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Episode 59

Episode 59: Defining Personal Success through Authenticity with Ed Parcaut


In this episode of Veteran Led, former Navy corpsman Ed Parcaut shares how he became a successful entrepreneur in the mortgage lending industry and stresses that Veterans are uniquely suited for building and running organizations due to their resilience, commitment to high standards, and leadership abilities. Ed gives insight on what Veterans should consider in real estate transactions, such as how to maintain a good credit score, the importance of building equity through home ownership, and how VA home loans provide amazing opportunities for veterans to invest in their futures.

John and Ed dive deep into topics, such as authenticity, defining personal success, and adaptability in business as well as critical issues facing Veterans, such as PTSD, difficulty transitioning, and ways in which everyone can give back to those who served.

To learn more about Ed’s company and buy his book, go to:

Check out Ed’s podcasts, Real Estate JerkyHelping the Brave, and Inner Edison Podcast by clicking the links or by searching on your favorite podcast listening platform!


Defining Personal Success through Authenticity with Ed Parcaut

Ed Parcaut: Leadership, I think is the most important thing, is that I’ve learned well what I’ve learned over time, not necessarily from the military, but just over time is, you know, just don’t worry about stuff as much as we think we need to or worry about, you know, if you’re in a corporate environment, you got to worry about what you say. You have to worry about a lot of stuff. And if that’s the environment you’re in, maybe that’s not right for you. Go start a business. Uh, you are great at businesses. Vets are really good at it because of what we know, what we can do.

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.

Ed Parcaut: I was one of those corpsmen with the Marines. Um, there, you know, because I didn’t know when I joined the Navy that the Marine Corps was the Department of the Navy. You know, I had no idea those were connected and all that stuff, because I was a redneck out of Modesto, out of Turlock, California. But I joined it just to see the world. And I got to see San Diego and Texas. That’s about it. So.

John Berry: Why’d you get out? Was this was the plan for just an initial enlistment, or was there a specific reason why you didn’t re-enlist in the Navy?

Ed Parcaut: Well, I joined the Navy, um, to see if. Because I thought I wanted to be a doctor, so I thought I’ll go. And I heard so many horror stories. All these doctors who go through medical school start this stuff, and they just don’t want to finish it. It’s just not what they want to do. So I said, I’ll join the Navy and see if and be a corpsman, see if it’s something I want to do in the medical field. Well, I come to find out with at that time, it was do more with less every year. And I realized that it was not something I wanted to be in was the medical field. Even though I could have been a nurse and my wife’s a nurse at Kaiser, and they make ridiculous money, I could have done all that, but I started, I got my bachelor’s, I started going to school when I was in and got my bachelor’s, and then I finished my master’s like six months after I got out and I realized that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to get into business. I wanted to that kind of stuff in sales I enjoyed. I hated the fact that I was in it, uh, institution that no matter how smart I was, somebody dumber than me can tell me what to do. And that’s that, that that was the only side thing I didn’t like about it. Um, and that’s why and that’s any paramilitary organization, it’s all about rank and your time in not so much how smart you are and that at the time, that’s how it was with us.

John Berry: Yeah. As much as the military places an emphasis on merit, right. It’s not a meritocracy. The reality is that there are individuals who get promoted based on time and grade, and it’s almost because they didn’t rock the boat. They didn’t do enough. They weren’t great leaders, that they were the right leader to move up to, you know, stay in and move up, even though they never really did anything of significance. And that’s, that’s I think that was one of the downsides to the military. We’ve all seen that where the person who was not who, who maybe qualified on paper to be the leader, the leader is not the leader of the organization. And in fact, it’s that junior NCO or someone else who really has the leadership capabilities. But yeah, you’re right. Someone dumber than you. Someone with less experience than you can be the one telling you what to do every single day. Of course, we know that happens in corporate America as well, but it sounds like what you’re saying is that’s why you decided to go into business for yourself.

Ed Parcaut: Yeah, because then I could tell myself what to do because, you know, you, your clients still tell you what to do and you do that stuff. The difference is, I didn’t mesh well. I’ve been in corporate environments. I’m just too. As a veteran, we’re like we talked about originally, we’re very direct. You try not to be, but there’s just nothing you can do about it. You tell it the way it is. You ask questions, you’re like, okay, or is this, like you said with somebody else said, is this the best you can do? And then somebody got upset. I had the same situation where I called on. I was taking over a veterans loan, a VA loan, and the company didn’t transfer the case number. And I and it takes like 10s you go in there, boom, boom, you’re done. It’s transferred over. And it was days and days I finally called and I’m like, what is taking so long? Why is it so hard for you guys just to transfer something that takes a few seconds to do? And next thing I get a call from the manager. Don’t ever speak to my people that way, you know what I mean? I wasn’t speaking any differently than why can’t you get this done in a timely manner? I guess I should have been kinder.

John Berry: Well, and this is why I love to hire veterans and work with veterans, because I have that have had that experience over and over again in the civilian world, working with whether it’s a vendor or a partner and it’s, you know, hey, we have a high standard here. And then their team misses the mark, and we say, look, you have failed. We’re holding you accountable. And there’s something wrong with the culture in their organization because then they say, oh, well, you’re you know, that’s not how we handle these things. The way we want to handle these things is, you know, understand that we’re doing our best. And this is evolving like, no, no, no, no, no, we have a contract. There is a standard by which you are supposed to perform. You fail to perform. It is now my job to hold you accountable, because if I don’t, this is going to continue. And my responsibility is to help my team. And if I tolerate the incompetence from your team, I am doing my team a disservice and I am failing them as a leader. And obviously we had this discussion before the show. You’ve experienced the exact same thing. And I want to I want to understand, though, how you got it, because it seems like in the industry you’re going into, you’re setting yourself up to deal with even more of this incompetence in the in the outside world. So why get into the mortgage industry?

Ed Parcaut: Well, and I, you know, nobody ever goes to school and says, I want to get in the mortgage industry. Um, if you look at the amount of people have a master’s degree in the mortgage industry, it’s probably 1% if that. Um, it just happened. I was doing a lot through a company I was selling this is years and years ago, a product through the military exchange systems. I created a whole division for them. And then it was my first mistake of taking a contract to the wrong company. And that’s when I learned that not everybody works the same way we did and how they support things. And the contract was coming to the end. And I’m like, okay, I need to do something else. And my neighbor owned the actual mortgage company. And so I talked to him and he’s like, why don’t you come work for me and do this kind of stuff? And my background was in marketing, you know, my bachelor’s in marketing, my master’s in international business and marketing. And so I created different things, and we started marketing and we and it took off. And then we had a downturn kind of like not like what we just had. This was a 5% difference. And I won’t get into that right now. That’s I talk about that all day. That was maybe a 1% change for about, you know, eight months. And then it got better again. And I, I really liked helping people understand numbers and how to afford a home. And, and when you help people get into a home, it changes the directory of their family for going forward. Everybody thinks they need to own a home before, you know, after that you the equity, you make the other stuff, you know, it’s an investment in your future. More millionaires were made from owning real estate than anything else. And so that’s why I’m passionate about getting people into homes. And that’s why I even wrote a book on it that came out in last February. And I’m working on the one just for veterans now.

John Berry: And what’s the title of the book that came out in February?

Ed Parcaut: “Financial Freedom: Building Personal Wealth Through Home Ownership.” So I talk and it’s the book is broken down by how I look at people’s how I qualify somebody is how the book was written, which is different than most real estate books. Most real estate books don’t talk about what we do as a loan person. Um, it was just like this other day. I closed the transaction, and the agent gets out there. I want to thank my buyer and my seller for working hard during the holidays to get this done. Didn’t say anything about the guy who actually did all the work. You know, me. And that’s. And that’s what they don’t understand. They don’t understand the process that we have to go through and what we have to do to get the loan done and everything else. It’s not a major issue, but we just you just have to understand the process. And that’s why I wrote the book. So even if you’re working with somebody else, you can read my book and understand everything that’s going to come to you. So you are more you understand this because right now, millennials, there’s 50 million of them coming to the market in the next few years. And they are the worst, right, literate with financial stuff than any other generation in history.

