Don’t ask why something didn’t work like you wanted, ask what do you need to do achieve the objective.”
Karl Monger is the founder and Executive Director of GallantFew, Inc., a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization formed in 2010 and dedicated to helping veterans transition to civilian lives full of purpose and hope. His vision of building a nationwide network of veterans successfully transitioned who guide veterans transitioning has helped over a thousand veterans. He has developed or helped develop numerous innovative veteran programs to include The Darby Project (Army Rangers), The Raider Project (Marine Corps Special Operations and infantry veterans), Run Ranger Run (a global collaborative team fitness event and fund-raiser), and was executive producer of the award- winning 2015 veteran short film “Prisoner of War”. He authored “Common Sense Transition”, a nonfiction work published in 2017.
He produces and hosts the audio and video podcast “The New American Veteran” and publishes the online newspapers The GallantFew Daily and Sua Sponte Weekly. He is a certified Burris Institute Master Coach providing Functional Emotional Fitness™ coaching to veterans.
Karl is also owner and CEO of Transitur, LLC, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business specializing in personal growth coaching, veteran care and support issues, and advising corporations and agencies on veteran-related activities and practices. As a Kansas Small Business Development Center consultant, he assisted veterans establish or expand their small businesses and was named the 2012 U.S. Small Business Administration Region VII Veteran Small Business Advocate of the Year.
Karl began his military career as an Army ROTC scholarship cadet at Wichita State University where he graduated with a degree in Administration of justice and was named Distinguished Military Graduate. He served as an infantry platoon leader, rifle company commander, and st Ranger battalion staff officer, and parachuted with the 1 Ranger Battalion into Kuwait during a show of force operation in 1992. He holds the rank of Major, retired Reserves.
He is a graduate of Ranger, Jumpmaster, Airborne and Air Assault Schools, the Command and General Staff Officers Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Armor Officer Basic Course, and the US Air Force Air Ground Operations School. His awards and decorations include two Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze campaign star, Korea Service Medal, the Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist and Air Assault Wings.
Since departing active duty he has held general manager and sales manager leadership positions in several corporations and served as Executive Director of a Big Brothers Big Sisters agency. He spends his spare time keeping fit through rock climbing and biking and is active in Metroport Rotary Club and the Metroport Veterans Association. Karl is a past member of the US Army Ranger Association Board of Directors, past Chairman of the Board of Deacons, Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita Kansas, and has mentored troubled youth and prison inmates. He is married to the former Sara Callender and lives in Texas. He has two grown daughters and two grandsons.
Where did the idea for GallantFew come from?
When I learned of the challenges veterans face transitioning from active duty, I realized my own personal experiences could help them, so I tried engaging with existing organizations such as the VA and some national veteran service organizations. Getting no traction, I decided to launch on my own.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
We have three dogs, so I’m usually up and taking them for a walk around dawn. I have a home office, and I keep a priority list of action items. I personally coach many of the veterans joining our program and my schedule has to be flexible to accommodate their availability. Often it’s evenings and weekends. Three times a week I take veterans indoor rock climbing and at least three times a week I hop on my road bike for a long ride.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I let them cook in my subconscious awhile. Could be days or months. At some point I’ll float all or portions with my team. If it makes sense, we develop a plan. An idea that continues to grow through GallantFew is our annual “Run Ranger Run”. This event helps raise money for veterans transitioning back to civilian life, and it helps bring communities together.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
There are new techniques coming to light to treat post-traumatic stress that are drug-free, such as EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing). I believe PTS is not an incurable condition and brain science is moving in a direction that will help millions, not just veterans.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
If I get stuck on a problem or idea I’ll go out for a long bike ride. That solo time, not focusing on the issue but enjoying the ride and pushing myself helps me get clarity. I’ve solved many of the world’s problems while riding – the issue is remembering the solution when I get off the bike.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Get a professional mentor and ask for advice often, especially when times are tough. Don’t let pride get in the way of sharing challenges and obstacles. Don’t ask why something didn’t work like you wanted, ask what do you need to do achieve the objective.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I consider myself someone who openly considers all sides of an issue and looks for ways for compromise and solution. If I’m the only one that believes a certain way on an issue, I’m probably wrong.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
When I get overwhelmed I pause and remind myself that my workload is self-imposed. Knowing I can control my pace helps me take breaks when needed and apply focus when needed.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Finding the right people and giving them the freedom to succeed. Setting left and right limits so we operate legally and within the boundaries of our charter, then getting out of the way. While I might not agree with methods, if the results are satisfactory and we’re helping more veterans, I’m pleased.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Unfortunately we’ve had veterans in our network fall to such depths of despair that they end their own lives. It’s devastating when that happens. I can’t let that stop the work we do, though, because there are many more moving forward in life because of GallantFew coaching, resources and connections. I’ve learned I can’t take ownership of someone else’s issue, but I can be empathetic and supportive, and I pledge to always do everything in my capacity to help the other person identify and implement strategies to overcome their obstacles and achieve their objectives. Knowing available resources and being able to offer advice without being critical or judgmental helps the other person take charge of their success.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The Burris Institute in Los Angeles certifies lay people as Functional Emotional Fitness coaches. Burris techniques are extremely powerful and easy to grasp, and the results are measurable and replicable. Become a Burris coach and help others achieve their objectives.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Taking my wife to dinner! I’m exceptionally lucky and blessed with Sara and our careers are so busy that’s it’s a treat to get away and focus on each other for an hour or two.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Evernote. I forward important emails and I scan all business cards and other documents. I even snap pics of my handwritten notes in Evernote, where I can search both text and handwriting recognition.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss. He’s a retired FBI hostage negotiator and his techniques are common-sense and invaluable in interactions with others.
What is your favorite quote?
Steven Covey once told me “Be a trim tab”. The trim tab is the smallest part of a sailing vessel, but without it the vessel cannot steer. Unseen but influential.
• Don’t dwell on problems. Ask yourself positive questions that allow your subconscious to develop solutions. Set the conditions for thought by doing something active – going for a walk, a bike ride, a jog.
• Find a mentor and don’t hide areas where you aren’t achieving the success you desire. Ask for guidance. An outside eye providing honest feedback helps to put fresh perspective on an issue.
• Don’t take ownership of someone else’s issue. Be empathetic and be ready to help them find solutions.
• It only takes one person to make a difference. Be an influencer, don’t seek the spotlight.
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