Being the best version of yourself can be quite a selfish thing. But sometimes, in order to be the captain, you have to look after your own personal growth. If you are growing, then your business will follow suit. On this episode of the Note Closers Show Podcast, Scott Carson interviews real estate investor and realtor Jason Martin. Jason goes in-depth on his new best-selling book, This is Your Captain Speaking. Discover his journey to finding awareness and the life lessons he learned along the way. Be the captain of your ship and be the best version of yourself today.
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Be The Captain Of Your Business: Growing First As A Person With Jason Martin
This is Jason Martin, author of This Is Your Captain Speaking. In this episode, we go deep on life, why it’s all about life and less about business. Read through as I share a few secrets, tips and tricks that will help you rethink how you’re viewing the world.
I’m excited to be here. I don’t know about you out there but with such the chaos and all the craziness we’ve seen, sometimes we often feel like we’re not in control of our ship. I was on a plane and spoke at an event for the first time in several months. When you’re sitting there in the plane, you hear, “This is your captain speaking,” I’m like, “Is it my captain?” I’m thinking, “Am I on the path where I want to go? Is this what I want to be doing on a regular basis? I want to be home?” Especially when you spend time with loved ones, you get used to that.
I’m excited about our topic. We’ve got a rock star guest. He is an amazing realtor, knows the DMV market, the Washington DC market at the back of his hand. This is a guy who has a little bit of change in direction where instead of sitting on the plane, being directed by somebody, this guy busted into the captain’s seat and took control. He is the author of an amazing book that I highly recommend you all go out to get a copy of it. You’re going to love it because it says a lot for all of us and where we want to go. He’s the author of This Is Your Captain Speaking: Life Lessons from the Journey So Far. I’m honored to have my new friend, Jason Martin, join us here on the show. What is going on, Jason? How are you doing?
I’ll give you the story. You set it up pretty well. I want to bring it back down to earth quickly for everybody. Folks, if you order the book, you’ll see the cover. You’re thinking I’m on a boat and I’m sailing the easy life and all of that but the reality is I’m the captain when we get in our minivan to go on family trips. I’m on the road for 8 to 10 hours. The title of the book came from that.
I get on the microphone and go like this, “This is your captain speaking, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome aboard the Martin Express. If you need anything at all, the fine lady sitting next to me,” that’s mom, by the way, “She’s happy to get it.” Inevitably, within two minutes, mom is out of her seat, getting something for the kids in the back of the minivan right away on our long trip. There’s the cover. It looks relaxing. It’s cool but then there’s the reality. I’m the captain of the Martin Express minivan. I want to let everybody know that.
When we spoke before, you shared a great story. Could you talk a little bit about the book and what inspired you to go there? We have mutual friends. Our friend Ruby introduced us a few months back. We’ve had her on the show before. The Love Punch is what her podcast used to be called. She’s gone through her own journey. When she called me up and told me about you, I was like, “We got to have Jason on here.” Let’s talk about what led you to write the book and what led up to it.
Years ago, Scott, I started to journal. By journal, I don’t mean daily. I would do probably 1 or 2 entries a month. As I began to journal, I began to learn from myself. I was like, “This is interesting.” I started to put in family memories and things that were happening in my life. I started to become self-aware. I began on this journey of self-improvement, self-awareness, self-help, whatever you want to call it. I’m so grateful I did it because it led to the book This Is Your Captain Speaking. It’s been a fun journey that I like to share with everybody. It’s my goal in life to be the best father and husband that I can be. That’s the journey I’m on.
I want to be the best me I can be as well. When I started to explore that as an option, my world opened up in a big way. That’s how the book came to be. I get to have my name on it but I feel like the world was calling me in a direction. I’d listened. I ran with it. As a matter of fact, we became number one on Amazon in our category. I don’t have a background in writing. I failed Copy Editing in college. Here I am. I wrote a book from the heart. It’s life lessons that some describe as a love letter to my family, baked in with little lessons that I want them to know.
Others have described it as a living legacy. My hope for those that are reading it is it starts to get your brain going a little bit and have you asking yourself some questions. Are you doing the things you want to do for those that matter most to you? How are you doing that? Are you being the best version of yourself possible?
