Uncle Sam's Secret Sauce
Uncle Sam's Secret Sauce

Episode · 1 month ago

Advocating for Action with Stuart Scheller

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Stuart Scheller, Founder of Authentic Americans & Author of Crisis of Command: How We Lost Trust and Confidence in America’s Generals and Politicians. As a former Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Marine Corp., Stuart knows firsthand the importance of strong leadership, clear vision, and taking action. 

Now that he is back in civilian life, he uses his platform to advocate for Americans to step up and do what needs to be done when it comes to organizational and political leadership, building bridges across divided political beliefs, and fighting to protect an America that’s worth fighting for. In this episode we discuss:

  • The failures of modern leadership
  • The biggest challenges facing Americans today
  • Why Stuart wrote Crisis of Command
  • How and why Stuart built his platform as a podcaster and speaker
  • The importance of just getting started when you have an idea or goal you want to pursue.  

Uncle Sam’s Secret Sauce is hosted by Rafael Marrero, Founder and CEO of Rafael Marrero & Company, which helps small companies do business with the world’s biggest customer: the U.S. Federal Government.

You're listening to Uncle Sam's Secret Sauce, a Raphael Morrero and Company podcast. This is a show for US small business owners and decision makers looking to grow their business. You're about to hear a conversation with successful entrepreneurs in the fields of construction, janitorial, cybersecurity and more. Here you'll learn how to sell to the government and what this secret ingredients are for effective marketing for small businesses. Let's get into the show. Stuart Scheller, Welcome to Uncle Sam's Secret Sauce. Thanks for having me on. Ralph excited to do it. So you know what I love your parents and the things that they do on social media. What did your parents do for a living? Tell us about your parents. My parents both grew up in Illinois, where I was born. My dad started selling racketball memberships for a racquetball club. He sold really all his friends and family racketball memberships. He was a good salesman, and then the owner of the health club left town with all the money. So my dadad was left, you know, with all these people angry at him, and so he almost had to leave town. But he realized he was good at sales. He met my mom my mom was working and she had to leave the house at eighteen. Very humble beginnings. She was working in dentist offices and doing hotels jobs like that. So my dad left and took a job in the health care industry, selling large HMO health type plans to companies. Started in Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and my mom left with them. Then they started a family. So I was born shortly thereafter, and they my dad basically just climbed the corporate ladder distinguished himself as a professional and a salesman. So we moved through Westlake, Ohio, Kansas City, St. Louis. Cincinnati's where we ended and my dad became very successful, and so I watched them. My mom was a stay at home mom. We ended up. I have three siblings and I had a good upbringing. That's great. So I understand you have a background in finance. I was reading up right, and what did you to become a marine? I got my accounting degree from the University of Cincinnati because at that time I had ambitions to join the FBI. I was always a competitive guy. I wanted to be on a team, wanted to serve my country. So I got the accounting degree because FBI hires a lot of accountants. They followed the money. But once I graduated in two thousand and four, I was watching a war take place and I realized that that was calling to me. So I decided to join the Marine Corps. I'm not sure exactly why. I had a high school soccer coach I was a Marine officer, and he mentored me and told me I'd be a good Marine officer. Also, when I was watching Felujah in two thousand and four, it was a lot of the Marines on the TV, and so it just spoke to me. I went spoke to my Marine recruiter and never looked back. In your words, what does the phrase simplified dellis mean to you? I mean literally, it's always faithful to me. It's about representing the core values of not just the Marine Corps, but of of America. The problem is those things are subjective and they're different to every single person. And so I think I'm guided by a set of moral...