John Berry: Yeah, the financial literacy. My theory is it’s different because when I was growing up and it snowed, you would see kids going house to house with shovels to make some money. I haven’t seen that for decades. Right. And so the financial literacy is different, I think, because we’ve been so successful economically as a country that our kids haven’t had to work. And so a lot of kids don’t work. Man. I had a paper out since I was ten, I shoveled snow, I detasseled corn, I did whatever it took, and I learned financial literacy was a, you know, a boot in the teeth type of learning experience for me, when, you know, when I bounced a check because someone in the paper out bounced a check to me and I couldn’t cover the cost of the papers, you know, I learned that stuff the hard way. And I think you’re absolutely right that, you know, the financial literacy coming up now is, is problematic because, let’s face it, if we hire a professional, we assume that the professional is doing everything right. But I can tell you, doctors screw up, lawyers screw up. Every profession screws up it just because you’ve hired someone who’s a professional doesn’t mean that even if they’re great, they may not know everything and they may not be able to help you in your circumstance.

John Berry: So what I like about the concept of your book is it’s like, hey, let me show you what’s going on, and if there’s an issue here, you’ll be able to understand it. You don’t just have to have someone treat you like you’re dumb if you ask a question. No, just the opposite. You. You are arming them with information. So tell me, when you wrote the book, have you have you seen. I mean, I hate to say this, but we have to be brutally honest, right? When generally when people write a book about that type of thing, they’re looking for an ROI. You know, we write, you’re providing information to the consumer, you establish yourself as an expert in the industry, and then what inevitably happens is people reach out to you. Now, my question is my concern with writing that book would be all the people with screwed up mortgages are now going to come to you, and then you’re just going to get the big messes. And I don’t know, maybe that bothers you, maybe it doesn’t. So tell me a little bit about that.

Ed Parcaut: There’s no perfect loan these days, nor was there one. Uh, but the one thing about the book is. And a friend of mine, his dad, wrote it. He goes, uh, read it. And he’s like, I’ve, I’ve read many real estate books. I’ve never had one that the first chapter is credit. And because right now, credit is the most important thing when you’re going in to get a loan, because most three quarters of the people right now have a high FICO score that’s over 700 or greater. Only a quarter of people have a low FICO score, where if you go back to 2005 as a complete opposite, it was 25%, had a high FICO score, and only three and three quarters had a 640 or below. So we’re in a different world. And back to your literacy part. It’s just not taught in school anymore, right? There’s no Home Ec, here’s no none of those other programs that they used to have that teach this kind of stuff, and they just don’t teach it at all. And so kids don’t understand it. And you’re and the other issue is, is we wanted our kids to have a better life than us and not work during high school so they could study, and then they don’t understand everything else. So yeah.

John Berry: And I got to tell you, I don’t even completely understand the FICO score. And I’d love for you to just kind of walk us through that, because sometimes here’s what I do. I got this credit card, and on this credit card goes a sporting goods store and every, you know, month, they send me a gift card for the credit that I charge. So I want to charge everything on that. I usually charge pretty close to my limit. So that way I get the big gift card that I can go buy guns, ammunition, sporting goods, whatever I want right with that card. So I’m like, yeah, no, I’m putting everything on this credit card. And then when I get close to the limit the next month, I see my credit score and it dips, right? Because I spent too close to the limit, even though I’ve never missed a credit card payment. So, uh, tell us how it works.

Ed Parcaut: All right, So the most important thing on credit is history, how long you’ve had it. And the second thing is how do you use it? They don’t want you to put more than 10% on the card. If you do more than 10%, then you start getting negative on your FICO score. So what you’re doing is, so I tell people every six months, go to them, tell them you want to raise their limit, and then you get to a point where your limits. It’s high enough so you can put everything you want to put on there and not have to worry about, and never get rid of a credit card. The longer you’ve had them, the more credit, but you also still have to use it. Still put a put gas on this one. Put gas on that one next month. You still have to use them. If you don’t utilize them, they don’t get credit anymore from them. I had a friend of mine who, uh, we were doing a transaction for her, and her FICO score dropped 80 points. She didn’t have a late payment. She just canceled one of her credit cards that she’d had forever. And so it dropped her score 80 points, a late payment on a credit card, even if it’s a $15 or $5 payment, will drop you anywhere from 80 to 100 points. Depending on where your FICO score is. So that’s two things that you don’t want to do keep low balances. And if you have to go over, just understand you got to pay it off to, you know, get it down to 50% before you do anything. Because what you’ll see is, like you said, once you maxed it, your FICO score dropped. Once you paid it off the next month, your FICO score went right back up. And as business owners, sometimes we have more debt on our stuff that affects our FICO scores, and as soon as we pay it off, our FICO scores go through the roof.

John Berry: That makes total sense. Now, I heard on one of your other podcasts you brought up something that was really important as well for business owners that you need to be establishing not only your personal credit, but also your business’s credit as well. And that’s something that that you should look out for now in the mortgage industry, does that matter? Does having a separate business credit for your entity, that entity that is your business entity matter or is it does that get I mean, you know what I’m saying. Do you get a better rate if you if no it doesn’t matter.

Ed Parcaut: No. It just you want to have separate so that if something happens over here it doesn’t affect you over here. You want if you want to have a corporation, you want the corporation to have its own credit so that if you know your person paying your bills, mess up on the company card and you don’t want it tied to you personally, and that’s the difference. But a lot of stuff we do is if you’re a business owner, like a lot of veterans own business, 50% of them are, you know, have businesses because we’re good at what we do. You need to be in that business, that you start for at least two years and show an income, and most people go into business, so they don’t have to show an income. If you understand what I mean by that, they, you know, they then marry well, have a nurse for a wife or something else that you can still do everything you want to do. Um, and that’s because a lot of business owners, they bring in a bunch of money, but they write everything off, or they pay for everything through their side, and they keep their number lower, so they don’t have to pay taxes. That’s a that’s a deficit when you go to buy a house, because we can only use what you bring in. As for your income.

John Berry: Wow.

Ed Parcaut: So if your company brings in 200 grand, but you only get 20 grand, we’re going to use the 20 grand.

John Berry: That’s a great message. That’s a great message for veterans. So we’ve talked about chapter one the credit score. And I just want to I think the whole.

Ed Parcaut: Purpose of this was not to sell for my book. My you know, that’s my books. They’re for helping people. And the next version is just a veterans one that only talks about the VA home loan, because that changed two years ago. And a lot of people still don’t know that it changed. There is no cap on it. You can go up to 2.5 million with no money down.

John Berry: Now that was that was my next question. So I was going to say, you know, do you get to the VA loan. But because for a lot of veterans getting off of that pay scale of hey time in service, right and then your, your, your pay grade, and that’s how much money you’re going to make for a lot of veterans starting businesses. It’s like, wow, that that guaranteed money isn’t there. And now it doesn’t really matter how hard you work or how long you’ve been doing it, that’s not what matters. What matters is that the value that you can provide, the customer, the customer is willing to pay for. And then we start talking about the ways to leverage our money, like through mortgages and stuff like that. I mean, to many veterans, it’s completely foreign and they don’t understand the opportunities that are out there. So could you share some of those opportunities that veterans may not be aware of?

Ed Parcaut: All right. Well, if you’re in right. If you’re not out yet, you be you should be buying your house because they if you’re married, you’re going to be able to live in it. And they give you so much money to live off base. And my son, he transferred from, um, Alaska, his first duty station to now he’s in, um, uh, Washington. I can’t think of the name right now. He’ll come to me one day. Uh, anyway, he’s in Washington. He bought his. I told him you got to buy a house when you move into your new place, because they’re going to give you so much. So they’re giving him, like, $2,200 a month and his payments 25, 2700 a month. So it’s really costing them 400 bucks a month to own a home. And he didn’t have to put a dime into it. When you do a VA loan, there’s no money down. The closing costs can get paid from the seller if that’s allowed. There’s so many things you can do to where a veteran doesn’t even you give them an earnest money deposit of, you know, say 1500 to 5 grand. Most of the time you get all that money back because you get the closing costs paid by the seller. So it costs you really nothing to get into this home except for the payment. And you’re building equity, and you can have one at one duty station and you get transferred to the next duty station.

