Hangin’ with Colby Jenkins
Colby has led people through the darkest of dangers. Any wrong moves and you end up dead. Being a Green Beret, he has been put through some of the most challenging circumstances imaginable. Like the time his chopper was gunned down by enemy forces in Afghanistan. His troops were completely surrounded by the enemy, but by communicating clearly, keeping a level head, and doing the very next thing, they were able to get out of those dangers without any loss of life. Colby has led an incredible life and has learned the value of being kind to all. He uses many of the skills he learned as a Green Beret to help build companies and businesses into A-Teams. He knows exactly what it takes to succeed and has a tremendous passion for serving others. Colby is a very gentle yet firm man, and it’s these qualities that have led him so far in life. Such a great time chatting with Colby. And he would love to connect with anyone listening to this podcast. Reach out to him via his website! Enjoy the podcast!
Get to Know Colby Jenkins
Joining a new team, whether in a business environment or the real world, can a daunting experience due to the dramatic shift that occurs. Colby Jenkins is a Green Beret with a wealth of experience in the military as well as different areas of government. It is Colby’s unique levels of experience that has led to him being recognized by companies like Google as a key speaker.
Colby aims to take teams on an adventure through his speeches and training while providing key insights on leadership along the way.
Born and raised in Roosevelt, Utah, Colby is the director of Atwood Innovation Plaza. This organization is a perfect encapsulation of Colby’s drive to help support local communities and ensure that people are empowered with new levels of innovation. Through the Atwood Innovation Plaza, Colby works to put the power back in the hands of students as well as people that come forward with different ideas. This is just one of the many roles that Colby has taken on to improve the lives of those around him.
Colby’s Unique Experience in and out of the Field
A combat veteran, Colby Jenkins has been deployed in a range of different locations around the world with his Special Forces A-Team, including Afghanistan, Columbia and Paraguay.
During his time in Afghanistan, Colby liaised with Tom Brokaw and NBC Nightly News. He and his team were featured as part of the “Global War on Terror” television special.
Colby has also worked on other government projects in places like Malaysia, Iraq, Jordan, Panama and Brazil.
As a Green Beret liaison to the US Congress, Colby has been responsible for taking Congress members and other professional members of staff to witness special operations activities around the world and ensure that they understand the complex elements that make up these activities.
Colby has also spent time working on Capitol Hill. In the US Senate and the Pentagon he managed the portfolio for the number 2 in command of the US military.
Colby has also worked as an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School for Political Management.
As well as taking on various daily responsibilities, Colby is recognized by Google as a trainer and speaker. He is often sent around the world to provide leadership training and team building to a range of different companies.
His unique experience and key materials have made him a tremendous asset to a wide variety of companies, keen to take their models to the next level.
Outside of Business
Outside of working on a range of projects, Colby is committed to spending as much time as possible with his family and loving wife. He moved back to Utah to be closer to his family as well as his large group of friends. One of his reasons for leaving his position as a program manager at Google was to gain a better quality of life, cutting down his commute time so that he had more time to spend with those he cared about while continuing to support those in need.
Both he and his wife are passionate about bringing their support to the state of Utah and helping drive it forward.
Colby is part of a large family and close to his siblings who are also based in Utah. Indeed, his focus on family may be the origins of why he has become such a key team member in a variety of unconventional situations.
Although he is no longer in the armed forces, Colby still likes to keep active and is a keen explorer of the outdoors. As well as traveling for work, Colby also loves exploring different countries and places in his spare time and experiencing a wide range of cultures. Indeed, his experience with a variety of cultures and people has greatly contributed to his becoming such a powerful, authoritative and charismatic speaker on the topic of team building within businesses and organizations.
While Colby already has a wide range of achievements under his belt and has accomplished countless different feats through a variety of careers and roles, he is constantly focused on the future. Colby is committed to spending more time helping others and ensuring that he can continue to develop more communities over the next few years through Atwood Innovation Plaza. Colby is always ready for fresh challenges and is excited to discover where a life filled with excitement and adventure will take him next.
Colby Jenkins Podcast Transcription
Charan: Hey what’s going on guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast, and I’m here with Colby Jenkins, who was highly recommended to be on this podcast. He is a former Green Beret, special forces soldier. Served in, I believe it was the army. Did you serve in Afghanistan or anything like that?
Colby: Afghanistan, yes, yeah. And South America.
Charan: And I cannot wait to get into those stories, because I know some of the stories… When we’re having a bad day, it’s like, ah, man, maybe things just didn’t go our way. Your bad day is, like, people passing away, and you’re trying to get out of there. So that’s a whole different type of bad day. But you’ve done some incredible things. And I know you worked at the Pentagon, you also worked at Google, and now you’re at Dixie State. And you are a public speaker talking about creating A-Team and helping people just become the best versions of themselves. And so I’m super excited to kind of dive in with you and hear a little bit more about you, your stories and whatnot, because we have a mutual friend Mitch Labrum. I guess he’s your cousin, I believe.
