Month: March 2024

Leading Up: Strategies from a Retired Navy SEAL

As a retired US Navy SEAL, I’ve learned a thing or two about leadership and influencing those above me. One concept I developed over the years is what I call “leading up.” It’s about effectively guiding leaders to make decisions that benefit both the organization and the individuals within it. Let me break it down for you.

Picture this: a leader who doesn’t take ownership, blames others for their shortcomings, and makes decisions without considering the team’s input. Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t uncommon. Many leaders operate in a vacuum, detached from the realities of their organization.

But what if you’re not at the top of the hierarchy? What if you’re in the middle, with influence but not ultimate authority? That’s where leading up comes in. It’s about leveraging your knowledge of the organization and your relationship with leadership to shape policies and decisions in a way that serves everyone’s best interests.

One crucial aspect of leading up is framing your suggestions effectively. Instead of directly challenging the leader’s authority or decisions, present your ideas in a way that makes them feel like it’s their own. For example, if you want to change a policy, highlight how it aligns with the leader’s vision or previous statements. Show them how implementing your suggestion would benefit not only you but also the organization as a whole.

But why should leaders listen to you? It’s simple: because you know the ins and outs of the organization. You understand how policies impact operations, and you have valuable insights that they may lack. By positioning your suggestions as solutions to challenges they might not even be aware of, you become an invaluable asset to them.

I’ve seen this approach work wonders, both in the military and beyond. One memorable example was during a security detail assignment. My commanding officer framed our task as a challenge to our skills and integrity. By making us feel like the best choice for the job, he instilled a sense of responsibility and trust in us. Similarly, when leading up, you can inspire leaders to make decisions that serve your interests by framing them as the logical choice based on their own goals and values.

Leading up isn’t about undermining authority or seeking personal gain. It’s about collaboration and mutual benefit. Whether you’re in a business setting or a personal relationship, the principles remain the same. By approaching leaders with respect and understanding, and by presenting your ideas in a way that resonates with their priorities, you can influence positive change and contribute to the success of your organization.

So next time you find yourself wanting to sway a decision or change a policy, remember the power of leading up. By framing your suggestions effectively and aligning them with the leader’s goals, you can become a trusted advisor and drive meaningful progress. It’s not about who holds the highest rank; it’s about working together to achieve the best outcomes for everyone involved.

Leading the Charge: The Elite Leadership Core of the Colorado Avalanche

As a US Navy SEAL, I’ve had the privilege of being part of some of the most elite teams in the world. So, when I read about the leadership structure within the Colorado Avalanche, it immediately resonated with me. The recent article in The Hockey News paints a picture of a team driven not just by talent, but by a culture of excellence and accountability fostered by its leadership core.

The intensity and work ethic displayed by the Avalanche leaders, as described by Zach Parise and echoed by newcomers like Casey Mittelstadt and Sean Walker, are qualities I recognize from my experiences. It’s clear that the team’s leaders set a high standard, not just through their words but through their actions on and off the ice. Parise’s observation that it’s not just about what they say, but how they carry themselves, speaks volumes about the authenticity of their leadership.

What struck me most was the diverse backgrounds within this leadership group and their range of experiences and skills that complement each other. Head coach Jared Bednar’s acknowledgment of this diversity and his confidence in the group’s ability to cover all aspects of team leadership is commendable. Nathan MacKinnon’s role as the emotional leader, exemplified by his relentless work ethic and commitment to excellence, sets the tone for the entire team.

As a veteran of the league, Parise has seen his fair share of leadership groups, but he describes Colorado’s as unique. The emphasis on high-level performance, even in practice, speaks to a commitment to continuous improvement and a refusal to settle for anything less than the best. This kind of environment, where players are constantly challenged to elevate their game, breeds success.

The continuity of leadership within the Avalanche, even in the absence of key players like Gabriel Landeskog, speaks to the strength of the team’s culture. MacKinnon’s acknowledgment that last year’s shortcomings were a result of various factors but that this year presents a different opportunity underscores the team’s resilience and determination to reclaim the Stanley Cup.

The Colorado Avalanche’s leadership core embodies the principles of excellence, accountability, and diversity in its truest sense. Their unwavering commitment to pushing themselves and their teammates to be the best they can be is a testament to the kind of culture that breeds success. As a Navy SEAL, I can’t help but admire and respect the ethos of this team, and I look forward to seeing them continue to excel on their journey to championship glory.

Harnessing Energy: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Determining Life’s Outcomes

Hey there, folks. If you’ve been following my posts over the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed I’ve been delving into the topic of energy – specifically, masculine and feminine energies. Now, you might be wondering why a retired US Navy SEAL would be talking about something seemingly esoteric. Well, let me tell you, understanding and harnessing energy isn’t just for yogis and spiritual gurus – it’s a crucial aspect of navigating life, and it’s something I learned firsthand during my time in the SEAL teams.

You see, as a SEAL, every mission, every operation, every training evolution depended not just on physical prowess and tactical skills, but also on the collective energy of the team. We had to be finely attuned to each other’s vibes, if you will, in order to perform at our peak and achieve our objectives. But it wasn’t just about the energy within our unit – it was about the energy we projected outward, the energy we brought into every situation.

Energy is everywhere, whether we realize it or not. It’s in the air we breathe, the thoughts we think, the actions we take. And that energy has a profound impact on the outcomes we experience in life. Let me break it down for you.

