Lessons from a Navy Seal


Last night we had an ex-Navy Seal and local entrepreneur / investor over for dinner. I’ve known him for a few years now…we’ve had a few lunches to talk business…but this was a chance to get to know each others’ families.

Ironically he never told me he was a Navy Seal. Serendipitously I recently found out through a web search. I was looking for ‘extreme fitness’ (a la Navy Seal training) in Austin and saw his name on a web site. I admired his humility, which underscored his integrity. In contrast, I know many people who constantly name drop and talk about their achievements, connections and background in the first paragraph of meeting them. Which approach, in the long run, do you think earns more respect and admiration?

I asked him which was harder, Seal training or performing missions he did in Vietnam? He said training was a lot harder. Seal training dropout rate is 75%. His BUDS training in San Diego in the late 60’s was nearly the same as it is today. Hell week is grueling, and trainees spend hours sitting in 55 degree water — swimming, diving, and sitting. He said the most memorable lesson from training taught him that his body could do things far beyond he expected.

That reminded me and inspired me that anyone can rise above a challenge and push further than they expected of themself. It also reminded me of my favorite quote, perhaps drilled into me by my father, who teaches people how to overcome their #1 fear (speaking): "Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain" — Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Also, I learned that if a 6′ shark is coming staight at you while doing reconnaissance on a beach in the Phillipines, don’t cut him…grab your knife on the sharp end / sheath and hit him on the nose with your handle. They hate that…they swim off the other way…and it avoids spilling blood that will attract other sharks.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a category for that tip in this blog, but I thought it was cool!

One Response

  1. Strength in Humility

    Sam Decker had this post about a Navy Seal yesterday that reminded me of the importance that humility plays in the integrity we carry in our professional and personal lives. So often in today’s world, we work very hard to

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