Charan: He was raving about you and he’s just like, “Dude, you’ve got to get Colby on immediately.” I’m like, “Okay, sounds good.” And when he told me a little bit about your description, I was like, “Mitch, we got to get Colby on immediately.”
Colby: Mitch is too kind.
Charan: So I appreciate it. I appreciate it. But yeah, I would love to hear about how you joined the Special Forces and how that all kind of went down. The whole thing about the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast is about people’s lemonade stand stories, their beginnings into their careers, or what avenue they first went on and then how they pivoted and all that good stuff. So yeah, if you don’t mind, let’s go from the beginning of that whole thing.
Colby: Okay. Yeah. Well, first, thank you for having me on, and thanks to Mitch for recommending and giving me the opportunity. I appreciate it. I hear nothing but good things about this podcast, and I’m happy to share what experience I have, that hopefully it will help others, because heaven knows I’ve had plenty of people give me a hand up, so I’m happy to pay it forward.
Colby: In terms of my path to becoming a Green Beret in the Special Forces, I would say it starts way back in childhood. I’ve had the privilege and blessing of being surrounded by great family, extended family relatives, like Mitch, his family, uncles, aunts, and of course my own awesome parents. One family member in particular was my grandfather Lynn Labrum. Mitch and I share Grandpa Labrum, as he was the father of my mom and Mitch’s dad. And he was a World War II veteran, true greatest generation member. And he had a great influence on me in terms of just being patriotic, being a good member of society, and ultimately on the path towards the military. Kind of growing up in his shadow of military service really inspired me.
Colby: And as I got older into high school and learned about what options could take me down that path, I learned about West Point, United States Military Academy, and I worked to get accepted there and was accepted. And so from high school, a couple of weeks later, I’ve found myself in New York at West Point at the Military Academy.
Charan: And was this something when you heard it, you were, “This is my calling. I love this. It’s speaking to my soul”? How did that kind of reasoning come about?
Colby: Yeah, it really was. And really back to just the interest and desire I had for military service growing up in my grandpa’s shadow. Just wanted to be like him, wanting to have those types of experiences and then learning about West Point and what it produces in terms of leaders for the nation and just overall experience. That’s what I wanted to do. And so through two years at West Point, after two years I left and served a church mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So I left, went to Brazil where I-
Charan: Oh cool.
Colby: And then came back to West Point. And there’s more stories in terms of talking about picking lemons, lemonade.
Charan: Yes, yes. Which we will definitely dive into.
Colby: Yeah. And so finished West Point, graduated, went to Ranger school, became an Army Ranger, and then into the infantry before ultimately going to Special Forces selection, where I was selected and then completed training and became a Green Beret. That was the “Cliff Notes” version of-
Charan: Yeah. I got to say, because I’ve never done military service or anything like that, but I’ve had friends that have gone through… I don’t even know the ranking system. so I’d embarrass myself trying to say what it is, but it’s no joke. All I know is you’re getting up early. You’re working all day. You’re kind of beating your body up, basically pushing it to the limit, in a sense. And did you feel like that was your experience as well, kind of going through all the different ranking systems?
Colby: Yes, definitely. But more so the training. In particular, Ranger school is designed to make you want to quit every day and so breaking you down and then putting you in teams, leadership opportunities where you now have to lead when you’re at your worst, you’re feeling your worst. And how are you going to overcome these challenges? So yeah, definitely. And when I speak and work with teams and companies, that the key component that I teach in terms of perseverance.
Colby: That moment when you are wanting to quit and you just quit tomorrow. And what helps you get to that point of, “Hey, I’m at my lowest, but I’m going to hang on for one more day.” And so I love talking about that with-
Charan: Well, how did that go for you? I’m so curious, because when you’re broken down and you’re like, “I give up. I cannot go any further.” And yet you still found yourself putting one foot in front of the other. How did you do that?
Colby: You know what? A key component in those moments of trial is service. Service to others or being the recipient of service. I have incredible stories and friends to this day, who I remember exact moments where they may have given me extra food, from their own little food stash, or may have carried some of my weight just because I couldn’t do it at that moment. And then in turn, I could do similar for others. And so I found, when my head is down, being able to look up and find someone who’s hurting just a little bit more than me, helping that person really helps you escape your own personal turmoil.
Charan: That’s such an interesting and powerful concept. One of the greatest principles that Jesus ever taught was to love someone is to really serve them, you know? And I think that’s such an important and powerful principle because you lose yourself, you literally lose yourself, when you’re in the service of other people. And it’s that sense of completely losing yourself, like your identity, your ego, who you are, for the greater good, and only to realize that you yourself are much greater than who you thought you were because of the service, and that’s how you discover that. But it’s powerful stuff. So, now-
Colby: Our daily occurrences of that in Ranger school, and then later in Special Forces selection, where you’re down and injured or something, and you just help your buddy to your left or right. Or somebody helps you and that’s what really pulls you through.