First, let’s talk about masculine energy – the driving force, the assertive power. This is the energy of action, of decisiveness, of taking charge. As a SEAL, masculine energy was essential on the battlefield. It was about making split-second decisions, leading with confidence, and pushing through obstacles with sheer determination. But masculine energy isn’t just about brute force – it’s about harnessing that inner strength and channeling it towards your goals, whatever they may be.

On the flip side, we have feminine energy – the nurturing, intuitive counterpart to its masculine counterpart. Feminine energy is all about receptivity, adaptability, and flow. In the SEAL teams, we learned the importance of being adaptable to changing circumstances, of listening to our instincts, and of working in harmony with our surroundings. This kind of energy isn’t about being passive – it’s about being receptive to opportunities, open to collaboration, and flexible in our approach.

Now, here’s the thing – life isn’t just about one or the other. It’s about finding the right balance between masculine and feminine energies, both within ourselves and in our interactions with the world around us. Too much masculine energy can lead to burnout, aggression, and tunnel vision. Too much feminine energy, on the other hand, can result in indecision, passivity, and lack of direction. But when we learn to integrate these energies in a harmonious way, that’s when the magic happens.

So how does this all tie into determining the outcomes of our lives? Well, it’s simple – the energy we bring into any situation directly influences the results we achieve. If we approach life with a mindset of scarcity, fear, and negativity, guess what? We’re likely to attract more of the same. But if we come from a place of abundance, courage, and positivity, we set ourselves up for success.

Take it from someone who’s been there, done that – whether you’re on the battlefield or in the boardroom, the energy you emit matters. So take a moment to check in with yourself. What kind of energy are you bringing into your life? Are you leading with confidence and assertiveness when needed, while also staying open and receptive to the opportunities that come your way? Remember, you have the power to determine the outcome of anything in your life – so why not harness that energy and make it work for you?

Until next time, stay strong, stay focused, and keep vibing high.

Embracing Excellence: The Navy SEAL Mindset of Choosing to Be Awesome

As a US Navy SEAL, winning isn’t merely about achieving victory in a specific mission; it’s about embracing a mindset that prioritizes excellence over mediocrity in every aspect of life. It’s about choosing to be awesome rather than settling for the ordinary.

To win with this mindset requires a relentless commitment to personal growth and improvement. It starts with recognizing that greatness is not an accident but a result of intentional effort and dedication. Every day presents an opportunity to push boundaries, challenge limits, and strive for excellence in everything we do.

As a Navy SEAL, this commitment to excellence is ingrained in our training and ethos. We don’t just aim to meet the standard; we exceed it. Whether it’s mastering new skills, honing our physical fitness, or sharpening our mental acuity, we embrace the challenge of constant improvement and refuse to settle for anything less than our best.

But winning with this mindset isn’t just about individual achievement; it’s also about fostering a culture of excellence within our team. We inspire and support each other to reach new heights, pushing beyond our comfort zones and lifting each other up along the way. Through teamwork and collaboration, we amplify our collective potential and achieve outcomes that surpass what any of us could accomplish alone.

Moreover, winning with this mindset requires resilience in the face of adversity. We understand that setbacks and failures are inevitable, but we refuse to let them define us. Instead, we see them as opportunities for growth and learning, using them to fuel our determination and drive to become even better than before.

Ultimately, winning with the mindset of choosing to be awesome over mediocre is about embracing a philosophy of continuous improvement and refusing to settle for anything less than our full potential. It’s about pushing ourselves beyond what we thought possible, inspiring those around us to do the same, and leaving a legacy of excellence that endures long after our missions are complete.

During my time at BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training), this mindset was put to the test in a profound way. Amidst the grueling challenges and intense competitions, there was one boat crew that consistently outshined the rest. It wasn’t because they possessed superhuman strength or unparalleled skill. No, what set them apart was their unwavering commitment to excellence and their refusal to accept anything less than victory.

Witnessing their success was a revelation for me. I realized that winning wasn’t just about physical prowess; it was about mindset. It was about choosing to push beyond perceived limits and embrace the discomfort of growth. Inspired by their example, I made a conscious decision to adopt the same mindset of relentless determination.

From that moment on, everything changed. I approached each training evolution with renewed focus and determination. I pushed myself harder, refused to settle for mediocrity, and embraced the discomfort of pushing beyond my comfort zone.

As a result, my performance improved, and so did that of my team. Together, we became a force to be reckoned with, pushing each other to new heights of excellence and achieving victories that once seemed out of reach.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a challenging event alongside four other SEALs, facing off against a team of five bodybuilders. The competition was intense, pushing us to our limits both physically and mentally. However, fueled by our unwavering commitment to excellence and teamwork, we rose to the occasion and finished strong. It was a testament to the power of the Navy SEAL mindset of choosing to be awesome, and the video captures the spirit of our triumph. Check it out by clicking on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQEcUPeAdFs.

In the end, my journey through BUD/S taught me that winning isn’t just about talent or luck—it’s about mindset. It’s about choosing to be awesome, both individually and as a team, and refusing to settle for anything less than our full potential. And as I continue my journey as a Navy SEAL, I carry that mindset with me, knowing that it’s the key to achieving greatness in every aspect of life.