Are All Disabilities Visible?


On the eve of the 25th Anniversary of the 1991 Gulf War, celebrated Army combat veteran, Tony Drees, opens up to audiences around the country about what it takes to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and launch a success program dedicated to helping others facing overwhelming challenges.
Tony’s story is unlike any you’ve ever heard. Pain has been a staple in Tony’s life since a very young age. At times, the power and strength of his mind has been the only weapon against the agonizing circumstances that have led his body to be deemed a medical miracle.
“My high profile injuries served as starting point in the careers of several young Army Surgeons, who are now running Orthopedic facilities across the country” ~1991 Purple Heart Recipient, Tony Drees

In 1991, a scud missile hit Tony’s barracks in the deadliest attack of the Gulf War, shattering his right femur and blowing off the backs of both of his legs. His body immediately rejected the orthopedic hardware that was to reinforce his femur, which was infested with shrapnel. It was the consensus of attending trauma physicians that the leg could not be saved. Without hesitation, Tony decided at that moment that he would use the power of his mind to save his leg and fight the battle of recovery that eluded the prognoses of the medical community. Twenty five years later, Tony’s femur serves as host to a delicate ecosystem of living tissue, metal & shrapnel, a bone that resembles a honeycomb, and a gaping wound that must remain open to expel the constant byproduct of an infection that doctors believed would kill him if his leg remained attached to his body.

“The prospect of losing my leg just didn’t work for me. Whatever the doctors and therapists told me I had to do to have a chance at recovery, I doubled it. I decided to take control of the only thing I could control, my determination. I made it my mission to make a full recovery.” TD.

Today, Tony moves like a strong, healthy man with the body of a professional athlete. What hides beneath his clothing are scars – dozens of them – that are not for the faint of heart and every step reminds him through excruciating pain that his life was spared for a reason that day in 1991.
Unfortunately, the pain and scarring is not only relegated to the injury he sustained 25 years ago. Invisible wounds lurk far beneath the surface stemming from a childhood of physical abuse which led to his placement in a foster home of another race at the age of 13. The severe PTSD Tony experienced after the Gulf War was likely not his first brush with the condition, and the origins of his wounds did not lead him down an easy path to trace. His journey was riddled with trauma that would have broken the toughest psyche, and the many years of repressing memories that festered beneath the surface, brought him down the roads of rage, addiction, and despair. The only constant that remained throughout was perseverance.
A father of four talented honor students and loving son to a foster family that took him in at then his lowest point, Tony has channeled his myriad of challenges into energy that even his children have a hard time keeping up with. There is a spark in his eye, a spring in his step, and the wounds that lie beneath are completely invisible. Until now…
Tony has leveraged his strength and charisma to move past the wounds, creating a name for himself in the world of sales and management, earning a Master’s Degree, and now developing personal and corporate training and success programs that teach others how to turn their current circumstance into a Story of Success. Speaking for the first time about the aftermath of his highly publicized combat injury (the focus of People Magazine and The NYTimes War Hero pieces), his troubled youth, and his methods for turning trauma into triumph, his engaging and interactive presentations coupled with workshops and focus groups combine the power of technology and the power of perseverance to enlist individuals, CEO’s and non-profits to name, achieve, and sustain their wildest dreams.
Despite his Invisible Disabilities, Mr. Drees shares an inspirational message about Sustainability and the value of personal accountability in Education and service to Community in his “Invisible Wounds, Invaluable Lessons” Tour.

~Amy Garris~
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Lead Like a Girl


With all the advances we have made, it is unbelievable that we still see such a difference in the male versus female category in corporate America and beyond.  We give the message of equality more freely, yet in practicum it is proven over and over that we are not there yet.

While close to 52 percent of professional jobs are held by women, they are substantially underrepresented in leadership roles. Only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. At this rate, it’s estimated that women won’t achieve leadership parity until 2085.

However, not all the blocks facing women can be attributed to the glass ceiling imposed by the traditional workplace. Women often hold themselves back from advancement with self-imposed barriers. Why is this?  And what can we do to empower women to their full potential?

Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy – What is holding you back?

Women hold themselves back in the workplace by questioning themselves.  This is not a surprise as women have not had the commonality men have had in the corporate world throughout our history.  So what is holding women back?

  • A fear of failure. While men know their personal worth isn’t determined by professional failures, young women often fear that workplace missteps will cost them their job, reputation, and success.
  • Family matters. Some women fear that employers will view them as vulnerable, inefficient, or unmotivated if they decide to start a family.
  • An inferiority complex. Some women still believe that men are stronger leaders, have better ideas, and are more equipped to achieve success.

