#041: The Attributes – Navy SEAL Rich Diviney

Thursday January 06, 2022

How do we define the term “best performance?” Is it elite? Is it peak? Is it simply human? For our first episode of 2022, host Fran Racioppi starts 2022 with a conversation on first defining “optimal performance” and second on understanding the core fundamentals that make up our character and our personality…The Attributes.

Fran is joined by Rich Diviney; a former Navy SEAL who revolutionized the way Navy SEALS are assessed and selected for our nation’s premier counter-terrorism forces. He has taught leadership and the concept of optimal performance to thousands of businesses, and recently launched his new book called The Attributes.

2020 and 2021 tested many of our attributes. We may not have even realized it. We don’t know what 2022 will bring, but we know that any success starts with our ability to understand ourselves.

Listen to the podcast here:

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About Rich Diviney

Rich Diviney is a retired Navy SEAL commander. In a career spanning more than twenty years, he completed more than thirteen overseas deployments—eleven of which were to Iraq and Afghanistan. As the officer in charge of training for a specialized command, Rich spearheaded the creation of a directorate that fused physical, mental, and emotional disciplines. He led his small team to create the first-ever “Mind Gym,” which helped special operators train their brains to perform faster, longer, and better in all environments—especially high-stress ones.

Since his retirement in early 2017, Diviney has worked as a speaker, facilitator, and consultant with the Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute and Simon Sinek Inc. He’s taught leadership and optimal performance to more than five thousand business, athletic, and military leaders from organizations such as American Airlines, Meijer Inc., the San Francisco 49ers, Pegasystems, Zoom, and Deloitte.


The Attributes – Navy SEAL Rich Diviney

As our list of New Year’s resolutions gets longer, it’s our attributes that will determine our ability to see them through it. We all strive to perform at our best. Day in and day out, we seek ways to improve ourselves, our teams and organizations but how do we define the term best performance? Is it elite? Is it peach? Is it simply human? For our first episode of 2022, I thought we’d started the year with a conversation on first, defining our best. Second, on understanding the core fundamentals that make up our character and personality, the attributes.

Rich Diviney defines our best performance as optimal performance. The best we can do at any specific time is based on the environment and circumstances in and around us. Rich is a former Navy SEAL who revolutionized the way Navy SEALs are assessed and selected for our nation’s premier counter-terrorism forces. He’s taught leadership and the concept of optimal performance to thousands of businesses and launched his new book called The Attributes.

[bctt tweet=”Generate habits around how to modulate your energy at the perfect moment so you can peak on demand. ” username=”talentwargroup”]

Rich joins me to ring in the New Year and break down the 25 attributes he believes are critical to assessing ourselves and our people. We define the difference between skills and attributes and attributes and character traits. We break down and separate the attributes into logical categories, including grit, mental acuity, drive, leadership, team ability and a special category called the others in which demonstrating negative tendencies of these attributes may at times be a good thing. We also talk about the importance of understanding over judgment. Rich provides his STAR process for taking action. 2020 and 2021 tested many of our attributes. We may not have even realized it. We don’t know what 2022 will bring but I know that any success starts with our ability to first understand ourselves.

Rich, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Fran. It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.

This is our first episode of 2022. We’re going to kick off the New Year. It was super important to me to have this conversation with you. Before we started, we were talking about how long it took to get in here and do this together. I said, “It was intentional. I wanted to start 2022 with you because it’s about how do we prepare ourselves in the New Year to be mentally and emotionally stronger and better.”

Rich Diviney is a retired Navy SEAL, Author and Speaker on optimal performance.

We embarked on this journey of the show in 2021, where we spoke about elite performance, human performance, how do we improve our individuals, teams and organizations but words matter. I say that all the time and you say that because I read your book. What I’m realizing is how much words matter truly in this definition and discussion about performance and we’re going to get into that. We’re going to define performance, talk about the 25 attributes that you’ve written about and the optimal performance and character traits.

You said, “If you want to understand human performance, yours and others, the first step is to understand the attributes.” That was honestly something that I hadn’t thought a whole lot about because we got sucked in this character and the traits but we ended 2021 talking about physical fitness, physical strength and how you prepare yourself going into the new year. We kick it off on emotional and mental strength. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule. We’re going to dig in here and there is a lot to get to.

I’m excited to do it. Let’s jump in.

First, we got to define some terms. It’s almost a little bit like going down the glossary like you go to the back of the book and say, “Give me the glossary terms. We’ll contextualize this a little bit.” I want to start by defining traits and attributes because you said attributes should not be confused with personality traits. “A personality is built from patterns of behavior that emerge over an extended time.”

“It’s an outward expression of all the things that make you you. Your skills, habits, emotions, perspectives and attributes all blended. A multitude of factors influences your personality from genetics to upbringing to environment. Attributes are one of those elemental ingredients.” Can you define traits and attributes and get into the difference between the two? I don’t think everybody truly understands that.

[bctt tweet=”Every niche has its own unique set of attributes required to fill that niche.” username=”talentwargroup”]

It’s something I had to think about while writing personality traits. Someone’s overarching personality can be described as who we are on any given day. As you quoted, it’s a combination of experiences, beliefs that we’ve developed over time, values, attributes and some of the skills we bring to the table. It’s all those things that make up who we are on an everyday basis. I am someone who believes and it’s maybe because of my background that there are two versions of us. There’s who we are on any given day on normal days. There’s who we are when everything goes to hell. You’re steeped in challenge, uncertainty and stress.

It’s often been said for centuries that the real us shows up during those latter times. I’m like, “Who’s the real us? How do we start to dissect and deconstruct who the real us is?” That’s when I started getting to these elemental attributes. Those attributes are those qualities that shape our behavior at very elemental raw levels. Things like patience and adaptability, we all know in real challenging and tough situations. If you are inherently impatient, you’re going to be impatient during those situations.

If you were inherently patient, you’re going to default to these things. I was interested in these defaults. It comes from the whole SEAL background. I often joke in SEAL training. I’m sure your audience is familiar with SEAL training but it’s some of the toughest training out there. You spend hundreds of hours running around with big, heavy boats in your head, with 300-pounds telephone poles, exercising with those things and freezing the surf zone.

I had thought back to my time in the military. I have done hundreds of combat missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places. Never on one did I carry a boat on my head or a telephone pole on my shoulders. Training is a misnomer. They weren’t training us in those things and skills to be a Navy SEAL. They weren’t training us that those moments to be shooters or skydivers, scuba divers. They were putting us into situations and environments so they could tease out these qualities to see if we had what it took, to see who we were and who we are if we had what it took to be Navy SEALs to do the job. The training came later. There’s a distinction between those skills that they train us to do and those attributes as raw things that drive our behavior. Personality encompasses a lot of that but largely, it can be deficient in describing the raw us.

