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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Sep 14, 2016

Co-hosts Jan Rutherford and Jim Vaselopulos interview Jason McCarthy, Founder and CEO of GORUCK, a company that makes rucksacks (also known as backpacks), and runs rucking events similar to the Special Forces selection process. Jason reveals why and how he started GORUCK, the obstacles he faced along the way, his mission for GORUCK, and his success in building leaders by overcoming adversity as a team. Jason also talks about building better Americans who serve their country and community, explaining the basis of community. He reminds us what freedom means, and how others can fulfill a duty in a variety of ways.

Listen in to learn how you can turn adversity into team building within your organization.


Key Takeaways

[7:38] How the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) or the Q Course forces you to lead.

[8:32] There are always opportunities to lead, you have to seize them. There’s always room for another great leader to step up.

[13:24] It wasn’t about the weight people were carrying, it was about the people carrying the weight.

[13:41] What’s really rewarding, is the impact you can make on people if you serve them.

[14:34] GORUCK became this bridge for Jason, that he was building for people that showed up within the class, and yet he needed to be on that same bridge, as well.

[18:29] Successful teams have got to be fun and it’s got to be about building communities.

[21:57] Americans represent one united community. Bake your neighbor a pie sometime, talk to the person next to you on the plane. We need someone to push us toward more service to each other - to build a better America.

[25:41] To create a culture of leaders you have to trust the people around you, give them things they can do, and let them figure it out.

[33:33] Go find a friend, go for a walk, put a backpack on, and talk to the person next to you. Connect with the people that are around you.


Quotable Quotes

“To lead is to do. You have to actually do it. You can’t learn about it in a book.”

"To lead is to serve."

“People need to like you to spend time with you.”

"Communication is always the glue."

“Taking a walk with a ruck is officially called rucking.”


Books Mentioned or Referenced on the Show

The LITTLEST Green Beret: On Self-Reliant Leadership, book by Jan Rutherford



Jason McCarthy Graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in May 2001, without a set professional goal. Then came 9/11, which became a call-to-arms to him. Jason enlisted in Special Forces and served in Iraq as a Communication Sergeant in the Green Berets. He calls his experience there a leadership laboratory. Jason founded GORUCK in 2008 after his military service, seeing the need for a great civilian bag, and a way to help veterans bridge military and civilian life. This led to the GORUCK Challenge, where a Special Forces guy builds a team out of the participants who show up.