331 - Discipline and Determination with Derek Yorek - John Laurito
Episode 331 Discipline and Determination with Derek Yorek Tomorrows Leader Podcast with John Laurito

331 – Discipline and Determination with Derek Yorek

In this episode, John talks to Accomplished Athlete and Coach Derek Yorek about the importance of both discipline and determination to accomplish your goals. Derek also shares his experience during the 2015 Boston Marathon and his biggest Whys to everything he does.

Austin runners may remember Yorek when he made his mark by winning the Keep Austin Weird, Run for the water 10 miler, CapTexTri, and Elite Congress Ave Mile. A larger audience remembers that in 2015 he led the Boston Marathon with a crazy 4:27 sprint-to-the-front first mile (captured on national sports news) before fading to a more pedestrian 3:04 finish.

Derek Yorek is a highly accomplished athlete and coach. Derek is a 3-time collegiate All-American, Professional Triathlete, and is now a member of the Spartan pro team.

He now lives in Bentonville, AR, with his wife and two daughters. He is a CrossFit Coach, a personal endurance Coach, and serves in the Army National Guard.

Learn more about Derek at:

[0:00] Intro

[4:03] The before, during, and after of the Boston Marathon

[19:06] The power of a strong Why

[23:11] What’s the most pain he has been in?

[28:33] What do the hardships he overcame do to him mentally?

[35:16] Being the Holistic Health and Fitness Coordinator of the Arkansas Army National Guard

[37:55] Where to find Derek

[39:18] Outro

Get a copy of “Tomorrow’s Leader” on Amazon.

John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. 

John All right. Tomorrow’s leaders. I am super psyched about today’s guest. This is a guy who I have talked about him and his story, which I’m not going to tell you. Let him tell you in probably 50 keynotes. I love the story that he’s going to share with you. And I literally I’ve been telling his story and tying it into a few different points that I make in the keynotes, and I finally tracked them down. I’m like, Listen, you got to do my podcast, man, because you’re somewhat famous in the circles that I’ve been out there and talking to. So let me give you a little bio on him. So this is Derek Yorek. 

John Derek is a like champion, elite athlete, runner. And let me give you some of his stats. So there’s a lot here. So so bear with me. But this is important to understand who this guy is. He’s a three-time all-American cross-country and check the track competitor. He’s 29 Olympic distance champion for the Cap Tech’s tri elite. He’s 29. Congress Avenue Mile Elite Champion 2012 hits triathlon Colorado champion. That’s a half a half Ironman for those of you know what an Ironman is, the half Iron Man. He won 2017 Spartan Race, Central Florida champ, 2019 and 21 National Guard Marathon Champion. 

John This guy doesn’t just compete. He wins. He doesn’t just compete at these ultra-high-level races. He wins. 2019 Spartan Race. West Point Champ 2021 Inaugural DECA Fit Champion. Okay. Take a look. Take a listen to some of these times. His Olympic try. These are his PR is his personal records. Olympic triathlon. One hour, uh, 57 minutes a half. Ironman in 4 hours. 14 minutes. That’s something like it’s a half. It’s a mile swim, something like this, maybe a little more. It’s like a 60 or 70-mile bike and a half marathon in 4 hours and 40 minutes. He did an Ironman in 10 hours and 22 minutes, and a ten K in 29 minutes. 

John I do like a 5k and 29 minutes. A Barely. He did a half marathon in an hour and 10 minutes. He did a marathon in 2 hours and 30 minutes. Now, I did a half marathon once and it took me 2 hours and almost 2 hours and 30 minutes. He did a marathon. He basically could have done twice my two of my races in the time it took me to do one unbelievable athlete. So here you’re going to like this. Here is Derek Yorek. All right. Welcome to the show, everybody. Good to see you again. I have my friend Derek Yorek here. Derek, my man, thank you for joining us today. 

Derek Absolutely. Thank you for having me, man. 

John This is like an honor. I mean, I and I tell you this, I’ve been like telling your story. I think there’s got to be audiences all over the place. I think I’ve told your story note no exaggeration 50 times in different. Oh, he notes. So you’re like, you’re pulling in different areas you don’t even realize. 

Derek So yeah, that’s that’s awesome. I was very surprised to hear about that. 