What they’re trying to test is also they’re trying to identify performance. I want to define performance in the various elements of a performance. It was the same for A as a Green Beret. They were going through assessment and selection. They’re putting you in these environments where you’re mentally stressed because there’s a problem to solve but then they’re adding this physical component. It’s a situation in which, almost at times is designed to fail because if you fail in it then it’s going to test your resiliency and adaptiveness. You’re going to stand up and say, “I got it. How do we get back on track,” or you’re going to crumble.

In the definition of performance, we’ve already thrown a few out here in this conversation. We’ve said elite performance, human performance, optimal performance and peak performance. You focus the book The Attributes on optimal performance, the ability to do the best you can in any environment. Can you talk about the difference in these definitions of performance? Why is optimal performance the one that you have chosen when you write about and talk about the attributes?

TJP 41 | The Attributes

The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance

Performance defined is the ability to do something. That’s a very elemental definition. When we talk about special operations whether it be Green Berets, SEALs or MARSOC, whatever they are, people outside of those organizations, civilians and otherwise, have this mythos around this idea that these guys are top shooters, top scuba divers and top skydive. They’re these people who go out, kick doors, take precision sniper shots and do cool inserts with parachutes. That’s not what we were. I always talked about the fact that we were, in fact, masters of uncertainty. Our job was to be dropped into VUCA environments, Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. We’re able to figure it out. We figured out through thinking through stress.

Performance in my definition and the definition of the communities that we were involved in is the ability to operate and think through stress and challenge. When we talk about what that looks like, especially during stress and challenge, oftentimes, it does not look like a peak. There’s this big thing out in the world. It stems from a lot of athletic endeavors whether it be athletic events, races or things like that. Folks are trying to push themselves physically. They want to be peak performers this, peak performers that but peak we have to understand is an apex. That’s what it is. A peak is an apex.

There’s only one place to go when you’re at the apex and that’s down. At the apex, you are at the highest point, which means the only place to go from that point is down. Peak performance has to be usually scheduled, planned and prioritized. The professional football player plans his entire week and conducts his entire week so that he may peak for three hours on Sunday. That’s the job.

Spec Ops guys don’t have that luxury. We have to be prepared to peak on demand and do what we need to do. The optimal performance says, “It’s about doing the best you can at the moment whatever the best looks like at the moment,” which means it could look like a peak but it also could look like, “I’m head down, nagging it out going step-by-step.” It’s painful, ugly, gritty and slow. That is also performing optimally. Optimal performance is more descriptive of not only special operations but life in general. I don’t need to be at peak while I’m driving to the grocery store.

By defining performance, by saying optimal, instead of a peak, what it allows us to do is two things. First, it allows us to celebrate and reward ourselves for both polarities. Certainly, “Great. That was cool. It was flow states. Everything was clicking.” Also, there are times when we were nudging it out and it’s going step by step. It’s tough, painful and gritty. Pat ourselves on the back because we’re performing optimally.

The other important thing is it allows us to modulate our energy in very responsible, healthy ways. I don’t need to be a peak grounded driving roaster. I can be off the gas or recovering. I don’t know if you’ve had these experiences but there were several times where I’d be in a helicopter, flying into a combat zone with my guys, getting ready to be dropped and inserted into a combat zone. The guys around me were asleep, napping, looking or listening to music. Civilians, because of the mythology, think that we’re like, “Hi-five. Let’s do this.” We don’t do that because it’s wasting too much energy.

We all understood inherently that we needed to preserve ourselves because we don’t know how long it’s going to be, how long we’re going to have to be out there and when we’re going to have to peak when we get to rest. We are always modulating our energy so that we can perform optimally. When I’m riding in a helicopter on the way into a mission, I don’t need to be performing at my peak. I should be resting and conserving. We begin to generate habits around how to modulate our energy at the perfect moment, time and level so that we can peak on demand and recover when necessary.

In the Army, they called it, “Smoke them if you’d got them.” That’s what they would say. If you could sleep, sleep. If you could eat, eat. Let’s talk about skills versus attributes. You said skills are learned, attributes we’re born with. How do you differentiate the two skills versus attributes?

There are a few distinctions. Skills are not inherent to our nature. None of us are born with the ability to ride a bike, drive a car or in the military case, shoot a gun. We’re trained and taught to do those things. Skills direct our behavior in known situations. Here’s how and when to ride a bike, drive a car or shoot a gun. They’re visible and didactic so they’re very easy to see, measure and assess.

You can put scores and stats around them. You can see how well anybody does any skill. In the business sense, you could put them on a resume. They’re very visible and seductive, especially when you’re putting together a team or you’re trying to assess performance. It’s why people usually default to skills when they think about top performers. They think about skills.

They have all these skills and these certifications hire them immediately.

[bctt tweet=”Self-efficacy, discipline, open-mindedness, cunning, and narcissism are five attributes that make up a driven person. ” username=”talentwargroup”]

What they don’t tell us is all the intangibles and periphery. They don’t tell us how we’re going to operate in uncertainty, challenge and stress. How are we going to think through situations? This is when we lean on our attributes. Attributes are more elemental. They’re inherent. We’re all born with levels of adaptability, patience, discipline and situational awareness. You can certainly develop them over time experience but you can see levels of this stuff in small children. They’re already there, to begin with. They also don’t direct our behavior. They inform our behavior.

My son’s levels of perseverance and resilience informed the way he showed up when he was learning the skill of riding a bike and he was falling off a dozen times doing so because they inform how we’re going to show up. They’re hidden in the background so they’re hard to see and therefore, hard to measure and assess. You see them the most visibly and viscerally during times of challenge and uncertainty. Skills can’t be applied. This is why the training you and I went through is so powerful because nothing about that had to do with applying skills to anything. It threw them in these situations to see what happens.

Talent overall is not skills-based. It’s a dynamic dance between skills and attributes. Tom Brady and Drew Brees in sports is one of these environments where they’re very skills heavy because it’s conditioned, rules-based and certain in many ways. What makes up a Drew Brees and a Tom Brady is not because they’re only skilled. There are people out there who can throw the football just as far as Tom Brady and Drew Brees can throw the football. What makes them who they are is because they have attributes that are also attached.

