Brent Gleeson: "TakingPoint: A Navy SEAL’s 10 Fail Safe Principles for [...]" | Talks at Google
Thank. You thank, you very much, how. Are you guys doing today. People. We're gonna do burpees and push-ups, until morale improves in here let's try that again how are you guys doing today you. Guys fired up to be here alright. Just. Wanna make sure you guys are awake and energized, engaged, I want to make sure I don't get the the sleepy, after lunch crowd, you, know how that can go sometimes, but. The reason I asked is because in. The early days of SEAL training you spend a hell of a lot of time in the classroom you're basically getting a PhD in Special Warfare but. Of course you do so on very little sleep so. The instructors, would keep these large metal. Bathtubs, full of ice water in the back of the room, guess. What those were for yeah. That's right do you know where I'm going with this if. You got caught nodding off falling. Asleep not, paying attention you. Got to sit chest-deep in a bathtub full of ice water for. The rest of class, yeah. Not a head dunk not for one or two minutes for. The rest of class let. Me tell you it's, really hard to learn anything when you're shivering your ass off reaching. Hypothermic, levels, in, a bathtub full of ice water how. The hell do I know that. Yes. Unfortunately I spent many. Many days and hours in those ice baths clearly. Not learning from my mistakes the first time around, no. Night of being fully transparent with all of you I did I did. In fact request, ice baths for this event, fortunately. For all of you you're overprotective human, resources departments, denied. My request so, you're off the hook but. I'll be watching you knowing. All this deep thank, you so much for having me it's really a pleasure and, honor to be here with all of you this afternoon, so. When a seal platoon is on patrol in enemy, territory, sneaking. Into an enemy compound, the, man in front is the point man he's, taking point leading. His team into what we call VUCA, environments, yes. That's one of the many hundreds. If not thousands, of acronyms we have the United States military, and, it refers to the volatile, uncertain, complex. And. Ambiguous environments. That we operate in sounds. Like life right and. Although Navy SEALs are widely known. To be the most elite and feared. Special, Operations, fighting force in the entire world we've. Been living in a constant state of VUCA the, pain of loss sacrifice, and disruption, in our post 9/11, reality yet.
How Have we continued, to persevere. Adapt. And lean into that pain and sacrifice to fight and defeat, a very dangerous and decentralized, enemy in. Large part it's due to our very well-defined and distinct organizational, culture a culture. Where every single person pushes. The limits and boundaries of their comfort zone every single day we. Get comfortable being, uncomfortable, or as, we say in the SEAL Teams we embrace the suck and. That's what we're gonna talk about today. How. To succeed by living a life outside of your comfort zone, because. If you really think about it that's. Where the magic really happens it's, not living in the confines of your comfort zone and, when you can push the boundaries of your own personal comfort zone just a little bit every single day the. Wider that area becomes and. The things that used to fear the. Things that seemed uncomfortable, or. Things that seemed almost seemingly impossible they become a part of your everyday life and that, winning mindset of persistence. And determination reminds. Me of, a great quote by Barton Luther King jr. that says if. You can't fly you run, and. If you can't run you walk and. If you can't walk you crawl but. No matter what you, keep moving forward and the, SEAL Teams we have an ethos a creed. That embodies our culture and our values and a similar line from that ethos says I will. Not quit I, persevere. And thrive in adversity. And if. Knocked down I will get back up every, time I am, never out, of the fight and. That winning mindset is how each and every one of you all of us can. Continue, to take point in our own lives to push, the confines of our comfort zone to push the limits to take calculated, risks to succeed and win and, to be all in all. The time. All. Right what do you think does. That remind you of your workplace environment, maybe. On Mondays right. Being. All in all the time is one of the many philosophies, we hold dear and the SEAL Teams that, phrase was originally, coined by, one of our fallen SEAL Team six team leaders and would he would his name was Tommy Valentine, and when, he wouldn't Doctrine eight new guys into the team he, would sit them down and ask them about what. They thought, their level of participation on, the team should be no, of course there was only one answer that is to be all in all the time that is part of our culture and mindset and how we approach our work our lives, simply. Put it's about persistence, determination, giving. Every single thing we do everything, we've got and, nothing less, we. To all of us can embody that winning mindset and. Each and every one of you can take away from this how, to embody that winning mindset to, get comfortable being uncomfortable. To. Win and, to be all in all the time, well. That was December of 1999. When I first made my decision to, be all-in and, that sometimes happens, in a fit of youthful, foolishness. And indiscretion, I quit. My corporate finance, job and joined the United States Navy with a dream of becoming a seal a decision. Of course that would forever changed my life and set me on the path that I'm on today so. This afternoon I would like to share a little, bit of that journey with you share, some stories from training from, the battlefield so to speak but, more importantly I want to share some experiences. From, both literal, and figurative battlefields. About overcoming, adversity about. Being able to adapt your mindset and approach to life to work and. Hopefully give you guys some a little bit of entertainment and, maybe.
