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Your reputation is everything in business. It’s the difference between becoming a decamillionaire—or barely passing six figures.

But your reputation has never been harder to protect. One bad tweet can get you canceled and bankrupt your business.

In this episode, political and corporate consultant, Wesley Donahue, reveals how to protect your reputation and business (even when cancel culture comes after you).

Listen now — this is the most important episode for your business, your future, and your family.

Show highlights include: 

  • How to grow your business faster in the next 2 years than you’ve done in the last decade (3:40)
  • The insanely profitable and rarely discussed “Maneuver through Manure” business plan (4:36)
  • How to immunize yourself from the crazies trying to cancel you (even if you say something “offensive”) (4:48)
  • Why admitting your DUI instead of hiding it builds an unbreakable bond of trust with your audience (7:48)
  • How one bad tweet can sabotage your family’s security, happiness, and mental health (11:57)
  • The one almost-too-simple rule which prevents your business from failing (even when you’re drowning in a PR crisis) (30:18)
  • The weird way cold showers protects your business from catastrophes (31:17)

Want to protect yourself from cancel culture? Go to https://underfirebook.com/ and get Wesley’s book, “Under Fire: 13 Rules for Surviving Cancel Culture (and other crises).” And follow Wesley on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/wesleydonehue/.

Make a donation to Operation Underground Railroad and help save children from sex trafficking by going to https://my.ourrescue.org/deal. If you make a donation, shoot me a message on Instagram at @MarkEvansDM and say “operation underground railroad,” and I’ll send you a cool gift.

Did you enjoy this episode? Let me know by leaving a 5-star review. Then send me a DM on Instagram @MarkEvansDM letting me know you left a 5-star review and I might send you a pretty cool gift.

If you want exclusive content and the first chance to grab my new book Magicians vs Mules when it releases, head over to https://markevansdm.com/ and sign up for updates.

For cool gifts, gear, and a chance to enter a giveaway I’m having, head over to https://magicianvsmule.com/ and enter your email address.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to the Making of a DM. Have you ever found yourself in a situation that could cost you a lot of money from a reputation management standpoint on today's show, I'm going to have my special guest share with you what they do for massive corporations. And that also can apply to you as a small entrepreneur to make sure that you keep your name in the proper place as you're growing your legacy. So What that said, Let's get started.

(00:39): I'm Kevin steel. I'm Kevin I'm to helping teach him what I, what I know and how to discover freedom there. Ain question more. Kevin, when he step deal, stand, I'm a deal maker, a deal maker, but I'm not just a deal maker. I'm a dream maker. Hi everybody. So I got my boy Wesley here. What's up? Wesley. What's up brother. How you doing today, man? I'm I'm at the beach before the campaign season gets hot, man. So I'm, uh, I'm living the dream at the moment, having fun. the dream. I love it, man. So we're sitting here talking about the new book under fire. What can you give like a premise of what, you know, well, first off who's Wesley kinda give the intro ready, but gonna give your snippet of it. My son, a little different walk away from, yeah, Wesley first and foremost, the husband of 17 years got three little boys, three, five, and seven. You know, I, I always tried to figure out what my purpose in life was. And one day I was listening to this podcast. And you said that your, you said that your purpose was to change the direction of your family tree.

(01:50): Yeah. And I stole that. I stole it. So I, when people ask me what my purpose is, that's my purpose, man. I'm a, you know, I'm a, a welfare kid brought home in a single wide trailer with holes in the floor, you know, grew up in, uh, section eight housing when my parents divorced and just, and I come from poverty, man, you know, poor white trash . And, um, today I'm by trade a political consultant. I help, uh, us senators, governors, congressmen around the country get elected, but I also help a lot of corporations with crisis communication, you know, corporations that find themselves not needing marketing help per se, but when they step in a giant pilot crap and they need a crisis expert, a political expert to come in there and, and help them maneuver through, you know, today's culture. Um, so yeah, man doing very well and, uh, doing even better since I joined the DM family, man.

(02:39): So a lot to you in the past year. No, that's awesome, man. So let, let's talk about that, cuz I know we're talking about what you do, but the truth is you're a business owner as well as you know my audience, you know, there might be small time, beginning entrepreneurs, the full-fledged, you know, business owners, you have many employees you're about to gain a lot more. So it's not like you just do political campaigning stuff. Don't get her twisted guys. He had, I mean you have what? 40 something employees right now, right? Almost 50. Yeah. We're just like we're at 52 today on um, push digital and Lawrence group. So push is the political one. Lauren is my corporate side. I also own a brewery with two locations that has another 30 employees there. I'm I'm nowhere near some of you guys, but I dabble in real estate, you know, starting to build my little Airbnb empire along the South Carolina coast and um, you know, crypto cause of you losing a lot of money.

(03:28): exactly, you know, you know, I become a serial entrepreneur and um, and honestly man, I'm spending more time these days on the business side of my companies that I am, you know, actually helping clients. Yeah. How long have you been in business? Wasn't it? 12 years. 12 years. So 12 years, 12 years in the game. Yeah, 12 years. But it's really been like the last two to three that things really started taking off where I, you know, they say that an entrepreneur should be working on the business rather than in the business. And I always say for about nine years, I was really in the business and for about the last two to three, I've been working on the business. Well, as you know, man, most of these guys never get out of the business. I mean, for 50 years they're in the business, you know, they think they have a great business, but they just have a great job.