They have the situation awareness to read things. They have the patience to look, the discipline and mental acuity. All these attributes are to come to the fore so the best talent out there is a dance in synchronization between skills and attributes. Ultimately, if we want to measure performance and build high-performing teams that operate, not only when things are going great but also when things are going bad, we have to look at attributes. Not only skills.

I want to talk about you before we dig into the attributes because I’ll say this and you’ll laugh. I know you will. You weren’t only a Navy SEAL. I joke with the Navy SEALs all the time because, with Navy SEALs, everyone knows who they are. What’s the joke? They told you they were a Navy SEAL versus the Green Berets who sit here saying, “We’re fighting in the background as the quiet professionals.” In all seriousness, you ran assessment and selection for one of our nation’s most elite units. This is an organization without being properly full about it.

It comes to you to set the conditions for our nation’s national security because the focus always gets put on the operator who’s out there on the front line. The guy making the news, the guy who shot bin Laden but somebody had to assess him, select him and say, “This person demonstrates the attributes, the character. Everything we’re looking for in a person who one day might be in a situation where they’re going to have to decide that I’m going to shoot Osama bin Laden or not.”

That is where the greatness of our country and organization is made. It’s in the person who has to make that choice about someone else. Much credit to you for filling that role and doing such a phenomenal job for so many years as you were there but this is not an easy job. Evaluation is not necessarily about selecting people who know how to do the job but those who could do the job. Can you make the distinction between how and could? This applies to any organization, not only the military but as you’re building teams in the private sector, your company, small and large business. It’s the same evaluation criteria.

To put it as simply as possible, how is the skills and could is the attributes. How-to, these are the things I need to know to do this job whether it’d be shooting a gun on the Steelcase, typing or selling something. The how-to is the skills that are required to do that. The could are those attributes that allow you to operate in that environment. Given the Tom Brady and Drew Brees, there are people out there who know how to throw a ball as well as group Drew Brees and Tom Brady.

Could they, however, stand in a lineup there during a Superbowl with 350-pound linebackers sprinting at full speed towards them, have the wherewithal to think through what they’re seeing and get the ball precision only placed at a target to execute? That is the could. That takes attributes. What we discovered in the training that I was running was at this particular commander, we were taking some of the highest-ranked and highest skilled SEALs to come to our organization and then put them through our selection process.

They are already SEALs. That’s the thing right there. They’re already at the top.

Rich served in the most elite Navy SEAL unit.

The minimum time requirement is you had to have been an active SEAL for at least 5 to 6 years before you could even apply. I was at the nine-year mark when I applied. These are experienced guys. Most of them have already been through combat. They’re coming to us to go through our selection and we’re getting a 50% attrition rate.

That’s okay because any assessment selection is designed to attract. That’s why you have it. What wasn’t okay is we didn’t know how to articulate why effectively. Why guys at these top levels were making it and why guys weren’t making it? One of the question periods that hit me was when I was going through the training and going through the selection assessment myself to be a part of that command. I remember I was going through with several of my friends.

One of my best friends is an officer and in my opinion, one of the best officers in the Navy. Let alone the SEAL team. This guy was and still is because he’s still a phenomenal officer, hands down. I remember he did not make it and I did. I said to myself, “How am I still here and this guy’s not?” It had to be more than what we’re seeing.

Fast forward a few years after I’d served in the command and was asked to run the assessment and training, no one could effectively articulate still what was going on. I set about to try to figure it out. That’s when I started to say, “This is not about those things we see. This is about those things that we’re not seeing.” They’re on the part of these attributes. What we need to do is start to look at it and ask ourselves what are the specific attributes we’re looking for in people to come to this organization? What does that list look like? Once we have that list, we can start looking at our training and say, “I see why this person’s making because this person has this attribute.”

Both people that I’m seeing, the guy who didn’t make it and the guy who could, it’s not that they weren’t skilled or both of them could shoot. One had the attribute to be able to shoot inside of an environment that we needed him to and the other didn’t necessarily have that. It allowed us to articulate the process in a much more precise way and have much more healthy conversations with those folks that we deselect did as well as the leaders who wanted an explanation as to why.

I find that interesting because I think back to when I went to selection for Special Forces in Ranger School. It was the same thing at the end of Ranger School. I remember standing there in the formation and you look around. You’re like, “Which formation am I in? Am I in the one that made it or in the one that does not?” I remember the same conclusion coming to my head because as a candidate, you don’t know anything or what they’re looking for. It’s very much, “Do your best. Maybe your best is good enough. Maybe it’s not.”

I remember looking around after you realized, “I made it.” Looking at the other formation and saying, “Everybody who’s standing in my formation, everybody deserved to be here.” It’s how I felt in both of those situations. I looked at the other formation and I said, “There might be some guys in there who I don’t understand why they’re not here.” I remember having that conversation. Everyone who made it should have but some people didn’t who was like, “Why?”

[bctt tweet=”Empathy makes other people feel you care and have compassion for them, making you endearing to them as their leader. ” username=”talentwargroup”]

That is what I began to try to answer with the attributes because the answer to that why is because they didn’t have those specific qualities to do the particular job we’re asking them to do. Not that they’re not good people or they’re not highly qualified. It’s every job. Every niche has its own unique set of attributes to require to fill that niche. The list of attributes required to be a Navy SEAL looks different than the list of attributes required to be a surgeon, a teacher or an athlete, even a Green Beret. Those are slightly different too.

Those unique lists become a guidepost as to why and how you can figure out if the people who are applying can do the job versus know how to do the job. This stems from the origins of the Navy SEALs or the Underwater Demolition Teams and previous to them, the Naval Combat Demolition Units. They’re asked to be created by this guy named Draper Kauffman. Draper Kauffman was tasked to create a unit that could swim shore enemy beaches, find obstacles, blow obstacles out of the way and get the beach ready for an amphibious landing.

Born from the travesty of that utter failure of Gallipoli. The Gallipoli campaign, World War I and World War II of the military planners and allied planners did not want to make the same mistake. They tapped this guy Draper Kauffman, who had previously run an EOD School or the Explosive Ordnance Disposal School. He had run a school previously. He knew a ton of dudes who knew how to blow things up, had every single skill that was required to blow something up in terms of their knowledge of explosives of demolitions.

Kauffman also knew. He said, “This job is different. It’s not going to be just blowing things up. I need guys who can swim ashore. They can sometimes go short if they need to. They can think on their feet, adapt and react. They’ll be on their own so they need to do stuff in swim pears. All they’ll have on them are explosives, a dive knife, some swim fins and those unity T-shirts. I need people who can adapt, think and operate in this very complex, ambiguous, uncertain environment. That’s a VUCA environment. The skills are okay but I can teach someone how to blow something up.”

