I got four kids, so I’m like, and it’s tough. So how do you how do you how do you how do you prioritize and not feel guilty?
Vincent Vargas: You know, um, there’s times where I’m going to miss things. I think our families have been really good about no hard. Dates, so we don’t focus on the hard date of like our anniversary or my birthday. Whenever we can celebrate it, we will, you know? And so that’s been really good for the family because we don’t get emotionally invested into like, oh, we didn’t get to celebrate my day on my birthday because my schedule is a little erratic sometimes, you know, sometimes I’m in LA filming for a birthday. So we’ll celebrate that Saturday and I’ll fly home. In six years of filming Mayans, I flew home every weekend or I drove home. That was me saying, I won’t do what I used to do. I won’t say, hey, I’m going to stay and just hang out with the guys, right? Because I used to make a decision to volunteer for for missions, volunteer for training just to go because I didn’t want to be home. I wasn’t happy, now I’m happy. And so I find everything any way I can to be home. I if I’m done with work away, then I’m flying home immediately, going home to sleep in my bed.
Vincent Vargas: And so I make conscious decisions daily to make sure that I’m home as much as possible. I got to take my son to school today. That was a blessing, you know? And so I genuinely make every decision I can to make sure that I’m going to be home. But I also I don’t feel guilty if I have to work. I am the breadwinner of the household. And so this is part of my life. I just I’ve accepted that as my life. I will miss things, but I’m hoping my family can stay gracious enough to change dates, shift them around a little bit. Uh, but our goal as a family, me and my wife, we both agree. Like, if acting gets too much, well, then I stop acting and I come home and do something different. And we just have to stay in line with that message for ourselves. As long as me and my wife are comfortable with it and we can manage it, and I fly home as much as possible to see the family, we’re good. Uh, if it gets to a point where it’s overwhelming, then we’re done. We find something new.
John Berry: A great advice, and it’s tough to manage. And I love the fact that you don’t get stuck on any days. No, no hard dates. And I remember I had at one point I had to work over Christmas and someone said to me, I don’t know if this is true or not. They said, John, there is no evidence that Jesus Christ was born on December 25th. You can celebrate Christmas before or after. Now, I don’t know. You know, I don’t know where December 25th that that was true. But I thought that was some great advice that, hey, I can have Christmas with my family before or after. I would love to, you know, say every Christmas I’m going to spend it with my family. But, you know, I’ve, uh, having been through a divorce and not always getting my my kids on Christmas Day, you know, it’s it’s tough, but it is. Hey, we can celebrate when we celebrate. And that doesn’t that doesn’t change anything. And it would be great if every holiday, everything just stopped. But it didn’t. We were deployed during holidays. Uh, this is just how it how life is. And that doesn’t mean that that diminishes the value of those holidays or spending that time together. We just don’t have to do it on that date. And I think that, you know, as an entrepreneur, uh, there will be opportunities where you can say, I put the family first, but I have to do this now to get us a bigger, better future as a family. I spend the time now to buy us a bigger future.
Vincent Vargas: Yes. Love it. Yeah, I love that.
John Berry: So here’s after Action review. We haven’t talked much about leadership because your whole life has been a masterclass in leadership and doing what leaders do, which is pursuing, pursuing your future and the future that you want and taking accountability for it. So let’s go. Top three leadership lessons you’ve learned in the military or otherwise. And the three worst examples of leadership.
Vincent Vargas: Uh, top three leadership equals love. Uh, my squad leader who passed away, he never said that out of his mouth, but that’s what I felt. And that’s what I’ve kind of continued to take with me. Leadership equals love. That is so valuable because, uh, they care for me. Not they don’t want me to do things because they just want me to do it. But they want me because they care for the future of my career and the future of the organization. I think that’s very valuable. Um, another thing is, you know, my my leadership used to do everything with me. Do every push up with your soldiers, essentially. Right. There’s times when I understand disciplinary action, but it’s kind of like if you’re in there, uh, digging the foxhole with your dudes, that’s so valuable to see them. It’s like, dad, I always think, raise your kids like you. Raise your soldiers and raise your soldiers like you raise your kids. You won’t be wrong in the sense where, um, me as a leader, I have to lead by example. So if my son is scared of the dark, well, I don’t tell him. Go turn on the light and go. Look, I say no. Follow me. I’ll go turn it on. Come look. Let’s look under your bed. Everything is safe. And so leading by example is is such a valuable thing.
Vincent Vargas: And I think everyone should be doing that. Um, and said lead, lead, uh, leadership equals love. Uh, you know, uh, lead by example. Um. You know, I just find any kind of leadership that genuinely cares about their youth, um, just as much as they care about themselves. It’s like a father as well. I think that to raise your kids or raise your soldiers like a like a father, I think leadership and father being a father is very similar. And if you don’t get the chance of being a father, it’s hard to explain this, but I’m willing to die for my kids. As much as I was willing to die for my soldiers. I want my kids. I want my son to be more successful than I ever have. I have no jealousy. I have no resentment, nothing. I want to teach them everything. I want to give them all the tools. And as leaders, I think, who are afraid to give all the tools, are afraid of someone taking their position. And I think that is not what a dad would do. A dad would say, have everything, son. Here’s all the information, all the tools, anything I’ve ever learned go be successful. And I think that’s one of the best leadership traits you can say. So leadership. Lead with love. Lead by example. Lead like a father.