(04:10): Maybe, you know, maybe they make decent money. They have a cool little lifestyle. Yep. Which is fine. I know at the event we talked about how business is easy and you're like, dude, it's not easy, but , it's not relative. Right. I think it definitely 26 years deep in the business, it does get a little easier not to say there's not stress points and pain points and all that. And um, I think we all, I think us as humans, we typically, we tend to make things more difficult than they are. Cause we have our human stuff going on. But on your side when you're dealing with, you know, when you said the, you know, I maneuver people through the process, you know, when you're doing this crisis, it's almost like you maneuver through manure yeah. You know what I mean? Exactly what I'm doing.

(04:46): Yeah. So yeah. I mean typically they, they step in a giant pile of shit and um, you know, look, people ask me a lot because the whole book's about cancel culture. So it's um, under fire 13 rules for surviving cancel culture in other crises. And look, a lot of times there are people that need to be canceled, right? Like in life, there are horrible human beings out there that just Harvey Weinstein and bill Cosby and Jeffrey Epstein, you know, some of these guys you've heard about in the last few years, those guys are just habitual pieces of shit. Yep. Most of the time though, it's just people cracking a bad joke that goes the wrong way. Or they do something inadvertently that, um, that, that, that doesn't mean they're a bad person. It just means they, they screwed up in some way. And in sometimes which I would argue most of the time, these days they didn't screw up at all.

(05:38): It's just that because of the divisiveness of the, the country, you know, one side or the other wants to go and say, oh, you're a bad person for believing this. Yeah. And you know it, and, and castle culture, I think liberals are getting a bad rap and because of the wokeness of the liberals. Yes. And they're getting blamed a lot of the cancel culture, but frankly I'm a conservative, Republican political consultant. And we do the same thing on our side. You know, we're, we're trying to cancel people on the left too, just because they disagree with us. So I don't think either side has a monopoly in this, this crap we're going through right now. But that's my job, man. I try to help guys once they they've stepped in a pile, but also when it comes to the corporate side, I try to help prepare them before it happens.

(06:19): Yeah. And you know, a lot of the book talks about preparation before. It's like, it's like insurance, what can you do for the inevitable shit storm that is gonna come your way at some point. So just being proactive positioning is what we're really talking about. Right? Yeah, no, that's right, man. But like, look at someone like you, or like a Sean Whelan who I know you're friends with and you know, we're in this, this system where it's like create more content, create more content, create a podcast, do videos, do this, do that. But when you're creating that much content, at some point, you're going to say some, some things that are offensive. Sure. And I look, we can go into the definition of offensive. I think typically what people are calling offensive, isn't really offensive. They're just being thin skin, but you might accidentally say something that really is bad just on accident sometime.

(07:06): Yeah. And nobody means to do that. Um, I got canceled and we could talk about my story at some point, but most of the time, it it's just people trying to give their opinion, be authentic, be transparent, be real on the internet. And they say the wrong thing. And then all of a sudden a shit storm occurred. Yeah. So like on that though, I mean, do you think the first thing to do just, I just wanna kind of break down something, like I say something stupid. I say stupid stuff all the time, but you know, yes. It, I think a lot of people just are wimps out there as, you know, the world's kind of weak, but like, is it me immediately addressing it? And like, dude, I said something stupid. I APO like in fact, genuinely think I did say something stupid by the way.

(07:44): Yeah. Just come out and just straight up apologize. I'm just thinking like the smaller person. Cause one of my buddies got a DUI. He was trying to hide it. I'm like, dude, just say, Hey, I'm human. I fucked up. Here's what I did. I should have called Uber. And by the way, there there's a DUI, you know, you could have two drinks and be a DUI or have 50 drinks in DUI. There there's a massive difference too on the DUI as an individual piece, but it's still DUI that's right. So it's like, listen, I had a couple drinks at the bar. It's not the end of the world. I fucked up. I should've did Uber, but here's what I like, you know, again, it's like I learned from it, right? Yeah. So, uh, chapter eight is called own it and apologize or double down. And I had to put that or double down in there because ever since Donald Trump people believe that they don't have to apologize for their mistakes.

(08:27): And frankly, to give Donald Trump some credit, it would've been that this whole chapter's about authenticity. Yep. And it would've been inauthentic for Donald Trump to apologize. Cause that's just not who he is. Donald Trump doesn't apologize because Donald Trump doesn't believe he's ever wrong. I mean, look, I'm a hardcore conservative and I support Donald Trump, but we all know he's pretty damn egotistical. Right. I mean, we all know that it would be super inauthentic and hurt his brand if he apologized. But if you look at like a Joe Rogan, for example, who, um, had that video come out where he was dropping the N word all the time. Yeah. Joe Rogan, if you're a Rogan fan, like I am listen to every podcast, you know, his whole shtick is authenticity and transparency and sincerity and empathy. And it would've been inauthentic for Joe Rogan, not to apologize. Cause that's just who he is.

