Discover the hidden battles of success with Brett Snodgrass. Learn to surrender to find true wealth and influence in 'The Secret War Within'.
Success is hollow until we surrender the hidden battles within, finding true wealth in faith, and influence in humility. Join us for an episode of entrepreneurship, faith, ambition, and surrender as host Michael Stansbury interviews Brett Snodgrass about his upcoming book, The Secret War Within, set to release on September 19. In this candid exploration, Brett opens up about the journey of a highly successful real estate developer, Nolan Banks. On the surface, Banks seems to have it all—wealth, influence, and a picture-perfect life. However, lurking beneath the façade is an inner turmoil, a void that no amount of success can fill. As Brett and Michael delve into the deep, life-changing aspects of his book, they discover how surrendering to God's desires can lead to a more fulfilling and purpose-driven life. Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired and transformed. Tune in now!
My special guest, in case you folks don’t know, is Brett Snodgrass. Brett has a book coming out. This is awesome. It's called The Secret War Within. This book is about faith, ambition, and surrender. Brett Snodgrass, how are you?
Fantastic, Michael. Thanks for having me on the show. I'm ready to rock. Let’s go.
Is this the first time you ever done something like this before? Tell me about that.
I'm excited. Thanks for doing this. This is exciting. This is a milestone moment for me. I’ve written a book, The Secret War Within. It's a real, truthful, raw, honest and introspective book of a driven man's heart. I'm excited to let the world read it. It comes out September 19th. I’m excited for this.
It'll be on all the platforms. It’ll be on Amazon. How would somebody get this book? What's the best way to do it?
Amazon is going to be the best bet. This is a self-published book through Amazon. It will be on the other platforms. Go online to Barnes and Noble and whatever platform you find your books. I would encourage you to go to Amazon to get it. It's called The Secret War Within. It's an allegory book. It is a very different book than probably a Christian business owner would write. I wrote in an allegory fictional way like The Shack or The Narnia, or that type of adventure series. Just go to Amazon. You can also go to our website IronDeep.com. We have a page on there that you can order, but it will take it through Amazon as well.
The genesis of this, when did the idea pop into your head that says, “I might write a book.” How did that come about?
Everyone has a book in them. Everyone wants to bear your soul on paper. I am not an English student, a literary person and probably a grade C or C minus English students. I'm not a writer. I'm more of a podcaster, a video guy or a speaker, but you can transfer that into a book. If you heard a little bit about my story, years ago, I was able to step out into the owner's box of the real estate business and gave me some space.
It gave me some margin and time to reflect, pray and think in this transitional time. I had seen some other business guys or real estate folks write a book. I've always had an interest in it. I never thought I could sit down and do it. I was like, “That's a huge project.” I'm everywhere sometimes. I didn't think I could take the time to finish it.
What happened was one of my friends at real estate, Nathan Brooks, introduced me to a writing coach. This is not a ghostwriter. I did write the book. It's not a ghostwriter, but it's a writing coach. Someone who coaches you through writing and what the process looks like. I was interested in that, so I hired a writing coach named Ashley. We sat down at the beginning of 2022.
There were many early mornings that I sat and I was writing this book. I wanted it to be a different book than a normal Christian book you would see on your bookshelf at Barnes and Noble. I wanted to be raw, truthful and to resonate with men's hearts that are driven or leaders. That's the book. It has a lot of different things of my own life in there. The main character's name is Nolan Banks, but I am not Nolan Banks.
He does a lot of things that I didn't do or I would not do, but he has done some things that I have done. It does represent a little bit of my own story and experiences. I wanted it to be a book for men and go into the men to the man's heart. That's why it's called The Secret War Within. It talks about the secret battle that men face and that we're battling, but we don't talk about it. It's what the book is.
We don't like to get vulnerable, do we? It’s tough. We're all alphas and nothing's wrong with us. We're just great. Everything good. Nolan Banks, the character, tell us about some of the trials that he goes through. What are some things that he has experienced? How does he pull himself? What happens to Nolan?
