original LinkedIn post

  • When under massive stress or fear, I go back to my Seal Fit training. In March, I completed a Seal Fit training weekend. 43 degrees, 12mph breeze, in mtns of CA, 50+ ice baths, Endless miserable moments.

  • Mark Devine, ex-Navy Seal Commander, prepared us in advance to practice the Big 4 skills of Mental Toughness & Resilience

1. Breath Control

  • At the training they would create painful & chaotic scenerios to trigger us.
  • The natural state of all humans is to react.
  • When we react with fight or flight, we lose situational awareness & put ourselves and our teams at risk.
  • I remember one of the active duty Seals told me, “don’t run to your death.”
  • So, throughout the training… they kept triggering us and teaching us how to instantly think about our breathing as first response.
  • Only when your body is under control, you can lead the team successfully.
  • Breathing is something we can all control.
  • Google Box Breathing and start there.

2. Visualization

  • “The secret weapon of the warrior is not the M-4, but visualization.”
  • Literally visualize your mission/goals every day. Not kinda see it. Like… see every detail. From beginning, to detours, to end.
  • Literally make yourself feel the pain and pleasures. Take your mind and emotionally experience the up’s and downs in advance.
  • It’s like putting together something from IKEA. The second time is so much easier.
  • When you use visualization in leadership, you can see and feel it the first time in your mind.
  • Then, do it. Execute - but execute with absolute certainty because you have lived the success in detail in advance. If you are going to lead, you must lead with a vivid vision of the future.

3. Positive Self Talk

  • Mark calls it, “feed the courage wolf.”
  • My positive mantra, “the harder it is, the better I get.”
  • I use this in tough workouts and tough seasons of life/leadership.
  • During the training, they would tell you why you would quit.
    • Tempt you with warmth.
    • Tempt you with water or food to stop.
    • They would try to get your mind to shift to, “I’ve already done more than most people would.”
  • Tons of people dropped out pretty quickly. I would hear them say some excuse. The excuse started in their head & they believed it. Same happens in leadership when things get tough.
  • Force yourself back into positive self talk. Your team depends on it.

4. Micro Goals

  • Nothing helped me more than this. The harder the situation, the more micro I make goals.
  • When under pressure or pain, if you start thinking, “it’s a long way till this is over..”
  • You must move to MICRO Goals. Like, “run to that stick that’s 10 feet away.”
  • Shorten the runway when under pressure. Help the team build momentum with micro goals.