Catch Matt “Mohawk” Denny on the #PirateBroadcast
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Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns 0:19
It's a beautiful day for the #piratebroadcast. I'm thinking here, it's another conversation that we can actually engage in, and be involved in, in this communityl. The pirate community is an amazing community. If you're not connected, get connected, start a conversation, the resources are there, the resources are out there. If you need to be introduced to somebody, let me know, I'm happy to provide introductions. If you're looking for a certain thing a certain time a certain way, let me know because we need to keep this conversation going. Also, it would really benefit me and encourage this whole process, if you would like, comment, share, and subscribe to the YouTube channel the podcast and all of these things. It's an indicator that I'm putting out content that's valuable. So if you love it, please let me know by sharing and subscribing. I love the fact that we can get together here every morning and have a conversation with #interestinpeople doing #interestingthings. And Matt Mohawk Denny is one of those individuals that I met through another pirate, Steve Sims, who's been on the show. Many of you may know Steve Sims, he's on the internet and sharing some great stuff. Matt went to an event in in one of Steve's collaborations, kind of a yeah, it's an interesting place to go. I'm sure it's fun to to be there. And then we had what was it a drinking thing, Matt, that we are doing there? So Matt, thank you so much for being here. You're now officially a pirate so we can have a conversation and get this thing going here. But welcome to the #piratebroadcast. And how you doing, man? Tell me how you're doing first of all,
Matt Mohawk Denny 2:25
I am doing awesome. It is a gorgeous day here in DC, I can see the city from the other side of the computer and it's just beautiful. I'm not a huge, like Halloween decoration person, but I love the concept of dressing up. Mostly because I think Halloween comes at a time of year that people actually...a lot of people take off their masks. I have a video that I'm putting out this morning with me and a mask on and off. Are you putting your mask on today or taking it off? Recently, about nine months ago, I realized that I was wearing a mask. I've recently been taking that off. And it's like a whole new world opened up.
Russ Johns 3:13
You know, we evolved and it's fascinating to me, because we're all connected. I believe we are all connected in some way, shape, or form. I noticed your profile because I have a process that brings people on the show. I hope it was easy for you. It seems pretty simple and reminders and all that kind of stuff. I looked at it and I go 801? That's a Utah number. So I asked Matt, I said, so Matt, where'd you grow up? Where are you from? Tell me about the 801 number. And funny story is we grew up in the same town. So I'm sure we graduated in different years, but we all went to the same high school. Small world, small world. When you're out and about and you're looking around for people, there's always a thread that we have in connection with and that's the theme of the #piratebroadcast is we're all connected. You know, a little kindness goes a long way, and you don't know where somebody's been or what they're going through or anything like that. Take that mask off. In a metaphorical kind of way, be yourself, be honest and true. So Matt, tell us about your journey and how you got where you're doing right now.
Matt Mohawk Denny 4:36
So I came out of high school in Layton where we grew up, and I did a whole lot of things. I worked for a construction type company, sewer cleaning company. So yes, people have to clean your sewers. It paid great because no one wants to do it. But I started doing a bunch of odd jobs. I was a bouncer, I was DJ'ing, I was a promotor, random things for about four or five years, and then at 23, I joined the Marine Corps. I was like, this is a complete shift. I had everything I needed in life;, but I wanted to experience something different. I wanted to serve and do something that mattered to me. so I joined the Marine Corps. And of course, recruiters are always completely honest.
Russ Johns 5:24
Matt Mohawk Denny 5:25
Exactly. I was doing marketing promoting type stuff before I joined. And so like, oh, yeah, we got something just like it. It's called public affairs. It's the same thing. I go through boot camp, I go through all this stuff, I get to the school house, and it's writing. I'm like, oh, crap. The first three months of class, the first month is all about writing. I'm like, uh, I have no idea how to do that. Until it totally caught me off guard. But it turns out, that I actually enjoy writing. Didn't know I did. That journey took me all over the world, went to Okinawa, San Diego, back in DC now. I served about four years, had some medical stuff and got out. Then I went into public affairs as a civilian, and worked for the Navy. Over the past seven years, I've kind of rolled constantly of like, I'll do this for a couple years, do this for a couple years. And until recently, I didn't realize that was like a trend. That was like my thing. A lot of it came because I never identified with the word entrepreneur, I thought it meant that you had to have a business. I've never owned a business, I'm not an entrepreneur. And I wouldn't know. I have learned that now. Nine months ago, I'm learning that it's a mindset, and it's just kind of how how you live your life.