Ed Parcaut: You can buy a second one. Um, it goes off your eligibility. And how much is left on your eligibility? It’s, it’s an amazing program that we have for being in the service. And a lot of sellers are going, why should I do this? You know, they don’t have to put a dime down. I’m like, they signed on the line. That’s their down payment. Right. Their down payment is what they gave this country. You can still put money down if you want to, but you don’t have to. Right. And if you’re a disabled vet 10% or greater, you don’t have the funding fee that the VA charges for this benefit. And so and everybody before they get out should be complaining about everything that ever happened to them while they were in to get on that disability, because you earned it. A lot of people get out going. I’ll leave it for the next guy. No, it’s for you. Get it? You know, make sure a lot of people don’t want to keep track of what happened to them, or I’ll get kicked out if they no go to a different doctor. And a lot of people don’t like that. I say this, but you could go to a different doctor and have it documented instead of them. It doesn’t have to be all military doctors that know about this stuff.

John Berry: Yeah, I think that there’s, you know, for, for a lot of us too, it’s, there’s a lot of reasons not to pursue those, uh, those disabilities, including I don’t want to admit that I have an injury or disability because I still think I’m young, even though I’m not. Uh, right. So there’s that part of it. And then the other part of it is I, I don’t think that I deserve it. I’ve got buddies that I served with that have lost limbs. Right. Uh, this this doesn’t, you know, I don’t deserve this. But then the other thing is, I don’t want to take from somebody else. And, you know, the first time I learned about budgeting, I went from being a line infantry platoon leader to being a support platoon leader. And we had to forecast all of our ammo. Then at the end of the year, we had to talk about, you know, how much excess we had. And the S-3 was telling me like, well, we gotta, you know, you can’t just have a bunch of excess at the end of the year.

John Berry: I said, why not? Like, that’s more ammo for the Army. They said, yes, that’s conserving, he said. But next year our budget will be less. They said, you know, we won’t get as much ammunition, these types of ammunition, if we don’t use it. And in many ways, you know, unfortunately, government funding works that way where if not enough veterans are asking for their benefits, if not enough veterans are pursuing them, then. It’s there’s less available and unfortunately, it’s not. It doesn’t work the way we think it works. Where? Well, you know, if we don’t ask for any, then there’s going to be more for everybody else. But the reality is that’s not how the calculus is done. The way the math is done is it looks at, you know, hey, how much, how much did it cost last year? We’re going to forecast this year. And it’s yeah, there’s no if I get if Ed gets benefits, then if I get benefits Ed won’t. That’s not how the system is set up. And unfortunately, it’s you know most veterans believe that.

Ed Parcaut: Right. And you want to get a documented because it’s not affecting you maybe today much. But as you get older and the more stuff you do, it will affect you. And that’s what a lot of veterans don’t understand is, I mean, I was a corpsman in the Navy. I and I worked in, um, wound care and hydrotherapy and then also dealt with stroke patients and other and physical therapy and picked up patients and everything. My medical record was four inches thick because of all the injuries I got from helping clients. Right. The actual members and that’s why I put in for it. And I complained enough just to get 10%. But you can always go back and get more later. It’s just getting it documented for the future. And as a veteran, you serve this country. If you got hurt while you’re in, you need to make sure that that’s taken care of because it will come back to and affect you later on.

John Berry: Absolutely. And a lot of times it’s the family that’s affected, right? Because it affects not only the household finances, but especially if there’s a mental health issue like PTSD, the veteran doesn’t get treatment. That becomes an issue in and of itself, where, you know, the VA has medical treatment and there are also benefits, and veterans are entitled to both. And it’s always worth exploring to see if you qualify for those things, um, especially in times of financial distress, because the VA was built for you, the veteran. And it’s important that we take care of each other and encourage ourselves, encourage each other to use those resources that we’ve earned the right to use right. The enlistment office was open to everybody. And, you know, some of us chose, some of us didn’t. And from my dad’s generation, they didn’t have a choice. They just said, you’re going, right.

Ed Parcaut: Yeah. And, um, a lot of people are worried that when they get out, if they put in for a disability, they won’t be able to become a cop, a sheriff, you know, if that’s where they’re going. And that’s not true. Um, I do a local radio show called “Real Estate Jerky.” We give you something to chew on. I’ve been doing it for since 2018, and I had the sheriff on there, and I asked him that same question because he he’s army and he’s like, no, I have I put in I have a disability. He goes, it’s not going to affect you. It’s two separate things. And I said, what about PTSD? Because a lot of people won’t get that. He goes as long as it’s been taken care of. You’re fine. So you go get healthy, go get well, then worry about where you’re going to get your job, because you can still get it as long as you’ve dealt with it. But a lot of people don’t deal with PTSD. I’ve been doing “Helping the Brave” podcast, uh, for about three years now, and the biggest thing I see is that most people do not deal with their PTSD until they’ve ruined every relationship in their in their family, you know, in their life, and then they finally go and get resolved. And it needs to be dealt with, and people just don’t want to deal with it, just like you said, because I don’t have a problem.

Ed Parcaut: I don’t want to say that, yes, we all have issues. We don’t go. And a lot of it stems from our childhood. I know this is a different podcast, but a lot of that I found is stems are in childhood because people don’t run towards danger that are normal. Right? There has to be some stuff there. And if everybody was perfect so that you have some issues when you’re a kid, you go in, they get greater and get exacerbated. You need to deal with that stuff as you get out. Uh, I had a gentleman who, um, was a marine for ten years on my show, and then he was incarcerated for 23 years because of a stupid thing he did. But he created a program to help vets never get incarcerated again. And that program is doing amazing. And it’s all it’s going through the whole country. It teaches. And one of the biggest issues is he says, going in the going to prison is like killing yourself. And that’s a lot of them. They don’t deal with their PTSD, and they do some stupid stuff, and then they go to prison and they never deal with it. Well. He helped them deal with it and they never return. They haven’t had one vet return through his program to the penal system.

John Berry: Yeah. And I’ve worked with clients who have gone through some of the veterans courts. And it’s really sad because if they don’t get treat the PTSD early on, early enough, then it’s going to manifest, manifest itself in either problems with violence, problems with drugs and alcohol, um, other law violations. It just it eventually catches up with you and it’s one of those things that if you if you wait for it, it. If you wait to hit rock bottom, it may be too late. And I’ve represented veterans who have been federally indicted on drug charges. Right. And it’s they were so far out of their minds, you know, and it was just, you know, it was just it was just horrific. And these are great, great people who just didn’t get it under control. And, you know, it’s like when I look through the history of what happened, it’s if I could have just stopped that person at this one point and said, hey, this is where you need treatment, right? But instead it took, you know, it took them doing this for years, ruining relationships. And then they just get deeper and deeper and deeper. The next thing they know, they’re involved. They’re addicted to drugs, involved in illegal conduct. And as you said, once you go to prison. Right? I mean, it’s it is like making that decision of I don’t want to say it’s death because I’ve seen some people go through the system and get out and be successful, but it really is once you start going down that, that road, it may not seem like death to you, but to your loved ones, you’re gone. You’re gone. And it’s a tragedy trying to help some of those families put the pieces together.

Ed Parcaut: And those aren’t my words. That was his words. And he does a he did a Ted talk. I I’ll come to his name in a second. Uh, and he was saying that the biggest problem is there’s no there’s a boot camp in, but there’s no boot camp out, and there needs to be a boot camp out because the transition stuff that they do is not helping anybody. Um, the only people that have a really good transition out is usually officers. Um, not, but not junior enlisted and people who’ve been in for a few years. But, um, he was saying that you take a Bradley, and you bring it back and you paint it yellow and you tell it’s a school bus when it’s out driving on the streets and it’s ripping it up, it doesn’t know it’s a school bus. It still thinks it’s a tool of war because that’s what it was taught to be. And until you change that person who they are and help them get through that, that’s exactly what’s going to happen there. A Bradley and that’s what they’re there were a tool and you have to help them get back to being just a normal person. And that’s what we don’t do.

John Berry: Yeah. And the civil disabilities that come along with a felony conviction and it prevents a I mean, as you know, in the mortgage industry, could you be doing what you’re doing with the felony conviction?

