#22: 4 Leadership Lessons from the SEAL Teams That Are Fundamental To Business and Everyday Life

#22: 4 Leadership Lessons from the SEAL Teams That Are Fundamental To Business and Everyday Life

In today’s episode, Jeff Boss shares four key leadership lessons from SEAL teams that are fundamental to business and everyday life.

As an entrepreneur myself, there are a ton of lessons learned that I can share with you. However, today I want to dive into a few key leadership lessons I’ve learned from the SEALs and how they apply not just to entrepreneurs, but to business. I get asked the same question all the time; “Do you miss it?” The short answer is “no”. You reach a point in your career where you’ve done enough in your job that it eventually just gets boring. For me, the SEALs got boring and I wanted to apply what we learned and how we operated to business teams to that they  can operate in the same success. I knew the parallels were there, it was really just a matter of semantics. We all define success differently, but the means by which we go about succeeding remains the same.  Like SEALs, entrepreneurs are not really average people. Therefore the skills learned from working in a small team within a larger organizational context are seamlessly transferable.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Hear the key leadership lessons from SEAL teams and how to apply it to business.
  • Learn how to identify the point in your career where you know you need to move on.
  • Stepping out as an entrepreneurs requires courage and a clear definition of your “why”.
  • Why remaining competitive is a daily battle again complacency.
  • Understand why if you fail to live up to your purpose as a leader, you also risk failing to lead.
  • How testing yourself daily helps you maintain that competitive edge.
  • Why the biggest battle is the battle with yourself and your comfort zone.
  • Learn the benefits of exercise for your brain and how it can build mental fortitude.
  • Hear the BUD/S strategy and plan for when encountering a shark during swim practice.
  • Understand why being great at anything is not for the faint of heart.




“If you’re like me, you choose to zig because everyone else zags.” ? @JeffBoss9 [0:02:35].0]”]


“Failure is only determined by when and where you choose to stop.” ? @JeffBoss9 [0:05:19].0]”]


“It’s much easier to keep momentum than it is to create it.” ? @JeffBoss9 [0:07:53].0]“]


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


The ChaosCast Episode 1 ? http://www.thechaoscast.com/episode-1-simple-isnt-easy-start-with-self-why-knowledge-is-not-power/

The ChaosCast Episode 2 ?  http://www.thechaoscast.com/02-navigating-chaos-curiosity-questions-and-momentum/

The ChaosCast Episode 8 ? http://www.thechaoscast.com/08-chaos-is-freedom-relish-in-it/

My book, Navigating Chaos ? http://www.chaosadvantage.com/navigating-chaos-book

Spark, by John J. Ratey ? https://www.amazon.com/Spark-Revolutionary-Science-Exercise-Brain/dp/0316113514

Read Full Transcript

4 Leadership Lessons from the SEAL Teams That Are Fundamental To Business and Everyday Life

In episode one I shared with you the reason for why I started this podcast, which was for many of the same reasons that I wrote my book Navigating Chaos, and that is to share lessons learned. If you haven’t listened to it then I would start there and also check out episode 2 because those 2 episodes lay the groundwork for this podcast as a whole.

Anyway, as an entrepreneur, there are a TON of lessons learned that I could share with you right now but that would take a lot longer than the roughly 15min episodes I like to put out. So, I WILL cover those at some point, just not all today.

Today I will cover, however, a few lessons I’ve learned not just as an entrepreneur because you could really google entrepreneurial lessons learned and come up with ALL KINDS of data.

Instead, what I want to share with you are a few key lessons—leadership lessons from the SEALs and how they apply to business, and the reason I want to do this is because I get asked the question all the time which is, “Do you miss it?”

Do you miss the adrenaline rush? How do you do what you do today after having done “all that?”
And the short answer is no, I don’t miss the SEALs one bit. It was fun but, you reach a point in your career where you’ve done enough of whatever it is your job does, and it gets boring.

For me, the SEALs got boring and I wanted to apply what we learned—which was really how we operated—to business teams so THEY can operate with the same success.

I mentioned in episode 2 how different companies, different people, different teams all define success differently but the means by which they go about succeeding are always the same.

The transferability from working in a small team within a larger organizational context such as the SEALs, and startups and entrepreneurs today is eerily transferable, I mean…VERY similar because, after all…
Entrepreneurs—like SEALs--aren’t average people. The average person doesn’t hedge his or her bets against the odds and choose to zig while everybody else zags—OR, if you’re like me, choose to zig BECAUSE everybody else zags.

Venturing out on your own as a business owner, an entrepreneur demands some serious courage; a clear definition of WHY,

And without either, then the audacity to enter into an unknown world, create a brand new product or service from scratch and face the everyday uphill climb that entrepreneurs face simply doesn’t happen.
But, when this does happen…

When you do choose to leave the comfort of the company,

When you do decide to test yourself and DO something great rather than aim to BE the same version of yourself that you were yesterday—BORING!--,

Then THAT’S when you discover chaos—and chaos, is freedom. And if you aren’t sure why chaos is freedom then I invite you to listen to episode 8 where you’ll learn exactly WHY chaos is freedom and, more importantly, how to leverage it to your advantage.