(09:14): I would say you're very similar. You're a guy who, um, is very empathetic to people. You're always going outta your way to be sympathetic and to help people. And if you screwed up mark, it would be inauthentic for you not to apologize. Cause that's just who you are. You're the kind of man that can own up to his mistakes. Right. And I think it's all about what your brand is. So if you're someone like you, then that advice that you gave your friend is the exact right advice. Like just say, admit, when you screw up and most people are going be like, Hey, you know, you didn't murder anybody. We get it alls for alls forgiven. Absolutely. No man. So talk about that. Talk about you getting canceled kind of like, and then remember we're talking to entrepreneurs. I mean it could be a guy that has one, one employee or a hundred employees. How could it affect your personal life and your business life? Yeah. So I got canceled about three years ago. In fact may was the third anniversary and it didn't impact my political business. It impacted my brewery. So this is when Alabama was going through their big abortion fight. And obviously we're, we've, we're going through a big abortion fight again today. I'm pro-life I put up some pro-life comments about 50 women immediately jumped me on Twitter immediately and said, well, you're a man. You don't get it on opinion on abortion.

(10:27): I responded back well, during the day I'm gonna self-identify as a woman so that I can have an opinion on abortion and what I was trying to do, I, I was trying to be funny, but I was trying to point out the hypocrisy in the liberal argument is that like on Monday, it's like, gender's the only thing that matters. And on Tuesday gender's a concept and doesn't matter at all. And um, it got retweeted by a prominent member of the Charleston, South Carolina, L GTB Q community. Um, a reporter saw it, they called my brewery. They asked if there were any gay employees. It just turns out the person that answered the phone was, um, was gay and she was a bartender. And then she started asking her questions and the bartender went off. So she was trying to organize a walkout at the business.

(11:10): And then, you know, I had this issue where I was on the front page of the paper for three days locally. I had people leaving horrible Google reviews, horrible Yelp reviews, staff wanting to walk out and people literally finding my wife's Instagram and leaving comments on pictures of my kids, talking about how we're just like elite white supremacists and all it's just craziness, you know, we're country club whites that don't understand this, that, and the other, not understanding that I grew up in section eight housing as literally like the only white family. Yeah. And you know, and they, they, you know, they see me all dressed in fancy suits. Now they don't understand that I'm a welfare kid. They don't care. Cause you know, nuance doesn't matter. It was a tough situation to be honest, mark. Um, it was, it was, I I'm mentally prepared for these things because I deal with them all the time, but it really hit my wife hard.

(12:02): Yeah. And hit my family hard. And it was, um, a very emotional experience to go through. And that's really the reason I wrote this book because I noticed that if that could happen to me for a bad tweet, um, it could happen to anybody. And um, but I never publicly apologized for the tweet because I didn't think I owed the public UN apology. I thought I was trying to be funny. Um, I'm not a comedian. I shouldn't have been trying to be funny, but I was making a, what I thought was a logical point. What I did do, however, was go to the people that knew me, like the staff. And I sat down with the staff, all of them and apologized to them. Mm-hmm because I, I didn't wanna apologize for the comment, but I wanted to apologize because as a leader, we are the voice for the, all the people that are under us, whether they're our, we're the leaders of our family, we're the leaders of our businesses.

(12:49): And as a leader, I was only thinking about me and I wasn't thinking about my staff and that's where I believe I made the mistake. Right? Like I wasn't thinking about representing them. I wasn't thinking about being their voice. I wasn't thinking about how my comments could impact them. And if you are transgender and you work at my brewery, that you could read that as like that. I hate you. So I did sit down with the staff. I talked to them intimately and I, and I explained to them my position and told them as a Christian, I approach everybody with love. And I love everybody equally and they forgave me. But, um, I decided that the approach was to handle it in a smaller group instead of going out there and being inauthentic and apologizing publicly, just because I was supposed to apologize. Yeah. Question on that.

(13:35): Cause I do have like, again, you and I, I mean we have stances. I mean, almost we could like, not say, ever say anything, cuz everything could be construed as negative or positive or, or I got a team like we all have teams and you know what they do, how they live is up to them. I'm here to judge them and do that. But don't you think as leaders, we could be more proactive. What if you had that sit down conversation prior to this like, Hey guys, this is what I stand for. I, I think that's what I tried. I'm trying to be as a leader is to talk like, that's what I love my podcast, shit. Like my teams are listening to this. This is what I stand for. If you're lazy, you're getting fired. I don't care what you look like. I don't care where you come from.

(14:08): Like if you're lazy, you're lazy period. And if you like guys or girls or whatever, like as long as it's not children, you're fine in my group. Yeah. You know what I mean? But you know, at the end of the day, like dude, like I, I think being proactive. So then if that would hit the shift storm hits like that, they would be able to understand like, oh, it's just Wesley being Wes, you know? Yeah. So I, I, I do that now. I, I, that is something I do. And I, I tell, I explain to them two things. These are my political views, but also, uh, not to get religious. I'm a Christian. And I believe the primary lesson of Jesus Christ was love. So what I do now is I get my stances out there, but I try to approach every situation with love because that's the basis of my religion.