John I love it. Yeah. Well, I really do love your story. And I know the audience is like, what story? What do we. Well, that’s what do we here to hear about? So let’s start with that. You know, why don’t you take us back? It was 2015. I’ll set the stage, it was the Boston Marathon and tell us kind of everything leading up to it, what kind of happened before? What happened during. And I know I’m in a peppered with questions now. 

Derek I’m I’m all for it. We’ll take a trip down memory lane. Right. 2015. It doesn’t seem that long ago to me but man, that’s seven years ago now it’s for a while. Yeah. So I got talked into doing a marathon. I never really wanted to run that far. I was a college runner. But that, you know, the marathon distance is it’s hard, it’s far. So I was never really like, I’m okay without it. I got to talk to him and do. And one, I was relatively successful and I had qualified pretty well for the Boston Marathon. 

John Which I do. And I don’t mean to interrupt you, but that’s the audience that hasn’t run or doesn’t know much about marathons. Boston is really, really hard to qualify for. Right. 

Derek And that’s what makes it kind of Boston. Right, is they they set a standard. You got to run decently fast. Right. So for the you know, for the men you’re looking at sub 305 for for a lot of years, it’s it’s sub 3 hours. So for a marathon, that’s that’s. Easily competitive, right? I mean, it’s not elite, but it is it’s hard to do. You’re not just going to hop up off the couch and run under 3 hours for the marathon. So it was it’s tough to do. And there’s a lot there’s a lot behind it. There’s such a huge history. Is the the longest, the oldest, the best marathon in the world. Yeah. So it was it was pretty neat just to have had that right to qualify. 

John Yeah. And that was your first marathon you qualified with your time to. 

Derek Yeah, I ran around 230 for my first marathon. 

John Wow, man, that’s real. That is. Yeah. 

Derek Yeah, it was. It was a good day. I had to hang on. I fell apart at about 23, but I was able to, you know, hang on and ran decently well, like I said so around to 30. And, you know, everybody was kind of like, you got to go do Boston, you got to do it. At least if it’s the one time you got to go do something in Boston. And it you know, it struck a chord. I’ve been a runner my whole life. The the the Boston Marathon has so much to it. I wanted to go experience it just to just to be a part of it, and I’m qualified. So if you if for those that don’t know, depending on upon the time that you qualify outside of the elites who get their own invitations. 

Derek They put you in wave corrals, right? 48,000 people, give or take, that start the race. So they have to put you in particular corrals and ways and things like that. So that way people don’t get trampled and they they do it according to your time. But my time was fast enough. I was wave one, corral one. You know, it was going to be a start for, you know, for those of us that are, you know, the regular people. So we were going to get to start right behind the elites. And so that’s kind of where, you know, that whole thing of, man, that would be really funny. I’m going to be right there behind the elites, you know? Is that something I want to do, too? I’m going to go try to play with those guys for a little while, right? I didn’t know what I wanted to do because it’s Boston, so I just wanted to go have fun. 

John And these elites are like, I mean, they’re the best in the world, really, right? I mean, they’re just. 

Derek Quite literally the best in the world. So most of the time, the Boston Marathon will be deeper than even the Olympic Games because you can only have three canyons at the Olympic Games. Mm hmm. Right. So you now you can have 12, and then the top Ethiopians. Right. So all the top East Africans, the top runners in the world are are at the Boston Marathon. Wow. So, yeah, pretty pretty cool deal to be there. And so it was my girls were three and five at the time. Aspen and Reese and. When I was telling them, Hey, Daddy’s going to go run a race. My five year old Aspin asked, like, Can we can we see it? Are we going to be able to see you? I said, Well, they’re going to be on TV. And she was like, okay, well, what? Which one will you be? Right. She thought that she doesn’t know there could be four people running. She’s not she doesn’t know what the Boston Marathon is. But in my head, I was going, well, I think there’s a way that I could possibly make that happen to make sure that you can see me, but that’s going to hurt real bad. That means I’m going to have to hop out there and run close to, if not at the front, to make sure that she’ll she’ll see me. So that’s you know, that’s how the story goes. And you can plan things as much as you want to. 