Nolan Banks is a real estate developer and a very driven individual. He started a business and became highly successful. He was highly influential, highly known in his community and people respected him. He was involved with charity projects and had a nice home on the water. He build his dream home, a mansion on the water. He had a beautiful family, a wife named Liz and two kids. Everything was picture perfect in his life, but the journey starts off of him Friday night at his office. He had one of the best months he's ever had in the business.
He was getting interviewed by an intern, this kid. He was so excited about all these successes and accomplishments. He was looking at all of his awards, recognition and plaques and all the things that he had done. On the inside, after the intern had left, he started to see what was going on and how he felt empty. He was still comparing himself with other people. He had a void that he couldn't quite fill. He was battling, “Why do I feel this way? What is missing in my life?”
That's the part and it goes through and has some secrets in his life. We dive into that in the book. We get to see some of the darkness in Nolan’s heart, that he is struggling with addictions and things that he would never let out. That's where the story begins, then a friend gives him an invitation. An invitation on this journey or this adventure. That's what the story is about. It's about this adventure.
It's an allegorical story where he meets an allegory form of Papa, who is basically God the Father and meets Joshua, who is Christ and meets Mah, who is the Holy Spirit. Basically, he goes through this journey to build that intimate relationship with them. By the end, he finds a deeper connection relationship with God. That's what the adventure is about.
This book is intended for men. There are elements in there where every man can find a situation that maybe Nolan was in. This book is directed to folks like us. Who else is this for?
This book has a lot. I wrote it directed toward that driven male individual. Maybe it's a business owner or a leader of an organization or a high-level CEO. I think every man would get a lot out of this particular book. Whatever level you're at, sometimes you have these secrets, this battle that you're facing in your own life, like are you enough or you're battling with your faith.
Even as Christians, sometimes, we wrestle with certain questions about our faith. I know I've wrestled with my faith at times. This is geared towards men, but anyone could read this because in the end, it's about developing the missing piece, the God-sized hole in our hearts and in our lives that fills the void and the emptiness is that intimacy with the Father and with Christ and what does that look like? I painted the picture of what that looks like to me, honestly.
I painted the allegory pictures of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and maybe how I might view them in my own life. Maybe that could help you view them in a more closed, intimate, and gentle way as they guide you on this journey. This is a real raw book. Nolan goes through a lot of trials throughout the book. Basically, in the adventure, they take him on three different trials. These trials are, again, trials that men battle with. I take men into that picture of these three things that men that I even battle within my own life. We see him struggle through these different trials on this adventure.
This is your first book. You had to have learned something about yourself while writing it. What are some of the moments for you as you're writing this? You had a writing coach, but did you ever get that writer's block? Did you ever feel like maybe you got a third through it and you're like, “I don't know if I can finish this?” Did you have any doubts at all that you would finish it? Tell me about the process.
Probably, there were dozens of times that I thought about throwing in the towel that I didn't know if I could finish this. It was such a great thing to have a coach and to have an accountability person because if they weren't pushing me or having some accountability or your expectations of me, I probably wouldn't have finished. That was a huge blessing in my life, to have someone guiding me through it.
The parts that I loved about it was I loved getting into the creative space. It was nice going and spending time in prayer with God. It's like, “What do you want me to lay out on this page? How do I view you? What are you saying to me that might speak into these other men's lives?” That was a cool, intimate moment that I had.
There were moments that I was in my closet writing or down in my basement writing. I love getting into that creative space. Now, the interesting thing is that sometimes it's hard to get into that creative space. Did I get a block with that? Sometimes. Usually, that comes when you got too many things going on. I got too many things on my mind. I'm distracted by a lot of different things. That's when it was very difficult for me to get into that creative space and to put the words on the paper, I would say.
When you're in that space, groove and flow, I don't know. It’s that sweet moment when you start writing. She gave me or someone said, “Write down 500 crappy words a day.” Sometimes, we didn't get much out of the day where it wasn't that great. Sometimes, it came out beautifully, so getting it down and getting the sand. She recommended when you're first writing it out, get the sand in the sandbox. Don't worry about structuring it and all the stuff. We're going to build the castle later. That was cool. The first 4 to 6 months, I got it all out there. It was messy, and then the last probably 6 to 12 months, we've been building the castle and structuring it in a way that is nice.