(14:47): And I might say, look, I'm pro-life, but you know, you, you can't talk about this issue without I believe having sympathy for a woman who's going through this kind of situation. So I don't get out there and be like, oh, you you're damn baby killers, you know? Yeah. You, what, like a lot of people do, you gotta talk, you gotta embrace the issue with empathy and love. And, and I believe realize that every human's just going through a human experience and mm-hmm , you know, and, and, and I tell all my staff that like, we're not gonna agree on this issue. You know, after my 50 something staff at push, a lot of them are young females and they're Republicans, but they're still pro-choice. Yeah. And I get out there and I explain my stance and if they don't agree with my stance, then I don't bere them or yell at them.

(15:29): And I think that's the problem with where we're at today is in this country. If you don't agree with someone, then they're the enemy and you gotta hate them and you gotta yell at them. And I think that's just BS, man. No, again, listen, that, that, that is what's wrong with it. Right. Everyone says, Hey, if you don't like my point of view, I don't like you and we're gonna fight. It's like, again, there's certain things maybe that would have to happen. Like, you know, you'd get 'em outta your life. Cause they're doing really negative, bad stuff. Right. But this is, this is a choice. This is something. So like, we're not doing, we're having adult conversations. And I think that's where a lot of peoples fell. They're, they're failing at that. Thinking like this is like, again, I think for us as kid, you know, leaders for our family, even, you know, being proactive with our spouse and our children saying, I mean, cuz this we're gonna say something stupid in the future.

(16:10): I'm sure I guarantee. Yeah. You know, cause we talk of course. So talking to them, cause I was with a buddy one time and his mom got a death threat. He was with me. He, he said, he's a very vocal guy online and all of a sudden, like he's got death threats at his mother's house. They know exactly where she lives. But typically if they're gonna kill you, they don't tell you they're gonna kill you. That's right. And all that. Right. So these are like internet bullies. You're, you're just the person they're picking on today. And then they move on to someone else. But with that said, I think we have to prepare our kids, our family, like, listen, it's okay to have different choices than dad, you know, it's, you know, have different opinion. But here's what my stance is. I'd like to hear your stance, let's talk about it.

(16:47): And maybe you can change my name. Maybe I'll change your mind either way. We don't have to change. Anybody's mind. We could just talk about it as adults. yeah. It's weird that we have to have that conversation now because we, nobody talks about you like with like adults and you know, even in the past month with both the gun bait and the abortion debate, you see these two issues and what I don't under, I don't understand it because I'm so hardcore. Pro-gun second amendment. But when you get a, like a classroom full of children killed, if you don't at least understand why someone would be anti-gun, then something's wrong with you, right? Mm-hmm you. So all this say a lot of crisis is just putting yourself in the other person's shoe to try to understand why they think the way they think. I mean, we're talking now in two hours ago, the former prime minister of Japan was shot and killed assassinated literally like two hours ago.

(17:41): So I understand why people wanna take guns away. I don't agree with them, but I understand it. And when you're going through a crisis, the only way to get through is to put yourself in another person's shoes so that you can at least understand the argument from the other side so that you could formulate your argument the right way, because, or else you're just yelling at each other. The only way to win an argument is to understand what the other person thinks and why they think that what we're talking about though, is being educated and, and having, you know, empathy and wherewithal of what's. You're actually conversating about exactly. When I hear about guns, like, dude, I don't think the problem is guns. Right? Clearly that's my stance. So I think the problem is uneducated. People with guns are bad. People that have education. People have caring, permits, they're educated.

(18:27): They've spent a lot of time at the range. They understand the power of the gun. They understand what it's for protection, not to kill that's right, right. We're not the truth is we hope we never have to use it. Right. That's right. We're not waking up and say, man, I can't wait to kill someone today. Nor does most, again, everyone too. What I see Wesley is if one cop does it, they all are bad. Yeah. You know, or whatever, like the cop goes up. Maybe we have no clue what's going on in this cop's life. We have no clue what their agenda is. But if they go out and do that now every single cop across the world is bad. That's right. You know? And it's like, I, I don't know why they do that. It it's a weird again, it's just a lazy approach to a situation.

(19:00): It is lazy. But to be honest, I mean, even on the conservative side, we approach a lot of issues is lazy too. Um, so as much as I'd love to sit here and beat up the liberals and the anti-gun folks, cuz it's fun to be, to be honest. Um, we do it a lot too. And, and I guess that's my point, a lot of crisis communication is about, you know, getting that messaging exactly. Right. Okay. And you're going to offend and piss off half of your potential consumer base. I mean, what if you're, you know, you got like a lot of real estate people, um, in our crew, right? Yeah. A lot of real estate folks listen to this. What if you're putting out these hardcore conservative comments you get on the front page of, you know, of the newspaper that so and so, uh, you know, realtor is anti-gay and, and the next thing, you know, like half of the people in your area won't do business with you because they think you're homophobic or something.

(19:49): Right. And I don't, you will always make those kind of mistakes. You will always step in a pile if you're not at least thinking what the other side is thinking and what they're going to say against you. It's like playing chess, man. You don't make a move in chess without thinking what's my opponent on the other side of the board going to do next. Once I do this. So it's all about, um, educating yourself, not just on what you believe, but educating yourself on what the other side believes too. So you can at least understand what they're going to say after you say something. No, that's powerful. Like you said, man, I think the majority of the people are playing checkers, not chess for, so they might be playing connect four, you know, they're not playing checkers. So where I was going with the gun thing, it wasn't about like just guns.