Russ Johns 6:55
Well, there's a word that I used often...intrapreneur because you're inside of an organization, and I had changed, I had shifted careers four or five times in my corporate culture and I was a musician first, so being an entrepreneur and having a book business and go out there and do things, that was something that was part of...and I always had a side hustle and everything going on, you know, as a farmer, and firemen and all these different projects and processes, pieces of life. You learn resiliency, and the ability to adapt are some of the key most beneficial benefits you can add to your ERP. You know, your proposal in your presentation and your portfolio. So what do you focus on right now that's bringing you a little bit of excitement inside the Navy?
Matt Mohawk Denny 8:04
Maybe too often, you don't hear that. I just love going to work. I work inside the Department of Navy, which is at the Marine Corps. And I work for an organization called NavalX and we are an innovation, agility cell, and mainly a super connector for the Navy, meaning we're trying to connect internally, the Navy, you got my audience, internally is 700,000 people. So it's a large people connect. Yeah. Working on connecting them to each other, hey, you're doing this great invention or innovation? Awesome. Hey, so are we, let's talk. So are these people. So it's kind of bringing that in any organization that's at large, it's hard to know what all exists. So our team has only been set up for about a year and a half now and we're trying different things. We have a lot of top cover, so we can, and I say, cut the red tape a lot. But for me, and my title on LinkedIn is Bureaucracy Slayer. But it's not just about like punching through the wall and slicing the tape down. I actually like analyzing it and like, why is the tape red? Maybe we can be yellow, maybe we can be green. Maybe it could be better for someone behind me. I have some teammates in my different job, who call me the juggernaut. Because I kind of just punch through walls. And then people come behind me and kind of clean up and make it usable for everyone else. So I love what I do at Naval x because I'm changing a culture and a lot of the government world for different reasons. We're behind on a few things. A lot of that's for security reasons. So we're bringing different tools and mindsets and cultures into the government which is really fun and can be challenging at times, but I really, I really enjoy it. I came on to do like digital IT stuff because that was my background recently. Then there's like, hey, there's a gap, we need help with communications. So now I do quick chats with Mohawk Matt, I do a podcast, I do a lot of videos connecting people. And obviously Mohawk Matt, if you can't tell, hard to find me in a crowd, not really. So I love what I do, because I love people, they aid to relationships, and that's what I love.
Russ Johns 10:32
That's fantastic. You know, that's a lot of LinkedIn. Part of being a pirate is the fact that the diversity of individuals that I've connected with over the last 280 episodes, has been massive. When you're really in the day to day of it in connecting and having conversations and putting things together, magic happens, because all of a sudden, you're talking to an individual that has the opportunity to make a change in so many other dimensions in so many other lives. So it's really an opportunity now with digital, where you can jump on a podcast like this, you can live stream, you can actually ask people what they're thinking about and what they're doing right now, you know, just like we are, and you can do that right now inside your organization, and then start talking and unwinding some of the conversations in the culture that is there, and actually asking the questions. Well, why do you do it there. Become the five year old? Why? Why do you do that? Well, why do you do it that way? Why do you do it that way? And it's awesome to see that in an organization like the Navy, because it's been around for a little while. There's probably some traditions there that may need to be upgraded based on current status. So what's what's an example of something that you're challenged with? Or you're thinking about in terms of what the messaging might be? Or how to deliver messaging in a way that that fits your environment now, but what are some challenges based on what you can share?
Matt Mohawk Denny 12:36
Yeah, so a lot of the challenges were, and have been, and still are, are the, hey, this is how we communicate, we've been communicating this way for 100 years. This is the way we're gonna keep talking. A lot of that is that kind of very professional, very formal we are the Navy, we are these organizations and this is how we communicate. so what I did, was the fun part of my job, is when I started coming on as well, I'm going to take everything that I have to do on Instagram and Twitter, and the way people just do information, not in the professional mindset. I am just going to go full swing in my world. That was a shock and still is a shock to a lot of people. A lot of that is because of how I look. I have a mohaw. And I go to the Pentagon often. It's really funny, going depending on where the Mohawk is, if I go in like a polo shirt and some jeans, they just think I work in IT. Like, oh, he's just a regular...
Russ Johns 13:40
He's just an IT guy.
Matt Mohawk Denny 13:41
Yeah, but if I go with my Mohawk and like a suit, oh, it's fantastic. Everyone's security doesn't know what to do. Like, who the heck is this guy?
