Former Capt. Lee Kind has worn many hats — he’s a former Army officer, master jumpmaster, real estate agent, PT guru and author with an MBA from George Mason University — and he wants to use them all to help service members.
His passion for it has yielded five books, which address physical fitness, finance, public speaking, leadership and a how-to guide to becoming a jumpmaster, respectively. He spent six years in the 82nd Airborne Division.
“It doesn’t matter what branch they’re in,” Kind said, taking a break from a recent book signing at the Pentagon. “Unfortunately most folks don’t know the tools that are out there for them to become successful. That’s why I created all my books.”
We asked Kind to give us five of his best tips, and he gave us a bonus tip because he saw that I was fighting a cold: Drink 16 ounces of water when you first wake up. It’s hydrating, which is good for physical training.
1 – Get with a program. That is, a whole body program for PT. Folks who focus on a single exercise or body part, say push-ups, may find they’ve hurt their back because they didn’t balance by strengthening their abdominals and hip flexors. “Never just focus on one muscle,” Kind said. “A couple of core exercise will get you in the shape that you need to be in.”
2 – Don’t spend it all in one place. Rather than spending the $25,000 accumulated on a deployment on a brand new car, Kind suggests investing that money as part of his deployment checklist. Ask your finance officer or S-1 about the Defense Department’s investment programs, which can yield up to a 10 percent guaranteed return. And if you have to buy a car, consider a certified newer car and save as much as $15,000.
“If you leave those investments alone, in the long term, you could have from that one deployment hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Kind said.
3 – Use your VA loan. Though most lenders will steer you away from it because it requires a tougher appraisal than a regular mortgage and a little extra work from them, it can save the soldier thousands in interest fees. If you are an active-duty service member with an injury that would qualify you as disabled, there is no requirement to pay a VA funding fee. “That’s thousands of dollars right in your pocket, right up front,” Kind said.
4 – Adjust your leadership style. Most of the time, the best way to lead is as an encourager and a motivator, and the time to yell is only when someone is about to hurt themselves severely or get themselves killed. If you raise the volume all the time, people will tune you out. There is a time to micromanage, but do it all the time, and you will destroy your people’s motivation.
5 – Plan your public speaking. Most people are terrible at it, and worse, they wing it. Better to plan and answer the five Q’s in your talk: Who, what, when, where and why. And consider who is in your audience.