He started down at Fort Pierce and decided to start his training with the toughest week imaginable. He’s going to start with the guys on a Sunday afternoon and run them ragged until Friday, giving them only a couple of hours sleep the whole week and running them through combat simulations, exercises and PTs. The interesting thing is he was not going to give them any tests, evaluations or scores. The only thing that would cause a candidate to leave training would be that candidate’s decision to leave. It was all placed on that candidate, “Quit or stay.” Ninety percent quit.

He knew that 10% had left. He said, “These are the people who I know have what it takes. They can do the job. I’ll quickly teach them how to do the job but they can do the job.” That week was nicknamed Hell Week. Every single Navy SEAL goes through hell week. That is still the crucible inside of which they choose Navy SEALs but the idea was he was looking for attributes. He wasn’t just looking for skill.

The 25 Drivers of Optimal Performance are broken into five categories

Let’s get into the attributes. There are 25 that you referenced. It was 28 but it is 25 and 3. We’ll talk about a bit of them here. You said there could be 30, 40 but you’ve grouped these 25 specifically into 5 categories, grit, mental acuity, drive, leadership and team ability. I want to frame the next portion of this conversation around those five core categories. First, why 25? Why not 50? Why not 40, 30? The book could have been 500 pages.

It could have. It is 25 total. It’s about 22 in those 5 categories and then 3 extras. I pulled out all the stuff I had been doing while I was in the SEAL teams. In the SEALs team, when we came up with the attributes, we came up with 36 attributes that we were looking for in the SEAL guys. I said, “Let me take these 36 and see if I can ubiquitous this to some degree because I don’t want it to be about SEALs. I wanted to be able to optimal performance.”

When I dove in from that optimal performance angle, there are more attributes. They’re not only 25 but these seem to line up for optimal performance and they seem to be able to cross contexts. In other words, be relatable to almost every human being who’s interested in optimal performance. Not only Navy SEALs.

The first category is grit and you said, “Optimal performers need grit.” Grit is not a singular trait. It’s about carrying on and pushing through. Sometimes only in tiny increments, no matter how difficult the miserable the challenge is. You referenced Hell Week, which I have not been to Hell Week but I can imagine and have spoken to many of you who have. I’m glad I was a Green Beret. Let’s put it that way. Grit consists of four components attributes, courage, perseverance, adaptability and resilience. Can you get into grit a little bit more? Why does it matter? How come these four are specifically for grit?

Grit is composed of Courage, Perseverance, Adaptability and Resilience

I loved grit as a category. I didn’t have the categories in mind when I started writing the book. The categories started to formulate as I wrote the book, which was nice because they started to clump fairly naturally into these categories.

It helped me frame this show. I do appreciate that. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I’m going to get through 25 of these things. I started reading the book then I’m like, “They put me in five. Here we go.”

Grit is interesting because a lot of people think of grit as its attribute. They think of it as a singular thing but it’s not. Grit is the result of things catalyzed and blended to create grit. In the attribute case, it’s these four attributes. It made sense to me because as you look through, you look at grit. Grit can be described as the ability to push through and achieve those acute challenges and goals. Those things are more short-term in terms of goals and endeavors. Power through, push through. Grit describes that versus drive, which speaks to the long-term goals and endeavors.

Those attributes required for grit are quite specific. First, there’s courage. The ability to step into our fear, quite simply. We have to be able to step into our fear to do that. Perseverance, you have to be able to keep doing it. The courage to step in. The perseverance to keep going. The adaptability to change and modulate yourself based on an environment outside your control and then resilience. That all takes energy and challenge. You’re going to take hits. How easily, how effectively can we bounce back from that stuff? Those attributes combined and stewed together catalyze what creates a gritty person.

Can I ask you about perseverance? You’ve defined it as being a combination of three other things, which are persistence, tenacity and fortitude. Can you break that down a little bit more?

I love this one because I had to get into it. Persistence and tenacity were both the original attributes on the list. I realized we’re inherently different because those things get completed. Left on their own could be either detrimental or inert. The reason is that persistence is the ability to when faced with a challenge or a goal to keep doing the same thing over and over because you know that eventually it’ll work. This is the stonecutter approach.

The stonecutter taps the rock in the same place 99 times and you don’t see anything. On the 100th tap, the rock breaks. That’s persistence. Persistence takes patience. Tenacity is the opposite. Tenacity is, “I’m going to try something. If it doesn’t work, I’m going to try something else. I’m going to keep changing my approach until what I need to happen happens.” That takes impatience.

Mental fortitude is the ability to modulate between the two because one is not going to work. You’re not going to get across the finish line by using just one. Almost every challenge and obstacle take an ability to modulate between persistence at times and tenacity at other times. That’s why perseverance, combined both and effective perseverance, will be a combination of those three things. In whatever percentages, it makes sense because every challenge will require different percentages of each but certainly all three are involved.

You have successfully described the show. The second category is mental acuity. It’s a measure of how sharp the mind is but it has little to do with education or even raw intelligence. Can you get a little bit more into this? There are four in here which are situational awareness, compartmentalization, task switching and learnability but I found these four very intriguing because you’re clear that you cannot have mental acuity unless these four work together.

[bctt tweet=”Integrity, conscientiousness, humility, and humor make you a good teammate. ” username=”talentwargroup”]

The categories are helpful because I was able to clump these attributes in them. They are not exclusive to each category. They cross over. Certainly, when you talk about drive, courage can be involved in drive as well, so on and so forth. Mental acuity is the one that all of these are interrelated because it has to do with how our mind processes the world. You can’t have one going without the other. Situation awareness is this idea of how much information we’re perceiving in our environment and world. It’s our level of vigilance to be quite blunt.

Some people are more situationally aware than others. Some people notice a lot of things. I’m quite high on situational awareness. I notice things when I walk around. I’m very attentive and vigilant. In some cases, I have hypervigilance, which a lot of us coming back from combat have and that can be bad as well. Too much stuff is coming in. We don’t know how to turn things off. We’re noticing too much. Anyway, people fall differently on a scale.

Once we get that stuff in, once we notice stuff then there’s compartmentalization. That’s from the information that we are noticing. In the context of the goal we’re trying to achieve, we assess the relevant information, prioritize the order it needs to be put in and then focus on the priorities. That’s compartmentalization in a nutshell. “What do I need to focus on at this moment?” That’s the highest priority in the conduct of this goal. Those who are higher on the ability to compartmentalize do this very rapidly. I would place most special operators in that category.