Ed Parcaut: No, I couldn’t get, uh, well, actually, I knew a guy who had a drug charge, right. That’s a felony. And he got he was able to get his real estate license. I don’t know how they did it, but he went through the whole process, and. But if I have a my license right now and I got, I’d lose it right away.

John Berry: So. Yeah. And just. Yeah. For clarification. Yeah. Not all drug charges are felonies. And sometimes if it’s charged as a felony, it can be reduced to a misdemeanor. And sometimes that’s how lawyers work through cases to ensure that their clients have a life after, uh, the conviction. But yeah, great. Great points. And so yeah, the key is you get out of the military, you have these gifts, these leadership gifts, these knowledge gifts that that they were given to you, not because you didn’t earn them, but they were given to you by other leaders. Right. There’s a lot that you earned in the military on your own. No doubt. There’s a lot of individual perseverance necessary to continue to serve. But the real gifts in the military come from those leaders who take an interest in us. And I want to ask you about some of those gifts, some of those leadership lessons that you learned in the military that have helped you in your business and in your purpose today after the military.

Ed Parcaut: Well, see, the when I was in so I was a corpsman, so there wasn’t much leadership that we got on there. But what’s helped me drastically is what I said in the beginning, which is attention to details, being able to put together, you know, SOPs, operating procedures, um, that those kind of things I can and just who I am. I was tested the other day and there are there are some people in the world who can come up with an idea. Right. And then there are some people who can sell that idea, and there’s only 15% of population who can do both, and I can do both. So I’m just unique with that. So I’m in the perfect industry for what I do because I run into issues, and I figure out a way around it. Then I have to sell people on how to get around it. So leadership, I think, is the most important thing, is that I’ve learned well what I’ve learned over time. Not necessarily from the military, but just over time is, you know, just don’t worry about stuff as much as we think we need to or worry about, you know, if you’re in a corporate environment, you got to worry about what you say.

Ed Parcaut: You have to worry about a lot of stuff. And if that’s the environment you’re in, maybe that’s not right for you. Go start a business. Uh, you are great at businesses. Vets are really good at it because of what we know, what we can do. We’re put in a position, and we thrive right where most people are. If they’re put in that position today, they cry. And that’s the difference in who we are. Um, and I just I don’t have the perfect thing to say, the leadership, because I was not in that role with what I was in, but going just figure out what you want to do and just focus on it. But you need to use the military to get you where you are. And that’s what I did. I got my bachelor’s and master’s. I’m not saying everybody needs a master’s or a bachelor’s, but it did help me in business. And that’s what helped me in business is having that education.

John Berry: And to be fair, you took advantage of that early on. I mean, you were an enlisted soldier who got your bachelor’s degree while enlisted and then started your master’s while enlisted. And then I take it you use the GI Bill to finish up within six months?

Ed Parcaut: Well, you said I was in the old war. The Cold War. Our GI Bill was horrible. It was 2500 bucks, uh, a year max. So that’s why. But when you’re in, they would reimburse you for your courses. So that’s why I did it the way I did. Um, it’s not like it is now. Then after 9/11, which is the amazing that you can also pass on to your wife and kids and stuff like that. We didn’t have that. It was a totally different time. And that’s the difference from when I got out. Nobody wanted to know that you were a vet or cared that you were a vet were after 9/11 it’s a totally different world. It’s back to where we care again. You know, I’m not saying it was Vietnam because it definitely wasn’t Vietnam. And one of the things I do is I go, my wife will see. I’ll go across the whole stadium to get to somebody. I see that’s a vet, especially a Vietnam era, and tell them thank you for their service, because that’s not what they were told. When they came back. They were told other things. And that’s one of the reasons I do my radio, uh, radio show. But my podcast, “Helping the Brave”, I want people to tell their stories and so people understand what you can do and how to get around certain things, you know, and this world is we’re in a different world. People love veterans. And that’s how it should be. And you should be getting out there. And I think we shouldn’t have Veterans Day. We should have a Veterans Month. We should. You know, I tell people, thank you for telling me today. You know, thank you for your service. But you should be telling a veteran every day of the year, not just one day of the year.

John Berry: Well, and I think that’s one of the opportunities that we get is that we as business owners get to do that. As I say, you know, at Barry Law, every day is Veterans Day. We serve veterans, we employ veterans. We’re going to celebrate your service. And more importantly, we’re going to treat you like a veteran. We’re not going to coddle you. We’re going to challenge you. We know you can handle adversity. We know you have leadership skills. We know you know how to hold the team to your team, to the standard. We know how to be a standard bearer. We want that every single day. Because for me, you know, I love getting up in the morning at 0500 and get back and drive driving. I remember through the gates of Fort Hood, right? And it was like, okay, I got to get there. I want to be on time, be pumped up to be with my, uh, my non-commissioned officers, be with my platoon. I was so excited. Right. I that’s the feeling I just I want to give back. Because when you lose that feeling, right, and you and you show up every day at a job that might not matter to you, right? Where there’s no real purpose, it just it it’s so crushing, right? Once you’ve been there, once you know what it’s like to be on a championship team, there’s nothing better.

John Berry: And you’re chasing that dragon. You want to get back to it and get back to it. And sometimes it’s just doing it. Like you said, having your purpose, doing it on your terms so you can have your own version of excellence in your life as opposed to, like you said, working for somebody that’s dumber than you, that is, you know, kind of holding you back, holding you, holding you down. And I think that that’s the great thing about, uh, the opportunity, the great opportunities that veterans have. Look, you can build your own organization, or you can go out on your own with a purpose. And. And just do what you want to do. But. Well, I think when it comes to at the end of the day is it’s helping people that we want to help and that’s what got us where we were. Those are the gifts we got in the military. So many people that, you know, that that volunteered to serve in the military, uh, have volunteered their entire lives to help us. And you’ve certainly seen that, and I, I but I don’t want to make it about this, that we’re great, generous, giving people because we are resilient. And I love in your in your website, you talk about the Thomas Edison moment. So what was yours?

Ed Parcaut: Uh, man, I’ve had multiple of them. Uh, 2006. Uh, that was a great Edison. So I came up with a pod. I wanted to do something completely outside of the industry of what I do. And that’s when I came up with the. Actually, my wife came up with the name. I was doing many different names, and she’s like, why don’t you do you know, uh, Inner Edison? Because that’s your greatest accomplishment come from your greatest defeats. One of mine was in 2006, I my company got destroyed because of the industry. And again, a lot of the stuff that happens in the mortgage industry isn’t because we as business owners do something wrong. It’s because the economy did something wrong. Or recently, I’m gonna get political here for a second. Uh, like you have a new administration comes in. They stop everything that the last administration does gets rid of pipelines, everything else. And the moment I saw that, I said, okay, we’re going to have inflation like nobody’s ever seen before. And most people didn’t understand inflation because it was 42 years ago. And you had to be 50 to 55 to understand, you know, or older to understand what inflation was. And they affected our industry by get rates went up 5%. Talk about dropping transactions and putting people out of business.

Ed Parcaut: And a lot of mortgage companies closed up just like what happened in 2006. But and I didn’t talk about that ever, because I was I thought I failed. It wasn’t so much that I failed. It was the fact that things happen. And then what I did is I totally changed kind of what I did. A lot of people were doing short sales at the time, so I created I negotiated short sales for all the agents in town, and then I ended up creating a real estate company out of it because nobody wanted to do short sales. So I just created all the different ones. And so we come to a point where it’s challenging. And how did you get around it? That’s really what Edison moments are learning from your failures. And then, you know, becoming stronger because of it. And that’s both mine was there and currently now because in the last since October of 22, our industry has dropped. We lost 100,000 loan officers, 70 some thousand real estate agents. Just because there’s no transactions going on, 35% of the there’s only 35% of existing home sales right now, which is the lowest it’s ever been. And so you have to learn from that.