Anyway, as far as lessons to be shared today I will say this: what leads to entrepreneurial “success—or success in anything for that matter—is having clearly defined purpose; a clear and compelling WHY for why you DO the things you DO—or the things you aspire TO DO.

Why is purpose important? Well I shared 3 reasons why purpose matters in episode 3 so I won’t rehash those here.

I will say this, though. If you’re an entrepreneur, thinking about becoming an entrepreneur or just looking or ways to monetize something on the side,

This podcast is for you.
If you define yourself as competitive and want to learn how you can leverage a stronger, competitive edge, this podcast is for you.

Why? Because remaining competitive is a daily sport; it’s a daily battle AGAINST its arch nemesis of complacency.

If you’re a leader—it doesn’t matter if you’re leading a startup, a team, an organization or even yourself because everybody must lead themselves at some point—then listen closely to these 5 leadership lessons from special operations because they are universal, and if you fail to live up to your purpose as a leader—no matter what you do--then you run the risk of failing to lead, and, like I said, if you’re the competitive type, then you know that losing in anything, sucks—it’s a great opportunity to improve! I don’t necessarily believe in failure, I think failure is only determined by when and where you CHOOSE to stop,
but at the same time, learning and feeling good are two different things, and if you show me somebody who says failing feels good then I’ll show you somebody who’s never won anything.

Anyway, after spending 13 years as a SEAL, there are five lessons I’ll share with you that can make you a better leader—no matter who or what you lead. Ready? Here they are:

1. Test yourself -- daily.
Leaders need challenges. People, need challenges. Hell, one of the main reasons I left the SEALs was because it wasn’t challenging anymore. I know, crazy! BUT, it just goes to show you that the SEALs are no different than anything else.

Anyway, if you’re an entrepreneur then you’re probably doing so to defy the unknown and pursue the unexplored, the not-yet-developed—to create opportunity where others see...chaos.

How do you stay at the competitive edge? By testing yourself—daily. If this means waking up an hour earlier to work out, read the paper or just have personal time, do it. After all, an extra hour of sleep is only going to make a difference if you THINK it does. The biggest hurdle that we all battle is the battle with ourselves; with comfort, with the desire to make the easy choice, and if you’re unfamiliar with the difference between simple and easy, then I encourage you to listen to episode #1.

Anyway, when you test yourself—and pass that test--The sense of accomplishment yielded from your efforts has a snowball effect on how you see yourself because you now see yourself as the type of person who sets and achieves difficult tests. You build your self-efficacy and, in turn, build a better, stronger self image.

And remember, every day counts. Every decision counts. Every time you choose easy over simple,
you’re making a withdrawal from yourself—a withdrawal in the form of mental fortitude-which means that now you’ll need to make not only another deposit to get back to equilibrium but ANOTHER ONE to get ahead!

It’s much easier to keep momentum than it is to build momentum. Just think of a car. Going from 0 to 50 places a lot of stress on the engine because it’s going from nothing to something; from a dead stop to forward moving.

Going from 50-100, however, the engine is already working, the wheels are already spinning, oil is already lubricating and keeping the engine running smoothly…it’s FASTER to get ahead.

The same is true with your habits. Make it a habit to test yourself daily and you develop the habit of being comfortable with the uncomfortable—and THAT is something that everybody can embrace for the simple fact that change is constant, but progress isn’t.

Many people stalemate because they’re scared of success OR they’re complacent, with their success—they comfortable doing what they’ve always done so they continue to get what they’ve always received,
And I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound like a competitive advantage to me. Call me crazy, you wouldn’t be the first.

In BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training) the motto was “The only easy day was yesterday”,
And it always held true because every day--every evolution--became harder than the last.

I remember thinking to myself after a conditioning run, “That was the hardest run I ever did!“ That is, until the next conditioning run, and then that run became the hardest one I ever did.

The point is that every day affords an opportunity to become better than who you were yesterday and what you did, and if you don’t take advantage of the opportunity, your competitor will.

2. Workout (i.e. sweat!). 
Having the mental fortitude to push yourself does two things: it shapes your body, yes, but it also sharpens your mind.

It’s easy to brush off the mental benefits of exercise, especially if you just go to the gym to talk.

And actually, I’ll just touch on this next point real quick because it’s along the same lines of sweating and pushing yourself, and that is: to suffer in silence.

There is nothing worse than those guys at the gym who feel they need to grunt and let everybody know just how much weight they’re pushing around.

When I hear people grunt, I always ask myself “what are they whining about?” because that’s exactly what those gym-based grunts are—whines. They’re cries for attention, they’re cries for insecurity and they’re cries for help because, god, if you’re whining in public then that tells me two things:

1) you don’t know how to exercise self control
2) you’re completely unaware of your surroundings, or
3) you’re just mentally weak

Anyway, if you exert yourself, if you PUSH yourself OUT of your comfort zone and actually sweat, then your mind feels those effects and raises its pain threshold, which in turn allows the body to push itself further.