That's an interesting way to put it because whenever you're playing with little kids in the sandbox, what are you doing? I remember when the kids were 3 or 4 and you wanted to build something cool. They just wanted to play in it and dump it. You look down the down the way and there's one guy. He's building like the castle from Disney World and you thought, “How is that guy doing that?” He just started playing in the sand.
Fully surrendered to God. Some of the themes you have in the book and no one goes through this. As the author of this book and if you were to communicate this to the audience, what does fully surrendered mean? To be fully surrendered to God, how does that look in your life or in this character's life?
Some of the things that I struggled with that Nolan struggled with is he could maybe talk to God about certain things, but there were certain things that he wanted to keep control of. One of the things, especially as entrepreneurs and business owners, is that we struggle with wealth and money and having control over us. We want to make it, grow it and keep it. Even when we have made a lot of it, we struggle to let God have that.
This is something that Nolan had a hard time. The physical aspects of it, that he had a physical object that he was carrying and had a very difficult time letting it go. He would grip it extremely tight. Wealth and money is one thing. There are so many different verses about people, in general, but men struggling with who's going to be your master? Is it going to be money or God? Who are you going to surrender to? Who's going to control your own desires? Do you have more of a desire to build wealth or have an intimate relationship with your creator?
That's one of the things that we struggle with. Another thing that I struggle with and Nolan struggles with, is that men want to be known. They want to be influential, remembered and recognized. Sometimes, for even myself, I struggle maybe with that even more than money during the season of my life. I've made a lot of money. Maybe it's lost some of the zest in my life that it doesn't have as much control over me, but again, now you come back to some of the pride of, “I want to be known. I want to be recognized. I want to be remembered by people. I want to impact people's lives.”
Sometimes, we can even go, “This is a good thing. I want to impact people in a positive way,” but at the end of the day, it's because I want to be remembered and feel good about myself. This is another thing that Nolan struggled with. He had a hard time surrendering his own influence in his life and his power. Even when Christ was tempted by the devil. The devil tempted him with influence and with power. “I'll let you lead this whole region, the whole world. The kingdoms of the world, you can lead,” like its power and its influence. This is what we're tempted with.
That was another thing that Nolan in The Secret War Within. We’ll never say that. I think I heard a preacher talk about that, “All the sins in the world, people can talk about lust,” or men can go and can talk about, “I struggle with lust or I struggle with this,” but no one talks about, “I struggle with greed.” No one talks about that.
The last thing, this comes down to family. I know, Michael, you talk about family, too. The first two things are influence and money, but then the surrender of even your own family over to God. You can have these things, Lord, but don't take my family. How could you do that or let that happen to my kids, wife, or family? Sometimes, we don't want to let that go and that's a tough one, honestly. We want to control that. The book goes into complete surrender. I chose those three things because I feel like that's probably what I struggle with the most. It’s surrendering my money to God, my influence and power to God, then my family to God. That's what he goes through in this book.
It all predicates anytime you're struggling with any kind of thing, greed. The radical honesty to sit with another man that maybe you trust and say, “I have a problem with greed,” that, to me, seems like, “How would that whole conversation work out?” I do see elements of that. We've talked about this in other episodes about that shiny object syndrome.
As entrepreneurs, we get enamored with other people's businesses and their ideas. “They're doing this over there. Can I do that? I wonder if I could do that and this?” That's where it is. Sometimes, if we’re not greedy, what are we? We're content. That's what we need to rest in and the Bible has a lot to say about contentment.
One of the things that maybe to ask yourself with radical honesty is can you celebrate other people's successes genuinely? When another man is successful, can you generally celebrate him? If you can get to that point and genuinely, in your heart, celebrate someone else doing well and not think about yourself, maybe that's the start of humility and that's the start of surrendering to God's desires for your life.
Brett, if somebody reads this book and they're feeling stuck in that cycle of striving to try to get things done or looking at the next thing. They get up every morning and the first thing on their mind is all the tasks, people, processes, and things associated with their work. How does somebody get out of that cycle? How do they get out of that void?