John Berry: So. And yet and yet you have. You’ve survived. And, you know, there’s a saying we used in the Army used to say, you know, Mighty Alpha Company, where only the strong survive and the weak are killed and eaten. And I think that’s really true in business that when we hit a recession or we hit a downturn, which may not be the fault of the individual business owner, right? The business owner who says I’m a victim of this is done right? It’s the business owner who says, okay, I may have to pivot, I may have to do something differently, but I’m going to survive is the one that thrives. And Warren Buffett, a former member of the Nebraska National Guard, is famous for saying “When people are greedy, that’s the time to be scared. And when people are scared, that’s the time to be greedy.” And so it goes back to like the Stoics, right? Every challenge has an opportunity inside of it. And I think that, you know, when these things happen in our in our industry, because it happened in every industry, you can either fold or you can pivot. And it’s up to you. And most veterans know how to pivot. We’ve been we’ve dealt with a lot of adversity over our careers, but we’ve just been trained that way. Hey, change of mission. Sorry we’re not doing that. We’re doing this. And you said, Roger, you know Charlie Mike continue mission.

Ed Parcaut: Can add one more thing there? Add one more thing. So I was I was pissed for about 4 or 5 months because of what happened. Because, I mean, you’re building a company, you have a book that comes out in February, everything’s going great. And then all of a sudden, boom, no one, you know, and I was listening. I was going flipping through social media and, uh, a friend of mine, Steve Sims, he was talking about one of his friends who he was handicapped. He was in a wheelchair. You would think, you know, poor guy. And he’s like, when things happen to me, I say, did this happen to me or did this happen for me? And I heard that I was like, hmm, did this whole thing happen for me or to me? And so it changed my look on it. If you think about that, when anything major happens to you, you need to look at it that way. Did it happen to you or did it happen for you? And I looked at it. It helped me. I had to retool everything I had. I got re-involved with things that I didn’t get involved with before, to see the systems and going, okay, this is we don’t need this staff that we used to have that we used to have because of the new systems that are in place, the new, you know, just the technology has changed our industry so much.

Ed Parcaut: You don’t need the amount of people you used to have. I remember back in like ‘98 when we had, uh, we do all these different, you know, loans a month and we it would take 90 days, you’d have a pipe. Now you have a pipe for like 21 days or ten days, if even that. And that’s amount of loans that you have volume going through. It’s a totally different world. And so when you run into that, just think that’s going to help you. What do you need to do? And I’ve redone everything. I even took back all my podcast stuff that I had somebody else doing, and I started editing and doing some video stuff. And there’s software, AI software that makes it so easy now to that, I’m finally handing it off this month to my VA. But the way I want it done now versus them telling me how to do it, are you following that? It’s so it’s just really get back into your business and then hand that off once you get it the way you want it. And then and then you should be doing this every year. But we get so, oh, this is grand and great. We don’t need to touch it. If it ain’t broke. Don’t you know, don’t fix it. But you have to break it and then fix it.

John Berry: So the lesson is, once the pipeline starts to slow down, that’s not the opportunity to go to Hawaii and take a break and say, hey, we’re going to let this blow over. That’s the opportunity to really dig into your business and say, okay, um, there’s some, some things that I’ve been outsourcing. Let me, let me really dig into these and build them the way I want them, because it is look, most businesses that we’re dealing with, right? Their dream is to build something scalable so that when you purchase their service, whether it’s a podcast service or something else, they’re going to plug you in, and you know they’re going. It’s easy for them to continue to mass produce. I mean, this is, you know, Henry Ford, this is the assembly line. You’re they’re going to make your podcast or your art the way that they want your art to be. And so, like you said, you just let them do it because you don’t have time to mess around with, you know, doing it the way you want to do it. You say, hey, good is good enough. My expertise is not in running podcasts. My expertise is in dealing with, uh, helping people, uh, make decisions about mortgages and then obviously helping the veteran community, which you spent a lot of time doing, doing your radio, your podcast shows worry about content. But then when there’s a chance to breathe, you go back into the business, learn the skill and make it better, make it yours your own.

Ed Parcaut: Right, because everything’s changed now. Um, back in the 90s, we did, uh, direct mail in 2000. Same thing. The difference today is all social media and everything we do is a form of direct mail. It’s just it’s electronic. And people forget that this is marketing is the same. It’s just how do you put it out there? You still need to have the hook. You need to still to have everything’s the same. Nobody’s recreated new stuff. It’s just how do we get it to people is different. It’s different avenues. It’s no longer on the bus, you know, bus stops maybe, or on the sides of the bus. It’s on a little thing on your screen. When you type into something, all of a sudden it pops up on every screen you go through. You have they’re talking about, hey, you want a loan, you want a loan. You, you know, everything you’re looking at. It’s that’s you just have to go through your stuff and understand how to do it better. And there’s no other time than now that we can actually start businesses or do stuff that’s totally different. I know so many people who don’t even have computers. They do a whole business on their phone. I can’t do it because it’s too small for me. But you know, most some people can and they’re making a lot of money.

Ed Parcaut: And, you know, the whole purpose in life is what is your purpose, right? I mean, because people are you successful? Well, that definition is what it is to you. My definition of successful in 2005 and 2006 was I was making enough money so I could, you know, take care of my daughter with special needs before I got remarried. And that was that was what was important to me. And then later on, what is that definition? You can’t go off of other people’s definition of what success is. You have to come up with your own and stop worrying about the social media posts of people saying, I’m doing so amazing because you actually, when you dig into it, they’re not the complete opposite is what they’re showing. So I mean, it’s just but there’s so much you can do these days that the opportunity is there that I didn’t have in the 90s, I didn’t have in the early 2000s. I don’t know if you did either, but now, I mean, it’s like so much you can do. I can talk to somebody in Brazil at 6:00 in the morning. I’m like this, like you’re in where you are. I’m in California, and it’s like we’re sitting right next to each other in the same studio.

John Berry: Yeah. I mean, the technological advances have provided so many opportunities. I mean, if you think about it. Yeah. You’re right. You have a factory in your hand, the cell phone. You know, you can use that. It’s almost like you have your own little factory that can produce the content, produce everything you need to run your business with a phone. And that opportunity is there. But the thing that now everybody has that. So. But the thing that you get to do, the thing that you’ve done with your business, is you’ve really dug into being who you are. And that’s the art of all of this that differentiates you from everybody else. Because it would say, well, why go with Ed as opposed to, you know, somebody else in the mortgage industry? And it’s pretty clear. Well, Ed is a veteran who operates with integrity, who is giving back to his community, helping other veterans, who wants other veterans businesses to succeed, and wants other veterans to be successful in their lives on their own terms, under their own definitions. And so I’m more likely to trust Ed than some guy down the street who never served their country and makes a bunch of Tik Tok videos and dances around like an idiot.

Ed Parcaut: Yeah, well, I know that guy. He’s in my town.

John Berry: We all know that guy, and he’s in every industry.

Ed Parcaut: The. But back and when you’re in business. Right. How do you become the authority in your industry? That’s what you need to look at. How do people, um, the mortgage industry people think it’s a commodity, right? It can be, but we’re trying to keep it not well, how do you pick one person over another? And it’s the knowledge base. How do you know they’re knowledgeable? Well, do they do video? Right. Well, I, I’ve been running a radio show since 2018, and once I started the radio show, everybody says, this guy must know what he’s talking about because he’s on radio. And little do you know; you pay to be on radio unless you work for the station and get paid nothing. You actually, you have to pay to be on there and create your own show. Kind of like podcasts. You pay to have it produced; you have other people do it. And then so that when people knew I was on radio, that raised my authority level a little bit. Right. And then they say, write a book that’s that raises your authority a little bit more. If it’s especially if it’s in the industry you’re in. I got lucky, I fell into a documentary two years ago on, uh, it was called “Hacking Real Estate.”

Ed Parcaut: It was a different name in the beginning, but hacking became so popular, they changed it to hacking real estate. And I talked about how. So they interviewed all these people who made money in the in the real estate industry. How did they make it? How did they do it, that kind of stuff. And I was the only mortgage person in this, and I got a lot of business from it. When it came out, it was not on Netflix. It was a special thing. It was done for a company in LA called The Avengers, which is Dan Fleischmann’s company. Um, Dan Fleyshman was the guy who, at 19, was the first person to go, you know, the youngest person to go public with this company. And so he got into where he wanted to get into real estate. So he created a company called The Avengers in, in LA. And then he’s like, I want to do a documentary to find out how people make their money. And so they hired Jeff Hays Films out of Utah, and they did it. And I just got lucky as I ran into him at Traffic and Conversion, and I’m in it. So if you look at I have a book, I’m in a documentary, I run a radio show.