Charan: So did you actively engage in warfare in what you were doing?
Colby: I did later in my Special Forces career. We deployed my A-Team to Afghanistan, where we spent just under a year, and then after Afghanistan into Paraguay and Columbia doing more over indirect operations.
Charan: And so when you’re in those types of circumstances, which I have never been in, how do you describe those experiences? I’ve heard of what’s called a “hive mentality,” you know, where in one mind, basically your entire troop is like you have one thought, almost. Like how the birds fly and they can immediately turn angles at a whim. Is that kind of like what you went through?
Colby: Yeah. It does take on that characteristic, especially when it comes to basic tactics. For example, if my team is going into a village, and we’re going to have to clear several mud houses or mud huts, there are deliberate ways that when we go in a room, depending on where you’re at in the stack, that it becomes almost muscle memory. Our battle drills that we train on and we rehearse so that in the moment we can adapt, because one thing I talk about as well and when I present is, the enemy always gets a vote. Whether it’s a real enemy, like the Taliban, or just an obstacle in your life.
Colby: No matter how well we plan for a mission or prepared or had intelligence about a target, there was always some variable that could pop up when you least expect it. So being able to have that teamwork and the ability to execute battle drills, the basics, to move, communicate, help us overcome those unexpected-
Charan: You’re right. It’s interesting. There’s like the two factors of preparing for something, having the goals, having the exact target, exact mission, but then also being able to improvise right at that very moment. Because life and what whatnot, it constantly throws different things your way. And you’re like, “Oh my gosh, how do I improvise or do I get paralyzed?” You know?
Charan: And I know there’ve been many times where I’ve been paralyzed because I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t see this coming. I don’t know what to do, where to go.” And did you ever have any of your men or you yourself get into a mode where you suddenly you started panicking or was it just more like instincts kicked in and you’re like, “Nope. We know exactly what to do to get out of this situation.”
Colby: Yeah. I think I’d be lying if I said I never felt a moment of maybe — panic is not the right word — but moment of that factor goes up where “holy smokes,” and when I speak, I open my presentation talking about when my helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan and-
Charan: Oh my gosh. Yeah. Tell us about that story.
Colby: Yeah. So talk about a curve ball. So there was a particular group of Taliban we’d been tracking and chasing around for a while, and we finally got a firm fix on them and had the air assets to marshal an assault fairly quickly. And so off we went and I had my assault force split into two Chinook helicopters. The Chinooks the Army’s large helicopters with twin rotors. My helicopter was lead coming into the target. And as we came in high off a ridge-line, coming down. A Taliban machine gun just totally shot up the rear rotor of my helicopter.
Charan: No way.
Colby: The pilot immediately started calling to me, saying, “Hey, we’re going down. We were losing lift. We got to get your guys off, got to get them off.” And we were on a ridge-line, coming down. So he was able to still maintain some hover so we could get off before he went down on the other side of the ridge-line, but this caused everything to change because we’d planned to come in together on one side, assault across with an air-blocking element on the other side.
Colby: So now my other half of my team had to flare and go around to the far side. And now we were divided, assaulting towards each other with the bad guys between us and me as the commander thinking, “We’re shooting at each other. We’re hearing each other’s gunfire with Taliban shooting in between.” And so that’s where it came back to what we were just talking about earlier, that the ability of my Green Beret teammates to stick to the basics, to know when to shoot, move and communicate and not lose their minds in that moment of chaos really is what carried the day for us.
Charan: Have you ever been in situations where you’ve lost a fellow soldier or a fellow team member?
Colby: I fortunately I have not. No, I have not.
Charan: And that’s an incredible thing. I love sometimes going into the scriptures, and you hear about the stripling warriors who fought so bravely. They were all injured, but none of them had died and you’re like, whoa, that’s a crazy miracle. Does that even happen? But you’re like a living proof that that can happen. And that’s a very powerful thing. And yeah, hats off to you for being able to have a clear enough head and clear enough mind when you’re able to go in these types of situations. But-
Colby: To be clear, I’m fortunate to have had a tremendous team of experts and pilots who could skillfully support us. And we had to stay out on that target overnight because we had a downed helicopter and crew. So a huge team effort to keep us somewhat safe and protected during the night, because we had the capability to intercept communications, and we could hear the bad guys talking throughout the valley, watching us. They’re trying to reorganize themselves because we put a huge dent in them that day, but now we were down in the middle of-
Charan: Yeah. You’re behind enemy lines, you know?
Colby: Yeah. With a big downed helicopter. So the story ended up well, but a bad day for the enemy, but it was a long night.
Charan: How did you guys get out of that situation, is what I’m wondering?
Colby: Yeah. So fortunately, there’s a downed, it’s called a DART team, Downed Aircraft Recovery Team, was able to fly in the next day and work miraculously to drop that rear rotor transmission and put in a new one.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Colby: And we actually, the pilots flew out that Chinook. They were able to salvage it and not have to blow it up in place, but yeah, throughout the night I had sniper teams out, I had roving patrols because we knew we were down in a valley and we had eyes were watching us and-
Charan: Oh man.