Derek But when it comes down to race day and how far are the elites in front of me, can I catch them? Because they’re it turns out they’re about 60 to 80 yards that they’re going to start out in front of you. And so I got to the very front of my wave and corral and made sure I was real warmed up and thought, okay, I’m going to go for it. It was about 38 degrees. We had a headwind the entire way and it was raining. So it was horrible out. But I figured, you know, I’m here, we’re going to just experience it. The gun goes off and I thought, okay, I can catch the back of a mall. There was a guy in a bright orange shirt off to my left that took off and he was faster than me off the line. And I went, Well, this guy’s going to do the thing. He’s going to hop out and try to believe it. So I was like, Well, just keep running. And so we’re running up the back of the elite pack, and he’s probably ten yards in front of me. And we’re passing people and passing people. And I was like, Well, I’m not going to race this guy to be in front, right? 

Derek I’ll just have to try to find a camera and wave at it. But he got about probably the fifth or sixth place and then he ran out of steam, either ran out of steam or decided that that that was too much spotlight. And if you know me very much, there’s no such thing as that. I was going to take my shot, so I had plenty in the gas tank and kept moving forward. And then you get toward the front and away from the wave of people. And there are like dump trucks in front of the elite field with just reporters and cameras and just cars in front of you. So there’s cameras all over the place in front of the Boston Marathon. So I had to take a half second to go, Hey, is this something I really want to do, right? I’m not going to hop in front of millions. And it took about that half second. I was like, Yeah, I’m going to go up there. So then I put my foot down, accelerated a little bit, took the lead. It took me about. About 800 to 1000 meters to finally get up there to the front. Once I hit the front, I had a thought, go, okay, now my little girl can see me. However, I was like, They’re going to go straight to commercial. They don’t know who I am. I’ve got on a different color. They’re going to ruin my deal. So I was like, Okay, well, I guess that means I got to hang out for a little while, so. 

John And could you tell if the cameras were on it? Could you tell if they were going to commercial? Would you even know or. 

Derek No, I had no idea. Yeah, you would. You wouldn’t even know. I didn’t even know if anybody thought. To be honest. Yeah. And so I’m just going to hang out as long as I can. And so we get to about a mile and a half. I figured it took them a couple of minutes, however long the commercial break is. And I thought, okay, well, maybe I’ll hang out for three or four miles. The problem was, was that I had to accelerate hard enough to get into the front. Then I had started to pull a pack of like five or six athletes away from the top Americans. So I was I was at that point, I never really wanted to mess with the elites race. I didn’t want to have an impact. But I could feel that I was pulling a pack away. And so I thought, okay, so I, I didn’t accelerate anymore. I just stayed right there. I was like, you know, hang out for maybe another quarter mile to make sure that she saw you. Yeah. And then. And then I just peeled off at that point. So it was right about two miles that I peeled off to the side. 

John And at that point, you felt pretty confident that Aspen, it was saw you and saw you on TV. You were up there. 

Derek I felt pretty confident, but I wasn’t I wasn’t sure of it, to be honest. I thought, well, maybe maybe somebody caught it on YouTube and then maybe she’d be able to see it from that. Yeah. At the time I thought, okay, well, I’ll just recover for a mile and maybe I can still put out a good a good effort. I did split 427 for that first mile. Wow. That is still the fastest first mile at Boston for the marathon. 

John Is that right? Wow. 

Derek Yeah. So the so they have a lot stronger records and things like that for the Boston Marathon and somebody has since run that portion of the road faster. But it’s never been during the Boston Marathon. Wow. That still the the fast and as well as should be because it took I held on for maybe four or five miles still running a decent pace. And by the time I hit mile 12, I was like, oh, this is going to be a long it’s going to be a long day. 

John But at that. So what was it like? I mean, you’re running shoulder-to-shoulder with the best in the world. I mean, that is got to feel. Did you did you take a moment to kind of be like, wow, this is like to to be conscious of it and revel in the moment a little bit? 

Derek I did actually. When you say that, I get chills. I did. I took that moment to stay up there and just you know, what I really focused on was the you know, the American flags that were all out along the line, everybody cheering. Right. This the what it meant to to be there, to run, to represent at that point, you know, even for just a brief moment. But what it meant to to be there in that moment and then to be with some of the best on earth. Right. And and I remember saying this in one of the interviews, but I’ll never forget, there’s so smooth. They’re so efficient in all their movements, right? At no point were they. I don’t think any of them really thought that I was a threat, but nobody was going to let me go either. Right. It was. It was. Hey, this is we’re here to do a job and we’re going to be professional. But, man, it was it was a really cool feeling to see what those guys do at the top of the game. Right. I mean, imagine taking a you know, just being the running back as Tom Brady takes a snap and being able to be there and see how how he goes through his checks and progressions or whatever, whatever else. Right. Yeah. I got to be there with Olympic medalists and, you know, obviously the eventual winner. Yeah. And was in front of them. I mean, that’s ridiculous. So it was it was a cool deal. But I did I did take a moment to to take that in. 

