Month: April 2023

How CBD Has Helped Me After Leaving the SEAL Teams

As a retired US Navy SEAL veteran, I know all too well the physical and emotional toll that serving our country can take on a person. When I left the service, I had a litany of issues to deal with, including the emotional decompression I experienced and the effects of physical injuries I acquired during my years of service working within special operations forces. After trying various treatments and therapies, I had another SEAL brother share some CBD with me, and I started to learn more about its potential to help alleviate what I was experiencing.

I haven’t been shy about my post SEAL team life and especially the first year and a half after my retirement. I started using alcohol to self-medicate in an attempt to tone down the anger I was feeling. I also experienced physical pain throughout my body, and I wasn’t willing to commit to a life of prescription medicine that would likely harm me in the long haul rather than address my problems.

A SEAL brother of mine shared with me a bag of his CBD gummies, and I started to take them. I noticed that my pain was lessening, and I wasn’t as angry as I had been in the past. Eventually, I found myself becoming more even-tempered inside and less angry. Then I ran out of gummies, and the anger started to build again. I bought another bag of gummies, and the anger started to diminish again, and I thought, “Hey there’s something to this.”

So I started a CBD company.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has been shown to have a variety of potential health benefits. Unlike its cousin THC, which is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use, CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects. Instead, it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating a variety of physiological processes, including pain perception, mood, and sleep.

I wanted to create a product that was not only effective but also trustworthy and transparent. The Navy SEAL ethos is one I don’t take lightly and resonates with my personal and professional core values. I know firsthand the importance of integrity and honesty, and I wanted my company to reflect those values.

One of the main reasons I started a CBD company was to provide other veterans with an alternative to traditional pharmaceutical treatments for conditions like chronic pain, anxiety, and PTSD. Many veterans are prescribed a metric shit ton of prescription meds, including opioids for chronic pain, which can be highly addictive and have dangerous side effects. CBD, on the other hand, has been shown to have few side effects and a low risk of addiction.

In addition to providing veterans with an alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals, I wanted to create a company that supported the effort to educate and prevent veteran service members suicide, which is climbing at an alarming rate. It’s something I speak of when I travel and address business leaders across the country.

Starting a CBD company, not only as a retired Navy SEAL veteran from Naval Special Warfare but as a small business owner, has not been without its challenges. There is still a lot of stigma surrounding cannabis and CBD, and it can sometimes be difficult to navigate the complex legal landscape. However, I believe that the potential benefits of CBD are worth the effort, and it’s an established alternate form of treatment for many. I think we’re still at the beginning of really understanding what CBD oil can do for the active service members of our armed forces as well as our veterans. In my opinion, this is our new mission – to combat the individual forces that separate us from living our best life and focus on post-career care. Negligence, ignorance, and stagnation for treatment is our new enemy.

If you want to learn more about how I cultivate a strong mindset and apply the use of CBD in my life, check out a recent podcast I was a guest on as I talk about all of this.

Why Living a Life Without Regrets Requires Embracing Failure

Regret is a powerful emotion that can linger in our minds for years, haunting us and holding us back from fully embracing life. As someone who has lived through many challenges and successes, I have come to the realization that I hate living with regrets. I have very few things that I deeply regret doing in life, but those that I do continue to serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of pushing forward and never giving up. Failure has taught me more than any educational institution could ever come close to teaching.

Regret Can Haunt You If You Let It

As a Navy SEAL, I learned firsthand the value of pushing past my limits and taking risks. During my time in the military, I faced countless obstacles and challenges that tested my physical and mental strength. In many cases, I failed to meet these challenges head-on and was left with the haunting feeling of deep regret until I learned how to take the pressure I was feeling and turn it into power.

However, it was through these failures that I learned some of the most valuable lessons of my life. Failure taught me the importance of perseverance and determination. I learned that success is not guaranteed but that the willingness to try and fail over and over again can lead to incredible achievements.

Many people are embarrassed by their failures and try to hide them from the world. But I have always believed that failures should be celebrated as valuable learning opportunities. I display my failures like trophies because those failures are the foundation for all of my success!

I learned the importance of failure and how it can shape us into better, more effective leaders. The SEAL training program is one of the toughest in the world, and failure is an inevitable part of the process. But it’s how we respond to that failure that separates the successful candidates from the rest.