John Berry: And you do that and you’re very altruistic. You don’t hoard information. You’re the guy that shares the information and gives it out to the world. Hey, if I did it, you can do it. I’m not holding anything back. And that’s one of the things I greatly respect about you. Now, the three examples of bad leadership.
Vincent Vargas: Oh, man, I had some bad leaders in my life. I think that which makes us really respect our good leaders even more. Um, you know, I’ve always hated some of the leaders in my career that were. That would punish you because they wanted to punish you. It was like the the their position was it was in charge of you. So they wanted to make sure that we knew that. And by degrading us by by by abusing us, essentially bullying us. I think a bully of a leader, uh, is a terrible that shows insecurity, right? That’s an insecure person and that’s not someone I want leading me. So I think an insecure leader I had I had an insecure leader, uh, who was just a terrible person. I had a leadership one time that was beating me, that was hitting me and beating me with sticks and thought it was funny. And I found that to be like, if I wasn’t wearing this uniform, I would take you out back. And I, you know, and it was like, but I couldn’t because of my rank. And I didn’t want to lose. I wouldn’t I didn’t want to get kicked out of Ranger Battalion because I worked so hard to get there. And if I told on him I would be a punk, right? And so it was like I was in a position where I couldn’t do nothing, and he would whip me and beat me.
Vincent Vargas: And one day I did say something and I got in trouble for it. But in the end of the day, I was glad I stood up for it. But I always thought about that leader, and if I saw him today, I’d probably still say, hey bro, remember that I got something for you. You know, those are that’s that’s tough leadership. And, you know, I think the leading by example, the someone who doesn’t lead by example, those are hard people to follow. Those are hard people to go to war for someone who you know, doesn’t meet the standard of what you’re supposed to be. Right? Law enforcement officer, uh, who who, you know, who is probably out of shape makes me nervous as like partners that I’ve had and that the leaders like, man, you make me nervous as a leader, I’m gonna have to defend both of us in in the event we get into a firefight. You know what I mean? I’m gonna have to carry you out. So those are the things in leadership that I think if you’re not leading by example, that’s a tough one. You know what I mean? If you’re if you’re an insecure leader. And so you show that by being abusive, that’s another one. So those are probably the ones that would be an insecure and abusive and someone who’s just not meeting the standard. Wow.
John Berry: All great examples. And we all we all know those leaders. We’ve all we’ve all seen them. Sometimes it’s not with a stick. They just they just abuse you with their authority. And it’s you know, it’s unfortunate but that’s I think across, across the spectrum. Uh, this is the great thing about being an entrepreneur, right? You can you got to lead yourself and and you’ve done that extremely well. Well, we’re at the end of our time today, Vincent. Uh, first of all, how can people get your book borderline? What’s the best? Is it through Amazon or where do you prefer they get it from? Yeah, you.
Vincent Vargas: Can get on Amazon. You can get on Barnes and Noble. It doesn’t matter. Yeah. You can pretty much anywhere you buy books, you can find it.
John Berry: And can you give us the name of your new podcast? Or we just got to keep listening to the Vinny Rock podcast to find out.
Vincent Vargas: Yeah, you’ll see it on social media. It’ll be coming out here soon. I think we’re gonna announce it, uh, late January. I’m really excited about that. But, you know, check out the video Rock podcast. Check me out on social media if you guys have any questions, I can answer every message. So, um, you know, thank you for the time, honestly.
John Berry: And finally, for the veterans that want to get involved with some of your nonprofits, how can they get a hold of you?
Vincent Vargas: Yeah, you can hit me on any social media. I think I’m more responsive on my Instagram. Vincent Rocco Vargas um, but you can find me anywhere if you guys want to get involved. You guys want to support you guys want to be a part of it, please just message me, man. We’ll make it happen.
John Berry: Thank you for everything that you do. And as a true leader, you always give back. You gave back to my team, gave us a great speech, and. And you given me a great gift on this podcast. Uh, thank you. And thank you for all you do for our community. You are a true inspiration to the veteran community.
Vincent Vargas: Thank you very much. I appreciate the time, honestly.
John Berry: Thank you for joining us today on Veteran Leader, where we pursue our mission of promoting veteran leadership in business, strengthening the veteran community, and getting veterans all of the benefits that they earn. If you know a leader who should be on the Veteran Lead podcast, report to our online community by searching at Veteran LED on your favorite social channels and posting in the comments, we want to hear how your military challenges prepared you to lead your industry or community, and we will let the world know. And of course, hit subscribe and join me next time on Veteran LED.
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