Let’s talk about that a little bit. You talked about journaling. It can be such a great rehab or brain dump, letting go of things. If you go back and read what you’re reading, you’re like, “I was thinking differently than I’m thinking now.” What’s been the biggest change between Jason previously to where you’re at that surprised you, Jason?
In my late 30s, I started to question maybe some of the things I was doing or some of the habits I’ve had. You look back on your life and you’re like, “I’ve been doing a lot of the same stuff for a long amount of time. What if I change it up a little bit and try to see what else is out there?” Do I have another level, quite frankly, Scott? That’s what I wanted to know. I issued myself a personal challenge to write the book. The funny thing is I tell the story to everybody. I told all my family and friends, “I’m going to write a book.”
When I made that statement, I hadn’t written a single chapter in the book but I knew that if I put myself out there and told them that I was going to pull this off, it was going to happen. That’s what I did. It was a personal growth challenge. I feel like I’ve been on this journey like this for the last few years. I made a choice. I was like, “I’m going to give it a go.” I’m so grateful that I did because I find myself in conversations like this all the time. This is my 2nd or 3rd conversation. We get to talk about life, family and choices we get to make. That type of stuff excites me.
One of the biggest things about goals is to tell your friends and family, so they hold you accountable to get it done. The last thing around Thanksgiving time was, “How’s that book deal done?” You run a team there in Dallas-Fort Worth as well too in your real estate business. What things did you have to do to help you accomplish those things to get the book written? What are some of the major habits that you changed where you said, “I can’t do that anymore. I want to try something?”
We’re based in DC, right at the bottom of Capitol Hill there. One of the things I had to do to get the book written was to start getting up a little bit earlier. Most of the writing for the book was done around 5:30 in the morning, which would require me to go to bed and be asleep around 10:00. To be able to wake up with energy, ready to attack the day, I needed to start paying attention to what time I ate dinner and went to bed. Was I watching Netflix too late at night? I started to monitor my energy and do things like that.
Since I was sixteen, we were popping beers with buddies. I had that habit in my life for a very long time and now I probably have a couple of glasses of wine once a quarter. It came from a curiosity like, “There might be a different way to approach some things. Let’s test it out and see what happens.” I’m so thankful that I did. I want people to know that as you get into the book, you’ll hear a lot of things like, “Take care of yourself. Be the best version of yourself possible.” That all sounds selfish. People need to be selfish because when you’re monitoring this stuff and trying to be the best version of yourself possible, who reaps the benefits are those closest to you, my kids, wife, family and friends.
If I can be the best version of myself possible, they’re all going to reap those benefits. As I started to make these tweaks, my brain started going, “I liked this stuff and these tweaks. I want to do more and more. I’m hungry for more.” Whatever that means but more goodness for the right reasons. I do run a team. We’ve closed about 250 homes in 2021. We talk 80% about life and 20% about business. My approach is if you go on a personal growth journey, I commit to the team that it’s my belief that you don’t have to worry about your professional growth. If you can grow yourself as a person, the business is likely going to be there as well.
I share that story with them because over those years, I started to document there’s a success when I had a personal growth moment. The key to professional growth and development is to be selfish and be the best version I can be of myself. Capture that but don’t think that I’m selfish, if that makes sense. I’m doing it, yes, for me but I want those around me to see the best version of me possible so that they can draw energy from that. The book has got a ton of lessons in there like that. I write about my kids and my dog in the book. We bake the life lessons at the end of each chapter.
Our mentors have always said, “If you want to go to making six figures, you’ve got to change and grow your mind into a six-figure mindset. If you want to get to seven figures, you’ve got to grow your mind to that because you’re not ready a lot of times.” Anytime you have success and breakthroughs, it opens up a whole different way of thinking and being more efficient in getting things done. You’re not buying into the limitations of the lies that we tell ourselves about what we can or cannot get done.
We can tie it right to goals. When you go on the journey, you’re going to get results. Somebody was asking me about goals. I love and I’m a big fan of setting goals but I set goals in a new way where I identify the goal. The result of the goal is the result of the goal. It’s good, bad or whatever. I don’t get too attached to that. I make tweaks and see if we can make some subtle changes. If I win, it’ll be a celebration but it’s not like I need that win to survive. If I lose, I’m not going to hold on to that loss very long. I’m focused on trying to do good in the world.