In SEAL training, we were taught to embrace our failures and use them as learning opportunities. We were encouraged to take risks and push ourselves to the limit, even if it meant failing in the process. This mindset allowed us to grow and develop as individuals and as a team, and it was a key factor in our success on the battlefield. SEALs are set up to fail every day, and we become conditioned to think critically, work together, and break through our barriers. Failing is second nature to us because it’s what teaches us to succeed.

The same principles apply to leadership. Leaders who are willing to take risks and learn from their failures are more likely to achieve success than those who are afraid to fail. Failure is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign that we are pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones and striving for something greater.

Those Who Fear The High Cost Of Failure Deeply Regret Quitting

As a leadership coach, I often draw on my own experiences as a Senior Chief in the military and in civilian life. My failures as a leader have taught me more than any book or training course ever could. When working with clients, I encourage them to embrace their failures and learn from them. The ability to acknowledge and learn from our mistakes is what separates successful leaders from those who struggle to achieve their goals.

In my experience, I have seen many individuals who are afraid to take risks or make tough decisions because they fear failure or regret. But by avoiding failure, they are also avoiding the potential for growth and development. The most successful leaders are those who are willing to face their fears and take calculated risks, even if it means failing in the process.

Can You Risk Living With The Cost Of Failure If Your Only Regret Is Not Trying?

Failure is not the end of the road. It’s simply a setback that can be overcome with perseverance and determination. When we fail, we have two choices: we can either give up and let the disappointment of our failure define us, or we can take them head on and push ourselves to become better.

I have experienced failure in many different forms. But each time I failed, I used it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Those failures have helped shape me into the person and leader I am today, and I am grateful for each and every one of them.

One of the most important lessons I learned from my failures was the value of taking risks. In the military, taking risks can mean the difference between life and death. But even in civilian life, taking risks is essential to achieving your desired outcomes. Without taking risks, we limit ourselves and miss out on valuable opportunities.

Of course, taking risks also means accepting the possibility of failure. Failure teaches us resilience, adaptability, and determination. These qualities are essential for anyone who wants to achieve their goals, whether they are personal or professional.

Avoid The Impact of Deep Regret And Practice Gratitude

Perhaps the most important of all the lessons I have learned from my failures is the value of gratitude. While it is easy to focus on our regrets and failures, it is important to also be grateful for the lessons they teach us. Gratitude helps us maintain a positive outlook on life and reminds us of the progress we have made, even in the face of adversity.

Gratitude is especially important for leaders. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the responsibilities and pressures of the job. However, taking the time to reflect on our failures and express gratitude for the lessons they teach us can help us become better leaders. By embracing our failures and learning from them, we can become more resilient, adaptable, and effective in our roles.

I faced many challenges that tested my leadership skills. One of the most challenging aspects of leadership in the military is the high-pressure environment and deep sense of accountability within the SEAL teams at all levels within Naval Special Warfare. Leaders are responsible for the lives of their team members and must make split-second decisions in life-or-death situations. Without the right kind of mindset, it is easy to become overwhelmed and second-guess ourselves in these situations.

But as I learned through my own failures, the key to effective leadership is to embrace the challenge – embrace the suck – and push through our fears. I said it earlier, and I’ll say it again, the best leaders are those who are willing to take risks and make tough decisions, even in the face of uncertainty. They are the ones who are willing to learn from their failures and use those lessons to become stronger and more effective leaders.

Regrets can be powerful if we allow them to be, but they should not hold us back from living our lives to the fullest.

So, if you find yourself facing failure or regretting something, remember that it’s not the end of the road. The answer is always no if you never ask. Use it as an opportunity to learn and grow and push yourself to become the best possible version of yourself. Be grateful for your failures and use them as a stepping stone to success. Embrace the challenge and push through your fears. With perseverance, determination, and a willingness to take risks, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. And most importantly, never give up on yourself or your dreams.


Why Am I Always Tired All the Time

Fatigue is a common experience during exercise or physical activity. It is characterized by feelings of exhaustion, weakness, and a lack of motivation. According to A. Mosso, a researcher from the early 1900s, fatigue is an emotional response to stress and discomfort in the body. Mosso’s research focused on the idea that fatigue was not solely a physical event but rather a complex interplay between the mind and body.

Fatigue Is An Emotion

In recent years, research has supported Mosso’s theory that fatigue is not just a physical event but rather a response that happens in the brain. Studies have shown that when the body begins to feel discomfort or stress, the brain sends signals to the body to slow down or do less work. This is because the brain is programmed to protect the body from overexertion and conserve energy.