Colby: So it was tenuous for many hours.
Charan: And I think that that situation is a very applicable situation for life in ways, where you kind of feel like you are down and like the whole world is on top of you. You have evil negativity kind of all surrounding you. And to be able to keep your wits about you during those times when you don’t see the way out. I think that’s the interesting thing that sometimes the world faces, where like the whole world together went into COVID-19, right? Where the whole world kind of shut down.
Charan: And so we don’t know the end game. We don’t know how it’s going to play out. We don’t know how it’s going to escape. So do you feel like some of the principles and skills that you learned help kind of keep your level head about you during this time of life right now?
Colby: Yes. Definitely being able to adapt, the importance of communicating with your teammates, both those that are your peers in a work situation with those that you lead or report to you, making sure that they understand, “Here’s the lay of the land from my perspective, here’s what I understand, here’s the new operational environment, here’s how we are going to adapt and be successful. “
Colby: I think clear communication with those you are responsible for really mitigates that anxiety, that fear of the uncertainty, because people can have confidence in, “Hey, I hope Colby knows what’s going on the best that he can.” We’re leading through this uncertainty. We’ve established clear benchmarks to pull us along. It’s not just us flailing in the dark and hoping everything’s going to be okay. Yet people look for leadership and they want someone or a team to establish those guidelines or parameters that pull us through those uncertain times.
Charan: I think that’s such an interesting way to live and interesting things to learn. We had a family trial hit us a few years ago, and it’s very interesting what happens to me when we go through trials. I get eerily calm. I tend to not panic. I just get eerily calm and I’m like, “Okay, well, this is the situation and what do we need to do to mitigate it or to resolve it? What are the first steps that we need to take?? And I guess that’s a big gift. It’s a big blessing, I would say, because I know other members of my family gave in to their emotions and became overly… they were freaking out, like, “What are we going to do? This is awful.” All this stuff.
Charan: And years later everything got resolved and everything’s peaceful now and it’s all good. But I remember thinking about that, because I think in life we are going to be thrown into situations where it is a challenge and it’s like, how do we get out of these situations? But I love what you’re saying about clear communication and relying on each other and being able to have those clear benchmarks and say, “Okay, these are the things that we can control, so let’s focus on the things that we can control.” And it seems to me, as you were kind of focusing on the things that you can control, more things that you could control kind of came back into your life.
Colby: Yes, yeah. Thank you for showing your experience. I can relate. In the chaos of being shot down and so forth, being able to remove the drama from it and just focus on, “Okay, we still have a mission. We still need to maneuver to this point. How do we maneuver it?” Taking the drama out and focusing on the objective tasks that can be accomplished. You don’t just become a robot, but you still want to be empathetic and compassionate and a human as a leader, but being able to lead through the points of uncertainty and obstacles, by focusing on the objective tasks, allow people to really latch onto you as a leader and you to pull them.
Colby Jenkins Talks About Finding Balance
Charan: Yeah. So how do you find that balance? How do you find the balance of being empathetic, of being a human being, of being kind and at the same time being able to pull the drama out? Because I think that’s such an important aspect of life. Whenever we face challenges, pulling the drama out, keeping a level head, but being compassionate at the same time.
Colby: Yeah. Fortunately I’m married to Heather, my wonderful friend and wife, and she teaches me a lot of this. Or I tend to come home and go right to, “Okay, I need to do this, this, this, and this before I can sit down on the couch and relax.” Whereas she may, when I walk in the door, may want to just talk with me, want to share, “Hey, how was your day? Here’s what I did.” And so me just being aware of here’s how I may be programmed, and here’s how she may be programmed, and just being aware of that allows me to be empathetic to her needs and balance that with my inclinations so that we can maintain a good balance tonight.
Colby: I think that’s relatable to the work environment as well, is you get to know those you’re working with as human beings first, understand what makes people tick. What are their hot buttons to push or how are they kind of wired? Then you can be sensitive to, hey, here’s how I’m wired. Here’s how they are wired. Let’s find some compromise.
Charan: Yeah, some compromise. Yeah. It’s interesting. I work in the film business, which there’s a lot of communication that needs to take place among a lot of team members to make films happen and all kinds of different personalities, all kinds of different ideas and all this types of stuff. And what’s interesting is I find that… I was on a show called Criminal Minds. This was back in 2017 I acted in the show. And I was so fascinated being on the show because I loved seeing the set work. All the different people working together to make the show a reality. And they’ve been doing this for about 13 seasons, so they’re very seasoned with each other.
Charan: But they were so kind to each other. That was the thing that I noticed immediately. They were so kind to me. They welcomed me on set. They were so kind to each other, and everything moved so efficiently, like a well-oiled machine. And I’m like, no wonder the show has been going on for so long. Just the energy among the people themselves was so positive and so kind and just so uplifting. And I think that’s such an important thing, because sometimes we get a little too, I don’t know. I think we tend to let ego sometimes get in the way, or we sometimes think this has got to be my way, right? How have you been able to kind of like get rid of your own ego? Because I’m talking to you and you just seem like the most humble and nice human being ever. So.