One of the trials that no one goes through is that he has to spend a certain amount of time in solitude with the Father. That's a great part, that daily solitude with God and daily intimacy with him. Make sure you’re carving that out in your life and start that way. You have to be with him. In order to build a relationship with someone, you have to be with them. You need to study them and research them.
If you want that deeper connection with them, what does that look like for your life? It’s to be with him, to study him and the words to talk to him and have conversations with him. The book goes through that. We started Iron Deep and it's just being around other people. We've talked about this in the last episode, being around other people who can sharpen you and can continue to push you forward.
Many times, I get around guys and encourage me, help me and push me forward and sharpen me. I’ll be like, “I'm good now. I'm great. Maybe I don't need that as much,” then I get out of it and I'm like, “I need those folks in my life.” It's that continuous journey with other men in your life. It’s so important and the book talks about that a little bit.
One of the things is that healing thing to encourage men is vulnerability piece. I don't even know. Sometimes, I'm a pretty vulnerable person, but what's that like for the man reading this, that no one knows that secret that he won't let out? Maybe it's an addiction thing or a self-worth thing. Whatever he has in his life, just being able to talk through that and to be vulnerable with someone in their life just to have them encouraged is good.
Another thing in the book that no one goes through is he has to face certain things in his past. Now, I got told one time, “You don't want to stare at your past or dwell on it,” but I think it's good. Part of being in the Iron Deep process is to look at certain things that we have in our past that may have shame, guilt, or whatever's dragging us down. Can we lay that down?
It goes back to that surrender. Can we lay that down? Part of the process is, what does that look like for you? Maybe you have hurt, disappointment, shame, guilt or broken relationships in your life. There are certain addictions that maybe you had once or you've hurt people. Whatever it looks like. Can you take that and can you lay that down and surrender that? Those are a couple of aspects of the book.
This is a raw, honest, radical truth book of a man's life. If you want to go through that journey, a lot of men are going to realize with Nolan Banks. As he lays certain things down, I want to encourage you to go through that process. What does that look like to lay down in your life? You need to go through a surrender, get that guy's group, talk about some of the struggles and what surrender looks like for you. I would just give you some of that feedback.
This is the first book. Are there any plans for a sequel or are you building something here? What does that look like or is just this, “I did this. Checking it off the list and I'm done?” What's next for Brett?
We're going to launch this out and see how this goes. I'm not looking to be a number one bestselling author or New York Times, whatever. You can pick this off at a Barnes and Noble shelf. This is an introduction into what we're doing with Iron Deep, honestly. One of our core values at Iron Deep is radical honesty and this book shares that. It's introduction into Iron Deep where, again, it has this man. He gets invited into something. He goes and represents some of the Iron Deep aspects of the events that we put on with Iron Deep.
It’s an introduction to the community and the organization that we are building. Is there a second book or a sequel? I don't know. I have a lot of ideas. Will we put it into a book or something different? I don't know, but I enjoyed the writing process. It's cool. It's a bare your soul on paper. Some people said writing a book is the only thing that people can take to bed with them because they read this in
It's cool that someone might read some of my thoughts or words. It might maybe change their perspective on God, Christ and the Holy Spirit and maybe how they view him. A lot of men, they see it as distance. I see more that intimacy and this brings you into what that looks like that internet relationship with God. Hopefully, it can change your point of view on that. I'd say your next step. My encouragement is, hopefully, you can get the book, read the book and check out Iron Deep. That's what we're trying to build, this brotherhood organization of sharpening each other with Christian like-minded leaders.
September 19th, it's on Amazon and a self-published book. It's fantastic to have you here on the Iron Deep show, Brett Snodgrass. Folks, again, thank you for reading. If you know a guy, a friend of yours who may be interested in reading this message, share this with them. Maybe share the book with them as well because everybody's going through a journey. Everybody has a story. Sometimes, we need those stories to open us up, help us become more vulnerable, and be radically honest with God and each other. Thanks for reading. See you.