However, it turns out that our brains are overly cautious when it comes to exertion, and we often have more energy available than we realize. This is why pushing through fatigue during exercise is so important. By continually pushing your body, you can train your brain to override that fatigue emotion and keep going. This is particularly true when it comes to endurance sports, such as running or cycling, where mental fortitude can be just as important as physical fitness.

Research has shown that pushing through fatigue can actually prolong the amount of time an athlete can sustain a high level of physical activity. For example, a study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance found that cyclists who pushed through fatigue during a time trial were able to sustain a higher power output than those who did not. This is because the act of pushing through fatigue can actually help to delay the onset of muscle fatigue and improve overall endurance.

CBD Helps Combat Fatigue

But what if you’re struggling to push through fatigue? This is where CBD can come in. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving sleep, and reducing anxiety.

One of the ways that CBD oil can help combat fatigue is by reducing inflammation in the body. When we exercise, our muscles undergo small amounts of damage, which can lead to inflammation. This inflammation can contribute to feelings of fatigue and make it harder to push through discomfort during exercise. CBD oil has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help to reduce feelings of fatigue and make it easier to push through discomfort during exercise.

CBD oil can also help to improve sleep, which is important for recovery after exercise. Studies have shown that CBD oil can improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. This can help athletes to recover more quickly after exercise and feel more energized for their next workout.

Finally, CBD oil can help to reduce anxiety, which can be a major barrier to pushing through fatigue during exercise. Studies have shown that CBD oil can reduce anxiety in people with anxiety disorders, and anecdotal evidence suggests that it can help to reduce feelings of anxiety during exercise as well. By reducing anxiety, CBD oil can help athletes to stay focused and motivated during exercise, making it easier to push through feelings of fatigue and discomfort.

Strategies To Deal With Fatigue

In addition to the role of CBD oil, there are other strategies that can help combat fatigue during exercise. One of the most effective is to focus on the task at hand and stay in the present moment. By focusing on your breathing, your form, or your surroundings, you can distract your mind from feelings of fatigue and discomfort.

Another strategy is to break up the exercise into smaller, manageable pieces. This can be particularly helpful during endurance sports, where the goal may be to complete a certain distance or time. By breaking up the task into smaller pieces, you can focus on each segment individually and feel a sense of accomplishment with each completed piece.

Another strategy for combating fatigue during exercise is to use positive self-talk. This involves consciously replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, instead of thinking, “I can’t do this,” try thinking, “I can do this, and I’m getting stronger with every step.” By reframing negative thoughts in a positive light, you can boost your confidence and motivation, which can help you push through feelings of fatigue and discomfort.

Proper nutrition and hydration are also important factors in combating fatigue during exercise. Eating a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats can provide your body with the energy it needs to perform at its best. Staying hydrated is also crucial, as even mild dehydration can lead to feelings of fatigue and reduced performance.

Additionally, getting enough rest and recovery is crucial for combating fatigue during exercise. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and make sure to take rest days or easy recovery days as needed. Overtraining can lead to fatigue and burnout, so it’s important to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs to perform at its best.

Extreme Fatigue Effects

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a real condition and is often misdiagnosed as another underlying health condition. Fatigue, in general, can induce not only leave you feeling tired but it can also display other symptoms such as weight gain, erode the development of healthy red blood cells, and negatively impact the immune system. Excessive sleepiness through fatigue also triggers psychological stress. Fatigue can also be a symptom of thyroid disease in both men and, more often, in women. The sooner you identify the source of your fatigue, the better you can manage its effects.

How I Dealt With Fatigue as a Navy SEAL

As a US Navy SEAL, I faced some of the most grueling physical and mental challenges of any profession. The training and missions of a SEAL require extreme levels of endurance, strength, and mental fortitude. For me, dealing with fatigue and poor sleep was a constant challenge, but one that I was able to overcome through discipline, focus, and the support of my team.

During my time as a SEAL, I learned a number of strategies for combating fatigue during grueling missions and training exercises. One of the most important was to stay focused on the task at hand and not get caught up in feelings of exhaustion or discomfort. By staying present in the moment and focusing on the mission, I was able to push through even the toughest physical challenges.

Another strategy that I used was to break up long missions or training exercises into smaller, more manageable pieces. By focusing on completing each smaller task rather than the entire mission (in BUD/s, we focused on one evolution at a time), I was able to maintain my own energy levels and focus over longer periods of time. This was particularly important during endurance missions, where the goal was to complete a certain distance or objective over a period of many hours or days.