Even Some insights key takeaways, and God, willing maybe even a little bit of inspiration you, can apply to your own lives both personally. And professionally. So. Let's dive in shall we, people. Do you guys want to do burpees or what let's. Try that one more time let's dive in shall we all. Right now it's a bit of background I, grew. Up in the great nation of Texas. Do. We have any Texans in the room not. One damn Texan in the whole room you guys have got to be kid I wore my boots for you guys I'm. Wearing boots at Google a little. Fun fact for you guys at any given time about one-third, of all seals are. From the great state of Texas. Now. I know you're a very data-driven organization. Please don't go fact-checking, that data but, I'm sure it's accurate I just really really want to believe it so. I grew up in Dallas I was a swimmer, in high school played rugby. In college I attended Southern. Methodist University Oxford. University, ultimately. Earning. Degrees in finance and economics, so naturally upon graduation, I took a job as a entry-level. Financial, analyst with a big investment firm and. During that time I had a close friend of mine in college who was now a senior, at SMU and I was working out in corporate America now he was in fact one of these guys who had a vision a lofty, and let's face it highly, unrealistic. Vision, of, becoming a seal it. Was his passion his purpose in life his reason for being I thought. It was a little bit ridiculous at the time but we started training together I wanted to find a way to stay fit while I was working in finance prepare. A friend for an arduous journey so. We started spending a lot of time together and of course having a lot, of dialogue about the. History of the SEAL Teams a Naval Special Warfare community, I read. One book then I read another book in another book and I became overtime, enthralled, and fascinated, by their. High performance culture, and mindset and approach to their work and life their core values and. Overtime with all the training and the studying of the Naval Special Warfare community, obviously. My close, friends, and family and, colleagues started, realizing, this growing passion for my own possible, rather dynamic career. Path shift so. One day I was having, a conversation with my twin brother I'll, preface this by saying were four turtle twins we are polar opposites in, just about every possible way but. I did want to run this idea by him before I ran, it up the chain of command to mom. And dad who. Had no doubt be a little shocked by this dramatic shift, you. Know what he was doing a supportive. Brother, that he is that's. Right he was he, was laughing his ass off, he's. Like Brent you've gotta be kidding me seals. Like are you you're not being serious right I'll I'll admit I I don't even really know much about it but I know one thing there. Is no way in hell you, could ever do that I mean. Let's face it these Lauren, T's guy is supposed to be I don't, know what world-class, warriors, or something, like. Really tough guys, you. Are not tough at, all I mean. Let's break it down here well yeah we. Have allergies really. Bad allergies and, asthma. You're literally, wheezing, right now and there's tissue on the floor is that yours, you. Wear those thick contact, lenses you, can't see how's, that gonna work and. Remember, last week you, forgot I thought about this but remember last week when you you. Cried a little bit during that TV commercial, again.
Don't Know much about it but I'm pretty certain seals, aren't nerdy sniffily, emotional guys who. Cry during a Clorox bleach commercial, so. Let's, just forget we had this conversation and, stick with your nerdy finance job. Well. Now I knew I had to do it right this, is a true story literally a week later I quit, my job and, my buddy whom I'd been training with moved up here to Crested, Butte Colorado where. We trained for an additional, six months for five hours a day at 10,000 feet altitude to. Get into the best physical condition that, we could in. Early 2000, joined, the Navy and after a couple months of basic training was. On a plane headed out to sunny San Diego California where, we would begin our journey and. I can tell you with exact certainty, and clarity like it was yesterday that. I have never been, more nervous in my entire life, and the day I stepped foot into the lobby of the Naval Special Warfare training, center because. It is a very scary and depressing thing, my friends knowing. For a fact for, a fact Matt that. Your life is going to be pure, hell and misery for many months to come but of course at this point there was no turning, back I had, to be all-in. Now. Let's put our talent. Acquisition, and employee retention hats on for a minute I'll, tell you another interesting fact it. Takes 18 months and, costs about 3 million dollars to acquire one seal and. That doesn't count the millions, of dollars and years of arduous training, once you actually make it to a team that 18. Months is broken into various segments, the first segment is 6 months long and called bud's another. One of our acronyms it stands for basic underwater. Demolition seal, if. Any of you have seen the seal movie lone survivor it's, unfortunately, based on a true story the. Opening scenes are actually from a Discovery. Channel documentary about, buds class 234, we, run 6 classes a year so every two months I followed them in class to 35, I was, present for all this filming and, so give you guys just a teeny. Tiny taste of what buds, is all about. Six. Times. 380, hole. Bring. The bell three times put. Your helmet on the ground you're done. You, don't make it you're, doing a Garrett you've, tested, this hard ever in your life never. Winning. Here is a conscious, decision. Make, up your mind whether you want to pass. Don't. Choose to fail. All. Right gentlemen I'm an introduced shot at something called not, being able to breathe. Andrew. Come, back come. Back to the light. Hey all this shaking and all this cool artisan. Turn it into aggression. You just proved to your bodies for, your mind. They. Can push yourself further than you thought possible. Go get what right. I met, my limits off. You, sure you wanna be here yes I do, absolutely. Whatever. Just. Find an excuse, to win. Going. It pays to be aware. I. Like. My buddies that I can depend on and. I would like for them to be able to depend on me. The guys are our band of brothers. Doesn't. That look fun, say. Buddy feel like they missed their calling in life anybody. Age 30 or younger come see me afterwards please didn't. Think I was gonna use this as a recruiting platform did you but. Now that I think about it that video probably really damages my recruiting possibility, here at Google. Now. The funny thing is what you just saw was a depiction, of only the first three, weeks of buds buds. Has a 90% failure, rate of highly, capable candidates. None. Of us are extraordinary exceptional. Individuals, were, just common people with, an uncommon desire to, succeed so. Imagine those types of activities going on for months and months at a time and then, the irony, windy is, that the training just gets more difficult after that that's. The funny part it's actually not that funny. If. You think about that that. Mindset that winning mindset to. Highlight that I want to focus on some of the things you heard the instructors, saying. To the students in those video clips where. He said gentlemen. Winning. Here is a conscious, decision, you. Will and make up your mind whether you want to pass or. You're gonna choose, to fail keep. Moving no matter what find. An excuse, to win you. Can push yourself further than your mind or body ever thought possible, buds. Training is based on the rule of seven when, your brain is telling you that you can go no further and take no more pain you can go seven times longer seven times more and push yourself seven times harder, and.