Ed Parcaut: Some people would think I’m an authority in the industry, but you got to be careful. Some people won’t talk to you, some people won’t come through you because they think you’re too big for them now. And I saw that the other day on somebody was posting on social media. She’s Instagram and she’s like, I’ve lost a lot of deals from people because they think I don’t want to handle the small stuff. I’m here on social media so you can find me and know that I do what I’m doing. I want to handle every transaction for you. It’s I’m not looking for the big. I’m looking for everything. I’m here for you. And that’s basically what you have to keep telling people. Because I’ve had people call the company because of the radio show. I call them back and they go, I didn’t think you were going to call me. Well, I tell you on the radio, I’m going to call you. And so just be careful how high of authority you become also. You follow what I mean by that. It can really it’s good. But then if you go too big, then the people don’t think they’ll deal with them.

John Berry: And I’ve heard that in almost in almost every industry where someone, you know, becomes an authority figure in that industry, and their concern is that the phone will stop ringing because everyone will think that their problem is too small for you to solve. But I would say as a veteran, that’s where we have the advantage. We know what leadership structure looks like. And so the key to our success, if we want to help as many people as possible, scaling through leadership is the answer. And like I said, some people, uh, look, you know, keep it small, keep it all. I get it, you know, have complete creative control, control everything. Some people want to do that. Uh, there are other people like me that say, I’ve got a mission and I want to spread this mission throughout, throughout the world. I want to help veterans. I want to uplift our communities with the support of our veterans. So how can I help more veterans? How can I help more people? And so I can’t do it alone, right? I have to have other lawyers on my team who are better than me, you know, handling some of those problems. And it’s like, hey, yeah, I can’t do it all on my own. And I’m not, you know, I’m good at some things and I’m not good at other things. And so I need a team that can support me. And we all have strengths, and we all have weaknesses. And I think that’s a decision I think for a lot of veterans that that want to go into business is early on you really have to make that decision. Do you want to have absolute control? And it’s your show and you control everything, or do you want to have a team understanding that you will relinquish control? Uh, but you’ll never relinquish responsibility. Just like delegation, you can delegate the authority to do something, but you’re always responsible for it. And so I’m curious with you, uh, how did you think through that process and discovering what you wanted out of your business?

Ed Parcaut: Well, I learned from doing the stuff I’ve done recently, you know, in the last few years that the best thing I do is talk to people, right? That’s what I’m good at. Um, doing paperwork is not what I’m good at. I can do it amazing. I run the processing departments and nothing over my past. But that’s not what I’m the best at. That’s not where I thrive. That’s not what I enjoy. I enjoy talking to people and figuring out what their why is and what they’re going to do going forward, especially getting a home loan, figuring that out for them and then having other people do the paperwork. But back to one thing. You do need to find other people who do things better than you like I checkbooks. You know that kind of forget it. That’s not for me. Even though I understand numbers, I hate that, I hate doing accounting. I hate all that kind of stuff. Um, marketing. Love it. Anything to do with video content? Love it. I could talk all day long. Do so many videos. It’s amazing. But you just have to find what you’re good at and then have other people take care of it. But you also got to set up standards of how you want it done. And that’s why I said when I brought it all back and I was telling people, they’re like, how are you doing all this stuff? I’m like, I’m doing it to figure out what is the best way to do it, and then I’m going to hand it off to somebody else, and I watch all the other people’s stuff.

Ed Parcaut: I research more stuff, I go deeper, but you still get it, and then you hand it off, right. And then because when I when 2020 through 2022, I had a assembly line in my company for the refinances that we were doing because we were doing so many refinances, that person did this. It was just like Henry Ford, like you said, everything went down, and people were like, why are you doing it that way? Because that’s how it should be done. Once you do your part, you pass it on to the next one so you can connect and keep going down. Not have one person handling 30 deals or one person handling it. It’s all the way through. You handle all the way through and at the end, because sometimes the month, the beginning is really busy and sometimes the month they end, you know, really busy. And so you got to switch around and help everybody out. And you just have to figure that stuff out, what your company is. And you’re right, you can’t do it all. You got to figure out what you’re good at and get rid of everything else.

John Berry: So, Ed, what’s the size of your team right now?

Ed Parcaut: My team is a little bit smaller. I’m using more contract people now. Um, California has gotten some really stupid employment laws lately. Um, that is really. They. Only the employees has more rights than the employer to a point where it’s like. And you can’t have contract in California at all, and people in California can’t work contract. And in our industry, we went that way. Um, because our as a loan officer, if you’re just a loan officer and you’re bringing stuff in, you don’t really need a full processor anymore to handle stuff. You need the loan officer assistant. Well, you can’t contract that out. You need that person in the house. Well, then they get paid so much. You have to have benefits. They get, you know, depending on how much your company is, you have to offer 401 and IRAs and everything else. It’s just it’s changed drastically in California. So a lot of us have cut back and we use contract people throughout the country. And some of the wholesale lenders I deal with I because I do a lot of so my I don’t know if you can have multiple niches, but mine is veterans, reverse mortgages and business owners. Those are the three that I focus on and I really like. If you’re a business owner and a veteran, those are even better. But so with a lot of the companies I deal wholesale, they have internal people that will handle the stuff that I want. So I put it together and I ship it up, but I still need one person to handle everything. So right now my so my teams like I said, we I only have two people. But when I had 4 to 6 the last time around in 2020 just for my stuff, I’m not talking the overall company just for my stuff. I needed four people to handle the volume I was doing, which is 30 to 40 transactions a month. Now I can get done. I can do that with two people or one and a half.

John Berry: It’s embracing that technology understanding. Like you said, you set the SOPs. You know what needs to be done. It’s your responsibility to get everything done to standard. And so it’s pretty easy, right? Once you figure out the SOPs and you say, okay, I need, I don’t need, you know, ten people to do this, I need two. And here’s everything that they’re going to do. And I think that, you know, sometimes, uh, we get in the mindset of, oh, we’ll just throw a body at that problem. But sometimes as the leader, you got to solve the problem first and then figure out what tasks need to be done. I mean, it’s no different than, you know, being a commander and saying, okay, the first platoon will do this, second platoon will do this, third platoon will do this. It’s it’s a matter of understanding your resources and maximizing those resources. And look, uh, you were in the Cold War military. You understand budget constraints. You knew them long before you went into to the private sector. When you think about growth opportunities, do you do you want to grow? Do you want to continue to take on, uh, more clients to where you are and that, you know, 2020 to 2022, or do you want to keep it at the size it is now, or is that not even within the parameters, or do you define your goals differently other than the numbers of clients or mortgages that you’re handling?

Ed Parcaut: So I used to be in San Diego, and I was down there in the mortgage industry till 20, uh, I’m sorry, 2002. So pretty much everybody I dealt with was, uh, veteran. Right. That was just because there’s such a population there. I moved up to Northern California, Modesto, and there isn’t that same, I mean, population of veterans. There’s a few of them. But one of the things I always wanted to do was to grow a company that only focused on veterans. And so that’s one of the things that I’ve taken out of the recently doing my podcast, Helping the Brave. And one of the things I haven’t talked about yet, I’ll come back to, which is our firewalk we’re putting together for veterans, um, is helping them. And so I’ve created a new company that I’m working on to get going so that I can scale that, and they’ll be pretty much around all bases and throughout the country. And it was called Lone Squad, which is basically a military thing, you know, squad and all that. And, and we’re going to focus on that and everybody’s going to be dressed in certain pants, certain shirts, certain, you know, have a, you know, polo shirt, black polo shirt and I want to say khaki pants, but basically, you know, just like you’re a military organization, wear boots, it’s basically what it’s going to be so that you can it’s everybody will have this. It’s almost like Geek Squad when you go into, um, uh, Best Buy, right? Everybody’s going to look the same. Everybody’s going to have the stuff, and you’re just going to be taking care of veterans throughout the country. And that’s my plan going forward.