Do you see yourself being a lot more efficient, getting up at 5:30 to write a little bit? You’re starting the day probably 3 to 4 hours ahead of most people.
I would say a lot more efficient but in fairness, by 3:00 or 4:00, I’m washed out. I’m done. My wife and kids make fun of me. Especially in the fall time, by 6:00, if it’s dark out, I got my pajamas on. By 8:00, I’m ready to be settled in the bed. My wife’s thrown in the towel. She’s given up on me staying up late. She’s gotten used to it. I’m totally more efficient. I do like to be up before the world wakes up. I have my best thoughts and I’m most energized in the morning. I might be a bit different from a lot of folks out there where at 4:00, you still have energy. I don’t. By 4:00, I’m done.
What impact has your kids seen in you besides going to bed in pajamas at 4:30?
The best result of the book is success for me what the book became and if my kids and wife reads it. Maybe I figured my mom might read it. They took some of the lessons from it, absorbed it and understood the dad cares about them that much to write a book about them. That was what success for the book looked like. Every chapter in the book came from the bottom of my heart. However, the impact has been crazy. It’s a very weird phenomenon when you’re getting emails from people all over the country.
I was on a webinar. I’m on this show and things are happening because I put my heart out there and stepped into what I was trying to do in life. It’s been awesome. They get to see that. I’m going to be like, “Dad’s an author. Dad wasn’t an author months ago.” They will absorb that and realize as they move forward in their life that if you want to do something new, want to try something or become something, do it and give it a go. They’re taking that away from it. They read every chapter quickly, which was awesome. My life lessons are baked in there for them.
Has there been a mentor or coach along the way that’s helped inspire to take these steps a few years back?
I feel like there have been a few along the way. When people think of mentors, they think of somebody they got a close personal relationship with. They’re on the phone once or twice a week. I started with a real estate brokerage called Keller Williams. I’m sure your folks are familiar with it. Funny enough, I sent the book to Jay Papasan. He’s got it sitting on his desk. I know he does. Gary Keller and Jay had an impact on my thinking. I was with Keller Williams for thirteen years. I was a fan of one thing. They still run and did run a class called Quantum Leap. All of this stuff was around the things that we’re talking about.
If I were to look back and say who was a mentor and who had an influence on this trajectory, I would say those guys for sure. I loved what they were putting into the world. I’m a big fan of Hal Elrod. I’m trying to find a way to get into House World and maybe get on his podcast, although he doesn’t know me yet. He will soon. Those are the folks that I would mention.
Looking back, has there been a surprise that you didn’t expect from a chapter or similar comments you’re hearing from people who’ve read the book or reached out to you?
It’s nuts. The things that happened are insane. There’s a chapter in the book called Positive Mental Attitude, Scott. I had a sixth-grade teacher who, on the whiteboard in the classroom one day, had these three big letters, PMA. A group of sixth-graders walked into the class and we didn’t know what it was about. Morris Hawkins was the teacher. He proceeded to share the benefits of having a positive mental attitude in life. That message stuck with me from the sixth grade.
I share that with my kids, PMA, Positive Mental Attitude. It’s like generation to generation passing this stuff down. I was on the webinar. I have not seen Moore’s Hawkins probably since the sixth grade, how many years ago that was. I hadn’t talked to him and stayed in touch with him. It’s that life lesson that he passed along to me, a moment in time that had such an impact on my life. Three simple letters that he put up there one day.
I’m on the webinar. A friend of mine goes, “This might be the Morris Hawkins you’re talking about.” I was on the phone with 86-year-old Morris Hawkins from my sixth-grade class, who’s still doing well, went on Amazon to buy the book that he has a chapter in there about that. I got my sixth-grade teacher in there. As a former sports anchor, I’ve come across some fun people behind me. In 2001, I was at the Masters’ Tournament. I covered that.
I got to experience a little bit of Tiger Woods. There’s a great story in the book about Arnold Palmer. I’ve also been fortunate enough in the real estate world to get to know Mitt and Ann Romney closely, which are awesome people. I’m a pretty lucky dude sharing my experiences. I hope to inspire others to start thinking about life, journaling, your legacy and self-awareness. These things are so fun.