Again That's, why very, few people make it through this selection process we. Think about that winning mindset and we approach our life and our goals setting. Those lofty goals that lofty vision we've all done that and various aspects of their life we, set that lofty goal and we have to work backwards to find our own path to success elite. Athletes do this elite warriors do it each and every one of you has done it whether you realize it or not various, stages of your life to, achieve goals. Academically. In, your personal life and athletics, to. Land a job here at Google which what I hear is not an easy thing to do that's a lofty vision a lofty goal it, took a lot of hard work to get here, same. Thing when I made that decision to transition from corporate. Finance to, start training and join the Navy to become a seal a total, mindset. Transformation. I had to think about the, reality, of the. World around me in a totally, from lay everything. Had to change in order for me to achieve that lofty goal of, a program that has a 90 percent failure rate, let's. Take public speaking for example Steve. People. Always ask me well how'd you get into this part of your profession the public speaking and do you enjoy it, I mean who likes public speaking nobody. It's like the number one fear of most people and, it's kind of a funny story it started in graduate school, I actually started my MBA program, one week after I got over the SEAL Teams and, literally. A month into this program I was doing my very first group, class, presentation. And I got up for my portion I had some notes, my. Hands were shaking I'm. Like and, I was sweating I'm like I'm at Navy SEAL, combat, veteran I'm. Just standing in front of classroom of 50 people my hands were shaking and I'm sweating I'm terrified. But. I kind of enjoyed it at the same time and several years later I was December of 2012. Was. A Saturday morning and I open my laptop I was checking my email and right there at the top the inbox was, an, email personally, from the president, of Bank of America Merrill Lynch asia-pacific, one of the top four executives, in the entire global. Organization. And he, explained to me that he had read the, first article I'd written for my Forbes column literally a month before this which. Was titled from the battlefield, to the boardroom a Navy, SEALs guide to business leadership, success, this, guy's a highly, energetic banking, prodigy an Australian guy super, into fitness super obsessed with Special Operations culture he's, like I really love how you draw these correlations and, these cultural, values and principles, now, you can apply those to, building winning cultures and winning teams in the business world and. He went on to invite me to do a series of keynote, presentations. And workshops at. Their global leadership, conference, in Hong Kong the following month he didn't, ask if I was a speaker didn't, ask to see a website didn't, ask to see any videos didn't, ask for client testimonials, nothing as silly. As this sounds just the fact that I was a seal was enough for him but. Of course being. The entrepreneur that I am I was like hell yeah of course I'll come out there and speak to all you people in Hong Kong sent. The email back and I closed, my laptop but I turned in my office like oh. What, the hell did I just commit to I don't, know how to be a speaker but, I had enough content I built some presentations, based under a lot various discovery calls we had and I prepared. Relentless, living. Outside your comfort zone and pushing those boundaries cannot, succeed.
Without Discipline, and accountability so. I prepared and rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed, practice. Practice practice and, I went out there went, onstage for the first keynote knowing that I had several other talks and I was doing breakout, sessions throughout the day it was exhausting. Go up on stage of course once again I'm. Terrified. But. Again I had rehearsed and prepared so relentlessly, that it went very well, they had me back to Singapore. In Sydney the following month I've done that Asia Pacific tour every year since then and I've, doubled, the frequency, of speaking engagements every year over the past six years I speak about seventy five times a year those, early years it. Was always uncomfortable I always. Had to get comfortable being uncomfortable it, was always terrifying, getting on stage I was always nervous my wife would always say cuz she used to travel with me before all, of our children and she'd say honey I like you so much better after you're done talking, she'd, be trying to talk to me and I'd just be in the zone I wouldn't even answer couldn't even hear her talking but, I. Found a passion for it even though it was uncomfortable, I pushed myself beyond, that comfort zone to, do something that I had a passion for that I had a desire to continue, to do at, any time in our life when we have that vision that vision, and that lofty goal just. Like we say in the SEAL Teams and other areas of life we have to break that lofty goal that lofty vision break. It down and the SEAL Teams we say you, got to eat the elephant one bite at a time you. Break the big goals into bite-size chunks making. Them less daunting and more achievable. Navy. SEALs can, only be forged in adversity, every single, person in this room has and will continue to face various. Aspects of adversity, throughout your entire life, but. Again as you know it's what we do and how we react, in the face of adversity that, builds our character and defines who we are, so. The third week of buds the third week of this 18-month. Training pipeline is, called hell, week and. I assure you it's a lot worse than that sounds. Actually. That sounds pretty bad isn't it hell week it's. Designed to do one thing simply weed out those not committed, to the vision of becoming a seal you do, not sleep for, an entire week you. Run the equivalent, of multiple, marathons while, wet and Sandy inside, and out this, is called getting a sugar cookie, it sucks, because. The instructors, make a concerted effort to ensure you get the sand on the inside, of your clothing so, did it strips the flesh off your body as you run it's like wearing sandpaper. Inside out it does it's very effective, you.
Swim Dozens of miles in the open frigid ocean you, run with heavy logs heavy, boats heavy backpacks, you, run the offs to of course multiple times a day enlist. Calisthenics, brutal, beatings. All. While. Battling severe. Bruising, cuts lacerations. Stress fractures cellulitis, broken, bones. The. Most severe chafing, people you. Could ever imagine in all of the areas you would never ever want to be severely chafed, that. Calling a chafing is not even accurate you literally have I'm sorry but I'm gonna say it anyways you have no skin left between. Your legs around. Your waist and your armpits that on the top of your head, and. Then imagine all the extra time you spin in the salt water really. Kicks it up a notch oh and. One more thing and pretty, much constant, second stage hypothermia. So. Bearing all that in mind let's do the math really quick this. Is a picture of my graduating, class intentionally. Grainy to preserve people's identities, but, about a thousand, guys applied, for our buds class we run six classes a year of that. 1000 only, 250. Were selected, to begin training of that. 250, only 23 graduated, earning the right to wear the seal Trident pin now. The interesting thing about this pin is that it's the only emblem, in the United States military, where, the eagle's head is fully bowed bowed. In memory of those that forge the path ahead of us bye. Everybody. Say goodbye. Thank. You another, line from the cielito says my. Trident is a symbol, of honor and Heritage bestowed. Upon me by the heroes, that have gone before it. Embodies the trust of those that I am bound to defend, it. Is