If you want to find your purpose, you need to reflect on your life and find what makes you happy. Find the one thing that you’re good at and work on it. It’s also easier to find your purpose when you’re working with others as a tribe. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. People are not islands; they need human interaction to survive. Join your host Mitch Russo and his guest Otis McGregor in finding your purpose and your tribe. Otis is the Principal and Leadership Coach of Tribe + Purpose. Learn how he is creating the next batch of leaders through coaching. And find out how to form team camaraderie while doing your life’s purpose.
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Finding Your Purpose Together With Your Tribe With Otis McGregor
Our goal is to help you be a better leader, inspire more people, create the passion your community wants and profit from the experience. Since this still is a pretty new show, I want to hear from you. Tell me what you want. Who are you interested in hearing from? What action do you take from every amazing guest we speak with?
Our guest started his professional life as a member of the ultimate tribe, the US Army. First, as a tank jockey then running heavy equipment in the most extreme arctic conditions imaginable and finally, as a Special Forces member. He experienced what it was like to work with some excellent leaders and a few not so much. He leverages the unique blend of heart, passion and experience as one of the elite commanders of the Green Beret trusted with some of the highest missions to our great nation.
He knows how to think from both the 10,000-foot view as well as a mid-battle to ensure he and his tribe not only achieve the mission but do so in the most risk-mitigating way possible. Realizing that he had a mission that his passion led him to, he decided to create a brand new company called Tribe and Purpose.
Welcome, Otis McGregor, to the show.
Mitch, thanks for having me. This is one of my passions. All this stuff up here, all those experiences, I’m sharing them so other people can learn from them. I love doing this. Thank you.
Otis, the interesting thing is that I remember many years ago I had a friend named Jay Abraham. He told me that I had to share what I knew. I could not die with all of this great information inside of me. It had to be shared with the world, which inspired me to write my first book called The Invisible Organization and later led me to create my second book called Power Tribes, which is directly relevant to many of the people reading this show. Let’s go back to the beginning. Tell us a little bit about your journey. How did you get started?
You mentioned some of the beginning stuff when I was in the army but truthfully, my life event was I retired with 25 years of service and I had no plan. My entire life up to that point had only been focused on achievements in the military. All I knew after the army was get a job. What a place that put me into. It was seven years of bouncing from company to company, doing odd things in between cold calls, role players, chief strategy officer, IT, data systems, program manager, you name it, the full gambit. It’s a wide range of crazy stuff and none of it hit the mark.
It wasn’t until 2016, I’m sitting here in my home office feeling sorry for myself. I got a great job, boss is a friend of mine, still so I basically could do what I wanted to do type of thing and I was miserable. I was frustrated. I was short to my wife and to my family. I was never quite happy and never fulfilled except for one thing and that was boys’ high school rugby.
Ironically, after falling into this coaching position quite almost all the edge of looking for volunteers, I didn’t step forward but everybody else stepped back. That was pretty much how I became the coach. I love it and I’m glad it happened to me because it led me on this path to where I am now. I realized that coaching Rugby, challenging those young men to be bigger than themselves, accomplish things they didn’t think they could do and hold them accountable, all that lift into business and life coaching.Great leaders create great organizations. Click To Tweet
As I understood and got into that more, I realize that was how I’d led even in Special Forces. The culture with Special Forces is rare when you do this and that. It’s very much like, “Here we go. We need to talk about this and how we’re going to do this.” The people that you’re surrounded by in Special Forces are phenomenal. I’m sorry, I drifted off into that. They’re the best of the best. In the basics of it, they are triple volunteers. They volunteer for the army, for airborne school and for Special Forces. Right there already says something. They have to go through physically and mentally to get there and then to stay there.
First of all, one of the things I wanted to say and I know you hear this a lot, is thank you for your service. You have done something very rare for your country and for us as Americans. I am a patriot. I won’t deny it. I am a capitalist. I won’t deny that either but I also very much admire the men and women who stand up and volunteer to protect this country. That’s an important element of who you are.
The only dark side of that is I know that many of you come home with some baggage you didn’t really want. You led to that briefly in your discussion about how you acted around your family when you first came back. I have a feeling that you are not alone and many people who were revered in their position, who are at the top of their game found themselves in somewhat menial roles after they return.
