We all have limitations. I don't have the right genes to be an Olympic weightlifter. I don't have the right genetics to be an Olympic sprinter. Or gymnast. Sure, if I trained my whole life, perhaps I could have become fairly decent in those sports.
Why do you want to get a good workout early in the morning? Well, because it sends more oxygen to your brain; it releases endorphins. It puts you in a state of mind where you can crush things, which is where you want to be.
What makes you a SEAL, what makes you a SEAL is being a good tactician on the battle field, understanding how to shoot, move, and communicate, knowing small unit maneuver warfare. That's what makes a good SEAL, and so that is the course of instruction that I taught, was getting SEAL platoons ready for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
If I've got a problem with one of my clients that needs to get solved, guess what I'm going to do? I'm going to call them up, and I'm going to say, 'Hey, here's what's going on. This is the situation. This thing went sideways. I didn't expect it. Now it's going to take me some more time to get you what you need.' But I'm going to do that upfront.
One of my direct subordinates, one of my guys that worked for me, he would call me up or pull me aside with some major problem, some issue that was going on. And he'd say, 'Boss, we've got this, and that, and the other thing.' And I'd look at him and I'd say, 'Good.'
If I went back to my 20-year-old self, what I would tell my 20-year-old self is, 'You don't know anything.' Because everyone, when they're young, they think they know what's going on in the world, and you don't.
We named the book 'Extreme Ownership' because we really found that when we looked at not only at leaders but at teams that were the most successful, we found that the ones that had this attitude of extreme ownership were the ones that did the best, and it's definitely an attitude that I had.
SEALs are human beings. We may all have the same haircuts, but we aren't robots. Some SEALs are great people. Some are not great people. Some have done unspeakably terrible things. You're dealing with different people, different dreams, different desires.
Some people, they take their form of working out as a religion that they think is better than everyone else's. I'm not like that. If you have a better way to work out, and you can teach it to me, and I find it to be useful and gets me in better shape, I'm all about.
There are a lot of inaccuracies out there when it comes to the SEAL training process. You will see guys carrying logs around on television. They think that the hardest part about being on a SEAL team is getting through that training. The fact of the matter is, if you have a good attitude, that training is fun. I had a blast.
If you're going to wake up early all the time, and you're working hard, and you're working out, sometimes you're going to get tired. It's OK. It's acceptable - somewhat. We're all human, unfortunately.
Put your leaders in stressful scenarios. Make them figure out solutions under pressure. See if you can make them frustrated, angry, and flustered, and then demand decisive leadership from them. They will be challenged at first, but they will get better over time.
Just as discipline and freedom are opposing forces that must be balanced, leadership requires finding the equilibrium in the dichotomy of many seemingly contradictory qualities between one extreme and another.
Discipline starts every day when the first alarm clock goes off in the morning. I say 'first alarm clock' because I have three, as I was taught by one of the most feared and respected instructors in SEAL training: one electric, one battery powered, one windup.
Just on a practical side, if you wake up early in the morning - like at 4:30 in the morning - you're going to have some free time to yourself to make things happen, to take care of things that are important to you.
One of the best mental disciplines for people to implement is simply putting together a schedule or a task list and actually executing it. Write the list or the schedule the night before, and then do what you said you would do. Life becomes much better when you do that.
I did 20 years in the Navy. I joined the Navy right out of high school and went through Navy boot camp, went to SEAL training, got done with that, and then showed up at a SEAL team, where I did 20 years. That was pretty much my whole adult life.
The temptation to take the easy road is always there. It is as easy as staying in bed in the morning and sleeping in. But discipline is paramount to ultimate success and victory for any leader and any team.
It's not fun to get out of bed early in the morning. When the alarm goes off, it doesn't sing you a song: it hits you in the head with a baseball bat. So how do you respond to that? Do you crawl underneath your covers and hide? Or do you get up, get aggressive, and attack the day?
When I was running training, we would fire a couple of leaders from every SEAL team because they couldn't lead. And 99.9% of the time, it wasn't a question of their ability - it was a question of their ability to listen.