What being a Navy SEAL taught me about excellence

“Mr. Webb’s points in this article are spot on. His focus on excellence in the family domain is especially meaningful to us. We believe the same; excellence is key and a resilient family is better able to produce excellence in all they do” — SEAL-NSW Family Foundation

Business Insider
by BRANDON WEBB

Brandon Webb

Former Navy SEAL and current CEO of Force12 Media, Brandon Webb

I was recently interviewed for the Harvard Business Review about my management experience as a Naval Special Warfare (NSW) sniper course manager.

The interviewer asked me if I had advice for organizations that wanted to train to “good enough.”

I explained that this was a question I wasn’t willing to answer; it’s just not in my DNA to go there I explained.

As a Navy SEAL, and sniper, one of the things I learned was that excellence matters. It matters whether you’re on a SEAL Team, business team, family team, or part of your country, your church softball team or your Tuesday night bowling league.

Excellence matters in everything we do.

Your commitment to excellence (or lack thereof) defines who you are as an individual. It dictates how you perform when everyone is looking. It also is the standard you set for yourself when no one is looking; it’s just how you do things.

One might call it pride in what you do.

brandon webbCourtesy of Brandon Webb

Here’s the other thing about excellence: it’s contagious. The drive for excellence not only motivates you, but it motivates those around you. Great players want to be on great teams. That’s why one of the hallmarks of the great leaders is their own individual passion for – and commitment to – excellence.

So how does one go about achieving excellence? Here are five things I learned from my time at a Navy SEAL that are key characteristics of excellence.

1. Train and train harder than you expect to have to perform

brandon webbCourtesy of Brandon Webb

Great performers – in sports, the arts, business or whatever field — have undertaken massive amounts of training. And when that training is complete…… they train some more, and harder than they expect to perform. Why? Training builds confidence and ensures peak performance.

I’ll let you in on another secret. If you’re having an off day, don’t train, it can be destructive and reinforce bad habits. This applies to groups, teams as well, and to any type of training environment.

2. Focus on the positive. Envision success. Believe winning and success is inevitable

Champions of all sorts expect to succeed under any conditions (see adaptability below). When I started telling my sniper students I mentored that it was ok — and that I expected them — to score perfect on their shooting tests (80% is passing) they started shooting perfect scores.

3. Great leaders are secure in themselves

brandon webb navy sealsCourtesy of Brandon Webb

They know great ideas – winning ideas – can come from anyone and anywhere. They don’t let rank or seniority dictate who has the best solution to a given problem. Leaders aren’t afraid to surround themselves with people smarter then themselves, or admit they don’t understand or know something.

As a digital media CEO I see so many people in my industry afraid to ask technical questions. Saying “I don’t understand, please explain” is powerful.

And remember that the intern making the coffee may be in a position to see an answer to a question that the person sitting in the corner office hasn’t thought about. Great leaders know this and are open to input from up and down the chain of command.

4. Start thinking about adversity and competition as chances to challenge yourself

… or your organization and to learn. World records aren’t broken in practice, and competitive environments and adversity are the birthplace of champions. Great leaders know that adversity produces the greatest opportunities in life.

5. Excellence comes at a price

brandon webb navy seal sniperCourtesy of Brandon Webb

A famous friend of mine and I recently had a conversation about the cost of excellence and success.

He is one of the most successful actors on television, and I was surprised to hear that we had similar experiences with success.

It became clear to me that success comes at a price, regardless of whether you’re a Navy SEAL, student, or business professional.

There are always going to be a group of people who are insecure with themselves, and who will attempt to bring you down. I call them “Ankle Biters” and “Dream Stealers.”

Watch out for them because they are quick to push their own insecurities, envy, and negative energy on you.

Brandon Webb is a former US Navy SEAL with combat deployments to southwest Asia, including Iraq, and Afghanistan. He was a Course Manager for the US Navy SEAL Sniper program, arguably the most difficult sniper course in the world. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He is the author of Among Heroes, The Red Circle, The Making of a Navy SEAL, The ISIS Solution, and Navy SEAL Sniper.

Read more:  http://www.businessinsider.com/what-being-a-navy-seal-taught-me-about-excellence-2015-6#ixzz3dSPIoBSt

KimWhat being a Navy SEAL taught me about excellence
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Seen At 11: Researchers Say They’ve Cracked The Code To Being Happy

This article highlights for us another reason for creating resiliency in our families. We think resilient families make for better operators. This article correlates one’s happiness with being resilient. Another compelling reason for creating individual and family readiness. Thought you’d appreciate it!

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Are you happy? Do you know how to be happy?

After decades of studying and working with tens of thousands of patients, researchers at the Mayo Clinic say they’ve cracked the code to being happy.