I relate it to many years ago, in New York City, we had a lot of people who emigrated from Russia with advanced degrees who could not get a job in America in their profession. The man who was driving my dad’s truck for his business was the equivalent of a PhD Scientist in Russia. What happens here is that it takes a certain type of person to transition their life from what they were to what they need to be now, which leads me to the real question, which is with your tribe called Tribe and Purpose. Tell me about the tribe itself. What is the core mission?
I like to explain it as my purpose. My purpose is to create a legacy of leaders and great leaders. What I want in that purpose and the fulfillment of creating that legacy of great leaders is these great leaders create great organizations and great organizations create better communities. Think about that in our towns. When we have great businesses in our towns then the town pick back up and it creates a better atmosphere in the town.
If we have better communities, we’re making an impact on communities around the world then we’re going to have a better world, even if it’s squeaking that dial just a little bit. That’s my purpose and what drives me every day. You can see me sit up in my seat a little bit more. It’s to create that legacy of leaders, create greater organizations, be better communities and we’ll have a better world. That’s where I work and focus. That’s where my team, tribe and purpose are. That’s what drives us forward.
I’m very lucky because I get to speak to people who lead communities and tribes. Almost every day, I conduct these interviews. What I’d love to know from you is what makes a leader.
Trust is one thing. I refer to this as the trust triad. As a leader, you have to trust your team to do the job that you brought them there and put them on the team for a reason. Why did you put them on the team? Why did you put Fernando Tatís Jr. at shortstop? It’s because he can cover that whole area because that’s what he does. It’s the All-stars game. You have to trust him to do that job. That’s number one on the trust triad.
Number two is those team members have to trust you, as a leader, to always have their best interest in mind. They have to believe that the decisions that you make are for the best of the organization and the best for them in the situations that you’re in. The third leg of that trust triad is, as a leader, you have to trust, believe and have confidence in yourself to make the best decisions that you can in the situations that you can with the information and time that you have available. For me, that right there, the trust triad is a foundation for all great leaders and it goes on from there. Any number of traits we can talk about but to me, that’s the foundation for great leaders.If it takes you seven years to find your purpose, that's okay as long as you're doing it with intention. Click To Tweet
In my discussions with others, it dovetails nicely into what you said. Many people start out with no tribe. They didn’t have anything to do with leading at all but they became passionate. They maybe wrote a manifesto. They decided that they needed to change the world and they were not going to stop until they did. In many ways, they had no training. They didn’t know how to lead. They didn’t have any materials to guide them. They just had passion. What started to happen is that passion is self-selecting. It selects those who are also passionate about that same mission. It ejects those who are not. The tribe, in a sense, without any help at all can somewhat self-form. How does that relate to the experience you’ve had?
That’s spot on even going back to Special Forces and that white attitude. The functional element of the Army Green Beret is the Operational Detachment Alpha or we call it A-team. You have this natural sense of, everybody went through the same process to get there so you have that commonality pitcher. You’d put in all this hard work and training together for the accomplishment of that mission. That mission holds the organization together, support, defend the constitution and then gets all in this foreign and domestic, in that sense.
That is a powerful place to be. It pulls those twelve men together. The same thing comes out in other situations. When we talk about tribes in the sense that what we’re doing at Tribe and Purpose, what we bring that tribe together is a group of individuals who want more for not just themselves but for everybody on that team because success breeds success.
I want to be with people that want success for themselves and they want success for me. I get just as excited when somebody in the tribe has a big win when I do. I’m more excited for them. Truthfully, when it comes down to it, I’ll quietly share my success. It’s weird to admit that you’re humble but I am humble in that counterintuitive. When you share that success and everybody on the team in that tribe is like, “That is awesome. Congratulations.” They’re high-fiving with you virtual or in person. “Let’s grab a beer and celebrate. That is so awesome that that happened.” Your team and your business have had that success.