(20:31): I think the real problem is if we get real downs to death, is, is food, right? That's, what's really cancer. That's, what's really killing people. That's right. We don't have all things from other stuff, but again, we don't need to go down all that, but no, but we get distracted on things, man. I talk about it all the time. Like, you know, we had this bill in South Carolina to stop gay people from going in, uh, you know, certain bathrooms or transgender people going in certain bathrooms. And I was like, I have never once seen a transgender person in a bathroom, but I have seen thousands of people in poverty cause I'm from poverty. And it's just my point is I'm not saying that there's never been an issue with a transgender person in a bathroom. What I'm saying is we get sidetracked by these stupid issues.

(21:08): That don't really matter because we see, you know, talking heads on Fox news and MSNBC and we're ignoring the real problems like hunger, like poverty like cancer. I mean when's the last time you've heard them on the news. Talk about a, uh, cure for cancer. Yeah. Never, never, but you hear stupid arguments about transgender people in bathrooms all the time. Yeah. So we just get hyper focused on these stupid things that don't matter. And, and, and I think it's just because they're actively trying to distract us and that has created this cancel culture, you know, mode that we're in, we're all focused on these stupid problems instead of the real problems. And another, another thing I just go off on a tangent real fast. I don't think in a lot of studies prove the human brain wasn't created or didn't evolve to have as many connections as we have.

(21:59): I know you talk about how the Internet's good for business, but really we aren't mentally capable of being connected to the amount of people that we're connected to. We're supposed to be hyper focused on the problems in our homes and in our communities. And instead we're hyperfocused on every problem in the world, such as the prime minister of Japan, just getting assassinated. So what's happening is we're making every problem, our problem. Yeah. And we're not supposed to make every problem, our problem. So now we have a stance on thousands of issues that don't really matter instead of hyper focusing on the problems that really really matter in this world. No man, I, I, I, yes. I, I think the, you know, truth is I haven't listened to the news for many, many, many, many years. I saw my grandmother watching, going to bed. I saw her watch it all day.

(22:44): I saw her watching, going to bed and I'm like, how can you be a positive person listening to negativity all day long. Right. And it's like, I talked to my parents every day. I talked to my dad this morning. Oh my God, I can't go up to doubt. It's part of town. Cuz someone just got shot and blah blah. I'm like people are getting shot. People are getting hurt. People, car wrecks are it's like say no, I'm not gonna get in my car. Cause there was a car wreck, you know, in New York city. yeah. It's wild to me that people worry about this kind stuff, but you're right. Cause back in the times it's like, dude, I gotta make fire. I gotta make sure I don't get killed by save eaten by save true tiger. And I gotta feed my family. Right. And it's ma yeah.

(23:19): It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs, right? It it's food and shelter and safety. And then, you know, the hierarchy goes up and when this is the ultimate problem, man, America's had it too good for the last little bit. True. We've had it too good. And when you have it too good, you start focusing on stupid things because you don't have any real problems to focus on. And look, I understand, there are a lot of people focus like that have real problems in life. They're in poverty. They have cancer. There are real problems. But when you look at the majority of the populace, we're living in some pretty damn good times now where everybody has a job because businesses can't even find people to work for 'em. Exactly. And when everybody's meeting their basic needs, they focus on really, really dumb problems. No, and again, it's, it's not even, yeah.

(24:05): They're focused on dumb problems. It's not even their problems. Right. That's, what's crazy to me. It's not even your problem. You know, your problem is you might be overweight. That's what you need to focus on. One thing I realized, cuz again, the last, what three, four years been absolutely crazy right. With, you know, everything going on. I, I think about this cuz I'm like, if you actually just get out and meet human beings in real time, you realize there's a lot of amazing people out there. A lot of great people wanna do great stuff. Yes. It's okay to be indifferent. Yes. It's okay to have, you know, conversations and you know, maybe get heated up a little bit here and there. That's fine. But you're talking and you're meeting, like the news is meant to drive you and create like, like when even this cancel culture, they take it a little, they literally are amazing at taking an aunt hill and turn it into Mount Everest.

(24:47): That's that's right. And then, and that's, that's their job. I don't think people realize that's how they make money. that's right. And like when people have real problems, they're not gonna worry about what Wesley Donahue or Mark Evans tweeted yesterday. exactly, exactly. It becomes pointless. So on your side with, you know, can you share, you know, we'll go another 10, 15 minutes, whatever, however long you need. But like, can you share like a corporation shit's hitting the fan? I don't know what that even looks like or means. I think I know one of the stories you're gonna share about SeaWorld. Yeah. Like that happens. What does this look like? Who do they call? What does the team? Cause I think sometimes when you're an entrepreneur, you think you have to do everything yourself. And I think that's where some of these big even corporations they get in trouble cuz they try to like, oh we got this handled in HR.