Mental Acuity is the second category

One of our skills is the ability to execute this attribute. That’s how we move through challenges, stress and uncertainty so fluidly is through compartmentalization. There’s then task switching. Task switching is our ability to shift focus points. Multitasking is a myth. We can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. Neuroscientists will say you can maintain what’s called a secondary focus to some extent but most of us, in layman’s terms, can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. We all think we’re good at it.

Someone in the audience might say, “What are you talking about? I’m listening to this show while I’m driving the car. I’m doing two things at once.” You are doing that but the problem is it doesn’t count if you’ve relegated that activity to your unconscious mind. The reason why you’re able to listen to a show and drive a car is that you don’t have to think about driving the car.

If someone swerves in front of you and you have to conduct evasive maneuvers to get out of the way, you will have to rewind the last fifteen seconds of a show because your focus will switch. Our task switching is our ability to hop between contexts and categories in our environment and switch focus points. The more effectively and efficiently we’re able to do that, the more and higher on task switching we are. Party planners typically are high task switchers because they can go into a party and focus on the drinks and then switch focus to the music and the guest.

They think they’re multitasking but they’re not. They’re able to task switch very efficiently. Some other people have a hard time switching focus that fast. There’s no judgment here. It’s where you land. Learnability is our ability to metabolize and process these lessons in a way that can affect our behavior in our environment. We can learn the lessons. Some are higher on learnability. Some are lower. Those people who are high on learnability are the people you can tell something one time and they got it right versus me, who’s low on learnability.

I have to be told a few times and I make a bunch of mistakes trying to learn it right. I have to repeat. I’m a little lower on ability but I know that about myself. Even when I was in certain aspects of SEAL training, I would practice longer and study harder because I knew I had to repeat it or else I wasn’t going to remember, whereas some of my buddies, they learn at one time, they’d go drinking and they were fine. It’s wherever you end up on the scale.

My wife will put me at zero on the learnability and say, “Untrainable.”

You’ve learned trying to do this show. You’re not zero. You may be 1 but if you’re a 0, you wouldn’t survive.

You brought up drive. It’s this push to get it done but in the conversation about drive, you brought up a concept of intrinsic versus extrinsic needs. There are a few things in drive here that I want to dig into. I found this fascinating. Can you discuss the difference between intrinsic versus extrinsic and also maybe define drive before we hop into that?

Rich preparing for a dive as a Navy SEAL.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations come from Dan Pink’s book on Drive. It’s great stuff where he talks about the difference between those internal motivations versus the external pressures. Internal and intrinsic motivation is I’m hungry or I’m thirsty. That’s internal to you. An external motivation or extrinsic motivation could be the bonus that I want to get at the end of the quarter or something external.

What he talks about in terms of Drive is through drive, there’s a lot more value systemically in our biology placed on those intrinsic motivations. We’ll do more for intrinsic than we will for extrinsic. In terms of drive holistically, unlike grit, we’re talking about the ability to set, pursue and achieve long-term goals. What are those things that make up the driven person when it comes to these long-term goals?

Those attributes are self-efficacy, discipline, open-mindedness, cunning and narcissism. Those five things make up the driven person and speak to how driven we are and add or subtract to it. You can have 1 or 2 of those attributes. You can be high on 1 or 2 of those but if it’s just 1 or 2, you’re probably not driven. You need three or more for those combined into the driven person.

Coming in narcissism is often perceived as negative.

They are. Let’s take cunning first. Probably the most common attribute of Special Operators whether it be Green Beret and Navy SEALs is cunning. Cunning is the ability to think outside the box and to think outside perceived rules, boundaries and constraints. There’s a problem-solving element to cunning. I have to solve this problem. What the cunning mind does when given a problem is the first question the cunning mind asks is, “What are these rules that are around this thing? Are they real or are they perceived? If they’re perceived then I don’t need to follow them. If they are real, what happens if I break them?”

That’s what the cunning mind seeks to look. That is how transformational thinking habits. How do we start thinking outside the box and think about different ways? The cunning mind is primed to do that. It’s a very common quality of special operators. It can be metabolized negatively. That’s why we have to be careful but when metabolized properly, it’s powerful and essential in the driven person.

Narcissism is pejorative because we have a narcissistic personality disorder. It’s not a good thing. Narcissism is not seen as a good thing but narcissism at its core. I’m into semantics. I like to think about words and their elemental definitions. Narcissism, at its elemental definition, is the desire to stand out, be recognized and adored. That’s what it is.

When we are infants, getting adored and paid attention to by our parents or anybody, we are getting bursts of three very powerful chemicals. We’re getting dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin while we’re getting paid attention and adored. That doesn’t change when we’re adults. We like to be paid attention to once in a while. The idea is every single human being at some point in their lives wants to be paid attention to. They want to be adored and made to feel special. It’s a human thing. We all have elements of narcissism and these elements of narcissism are often the impetus to audacious goals.

Why did you become a Green Beret? Why did I become a Navy SEAL? Anybody who you ask that question says, “It’s because I’m a Patriot.” They’re not telling you the full truth. We wanted to do it because we wanted it to be badasses. We wanted to see if we could meet something that very few people could do. We’re Patriots but ultimately, there are some narcissistic tendencies there. It’s the same thing with people who want to be great surgeons, salespeople or whatever the audacious goal is. There’s a hint of narcissism.

Narcissism, when metabolized healthily, can be a very powerful driver in our being and physiology. The warning label comes with the fact that if it tips above the scales, it’s dangerous. It’s like a vampire staring in the mirror. We can’t see it in ourselves, even if we’re tipping over the skull. The way we tell is we look at who we’re surrounding ourselves with. The true blue like an unhealthy narcissist surrounds themselves with sycophants, with people who put them at the center, who bow and submit to them. It’s a transient group.

When someone leaves the group of a narcissist, that person is immediately enemy number one. That narcist system immediately lashes out because suddenly that person’s an enemy. We can manage our narcissism by looking at the people we surround ourselves with. If we surround ourselves with people who are yes-men, who put us at the center of attention all the time, it’s likely we were a little bit over-indexed or if not, a lot over-index on narcissism.

This is where the teams like Green Berets or SEAL teams come in. If you surround yourself with it, we will keep you in check. It’s like my wife. It has been this for me. You can metabolize narcissism in a very healthy way because you’ve surrounded yourself with people who don’t always put you at the center and tell you the truth when you need to hear it. That’s the way to keep it in check.

[bctt tweet=”When we slow our minds and calm ourselves, we can consciously think about what’s going on. ” username=”talentwargroup”]

Discipline is another one here in drive that is important to highlight because there’s a difference between self-discipline versus discipline. Self-discipline is an internal skill versus discipline is an external attribute. Can you make that distinction?