Russ Johns 13:54
One of these things does not go with the other.
Matt Mohawk Denny 13:56
Yeah. Yeah, It's not working here. I even went to the Pentagon in a Christmas suit. With a mohawk and gold shoes, it was fantastic. The challenge has been that rigidity of this is how we do things. So they've lacked and I've been blessed with the ability or the freedom to be who I am and try to do the things I want to and we need to do it the way I want to. With my mohawk and my mohawk for years, like I said in the beginning was I didn't realize I've always been Mohawk Matt, I just never realized that. I've only recently had the name. But it's kind of this new identity. Like this is who I really am and now I get to be me. So the challenge for communication kind of as you talk to in this organization has been this is how we do things. Now I'm coming in like no, we're gonna try something different and it's proved to work because organizations that have 40-50-60-100,000 followers are getting like no traction. I've got like 2000 followers a few months ago on my work accounts and I was getting about 60 to 80% engagement. Because I was not like anything. Now we've grown quite a bit, but we're still getting really high engagement rates, because it's nothing like they're used to hearing, they're used to seeing an email, or here you go, here's a 20 minute video and I just delivered them, kind of the way you do just quick shots all the time, throwing those two, three minute videos. Here you go in like a lot organizations that they don't produce a lot of information outwards. And so I was like, let's try it. Someone asked me the other day, hey, so this year, we made about five, six videos, how many have you made? Oh, 93. So just doing it differently?
Russ Johns 15:56
I want to drill into that a little bit. Is that so the the results and the takeaway has been that because you've been doing what is authentic to you realistically, now that you've discovered, and you've taken off the mask of the official Matt, you're going, hey, I'm just being myself, screw it, I'm gonna go out there and be myself and do who I am and put it out there and produce some content. That's when things started picking up.
Matt Mohawk Denny 16:27
Yeah. When I started, I wanted to be authentic. Authentic is kind of a buzzword right now, but it's just that is real. That's what people identify with. The worst video I ever did for work, I ran into a wall, but in the end of the video, we left it because it was funny and it blew up. Internally, in our in our world, it blew up. Just being yourself, for me, who has been on this new journey of like, oh, yeah, I was never scared of being me. But at work I was a little more cleaner. I was a marine, obviously, that put me in a certain box.
Russ Johns 17:11
You were buttoned up.
Matt Mohawk Denny 17:13
Russ Johns 17:14
Hey, I want to give a shout out to a couple of people in the show here. Nick Gemmell. Nick, welcome. Thank you so much for being here and Nick's going through the same kind of thing. He's transitioning, he's taking off his mask and really starting to show up in a different way. Congratulations, Nick for doing that. It's Wendy. Wendy is Wendy. Wendy will always be Wendy and she will always be a an amazing individual. Good morning pirates. Welcome to the posse Mohawk, why do they call you that?
Matt Mohawk Denny 17:50
I'm not sure what the reason is
Russ Johns 17:56
Great battle cry, more Mohawk less bogus.
Matt Mohawk Denny 18:00
Oh, I'm using that one.
Russ Johns 18:01
Hey, pirate peeps. Good morning from Kenyatta right down here from Arizona. So Sukhdev, good morning pirate. It's awesome to see Matt on here having coffee. Looking forward to seeing you tonight at virtual happy hour. Right on right on. got that going on? What's up, Matt? Adam.
Matt Mohawk Denny 18:22
What's up, Adam?
Russ Johns 18:26
So I want to talk a little bit about this journey that kind of opened up the door for you and how the content creation and how your personality and just your your poise in this uptight environment at times, and then just relaxing a little bit. It's not that we want the military to completely relax; however, I think there's an opportunity for diversity and a little bit of, you know, have fun, enjoy the job, enjoy what you're doing and love coming to work. There's a lot of people that struggle with that, because I don't think they realize that they can have fun and micro on dirty jobs with micro, remember that show? He made a statement that has stuck with me for a long time. It's like some people search their entire life to find out what they love to do. When in fact, you can just learn how to love what you're doing. It's so profound that it's really one of those things, enjoy what you're doing right now because that's what you're doing right now. If you have a mindset that this sucks, that I hate being here, and it's like watching the clock and all of a sudden, you know, the day creeps on.
Matt Mohawk Denny 19:51
And it's gonna suck.
Russ Johns 19:52
And it's gonna suck. It's a choice. However, we can choose to do things is a little different and #enjoytheday.
