Incognito Again

Living undercover is nothing like in the movies. There are no sports cars, celebrity cocktail parties, or bespoke clothing and jewelry. To successfully exist incognito you must learn to master the mundane.

Most of us can relate to the feeling of trying to ‘conceal our true identity’ from those around us. We try to be social when we want to be alone; we act jovial when we are really annoyed; we even say we’re happy when we are actually sad or angry. Imagine how good it would feel to give up all the lies, fake smiles and just let your true self run loose! That was the freedom I felt the day I watched CIA headquarters fade away in my rearview mirror.

But leaving behind a career in espionage didn’t mean leaving behind the skills, knowledge, or experiences I gained in service to my country. In fact, distancing myself from the world of international intrigue only served to open new applications for my unique background.

A year after launching ‘Everyday Espionage’ I find it humbling and more than a little ironic that I still find myself feeling like I am living incognito again. My start-up is in its infancy, but people treat me like I’m already popular. I am constantly experimenting with content, but followers avidly adopt and apply what I teach. I feel like the dumbest guy in the room, but there I am in front of the camera holding the mic…

In December 2018 I moved my family into a 31 foot motorhome, branded the rig in bold blue and black, and set out for three years of grassroots personal engagement – the #EverydaySpy tour. People tell us we are living the dream; they call us brave; they look to us to show them how to build a grand life.

But the truth is we have no idea what we are doing! We only know where we are and where we want to be. Everything in the middle is a step into uncertainty – into success or failure. And while there is fear and doubt and confusion every day, there is nothing mundane any more…

Everyday Spy

Everyday Espionage intends to challenge conventional thinking, cultivate elite achievers, and change the future of our world.

Our world is built on a series of acceptable behaviors and shared assumptions. This is conventional thinking. Those who act within the norm are accepted. Those who act outside the norm are rejected. But there is a third group…a group that rides the narrow road in between.

The space between ‘accepted’ and ‘rejected’ is full of fear, doubt and loneliness – but it is also the only road to greatness. Every hero of history and legend chose to leave behind the common in pursuit of the uncommon. And we can do the same.

I thought I was uncommon when I had my first vertical takeoff in an F-15. I thought I was uncommon when I took control of 200 nuclear missiles. I tought I was uncommon when I accepted my undercover identity and swore to serve in the US Central Intelligence Agency. I was wrong.

I was following a path shaped by my achievement but directed by others. And so it is with many of us, as we seek to satisfy in pursuit of promises; as we pledge loyalty and lose leverage. This is common convention – doing what is expected of us and seeking external rewards.

CIA taught me that conventional thinking can be predicted, directed… controlled. And even as I learned the secrets of negotiation and manipulation, I could see myself and my peers falling into the same cycle of conventional thinking. We all wanted to be accepted, to be rewarded, and we were willing to do anything to get there.

Our world will never change as long as our thinking stays the same. I am proud of my history of service, but now my mission is one of change. And whether I am accepted or rejected, mine is the path of doubt, fear, and greatness.