Heroic Investing
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Becoming A Leader with Robin Dreeke

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Co-Host, Gary Pinkerton welcomes Robin Dreeke retired FBI agent. They discuss Dreeke’s professional life and his ideas on leadership. Gary poses the question of what is it like to be human. They end the discussion with thoughts in success.

Announcer 0:04
Welcome to the heroic investing show. As first responders we risk our lives every day our financial security is under attack. Our pensions are in a state of emergency. A single on duty incident can alter or erase our earning potential instantly and forever. We are the heroes of society. We are self reliant and we need to take care of our own financial future. The heroic investing show is our toolkit of business and investing tactics on our mission to financial freedom.

Gary Pinkerton 0:40
Welcome to the heroic investing show, a podcast for first responders, members, the military, veterans and anyone looking to improve their financial future and gain some freedom with their time. We teach America’s heroes how to build passive income, build their startup business and safely grow wealth through real estate and other alternative investments. We are current and prior first responders put protections systems and a team in place to help them build a life where they can focus on their passion, that service or product that they’re uniquely gifted to share with others, making the world a better place for all of us. My name is Gary Pinkerton and I co host this show with Jason Hartman. This is Episode 241 Episode 241. Today’s guest is FBI retired agent Robin Drake. Robin is also a Naval Academy graduate and a Marine Corps officer. He graduated from the Naval Academy after joining from the state of New York in he graduated in 1992. So he was one year behind me at the Naval Academy. He entered as he describes in our interview here with the goal of an astronauts and aerospace engineer and a Navy pilot and he ends up being a Marine Corps officer ground officer and specializing in training recruits on duty And spent a lot of time at Parris Island and then after his his initial commitment goes into the FBI, where he essentially hires and trains spies in the in the FBI, to promote patriotism in America, really, really interesting guy learned a lot about selling human skills, the soft skills of selling. And as written two great books. His first one is it’s not all about me, the top 10 techniques for building quick rapport with anyone and the code of trust and American counterintelligence experts, five rules to lead succeed and he has a very new book out that he also talks about there in our episode here. So he hails currently from the state of Virginia. He travels around speaking all across the country to first responders and military organizations as well as companies in the financial services industry. He was really, really a riveting talk that we had and I think he has a very, very solid hold a good feel for how to quickly relate with other individuals, and to get people on board with your goals. And essentially you do that by first meeting their needs and showing that you can add value to their world before you ever go in and ask about what you want, making yourself kind of the center of the conversation. So really great insights. Everything he talked about resonated very well with me and everything that I’ve learned in the world of sales in the world of leadership. I think this will you find great value in this and so please join me with the Patriots and new good friend of mine Mr. Robin Drake. Well, rock investors Welcome back. And I hope you I truly hope you enjoy this episode. I don’t know how you could not get to Naval Academy graduates almost graduated the same time. I’m one year more wise than my awesome guests. Robin. Robin is class of 1992 graduate from Naval Academy, went to the awesome brother service of Marine Corps, and I always tell people I was I was very heavily torn between marine And submarines and I love to both, and I think was the esprit de corps in small unit side. But that’s about the only similarities we have. We carried some Marines around for a while mate. And they, they appreciate it, I guess. Anyway. Hey, Robin, thanks so much for joining us here on rock investing.

Robin Dreeke 4:16
Gary, thank you so much for having me. And also, thank you so much for what you do on promoting, you know, first responders and everything. And yes, I would have loved to go on submarines, but my brain was not nearly as large as yours.

Gary Pinkerton 4:28
That I spent some time on restriction there. Like you said you did. So as we were reminiscing, I had some time. I owned it.

Robin Dreeke 4:38
academic probation and we’re best friends.

Gary Pinkerton 4:40
Yeah. So Robin, you you join the Academy in 1988 and graduated in 92. And as we already said, When Marine Corps so take us back a little bit so I know you live in Virginia now. Did you join from the area there or where did you grow up?

Robin Dreeke 4:57
No. So I grew up I was actually one of the few people You hear I was actually born in New York City in Manhattan. My dad grew up in Hell’s Kitchen there in Manhattan. And my mom she grew up just north of there in a small town called beacon, New York and Krystal dream was to go down to New York State and become an actress. She goes down and he’s my father, just back from Vietnam as a Marine, and they got married six months later, I’m born, they hop on the train go north, as far as a Went, went to a small county called Putnam County about an hour north of New York City, and that’s where I grew up.