Colby: Oh, well, thank you. I can only imagine from the world you’ve operated in, I think a Tom Cruise comes to mind and yelling at his cast-mates. I can imagine the egos you’ve had to navigate. For me, it’s, I think, just being mindful that I’ve been blessed with tremendous experiences. I’ve been fortunate to be placed in a unique situations that have given me these incredible opportunities. And then just like you said, being kind. I think you get more out of life by recognizing others for who they are, what they can do and what they’ve done, from smiling, being happy. It takes more energy to be negative, which I can certainly do. But why go through all of that, to waste that energy?
Colby Jenkins Talks About PTSD Triggers
Charan: It is. It’s really interesting how much energy it takes to be negative and upset at the world. And I’ve said it to other people. It’s a very true statement. I was going to ask you, kind of a change of topic real quick. Did you ever suffer from PTSD? Because I’ve heard of a lot of people that have come back from military service and either have nightmares or they’re kind of like reliving battle scenes and things like that. Did that ever affect you?
Colby: I was never formally diagnosed, but I certainly had struggles, coming back from Afghanistan. Primarily with, I had two young daughters at the time. When I went to Afghanistan, our second daughter was just two weeks old when I left for almost, I missed almost her first year of life.
Colby: And while in Afghanistan doing operations, unfortunately, when we’re clearing a target, it’s not pleasant for families, women, children, as we are trying to pull bad guys out of their beds. So there’s a lot of screaming and noise. And so coming back home and having a baby and little other, while I love them with all my heart, there were moments where I just had to walk out because there were triggers that would happen. Or being in large groups or driving down the road.
Colby: So yeah, there were times, but, but fortunately with a strong wife and just being aware and good friends that are going through similar to that, that keeps me well-grounded.
Charan: It’s interesting, because the topic of triggers is very interesting to me. I think you can be going along fairly confident, all kinds of things are going well. And all of a sudden, some little things can happen. Just something so unexpected and all of a sudden the next thing you know, you’re living in these narratives of negative thoughts. You’re beating yourself up. You’re not even the same person you used to be because something happened that caused a little trigger inside of your brain to be like, “Wait a minute. This reminds me of this and this and this.” And the world is a horrible place all of a sudden.
Charan: How do you help people, especially as you’re helping them with leadership and building A-team, how do you help them overcome triggers that would affect them in a negative way?
Colby: Personally, something that’s fresh in my mind, earlier this week, we had a Dixie Development Day for staff. So basically carved out half the day for Dixie staff, Dixie State University staff, and we had professional development. And there was a tremendous speaker who talked along these lines: How do you maintain positive outlook? And I regret I forget his name, but one thing that I clearly remember is, he talked about the seeds that you plant in your mind. There are lots of seeds that get planted everyday. It triggers, like you said.
Colby: But the ones that grow are the ones that we water. And so are you watering those triggers, those seeds that get planted? And if you are and it’s not a positive seed, then stop watering it and water those that are positive. And so that really stuck with me, is certainly nobody has a perfect day, mistakes happen. Other people’s choices impact our lives as well. So you can choose to… that action’s going to hit your head, are you going to allow it to stick? And if it does, are you going to then water it or just ignore it and water something else?
Charan: I love that analogy. What do you put your energy towards? What exactly are you feeding? Because you have the choice. You have the choice to kind of let it pass through like a cloud or be like, “Oh my gosh, that cloud is there, it’s there. And I’m going to keep on feeding it with more energy and it’s going to get bigger and bigger and bigger.” And the next thing I know I’m going to have a horrible day or I’m going to treat other people horribly because I have chosen to let a seed come in and start watering it immediately. And your judgment’s clouded, and you think everything is wrong because of whatever seed is going on, you know?
Colby Jenkins Talks About Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Charan: So it’s an interesting concept. Now one of the big things about the Lemonade Stand Story podcast is about hearing people’s days when they’ve had lemons thrown at them, like really, really tough lemons. And I know we talked about being shot down in Afghanistan or the helicopter. That seems like a pretty perfectly lemon-filled day. But you turn that into lemonade in the form of a new rotor coming in and saving you guys, you know? But has there been anything more where maybe in, I guess, present-day situations where you had some lemons thrown your way, and you’ve been able to change it into a lemonade type of situation?
Colby: Yeah, definitely. When I left the Pentagon, when I left government service, I was a civilian at the time, made the decision with my wife, prayerful consideration, do we stay in Washington DC? I had another job opportunity there, but I also had an opportunity to go work for Google.
Colby: We were at a crossroads: do we take this leap away from government and DC where I’d been for 10 plus years and now go into the great unknown of the business, private sector and Google? And we decided, yeah, let’s make a change. So I joined Google that opportunity took us to Tampa, Florida. My wife, family, bought a new house. Less than a year into Tampa, that whole operation in Florida, Google shut down.