PMA is important in life’s ups and downs. Those that have a PMA rebound a whole lot faster. They don’t let things drag them down like others. I’m a big advocate of only having a 30-second bitch session if something goes wrong and then get back on the right track, move in and see how you can turn lemons into lemonade as best you can.
Those at the top of their game in any industry in life and/or business seem to adapt that. You have to be able to move forward. In our office, we keep a big wooden sign in red letters that says, “Next.” Anytime somebody gets stuck, we’re like, “You got it.” Next is a good key component to moving forward. That’s what success or failure is. Next, things are going to continue to go and the world’s going to continue to go. My kids finished their last day of middle school. They’re off to high school. I happened to be posting in my high school Facebook group. I’m like, “Didn’t we graduate the other day? Now my kids are going to high school.” All of these memories and moments in time I’m aware of and I wanted to capture. It’s fun. It’s starting a lot of cool conversations.
What’s been a hurdle, setback or anything that happened along while you were writing?
There’s a chapter in the book on failure. You’re not going to be surprised by that. I don’t know why I did it this way but I did it. I didn’t know what I was doing. The first book was a business self-help book. I submitted it to the copy editor. The copy editor said, “You missed your mark and audience. Go back to the drawing board.” Keep in mind. I poured it out. I laid it out. I thought I had it. This is no joke, Scott. I had my book release party and speech written. I was ready to go. I had people, my friends visualized in the room and here I am rocking. That gut-punch sent me to the mat.
It took me three weeks to decide if I was going to go to write another book. Thankfully, that copy editor said, “Where you get strong, where I can connect in the gold and whatever you’re trying to put out there is when you do this through the lens of a father, husband and family man.” Once I started to connect the dots with that, I was like, “I already have that. That’s me. That’s who I am. Thank you for pulling that out in me.”
What you guys will see, This Is Your Captain Speaking is the second book I wrote in that amount of time. The first one, I got punched in the gut but I’m so thankful I got punched because I wouldn’t miss the mark. What I’ve got is something that if I die tomorrow, my family can pick it up and be like, “This is who dad was, his core values and what he believed about life in us.” I laid it out there and put it out there for them.
You’re hoping your mom was going to read it. Moms always take a look at us in rose-colored glasses in a lot of cases. Anything surprised you about what you put down as your legacy?
If only a couple of people read it, my kids, wife and maybe mom would read it. That’s all I ever thought maybe I would read it, but it’s taking its journey. I’ve mentioned my mom in the book for sure and the impact she’s had on my life. I’ve talked about my dad as well, how he instills a work ethic in me. We talked through those journeys about a family from that perspective. I look back on it. My mom was extremely influential in my life and the person I am now.
What have you started to apply? You mentioned something in there that was very critical. With your team, you talk about 80% life and 20% work. In most places, it’s completely inverted. It’s 80% or 90% work and only 10% life. How has flipping it over enriched your office? I’m sure you probably feel a lot closer to the people around you. On the Martin Group page, I was admiring. You got what looks like a very tight-knit and diversified office.
Genuinely, I care about them as people. If you were to call any of the agents or staff and ask them, “Does Jason care?” The answer is, “Yeah.” I get and draw energy from helping people succeed in life. The business will figure out the business. We’ll figure out the business. I’m not that worried about that. I pay attention to it. I’m a believer. It’s hard to go all-in on this. It took me 38 years to start exploring this concept. I don’t know why the hell it took me so long but it did. We’re all on our journey but now that I get this, for the rest of my life, anytime I want to level up, I’m going to level up as a person first.
The business is going to be what it’s going to be. The results are ridiculous. People on my team, once they joined the businesses, it’s 400%, 700%. Now, we’re talking about 1,700%. They hear this all the time from me. We’d get into conversations about happiness in life and attach labels to ourselves. We’re having these conversations that I don’t think people have enough, Scott and I don’t. I invite people to come on the journey with me.
When they do and we look back at the results that they’re going to get, I promise you they’re going to be there. Even if they’re not exactly perfect, you’re going to be grateful that the journey has brought you to a spot because it frees you and your mind up. When you’re free, you can think clearly. When you can think clearly, you have the ability to be more successful in the professional world.
It tied down things. I would say probably experienced living in the Washington DC market where everything has been so uproar-ish with politics and everything that goes along with that. Have you made it a point and tried to eliminate a lot of those distractions as you can while keeping an eye on the prize or anything?