What can be done to stop this?  Women can only break through these barriers by helping themselves. Here are three things every woman can do to propel herself forward:

  • Be yourself.  Don’t change your appearance or attitude to appeal to the “masculine” side of business.  Use the unique skills you have as a woman to be the power and support needed.
  • Trust your instincts. Women are wired with great intuition. Use that to your advantage.
  • Embrace mistakes. Failure is a certain step on the way to success.  Use a mistake as a learning experience, dust yourself off and move on.  If it was a lesson it is no longer a failure, but a step in the process.

Women are great at building relationships, empowering others, tuning into people’s needs, and balancing a staggering number of responsibilities — skills that are great assets, not liabilities, in the workplace.

Empower yourself to reach your full potential. At the end of the day it is your mind set that will break all barriers and lead to success.  This is true for everyone.


Pain is a Teacher



Pain is a teacher. Remember the time you put a little too much lighter fluid on the barbecue? The memory of your singed eyebrows and blistered lips keep you from repeating this mistake in the future. The problem with pain is that it isn’t sustainable.

Pain is not sustainable because everyone has different tolerances to pain, therefore it can not be administered fairly or effectively by those who use it as motivation. That said, I am sure the boy caned in Singapore will not soon repeat his crimes. That aside, pain is terminal.

Closer to the point, a manager tells a habitually tardy employee that if they are late again, they are subject to disciplinary actions including termination of employment.

This is a different type of pain, but a punitive motivation, non the less. This “Sticks and Carrots” method is a historical and transactional management style. Anything terminal, is transactional.

Frankly, it is incredibly ineffective. A sustainable management style is to find out why the employee is late. Is the employee disengaged or a poor performer? Or does a minor scheduling conflict exist which is turning a top performer into a disciplinary problem? Is this a perfect coaching opportunity?

Find out. Seek solutions that best serve the clients, the company and the employee. As I manager, I am not suggesting different rules for every employee. I am not suggesting being a push over to your staffs’ every whim. What I am strongly encouraging, is that we remember the HUMAN portion of Human Resources.

Learn to recognize value in your staff. Sustainability is not about chasing perfection, from ourselves or our employees, or our businesses. Sustainability centers around reaching optimal balance in the utilization of resources in achieving and maintaining peak success performance.

In plain language, ask yourself if you succeed only once, are you lucky or our you good? Sustainability teaches you to make success a positive habit.

A Positive Habit takes little to no effort, right?

That’s the point, sustainability creates maximum results with declining efforts from the success performers, without the pain, or threat of pain.

Sustainability endures!


Are YOU Blocking YOUR Own Success?


“If you have to do it, you might as well have a good attitude about it!”

My mom always told me I was smart and could make it through college. I believed her and that always stayed with me.  I insisted on the Army first. I completed 2 tours in Germany, then I raced back to attend college. Before I could finish school, I was invited to the Gulf, interruption #2.(2 of 5!) That’s 4 different times I failed, but on the 5th time, and the 6th time, I succeeded!  I conquered and received my degrees.

What you believe about education or anything, is exactly what you will get. The difference in successful people is that they understand and expect the failures that come along.  No one gets through their journey without stumbling.  The trick is to use the falls to learn the terrain!

What if the reason you are not getting hired has nothing to do with your degree, and had more to do with your thinking. Degrees don’t get jobs people do. Instead of being so vocal in a negative capacity, try to think out side of the box. Find or invent a way to win.

What can you do well enough to get paid?  What do you love enough to do for the rest of your life?  Happiness in one’s career is a big part of their success.  Work does not feel like a burden if you are doing something you are passionate about.

The first thing you can do is not listen to people who are not where you want to be. Stop hanging around people who are not actively heading where you want to head! Your peers and support group can be wings to lift you higher or a boulder that keeps you down.  Choose well.

Simply put, beliefs govern attitudes. Attitudes govern behaviors. It is the single thing that humans possess which only they can have complete and sole control over. Managed properly, beliefs are the most powerful force in the pursuit of success!

Choose to make your ideas and beliefs the source of flight, not the weight that holds you down!


Steps To Take For Success


We all want success in life.  Whether it’s success in business or family or just success in overcoming a bad habit.  The destinations may be different but the steps to getting there are for the most part the same. Deep inside all of us, we have our own personal reasons for striving for success, and really, we all define success in very different ways whether it is for financial freedom or mere sense of accomplishment.