a privilege, we, must earn every, day your. Roles for example as. Members, of this team of this amazing organization. There's. A privilege each of you have to earn every single day simply. By asking yourself what will I do today, to. Be the best most valuable, and effective member of this organization that. I can be or. We say in the SEAL Teams how, will I earn my, Trident today. So. After several combat tours, I left the SEAL Teams went to graduate school and, decided to become an entrepreneur another very uncomfortable. Thing I didn't have any money saved effort being in the Navy it's, like working for free people I had, student loans we started a company and, basically. The first company I started right, out of graduate school was essentially, an early version of trulia zillow was, a home finding search engine the housing market was booming the economy, was booming we knew this this ride was never gonna end this housing bubble was never gonna burst we. Raised two million dollars for this business we kept growing it we probably spent two hundred thousand dollars a month in Google AdWords because our SEO rankings sucked I had to learn how to become an SEO expert which we all know is impossible, because, you change the algorithm every 30 seconds thanks. A lot guys just, blocked out I went off on a tangent. All. Our rankings dropped we had to spend 200 grand a month in Adwords so you're welcome you're. Welcome and, then, 2008, came around and, you better remember what happened in 2008, the. Global economy, collapsed, the, housing market was destroyed, all. Of our advertisers cut there you know what's, the first budget to go when. There's an economic downturn marketing. Of course. We. Got hammered. There's. A lot of pain a lot. Of struggle a lot of adversity a lot of crying mostly, by me unfortunately. In front of people and. It wasn't really until I, had. To reflect back on and lean into some of those principles in that mindset that, got me through SEAL training that. Got me through hundreds. And hundreds of combat missions and the loss of many friends and really. Reflecting, on the, culture and values that forged seal culture and how we could apply those principles in, building a winning, organization that, was resilient, it would bounce back from this adversity we. Also lead into the principle that we hold dear in the SEAL Teams of adaptability. So, we diversified, ourselves, we have learned so much about digital marketing and media that we decided to start a digital, marketing agency so. We borrowed $100,000. From the first business to, start the second business gave, those shareholders equal, common stock shares and the new company and, that company doubled, in size using. Those principles I just talked about doubled. In size every, year until, we sold it a year and a half of but even that company went through a lot of change a lot of organizational. Transformation you're, talking about a fast-growing company in, an even more rapidly, changing, industry, mostly. Chasing your Google algorithm again thank you. But. Again all those principles can be applied to. Building winning team's winning organizations, and of course succeeding, in life in, general. And. That's kind of what I wanted to talk about in, more detail today.
We. Had a failing company at that time, starting. A new business all, those things causing a lot of pain adversity, IRAs CEOs of two companies not, an easy thing to do and then, more, adversity came along usually comes in threes for some reason anybody know, that about life and something shitty happens if two more things are coming so get ready I'll. Spare you the details but, during, that time I was trying to save a failing business and start a new business and make that business successful, I was, literally transformed. Into a full-time, single, parent to a two-year-old overnight. Anybody. In here have kids. Sucked. Man. I'm. Like where. Does bond to keep your stuff I. Dropped. Them off at school with no shoes it was a disaster, but, the point of telling you this is sometimes in life when we face adversity we also have to make very difficult, and humbling decisions to, do what's best for our family to do what's best for the organizations, were a part of so. What I ended up having to do is making the decision to step, down as, CEO of that second company I knew. I could not effectively lead that organization, even though I tried I had to shift my priorities, to my son but, again that, was a very uncomfortable thing, of something that was outside my comfort zone but. Then the magic happened I was able to place myself in a role I was very passionate about in the organization, as chief marketing officer that, company continued to thrive and things got better and then. Something, else happened a few years later I had, an opportunity to go to one of two weddings one was a wedding, in Houston for one of my best friends from college in high school another, was a wedding in Costa Rica from one of my best SEAL team buddies, wedding. In Houston wedding in Costa Rica where do you guys think I went Costa. Rica the. Day I got to Costa Rica was the day I met my wife I literally, told her two days into that wedding weekend that we were going to get married. Taking. A little calculated, risk right, I knew that would do one of two things scare. The crap out of her and send her running for the hills or, maybe marginally, intrigued her enough to continue the conversation. A month. Later this, is true story - a month later we. Got matching tattoos before the ring they got matching tattoos, two, months after that we got engaged in a week after that we got married now we have two more beautiful children and her happy happy. As can be that. Again it's about taking that calculated, risk in life whether it's in, our work and our personal lives and our relationships, but. Living outside your comfort zone and finding, any, level of success really cannot happen ever, without, extremely, high levels of discipline, and accountability and follow-through. The. Concept of accountability and seal training starts, on day one and as, we say our training is never complete so. From the very first week of training throughout the entire, 18-month. Training process we, perform a weekly what, I refer to as an accountability drill or essentially teaching. Ourselves and, our teammates to hold each other to the highest level of standard a highest, level of accountability, it's. A wonderful fascinating, weekly evolution, called, the top five bottom five so. Every Friday afternoon before the class is secured for the weekend they bring into class into the classroom, they, sit you down and the, instructors pass out blank sheets of paper and on that paper or five, lines on the top and five, lines on the bottom and you, are instructed to anonymously, rank who you believe the, top five performers, are in the class and who you believe the bottom five performers, are in the class I know. You're thinking from a human resources perspective, wow that's probably pretty cool no they never tell you who the top five are because, people that would be positive reinforcement. And we do not deal in positive, reinforcement, in seal training we. Deal only in negative, reinforcement, so, what they do do is they tell you up all the names in the bottom five and post, them right there on the whiteboard next, to the door, not. A great way to start your weekend, the. One name most frequently, listed in the bottom five every Friday until the end of training is immediately. Ejected from training based. On peer evaluations. No. Ifs ands or buts no appealing, to the empathise, of the human resources department because. We do not have a human, resources department, in seal training, we. Take this concept of accountability extremely, seriously we take it with us to the battlefield. You're on patrol and enemy territory, each.