Yes is the very direct answer. We’re trying to eliminate the distractions. If you’re spending time thinking about things that aren’t moving you in the direction you want to go in life, then you should be asking yourself some questions about that. Why do I think about that? Why am I holding on to that? What’s the benefit of me holding on to that thought? 70% to 80% of our thoughts by some studies are negative. What’s the benefit of that?
When you start to become self-aware and you’re like, “There’s another one.” One, how did it become that way? Two, why am I having these thoughts? Three, how can we let them go? It’s a technique that I’m actively working on. I feel like we’re on a journey here. While it may seem like I have some things figured out, I can only tell you that I’m working on stuff. I’m always going to be a student of wellness and self-improvement. I’m experiencing results and I want more of them. Momentum is hard to get, very easy and quickly lost.
Are you planning another book or chapter? What’s on tap for the next phase?
I’ll go deep with you here for a second on it. You start to crave the rewards that you see from it. I’m used to people walking up and jumping in a conversation with me about a chapter. At first, I was like, “I think that way.” Then I’m like, “You read the book.” As stuff comes from all over the country and emails that are beautiful, you get used to that. I’m not going to let myself hold on to that for too much because I don’t want this thing up here to get big. I’m super appreciative of it. If you want to reach out to me, I’ll email you back. We’ll be in a conversation.
I’m not automatically jumping to the next book, although people are asking but if I do it, it’s because something’s calling me to do it. I’m getting whispered in the ear and I’ll do it. I will tell you what I am being called to do. I got to figure out how to make this happen. Maybe you or some of your readers can help me. This is evolving but I want to take the book into the prison system. I’d like to set up a structure where I can help prisoners write books for their families. I’d like to get the books published and hand them to their families. That would be pretty cool.
The way I look at that is like, “If this can have an impact on my family and I’ve had an easy run in life, what if I could take and help somebody that’s had a hard road and provide some hope and inspiration for them and then give love to their family?” I’m being called to do that. This is the same thing, Scott, where I told everybody I would write a book and then I wrote the first page. This is that same type of conversation. I’m putting it out to the world that it would be cool if I could get people behind bars to put something out there like this.
They have that same family experience. They and their kids experience it. It gives them something to hope for while they’re in prison. I don’t even know where that came from. I’m going to run to that. This is going to sound like woo-woo for you guys like, “Where is he coming from? What’s he talking about?” I’ve learned that when you get these subtle hints, whispers, divine intervention, a greater calling, whatever you want to call it, if you go for it, it’s cool.
I’m going to share something with you. I’m friends with Greg Reid, who’s the author of Think and Grow Rich Three Feet from Gold. He co-wrote the book with Sharon Lechter, who’s co-author of Rich Dad Poor Dad with Robert Kiyosaki. Both of them are my Rolodex. I can pick up the phone and talk to them at any given time. They’ve written hundreds and hundreds of books across the country. I’m going to make the introduction for you.
It’s a funny story I want to share with you. Greg has been a mentor of mine for years. When he first wrote his book, Three Feet from Gold, it got turned down by close to 58 different publishers. He took the manuscript to Sharon Lechter. Sharon laughed at him and said, “This is a joke.” Fast forward, he sold hundreds of millions of copies and did a lot of stuff out there.
There’s a lot of insight into that but the thing it talks about is the prisoners. I know he did something not too long ago, working with inmates and people in the San Diego area. That might be your insight. One of the things I like about what you said is a lot of people have experienced being in jail, imprisoned. One of their first things is to try to reconcile with the people that they’ve hurt, their family and stuff like that. I can see your book and your theory on that helping to change the light, shed a different color of light on people that are serious about changing their things, whatever they’ve done in the past to try, get over that and change the whole path or at least change the legacy of where they’re going.
I would love for that connection to happen. I hope your readers watch this conversation unfold. I put something out there to the world and took a leap of faith. Here I am in this conversation with you about that. Who knows where that goes? I’d be jazzed about that. That’s the other thing too. When you’re doing things, make sure you’re doing things authentically.