Self-discipline involves those goals or endeavors that we set out upon that the external world has no control as to whether or not we accomplish. That would be like saying, “I want to eat healthier or get in shape.” I can decide now to eat healthier, then I could go to Vegas tomorrow and be at a buffet. The buffet is not going to throw pastries at me. It’s up to me to whether or not I eat healthily. I might feel like it but it’s not. It’s me.

Self-discipline involves those things that the external world has no say in whether or not you achieve. Discipline involves those things that the external world does have a say in whether or not you achieve. “This is writing the bestselling book, becoming a Green Beret or Navy SEAL or become a surgeon,” whatever those goals are.

The external world has a say as to whether or not you’re going to do or accomplish that. It’s the reason why self-discipline can be sometimes put into a skill. It’s an attribute that takes certain skills. I would define it more as an attribute than a skill, both self-discipline and discipline but the highly self-disciplined person tends to like routine and structure. Routine and structure are often very helpful when trying to conduct task self-disciplined tasks.

This is the person who eats healthy, eats the right stuff every day, works out every day at the right time and goes to bed. It’s very structured. We’ve all experienced people who are highly self-disciplined but they can’t get their life on track at all because they have no overall discipline. They can’t seem to accomplish those long-term goals. The reason is that those people sometimes skew to the high right of self-discipline. I’m self-disciplined. They like routine and structure so much so they don’t recognize that discipline, the achievement of goals of the external world has to say is going to knock you on your butt.

The world is going to not let you keep a routine. The world is going to throw curveballs at you. The disciplined person, the person who’s good at these long-term goals is usually very fluid, adaptable and flexible. The best combo is to have a nice medium of both. Those who skewed to either side might have issues.

I’m someone who skews to the side of discipline. I’m good at setting and achieving audacious goals but it’s also because I’m very adaptable and fluid. I have a horrible time with self-discipline because I hate routine and structure. I hate being told what to do even when I’m telling myself what to do. You have to see where you are.

“You don’t have to listen to me. What are talking about? Don’t tell me what to do.” The best is a balance. If you skew to either side, you can probably tell and you can maybe hopefully index. For me, to try to be more self-disciplined, I have to implement structure and routine a little bit better. I found great habits that don’t necessarily feel like I’m dictating to myself.

I always feel self-disciplined until about 6:30 in the morning when my kids get up. I realized that it doesn’t matter what my self-discipline is. It’s out the window, at least for the next few hours.

That’s why you have both if you’re able to have both. A lot of people do. A lot of highly successful people can do both very nicely. That means you have a routine but you can get thrown off your routine. Once you do, you get back on routine. That’s the balance of those happening. Probably a guy like me is getting thrown off of my routine and I’m like, “I’m comfortable here.” I never get back. On the opposite, a person who is highly disciplined avoid things that throw them off routine. That’s why they can’t find themselves out trying to do some of those audacious things that take discipline.

Leadership is the fourth category. It is probably the largest component of the Navy SEAL organization, Green Beret organization and private sector organization. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you’re an athlete, in business, in the military, in anything, it’s all about leadership. You can lead yourself at times like we were talking about in what you want that to look like. Leadership’s not a position. It’s behavior. You can’t declare yourself to be a leader. We have had so many conversations about the definition of leadership. I wanted to ask you, what’s your definition of leadership before we break down the attributes?

The confusing thing about leadership is that we often think of leadership as a noun, the person in front or on top. True leadership is a verb. It’s a behavior. My definition skews both ways. The noun version of leadership is the person who’s in front, the leader of the race or pack. That’s by definition the leader but if you want to lead people, you don’t get to do that. You don’t get to tell people, “Follow me.” People decide whether or not they’re going to look at you as a leader.

You can be in charge. There’s a difference between being charged and being a leader. Anybody can self-designate. I’m the person in charge or someone can be put in the military. Once you hit a certain rank and put a person in a position, you are in charge of whether or not people choose to follow you. People still choose to look at you as a leader. It’s entirely up to how you behave. You and I know this. Anybody reading probably knows this. There are people in our lives that we can think of at this moment who are in positions of power. They’re in charge. We wouldn’t follow that person out of the neighborhood. Let alone anywhere else.

Other people have no authority, whatsoever, who maybe are by the watercooler or behind a counter. We would follow that person to the gates of hell and back. It’s because of the way that person behaves. That’s why we choose that person. Leadership ultimately, when it comes to people is about how you behave and those behaviors stem from attributes. Those attributes are empathy, selflessness, authenticity, decisiveness and accountability. Those behaviors that typically when conducted, allow someone to say, “This is someone that I choose as a leader and who I want to follow.”

Can you break down empathy? You mentioned the five that make it up here but empathy is not sympathy. Can you make that distinction?

The best way to describe it in Brene Brown terms is sympathy is, “I know how you feel.” Empathy is, “I feel how you feel.” Empathy is the process of engaging someone else’s emotions to the extent that you can feel. You can say, “I feel how you are feeling.” That is powerful. When you do that for another human being, they immediately feel like they’re cared for. They feel compassion and care from you, which is a perfect way to start endearing you as a leader to them. They will start feeling that way. That’s what true empathy is.

The other one in here is decisiveness. People, oftentimes, when they think about the military, they think about C-level executives who can often be extremely successful in their rise to the top. They think that it’s somebody who sits there and dictates. Decisive means dictatorial. That’s not the case. You’ve defined decisiveness in a great way here in terms of that decision-making. Decision-making is a skill but decisiveness is an attribute. Can you dig further into that?

The key factor that has added to the decision-making process that causes decisiveness is speed and efficiency. The decision-making process is a skill. You can be trained and taught how to make better decisions by going through a process. The speed and efficiency with which you were able to do that is an attribute. Some people can do that faster. They process information faster. They’re able to make a decision faster, especially during times of challenge, stress and uncertainty because most decisions are going to involve some level of uncertainty. That comfort with a little bit of uncertainty and that ability to say, “We’re moving on this,” is what enables decisiveness as long as it’s responsibly done.

It has to be noted that the decisive person also understands that its decision can be final but not permanent. When you make a decision, that’s final. The root word of the word decision means to cut off other possibilities. When you decide something, you cut off other possibilities so you move and make a final decision but if it’s buttressed by accountability then you know that once we’re moving, we’re regaining and say, “Was this the right decision? How are things going?”