And Every man is accountable, for example, for owning a field of fire the. Area you're responsible, for protecting should, the enemy attack and. That's a great thing about accountability, especially in, a team setting is, because when everyone is accountable, everybody, is executing, their duties to the best of their ability you, don't have to worry about anything outside of your own field of fire. Accountability. Is equally. As important, in, a team setting as it is in, a personal setting we're, trying to achieve goals as you can imagine when I decided. To make, that lofty, leap and take that risk to quit my rather. Lucrative finance, job to join the Navy and, try out for the seal program, knowing that there was a high high high likelihood that I would never make it again. It was a total mindset transformation, with that lofty vision but again like I've said you. Cannot achieve those lofty goals pushing, outside your comfort zone without extremely, high levels of accountability and discipline every, night I would come home from the office about. 6:30 p.m. throw, on a backpack running shoes the, backpack had fins and goggles in it I would run four miles to the SMU pool swim. A mile then run four miles home on, the weekends we'd run marathons, do various, strength training activities, I did, this for an entire year while, I was working in finance and then as you know we moved up to Crested Butte Colorado and, trained, again, for five hours a day at, 10,000, feet altitude but. Doing all that required. An extremely, high level of focus and discipline and accountability because. I had to transform my entire life to. Mold it around achieving, this vision my social life had to change my dietary, habits had to change my, fitness regime had to change I did it of course responsibly, I wasn't shutting out loved, ones from my life but I did shut out a lot of people that didn't need to be in my life that, would stand in the way of me achieving that goal my. Social life changed dramatically but. Again all these things accountability. Discipline, are critical for, living a life beyond, your comfort zone and achieving, those lofty goals we have said in in our lives. But. These pictures sink in for one second. You. Know studies actually show that, interacting. With animals can actually improve human, social interaction in, the areas of trust, and empathy so, I thought these pictures were appropriate for the trust slide. Yes. That is a monkey on my head my. Last tour was in Africa his name is Iron Mike I raised, him from infancy I found him on the side of the road his mom was injured and at. Night he would sleep in my cot with me there nestled in my armpit her on my chest and in the morning he would wake up and crawl, up onto my chin, grab my eyelashes, and rip my eyes open okay, dad it's, time to eat, you. People in the room who have kids know that our children basically do something similar every frickin morning my two-year-old came in the morning five o'clock two, days ago with a hat and sunglasses and a diaper on, also. Demanding. To eat and. Yes that is a dog. Attached to my body as I jump out of the back of that plane you. Know what he's thinking right now man's. Best friend my ass, not. A happy, I don't know what it is about plummeting. 130 miles an hour towards the face of the earth, takes. A little getting used to they don't particularly care for it I I know there's a lot of dog lovers in here I'm a dog lover I have three myself trust. Me these dogs get taken care of a lot better than we do they stay in their own hotel, rooms at the W when we go on training trips so, don't worry about these, dogs they're, fully taken care of I wanted. To tell you guys a brief story about trust. From, my buds classes hell week experience. Hell. Week again the brutal crucible, that all, seals, share that few paths a week starts on a Sunday and ends on a Friday afternoon and the, beauty of that Sunday is that the, whole class will report to the classroom, with only a couple required, items in their possession.
And The. Amazing thing about this this. Sunday is that the. Students, have no idea what hell week will commence the, anxiety, the anguish is literally eating away at your soul you, know it's probably gonna be able the worst week of your life and you just want it to start that's the weird. Paradox. Of it halt and as, a way to, inspire. Us and motivate us our class leader who is the, highest ranking officer in your class he. Read to us the st. Crispin's Day speech from, William Shakespeare's Henry the fifth, and. He read aloud those famed, lines that. Say we. Few we happy. Few we, band, of, brothers for. He today that sheds. His blood with me shall be. My brother. John, died four days later, we. Were four and a half days into hell week they were only about thirty students left of the 250, we. Were in full gear no, fins and an Olympic sized swimming pool, doing relay races and. We. Were performing an evolution called the caterpillar race which is not, as cute as it sounds your, boat crew of seven guys is in the water in a line swimming backwards like this except. I would have my legs wrapped around the waist of the guy in front of me his. Legs are wrapped around the waist of the guy in front of him and so on and so forth, now even fresh this is a very difficult evolution. To execute properly much less to beat the other boat crew to the other side of the pool everything, in hell week is a race, four. And a half days into hell week you're hallucinating so violently your body is so brutally beaten it's, more of an evolution in control drowning, long. Story short John suffered a massive heart failure and drowned in the pool right next to us but again, we were hallucinating so violently and so exhausted at that point nobody, had any idea what was going on so they, ran us back across the street to the Special Warfare Center and they put, us in the classroom where we waited for a couple hours, after.
A Couple hours the door opens and the instructor, staff walk in and with, them was the commanding officer of buds at the time he. Walked at the front of the room turned, around to address the class he. Said gentlemen listen up. Lieutenant. Jon Scop was pronounced dead at 1:00 a.m., lieutenant. Parado you're. Taking over, and. He said it with that level of candor I believe purposefully, he. Paused for a minute to let that sink in when. He said gentlemen. Get. Used to this feeling that you have right now this. Is what its gonna be like in the team's and, you will lose teammates, you. Have to learn to control your emotions stay. Focused, on the mission and. Trust, each other no matter what especially, amidst adversity, and. It was a bit of odd foreshadowing, because he really had no, idea how, right he really was literally. Four months later was 9/11 and, that's when we all knew we'd be going to war where trust would, be at a premium we. Think about the notion of trust like accountability, in a team setting obviously, critically important the, trust all of you have for one another as, team members of this organization the. Trustee build with the customer the trust you build with your your. Friends your family and your relationships, as. We all know Trust is the bedrock of any sound, ship takes. A long time to build and moments to break but. It's equally as important in an individual, setting