Charan: No way. Wow.
Colby: It was part of Google Fiber when Google was first starting to consider building out a fiber network, and the founders of Google decided, “This isn’t really Google’s thing; we’re going to shut down all the exploratory markets.” And Florida was one of them. So there I was having left what could have been a great job and situation in DC for the unknown. And now I was without a job and a brand new house and kids in new schools. How could this happen?
Colby: We’d been prayerful. We felt good about it. And now I’m out of a job. And to Google’s credit, they told all of us in all the markets this happened, “There’s really a long runway; take the time you need. If you want to leave Google, we’ll help you find other opportunities. If you want to stay with Google, we’ll help you as well.” And so I wanted to stay, and it was great to work for Google. It was a very generous opportunity. Google is a generous employer, but it now required us to weigh in, venture into another uncertain.
Colby: Fortunately, I found a job that took us to Google headquarters, but now we were moving here less than a year again and uprooting all over again. So there was a time when, from DC to Tampa now to California, where my wife and I thought, “What did we do? How’s this gone like this?” And now looking back over four years, we can see how those experiences, where they may have been frustrating to us in the time that the growth that we experienced-
Colby: …the friends that we made along the way, we wouldn’t change anything, frankly. I wish myself now could tell myself four years ago that “Hang in there; it’s going to be great, won’t be easy, but you’re going to grow a lot.”
Charan: Yeah. It’s so interesting. As time has gone on, because my career I started in Utah and I moved to California. I lived in LA for nine years, and I never thought I was going to leave LA. I was like, yeah, this is it. I love it. And it’s been good. And I was getting on some really cool TV shows and stuff like that. And then I just felt like, you know what? I want to keep creating my own stuff. And it’s hard to do that in LA. So I moved back to Utah, and I never thought I’d come back. I honestly was like, “Nope, LA is my place. That’s where I want to be,” right?
Charan: But I will say this, the more I’ve lived my own life, I’ve learned the power of being nimble is an amazing thing to be able to do, right? And it’s tricky, because especially when you have a family, you’ve got kids, it’s not just you, right? You’re taking your wife, your kids, uprooting their entire lifestyle and going cross-country. That’s a tough thing to do, but I’m so glad that you were able to do it. And I’m so glad that you were able to learn all the lessons you learned along the way and make new friendships. I think that’s really a powerful thing.
Colby: Yes, definitely.
Colby Jenkins Talks About Finding Joy
Charan: That’s so awesome. So let me ask you this. What is the greatest source of your joy right now?
Colby: Well, right off the top, my family. Without my family I would be a tumbleweed in this world, just going around. So yeah, I gained great joy from watching my daughters grow up and experience life and helping them through their decisions. And again, going from being around my wife and having conversations with her and spending time together. So yeah, my family, definitely. I gain joy from trying to stay in some type of shape and battling the age that is happening and this whole body. So I gain satisfaction from getting out of bed every day and trying to go work out some way.
Charan: That’s awesome. What do you do for working out? What’s your main thing?
Colby: I used to be a amateur long-distance runner, having run a ton. But now I don’t run anymore. My left knee is, a couple of surgeries, and now I can’t run, essentially. And so I swim a lot now. A lot of swimming and biking as well, a little bit of weights.
Charan: Oh that’s awesome. I realized that I needed to just start working out as well. But for me if something is not fun, I just won’t do it. And it’s got to be fun in some capacity. So for me, I discovered tennis to be the most fun thing I can do. So I’m an avid tennis player. I try playing every day. And I played this morning and I played terribly, but it was okay. Because you know what? I’m out here. We’re having fun. That’s the most important thing. I don’t have to feel like I’ve got to be this professional tennis player to have a good time.
Colby: Yeah. I agree. Same here. I may look like I’m swimming in cement-
Colby: But I’m swimming.
Charan: No that’s awesome. And I’m so glad you found those things for yourself to keep yourself motivated and to keep yourself going to keep yourself getting out of bed. Because I know for a lot of people getting out of bed and just facing the day is a massive, massive challenge for them. And being able to say, “Hey, I can actually do that right now.” That’s a powerful thing.
Colby: For me, just if I could add, is I think everyone has that struggle. I don’t think there’s a person who doesn’t wake up and say, “Five more minutes.”
Colby: “Five more minutes.” And what helps me overcome that is I pack all my stuff the night before and it’s right there. I purposely make it a hassle. If I was to stay home and shower and get ready at home, I’ve now have to unpack my bag and get everything out, and it would… Just go to the gym. It’s all ready, it’s ready to go, just get dressed and go. And so I try and remove those obstacles or remove those opportunities for me to-
Charan: To say no.
Colby: Say no. And then that helps helps me roll.