There’s a great book out there called Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain which I’ll put in the show notes.

It’s written by Harvard clinical professor Dr. John Ratey who cites multiple studies of students’ high school fitness scores and how they relate to their test scores.

The takeaway is that consistent physical activity positively impacts the brain’s performance, Which,
for you listeners out there, means this: The daily grind that entrepreneurs and really everybody must face demands both a strong mind and a strong body. What the mind believes, the body achieves.

Cheesy, yes. But sooo true.

3. Aim for better, not the best.

Forget about being the best folks. The “Best” doesn’t exist. “Perfect,” the “100% solution,” they don’t exist.

There will always be something else to strive for, something else to refine and improve.

And this concept of being better not best applies to companies, industries, and teams, too.

You see in BUD/S, we did a two-mile ocean swim every week, and we also swam with a partner—a swim buddy.

Now, in the rare chance that a swim pair were to encounter a shark, the plan was very simple, but not easy.

You wanna know what that plan was?

Stab your swim buddy, and swim like hell (that’s part joke, part strategy).

The point here is that a swimmer didn’t have to be the fastest in the water – he just had to be faster than the guy next to him.

And the same is true for your competition.

Finally, be humble! That’s #4. Just as nobody wants to hear people whine in the gym, they also don’t want to hear the same voice over and over.

Don’t be that person who likes to talk just to show everyone how much you know.

Why? Because Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

Being great at anything, whether it’s Entrepreneurship, leading a team, or something else, it isn’t for the faint of heart.

It takes focus, determination, and discipline to push through the daily grind if you want to win.
Separate yourself from the pack by practicing these four fundamentals that cultivate not only better performance, but better business.

Released Episode
23  Mar  2017 #30 A personal interview with Jeff Boss, hosted by Spencer Marona.output Download
17  Mar  2017 #29 FMF Download
15  Mar  2017 #28 Founder Chief Creative Officer of The IDEA Brand Ryan Berman on Getting a Return on Courage Download
13  Mar  2017 #27 4 Es For Exceptional Entrepreneurship: No Matter What You're Doing, You Can Always Rely Upon These Four Strategies Download
10  Mar  2017 #26 FMF: There's No Such Thing As Reinvention Download
08  Mar  2017 #25: The chaos of startups - 4 frameworks to navigate entrepreneurial chaos and start Download
06  Mar  2017 #24: Mine the Hunt Download
03  Mar  2017 #23 FMF Focus on what you can affect and effect Download
01  Mar  2017 #22: 4 Leadership Lessons from the SEAL Teams That Are Fundamental To Business and Everyday Life Download
27  Feb  2017 #21: Stop worrying about yourself, doing vs being, the me vs we connection Download
24  Feb  2017 #20 Death, Love and Time Download
22  Feb  2017 #19 Don't Focus On The Product, Focus On This Download
20  Feb  2017 #18 Founder and CEO of Know Your Company Claire Lew On Getting To Know Your Company.output Download
17  Feb  2017 #17 4 Simple Strategies To Get (And Stay) Productive Download
16  Feb  2017 #16: Interview with Jason Lewis, Founder Theralent Executive Search On Making The Mindset Shift From Business Executive to Business Owner Download
15  Feb  2017 #15 Trust, Ego, We And Me.output Download
14  Feb  2017 #14 Interview with Author and Leadership Coach and Consultant Angela Sebaly on Courage Download
13  Feb  2017 #13 Interview With Jotforms Founder Aytekin Tank On How To Leverage Cross Functional Teams For Better Business Performance.output Download
10  Feb  2017 #12 Five Minute Friday Weekly Recap Download
08  Feb  2017 #11 Tom Brady Didn't Win, He Did This Download
06  Feb  2017 #10 Interview with Entrepreneur and author of Purpose is Profit Ed 'Skip' Mclaughlin Download
03  Feb  2017 #09: Embrace the Struggle Download
01  Feb  2017 #08: Chaos is freedom. Relish in it Download
30  Jan  2017 #07: Five Year Vietnam Pow, Leadership Coach, Consultant And Author Lee Ellis on Honor And Leadership Download
27  Jan  2017 #06: Five Minute Friday: The One Practice You MUST Do To Forge Clarity And Stay Competitive Download
25  Jan  2017 #05 Entitlement, Choice, Plodding vs Bursting, Goal Setting Download
23  Jan  2017 #04: 4 Simple Strategies For Finding Clarity Download
18  Jan  2017 #03: The Power of Purpose, The 6Cs Of Chaos, The Only Threat To Competitive Advantage, Venerability And Vulnerability, 3 Reasons Why Purpose Matters Download
18  Jan  2017 #02: Navigating Chaos, Curiosity, Questions and Momentum Download
18  Jan  2017 #01: Simple Isn't Easy, Start With Self, Why Knowledge Is Not Power Download

You can also watch the video below:

Leave a Reply