especially when we're talking about living a life outside your comfort zone and setting and achieving those lofty goals the, trust you have in yourself to. Fulfill the promises, you make to yourself, to achieve those goals to be disciplined and accountable and like. Accountability, Trust is, the bedrock of any, successful Purpose Driven Life it's. How you, fuel. The, drive to achieve those goals it's. How you shut out the noise and the naysayers who want to stand in the way of you achieving your, goals and your dreams. It. Builds resilience and resilience, is the foundation, of any life lived, outside your, comfort zone. In, closing I want to share a short, poem. With you guys there's. A. Poem. That's widely shared in the Naval Special Warfare community, it. Was authored by a chief to comes uh it was a Shawnee chief from the war of 1812. It's, shared widely in our community it's part of our culture it speaks to how we approach our life, our. Work that's. How we honor, our fallen and. I've. Of course seen many. Things in life have experienced, the war-torn, countries around the world I've been to more funerals than I can remember I've lost more, friends than I could remember and. I've taken life and. Even though this poem is called death song it's a metaphor, for. Living a purpose-driven life. So. Live your life so the fear of death may. Never enter your heart. Trouble. Knowing about their religion. Respect. Others in their views and. Demand, that they respect yours. Love. Your life, perfect. Your life. Beautify. All things in your life, seek. To make your life long and of, service to your people. Prepare. A noble, death song for the day you go over the Great Divide. Show. Respect to all people but. Grovel to none. When, you arise in the morning give. Thanks for the light for. Your life and strength, if. You see no reason for giving thanks, fault. Lies within yourself. When. Your time comes to die be. Not like those whose hearts filled. With the fear of death, so. They weep they. Pray for a little more time to. Live their lives over again in, a different way seeing. Your death song die. Like a hero going. Home. Now. Again I know that poem is titled death song but if you listen to those words it's. Not about death is it it's, about life, living. Our lives to the fullest extent creating. Seizing. Every opportunity we, have to be better to. Achieve more and, not for our own selfish desires. For. The organizations, were a part of for, our teams our. Families, our communities, bettering. The lives of those around us and hopefully, one day making this world a little, bit better place than we found it so. Ladies and gentlemen as. You step forth under your own battlefield of life setting. And achieving those lofty goals pushing, the boundaries of your comfort zone and, achieving. Maximum performance. Remember. These three things get. Comfortable being, uncomfortable. Push. The boundaries of your comfort zone every single chance you get because. The more you do the, wider that area, becomes and that, is truly where the magic happens. Next. Remember as. We say in the SEAL Teams we have a hell of a lot of sayings people the. Only easy day was yesterday. There. Truly are no easy days for high performance teams and driven, individuals, to. Achieve an existence, of excellence. Life. Is full of challenges we simply have to face those challenges head-on. Controlling. What we can and ignoring. What we can't, the.
Last Thing my friends I ask that you be all in all, the time ask. Yourself every day at what level am, I willing to participate on, this team and in this life, and, no matter what challenges life throws your way whether, they be at. Work at, home your. Family spouse, kids, even, things like divorce. Illness, finances. No matter what it is not. If, but. When you get knocked down get. Back up every, time and never, ever be out of the fight god. Bless you guys good luck in your life's journey thank you. It's. It's a good question because typically. From those peer reviews buds. Is a very level playing field we have Olympic athletes acquit in the first minute a hell week we, have guys who look like you, know some, accountant. Who, crushed you in a 15-mile ruck run but, typically the data points that come out of those anonymous. Peer-to-peer, surveys, are more, character-driven. Your, you know your moral compass is off you, got an ego problem you're not a team player you're, not a collaborator, basically. Somebody. Is not a trustworthy person who you would not want to be standing next to in a gunfight that's. What gets those people, dropped. Out of buds more frequently than performance. Jobs more frequently than quitting when it comes down to performance. Evaluation, if you're. Not the best shooter on the shooting range you're having trouble with the ocean swims they'll typically, work with you if you have a sound moral compass and they believe that you'll be a great culture fit for our organization but. Windows, and the instructors, now they, use iPads, now and then they had clipboards back in my day but they have this scale and this algorithm they created where there's, you know one on one bar the scale there's your physical. And and, tactical, abilities, that. Are needed as a seal and the rest is. Culture. And moral values and that's, what gets people dropped, is if they don't think you're gonna be a good fit for our organization or. You're not a trustworthy individual, so it's, a good question yes ma'am. You. Mentioned that there's buzz is one of. Yes. So you'll, go through well you'll go through buds for six months and then the twenty five or thirty students that will graduate from buds will then go on to sqt or seal Paul application, training which is another year of advanced. Training so, you're doing over less getting your ass kicked doing, more of the really, learning the technical, skills and tactical skills that you need to be as a seal so you're they've now they baked in a lot more schools I do language, school as free-fall school. Breacher, school some other things that you never used to get you'd get those teams or those schools later on once you get to a team but, now the guys are coming in more. Fit than we've ever seen them and more quality' so they basically hit the ground running because we have there's, only 2,000. Active seals, in the world at any given time yet we have conflicts, all over the world it's not just Iraq. Syria Afghanistan, it's everywhere. Places, I can't mention of course but we have more. Conflicts. And more, missions than we have people. And. Again we're open for business for you ladies to remember three years ago we. Lifted the restriction. On women in the front lines of combat I will. Say we haven't had one single female, applicant yet but it, it, will happen someday, they're out there so. Thank. You. Yes. Sir. A. Lot, of way to do it this is kind of also how I. How. I. Prepared. Because people ways well you know is buds and steel training more mental is it more physical I believe, if you're preparing, for something like this my, approach was, it's very difficult to prepare mentally because you really don't know what it's gonna be like everybody's, journey through SEAL training is totally different, but. I prepared, physically, as relentlessly as possible, because when you push your body as, hard as you can.