It might not be permanent. You might say, “That was the wrong decision. We’re changing our path because of what we’ve experienced.” To be decisive means, “I’m going to decide in a rapid, efficient manner. We’re going to move on it. Through accountability, we’re going to constantly reassess and see what’s the right decision. Do I need to change?” That’s a constant process. Those who can do that well, people generally like to follow.

Freefall parachuting is a core skill of the Navy SEALS; but Rich hates heights!

The last category is team ability. You cited the importance of collaboration, connection and trust but another one of those is leadership where you don’t get to decide if you’re a team person or not or if you’re a team player. It’s interesting having this conversation with you as a SEAL and with my background in the Army Special Forces. In the Army Special Forces, team ability is not towards the top. In the SEALs, my understanding is it is much further towards the top. Can you talk more about team ability and why integrity, conscientiousness, humility and humor make up team ability?

First of all, it’s amazing you brought that distinction because this is the one I’ve thought and talked about when I was running SEAL training. You’re right, Special Forces and a couple of other Army units, not necessarily Rangers but a couple of the elite units, team ability is not as far at the top, whereas with SEAL team, it is. That’s because the job of a Green Beret sometimes requires an ability to operate individually in a situation and environment. You need to be able to say, “I’m out on my own. I can do this. I got this right.” There’s nothing about SEAL training that encourages individual performance.

It sounds bad but it’s meant in the context of you always have your swim buddy with you. It comes from this idea that when you’re underwater, you have another person with you at all times. It’s skewed to this ability to work with others. Team ability, I don’t know who made up that word. I first heard it at the SEAL teams or Special Warfare but it’s this ability to work with others on a team. You don’t get to call yourself a great teammate. Other people decide that based on behavior. Those behaviors stem from these attributes, integrity, conscientiousness, humility and humor. Those four things behaved are typically what causes people to say that as a good teammate.

You referred to the first 22 as being on a dimmer switch. That dimmer switch at the bottom end is zero. Three others also have a negative sliding scale that can lead to potentially detrimental behavior. You could call it a Seesaw, patience, competitiveness and fear of rejection. Why are these three patience, competitive and fear of rejection different than the first 22?

The first 22 are on a different switch. The difference does not go to zero because we all have all of the attributes at some level, even if it’s one. No one has zero adaptability or resilience. We all have some but we could have lower. Typically, on the first 22, edging out towards the higher, the mid-range, the 7th and 8th, that’s better. The higher you get is better on those first 22. Too high is also bad but that’s the idea for the first 22. What I found when I was working with those other three was that when I looked at the polarities of each of them, I didn’t see the same trends.

In other words, there are very highly successful people who are patient. They’re high on patience. There are also highly successful people who are high on impatience. Some highly successful people are competitive. They’re also highly successful people who are non-competitive at all. The same with this idea of fear of rejection. I care what people think versus people who don’t care what people think at all. They do their own thing. When I looked at those, I realized those were in the others category because you can be on either side of those and still perform optimally. It’s knowing what side you’re on tends to explain your behavior a little bit more accurately.

Are there people who don’t care what others think? I feel like people say that all the time and I don’t know if it’s a defense mechanism where it’d be like, “I don’t care what that person thinks. Whatever.” Whereas, maybe you do. Is there a subset of people who genuinely don’t care what others think and they do what they want?

We’re social animals. Ultimately, all of us, to some extent. My son is one of these people. I have two sons. My eldest is being like me. My youngest is like my wife. I am someone who has typically cared what people think. That can be detrimental because it can lead to peer pressure and things like that but it also is very powerful because it can push you to do things that you otherwise wouldn’t do. You ask any Navy SEAL like during surf torture, “Why didn’t you quit SEAL training?” A lot of the answers you might get sound something like, “I didn’t want to be the guy who stood up and rang that bell,” because you don’t have to ring the bell to quit SEAL training. “I didn’t want to be that one guy who stood up.”

There’s a palpable sense of, “I don’t want to look bad. I will stay in this damn surf zone and freeze until I die before I’m the one who has to stand up and look bad.” That is a pretty strong element of caring what other people think. It’s also why a guy like me who hates heights still does thousands of skydives with my teammates because I’m going to jump out of the plane whether I like it or not. My teammates are jumping on a plane. There’s no way I’m going to look bad. I’m going to do it. Even the guys who don’t like scuba diving, it’s the same thing. Fear of rejection can be very powerful but there are also those people who don’t care.

My youngest son, who’s like my wife, doesn’t care what people think. He is his own person. There’s a superpower that I see in him and I see in my wife too where they do their own thing. They’re their own person. People flock to them because they’re like beacons. People are like, “Look what this person’s doing.” This is where iconoclasts sit. A lot of iconoclasts are people who didn’t care what anybody thought. They did their thing because they didn’t care. There’s a power there.

The interesting about these polarities is that every team should have both polarities. That’s how you have the most powerful teams. You want some people who have fear of rejection, some people who are iconoclast, some patient people, some impatient people and some competitive people. If the team supports it, it bounces. When either polarity is required, the people who are higher on each can step up and take lead.

I feel like that’s where my daughter falls into because the most common thing that I say to my wife is she doesn’t care what we think.

Our parents are different. Teenagers never care what their parents think.

We’ve got the 25 attributes. We’ve defined several terms here. We put it into context. We’ve got to put it to use. There is an assessment tool on your website, TheAttributes.com. You can go there and gain an understanding of where you are but there’s also a need to define the core values, the things that you as a person care about. Why do you have to start with the identification of your core values?

You don’t necessarily have to start there. They think about values as understanding what we value can help point to our attributes. If we look at what shapes our behavior, attributes begin to shape our values. Our values shape our beliefs and our beliefs shape our behavior. We can add one thing. We could say feelings. Our beliefs shape our feelings. Our feelings shape our behavior but ultimately, that’s the order it goes in.

Understanding values help to explore how and why we behave the way we do but it also can point in some cases to some of the attributes. That’s why I have that values activity in there because knowing both is helpful. Attributes come first. We start with attributes. We begin to shape our values as we grow and experience. We’re not born with values. Those are both underneath and the values exercise helps a little bit point to those attributes.

What about judgment verse understanding? What happens when I take the assessment, I look at it and I say, “I suck or I’m awesome. I’m amazing.”

Judgment is an attempt to score something based on criteria laid out by someone else. I would say it’s laid out by you but you’re only judging it because you’re trying to anticipate what other people think. It’s hard to judge and it’s not very empowering versus understanding like,” Who am I?” The way I described this is as human beings, we’re like automobiles or cars. Some of us are Jeep, Ferrari or SUV. It’s like that movie Cars. We’re all different. There’s no judgment because the Jeep can do things the Ferrari can’t do. The Ferrari can do things that the Jeep can’t do.