Gary Pinkerton 5:28
Okay, y’all. Alright, so from a very populated state in New York, it’s, you know, I think California, Texas and New Jersey might outrank New York, but there’s a lot of people from those those four states in Maryland, I forgot about Maryland, Virginia. Okay, so there’s six days, so busy, busy time at the Naval Academy, and you did a lot with the drill team when you were there. So I think you kind of had it in your soul that you were one Marine Corps from the beginning.

Robin Dreeke 5:53
Ah, you know, I you know, I tell this funny story because, you know, I’ve ran you know, eventually one Running the behavioral analysis program for counterintelligence at the FBI. And that’s, you know, when people see movies and things are seeing all the behavior profilers, and all the who Kikuyu, spy stuff and everything, so they think so people automatically think that was my life’s dream and aspiration. And so they say, so what did you want to be growing up? So that’s really easy. You know, I want to be on I want to go to Naval Academy and it took me an extra year to get in there. I went to a foundation. So I, you know, basically your prep school, and I want to be an aerospace engineer. I want to be a Navy pilot, test pilot astronaut. And they said, Well, what happened? I said, I friggin failed at all that I failed at aerospace went Polly. I just majored in graduation, my eyes went to 2030 which is funny now because I’m a pilot now and yet they’re 2020. Now but you know, my sophomore year at the Naval Academy, our young two year they went to 2030 said you can’t go aviation anymore. I spent the summer on one of the ships. I got seasick terribly and I said I don’t want to do this either. And so the Marine Corps started calling my name. So no, it was not my my personal When I went there, I actually wound up doing everything opposite with the exception of one thing. I did go there because I did want to become a great leader. Unfortunately, though, I’m not a natural born leader, I thought I was as a natural born self centered, narcissistic ass. And I needed to throw in a lot of life skills along the way to to add to the skill

Gary Pinkerton 7:18
set that I didn’t have. Yeah, I’m not sure there are natural born leaders, maybe there are, but most of us just plug away at it. And so people start following us eventually.

Robin Dreeke 7:29
Keep looking away. Yeah, yeah.

Gary Pinkerton 7:32
Yeah. So well, I can relate to that. Because most of things that I was planning on to the Naval Academy didn’t go the right or what I thought at the time was my desire direction as well. So well, let’s talk about a little bit. So you’re in the Marine Corps. He spent some time at Parris Island, but not too long after that, you you shift gears and went FBI and so that I mean, that was only a few years after leaving the Nally hat Naval Academy, so talk about that if you would.

Robin Dreeke 7:57
Yeah, sure. So I did my five years and I was I was Captain, as at Parris Island did about two and a half years there. I was on the drill field, I did five Cycle series commander rotated as you normally do off the off the often, you know, recruit training to do co ops and scheduling. So as a depot scheduling officer, right when we were instituting a thing called the crucible, which was a culminating event at boot camp, that gentle krulak instituted so I was one of the drafters of that and implementers of that which they then instituted at the Naval Academy, literally, a month after we started at Parris Island. And my son being at the Naval Academy, I went through ice trials, I mean sea trials last year as a plebe, and he thanked me because that’s what they base it on. And so what happened was, we had a recruiter from the FBI come to Parris Island when I was a captain and consider getting out. And, you know, he said, I think Marine Corps officers make great FBI agents and you know, if you come with me, I’ll do the best I can to get you to the phase two. And I had no idea what the FBI did. Well, I kind of did you know from movies and stuff. But it was never really a lifelong dream or anything. I remember asking him two questions. And, you know, in the kind of the theme of, you know, you know, your heroic investing in him is that I asked him, I said, so what’s the retirement rate? In other words, how many people come on board as agents make it to retirement because I didn’t. I didn’t know anything about the job. So I want to see if job satisfaction was high. He said, 95 to 98% of the agents that come on board, go to retirement. So I said, Wow, that’s a pretty high percentage, so they must like it. And the second thing I asked, you know, as a 27, year old was, are 2728. I could do all my tears from the military count towards my retirement. And he goes, yes, include the Naval Academy is that Oh, so I’m coming on board with nine years in, you’re already Wow, that counts towards my retirement. And he goes, yes. I said, I’m in my decision making process.

Gary Pinkerton 9:46
Very cool. Yeah. That’s cool.

Robin Dreeke 9:50
Wow. And so you spent time with

Gary Pinkerton 9:53
behavioral science there.