Matt Mohawk Denny 20:02
I get that from my videos and everyone asked me all the time, are you happy all the time? No, it's not about being happy all the time. I get frustrated, but I choose to be happy when I can. Then a couple days ago, I was pretty stressed out. So I reached out to a friend who helped me get through it. So I still have the same things everyone else has. But I choose to put myself out there, you see me happy because that's where I choose to live. Yeah, it's all about that choice. And like, even right now, I'm in a fun challenge that challenged myself called the hundred days of awesome. And doing a video every single day for 100 days, about all kinds of things. Awesome things, not so awesome parts of my life, who I am, and just sharing documenting my journey. It's probably going to be a book when I'm done with it. Just kind of a fun way because it was a challenge because I do a lot of videos and content already. 100 videos in 100 days, every single day, it's different.
Russ Johns 21:11
That wouldn't be much of a challenge for me. (laughs)
Matt Mohawk Denny 21:15
Yeah, that's the level I'm trying to get to. For me, it's a newer journey. I'm only nine months in here.
Russ Johns 21:23
But I love the idea, though. Anything that you can do, to kind of step outside your comfort zone is the whole point, stretch your boundaries, know that you're going to survive it, it's like I'm getting ready to do. I'm getting ready to do a juice fast. So I'm going to juice coming up here and I'm stepping into that boundary. It's like, okay, I just want to change how I feel, I want to change how I'm doing things in my life. And so that's on the roadmap, and that's what I'm working on doing next. And same thing, it's like some people have challenges with putting themselves out there. And some people have challenges with a lot of different things. We all have challenges, we just have to figure out how we can get beyond those challenges and stop being the same person every single day. We just need 1% improvement every day. 10% improvement.
Matt Mohawk Denny 22:27
Yeah, and that's what I've learned recently is like, even with the hundred days of awesome videos, not challenging for me, but consistently posting every day, that was a new effort. Also, I didn't realize until a few months ago, so I was around some of this new group of people and entrepreneurs I've been spending my time with is I didn't realize that I actually wasn't being challenged. Everything I was doing for the last years. Sure, it took effort and time to do it, but it was my realm. It was my lane. So for me, it made sense. Now I'm being put into uncomfortable situations. And like, Whoa, it's fantastic to feel like...I'm writing books right now. It scares the crap out of me. If I start actually talking about what I'm writing, I start sweating, I get nervous, it physically...like right now, my anxiety levels went up, because it terrifies me. But I want to overcome that. I want to accomplish that and become an author just for fun.
Russ Johns 23:35
Well the thing you have to focus on is I know how I'm feeling right now, I'm feeling anxious, right? Then you have to think about, okay, what am I going to feel like when it's done, when it's delivered, when it's packaged up and performing? That's the fun. I want to project myself into that feeling. That's the way I'm going to feel when it's completed. And I think that's what we need to start thinking about and that's the culture that we can change in our lives is I don't want to necessarily feel the way I feel right now. Because this isn't the way I want to live. I just want to improve myself and so what am I going to be feeling like when I'm there? So start thinking about that and start thinking about the choice that you're making. That's one of the things you got to consider when you're going through this. So let's go back and get a couple of people in the room. Rafi Good morning. Evening, comrades. Morning. Fantastic. Gabriel. Good morning, fellow pirates. Hola Danny. Sarathy says, a wrestling mat. Thank you so much for being here. He's on the other side of the world. So it's evening for him. Gabriel says how are you Wendy, your ray of sunshine is beaming all the way to Texas so fantastic. Love the Mohawk.
Matt Mohawk Denny 24:57
I have a video of how to cut your mohawk during COVID.
Russ Johns 25:05
Well, I cut my hair on a regular basis. It's pretty simple for me but...choose to live, Wendy says. Absolutely, positively. Matt doesn't get nervous. He helps others get over it.
Matt Mohawk Denny 25:23
I helped Emma go live for her first time the other day. She was terrified of video, so I said, hey, let's go live in like three hours. She's like, okay.
Russ Johns 25:35
Fantastic. Yeah. Here's another pirate. Howard says, awesome story, Mohjawk. Thank you so much for being here, Howard. Happy Friday. Hope you're well. I got some introductions for you too, by the way. Okay, so we've got the I think it's the Steve Sims that something going on tonight?
Matt Mohawk Denny 26:02
Yeah, as normal, happy hour. Bunch of misfits telling horrible jokes.
Russ Johns 26:08
I need to be more prepared with my horrible jokes. Have to get the room full of pirates? When I could get the room full of pirates? We'll be okay.