John Berry: That’s awesome. And I would say I had Jerry Flanagan, the founder of JDog, on here, and he’s done that with the trash removal where it’s like, hey, you know, people don’t want strangers in their homes. They want veterans that they can trust in their homes. In fact, neighborhoods are safer when JDog’s trucks are outside with the camouflage, you know, with the with the dog. But these guys are showing up on time, clean cut. And it’s just a different feeling for the consumer. But, uh, you know, a feeling of trust and security. And it sounds like you’re building the same thing where you say, hey, we’re going to have uniforms, we’re going to get out there and we’re going to we’re going to live the life, like I say, getting back to where we were happiest, being part of a championship team, which is the United States military.

Ed Parcaut: The best time I have is helping somebody that I talk to. That’s like, what service are you in? What were you doing? You know, we have a you have a bond with these people right there. Uh, for the longest time when I got out, I just couldn’t use that word brothers and sisters, you know, it just wasn’t when I got out was a different time, and I felt like we ran away from it. I’ve come back to it in the last 10, 15 years, and especially since my son’s been in. And it’s important that we support our veterans because they give us the rights that we have today. And people don’t understand that. For I don’t care what you say, I might not agree with what you say, but the fact that you can say what I don’t agree with is why we had because of a veteran, and that’s we have to remember that.

John Berry: Absolutely. So tell me about the Firewalk.

Ed Parcaut: All right. So I was through my Inner Edison podcast. I ran into Dave Albin and he you should reach out to him on, uh, pod match. Um, he would be good. And he does a thing called Do No Harm, which he’s pushing. And we were talking and he had worked for, um, so he. Alcoholic became sober. One of his friends that was help supporting him said, hey, we’re doing Tony Robbins next month. He went to Tony Robbins. They had a fire walk. He didn’t want to do it. The guy’s like, just get in line and, you know, walk, you know, just so you can see it. And so he got up there. He did the fire walk. And then long story short, he did the handling the fire walk for Tony Robbins for 15 years after that. He has his own company now and he’s done it for Google. He’s done it for NASA. He’s done it for everybody. So one of the things he wanted to do, and we talked about it, was he wanted to do fire walks for veterans to help us get through our issues. And I said, I’m in. Let me know what you need to do. And the first one, they were trying to get one done on the East Coast.

Ed Parcaut: And the biggest problem you have is you have to do a little bonfire. And a lot of places don’t like open flames in their area. And that’s what one of the things we’re running into. But we’re so ours is April 13th. And right now we have enough funds for 100 veterans. We’ll get more funds for more veterans once we get more veterans to come. But basically, you’re going to come through, you’re going to be able you’ll be talked to, you’ll go through stuff and you’ll be able to walk across fire and hopefully that you overcome your issues. And the reason I say that is how he got me was he’s like, hey, I don’t care if you like Oprah or not. Google Oprah fire walk. She changed her whole life and company afterwards. And you know, and that’s why she’s worth what she’s worth. And being able to buy a thousand acres over in Maui, you know, the way that so just it just changes everything about you. From what I understand, I’ve never done it. This will be my first time. And it’s like I said, April 13th in Modesto, California. And if you want to be part of it, reach out.

John Berry: Okay. And and fair warning, I may I may cut this part out because I actually did an episode on this where you know what we’ve done live fire exercises. We don’t need fire walks. So I know that dude, I went to a I was part of another organization and we actually did the fire walk. And, you know, everybody was getting all like, you know, all these, uh, the other individuals, they were getting all hyped up, you know, and it’s I’m like, okay, like

Ed Parcaut: Everybody’s different.

John Berry: I was like, I’ve, you know, deployed. We’ve done, you know, we’ve been involved in exercises where live ammo rounds are firing down the range. I was like, you know what? And then I think the dude had us like break boards with our hands and do some other, you know, parlor tricks. And I’m just like, you know, for me, it was, um, I’m like, wait a minute. Like veterans, like you guys like. We already know that we’ve been through worse. Right. And so once again, I’m not I’m not. Yeah. But yeah, but yeah.

Ed Parcaut: And I guess and again it depends on how you look at it. Right. So here’s how I look at it. Yes. But how do we get over that. Right. We’re not worrying about getting shot at. We’re not worrying about stuff. We’re dealing with stuff that’s inside. And this is a way to walk and deal with it. And I understand the whole the board thing was a little different for me. But you’re supposed to write on there what you’re trying to get rid of, and you break the board and then you go through. It’s helped a lot of people, okay. And it’s not for everybody. Right. And that’s and that’s okay. But it’s for some people to get them focused on where they want to go and what’s different. And again, I mean, not everybody goes to Anthony Robbins and can go with him. I can’t I like the old Waking the Giant within, not the current one who says, okay, open up. Okay. Your heart is breathing through your heart. You can’t breathe into your heart. You go through your lungs and all that. You know, I’m thinking there as a medical person going, this is stupid.

Ed Parcaut: It’s not how kind of what you just did with the fire walk where everybody else is like, oh, this is so amazing. I’m going, this is not how it works. Right? And that and again, so it doesn’t work for everybody. And that’s okay. And I’m not saying it’s going to be for everyone, but there’s those people who need this. There’s those people who, um, friends of mine who they, you know, they talk to them and I’m like, they’re freaking weak. Who the. You know, I can’t stand that. But they’re there for those people who need that. And everybody is different. And we, we it’s not a and it’s the whole thing about not everybody wants the same stuff. When you talk to people, you will connect with a few people. You’re not going to connect with everybody. And again, this is not going to help everybody. I can only do 100 and or 300 or whatever the number is, but it does help a lot of people. It might not help you because you were an officer too. It’s a totally different world now. Please don’t take that wrong. I’m not saying, but I’m just saying.

John Berry: Yeah, no. And that’s and that’s fair. And like I said, I won’t piss all over your fire walk.

Ed Parcaut: You can do it. It’s all right. Piss all over. I don’t care, but I’m just saying it just it’s gonna. I’ve told some people like, oh, I’m in. And some people are like, yeah, I don’t think that’s a big deal because, you know, but you gotta we’re in a different world these days, too, because we’re no longer an army of every, you know, of one. We’re an army of multiple individual people, unfortunately.

John Berry: Yeah. Yeah. No. And you’re absolutely right. I think that, you know, how we look at. Yeah. How we individually look at those challenges and what they mean. I don’t mean the same to everybody. And you’re right, because, uh, when I went through the fire walk, the same type of, uh, individuals who I would say is that the best you can do. We’re offended by that. And I’m like, well, then, yeah, these guys definitely need a fire walk, you know? Right. Probably, probably, you know, more than a fire walk. They probably, you know, they probably need to, uh. Well, they’re going to it’s going to take a lot more to ever make them into anything resilient, make them qualified to lead a company and more importantly, to take care of their employees. But if they if they’re offended by is this the best you can do? Or when I have a stern conversation with them, this is not meeting the standard and they get offended. Um, you know, they yeah, you’re right. Maybe for them that that for me, I was looking like that, that these people absolutely need this opportunity because they haven’t been exposed to what veterans have been exposed to. They need to understand. But I think you I think you’re right that for some veterans, it’s not it’s not about the medium necessarily, like you said, like breathe in through your heart. It’s about it’s about really giving them an experience that they can, um, you know, they a therapeutic experience or an experience that helps them move forward in some way, make some type of progress. Um, I think that I think that that’s, that’s, that’s noble to try to give them that, that step forward.

Ed Parcaut: And I, and I totally get from where you’re coming from first your attorney. Right. I mean, come on, you don’t trust anybody. Um, we’re, you know, we’re military. It’s not that big of a deal. But you gotta remember our forces. How many people never go to actually been shot at? Right? I mean, how many? You’re in the Army? You. You probably were there. Not everybody has been there. You know, if you look at how many people we lost in multiple wars and everything, we lose thousands of people now. I mean, look at the World War one, right? What was it, 60 million to 70 million people we lost during that war? That’s a lot of fucking people. You know, and we don’t have it. So not everybody is able to get through things the same way. And I’m good with people going into, you know, to different countries and doing the different drugs that they want to do to get through their issues. If that’s what works for them. Whatever works for you is what I want you to do. So if this works for some people, great, it might not work for everybody. Like you said, you were like, this is ridiculous, but you’re in a totally different environment. And then other people have been in.