Charan: No, I love that idea of preemptively, knowing who you are, what’s going to be the greatest challenges, right? My buddy and I, we go play tennis around 7:45 in the morning. And so I have to set multiple alarms. I know me and I know that once that alarm goes off, and I set the next one, so I know what I’m going to do, but again, it’s the joy of the sport that wins out my laziness to stay in bed, you know?
Colby: Yeah. That’s great.
Colby Jenkins Talks About His Greatest Fears
Charan: So that’s awesome. So we talked about that. What would you say are your greatest fears right now?
Colby: Well, greatest fears, for me they’re always financial fears. “Hey, do I have enough to meet our needs? Are we living within our means?” We are fortunate right now to be building a new house. We’ve never in our 20 plus years of marriage had an opportunity to put down roots and build a house. And so we’re on the downward slope of that. So I walk into the house and I love it. It’s beautiful. But my stomach turns thinking, “Okay, we’ve got to pay for this too.” Those are fears that just, I mean, first-world problems to be building a new house.
Charan: Yeah. Where are you guys building your home at?
Colby: In St. George proper just south of Snow Canyon High School, kind of the west side of St. George.
Charan: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. St. George is a beautiful place. It’s a very hot place, but it’s a very beautiful place. And yeah, hats off to you. That’s amazing. Especially in this climate right now, building a home is a challenge for sure, with housing prices, like exponentially getting higher and higher and higher. So you’ve taken the courage and are doing something that I wish I had the courage to do right now, you know? So I was actually planning on buying a home myself well, just buying a home, not even building one, just buying one. And I felt like, well, you know what, I better hold off. I’ve got to hold off right now and just kind of see and be in a waiting pattern and seeing what happens because everything getting so high right now.
Colby: Yeah. It’s a sellers market. That’s for sure.
Charan: Definitely a sellers market. So that’s a good fear to have. And especially because… What do you make of all of the things that are happening in the world? Like gas prices are like exponentially going through the roof right now. Like a lot of prices are going up on a lot of different things. What do you make of all of that stuff?
Colby: Yeah. Without venturing too far into personal politics or views, I just generally will say there seems to be a lot of uncertainty at the top in terms of policy direction, and the different world actors are taking advantage of that and able to disrupt the markets, whether it’s shutting down a pipeline, whether it’s ignoring greenhouse standards that we are now being subjected to and other countries are not. All of these that happen that trickle down to us paying a dollar more at the gas pump that really affects the common American.
Colby: I think when there’s that uncertainty at the top and the fluctuation, people see that and are not settled. And then that causes instability in the market as well. I’m not a financial analyst; amateur perspective.
Charan: Amateur perspective. Well, I think that’s where it is and kind of goes back to the conversations that we were having regarding facing unsettling situations and pulling the drama out of the situation but still being a human being that can have compassion for everybody else and say, “Okay, the situation that we are being dealt without any of our control is a very unsettling one.”
Charan: So how do we find peace amongst ourselves and with each other and all that stuff? And the situation is so unsettling. Any advice on that aspect of things?
Colby: Yeah. What’s coming to mind is, I remember in similar situations, someone would ask me a question: “Why bother? Why bother even getting involved? I don’t even watch the news anymore because it’s just a lost cause.” And I quickly say, “No, no, it’s not. Where change happens is at the grassroots level.”
Colby: I saw a news clip last night. I try not to watch the news, but I saw one in particular where a father was upset with the type of material that his child was being forced to read in high school. And it was very graphic adult material with adult language. And he confronted the school board and said, and read it and said, “Why is my daughter being forced to read this stuff? Why?”
Colby: And so by the point I’m trying to make is, if there is something that you feel strongly about, then get involved. And it’s just a matter of talking with leadership, don’t just throw the monkey on their back; actually take the monkey off and work on it together and bring solutions. Everyone can be involved at the local level and trickle up. There’s no time to trickle down.
Charan: Exactly. Exactly. Because then it’s almost like we take a little bit of a victim mentality saying, “Well, this is what we have. This is what we bring out. We can’t do a single thing about it.” But I love that people can get involved in different ways, whatever ways that is, but we can all do our part to share our light. Whatever that looks like. And if we can better humanity by sharing that light, even if it’s just being kind to somebody, even if it’s just going out of your way to greet someone with a smile or just to see how their day’s going, I think that’s a great way to help out each other.
Colby: And the lemonade stand doesn’t always have to be lemonade; it can be pink lemonade, it can be mango lemonade.
Colby: Everyone brings there own final mixture to the lemonade stand that we’re talking about.
Colby Jenkins’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: Exactly. No, I love that. So I have one final question for you. Here we are present day and learning all the things that you’ve learned right now. What advice would you give the young Colby that’s about to enter infantry, that’s about to be going to the Ranger school? What advice would you give that Colby?
Colby: Be kind. Be kind. Build relationships of trust with people. Where I’ve gained the most value in life or learned the most, it’s been when someone has treated me with respect and trust and then that has been returned. And I have, whether it’s someone with four stars on their collar that I’ve built a relationship with or someone who I lead and I’m responsible for. And I’m sure my wife would maybe roll her eyes and say, “Yeah, be kind and patient as well.”