In addition to these strategies, I also used mental techniques to combat fatigue. For example, I would use visualization techniques to imagine myself completing the mission or exercise with ease. By mentally rehearsing success, I could boost the confidence I would overcome my obstacle and overcome feelings of exhaustion, chronic fatigue, or doubt.

I also learned the importance of rest and recovery in combating fatigue. After long missions or training exercises, as part of our return from deployment, the command would prioritize rest and relaxation to allow our bodies and minds to recover. This included getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, and taking downtime to work out or chill. Back then, we didn’t know how meditation or other stress-reducing activities helped combat fatigue. We just toughed it out like anything else.

Overall, my experience as a Navy SEAL taught me the importance of discipline, focus, and mental fortitude in overcoming fatigue during physical exertion. By staying present in the moment, breaking up long tasks into smaller pieces, using mental techniques to boost confidence, and prioritizing rest and recovery, I could push my body and mind to their limits and achieve objectives through endurance and strength.

Summing It Up

Fatigue is a complex interplay between the mind and body. Fatigue is not just a physical event; it is also a mental experience. This means that your mental state can play a big role in how quickly you become fatigued during exercise. If you are feeling anxious, stressed, or distracted, you may find that you become fatigued more quickly than if you are feeling calm and focused.

One way to combat mental fatigue is to practice mindfulness during exercise. Mindfulness involves being fully present and engaged in the current moment without judgment or distraction. By focusing on your breathing, your form, or your surroundings, you can distract your mind from negative thoughts and feelings and stay present in the moment.

Another strategy to combat fatigue is to build up your mental toughness through consistent training. Building mental toughness is achieved by setting achievable goals, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, and focusing on the process rather than the outcome. By setting achievable goals, you can build confidence and motivation as you achieve each milestone. By pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, you can train your brain to overcome fatigue and discomfort. And by focusing on the process rather than the outcome, you can stay present in the moment and enjoy the journey rather than becoming overwhelmed by the challenge ahead.

In addition to these strategies, it’s important to listen to your body and take rest when needed. Overtraining can lead to burnout, injury, and a decrease in performance, so it’s important to give your body time to rest and recover. By incorporating rest days into your training schedule and getting enough sleep, you can ensure that your body and mind are ready for your next workout.

Overall, fatigue is a complex experience that involves both the mind and body. By understanding the role that fatigue plays in your exercise routine and incorporating strategies to combat it, such as mindfulness, mental toughness training, and rest and recovery, you can unlock your full potential and achieve your life, work, and fitness goals.

Embrace the Suck

As a Navy SEAL, I can attest to the fact that “embracing the suck” is a core philosophy that is ingrained in every SEAL candidate from the moment they begin their training. It’s a mentality that is vital for success, not just in the military but in all aspects of our lives while in the service and after. Embracing the suck means accepting and even enjoying the difficulties and challenges that come with any situation and using them as an opportunity to grow and improve. I share my personal experiences with how I’ve embraced the suck, as well as some insights into how this mindset can benefit anyone who chooses to adopt it as part of my 5 SEAL Secrets (there’s a link below to download it for free).

It’s important to understand the origins of the term “embrace the suck.” It’s a phrase that has been used in the SEAL teams for many years and in the whole special operations forces community. I first learned it when I entered my first phase of the SEAL BUD/s training program and the lessons continued through second phase, third phase, and well into my career as a SEAL leader. Looking back, the physical screening test to qualify for BUD/s was the easiest part of my career!

William Branum US Navy SEAL BUDs

William Branum US Navy SEAL BUDs

“Embrace the suck” refers to the idea that when things get tough, the tough never quit – they embrace the difficulty and push through it. In BUD/s, on the grinder at the Naval Special Warfare Center, and throughout our SEAL qualification training, we learn the price of complaining when “the suck” becomes much harder. The instructors correct anyone who complains quickly by increasing the level, difficulty, and consequences of “the suck.” When a candidate starts falling back or showing weakness, physical training becomes increasingly difficult. By the fourth week of training, we enter Hell Week, where we endure the most grueling conditions of our initial training.

William Branum US Navy SEAL Second Phase

William Branum US Navy SEAL Second Phase

In SEAL training, “the suck” refers to the grueling physical and mental challenges that candidates must endure to become SEALs. These challenges include long, punishing swims in frigid water, sleep deprivation, and hours of physical exertion in extreme heat or cold. We are set up to fail every day and in every evolution. I can attest to the fact that it was an essential part of my process. The instructors were experts at pushing us beyond our limits and making us face our fears, both physical and mental. But as challenging as it was, it taught us the value of perseverance, mental toughness, leadership skills, and teamwork. We learned to embrace failure and use it as a stepping stone to success.