John Berry: Well. And the other thing is too right. It’s me projecting my own selfish thoughts that this is this wouldn’t work for me, so why should somebody else do it? And then I’m even getting agitated because I’m like, well, I think this is stupid. I have to do this now because everybody’s watching me. And if I say it’s stupid, they’re going to say, no, you’re just afraid. So I’m like, all right, dude, like, I got you and you did it. I did that and I did it. And then we had to write the stuff on the board. Then when they went up there to break the board, I took it and smashed it over my head because, you know, I knew it was, you know, the easiest, but yeah. Pine. Yeah. It’s pine. So, you know, but I think the point is, you know, maybe this is more my ego and my issues, right? Because I don’t I see it as this isn’t something that I appreciate or would work for me or encourages me or inspires me, but who am I to say that this could inspire hundreds of other people, especially hundreds of other veterans? So turns out that I’m the real asshole here, not the Tony Robbins fire walker.

Ed Parcaut: People know you’re not an asshole. It just doesn’t. It’s here’s the problem with us being veterans is a lot of the stuff. We’re like, that dude’s weak. What the fuck? Get the hell you know. I mean, I interviewed on Inter on my Inter Edison, uh, Brian Smith, who brought up to America. Right. And he lost the company during the period of time of the 15 years of growing that company. He lost it at one point, and he was at home and he was on the ground, you know, in the floor just curled up and his wife’s like, get your ass off the floor, get out there and get that bat. And so he went out and he got the company back. It, it we’re all different. We don’t know what works for us. And sometimes in our life it might work and sometimes it doesn’t. And just because it doesn’t work for you or you, you said I’m the you’re not the asshole. You’re just saying to me this, I don’t see that working for me. That’s okay. But, you know, let the other people deal with it. And if it works for them, great. If it doesn’t, I get it. But we’re just we’re putting it on. I’m trying to do my part because it’s different. And, you know, a lot of people who have not been in that environment.

John Berry: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And my, my thought was always whether, whether a veteran has been in combat or not, they’ve been they we’ve all been prepared for combat and we’ve all been through some, some tough stuff, even Cold War veterans. I mean, we had a lot of veterans. I heard I heard this, uh, I was interviewing this Navy Seal from Vietnam, and he kept he brought up KIT. I’m like, what’s KIT? Killed in Training. I’m like, oh, that wasn’t. You know, that’s not a common terms we hear today. No, uh, but, you know, but that back then it was. And so we’ve all I think we’ve all had our challenges from, from the military. And so I, you know, I, I salute you for, for, for the effort. Right. Even if I don’t believe in the medium, I, you know, I believe in the effort. Right. And the cause which is helping our veterans. And like I said, I’m not the one that necessarily knows how to do it. And what I love about your Edison moment is, you know, I try to think about mine. And quite frankly, I’m not that smart.

John Berry: My Edison moment has been the key hires that I’ve made. I’ve always hired people better than me to do things. And once I figured out that, like, I don’t have to be the smartest person in the organization, that actually the organization if I’m the smartest person in the organization, the organization’s going to fail. Right? But if I can, like you said, do the thing that I think I’m good at and let everybody else who’s better at everything else get them on the team, that those are the wins. Like if I could, if I look at the trajectory of my life, it has been either the mentors or the hires, but it’s been the people in my life that have that have made a difference because none of us do it on our own. And, you know, getting back to the fire walk, being able to give someone that, that, that, that step forward. Right. It is huge, right? Because you have just touched another human life.

Ed Parcaut: Right? Because there’s things that people do that I won’t do, right? I mean, you know, if we’re having PTSD, I might one person might go to drugs, one beat somebody and one, you know, I mean, there’s different things that we’ll do. And I don’t want to, you know, keep the whole show about this, especially if you’re going to cut it out. I’m just. Yeah. I mean, we’ll.

John Berry: Make it something good. But yeah, I mean, I’m.

Ed Parcaut: Just saying the issue is it’s all and it’s okay because you, you when you do these podcasts, if you have the same opinion as this guest, it’s a boring, boring podcast. You need to have different opinions. And my whole thing here is I just want to help vets. If that works great, if it doesn’t work, then we won’t do it again. If it’s the first one nobody wants to do. But a lot of people want to do this kind of stuff and you know, everybody now that you hire that’s not a veteran. Definitely want to make sure the company what’s the company stand for. What are they going to do. You know, and that’s what you deal with in the civilian world where I just want hey, when I join a company, when I first got out, it was like, you work for us and you get here on this time and this is what you do, and we don’t care what you want. Now it’s a different world. Well, and.

John Berry: It’s a scary world because we have people coming to our organizations that want to say in what the organization stands for, but many of them who are not willing to make the sacrifices, like the veterans have made, that say, well, we believe this because we have done this as opposed to, well, I think the company should stand for this. Well, maybe, but you’ve never done anything. And this is why I. Building an organization on the veteran culture is so important because you have a shared experience that it’s easy to have a, and I don’t care whether your company is one person or a thousand people if it’s around a veteran culture, the people you serve, and your daily interactions are going to be about that culture of service. And unfortunately, so many people come to organizations and say, well, we want to have a community service day and do this and do that. And really, they just want a day off, right? They don’t really want to help anybody. It’s they want a day off and they want to feel good and be able to brag, to say they have a community service. Well, what did you do? Oh, well, I showed up at this thing and, you know, uh, did something for four hours. Oh, really? Because we’re doing that. Veterans and businesses are doing that every single day. We live it, we breathe it. Hell, we fire walk it. Right? I mean, this is the opportunity to move forward. And I think it’s unfortunate that, um, you know, the younger generation that hasn’t served, uh, doesn’t really understand what those values mean to us because they haven’t lived them.

Ed Parcaut: Right. And I think it’s different with like 24 and below right now. I think they’re, they’re more like the boomer generation coming forward, uh, like or our generation, not so much the ones that are from 25 to 31, you know, they’re the ones who are at home who didn’t have to do much. And I think that’s all changing. So I think the pendulum swinging back the other way again, which is good.

John Berry: So I’m like, so we’ve gone way long, and you’ve been very generous with your time. Uh, but I always find that, you know, the more content, the better. And then we can, we can we can make it great with what we have. So the last thing I do is the after action review. Three examples of great leadership that you have seen, either in the military or civilian world. And then three examples of horrible leadership, either in the military or civilian world.

Ed Parcaut: Well, I’m going to start with, uh, the worst. So when I first when I got out and I went to work for that guy in the mortgage industry, uh, I found out that he was the biggest crook in the world. What he was he was. So he was an alcoholic drug addict who then took that and turned it into his addiction for money. So he did anything and everything in the mortgage industry that to actually make money, which is and hurt veterans to a certain point. And then he did this thing where and I found all this out over a year. This not the first time I was with him, but when I came back and we and he created this larger company and, and the failure that when I’m talking about business is he all he cared about was money. So he would actually, uh, and people were making so much money at his company, he would go through and then do retroactive pay cuts. You know? So it’s like, what stuff you couldn’t get away with today. But back then in the early 90s. And so you could get away with it, but you really shouldn’t get away with it back then. But if you’d said anything, you were no longer making 400 grand a year as a loan officer or 300 grand a year as a loan officer, you’d be out on and you couldn’t you weren’t making that much. So. So that’s the first where I learned what to do in business and what not to do in business.

Ed Parcaut: And so when you’re talking about leadership is when I went to him, that was the worst leader I could have went to. Um, and, and I’ve worked for myself for so many years that I never had a leader after that. Are you following me? So I don’t have I don’t have the examples of good or bad leadership. I just think the best thing you can do is I tell people, leave this world better than you found it. Leave everywhere, better than you found it.

John Berry: Thanks so much, Ed. How can people get a hold of you?

Ed Parcaut: Uh, well, with a unique last name of Parcaut, you can just find me everywhere under Ed Parcaut, so you can go to, which is e d p a r c a u Um, if you want my book, you can just get go to I make it easy for you can find it. So I’m everything on social media. I’m Ed Parcaut every one.

John Berry: So thank you. Ed Parco, thank you for your service and thank you for all you continue to do for your community and our veterans.

Ed Parcaut: Thank you for having me on the show. Appreciate it.

John Berry: Thank you for joining us today on Veteran Led, 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 Led podcast, report to our online community by searching @VeteranLed 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.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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