(25:31): We'll take care of it. Yeah. Then all it becomes, then, then they're calling you when it's real. Real bad. Yeah. Um, so when it comes to corporate, uh, you know, have you seen pulp fiction? Yeah. One of my favorite movies and you know, when John Travolta and Samuel Jackson are driving down the road and they accidentally blow that guy's head off in the back of the car, you know? And um, they have to call the Wolf and the Wolf shows up at the door to solve their problem. You know, I'm Winston Wolf. I solve problems. That's very similar to, um, what we do. Uh, sea. World's probably our biggest success to date because over five years we really saved that company. You know, they didn't blow anybody's head off, but unfortunately, a killer well named killed a trainer, uh, called, uh, named Dawn and black, uh, a documentary called blackout that Netflix then bought the rights to, and it went viral.

(26:18): I mean this was the first time a documentary really, really hit a corporation. And this is one of the first examples of cancel culture. And when black fish went viral, um, sea worlds, I mean they, they got hit hard. Their attendance dropped their income, their revenue dropped dramatically and their stock price plummeted. They didn't respond to Blackfish for a year because they thought just as you thought, like, oh, we can handle this internally. We should just stay quiet. Some blow over it. Didn't blow over black fishes kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Their economic problems just kept getting worse and worse and worse. They had a communications director who had previously worked for Jeb Bush. And so she had a political background and she was wise because she realized this isn't a HR fight. This isn't even a traditional PR fight or a more marketing fight.

(27:04): We can't rely on our New York city or LA marketing agency. We need a political team because this is a real political fight. So she called us and we stepped in and it took a good five years man. But we were really able to, um, you know, first it was just about stopping the bleeding and uh, you know, half the books about that, just, you know, how do you stop the bleeding then the other half the book's really about rehabilitating the brand and, and how we fixed it. And they've bounced back today and they're doing even better than they were before. Oh, that's awesome. That's awesome. How long does it take to do that? I mean, is this like a, a year or two year? How long's the project? Yeah, it it's all according to how big the crisis is, man, this one took a good five years because we were battling Netflix.

(27:43): I mean that, this wasn't like just some small crisis where the CEO made a mistake. You could replace the CEO and all is good. Sometime a crisis could take a week, sometimes a month. This one took really five years. Um, and we left a couple. We left when their CEO left about three years ago. And they're still to this day, just now getting back to their stock price to where it used to be. Wow. So on, on this individual level, I, I think about like 2000 7, 8, 9, like when some individuals went bankrupt cause of the market, right. Correction. They were over leveraged, not, I mean, some people are gonna be in this position sooner than later, I believe. So what happens do they like, Hey, I went bankrupt. Like what does that look like? How are you orchestrating a conversation? Are you creating videos, press releases.

(28:29): What, what kind of like as an individual, again, corporation side. I, I know this drastically different, but just talking to like the everyday person. Yeah. So, um, in this book I lay out 13 rules, but they're like guard rails. I couldn't write a specific plan for every specific scenario. So I basically just try to create guard rails for people to say, do this, but don't do this. Um, typically what happens is we step in and the first thing I say is like, look, man, you gotta be a hundred percent transparent and honest with me. I'm, I'm the guy you tell everything to, I'm your counselor, that this is strict confidentiality. This is the trust tree, but I need to know everything and I need to know it now. And if I find out they're not giving me the full truth, that they're lying to me, I cut ties with them right now.

(29:06): But you know, immediately cuz I, I can't help 'em yeah. So from there I try to dive into this specific situation and figure out, is this a press thing? Like who's the target audience? Is it the press hitting 'em? Is it, is it a specific demographic demographic region? And typically the plan is, um, built around that specific target audience on who they're having the problem with. But it all really starts with just diving in and figuring out like what's the actual, the actual problem we're having. And I know that might sound small, but that's actually a big thing because a lot of times we step in, in the beginning when I first started doing this and we realized we couldn't solve the problem because we couldn't really figure out what the problem was. Yeah. You know, you even said it, um, on stage a week ago we were in Cleveland together and you said something like, well, if your house is always on fire, then you're the arsonist.

(29:50): Well, a lot of times we, we learned that we would step into a situation. We weren't able to solve the problem because the pro the person we were talking to was the actual arsonist. Yep. Okay. Makes a lot of sense. I, I think it's, uh, it's definitely critical. So you have 13 rules in the book. Yep. Is there a rule or two you wish you to put in or is there a, you know, is there another role, a secret role that people should know? No, there's, there's not something I, I want to put in or add. There is one that I think people should hyper focus on right now. Okay. And chapter, one's all about developing mental fortitude and mental strength. Yes. And a lot of people would think it's weird to have this conversation in a, um, a PR book, right? Because this is the kind of book that this is the kind of chapter that belongs like a David Goggins book or campaigns book.

(30:38): But the fundamental thing I've learned across the board, the one simple rule is that strong-minded people succeed. Weak-minded people fail strong minded. People are able to see the forest through the trees. They're able to stick to a plan and in a crisis, they don't let their emotions drive their actions. And the weak-minded people. You see these politicians all the time where they're letting their emotions drive their actions. Because look, to be honest, and I've been through this, this is a very, very emotional situation. When you're going through some sort of crisis like this, and weak-minded people typically make the situation worse and they can make a spark into a raging fire. So chapter one is all about developing mental strength, whether that's, you know, I'm a big ultra-marathon or Ironman marathon where that's physical stuff like that, that sucks cold baths, which is always the, the hardest thing for me.

