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Special Ops Business: 3 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Navy SEALs

When it comes to special forces, Navy SEALs are considered by many to be the ultimate warriors -- and so are entrepreneurs.

[pullquote align=”right”]”It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be conducting clandestine missions behind enemy lines or capturing enemy targets and intelligence against impossible odds. But I’m sure you, like most entrepreneurs, can relate to the Navy SEAL motto: ‘The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday;’ a statement backed by legendary achievements.”[/pullquote]The United States Navy’s Sea, Air, Land Teams, commonly known as the Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy’s principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command and United States Special Operations Command. (Source: Wikipedia) When it comes to special forces, Navy SEALs are considered to be the ultimate warriors.

But what does it take to be among the most skilled, versatile and revered combat units in the world? More importantly, what key tactics can entrepreneurs learn from Navy SEALs to become better leaders?

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be conducting clandestine missions behind enemy lines or capturing enemy targets and intelligence against impossible odds. But I’m sure you, like most entrepreneurs, can relate to the Navy SEAL motto: “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday;” a statement backed by legendary achievements.

Over time, successful entrepreneurs learn the importance of becoming expertly trained to deliver highly specialized, intensely challenging results. Results that are beyond the means of standard “business as usual” ideals. Yet there are key things SEALs know, that every entrepreneur can benefit from. Here’s an inside look at what you need to know to be “the best of the best, of the best, sir!”

 

  1. Mental Toughness

    According to Lieutenant Commander, Mike H., an executive officer of SEAL Team 10, “Today, our primary weapons systems are our people’s heads. You want to excel in all the physical areas, but the physical is just a prerequisite to be a SEAL. Mental weakness is what actually screens you out.” In essence, mental toughness is critical to long-term success. Mentally strong people acquire certain characteristics.

    In fact, there are also specific things that mentally strong people avoid, according to Forbes columnist Cheryl Conner. As Conner explains, “For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, ‘grit,’ optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to ‘fail up.'”

    Entrepreneurship is the perfect storm of mental toughness — enough to develop perseverance through the most difficult circumstances without losing sight of your confidence. As it has been said, “The taller the tree, the deeper the roots.”

  2. Moral Courage

    “There’s no shortage of physical courage in the SEALs or Marine Corps or any active military branch of the service. Moral courage is something else. And if you want to inspire moral courage in your troops, you have to teach them how to make decisions.” (Source: NavySeals.com: Fear and Mental Toughness) The same can easily be said of entrepreneurship.

    Many entrepreneurs can attest “how to do certain things”, but most struggle with the instinct, and intuition behind quality decisions that fuel a successful business. Like SEAL’s, entrepreneurs must be taught how to make good business decisions. For some it may come naturally, for others it is the bane of your startup existence. So, how can you develop the moral courage and overcome fear to make decisions that will benefit you and your business for years to come?

    According to SEAL’s, “the secret to courage is putting yourself in the same difficult situation or hostile environment on a consistent basis, day in day out, or doing a seemingly difficult action over and over, a million times, until you not longer have any emotional attachment to that situation, environment, or action. You become immune to it. You become part of it.”

  3. Habituation

    The fear that most entrepreneurs experience with starting a business is very real. However, the difference between those that succeed and those that don’t is how they perceive, handle and respond to their fears.

    While you aren’t conducting special operations missions, capturing high-value enemy personnel, or collecting intelligence through special reconnaissance missions, the fear you feel is very real. Thankfully, it can be overcome. According to a Navyseals.com article, “the SEALs are fearless because of the training they undergo. Their secret is what psychologist call habituation. This simply means the more you’re exposed to something that you initially fear, they less it will fear you and eventually you become immune to it. You get used to it.”

 

Like the SEALs, in entrepreneurship “no college degree is required, but the standards of qualification require the kind of mental and physical fortitude that few possess. For those making the cut, immense challenges and constant training are a way of life.” If you can master the above mentioned skills you’re on your way to becoming the best of the best. Remember: entrepreneurship in itself, is a legendary achievement.

 

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