The Mayo Clinic is one of the most prestigious health organizations in the world with as many as 8,000 ongoing studies exploring every imaginable condition — including unhappiness.

Lionel Ketchian is approaching a major milestone.

He will soon celebrate the 25th anniversary of a very important date — Dec. 24, 1990, at around 5 p.m.

It’s not his birthday — or his wedding anniversary. It’s the exact moment Ketchian said he realized he was happy.

“I found it. I felt it. didn’t want to let go of it,” Ketchian said.

Who doesn’t want to get — and stay happy?

Psychiatrist John Tamerin says for many people the root of everything we’re chasing, a better job, more money or true love, is happiness.

But this endless pursuit often backfires.

“If you lead your life always waiting for a great thing to happen, you probably will be unhappy,” Tamerin said.

Now, after decades of research and a dozen clinical trials, researchers at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, say they’ve actually cracked the code to being happy, and published it in a handbook.

Dr. Amit Sood led the research and says the first and foremost way to be happy is to focus our attention.

“You can choose to live focusing on what is not right in your life,” Dr. Sood said.

Experts say the human mind is instinctively restless, wandering from good thoughts to sad thoughts, scary thoughts and everything in between.

But if we learn to command our thoughts, shifting perspective away from the negative, and embrace the positive, we will be happier, experts say.

“Resiliency has everything to do with happiness,” Dr. Sood said.

The Mayo Clinic’s research also shows the degree of happiness people enjoy has to do with how resilient they are to life’s many curve balls. Happy people are very good at compartmentalizing and creating boundaries.

“So for example, if you’ve had a difficult day, when you get back home, for the first three minutes, forget about it, park it, and meet your family as if they’re long lost friends,” Dr. Sood added.

And perhaps one of the biggest hindrances to being happy is too much thinking about one’s self, research shows.

“Complainers are never going to be happy,” Ketchian said. “Happiness is a decision.”

So why did the Mayo Clinic decide to study happiness? Studies show happier people are healthier people.

KimSeen At 11: Researchers Say They’ve Cracked The Code To Being Happy
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34 Things Military Spouses Wish They Knew Sooner

MILITARY SPOUSE TEAM, MILITARY SPOUSE JUNE 9, 2015

military spouse tips MILSpouse

Photo: US Army

No matter how familiar you are with the military culture, no matter how prepared you think you are to embrace it, when you say “I do” to someone who wears combat boots to work every day, there are things you will learn that may never have occurred to you. Some of us pick up on those things quickly, and some of us are still (after decades of this life) figuring things out on a daily basis. We asked a group of our incredible Military Spouse contributors to share some of the things they really wish they had known early on. We want to know, what would you add to this list?

Contributors: Stacy Huisman, MJ Boice, Erin Whitehead, Cassandra Bratcher, Morgan Slade, Kama Shockey, Ashley Frisch, Kate Dolack, Kiera Durfee, Davelda Edgington, Michelle Aikman