That is one of the powerful things about it and then you can flip that in the same sense. I like to say when you get kicked in the jimmy, you get knocked down, things ain’t going right, you’re frustrated and you can’t seem to get things going, that same team who celebrated with you is there to help you and pick you up. They will give you a call, “How are you doing? Anything I can do? What do you need? I got this introduction over here or that over there. How about I bring dinner over to your house? I know you are working on that proposal.” That relationship and camaraderie are what being part of that tribe is all about.
Let’s go back here a little bit further when you had this realization and you started noticing that people were paying attention. How long ago was that? Fast forward, how many people are you leading now?
A couple of years ago, I had the realization of the clarity in what I should be doing. I’ve got various aspects of 25-plus clients plus my Tribe and Purpose team and various setups from 101 to a mix of group coaching. Group coaching is very much in the same sense as the tribe. We’re coming together and building that success for everybody in the tribe. Also, one of the things that I do as a passion of mine is I give back to my veteran tribe. I volunteer with a couple of nonprofits. The COMMIT Foundation is one of them. The Honor Foundation is the other. They’re focused on helping active duty service members transition to their civilian job.
That’s a great mission.
It is. With my seven years of wander in the job desert, I am very passionate. My coaches and my fellows in those two organizations that I get the honor to help get the full brunt of my passion. We established some rules pretty early on about, “We’re going to do this. This is going to be what we’re going to do and why we’re going to do it because I don’t want you to walk the path that I walked.” If it takes you seven years to find your purpose, that’s okay as long as you’re doing it with intention. I had no intention, I wandered and I didn’t know what I was doing. If I got an offer letter from anybody, I’d look at it and go, “They must know me. They must like me. I must be the right fit for them.” Never did I consider my fit to them and whether or not they were a fit for me.
First of all, it sounds like you’re at the early stages of something that likely will continue to grow, which is great. The other thing I wanted to point out and the observation that I have is that you have, in a sense, a core tribe, which is your 25 member team. You have an external tribe as well where maybe you are not the leader and you’re a member of that other community or tribe. That’s powerful because a great leader is always learning. When you work with others who are leading, you see what they’re doing and how they do it, that is powerful. Congratulations.
Thanks. Mitch, you hit the nail on the head. Being part of other tribes is so important. You can’t do it on your own. There’s an African proverb that I love. “If you want to go fast, go along. If you want to go far, go together.” If you think about that, there are many analogies. You can do that from a relay to a sports event to business. That’s simple and it’s true.
For everybody reading, we are talking to the amazing Otis McGregor. He has built an incredible tribe company, tribe system. Tribe and Purpose is the name of what he is up to. We’re going to go deeper. Otis, let’s go deeper into the mechanics of this process here. How do you communicate with your members?
All my members are virtual, which makes it great. I can touch people all over the world. I even have couples that are from Europe that are joining the tribe. It makes it very exciting.
Get more granular than that. Do you use email, Zoom or Facebook? What do you use?
Zoom and then sometimes we’ll do phone calls. When it’s a group, it’s always Zoom. When we’re in a larger group, it’s so much more important to see the faces. We don’t play that, “I can’t have my camera on crap.” If you can’t have your camera, change your environment so you can have your camera on and flat out. Everybody else can do it. Why can’t you? That’s part of the show-up rule.
Another important component, a value of yours is if you’re showing up, show up. You basically use the equivalent of the common tools in our society, Zoom and everything else. Are you soliciting or looking for new members? Are you keeping it the way it is?
No. We’re looking to grow. We got a couple of things going on. One of them is I’m doing a push for our Power Tribe. Our Power Tribe is for individuals who have an idea of what their purpose is, they’re ready to start getting more fulfillments and they want to do it with other people. They want to join a group of people that are like-minded because they know that being part of something bigger than yourself feeling that success and then helping each other. Tony Robbins’ favorite thing is, “Giving is living.” That’s part of this. You’re giving as a member of that tribe. One of our focus areas is growing our Power Tribe.
There’s this cool book out called Power Tribes, which you might want to check out as well. Let’s talk a little bit about if other readers who are reading were ready to take their first step in creating their own tribe. What do you think they should do first?If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Click To Tweet
First, you get to know who you are. That’s one of the things I start with all my clients whether they’re joining a tribe or a one-on-one. We got to figure out who we are. You got to put the point on the map in order for the GPS to work to tell you how to get to the restaurant you’re eating dinner at. We’ve all got to know who we are and how we show up because that’s part of who we are and it shapes who we want to be. We always start with that then we worked to create a vision of who we want to be and what we want to become whether it’s in the business.