...values that are in line with the Marine Corps, but are also serve a higher purpose, and so there are times where those things come into conflict. And always faithful to me means always faithful to the true set of values that you're fighting for, and I would hope that they would be one and the same. I think I'm an example of how at times those values can come into conflict with the values espoused by the system, and then you as an individual or forced to make a choice to do what's right. These are very difficult times for our country, and uh, I see that the character, the very character of the institution's, both in law enforcement and in the military, have changed. What keeps you up at night? So I'll address the first statement, then I'll go to what keeps me up at night? So the government institutions, so that's the FBI, that's the police force, that's the military. It's not like the corporate world. So the corporate world still has bureaucracy in it. Anyone that's ever had a job understands that. But in the core world, corporations are held accountable by money. Ultimately, they have to be profitable to survive, whereas the government or organizations like the military, they have demonstrated they don't have to win worse to survive. The police force doesn't have to be effective to to survive because we need these establishments, so they can fail and continue where businesses can't. Also, when businesses are failing, they can bring in outside talent from other organizations. In the government organizations, you can't. You have to home grow them from the beginning. Or I won't say you can't. You could, but right now they don't do that we subscribe to. You have to home grown them from zero to forty year four star general. Same thing with the FBI. You have to work your way from a field agent all the way up to be the director of the FBI. You can't just bring in someone from the outside. And so because of a lack of cross pollination, a lack of new ideas, and the not holding senior leaders accountable within these organizations, they've rifted a little bit. So what keeps me up at night is, you know, not being able to leave a better America for my son's What keeps me up at night is having in America that has less freedoms and has less opportunity to influence the global order. And so that's really what makes me passionate and makes me continue to fight. In your views, what is how is America failing right now? What are the things that we need to do in order to adapt and overcome as a nation as a people. To me, it's pretty easy. We're failing as a nation because we don't have leadership. We have people that can navigate systems. The politician choices that we get are the people who can best navigate the system, not necessarily the best leaders for our country. The people that are forced our generals are the best people that can navigate the system, not necessarily the best for war fighters that can win wars, still on, and so forth. So we need to figure out how to identify leadership, foster and developed it, and hold that sacred because right now we...

...are suffering from just a bankruptcy of leadership. And can you expand on that a little bit in terms of the manifestations of that failure of leadership. Well, I'll use the military as an example. So the military, right now, the way you get promoted is a subjective evaluation. It's not performance based. So you perform, but ultimately the boss subjectively decides how well you did. It's not based on objective markers. So what happens is I, as a commander, have five subordinates and I ranked them one through five, and people over a career figure out it's less about performance and more about giving the boss what they want. So I might be the best performer, but if my boss doesn't like me because I keep speaking out in meetings, or I keep pushing back, or I do things that aren't the way that that boss would do it, I might be evaluated the third or fourth in their profile. And so we figure out very quickly that we have to impress our boss and not push back on our boss. And so what that does is it literally conditions people to just give people what they want, vice being morally courageous, and so literally the system takes courage, moral courage out of it. And that's why you have events like Benghazi in the Afghanistan evacuation, because where you should have military leaders that push back on leadership in common sense moments, systemically we have weeded out moral courage and are American leaders right now instead of standing for American values and tough times, they literally just give their bosses what they want. Fair enough, Now that your life has changed in your civilian how does your morning routine look like? Honestly, I don't have a routine. My life is chaotic, and so I tried to build a macro structure of what I'm doing months out, so like right now, I'm booked out till Christmas, and I try to find time to knock out all the small tasks, and I do that in hotels. My morning routine right now is getting up, evaluating what I want to accomplish for the day, and at the to the day, I examine how well I accomplish those innings, and then how I'm going to accomplish things the next day. You know, one of the things you said in your website that really caught my eye was Americans need courage now more than ever. Americans need to find their voice now more than ever. Currently, I am advocating for courage and leadership across all of America's key institutions. What makes you feel inspired or motivated? Sto I believe in America. I believe in the structure that was set by our founding fathers. I believe that we have a lot of great resources, and so what inspires me is seeing how the potential of greatness within the American system. So again, use the military for example. I mean, you can apply this model to anyone, but the military has all the best training facilities in the world. I mean, other countries come to the United States to train at our facilities because they don't have facilities like us. You know, we have a military budget of seven fifty billion because we can afford it because our GDP is one of the is the highest GDP in the world. Right so from an economic standpoint, Now China you could argue has more purchasing power, but...

...we still have the largest GDP bottom line, and so seven hundred fifty billion dollars for a military budget is larger than most countries GDP. And we have some of the most educated people in America. The young talent coming into the military is the best young talent in the world. The problem in all systems of government in the United States, in my opinion, is leadership. And so if you're able to fix the leadership, I mean, there's just no cap on how far we could take this thing. But right now, because of the antiquated structures, the lack of a performance based system across all government institutions, we've we've dripped it a little bit, and it's marginalizing our ability to be effective. STU, what's the one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you. I'd like to think I I try to be a very tough guy, but I'm I'm pretty well rounded, vulnerable, get upset. I'm not a I'm not a tough guy all the time. So like the social media comments sometimes, like the hurt my feelings reading those things, because there's so much hate out there nowadays. But I'm tough enough to look at what's my goal, what's my purpose, and not allow a lot of negativity to track me from that. It's almost like a It's almost like a sports game where the other teams talking trash the whole time, and you gotta stay focused on the game because you want to win. You can't get distracted by all the trash talk. So I guess when people get to know me, they realize, like how normal I am, how what an average person I am, And you know, like all of us can can be vulnerable. That's right now, tell me something you think is true that almost nobody agrees with you on. I think right now, maybe they're I mean, that's there's always gonna be one or two people that agree with anything. So I don't think I have any opinion that's unique. But what I will say that I don't think is talked about enough. I think back in the day and like the feudal world, violence was the key source of influence for for nation states. There wasn't even nation states back then into the Treaty of Westphalia. But you know since the six when we've moved to the nation state there, at least in the beginning, violence or the threat of violence is what kept the order. And then I think economic really became very powerful as a national source of influence. You know, you still need violence. I'm not saying one goes away, but your ability to project power through economic sources became very important. And I don't think people have realized how we've pivoted to really a third echelon in terms of controlling ideas and beliefs of people. And so now you you use economic through advertising in other ways to really shape beliefs, but there's so many other tools to shape people's beliefs nowadays through controlling narratives, and you don't even need violence. If you can convince an entire nation state that what they're doing is wrong or what they're doing, they should acquiesce to your your ideas. And it's used often on the American people as well.