John Did you talk to any of them afterwards or interact with them? 

Derek No. A few of the Americans I had trained with before, I used to train in Alamosa, Colorado, which is on a little running town. But there’s quite a few of the American professionals that were up there and a few foreign professionals that will go up and get some altitude training. And so I, I talked to them a little bit afterwards and they were just like, Dude, what are you doing? But it’s like, man, I’m having fun. I guess I just want to do it, you know, and enjoy my race time and enjoy what I can, what I can do. 

John Yeah. And so what did how did the girls react when you got back and you saw them? So we they weren’t there. They were back. This was when you were living in Texas, is that right? 

Derek Yeah. So I was living in Texas, but they were when I made the trip, my mom and sister came out with me. Right. They just wanted to come hang out. And they were there at the race. My wife and two daughters went to her parents house and they were in Kansas at the time. And so they they had it on and they got to see it. I was really curious to know what the reaction was. And so apparently my wife saw it live and yelled for the girls. They did go to commercial, so they had to wait a little bit and hope I was still there. I was still there. And by then the announcers had to actually talk about me. So they had said my name and from Fort Worth, Texas, and they were like, Well, we don’t know what he’s doing here, but this we don’t know who he is, but he’s still there in front. That’s awesome. 

John That part of this. 

Derek Apparently the girls were there and they were like, Hey, that’s Daddy. And she goes, Hey, that’s Daddy. And then she left to go play. That was it. It was a very short I did not do enough to hold her attention very long. 

John But you know what? You know, for the rest of their life, they’re going to remember that that their dad did something that nobody else would have done. And what a cool thing. What a cool story. I love that. 

Derek Yeah, it was it was it was cool to see and then it was cool to get the, you know, to get them involved. Right. It’s just something that they can they can always have that. Hey, that’s that’s something my dad did. 

John Yeah, well, it’s interesting, you know, and I talk about that. I use your story to talk about a few different things. But one is when you it’s amazing what you can do, what somebody can do when you have such a powerful Y. I mean, it wasn’t it wasn’t just go for a PR was it was really it was something about it was doing it for your girls. And it’s like, you know, that’s so powerful. And I kind of get the impression that you were not didn’t matter how fast those guys were. Are you going to figure out how to figure out a way to get to the front, whether you had to run for 27 or whatever it was you were going to do right now? 

Derek Yeah, there was if that’s if that’s something that could have an impact on them moving forward. Right. It’s not showing them, hey, you can get on TV. It’s showing them that if you want something and if there’s something that you want to be able to do, you you can do it. You know, you I had to do the training to qualify to get to that level, right. To be able to be at the front, to be able to get to those things. Right. It’s not just, you know, you show up and hope that you can do something. You know, there was some things on the back end. But hopefully, you know, from then they they can learn. If you if you put in work and you really hope and you just want to have fun with it, you can do what you want to do. And again, it’s that, you know, find your why. And I tell my athletes a lot to find your why why did you. Why did you do that finder? You know the motivation to be able to do something like that. Mm hmm. And that was that was really the point of doing something like that and to really to go enjoy yourself. Right. Like that was. Yeah, it was fun. It was something fun. It was kind of silly, I’ll admit. But it was. I don’t regret it. Not for a second. Do I regret that day. That’s amazing. And I don’t regret the if you’re going to do something. A good friend of mine, his name’s Karl Blackhurst, told me once, If you’re going to be dumb, you better be tough. Well, if I was dumb enough to run a 427 first mile, I was tough enough to get through those last the last three miles of that marathon. 

John That was imagine. I mean, you’ve got you’re exerting a lot and that’s probably that’s not the I haven’t run a marathon but that’s not the way you’d come out of into a race. So was that how hard was it to finish up? 