If I’m doing a business organization, what does that business want to be? I usually use five years as a guide. Who do you want to be in five years? Where do you want to be? Physically, mentally, personally, what do you want to be doing? Create that vision because from that vision, we create the goals and objectives that support those goals and then task those things that you’re going to do today, tomorrow or next week to accomplish those objectives. As you accomplish those objectives, those goals and that vision, that becomes your plan that you follow to achieve that five-year vision for what you want to do and who you want to become.
You’re talking like an engineer, like me. You’re talking like a guy who has spent a lifetime building things and creating things but a lot of us aren’t that way. I say the word us but I am that way like you. A lot of us reading never had that background or that education. What they do know is that they’re passionate about something. Maybe it’s indigenous cultures or helping women achieve or become free of a bad marriage, whatever that passion is. What do they do with that passion?
Life is happier, more fulfilling, more enjoyable when we get more of our passion when we do those things. I’ll take it back a step if you don’t mind because you’re right. People come to me like, “I don’t know what my purpose is. How do I know a passion? How do I figure this out?” What I am going to do is I’m going to spend some time reflecting back on things I’ve done in the past whether it’s last week or ten years ago that I enjoyed.
One of the things I used to help, mostly men, draw it out is what’s that story that always comes up when you and your buddies are having a beer together? There’s a reason that comes up and you tell that story over and over again. I have done 3, 4, maybe even 5 of those things. The next step is they break those events into major components. Why was that thing so exciting and you’re still passionate about? What are the pieces and parts of it? What we’ll see across those events is similarities in those components. That similarity becomes your driving passion, which leads to your purpose.
What you’re sharing is a way to find your passion. We have people here that have a passion and they don’t know what to do. One of the tips others have said during interviews like this is to write it down. Write a manifesto. What do you stand for? What do you stand against? Take that manifesto, publish it and then see what happens. See who is attracted to you because you expressed yourself in a powerful, direct and passionate way. The purpose of this is as much to repel the wrong people as it is to attract the right ones. Would you do something? Do you feel like that’s a good way to start if you have the passion but don’t have the organizational system skills to go forward in any other way?
There’s so much that goes on in our mind when we write things down. I challenged people to write it down, not to type it. Even with this manifesto, I would challenge folks to get the pen and paper, pencil and paper and write. When you feel a stopping point, stop, go back to it and then write some more. If you want to then type it. Translate if you can read your writing. If you’re like me, I can’t even read my writing when I do that stuff.
That engineer in us is coming out again, Mitch. There’s something that goes on and I haven’t dived into the psychology of this. I just know it happens. There’s something that goes on in the physical aspect of the idea in my head, getting translated to the muscle movements in my fingers to the texture being dragged across the page to create a symbol of a sound that creates a symbol of a word and how that represents my thoughts. There’s a powerful piece to that and It’s so different, particularly for people who are typists.
Me, when I type, it’s not much faster than when I write with a pen. I have some friends that can talk to you and type at the same time. There’s no thought. What they’re doing is their translators. I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with a translator but I’ve worked with translators all the time in various situations. The good translators at the end have no clue what they said conversation-wise because all they’re doing is taking the word in and another word out. To me, that’s why writing in physical and action is so much more important.Life is more enjoyable when we get more of our passion. Click To Tweet
I want to add one thing to what you said because I agree with you 100%. I was taught a trick long ago by someone for who I have a lot of respect. We were all together in a workshop format and he said, “We’re going to give you a little bit of a writing exercise.” We were in a beautiful wooded area in Upstate New York. He said, “Go out into the woods. Find a tree you like and sit under that tree with a pad and pencil. I want you to write whatever comes to mind after a few minutes of meditation but then here’s the twist. You cannot write with your dominant hand.” I said, “What do you mean? What are you talking about? I’ve never even tried to write with my non-dominant hand.”
The engineer in you was throwing up your hands saying, “I’m out.”