Robin Dreeke 9:55
Yes. So when I came in, I after a new agent training at Quantico, Virginia. I got a son to the New York City field office. So I went back to New York. And you know what a culture shock that was, you know, I was raised in New York. And I thought I understood the cost of living and everything. But I had been living for the past five years in South Carolina, North Carolina, South Carolina. And I said, Well, it must be twice as expensive. We can handle it. And no way. It was it was bone crushingly expensive. And luckily, you know, we came in with no debt, you know, so my wife, you know, stay at home mom with two kids. So we struggled, but it was, it was it was a fascinating transition going from kind of military background to the FBI. And my entire job then was, I guess, trying to work counterintelligence, and work in counterintelligence in New York City means that my job was to recruit spies. 24 seven, so I never really considered myself an investigator. I was a spy recruiter. And so my job every day was create operations slash opportunities to sell my product, which is American patriotism, to foreign diplomats. You know, 99% of foreign intelligence officers are under diplomatic cover. So my job is to sell American patriot system to foreign diplomats that didn’t want to buy it. And it was legal for me to make an approach to and talk to us.

Gary Pinkerton 11:13
That sounds like an interesting job.

Robin Dreeke 11:14
That is the hardest sales job on the face of the planet, product they don’t want to buy and you can’t even talk to your potential clients. So try that one out.

Gary Pinkerton 11:22
That sounds tough. So along the way, a guy who’s struggled academically at the Naval Academy, like myself, decides to write a couple books. What what got to go in there.

Robin Dreeke 11:33
Um, I have a, you know, life is about and this is my emphasis of all the books I write, you know, it’s all about relationships. You know, if I, when I started out, you know, we talked beforehand, you know, in order to get into the Naval Academy and be successful there, I think and then start off your career successfully. You have to be a hardcore hard driver, hardcore type a hard driver, when Unfortunately, that’s going to set you up for potential challenges. You know, after that The initial I got in, because I thought life was all about how good I made myself look, you know, to be successful in life to have a successful career I had to do excellent. And sometimes you’re gonna do it and sometimes you’re gonna fail at it because I was so focused on the things I needed to achieve that I didn’t realize in order to be achieve anything you needed relationships, and relationships are the bedrock cornerstone of achieving absolutely everything, whether you’re in leadership, whether you’re in sales, in anything is you can’t achieve anything or level relationships. You know, I suffer proud parents under me, you know, or Tom beforehand, you know, my son’s at the Naval Academy now to and unlike me, um, you know, we’re from Northern Virginia now, and he got in during his first week of senior high school, he got his all Elway’s letter of acceptance and because the ACS 80s A pluses on everything I mean, he is an academic studies that he’s a monkey there, he’s only gotten one B out of everything he’s taken so far. He’s almost got a four oh, and when he got in his first week of high school, All we did was sit down, hugged the tears roll and we sat down first words for who we’re gonna honor today because you got in because your academic because your genetics and biology but without relationship your teachers your coaches your mentors your guides all these people in your life that inspired you that were resources for your success we have to honor them because it takes a team to do anything and so that’s what I really learned very rapidly in that in that transition was that without relationships you got nothing and so these books are basically my manuals on how not to be the self centered narcissist I was born to be you know cuz I remember years ago in the Marine Corps when I first got there, my first duty station cherry point North Carolina I’m in the air wing towards the ground support of the Air Wing so everyone air aviator say to the ground guys Hmm, anyway, we had 14 sec lieutenants and like the military loves to do they love rank and do non stop in my first eval I was ranked last 14 out of 14 out of cycling tenants. Marine Corps major I was working for actually was a company officer to Naval Academy. So he even knew me. And he said, Robin, I don’t he goes, Robin, I know what happened to your grade at the Naval Academy. What happened? I don’t know. I said, What do I need to do? And he goes, you just need to be a better leader. I looked at him and said, Alright, how and he goes, you need to make it about everyone else but yourself as like, thought I was how and he goes, I don’t know. Just do it. And therein lies the magic sauce of Yeah, you do have to make about everyone else. But yourself if you want to communicate if you want to build relationships, build trust, and sell or or do anything, but it is elusive, obvious that no one can actually give labels and meaning students. So that’s what my life’s pursuit was. And so how do you demonstrate value and affiliation others which we all see and crave, that he couldn’t tell me? Seek the thoughts and opinions of others talk in terms of their priorities, validate them without judging them and empower them of choices. You build one of those four things into everything you say, and do that entire conversation shift from them to you. And now that’s what builds trust. That’s Build affiliation. And that’s what leaders do. Leaders are resources for the, they’re made to make themselves available resources for the success and prosperity their people without expectation, reciprocity. And that’s the cornerstone for that starts. So that’s what my books are basically about. You start with rapport, it moves into trust. And then the final one, the recent one’s called sizing people up which is assessing others, for trustworthiness slash predictability, for the real sole purpose of what can reasonably expect from you in every situation so I can manage you and manage a relationship at a deep understanding of who you are as human being to maintain a great healthy relationship. So I’m never disappointed.