The business results are going to come. Come from a good spot inside and let that be your light. That’s a fun way to do it. It puts good out into the world. I look at it like, “Maybe months from now, maybe I’ve got a book in my hand from Tom, the prisoner, who’s locked up behind bars but has four kids that want to know about their dad.” I get jazzed about that. I have no idea how to pull it off.
Were you a big reader before you started writing? You said you didn’t write a lot.
I’ve become a bigger reader. I’ve always been a reader but not to the level that I’m reading now. I’m probably ripping a couple of books a month. I’ll probably read 24 books or so in 2021. I enjoy reading more and more.
Have you had a chance to read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch?
You’re killing me, Scott. It might even be right there. Weird stuff happens in my world. I’m trying to tell you that. Not only have I read it, but I’ve also read that one multiple times. I haven’t done it yet but I would like to reach out to his widow. I would like to reach out to his family because that exact book also had a slight impact on the writing of This Is Your Captain Speaking. I’ve told that to my wife. They are partially local here in Virginia, maybe not right around the DMV. It is my intention to drop a note and a book in the mail to them to say, “Your dad did have some impact on this book as well.”
That’s what I thought. I saw some similarities and could see a little bit after reading your book. That’s why I brought it up. I had to ask. That one’s always had a big impact. Whether you’re watching the video or reading the book, I always end up crying as all the others died. It’s a very emotional but very touching story. When we were started talking and then I got the book, I was like, “This is a lot because there are so many people out there struggling.”
We do a lot with investors. We’re dealing with real estate and people are getting excited about making money but it’s more than making money. If you’re chasing the dollar, you’re not leaving a legacy behind of some sort or you have a bigger why to what you’re doing, you’ll run into trouble and issues. At some point, you’re like, “Is what I’m doing working myself to the bone worth it long-term?”
Think about happiness and joy. My daughter got a piano recital. We’re going to go and do that. I’m going to watch her soak that in and experience that. That moment doesn’t happen every day or all the time. I want to absorb that stuff. To me, that’s what life is about. I’ll share this one story. On my way to my kid’s school, I’m constantly looking for people that are happy or who I think are happy.
I looked out and there was a crossing guard. She’s smiling. It’s raining and gloomy. Whether it was wintertime, summertime or springtime, she’s always happy. If I stopped and talked to her and said, “Are you happy?” I bet I would get the answer that I know. Whatever you think you need to be in life, if you’re nothing else other than happy, come on, let’s do that.
You got to go out and get a copy of This Is Your Captain Speaking. Take control of yourself. Go out, be happy and have a PMA. Go out and make some things happen. You never know who you’re influencing. Let your family, friends and closest to you know exactly what impact you have and what you’re thinking out there.
If you want to connect with me as well, anybody out there and your readers, TodayYouChoose.com, you can connect with me right there. You hit me up with an email. See the picture of my family. Chapter One is there and buy the book there as well. You got a choice. What are you going to choose to do?
Imagine if you’re taking responsibility and making your own decisions versus letting others make those decisions for you. Be the captain. Jason, thank you so much for coming on the show, sharing your insights, lessons and path.
It’s been a trade. I could talk with you all day. We’re connecting a lot of dots here, Scott.
Check it out. Get the book and go to the website Jason mentioned. Take action. You never know where you’re headed. Honestly, if you keep a positive attitude, even when bad things go right, you’ll still come out on top. You’ll see things and opportunities that present themselves that if you don’t have a positive mental attitude, you’ll miss. I’m a big believer that if the world and environment say no, it’s saying yes to something else. Go out and take some action. We’ll see you all at the top.
- This Is Your Captain Speaking: Life Lessons from the Journey So Far
- Ruby Fremon – Previous episode
- Love Punch
- Keller Williams
- Hal Elrod
- Think and Grow Rich Three Feet from Gold
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- The Last Lecture
About Jason Martin
Jason, a former sports anchor fulfilled his childhood dream of interviewing top performing athletes like Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer. He now runs one of the most successful real estate teams, Jason Martin Group in Washington, DC. His firm has been featured in the Wall Street Journal as one of the top teams in the country.
“This Is Your Captain Speaking” is a collection of lessons and wisdom that Jason has learned throughout his life and career. In his book, Jason shares the importance of discipline, hard work and chasing one’s dreams — told through the lens of a father and family man sharing his life and journey with his loved ones.