And so I find as I'm looking at things, I mean, just the way stories are told, or the bias and the inability for people to critically think. And what you're trying to do is tappen to people's emotional reaction. And so when people become emotional, the rational thought is almost drowned out, and our large governments have figured out how to confuse, tap in create emotional responses. And I am just really worried about that more than anything else, because it's created a hyper polarization, divisiveness, a lot of hate and anger, tribal almost in terms of breaking the American people into groups, and there's always been that, but in terms of controlling the narrative and spinning it, I don't know. I just seem to see that differently than everyone else. I'll read a new story and I'll have an unpopular reaction, whether that's you know, Zelinsky is a hero now, like is he a hero? You know? I don't know if he is. I mean, he did a lot of things that let of this situation and wasn't preventative at all. But like that's a narrative, right, and so how do you fight that? They're like, you can use my own personal situation Stuart Scheller is crazy and extremists like, that's a narrative, Like, how do you fight that narrative? I mean, there's a congress representative running up in dating area of Toledo area, excuse me, and an ap story came out that he had stolen dollar. And I think the guy absolutely did some things that are not true, but stolen valor is like I got a bronze star in combat. What this guy said was really like lukewarm stuff, but immediately it was stolen dollar. He's a liar, And it's a narrative, right, And there's not a lot of actually rational thought and looking at what what was actually said, and so I just I keep looking on and I have these unpopular views all the time because there's seen in all of those situations, there's this emotional reaction and there's not a systematic way to analyze the facts and being rational. And when you do that, when you're rational about it, it's almost like you're painted as this ext him is when really you're the person going through the facts. And it's and so, I don't know, it's weird times. We are we sure are living in weird times. Now, let's talk about your transition. You're now a civilian and you're you've also launched a brand. Tell us about your mission goals there and and and tell us about your what's the goal of your company and the message that you are sharing with with your audience right now with America, you know, my brand is evolving. I started Authentic Americans. You can check it out authentic Americans dot com because I believed that the biggest threat to the United States was everything I've been talking about, the divisiveness, the controlling of narratives. But as I mean, I've essentially gotten a PhD in politics in the last nine months because all I've done is gone across country. I've talked with people, I've supported different politicians.

You know, I've really developed my understanding because when you're in the military, you're literally in a bubble and it's I think it's a political and I just I always thought that a lot of the narratives were overblown and it just seemed to be very common sense people in the military. But now the more I've studied that, I'm not convinced that all of the American people are ever going to unify. You're never gonna convince everyone to join one team. So it's like, one are the things that we can agree on? I don't even know what that is. Right, if you were to say America is good, not everybody would agree with that, right, So it's like, what can we even say that all Americans would agree with. We can't say the Pledge of Allegiance anymore. And so I'd like to say America's worth fighting for. Hopefully, no matter what your political ideology is, you believe that American's worth fighting for. If that's not you, then let's agree that you probably shouldn't be in this democratic experiment called the United States. Right if it's not worth fighting for, then like, if that's the one thing, so then let's build on that. And so that's what authentic Americans is is like I don't care if you disagree with me. How healthy conversation through rational thought. A lot of people have disagreed with me on that platform, and it's changed my thinking, and so hopefully we can remain open and change our thinking to get to a place is like what can we agree on? And you know, I am a conservative, so you know a lot of people like try to attack me and say that I lean right like I do, but that doesn't mean that I agree with everything on the Republican Party. Being a conservative doesn't mean you're a Republican. And I just struggle with who am I, What do I want out of America? And I just like, I go back to what can we agree on? Can we agree? We want strong leadership? And that's what Authentic Americans was all about. Was given me a place that wasn't centered on social media. And again, as I'm going through this, my thinking on a lot of the topics has evolved. My schedule for the next six months at least till Christmas is booked with the book, so scheduled out for book tour, book signing speeches, whether that's in Florida, Vegas, New Hampshire, Ohio, places like that. I just got back from so Cow and that's done in January twenty three. That's where I really, you know, decide what I want to do if I just want to remain a writer, a podcaster, helping candidates where I can. All the candidates that I've supported have been veterans, because I go back to I think veterans have leadership and are somewhat you know, at least when they're in the military. A political now. Obviously they all have to like pick a side once they get out because that's the system that's given to us. But I do believe there's a lot of leadership in supporting veteran candidate. So that's I don't know if I'm going to join and be a politician. There's people that are pushing me to join the U. S. Senate race out of Ohio, and so that's an option. I'm thinking about it, but I haven't figured out all that out yet. Well, we'd like to have you back if and when you decide to run for office or what you know the next phases of your evolution as a as a civilian now right or maybe public office. So tell us one of the things that you know. We call this program Uncle Sam's Secret Sauce because it's mostly small business owners of which you...