I quickly learned the importance of embracing the suck in the early days of training. Not everyone is good at swimming or running, and in BUD/s, you learn if you’re a better swimmer or a better runner. When I found myself struggling to keep up with my teammates, I took that pressure and turned it into power. The long, grueling days left me exhausted and sore, and like everyone in BUD/s at one point or another, I wondered if I had what it took to make it through.

It was during these moments that I began to embrace the challenges and see them as opportunities, or else I’d fail and return to the fleet. For me, that wasn’t an option. One of the most important things I learned during SEAL training was that embracing the suck isn’t just about physical toughness – it’s also about mental resilience. When you’re exhausted, cold, chaffed raw, in pain, and miserable, it’s easy to let negative thoughts creep in and start to bring you down. But if you can learn to control your thoughts and maintain a productive attitude, you can push through even the toughest situations.

William Branum US Navy SEAL Third Phase

William Branum US Navy SEAL Third Phase

Instead of dreading the next evolution or feeling sorry for myself, I started to shift my mindset and look at the challenges as a way to perform better. Our minds have a way of complicating the things we face and creates this overwhelming blockade that we have to tear down, or else we never get anywhere. I started to focus on the most basic actions that required me to forge ahead and eliminate all the shit in my mind that didn’t serve me in the moment. I figured out how to use the pain of all that sucked to motivate me and power my way through and focus on how to win, one evolution at a time. I made the decision not to quit because it wasn’t an option. Ever.

William Branum US Navy SEAL Sniper

William Branum US Navy SEAL Sniper

I remember one particular evolution during training where we were required to carry the heaviest log in BUD/s named Old Misery. It was grueling, and as we were covered in sand from head to toe, we struggled through the evolution. I chose to focus on the moment and the teamwork that we built. My determination to not fail contributed to us managing through the suck. I pushed through the pain and exhaustion with the rest of the men under that log.

Another important aspect of embracing the suck is recognizing that it’s not just about the individual – it’s about the team. In SEAL training, we were constantly reminded that we were only as strong as our weakest link. If one teammate struggled, we all struggled. If you struggled, you were the cause of everyone else’s struggle. We all had to help each other through it because, in BUD/s, you cannot pass the training on your own merit – no man is an island in BUD/s or on the Teams. It doesn’t matter if you graduated from the Naval Academy or Officer Candidate School. Both enlisted personnel and officers experience the same challenges before graduating and becoming a US Navy SEAL.

William Branum US Navy SEAL BUDs Graduation

William Branum US Navy SEAL BUDs Graduation

This mentality not only helped us build our strong bonds of trust and camaraderie, but it also made us more effective as a small unit tactics a team. The Navy SEAL Brotherhood exists because we face the same challenges, and our collective ability to work together and build the most unbreakable relationships are forged not only by embracing the suck together but achieving results together. We are able to push through even the toughest challenges and come out stronger on the other side. The voluntary drop rate is high for a reason (it’s an equitable training environment) because you need to be more than physically qualified to become a SEAL. Eligible applicants also have to demonstrate the mental toughness to sustain their abilities and achieve mission success in the environment we endure.

So how can you apply the Navy SEAL philosophy of embracing the suck to your own life? Whether you’re facing a difficult work project, a challenging workout, or a personal crisis, the key is approaching it with the attitude and willingness to embrace the difficulty. Instead of focusing on the pain and discomfort, see the challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow. If you’re working with a team, make sure you’re supporting each other and working together to overcome the challenge. The toughest challenges often lead to the greatest rewards. By embracing the suck, you’ll not only become a stronger, more resilient person, but you’ll also be able to achieve things you never thought possible.

William Branum US Navy SEAL New York

William Branum US Navy SEAL New York

It was only by facing our weaknesses and overcoming them that we became SEALs. Throughout our careers, we used the same principles in tactical training as we learned in our basic SEAL training to become better and more effective at what we do. The lessons I learned serving in Naval Special Warfare have stayed with me throughout my career and personal life. I believe that the mindset of pushing oneself to the limit and never giving up is a valuable lesson for anyone, regardless of their profession.

If you’d like to learn my 5 SEAL Secrets, click this link