Derek That was really, really tough. I mean, it was great. The Boston Marathon has a really, really cool place about halfway through. It’s where the Wellesley College is. Mm hmm. And it’s just formally it was just a women’s college, but they call it the it’s just a tunnel that’s a mile long of the Wellesley College. Girls just screaming at about halfway. And I was like, well, I got to at least make it through that and and not be falling apart. Right. And on the back end of that, I saw my mom and my sister. And so I got all all amped up again was I told them, hey, I led the first mile and my sister goes, oh, you it’s all over Facebook. You have no idea. But we’ll tell you after. But I was like, oh, okay. So right around 15 or 16 miles is where things really started to hurt. So the last ten miles were were rough. It was it was tough. And that’s where it gets really hilly as well. So the Newton Hills and Heartbreak Hill, it’s a pretty famous video. It did exactly that. It’s pretty tough to keep getting through, especially a 38 degrees raining. Oh, I wanted to keep giving effort. Right. I didn’t just want to do that and then walk off. That’s not fair to the race. That’s not fair to the the aura that is the Boston Marathon. Mm hmm. If you’re going to go do something like that, you got to be tough and finish out what you started. So I pushed through and I ended up running 304, which is just fast enough to qualify for the next year. 

John That’s awesome. Yeah. What. What is the most pain you’ve been in? Like, was that the end of that race or. I know you’ve you’ve won half Iron Man. I mean, I want to hear some of your accomplishments for the audience, for sure. And but what was your most painful time? What was the time where you’re like, wow, I don’t know if I can do this. 

Derek I, I can tell you the exact race. Boston was close. I was real cold. But just finishing is one thing. The other one was my girls were. It was before that my girls were a little bit younger. Reese may not even been born. I think it was just Aspen. But we had a triathlon in Houston, Texas, and they were giving a little bit of prize money. I think it was like $5,000 and like a wheelset or something. If money was tight, right? If you’re chasing your dreams of triathlon, you know, being a professional triathlete, it’s not like baseball, right? Where you’re getting paychecks, you’re getting paid. So money was super tight. Rent was going to be rough to even make. So I knew that if it was, it was when or you know, it. Look at the family, right? My wife and my daughter and be like, hey, daddy can’t provide. 

Derek And I got off the bike and there was my wife and my daughter in a stroller. I think was it was a four-mile run. I was probably a minute back of first place and I was in about seven and they only paid top three. So I knew it was like, Hey, you got to do something you’ve never done before or you can’t pay rent. And I promise you, that was the most pain I’ve ever been in. I ended up averaging 455 per mile and I could not see the last mile. I had to just follow the orange blur that were the cones. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t see. I had run everything out of it. Ended up catching the leader with about a quarter mile to go. And we passed my wife and daughter one last time right about there. And that was kind of like, well, I’m like, I’ll die before I let anybody beat me at this point. Wow. And I won that race. We we got to pay we had to pay rent. I immediately sold the wheels for, like, half price on eBay. And we we got groceries for the month. 

John Wow, man, that’s amazing. 

Derek I thought that was the most. 

John Yeah, I can’t imagine that. But you. 

Derek Thought you. 

John Were not going to you were just didn’t take it didn’t matter what it took. You were going to win. 

Derek Yeah, it was it was one of those that, that again, like I was losing vision. I couldn’t feel the ends of my fingers. But I was I was in a world of hurt that that one hurt real bad. 

John How were you lose envision like what? What was causing that you’re just so. 

Derek So you just start walking up so much and then you’re you’re what’s happening is the blood is going to your heart so much that it can’t keep pumping to everything. And so it starts just pulling in. So it would just stop going to the ends of your fingers or stop going right? Like your brain has to keep working, but you don’t have to be able to see to be alive. Yeah, I tell I, I was probably, you know, close to 200 heart rate. I was. But that was everything that I had at that point. 

John And when you were done with that and you want where you just you just collapse or what are you I mean. 

Derek Yeah, I absolutely collapsed across the finish line. You know, it’s a euphoric you did it right. So I’m I’m happy. But then all the pain really settles in, like you can block out and a certain amount. I was pretty laser focused. You have that amount of time and that finish line, but that that finish line just allows everything to just start flooding in. And so I was I make a lot of weird faces and a lot of weird noises and rolled around on the ground and everybody wanted to congratulate. And I was just, don’t freaking touch me. Don’t look at me, don’t breathe on me. Don’t. Just like I wanted to hug my wife and daughter, but I also needed a second. So I was like, Everybody go away and let me let me breathe for a second. 

