233: Your hustle has to be bigger than your struggle - with Roman Roberts
Meet Roman Roberts
Roman Roberts grew up in foster care until the age of 9 when he was adopted into a family that was less than ideal. At 18 Roman joined the US Army as an interrogator and deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan, and worked with Special Operations. Once he returned home Roman had a challenging transition, and almost lost his family. It was there he finally found himself, and then utilizing his skills from the military and foster care he began to help businesses with policies and more.
Let's talk about you being an interrogator. How does that translate into the business world?
The first thing that people always think of when you say that is that it translates over in like an aggressive way of questioning, right? Like figuring out who did this or that and that component certainly does exist. But the main piece is, it's about rapport. It's about conversation. It's about understanding and really and truly, every business is in the business of communicating no matter what you do. How you communicate internally and externally, can affect the flow of your business. So, for me, really, and truly the thing about interrogation that I often use is that rapport and communication piece. Those are the main things that translate over and are the most important.
What is the main thing that businesses get wrong when it comes to policies and procedures?
I help businesses write policies and procedures using my time in the military, my time in aerospace and working with nonprofits and financial institutions and other types of businesses. And really, truly the thing that I always see is when people write a policy, whether they're at a growth point, they're trying to hit that next level, or they're in the beginning. It's always it's got to be perfect. It's got to be perfect. Yes, it's important that they have structure behind them. But it's okay that they grow and evolve and that they're not perfect. Because really, and truly, it's a framework, right? It sets those outer boundaries to let the business operate and flourish.
What did foster care teach you about business?
Foster care for me was an interesting time. And I was in a very interesting time in the system and I went through abusive homes and some amazing homes and it would change in almost a blink of a hat. And people have different names for it whether it's grit resiliency, whatever you want to call it. I say when I'm speaking to foster kids or anywhere else, your hustle has to be bigger than your struggle. So what's your why or however you want to look at it? How dedicated are you to this thing that you're doing? And are you going to be willing to work through the hard times? Like right now with COVID? Are you going to be willing to push through that wall, that barrier, whatever it is, to rise to that next level? Because it's amazing what you'll see on the other side.
What is one of the most important skills that you learned in the military that you brought over to business?
I think the biggest thing was helping others. Like at the core, the military is a service of helping its country or helping the country that it's in. When you really take that mindset of being there to help, and being willing to work through the hardest of issues or situations, and keep that forefront of service in mind, then that's really what drives success and whether it's individually as a contributor on a team, or as a business owner. If you're thinking about service and helping others and that selfless service, then you're going to hit the next level extremely quickly.
Can you share with our listeners, one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
My favorite actually came from LinkedIn. I got connected to this group called the Veteran Roundtable. And it just connected me to a ton of amazing people in all kinds of different fields of veterans, people who wanted to help veterans. It was because that was my first time to engage in a group inside of LinkedIn, and to see what kind of a connection you could build online. And obviously everyone now is kind of learning more about digital interaction through COVID. But at that time that it was there it existed, but it was really my first time utilizing that system. And it was a pretty powerful system. And it gave me a lot of belief in it.
How do you stay in front of her but best nurture your network and your community?
For me, so I operate from a premise of being real. And so for me, I just always be authentic. Be my real self. And whether that means that I talk about today I messed up, I yelled at my kid or I yelled at an employee or I, whatever, right? Insert any topic there, or I gave bad advice. Just being real and being able to be open about that gives a level of authenticity. But it also lets your network know that, hey, we're all on this journey together and I'm going make mistakes today. And you're going to make mistakes tomorrow. But if we're a network, then we should be able to talk about that and grow through that and push through that.
What advice would you offer the business professional who's looking to grow their network?
I'm a huge fan of LinkedIn. So I would say get on LinkedIn and stop thinking of it as a resume. So I literally would just copy and paste whatever my resume was at the time. And really, and truly, it's so much more than that. I mean, you've got people posting their own little raps or keynote speeches or paintings that they do, right. It's so much more. if you're showing up in that space and showing things and showing your true authentic, people are going to find you. But if you're not doing it, no one's going to find you.
Digital networking or traditional networking? Which one do you find more value in?
This is going to sound funny because everything I just said. I love digital networking. But sometimes there's just something really nice about being able to sit in front of somebody. So I think it depends on the type. But for me, predominantly, I do use a lot of digital networking and in this day and age, it's easier. It's fast. But I do think in person, face to face physical networking does have a place.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
At 20 I was in the military, and I was in Iraq. So for me, I honestly would say, to realize that this is a chapter in your career. It's not your entire career. I was so wrapped in that military aspect of me being my life, that I didn't go after any college when I was in the military. I didn't do anything outside of military, studying, working out shooting guns, right? Like that was all that I did. So I think I would say be more involved in the world, and the things going on around you, like professionally and not just professionally in the military, but the general professions. And to just realize that this is a chapter.
We've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the sixth degree?
When I first launched my “Real Talk with Roman,” I asked Jocko Willink to come on. He wrote the book, Extreme Ownership, he’s a former Navy SEAL, great just amazing content, love what he puts out, love what he does, love his podcast. So he's definitely a person that I would want to connect with.
Any final word or advice to offer listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
Don't be afraid to jump out there and take that risk. Not every piece of content is going to land and you're probably not going to be viral. But your intent shouldn’t always be to be viral. It should just be to connect and resonate with somebody and for me if I resonate with one person in a post, that's one more person that I'm closer connected to than when I started the day.
How to connect with Roman