The first step is knowing you. You have to know yourself. Spend some time reflecting on your beliefs, your passions, your intentions for your new venture, and what your ideal outcome would look like. At the same time, take an honest look at your own weaknesses and try to find your own speed bumps. If you want a successful outcome, it’s even more important to know what you need help with than to know what you do well.

It is important to know what makes you happy and what you enjoy doing, but there is a huge gap between knowing this and finding a way to leverage the knowledge for success. That leads to the second step…

Write it down, clearly and in detail. Always think on paper. A goal that is not in writing is not a goal at all. It is merely a wish and it has no energy behind it. Cement your desire in writing and bind it to you.







The next step is to eliminate emotions by letting go of the past and thinking about the present.  Let go of all the frustration, fear, anxiety, false hopes.  Today will be a new day with many more on the horizon.  What has happened in the past will most probably stay the same; you can’t change it. Instead focus on the present and live today instead of yesterday.

The final thing I want to talk about is time management.  While the fifth mentioned it is among the most important.  Don’t let the time control you. You control the time. Time management is the most effective tool you can utilize to become successful.
It is also the key factor in getting joy out of life.  Leave time for yourself to enjoy the journey.  Work hard, but work smart.

All throughout your life you will be working on “That Next Goal” so if you are only happy when you reach it, you will never be happy. There will be a new one right around the corner.  Success in life is not about reaching a final destination but instead it’s the process of constantly upgrading your life to a better version.  So, if you are just grazing with the heard, I won’t blame you for feeling down.  But if you are in the process of pursuing the life that you desire for yourself and your family than I hope that you find yourself satisfied RIGHT NOW as well as in the future.


Transactional vs. Sustainable Sales


Transactional sales are about finding a customer, selling them a product or service, and sadly starting the cycle over after each sale.

Sustainability is about committing your resources, and expertise at an incredible value to your customer’s success. Sustainable sales are about helping the consumer find solutions to both long and short term problems. It’s really about helping customers accomplish their goals. The more successful at helping clients, the more successful you become as a sales consultant.  The more successful you become at helping clients gain their goals, the more confidence they put into your expert hands. Teach your customer to be trust you enough to be honest with you. If they trust you they will tell you exactly what they need.

The BEST way to do this is to ask ALL of the questions you need to know:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do they want?
  • When do they want/need it?
  • Where?
  • Why? Why? Why?

Then you help with the final piece of the puzzle; The How.


Sustainable sales consultants (SSC) go out of their way to help the clients achieve some measure of success based on sales expertise and a powerful network.We SSCs allow the client do as much or as little of the work as they prefer. We agree to share resources and support them on the quest for their dreams.

We teach our customers to about value; not just price.

Value is:

  • Solving a problem
  • Expertise
  • Service
  • Flexible
  • Fast/Saves Time
  • Economical for purchases
  • Profitable for sellers
  • Personal
  • Social responsibility
  • Sustainability


Basically whatever obstacle is stopping your client from achieving a goal in their life, or from making a big decision in their life.

Help them!

It only takes one person to help you in your career, as a sales consultant, small business owner, or as a service organization.

What if that one time was the difference in making a milestone or reaching goal, and it was missed?

Are you willing to miss your goals this year too?

This is why you need Sustainable Solutions and Affordable Expertise to avoid failures and remove obstacles.

How do we do prevent these failures?

We can only do this when you honestly answer any questions surrounding the goal, dream, problem, mission, transformation or what ever you wish to accomplish. Sustainable sales and business consultants provide both the affordable expertise and sustainability in key areas of life to remove obstacles and avoid failures.

Sustainable experts ask the client directly if removing the specific obstacles they named would ensure their ability to succeed?

Next they utilize their network to facilitate value added expertise in affordable, and appropriate modalities.

Then, sustainable consultants help customers say what they are thinking, imagining, visualizing and dreaming.

Poorly unskilled transactional sales representatives train customers to clam up! They say “no, just looking” when really they need help. They say OK, let me “sleep on it” when the really mean, I don’t understand how this will benefit me, my family, my business, my career or my community.

This is where transactional sale people push for the close.

The good news; anyone can learn sustainable sales, sustainable business, strategies, and a sustainable personal life.

Tony Drees Life Coach can help you. We do sustainability so well that our motivation for assisting clients is:

“I know how or I know who!”

Let us show you how to leverage affordable expertise and sustainable solutions to achieve the success your life deserves.