(31:29): Cause I hate the cold or, or stoic reading stoicism and meditating. But I lay out some things in there that talk about how this isn't just a communications thing. This is also a mental thing. And it's the one thing that everybody listening to your podcast right now can start doing, because it's not a matter of if a crisis is gonna hit you. It's a matter of when. And it might not be PR it might be personal. It might be you get cancer or a kid gets sick or you get in a bad car accident or you go bankrupt. Or it might be something like PR like you accidentally say the wrong thing on Twitter might go through a divorce, whatever. At some point in your life, you're gonna go through something that really, really sucks. Yep. And having the mental fortitude is what gets you through that?

(32:09): Yeah. Cause what we're really saying, it's, it's not about the information you get. I, you got cancer. It's what you do once you get that information. What's the next step. Right. I remember I had a scare one time and it was like 10 30 at night. This doctor text, first of all, your doctor never text you at 10 30 at night, unless there's something really wrong. Right. He's like get in the right. Get in the office tomorrow as soon as possible. So he had melatonin scare or whatever, but I didn't go into like all poor me. I knew this was going to ha you know, I went like, this is not going to happen. I will solve this problem. We will get the best on the team. Like I went straight to the positive, but you're right. I think I, we all forget depending where you're at in the journey is this is all a mental fortitude game.

(32:48): That's right. Cause when, when shit hits the fan, it's not just one place. It's a storm. Finances get messed up. Your personal life gets messed up your team, your bus, it's one, it's many ball. Multifacet, it's not just one place. It starts snowballing every single time. And that, that snowballs gonna get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and faster and faster and faster. Unless you have the mental fortitude to stop it. Yeah. Stop it. And then also find people like yourself that this is what you do. You could not just bring, not, not necessarily comfort, but bring solution and uh, you know, peace of mind, Hey man, I got this. I'm on your team. I'm with you let's work it together. You don't have what I'm really saying is we don't have to go at this stuff alone. That's right. There are people out there everywhere that want to help you.

(33:30): That's how they that's their business to help you make your life better in a bad situation. As crazy as that sounds that they're everywhere. You got financial counselors, you know, relationship counselors. You got, you got guys like Wesley that are doing big stuff, small, like everything in between. So I think the biggest thing is like, man, I love them. So this is chapter one, mental fortitude. Yeah. That makes, and then, and then it goes on for there exactly what you're talking about, about having a team in place, because you're too close to the situation, right? Yeah. When you're in the middle of a crisis, you're too close. Sometimes you think it's bigger than it is. Right. But sometimes it's the opposite where you think it's smaller than it really is. But you need that outside perspective and someone who can think outside of the situation and think a little more clearly, you know, I had a, an issue just a little bit ago when I called you mark.

(34:13): I was like, Hey, how do I, how do I get through that? That was a business thing. That's why I have you a business coach. You need the same thing on the, on the crisis side of things. Yeah. Well, I mean, listen, you are an amazing team member for these companies and for these politicians, like without you, the, I mean the, the footprint looks drastically different for them potentially. Right? So, and that's for me, like we all have coaches, you, you know, your marathon stuff, how to run better, quicker, faster, cleaner, you know, prepare. I got an injury, how to recover, like all this stuff. I mean, it's just investing in topnotch people. Where do I get the book? I think you said, uh, under fire book.com. Yeah. Under fire book.com, please go there and gimme your email address and you can get on my newsletter and get all kind of free advice and such after the book comes out, but the book's out now and you can get that on Amazon.

(35:00): Yeah. Under, I got a question for you and you know, I've talked about this yoga, but sit like you're an arch ultra marathon, right? Like that's like what a mile runner kind of thing. Yeah. Yep. What's funny about that. Why number one? Why I, I know why, cause you're talk about the two. I don't even wanna drive a hundred miles, let alone hundred miles so what is it? Is it, is it because are you running? So I always think about this Goggins even. Is he running to something or from something? Yeah, that's a really good question, man. Uh, I'm the one that runs from something. Um, I got a lot of demons in my past. Yep. Um, you know, the way I grew up in a very violent home and my dad was in and out of prison, um, selling meth, he ended up dying because of meth.

(35:40): My mom died because of an opioid overdose and they both died before, you know, average age. I think it was 52. I'm 42 now. So I think if I average out the life of my parents, I might only have 10 years to live. Although I don't, you know, I don't do drugs, but I, I, I think I'm the kind of guy that runs from something also though. It's just my time to be alone. It's very meditative for me. But in third, you know, as I said, I wanna change the direction of my family tree. And I want my three boys to think that kind of hard. Shit's normal. They're always at the finish line. They're there for my they're during my Ironman, we travel around the world and they're there at the finish line of the Paris marathon. And I want my kids to think that kind of weird stuff is normal.

(36:18): Well, think about that. Right? I mean, dude, like there's people listening like that has a story probably less worse than your story. Right. And they're still using it as an excuse of why they can't Excel in life. Yeah. You know, I think about this, like guys, like you Goggins just people. Every a lot of people I know or know of, you know, cause I thinking when you're running, you know, most of the time you start off the journey running from something, but then you find peace inside of that run and then you start running towards something. I E changing the trajectory of my family tree, your kids start seeing it. Now it becomes way bigger than from the fear it's coming from passion and purpose. And now you have a different destiny. Right? It's weird. It's really weird that you said that ma'am cause I've never, never articulated that before, but if I'm running a marathon, for example, that's exactly what happens in my head.