I was intrigued because this guy is someone for who I have a lot of respect for. I said, “I’ll do it.” I remember sitting there trying to scratch out a few words over the course of the first five minutes or so but then something magical happens. I’m a lefty so my right hand became acclimated to the process. I somehow chapped into a different part of my mind writing through my right hand as if there was a part of me that was speaking that was not directly in my conscious awareness.
I found it to be very powerful and I highly recommend that anybody reading, try this. Do a little bit of quiet meditation first with the simple goal of writing whatever comes to mind and let what comes out flow. You might be surprised at the result. The reason I bring this up is that, for some people, it’s how they found their passion. Since we’re on that topic, I thought it might be a good addition to your own process as well.
A common friend of ours was telling myself and a couple of other folks in a similar sense to try shaving with the other hand. Focus on it. With shaving, I would think it’s a sharp razor. Maybe that would be. I would do the shaving over the writing if I had a choice. I’m nervous, Mitch.
What it does is it brings you into the present time and gets you focused on the now, which I always love, whenever there are ways that I can do that. There are certain activities that I enjoy that keep me focused in the now as well. Let’s get back to you and your future. If you are able to go out a couple of years into the future, what does Tribe and Purpose look like a couple of years into the future?
I love thinking about that because I do share that vision with my team. What it is is we’ll have three different kinds of tribe groups. We have Know Your Tribe, which is an exclusive community for starters, if you will, the people that are like, “I don’t know about purpose.” With other people, let me test the water out. Power Tribe is what we already talked about. The next one is Elite Tribe, which is for people who are like, “This is my purpose. Let’s go.”
I want to do it with other people that have that passion and drive to have fulfillment in their life. That’s the Elite Tribe. What I see is that and one other tribe. I only talk about this occasionally but for me, what I will want to have is a tribe of coaches, a tribe of my team that runs in each of those tribes. For lack of a better word, that’s my baby. It’s my passion. Those people are the ones that are getting it, engaging it and sharing it. I get to share with them along with a larger Tribe and Purpose community but in that setup. That’s where I see us being in a couple of years.
It sounds like a great future. I wish you all the luck and support as well. I understand that you have something for our readers. I had a chance to take a quick glance at it and it looks like it would be pretty interesting. Can you describe what that is?
One of them is my newsletter. I do a weekly newsletter and I call it Monday Moments. It’s a great way to kick off your week because what I do is take a stoic quote. I’m a bit of a stoic. I won’t say I’m full-blown but I enjoy stoicism as a philosophy. I challenge everybody to at least look into it. I pick out a stoic quote. What I do is I write a handful of paragraphs. One of the first paragraphs is something that I just learned. Generally, it is something I learned, reflected on or a thought that occurred to me.
The next paragraph is a planning thought of the way because I’m a lifelong planner. The military pounded that into my head. The next paragraph is a business idea I thought of or heard of. That’s the wide-open crazy stuff. Why don’t people have this? Who’s doing that thing? The next one is a veteran opportunity. I always liked to go back to my tribe. I stay in tune with that. It’s an opportunity that veterans can take advantage of.
The last paragraph is about somebody I met. We’re always meeting people so I always like to share a little thought about this person. Here’s what touched me about them. About 50% of the time, I’ll have somebody email me and say, “Could you put me in touch with so-and-so?” I love hearing that. It is fun. When I first started this, I used to put all the contact information in there and I was like, “I probably shouldn’t do that.”
I used my first name usually. I’ve even used a pseudo name once or twice because of the individual but I love doing that. You can sign up for that at Tribe-Purpose.com. In the upper right-hand corner, it says Newsletter. Click there. I’d love to have you join in on that. Truthfully, I love the feedback. If you got something from it, send me a note. I love to know that. I’ve had this occasionally. If you’re like, “I don’t agree with it,” it’s cool. Let me know that. It helps me grow and understand other people’s perspectives when we have disagreements.
Otis, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. I enjoy your perspective. The beauty of me getting the experience to speak with people like you for this show has broadened my view and has helped me grow as a leader as well so thank you very much.
Thank you for having me, Mitch. This has been a blast. It’s great hanging out with you again. Every opportunity you and I get is just a phone call away.
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