Report: Poor coordination of support efforts hurts veterans


As written by Leo Shane III

“Veterans struggling to adapt to post-military life face a bounty of support resources, but poor coordination of those efforts potentially leaves them confused and without help, according to a new study released Wednesday.

Researchers from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University said many of the financial, medical and social problems faced by veterans in America can be traced not to a lack of assistance programs but instead to “a lack of collaboration, coordination, and collective purpose” between myriad government and community offerings.

“Notwithstanding the combined goodwill and determination across all sectors of our economy, collective efforts remain largely fragmented in addressing veteran and military family challenges,” the report states.

The findings argue for a “collective impact” model for better coordinating efforts, establishing community leaders to rein in scattered local programs and simplify processes for veterans in need.

“We need to come up with better ways for veterans to pick and choose the best services for them,” said Nick Armstrong, lead author of the report and the senior director for research and policy at IVMF.

“Every community is different, each has different needs and different veterans populations. But they can all benefit by working together better.”

Researchers found that nearly 45,000 nongovernmental, nonprofit groups nationwide focus on veterans and military issues, many “largely going it alone in their efforts” to provide services.

“If ever there was a sector screaming for more collective activity, it is the veteran nonprofit sector,” the report states. “Most communities are organizing efforts with little or no understanding of how to deliver high-quality, personalized models of services, resources, and care that match veterans’ needs.”

IVMF officials are in the midst of a 18-month pilot program for one such coordination model. The NYCServes project — which will be expanded to Pittsburgh and North Carolina this summer — has focused on reaching out to community service providers and leaders, emphasizing better data collection and a veteran-focused model for referrals.

Armstrong said the project is more a proof of concept than a blueprint, offering ideas for local communities to build their own networks.

The report notes that Veterans Affairs Department officials need to be better leaders in public-private partnership efforts, arguing that VA is not getting full value for the $160 billion-plus it spends annually.

But researchers also argue that caring for veterans is a national moral responsibility, one that stretches far beyond what government programs can provide.

“Wellness encompasses far more than sustaining physical health and fulfilling material need,” the report states. “The VA was never designed to reintegrate veterans into civilian society, repair their existing social relationships or build new ones in the communities in which they ultimately settle.

“It is foolish to think that one federal agency, or even a few, can or should shoulder absolute responsibility for veteran wellness and reintegration — especially for health and wellness concerns that are both societal and local in nature.”


I am always working to find the best solutions for my fellow soldiers and families who have lived through the pain and transition from military to civilian life.

Please follow my charity AWE Against PTSD at

And seek help if to avoid problems with your transition


Transitioning Troops


Recently, many folks are contacting me to understand how I leveraged my time in the US Army (injuries and skills) into a successful 20+ year career.

I have given a lot of thought to military transitions and what they entail which led me to consult with the experts in my network to answer the following questions.

What was the most difficult part of transitioning? Why?

What would I do differently if I transitioned again? Why?

What must they always do? Why?

What must they avoid in their change? Why?

The additional question of why, is not metaphoric, it is crucial in the interest and pursuit of sustainability in keys areas: Personal Goals, Business/Career Goals, and Social Responsibility.

These questions prompted me to accumulate and assemble expert level products, services and networks specifically for transitioning troops.

Let’s use Jack and Jill to illustrate: both are physical therapists in the military whose tour on active duty ends in a year.

Jack is very confident that his 20 years as a physical therapist will make it easy for him to find a civilian job. He completed all the coursework and certifications necessary for his military promotions. However, he stopped at the required minimums. Jack has a colleague who transitioned easily a few years ago and he offered to help Jack when the time arose. Basically, Jack plans to “wing it” and sees how things work out.

On the other hand, Jill has only been in the service for 6 years and has completed her certifications and some basic college credits online. Conversely, Jill is not so sure she wants to pursue physical therapy when she returns to civilian life. She actually enjoys photography and loves shooting landscapes, scenic sunrises and sunsets.

Jill doesn’t know how good her photos are, but she purchased the best camera she could afford and she takes a few classes every month. She understands the value of expert advice, after all it helped her in her photography. So, Jill begins preparing for her transition about a year prior to its scheduled date.

By starting her transition early, Jill is able to understand and thus manage her expectations. She is also able to fortify and acquire specific skills for her civilian transformation. Jill is able to identify her present skills and compare them to what employers in the market expect. She is able to create civilian appropriate social media and other professional profiles and is able to translate her duties and activities in the military into civilian terminology and format.