Gary Pinkerton 15:37
You would talk about a couple moments ago about if you make it about them, and you respect them and trust them, honor the other individual, then it shifts to being about you. Could you say can you explain that a little bit?

Robin Dreeke 15:51
Sure. So human beings so let’s go back to the ancient tribal man because that’s where I love founding things in both societal norms as well as genetics and biological neuroscience. You know, genetically and biologically we are coded for survival, ancient tribal man. And if you are not part of a tribe, if you did not feel affiliated with that group organization, if you didn’t feel valued by that group in organization, the likelihood of you passing on your genetic coding to another human being was slim to none. So we crave being valued and affiliated with others. And so what happens is, is that human beings genuinely, so here’s what makes humans beings predictable. We’re always acting genetically and biologically in our own best interest in terms of safety, security and prosperity. If I take the time to figure out what you think is in terms of your safety, security and prosperity, I now know what you’re going to do. And now if I offer you resources in those areas, why wouldn’t we have a cooperation and so in order to demonstrate that value in affiliation that we’re all seeking, that we’re all naturally doing in other words are all naturally testing the world around us by sharing our thoughts and opinions with others to see if you accept me for who I am so if you take need to do that. And Harvard did a great study back in April 2012. That said, on average 40% of our day a we’re doing that we’re testing the world around us, or sharing thoughts and opinions to see if we’re accepted. So if you take that 40%, and you give it over to the other person, which natural leaders do, you’re seeking the thoughts, opinions of others, and then when they’re sharing them, you’re validating them not validating mean that you agree with them. validating mean, you’re seeking to understand their point of view, from their context, from their experiences, from their upbringing, from all the different backgrounds they have, you know, like in the Navy, you know, for you, you know, when you get to know either one of your chiefs when you’re listed when you’re junior officers, you’re seeking to understand well, where did you serve before? Where did you grow up? What what’s your family life like? It gives you context to see what their experiences are, so you can draw upon their strengths. And you actually know where they might be deficient in other areas so you can give them resources for success in those areas. That’s how you take the shift over from making myself look good by achieving great things to actually Being a resource for the success of others by making it about them. So shifting that conversation, nice and calm, and that’s that content, you just add, you know, like my big thing I would do with anyone that I approach to, you know, do some of the patriotic you know, if we had to try to try to recruit a competent human source in the FBI. My closing statement at the end of everything I’d say is like, if this is something you’re comfortable doing just that, if this is something you’re comfortable doing, that’s an empowerment which choice means you don’t have to do this, which means you only value people that you give choices to so I never had anyone say no, they’re not comfortable.

Gary Pinkerton 18:35
Nice. Okay. I appreciate you going through that. So now you’re you’re kind of sharing this with major with companies with large organizations to help pay it forward to help other organizations learn what you’ve learned, and some of that comes through the book. But bring us up to speed on you know what your day today you know, your your years look like nowadays.

Robin Dreeke 18:57
I’m, yeah, I’m the single man entrepreneur. I wish I had a team of people because you know, what you as we age and get more mature, we realize we are not the master of all domains, you know, I have, I got a very, I got a very narrow lane that I’m decent at and my content I’ve specialized in because it’s what I suck my entire life, you know. So I think that human beings generally focus on what their weaknesses are and try to master them so they become their strengths. And that’s what I’ve really done here. Since I’m not a natural born leader, I really tried to codify how to be a leader through meditation, that subjective art form and making a paint by number so that it can be shared with others so that those that are natural born leaders that can pass it up and more rapidly so they can actually articulate what it is they’re actually doing. And for people like me, they can actually watch natural born leaders and now understand exactly what they’re doing. So what I do now is I share it in writing. And then I also teach it you know, whether as a keynote trainer, consultant, you know, to, to basically anyone, my most common clients are in the financial industry. Most often customer relations and sales.

