Have you ever felt like making a comparison between entrepreneurship and extreme competitive sports? If so, you’re not the first. My team member Adam Torkildson drew my attention this week to someone he met through his interest in extreme fitness–Mark De Lisle, a former Navy SEAL and current fitness instructor at National Institute of Health and Fitness
It seems fitting that Navy SEAL training would be ideal preparation for business ownership. Everything begins with commitment and attitude for the Navy SEAL Teams. The idea of failure is not an option. In order to fathom this concept they are trained to eliminate the words – “I can’t.” They know their capacity to perform at high levels drops substantially the minute they let doubt enter their minds.
If you have the desire to be a corporate warrior, De Lisle claims, you need to let go of any normal parameters that can restrain an average corporate executive’s way of thinking. His favorite phrase is this: “The only limitations we face in life are the ones we place on ourselves.”
How are Navy SEALS like successful entrepreneurs? It turns out there are plenty of ways. For example, to be successful, you must fully commit and must fully believe in yourself. Ask yourself “What is the objective?” Then visualize it, believe it and achieve it. No excuses allowed.
Motivation comes from within, Mark maintains, and unless you internalize your motivation, you are done. He and other Navy SEALs refer to this internalization as “gut check.” Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve something, he says. The time for gut check is now. How could Navy SEAL-style thinking and training prepare you for your own business success? Here are a few additional thoughts:
Perceived Personal Limitations
The human body has a survival mechanism and it does not like to leave its comfort zone or be surprised. In order to guard against extremes of discomfort, fear and surprise, the body may place doubt as a roadblock to success.
The body will do whatever it takes to keep you in its normal rut. Doubt will come in many forms, ranging from mental games, to limiting physical capacity to prohibiting emotional motivation. Mark has observed that an otherwise perfect specimen of a SEAL candidate will sometimes quit just 30 minutes or even 10 minutes short of an activity’s termination point (or time limit) because the candidate has lost focus on the goal.
The candidate fell short because of an unwillingness to sacrifice the energy and an inability to find the will to go on. He or she was not sure how much more their body or mind could take. They get ten minutes from greatness and from achieving a goal that would stand for the rest of their lives, and they stop.
So if you’re preparing to succeed in business, you must eliminate perceived personal limitations on the spot. Any doubt must be removed from your mind in an instant. Do not let the words “I can’t” enter your vocabulary again.
Make It Happen
Now that you are willing to break down the walls and start from scratch, let’s look at the making of a corporate warrior. From the start of SEAL training to the end, these candidates were empowered to achieve those things that others say are impossible.
Many briefings are closed with the phrase: “Make it Happen.” Instead of saying, ‘I want you to figure out how to do this’ or ‘Do you feel you are ready?’ the SEALs were told, “Make it happen.”
The commanding officer, the boss, does not care how participants accomplish the goal or if they are ready. His confidence in them does not allow him to doubt that a task would be done. It is as simple as “Make it happen.”
To empower yourself, or even better, to empower your team, verbalize those three words every day. It shows that you have no doubt you or your team can get their accomplishment done. It shows you have the confidence that you and the team will get all the way to your goal. Force your team members to get out of their comfort zones, to be creative, and find new ways to accomplish their tasks.
Forbes Aug 2013