Matt Mohawk Denny 26:20
Yeah, definitely. Well, I've got to say, I love that I met you through that group. You're just so forward leaning on video and the way...I love the #piratebroadcast and it seems like I totally identify with that. So I keep doing what you're doing, man. I love it. Yeah.
Russ Johns 26:38
And I produce shows for other people. So it's really great. So if you ever, if you ever need somebody to help you produce a show for the Navy, let me know.
Matt Mohawk Denny 26:46
Good to know.
Russ Johns 26:47
I just did one yesterday for the oil and gas industry. We're talking about G&A and the oil and gas industry. So it's like, all kinds of topics. It's funny, because I just do what I do. Sometimes I put it out there, but I don't think I put it out there enough. So I'm going to be putting...I teach classes on how to live stream and how to use LinkedIn to generate leads in your business. So if anybody's out there that needs some help with that. Let me know.
Matt Mohawk Denny 27:21
Because that's the trick. Getting a LinkedIn live is not easy.
Russ Johns 27:24
Yeah and also, there's a lot of things that you can do with live that doesn't necessarily go to LinkedIn directly. Yeah, and that's a backstory, because I didn't have LinkedIn live. So I would stream it to YouTube and then post it on LinkedIn. Like it was live. Just like a pirate.
Matt Mohawk Denny 27:45
Of course. Makes sense.
Russ Johns 27:48
We probably get along because you're in the Navy, right?
Matt Mohawk Denny 27:52
Oh, I work for the Navy. I still hold my Marine Corps ties. very dear.
Russ Johns 27:57
Oh, and thank you so much for serving if I didn't mention that earlier, so appreciate your service and thank you so much for being part of the group that keeps us safe.
Matt Mohawk Denny 28:11
It is a great group and I I am grateful every day that I came home and blessed and give thanks to all those brothers and sisters of mine who didn't, so I appreciate it.
Russ Johns 28:23
Yeah, it's it's good to have you here. So thanks, Matt. You're the best. Sukhdev says, overcome your anxiety by thinking about how you're going to feel after your accomplishment. Great advice, guys. And then Emma says yes, happy hour be there, prepping my jokes now.
Matt Mohawk Denny 28:47
Russ Johns 28:49
Happy Hour cleanse Russ. I'll be right back folks. Kenyatta says rock it don't stop it.
Matt Mohawk Denny 29:04
You've got it!
Russ Johns 29:05
You've got it. Kenyatta You got it. Yes, Emma says.
Matt Mohawk Denny 29:10
Kenyatta. I'm actually working on some 3d printed versions of the Mohawk in case I do start losing my hair. I got to have backup.
Russ Johns 29:21
3d printing. Little double stick tape, you'll be done. You'll be golden.
Matt Mohawk Denny 29:27
Exactly. Where I work, we have a lot of 3d printers. I've been playing around with some stuff.
Russ Johns 29:32
Oh, that's so cool. Well, Matt, it's been a pleasure. I look forward to many more conversations like this. Come back and tell us, give us progress reports and things like that in the pirate community. Also, if you're not connected to Matt, reach out and connect him. He's on LinkedIn. So you're getting some of these fun loving criminals out there to make some connections and reach out and make it okay. It's what what we need to do nowadays.
Matt Mohawk Denny 30:03
Definitely, go pirates!
Russ Johns 30:04
Yeah, go pirates. So is there any advice you want to leave, legacy advice that you can leave with us to make sure that we're gonna be thinking about that for the rest of the day, maybe into the afternoon?
Matt Mohawk Denny 30:17
Yeah. Have an awesome day. If you aren't, or if you are, make it so that someone else has an awesome day, you can affect someone else's day by saying hello. To me, that has been like my mantra for years, especially right now in COVID. It's so powerful. Don't walk by someone with your head in your phone, just say hi. You could change someone's world and it's happened to me. So if you're having an awesome day, or if you're not, be the reason someone else has an awesome day.
Russ Johns 30:47
I love that. I love that. Well, Matt, it's a pleasure. I'm honored to have you on the show and thanks much for for being here and helping us be entertained for at least a few minutes in the day and maybe omebody has a little bit of #inspiration and #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings.
Matt Mohawk Denny 31:08
Definitely. Thanks, Russ. Appreciate it. It's great to be a pirate.
Russ Johns 31:11
Alright. And as everyone knows, #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and you #enjoytheday. Take care, everyone. See ya.
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