...are, and their their secret sauce for success. And this is a chance for Stute Scheller Stuart Scheller to share with our audience what your ingredients are top three secret ingredients are for getting ahead and staying motivated and doing something. Please share that with us if you don't mind. Now a lot of people notice about me. I didn't put it in my book, I kind of edited that there's so much stuff with my story that I could only put so much in the book. But I didn't start my social media until two thousand and eight team because I launched a small business. I was a small business owner while being active duty. It was a military related product. So all my followership was based on that business that I launched, and that's how I got savvy with social media and making videos and and all the things. And while doing that, because the business was really successful. I actually did one one podcast season and I interviewed different entrepreneurs and so I'm very savvy and I've done there's that organization called Bunker Labs. I've done some keynote speakers for that. The Military Influencer Conference which I'm going to at the end of this month in Vegas, heard his Riggs. He actually ran a story about me before I became you know, all the reasons people know me now based on the company that I owned, and so I'm going there because I've had a previous relationship with him. So I say all that just to say I'm a big advocate for entrepreneurship, specifically in the veteran community, and always have been. And the one thing I'll offer people is, you know a lot of people talk about business plans, and in my theory on business plans when you're a young entrepreneur is to write on a piece of paper that and say make money. That's your business plan. Now that's I'm not absolving the utility of thinking through things, but often I find so I'm telling I'm giving you that extreme example because I find people get paralyzed in the planning process and often you don't know what you don't know until you just get out there and do it and validate the model. And so things changed so much in the infancy of a startup that it's almost impossible will to have a good plan without updating it daily. And so I would submit to you, if you've got an idea, get out there and just do it and see what you've got. And that's probably the best advice I can give people looking to start a business that's phenomenal. You know, there's I believe close to thirty million small businesses in America right, and that's a big number, and there are a lot of veteran own small businesses and services able veteran own small businesses. So there's a lot that you can offers to it, just based on your life experience, your financial background. You're podcasting, you've got a lot going right there. We wish you nothing but the best, and hopefully we'll have you back on this program after your successful book tour. I'm such a big fan that I actually got the hard copy and the audible, so folks, do yourself, do yourself well. Part of the cachet there was you recorded it. It's in your voice right, so you know that really caught my attention. So you've got you know, we've got Crisis of Command by Stuart Sheller, former Lieutenant colonel...

United States Marine Corps, How we lost trust and confidence in America's generals and politicians. It's available now on Amazon dot com and there's only one authentic version. Look for that one, and also by the audible version if you like to. You know, if you want to save some time while you're driving, and you want to if you have plenty of windshield time, get the audible version. It's good for your walks. To Steorge Sheller, thank you so much for sharing your time. I know you're a busy man and this was in a night link conversation. I can tell you that we've picked up several good Secret Sauce tips from you and we wish you nothing but the best. God bless thanks Raphael. I hope, I hope we can get back on the show again. But thanks for havail. It's been a pleasure. Based in Miami, Florida, Raphael Morrero and Company is a management consultancy founded in two thousand eight by Dr Raphael Morrero. The firm helps other veteran owned, minority women and small businesses break into the federal marketplace and do business with the world's richest and most powerful client, the US federal government. To learn more, visit Raphael Marrero dot com. You've been listening to Uncle Sam's Secret Sauce, a Raphael Morrero and Company podcast, keep connected with us by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast player and giving us a rating that helps us to keep delivering the latest in business growth strategies and ultimately learn what Uncle Sam's secret ingredients are. Thanks for listening. Until next time.

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