(37:05): I start off kind of running from my past. And then I, then, you know, by mile 20, I know my kids and my wife are at the finish line and it's running to them. That gets me through the race or when you are on my, when you're on hour 11 of an iron man, I, I start running faster because I know I can get to them faster. So that's, that's very, uh, that's very correct. What's an, what's an average a hundred mile run. Take how many hours. So to be clear, I've never finished a hundred mile I've I've run four 50 mile. I just, I just went for my first hundred mile, got injured and had to stop at mile 71, but I was shooting for 22 hours. So I'm going for my second, a hundred mile attempt in December. That's awesome, man. So, but think about, so again, this is like, you know, running to me is like business.

(37:46): That's why I'm thinking about it. It's like, you're not always gonna accomplish the goal, but I, you know, shoe dog. Right. You've read that book. Oh yeah. Great. Yeah. It's a great one. The thing is, is like it's just one step at a time. One step at a time. There is how many times a day do you want to quit? running business life just in general, everything. Right? There's a lot of problems going on. A lot of things moving. Sometimes you just wanna quit, but like, dude, just keep the feet moving. I know. And it's so bad. I mean I'm cause I'm in my head so much about, cause that 71 mile was three weeks, four weeks, week, five weeks ago. And it's the first race I've ever quit, but I literally couldn't put anymore pressure on my foot. I couldn't walk anymore and ruptured some tendons in my foot, but it's still in my head because that's how I am.

(38:26): Right. It's just, I ha I've never quit anything in my life. Yeah. And it's the first thing I've ever quit. So it's so stuck in my head and I'm so obsessed with it that I've already started training for my, for my next hunter Moler but you're using it as fuel. A lot of people use it as an excuse and I, this is a business and I, so I keep going back to the business side of it. But like, I mean how most of your stuff's 50 mile runs, right? Uh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, I typically run, you know, 70 to 80 miles a week and my, I I've been running, let's say four 50 miles now, 25 marathons, two full Ironman and a ton of smaller races. So think about that though. You went from 50 to 71. I mean, that's, you're almost 50% more than you've ever ran and then you, you get discouraged and you're like, I'm not gonna do that again, but no, you're like, dude, I can't wait to lay stuff and get out there.

(39:12): I mean it's mile. No, I, I mean, my crew picked me. I was literally laying on the concrete crying cause I was so upset cause I've never not. And I got in the car and I was driving back to the hotel, laying in the back of the car, on my cell phone, looking for a hundred mile races. literal for real. I was so mad. Yeah, dude, I, I love it. I think this is you guys as entrepreneurs and business owners and just, you know, human beings that want more outta life. If you're listening to show, you know, this is, you gotta use this shit as fuel. And Lance said, Wesley, you know, intro, you're talking about corporations and this political, you you're so much more than that. As you know, you're a badass taking life by the balls and doing something with it. Not only that dude think about our kids, right?

(39:53): Mm-hmm like you said, our hard is going to be there easy that's right. You know, how cool is that? And then we're gonna teach 'em what hard is. And then they're gonna teach their kids. What hard is even harder is, and just think about like 10, 20, 30. I mean it's, the life looks a lot different for everybody. And it started with one started with you. You know, that's the goal, man. That's the goal. Pretty cool, man. Well, I appreciate you being here, guys. Get over to under fire book.com. Get your book today. Shoot me a receipt. When you get that, shoot me a receipt and I'll send you a special gift on my side as well. This goes live July 12th. You're listening to the show. It's probably already live. So make sure to snag it, give, uh, Wesley props, Wesley, how can they follow you? Where can they follow you on social I'm bay on Instagram? So hit me up there. Just Wesley Donahue. W E S L E Y D O N E H U E. Awesome man. Appreciate you being here. Wesley, have a brother. Thanks man.

(40:44): I'm Kevin I'm to helping teach him what I, what I know and how I to discover freedom there. Ain't no question mark Kevins. When he step the he's closing what? I'm a deal, a deal, but I'm not just a deal. A I'm a DreamMaker, the journeys where it at it's all about the process. It's come to get over to the teen project from a small town in Ohio. So I know how its not come from a lot of money. I remember as a kid wanted them make honey bra. Didn't see no one making more than that. Graduated high school with a 1.8. Sure. They held me back. I hope my principals and teachers are alive just to witness this I'm own ball somehow here running two way, figure businesses. I can walk away from it at all. And I be good. I been called to help people just like y'all learn the game it's to ball everybody chasing the money, but I'm not chasing the money. I'm out here chasing the purpose. So I been working my whole life. Guess where we had, is it gonna get us where we wanna go? So it's to, to learn, to helping I'm that helping teach him what I, what I know and how I did it to discover freedom there. Ain't no question mark. Kevin's when he step the he's what? The stands, I'm a deal, a deal, but I'm not just a deal. I'm a dream maker. The journey's where it's at. It's all about the process. The, the project deal deal, deal, deal.

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