Gary Pinkerton 20:03
Okay, got it. And so you’re just kind of talking maybe the audience can understand a little better the kind of the scope, like are the scale i’d how often or are you and maybe 2019? How often were you traveling and speaking? Is it just all the time or?

Robin Dreeke 20:18
Sure, um, actually the discount up not too long ago. I think I spoke there in 2019 at about 48 to 58 speaking engagements throughout the year. Wow. Okay,

Gary Pinkerton 20:27
so almost Yeah. Once a week or more.

Robin Dreeke 20:29
Yeah, yeah. And it ranges you know, because I support military law enforcement, to the best of my ability. You know, and I did a lot of stuff in the state of Virginia. My fact that this Friday I’ll be down with Virginia State Police are a returning client every year I speak at the first line supervisors school. So Virginia State Police that are going into a leadership role. I give them four hour block on the code of trust and how to communicate in this way with their people. I spoke to critical incident responders across the state of Virginia last year to in 12 sites including fire departments. I spoke to the military out on the west coast, air, air national guard in app based out of San Diego. And then I have all my corporate clients, which were Merrill Lynch, Yale. First financial, I mean, all over the place. So it’s, so it varies from week to week. But yeah, it’s pretty, pretty busy maybe once or twice a month with a big cup pie, and then I’ll have smaller local things throughout the month.

Gary Pinkerton 21:27
Great, great. So as we come up near the end here, you know, obviously your books are out and you can find it wherever you get books, you know, Amazon, or Robin shriek and that’s Dr. E ke. And that’ll be in the show notes. How else can the audience reach out to you if it’s for maybe some mentorship, some advice, things like that, as you’re out there kind of transitions?

Robin Dreeke 21:50
Absolutely. I’m a big believer in offering as much as I can for as little as little as people can afford. So go to my website. It’s called people formula.com all one word on that. website there’s I have links to great podcasts like yours. I have some videos of me doing some of my keynote speeches that others have recorded that I linked to on YouTube. I also have a newsletter you can sign up for I have a free online course. So it’s not a long ones about 2030 minutes on my first book, The 10 techniques to quick rapport and then from there you can scale it as much as you want, you know if you have me on site for a keynote or anything else, but definitely can email me through that website. And until I’m overwhelmed by millions of emails, people are generally pretty amazed that I do respond. verified this one guy finally so he’s been he’s a nice gentleman runs a headphone company out in California. He’s been hitting me up nonstop, probably once or twice a month or every other month about questions about his business trying to maintain a good altruistic way to deal with other human beings. And finally, is that Can I do anything for you? I said, Dude, if you can get me a job anywhere real speaking engagement, that’d be fantastic. It was done you know, cuz I’ve just you know, because again, available right? source for success and prosperity of others no expectation reciprocity, so I never do anything out of self gain or manipulation. But if you ever do want to reciprocate, and give me a good speaking gig, I’m always very open and receptive. So thank you.

Gary Pinkerton 23:11
Well, that’s awesome. Well, what did we not talk about Robin, we should cover it in this episode.

Robin Dreeke 23:17
So I’d like to always leave everyone with two key takeaways to start with what you can start doing today that I wish I had known. years ago, three or four years or even today, that is for every human being you encounter, focus on their strengths. This is another guarantee of human behavior. Everyone’s got an insecurity in their wall working on something let go of what they suck at focus on a strength. That’ll be a first on door opener. That’s fantastic. Then also identify their top three priorities in their lives personal and professional and start identifying how you’re going to be a resource for their success regarding those priorities and you’re gonna see relationships start changing.

Gary Pinkerton 23:51
Yeah, man, that’s some good advice. That’s some good advice. Just make it about the other person and and add immediate value and you’re gonna see them light up like a Christmas tree. That’s awesome stuff. Robin, thank you so much. I’ve really resonated with all your message here. I’ve learned some of the same lessons over my years that you have. And, you know, I started my business which is sales based four years ago and everything you’ve said would have been better known for me for years.

Robin Dreeke 24:19
Beautiful journey, but when you have relationships to hell a lot easier.

Gary Pinkerton 24:22
Yeah, absolutely. Well, thanks so much. I greatly greatly appreciate and honor you for coming on the show with us and good luck to your son.

Robin Dreeke 24:28
Thanks, Gary. Appreciate I’ll pass that on to him too.

Gary Pinkerton 24:35
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