  1. I wish I had known to give up on planning as soon as possible. The sooner you give in to having no set plan, the easier everything becomes.
  2. Honestly, I wish I understood what a valuable resource military spouses can be – instead of being afraid.
  3. I wish I had taken all those classes specifically for spouses a lot sooner.
  4. I wish I had known it was okay to ask questions sooner. And who would have the answers! (Hint: It is not usually the service member)
  5. I wish I had known to accept that my husband doesn’t and never will have a set schedule, so I can’t really plan much ahead of time.
  6. I wish I knew how unbreakable military spouse bonds could be.
  7. I wish I had immersed myself in our community sooner. I thought being a National Guard spouse meant being a loner in the military realm, but have come to find that there is a great deal of support and camaraderie.
  8. I wish I had realized that rank shouldn’t be a factor in friendships. We are all in the same boat and anyone who ever tells you they can’t be your friend due to rank isn’t a person you want to associate with anyway.
  9. I wish I had known that it is okay to have a life outside of the military and your military spouse friends.
  10. I wish I had become more involved in the local community, outside of the base, sooner.
  11. I wish I had worried less what others might think of me. If I want to wear a hundred shirts proudly displaying my spouses branch of service…then I will!
  12. I wish I had been more of a tourist at every duty station. There are so many local things I wish I had experienced in every place we lived over the years.
  13. I wish someone had explained what “hurry up and wait” really meant.
  14. I wish I knew that you CAN have a successful career you can take with you everywhere.
  15. I wish I knew we truly are like a family. We have our issues in this community, but when someone tries to attack one of us, we rise up and come to their defense…even we don’t personally know him or her.
  16. I wish that I had known that even though the mission comes first, I don’t always come last. (Understanding THAT little nugget might have diffused an argument or two over time.)
  17. I wish I knew that you can be eligible for unemployment when you lose your job due to transfer!
  18. I wish I knew not to buy expensive furniture in the first year of marriage – only to anxiously watch it moved six times in ten years. Needless to say my stuff is gently bruised, but the upside is discovering the world of IKEA!
  19. I wish I knew I didn’t always have to have a stiff upper lip.
  20. Actually, I didn’t know anything coming into this life and I am kind of glad that was the case! It allowed me to experience baptism by fire and I’m not sure I would have as much faith in myself as I do now if I hadn’t experienced it that way.
  21. I wish I had known to ALWAYS purchase refundable/transferable/changeable tickets, lodging, etc.
  22. I wish I had known how hard it can be to find a career again. I wouldn’t have worried so much and would have enjoyed the new experiences much more…instead of being on a constant job hunt.
  23. I wish I had started planning for retirement years before it is recommended your family does so.
  24. I wish I had taken the time to laugh more, and curse less, when Murphy came to visit. Again.
  25. I wish I had known from the beginning that our collective voices can move mountains and create significant change!
  26. I wish I had known moving overseas is not only harder, but exponentially so. And more complicated. And more expensive.
  27. I wish I had known that reintegration was going to be harder than the deployment itself.~I wish I had known that it was okay to ask for help…that it is not a sign of weakness.
  28. I wish I had known how fast it would go by!
  29. I wish I hadn’t felt the need to spout off my resume to every spouse I met when I first married into military life. It was a sign of insecurity, walking away from my career. Little did I know many other spouses had similar feelings.
  30. I wish I had given my friends who did not understand military life a little more of a break. I now know that you simply can’t understand if you haven’t lived it.
  31. I wish I had learned the signs of PTSD and Combat/Operational Stress sooner…and knew how to help my spouse get the help they deserve.
  32. I wish I knew how strong I would become.
  33. I wish I knew that my definition of “home” and “family” would change over time.
  34. I wish I knew that this life is like a roller coaster. We put on that harness and hang on for the ride, even if we beg for them to stop it sometimes, we barrel along a single track with no control over many parts. We may hit some walls hat are slow to come, then we barrel down. Others are abrupt, we feel our stomachs drop out at the low parts but we also get to throw our hands up in the air! We enjoy the thrill with the other riders then embrace each other when it’s over and say, “that was a wild ride, I would do it again with you guys any time.”

Kim34 Things Military Spouses Wish They Knew Sooner
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Wall Street Journal — Karl Rove — After 20 Years, a SEAL Deploys to Civilian Life

After 20 Years, a SEAL Deploys to Civilian Life

Sent into combat zones 11 times, Brian O’Rourke now will be battling for veterans’ well-being.

The dedication ceremony for the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda in 2010.ENLARGE
The dedication ceremony for the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda in 2010.
PHOTO: SARAH L. VOISIN/THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

A week that Americans started by remembering those who gave all in our country’s service is a fitting time for Special Operations Chief Brian O’Rourke to retire from the Navy. He has been a SEAL for two decades, the last nine years with the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group—“DevGru,” commonly called SEAL Team Six.

It has been a remarkable journey for Mr. O’Rourke, who entered the Naval Academy in 1990, bent on becoming a SEAL. Counselors suggested he switch to a less demanding major than physics, but Mr. O’Rourke has the constructive stubbornness that often defines SEALs.

Dismissed at the start of his junior year because his GPA was too low, he enlisted in 1995 and passed that most strenuous of military tests—Basic Underwater Demolition or “Buds.” Only a fraction of applicants are able to complete it. Brian joined SEAL Team Two in 1997, then SEAL Team Four before being sent to DevGru in 2004.

SEALs are men of enormous tenacity, skill and character. What is average for them strikes the rest of us as extraordinary and helps explain why each squadron becomes a band of warrior brothers.

Still, stateside there’s ordinary life, with wives, families and mundane responsibilities. Brian ended up with a family because he needed a mortgage. The Wells Fargo specialist who worked up his loan package, Tammy Ann Reese, was impressed, but not overly. It took a while before she agreed to a date on St. Patrick’s Day 2003. Two weeks later, Brian left on a six-month deployment. They were married in 2006.

As with their husbands, what passes for average among SEAL wives is pretty amazing. Tammy is not only a mother of two and sole head of household for the 200 days a year that Brian is in combat or training, she’s also the founder and owner of a martial arts gym.

After being deployed 11 times to combat zones, often for six months at a time, there came a moment when the loss of comrades and his family’s needs caused Brian to reconsider what he was asking of his wife and children. That moment occurred when Tammy said she worried that their then 2-year-old son might grow up never knowing how much his father loved him.