Colby: But I think back to what you said earlier, too, that when we treat people with kindness, then we’re more inclined to have positive, good experiences despite the negativity that may be around us.
Charan: Yeah. And I think that’s thing, discovering for ourselves what kind of world we want to live in. And whatever kind of world we want to live in, that’s what we have to be. If we want to live in a peaceful world full of kindness and joy, then we’ve got to find it within ourselves to be kind to people and to treat others peaceably and stuff.
Colby: Yeah. But if I could just, sorry-
Charan: No, no. Please, please.
Colby: And I want to be clear, it’s not being kind, with everything’s rainbows and unicorns and happy. I’m not just the big marshmallow, puff daddy. Kindness can also come with sternness and being frank, being candid, holding people accountable. You don’t just become a pushover, but treating people with respect and kindness.
Colby: I’ve been around senior leaders from the president to privates in the Army. And those that would come into a room who you knew were a flame-thrower, you immediately turned them off, even if they had four stars on their collar. But those that could come into a room who their intellect demanded your respect versus their flame-throwing, there were different people who I would be more inclined to follow just by the way that they carried themselves and the way they-
Colby: Just one final quick example is-
Charan: Please, yeah.
Colby: I’ve been around several senior leaders and two different examples, one in particular, to this day, when I interact with this very senior leader, when he talks to me, he’ll right off the bat, say, “Hey, Colby, how’s Heather and the girls? How are they doing?” He wants to know how we are doing as people. Whereas I’ve had another particular senior leader who I could spend hours with going on morning runs being in meetings all day. And he wouldn’t even know the name of my wife, yet I’m with him all that time. And he has another cog in the wheel, despite my willingness to connect on a personal level. So that’s taught me some lessons as well.
Charan: You know, it’s such an interesting thing to connect on a personal level, I think. In my industry I’ve had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with a couple of celebrity-type people. And I think the reason why is just because I don’t view them as celebrities; they’re just my friends, you know? And they’re just people and as people, I just care about them as human beings. And I think that’s an important thing, because when you look at the grand scheme of things, we really are all people and we all deserve to be loved and respected. And like you’re saying, not a pushover, not necessarily pushover, like having the confidence within yourself, but I have met people like that.
Charan: Kind of going back to the Criminal Minds experience, when you have a director calling the shots, there’s what’s called the first AD, and the first AD is a person that runs the set. They’re the one that say, “Okay, we gotta, we gotta to get this shot by this time. Now we have to move on to this thing.” And they more often than not tend to be very stern people, very stern, like, “All right, guys, we have to move, we have to move.” And they’re hustling, hustling, hustling, and everything like that.
Charan: But the first AD on set for this show was a woman who was so kind and so gentle that people just immediately responded so quickly. And I’m like, wow, what a beautiful form of leadership. And I loved it. I loved watching her work and just seeing how kind she was to people and how quickly things moved. And there was a peaceful environment there. Even though we’re creating a really intense gunfighting type of show.
Colby: I bet if there were times, though, when that crew maybe missed the mark, I bet she would walk over to them and in her frank but kind way say, “What, okay, what happened? How can we fix it?”
Colby: She still corrected, but she did in a kind, direct way.
Charan: Exactly. Not being afraid to correct. We have to be able to correct so that way we can do it but not in a way where you’re devaluing the other human being, right? Just more of just saying like, “Hey, the mark has been missed. Let’s just talk a little bit about why the mark was missed and let’s do it again.” And figuring out different ways. I love that. I love that. I think that’s how we move forward in life, is to correct our mistakes but doing it with love and then moving forward.
Charan: Man, Colby I appreciate this so much, the insights that you’ve given today. It’s making me think a lot as well about different things on how I can be better as a human being. So I appreciate you taking the time to be on the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast and give your insights. Any final words before we wrap up?
Colby: If I could thank you again to Mitch, my cousin, as well for having me on I appreciate it. I would love to interact with more friends and make new teammates and do so through my speaking, primarily. So please, for those who are listening, check out my website, colbyjenkins.com. Just my first and last name together, colbyjenkins.com. and we can connect there. And I’m happy to partner with both companies, teams, large and small to help them build and strengthen A-Teams. And a line that I love to say that is true is, you don’t have to carry a rifle or wear body armor and a helmet to lead or be a member of an A-Team. That was just my experience. I’m happy to share those experiences with others through my work as well.
Charan: That’s so awesome. And I’m happy to put a link as well on the bio so people can follow up and learn, but yes Colby, thank you so much. And thank you for building A-Teams all throughout your life. A-Teams that have succeeded in warfare and A-Teams that have now thrived and create successful businesses and have had successful communication and personal relationships with each other. Really appreciate your service.
Colby: Thank you. My pleasure.
Charan: Yep. Awesome. Thank you. Have a great day.
Colby: Okay. You too. Thanks. Bye.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback and reviews, and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.