It, Increases. Fortitude, and mental strength and emotional, intelligence and so that's kind of how I do that so I still do that in life when I approach you know fitness, travel. Lots and we die it's not as good as it possibly could be so I have to work out harder and. I have three kids so chasing those, crazies around is also a good way to do it but. Again. Doing things like like public speaking that was something that took years to really get comfortable. Doing where. I was always nervous I was always fearful but, now I'm not now, I can focus more on preparation. As opposed to combating. The fear and anxiety of getting up in front of an audience whether it's 30, people or 3,000. People, and. Other things are just just taking calculated risk in. In. Business in. Life and those personal goals the. Transition. To sell the company a year and a half ago was was a bit of a risky, transition. To go all-in on writing the book and doing more speaking and building a consulting, practice around this so now, it's I don't have 200. Amazing, employees anymore I have me and a few other people so, it's kind, of going back to the drawing board being as an, entrepreneur. Again where, it's all on my shoulders to figure it out so it's always, taking not just your, responsible, risk but calculated, risk and then working, your ass off to make sure that that vision is fulfilled so thank. You. Who. Else. I. Always. Joked that the seal program, is the best recruiting tool the regular Navy ever had you're, not going home people you're, stuck in the Navy for four or five years doing any job they want to give you before, in my day you had to choose what's a rate which is a job so sonar, technician or whatever and because, 90%, those people need a job and a career path and, it was somewhere, to place them after they inevitably, fail, out of buds now. Seal. Is a rate so the problem with that is it's good because you're, taking advancement, exams based on the jobs you actually, do I was a sonar, tech that's like you know listening to little pings in a submarine so, I'd be I took an advancement test one time in Iraq this is gonna be a ding, to my character but I. Was, like I don't know anything about this there's a study material so I was like somebody go find me I'll beard a base in Iraq it's like somebody find me a sonar tech luckily. There was some sonar tech there and I'll say. Right a little bit of this I didn't. Cheat who was my study partner. So, but the problem with seal being a right now is that it's great for advancement, exams but, now you, don't have a job coming out of bud so the Navy can do whatever they want with you which. Is also I, would. Hope a motivator, for those individuals, not to quit because you don't know what they're gonna where they're gonna stick you but. Did. I answer the question yeah, yes okay. Anything. Else yes. Sir. All. The, time. Yes. The. Concept, of all in all the time is all about prioritization. And execution, I get that question a lot and. When I have time to explain it's usually in QA but it's, not about you, can't go all in and everything and I, don't even like the concept of multitasking because then you're just doing a whole bunch of things really. Crapoly. So. It's really all about prioritization.
So You can if you can prioritize. Those goals you have in life or in work or whatever it is and. Invest. The appropriate amount of time and resources or, whatever is needed into. That prioritization, then. You can really go all-in but you can't say, well I want to you, know be a expert. Guitar player and I want to have great upward mobility at Google and I also want to have all this and all this and this you're not gonna be able to do all that all, in all the time all at once it has to be a prioritized. List of, the, things that are most important, to you that you're most passionate about and you have a passion for those things then you're gonna be successful because you're gonna willingly, put the work and the time into, being successful, and then once, you achieve some level of success in that field there may be shift. To another. One of those priorities. So good. Question thank you. Yes. Absolutely it's a great question about about mentorship when, I for. Example I had a lot of mentors you know throughout my life, in high school in college but when, I told. My parents hey I'm trapped. For the seal program like huh good luck with that. But. Ironically I didn't, even know this at the time my dad's best, friend in college who they swam together they also went to SMU, was. A vietnam-era, seal, so. And he lived in and still lived in San Diego so he called his friend Tom up and said hey Prince. Join in the Navy, can you kind of talk, him out of it okay he's, joining the Navy can you when he gets out there it'd be great if you could kind of take him under your wing mentor. Him a little bit tell. Him about the community. The process obviously it changed vastly. Since the Vietnam era guys he was in buds, class 32, I was in buds class 235, so years, later of course but he, became a phenomenal, mentor, for me so much so that, he. Actually became the first investor of my first business so, it was a great opportunity to, learn from him not just about the seal community, but about business and entrepreneurship and. The. Downside was that he also liked to swim the La Jolla Cove every morning at 5:00 a.m. and he's. My mentor and an investor in my first company so guess who also got to swim the cove at 5 a.m. every, day. Anyways. And. Then, of course you, know when the SEAL Teams you informally, have other mentors and you know you're basically the the older guys who've been there longer and seen more stuff and, it. Was such a great part, of my experience that I know mentor. Young guys into the program I've. Mentored you know seven or eight guys and I will, say I'm seven for seven so. Which. Of course I take all the full credit for but. It's it's really it's neat because it's it's a way of giving back you know I had mentors throughout my entire life that really were. Phenomenal. Building. Blocks for, the goals that I achieved and so it's also a way that I give back now too because. I get you know through social, media and things like that I have high. School kids all the time hey. You know I want to go to buds and my god, here, we go again like you're a freshman, I can't do anything for you right now however. It'sit's. A really fascinating thing to see the drive in these young kids in the respect that I have for them now this is the post 9/11, world and, the Special Operations community you will be going to war I joined, selfishly, as a bore of a physical challenge pre. 9/11 I was like wow I can do that so it, was a selfish thing I thought I'd be traveling the world and getting tattoos and drinking in the Philippines and I did, all the drink and got all the tattoos but never went to anywhere nice I spend all my time in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places but.
It's. It's I have such a respect for these young kids now going, and knowing that if they make it they will go to war and they want to serve at, that highest capacity my, I've, only mentored officers except for this one guy, who. Was he, reached out first when he was I think it was a freshman. Or sophomore, in high school just a good Christian. Boy from Texas see Texas, told you guys and. You. Know I was very polite I was responsive, and my wife is like honey you don't have time to respond to every high school kid that reaches out wanted to be a seal there's, a lot of them out there and I, kept, in touch and and but I was transparent, with him I think there's not a whole, lot I can really do for you you're in East Texas I'm in San Diego and you're a sophomore, in high school you. Got a few years to go buddy especially, if you're gonna go in right after high school and not college and he. Was so persistent so determined, he just kept training and training he kept in touch off and on throughout the months and years and, then all of a sudden I got home from the office one day and my phone I got a text and he said hey, it's Garrett I just checked in to bud so I was like holy crap. House. Like honey he's here like come on over the house he. Is by far the, most disciplined. Individual. I have ever mentored, far more discipline than the officers which is kind of scary because they're in the leadership roles but. All, he wants to do is go to SEAL Team six which is Naval Special Warfare Development Group, so if you want to aspire to go to SEAL Team six you, have to be in the regular SEAL Teams for at least four years have an immaculate, record have all the qualifications that, you can only get if your top to rank in your platoon he's. The lowest ranking he's. He, just turned, 21 and he's a sniper and a breacher and adjey tech already hijae tech is the important. Radio guy that talks to the f-22, pilots telling them where to drop ordnance kind, of a big responsibility, for a 22 year old or 21 year old but.