John And what does it take to recover from that? 

Derek It it took a little bit. I mean, I’m sure I tried to do something the next day, but I mean, I’m sure I wasn’t right for the whole next week following that. Yeah. And it was a yeah. But I mean I was, I would have done it again. I’m pretty sure I tore a calf muscle as well. So that was that was a little bit. But I mean, it’s worth you. That’s what you that’s what you do those things for, right? Yeah. Who else, who else can say those stories except for when you put yourself in that situation. 

John So what does that do to you mentally now? Like when you’ve accomplished that much and you’ve overcome those types of obstacles you’ve handled and overcome that much pain and difficulty and come out victorious. I mean, what does that do to you? Like, how do you how do you approach everything else in your life? I mean, do you feel like invincible? I mean, do you you must feel like you can do anything. 

Derek Invincible. No, but can do anything. Yeah, probably. Yeah. There’s more. That’s why it’s a great question. And that’s one of the things that goes back to I know we’ve talked about this before, but what’s your purpose? Right. And I always felt like my purpose was to let people know they’re capable of more than they think they’re capable of, more than they could ever imagine. I never thought I could go to a place like that. I thought maybe I could run that hard for a few minutes. Right. But you. You don’t know until you have that exact amount of pressure on you to perform that you have a baby girl walking up at you, literally helpless, saying, provide for me. You’re gonna do things that you never thought possible. So now moving forward, it’s it’s not whether or not you can accomplish, it’s accomplish anything. It’s should you. How would you go about it? The whole. Oh, I can’t do that. Well, that doesn’t enter my mind any more. Of course I can. I’ve done I’ve done incredible things that I never should have been able to do. And it’s nothing on me. I just happened to be. I’m going to quote lucky enough to have been in those situations that I know you can push through anything. There’s things that you can do to be better. 

John And my guess is that that’s not even just in physical stuff. It’s all areas of life. I mean, I would imagine that confidence, knowing that you’ve done something that is so difficult. I mean, if you face a fear or challenge or an obstacle that’s immense, that’s in another part of your life in business or something else you, I’m imagining, can draw from these past experiences because you’re wiring your brain to realize that, hey, there’s nothing you can’t handle. 

Derek Correct. And I’ll give you an example of that. Right. It wasn’t too long ago I kept thinking, well, the only thing I have to offer is physical. You. I can only run, I can do these things. And then what you learn from those experiences that no, I can I can teach, I can write, I can teach myself how to, you know, read everything under the sun and to learn you, there’s so much more. And I didn’t even realize I was doing it to myself. I’m capable of more than doing things that are just running fast or just pushing myself hard physically. Right. You can again, you can teach. You can start a business. You can learn how to finance. You can learn the computer that you need to do these things right. Oh, I can’t learn this thing. I don’t know anything about computers. You can. It’s just how can you break it down to the point of. I just think to get to where? Find someone that knows how to do it. To teach me in a way that I know how to learn and overcome that obstacle. Right. And you you keep you keep doing that over and over and over. I can do anything under the sun so long as I just take the time to work at it, find my reason why I want to do it, and then keep going at it. Right. You never, never quit with it. You can you can do anything you want to do. 

John Well, I love that. And that’s such a great message, I think for for listeners that may be thinking to themselves, wow, he’s just at a whole different level. Like, I can’t even they may not even be able to grasp, you know, doing something at the level that you have. But the message is really that mentality applies to anything. It doesn’t have to be doing a marathon or running a four and a half minute mile. It’s not anything to that level. It’s small things that are stretching your comfort zone, that are challenges and overcoming that. And then you move on to the next thing and the next thing and a little bit bigger and a little bit bigger from there. 