With more than a year’s lead time, she can take additional courses or apply for geographical specific tests and certifications. By utilizing her network of experts, it allows her to access expert mentors who may eventually offer her a position in their organizations. Jill’s extended prep time gives her an opportunity to begin putting her passion into business. Moreover, she gains expert help through a professional transition agency to create an online business for her photography interests. She is able to start, develop, and grow her business while enjoying the safety net of her military job.

The network she belongs to gives her expert advice which helps Jill minimize, and in most cases, avoid costly business mistakes. This service serves as a catalyst to Jill’s successful transition. They provide clarity and navigational tools in the following areas; Military Skills Translation, Personality Strengths Index, Resume Review, Interview Skills Review, Success Profiles, and Education/Career Planning. Ultimately, these services allow transitioning active duty members and veterans to gain a level playing field in the civilian market place.

Advance products and services such as; Business Consulting, Career Placement Services, Digital Marketing, Social Media Management, Networking, Management Services, Sales Training, Coaching, and other Business Concierge services, help those in transition leverage their uniquely acquired skills into competitive advantages in today’s global marketplace.


-Plan your transition early
-Assess and Fortify your skills
-Seek expert assistance
-Leverage Networking

Enjoy the transition! This is your chance to make a positive change in your life. Embrace it! And use it to your advantage to create the life you deserve!


Customer Retention – Meet Your Goals!


How would your business perform if you had a retention rate of 50% or more? Translation; if you resell to 2 customers, you will have 2 transactions over a given period of time with no need for lead chasing or funnel building. 70% retention means for every 10 customers you sell to, your business gains 7 more transactions over time from the same clients, again without having to “build” the sale. Numbers like these will impact your sales career/ business. A higher retention ratio helps you achieve and sustain your personal, success goals!

No matter what your business is, sustainable success can only occur with customer retention. Think about it. How much time, energy and money does your company spend searching for new customers? Now imagine if for every 10 customers you did business with, 4, 5 or 7 of them would consider doing business with your company first, for their future needs. Even better, what if they would only consider conducting business with your business exclusively?

My achievements in this area have made me an industry-leading sales consultant. I have taught many others my steps for retention of clients and as a result they have become top sales consultants themselves. Their effectiveness generated my advancement as an industry leading sales trainer and business coach.
In my case, leading the industry meant:
• I worked less hours.
• I made the company the most money.
• I had the highest retention of customers.
• I had the most fun!

Here are 5 steps for acquiring and maintaining customers:
• Meet and greet (your customer).
• Assess your customer.
• Be an expert in your area.
• Don’t over-sell.
• Provide referrals when asked.
I will address each step with ‘how to’ steps, posted separately over the next few weeks. If you miss one, you can catch up on my blog.
Enjoy! This information will change your career, starting today!


Declare Your Past (and future) As A STORY OF SUCCESS


Be Your B.E.S.T.

What punctuates how your life’s story will be remembered?  Struggle?  Sacrifice?  Regret?  Trust me to help you broaden, accelerate and enrich your STORY OF SUCCESS!

The description of an expert (as defined by… Webster’s dictionary)is “having, involving or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.”

What would an expert do for your business and personal success goals?  By having an expert on board, what mistakes in your career and personal life could you avoid?  How much money and time could you save?

The obvious problem is that experts are usually expensive.  And, rightly so!  According to the U.S. Department of Education, the price of an undergraduate, college education can cost $20,000.00 or more.  Advanced degrees cost even more.  Therefore, graduate level and post graduate experts/consultants charge steep fees.


Money isn’t the only cost associated with expertise.  The true big-ticket item is time.

  • A four year degree often takes 5 years or more to complete.
  • Most graduate programs require at least 2 more years.

Experts have estimated that it takes 10,000 hours to become an in expert in any given field.  At the rate of 40 hours a week, that equals 5 years of time!  This myth is dispelled by the works of Matthew Syed, Malcom Gladwell and Anne Marie Paul.  Gladwell states, “The evidence is quite clear that some people do reach an elite level of performance without copious practice, while other people fail to do so despite copious practice.”

So, what is the secret?  Gladwell suggests the answer is where you come from.  His answer is that, “We pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that it is their culture, their family, their generation and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.”

Tony Drees, Life Coach, takes it a few steps further to show you how to declare your past (and future) as a STORY OF SUCCESS.  The B.E.S.T. System of Success demonstrates to its’ students the guiding principles which lead to achievement with personal and career success goals.

For “The Rest of the Story,” check in regularly and find out how!