He's So emotionally, mature and so disciplined, in his approach he, doesn't party he, studies and works out that's all he does he's, the lowest ranking, guy and is true yet, he's the highest ranked, as far as performance in his troupe very well-respected and so, I mean he's a shoo-in for going through the SEAL Team six selection process but it's, just really again I take all the credit for his success but uh it's. Just a fascinating to see these kids go through so because mentorship is rewarding. As rewarding. For the mentor as it is for for, the mentee at least I found that so thank you good question thank you yes. Do we have time I don't know what time is it yeah okay we're good. I. Would. Like. My parents my answer this activity I would be cautiously. Optimistic, obviously. When I told my parents about this my mom was somewhat, devastated, but, then when 9/11, occurred she was very, devastated, and then, when we found that we wouldn't my task unit from SEAL team five back in 2003, we were the very first SEALs deployed. Into Iraq. So she, was also not super, thrilled about, that cuz you can go to what's called CENTCOM, which is the Central Command or you know Afghanistan, Iraq Syria where you go to pay comm there's nothing's really going on Guam, Philippines, Japan we, were just doing training, and exercises, and readiness drills. But. Everybody wants to go where where, the fight is and she. Wanted me to go where. The fact was not, so. I I, would, be cautiously optimistic I, would be supportive, I would never encourage, it my. Dad was a marine during Vietnam never once did he ever encouraged. Me to come into the military if anything he was he was happy I had a job after college you know so he was like treat stick with that I was like I'm going the Navy he's like what. You. Have a job I just paid for four years of college what, are you doing. But. Again if there, was passion there and drive I would be very supportive I found. This statistic, out recently because I do a lot of tours of the training facility to help raise money for the found a foundation. That I'm on the board of and. They were giving this tour and that question kind of came up and her, I go how how often do, the sons of seals make it through training it's. Actually a funny statistic. The, answer was guys were not a family business, statistically. The sons of seals are less likely to make it I don't know why that is I don't know if they go in with a different approach or some sort of an entitled, mindset thing well clearly I got, the blood of a seal warrior running through my veins obviously. This is gonna be as a cake and most, of them quit or, you know sometimes they get injured and things like that but I would. Be you know it's just the same risk, that you know my parents are worried about of you, know having, some you, know a good job out of college and taking the rest to go into the Navy or five years and knowing, that 90% will. Fail that you, know their their point was well you're kind, of putting your life on hold for five years when you fail that abuts and, so. Of course I that. Gave me the drive not to fill out that buds but I would, I would, encourage it but I would be supportive. He. Was at graduation. How're. You doing by the how's your career going yeah he. Was it's. Any. Any of people in your life that are naysayers be like oh that's probably, not a good decision I mean, again once. You make it through hell week it's, very unlikely that you're not gonna make it all the way that we we'd 90%, of the people out in the first. Five. Weeks so. So. Within five weeks of being at Budds, whoever. Was, saying you couldn't do it is gonna know that you you can or that you failed like they said you would. It's. A good question about keeping, yourself motivated in the moment another, interesting. Piece of that is you, could never predict, the. People who will be standing at graduation, now the 250, people is. Not necessarily the big tattoo, covered muscle-bound, macho guy or someone who is an Olympics athlete, or, anything. It's, you could never hand, pick the people who are standing a graduation it's gonna be a total mix both. You know cognitively. Of mentally physically, and. Everybody's. Journey is totally different some. People are better at self motivation than others some people lean on you know their boat crew members or classmates, to help motivate them and everybody, also has their own specific challenges, sometimes, they're.
Not The strongest swimmer so they're worried about their swim times they're, not the strongest or they're not the strongest runner so they're worried about their run times because every phase you go through buds every. Evolution gets more difficult your run time to get increasingly. Dramatically. Faster every, two months swim, times have to get dramatically, faster so every, twice. A week you're always doing a four-mile timed run and a time to two-mile ocean swim not. The easiest thing in the world to do but you have to make these certain times so it's not just the physical strain, and the academic, part of it because you're you're, working and getting your butt kicked especially, in early days until 1, o'clock in the morning you got to get up at 4 for your 4 mile time drum and you have homework to do and studying, for your exam tomorrow so you really get no sleep but, then it's also the stress and anxiety of, not. Just the academic, side but all that difficult evolutions. You have to pass cuz on most, of the evolutions, early on whether, it's the drown proofing or. You. Know some of these drills that are that wheat a lot of people out because they're not comfortable in the water. It's, the stress of not passing those things so, it's not just the physical strain but the mental stress that you, know if you fail it once you're done I mean that's it you only get on most of these evolutions, you get one chance, you, can imagine how stressful every single day you get out of bed you like I remember, the anxiety, or just like every, morning I would, get up and this, benefited. Me later in life cuz I could I could now manage stress, like you couldn't believe if, nobody's trying to blow me up or shoot me in the face I'm good to go any problem is a problem that's solvable but, I would get up every morning 4 o'clock just literally, rot with anxiety, knowing that wine I'm gonna get my butt kicked all day long but to what. If I fail one of these evolutions, it wasn't so much of self, doubt but knowing. That, the. Numbers speak for themselves the statistics, speak for themselves and, knowing that there was a possible, element. Of failure so the, answer to your question is that it's it's different for every person everybody, has a different journey and their own different challenges for. Me it was it wasn't you, know swimming or running or specific evolutions, I didn't have a lot of problems with those it was the it, was the the entirety, of the whole thing and the grind and the stress, physically. And mentally that, was just it's. Just very hard to overcome that level of stress which is also why oftentimes, the guys out of high school the. Younger folks don't make, it because, they haven't had really any life, experience, they haven't you, know they've come in from mom and dad's house so. Oftentimes, they don't have the emotional maturity or mental fortitude yet. Not. To being a fraternity, guy in college really, gets you ready for steel training either but. It's oftentimes to why they just don't have the mental fortitude to, handle. That anxiety. Well. Thanks guys really, appreciate it thanks for showing up Thank You Wendy thanks Steve, Chris the other guys. You.