It behooves us to lift our hood and figure out what we are because we might be a Jeep that’s been trying to run in a Ferrari track or a Ferrari that’s been trying to run on a Jeep track. That might indicate why we feel some friction and tension then we can make a very conscious decision. We can say either, “I am a Jeep trying to run a Ferrari track. I want to continue being in Jeep running a Ferrari track. What do I need to work on to be better as a Jeep running on this Ferrari track?”

You say, “Now that I realize this, I don’t want to be able on a Ferrari track. I want to go find a Jeep track.” You can go find a Jeep track but we can only do that through understanding. Judgment is about putting other people’s beliefs and perceptions or what we think is even worse. Not even other people. It’s what we think of other people talking about false. What we think other people’s perceptions or rules or beliefs are on something that we’re engaging. There’s very little value in that especially when we’re in the processes of discovery. It’s more about understanding.

Skills and attributes can be learned and sharpened. You identified a process in which a person can go about trying to refine this. They identify that understanding. They understand their strains. They see their weaknesses and then it’s, “How do I improve and get better? You’ve laid out an acronym START, Slow down, Think, Act, Recognize, Try. Why START? Can we start with slow down? Define these.

The only way we can think about anything is to slow down so that we may think about anything. You know this coming from the environment wealth too. We know that the reason why Spec Operators are as effective as we are is we’ve trained ourselves to be able to slow our minds and calm ourselves so that we can consciously think about what’s going on. Attributes are happening in the background because they happen. It behooves us to slow down for a moment and recognize what’s happening. We slow ourselves so that we can then think.

Once you think, you act. You’re in an environment and things are changing around. You’re outside of control. You’re feeling uncomfortable. You slow down. “Why am I feeling uncomfortable? Maybe it’s because my adaptability is a little bit low.” We act. We can deliberately say, “I am going to deliberately choose to behave and be more adaptable at this moment. I’m going to recognize how that feels. I’m going to try again to do it and develop after.”

Attribute development has to be self-motivated, self-directed and it takes a willingness for that person or individual to step deliberately into discomfort and uncertainty so they may test, develop and tease that attribute. If someone’s impatient and they want to develop their patience, they have to deliberately go find environments inside of which they can test their patients and develop that, whatever that looks like. It might be, “Go deliberately drive in traffic or stand in the longest line of the grocery store.” I always say have kids that will help develop your patience but you have to do it on your own. The START acronym helps with a process way to think through that.

For those who read the show or the majority of them, they know that I love lists. I appreciated the fact that towards the end of the book, there was a list. I was like, “There are lists. I could throw that in there.” For all the audience who loved the lists and the process lists, there you go. It’s START. Rich, as we close out, they had to do three things every day, core foundational elements or core tasks that they had to be proficient in at the highest level to do their job. They had to be able to shoot, move and communicate. If they did these three things with precision then their effort and focus could be applied to the challenges that came their way. What are the three things that you do every day to be successful in your world?

There are very basic. The first thing I do is hug my wife and kids every day. The second thing I do is I tell every one of them I love them multiple times a day. Those are the most important things to me. When I’m doing that daily, I am successful. It can be only those two. That stems from being gone and deployed so much, even losing many friends too early. You appreciate the people in your lives and recognize, “We want to always make sure the people in our lives know that we love them and how we feel about them.” Those are the first two but I won’t dodge the question. I’ll give you a third.

The third is to keep moving forward. I’m always in a position to say, “How can I move forward in some way or capacity?” It doesn’t have to be big leaps. It can be steps. It can be gritty and tough but if I take a step and end the day by saying, “I took a step forward. I feel great.” There have been days, not many of them, where I end the day like, “I did nothing. I feel horrible. I didn’t take any steps.” It doesn’t have to work. Maybe I clean the yard, do some house task or something but something that makes me feel like I’m taking a step. Those would be the three I’d hang on to.

We’re starting 2022. We’ve closed the door in 2021. We’ve built this show around these characteristics of elite performance. You, the Talent War Group, all of us have spoken so much about humility, understanding that others may know more than us. Also, a commitment to being better. I sit here and think about, “What’s my New Year’s resolution?” In a second, you’re not going to get away from answering that question either because you’re going to give me yours. I took a lot from the book and I mean that sincerely because it has opened the aperture in many ways.

It’s taken the nine characteristics that we’ve talked about. It’s broken them down into these 25 attributes. It’s layered that on. It’s allowed us to start to understand what is human performance? What is this concept of optimal performance? How can we integrate that into the conversations that we have in 2022? I was going to commit in this episode to provide everybody a path to be better. That starts with me. I thank you for the opportunity to start 2022 for me better than I ended 2021. That will translate to all of our audience. I give that as a challenge to our audience to take the principles and what we’ve spoken about here. Read the book and apply them every day.

At the end of these episodes, I almost always uptake one of our characteristics of performance and I apply it to the guests. This is the one thing that you exemplify. For the first time, I’m going to turn it on the guest. I’m not going to give you one. I’m going to ask you two things. First, if you could take 1 of your 25 and say, “This defines me. When I look at this one, I see myself in the mirror,” what would that be? Also, as we start 2022 if you had one thing you got to work on or do better, what’s it going to be?

The one thing that I have tried to make a habit in my life is courage. Courage is the ability to deliberately step into fear and discomfort. It started with me choosing to be a Navy SEAL and everything we did in our careers, you as well in yours. Everything about that career involves stepping into fear. Sometimes on a daily, hourly, on a minute-by-minute basis but then leaving the military, I wanted to try something new. I wanted to write a book, get in front of people, speak and do things. Ultimately, I was nervous to do.

For me, growth means I’m pushing these boundaries and stepping out to these edges. The one that I’m constantly always trying to exemplify is courage. The one I want to improve is not on the list. It’s a periphery and that’s self-discipline. I am committing to work on my self-discipline in 2022 because to have a balance of the two is the most powerful combination. That’s what I’m going to work on.

Rich, I appreciate your time. This has been a phenomenal conversation. We’ve grown so much in our time together. I’ve appreciated your partnership and friendship as we’ve gotten involved with the Talent War Group. We’ve watched that organization thrive and grow. We’ve been a part of them and partners. We’ve started this show. I’m excited as we come up on our first anniversary. I thank you

for everything that you’ve done for us, for our country and leaders in general. Happy New Year. I wish you the best. I’ll be talking to you soon.

Thank you. Happy New Year to you. I appreciate our friendship. I look forward to all of our future conversations.

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