Brian had been hit hard by the death of fellow special operators, including Chief Adam Brown in Afghanistan in March 2010. Brown was a man among men and beloved in the SEAL community. Then in August 2011, most of the men in Brown’s unit were killed when their Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. Thirty American Special Operations, Army Reserve and National Guard personnel and a U.S. military dog died in the crash.

For the past four years, Brian has been in R&D, testing new weapons and equipment and helping with their timely acquisition. Now he and Tammy have decided that 20 years as a SEAL is a good stopping point.

His service came at hidden costs. After 2010, Tammy realized he was having sleep issues and experiencing mood swings. He brushed it off, as SEALs tend to dismiss all hints of weakness.

But Tammy persisted and convinced Brian to be examined at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence. Mandated by Congress in 2007, the center studies the effects of combat on the brain and mental health of soldiers, and helps returning warriors identify, manage and treat the aftermath of war. Brian was a “breacher,” a SEAL who blows open doors. MRIs detected lesions on his brain, echoes of the tremendous explosions he set off.

The center’s treatment facility in Bethesda, Md., was made possible because of $65 million in private gifts, raised primarily by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, led by its honorary chairman, Arnold Fisher, and assisted by its chairman, Richard T. Santulli, who launched NetJets.

It is hard for warriors to ask for help for invisible wounds. So it was for Brian. But having seen how much better his life is because of the National Intrepid Center, Brian and Tammy want to help other warriors receive this invaluable help. The care givers and healers are there: It will be the O’Rourkes’ mission to encourage combat veterans to accept their aid to become whole and well again.

Brian and Tammy O’Rourke’s continuing service is in the spirit of John Adams’ observation that “our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.” They inspire all who have the honor of knowing them. God bless them and all who have served like them.

Mr. Rove, a former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, helped organize the political-action committee American Crossroads.

KimWall Street Journal — Karl Rove — After 20 Years, a SEAL Deploys to Civilian Life
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Canyon News — Navy SEALs Celebration Aboard The USS Iowa

by Christopher Floch – May 22, 2015
Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin talks to a member of crowd about the drought in California. Photo by Michael C. Floch

SAN PEDRO—Aboard the iconic USS IOWA Battleship on Saturday, May 16, Navy Seals wowed the crowd with a flaming parachute demonstration, while holding Old Glory landing on target at San Pedro Harbor. The event was dedicated to honor the Naval and Special Warfare community with a dinner gala and fundraiser.

This included a silent auction and dinner with dignitaries and celebrities including Sarah Palin, Jim Brown, Sharon Stone and Gene Simmons just to name a few. They came out for a beautiful evening of entertainment which included a rousing performance by “American Idol” star Elliot Yamin. There was 5″ and 16″ gun salute, an Los Angeles Fire Department fireboat demonstration, and a breath taking flyover by the Condor Squadron.

The NSWFF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for special programs in direct support of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) families on a local, national and global scale. Founded in 2008, to support individual and family readiness through an array of programs specifically targeted to assist the Naval Special Warfare community in maintaining a resilient, sustainable and healthy force in this era of persistent conflict and frequent deployments.

Their motto is: “Taking care of their families while they protect OURS”

Northern Trust, a Pasadena institution is a Trident sponsor. Peter Heilbron told the Star News, “one of our clients recommended this worthy cause; we felt compelled to offer help and sponsor the NSW”. There is also a Navy recruiting center in Pasadena on Colorado Boulevard.

“It’s an honor to be here to help raise money for families of Navy SEALS and do whatever we can to show we appreciate this great country and those who have sacrificed so much for us,” said former Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin. Committee Co-Chair Brent Gleeson, Navy Seal Combat Veteran, invited the Palins to this worthy cause.

“Brent e-mailed us about the NSW and all of the amazing work they do to support the NAVY SEALS and their families, we jumped at the invitation,” said Palin.

The National Anthem was performed by KISS frontman Gene Simmons. The Nation’s Colors presented by the United States Marines from the 3rd Air Naval Gunfire Company.

The Keynote speaker, four-star General Michael Hayden served as head of the Central Intelligence Agency, also former Director of the National Security Agency. As head of the keystone intelligence-gathering agencies, he was on the frontline of geopolitical strife and the war on terrorism. Hayden became director of the CIA in 2006.

The USS IOWA was first deployed to the South Pacific during World War II, serving with distinction, and later in the Korean War. Forged in war, guardian of peace the proud ship keeps watch as the stately sentinel of the Los Angeles Waterfront.

To cap the evening was a magnificent firework display that illuminated the entire harbor. To learn more about the foundation, to donate or volunteer service, please visit sealfamilyfoundation.org.

KimCanyon News — Navy SEALs Celebration Aboard The USS Iowa
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