Derek Correct it all. It all starts small, you know. And that’s what I try to bring up. When people talk about Boston, it’s not like I just showed up off the couch and did something. There’s years that went into that. There was a lot of training. There was, you know, a lot behind it. I had to have some success to have the confidence to be able to do that. Right. But now you take from that and there’s there’s no there’s no room that I’m nervous to walk into. Right. I’ve stepped out in front of millions of people. What is this person going to do or say to me that I haven’t seen before? Right. But you draw from that. And again, I have I’m no different than anybody else that I just happened to make those two connections that it’s it’s a little thing every day. You get a little bit better at it, right? Again, it’s like, Hey, I want to write that first book. Well, great. Start practicing writing, right? A few sentences. Let somebody else see what you did, help you out. And you keep you keep moving from there and it’s man, it’s a great thing. Then you get then you get to meet other people that feel the same way. And that’s the best. That’s the best thing. Owners right now look at me. I get to I get to talk to somebody that talks to CEOs and tells people. Right. What leadership is all about. I never thought in a million years I’d be able to do something like that. And now look, now we get to talk to each other and learning different things. It’s it’s one step. It’s a it’s another. 

John I love it, man. Well, this is I you are an absolute inspiration. And I love I love hearing your story firsthand. Ever since I read about you. You think I can’t? I’ve. I got to talk to this guy. And so you’ve you’ve definitely given me a big thrill. And I know the audience, too. I guarantee you this will be a very highly rated episode. So I appreciate you and I appreciate all your time and I thank you for your service. I know people that are listening can see, but you are all right. You’re you’re at which most of the audience is listening. They don’t see. But you are the holistic health and fitness state coordinator for the Arkansas Army National Guard, which is excellent. How do you enjoy that? You must be right in your sweet spot there in terms of helping influence people in a really positive way, the way you live your life and helping them do the same. 

Derek I sure am. I’m lucky that it did. It came along. I didn’t join for this role. Right. I got in at age 34. So that’s a little bit later and was just a I enlisted. I chose to go that route and served in the artillery. And then once this came up, a few people had heard about me. I did win the National Guard Marathon Championship. So some people knew that. I knew a little bit about health and fitness and they were like, hey, we we thought you might fill this role pretty well. So but to answer your question, yes, this is so what I really love doing, it’s I’m very lucky to be able to do it. But it at times there’s things in the military and there’s things obviously in the world that you there’s red tape sometimes. Right. Not everybody understands those concepts very well. And coming in super late to the military. Right. You kind of have to break down some of those barriers that people built in the military. And then I have to build up that that trust that people have been doing this for 25 years, and I’ve only been doing it for, you know, five. Now I have to build that trust and have to earn that trust so that, you know, and they have to learn, hey, there’s some things on the outside that we we may be able to learn from. So, yeah, teaching health and fitness is fantastic, but there’s also growing opportunities on, you know, writing policy, on military budgeting, right? So things that I have to learn that I was definitely not an expert in. But again, we talked about that, right? There’s there’s nothing we can’t do. So I’d open up a book and try to learn as much as I can. 

John You got to, man. Well, leadership is influence, and you’re doing just that. And it’s helping people do things that they wouldn’t have been able to do without your help. So you’re doing that as well. And just a great example of what leadership is really all about. And again, you’re an inspiration. I got all the respect for you in the world. So I appreciate you, my friend. I appreciate you joining. I know we’re out of our time here, but if people do want to engage with you or connect with you or whatnot, what’s the best way for them to digitize that LinkedIn or what other place? 

Derek Yeah. So one, I’m on LinkedIn and I’m also on Facebook and Instagram so we can tag those. But if you put in. To Graham. It’s York Fit ish. Uh, yeah. They hacked my Instagram account, so if you look up, Derek, Yorek is probably not me. But outside of that, yeah. Facebook, LinkedIn, shoot me a message. I love helping anybody out any way that I can. And I just want to say thank you for what you do. Teaching people how to lead correctly through inspiration. Finding their way, man, you’re you’re nailing it. And I’m really I’m honored to be even a part of that. So I really appreciate what you do for everybody. 

John Well, thanks, man. I appreciate that. And I got a feel and will be connecting a lot and talking a lot down the road. So, um, you know, keep me updated and we’ll keep the audience updated on all the things you’re doing. 

Derek Sounds good. Hey, thanks a lot for having me. 

John You got it, Derek. Thanks all for joining today. We’ve been here with Derek Yorek again. You heard his story. Unbelievable. We’ll have all his info in the show, notes, links and all that kind of good stuff. So be sure to check him out. Be sure to connect as always, like share, subscribe, good and below. Give a five-star review. This one deserves it for sure. And we’ll see you next time. Thanks, everybody. 

John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!

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