#282 – Embrace The Suck With Navy Seal Richard Thompson

Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode. Today we have Richard Thompson.

Richard, welcome. Hey, thanks Thomas. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it. It is my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? Yeah. So Richard Thompson. Husband, father and now life coach uh really got turned on to the coaching side of it through growing up as in sports, you know, if, if there was ball and there’s competition I wanted to play. And I love the coaching. I love the aspect of like, I was curious why people did what they do. Like why is it that some people do one thing and some people do completely different thing. Why do some persevere and some fall down? Why do some keep going and some never start? And so that always fascinated me and going through there, I got into competitive golf. I wanted to become a professional golfer and decided the best way to do that was to become a Navy Seal.

And so that’s its own story. And uh so I, I chose to go into the Navy and into the Seal teams. Incredible experience, really enjoyed that and met my wife when I was on deployment. And now we’ve been married 20 plus years, almost 21 years. And so it’s been incredible relationship, incredible uh woman, incredible wife, and we have a son. And so that brought me all the way around to having the opportunity to coach again. And uh now I get to share my experience and share my knowledge of coaching and really open people up to the possibility it’s already within them, right? So my philosophy is you already have all the answers already in you. And it’s my job to create a space to allow those to come out. Thank you for the introduction. Couple of things that um, immediately I feel like I need to follow up on. First one was around.

Um I’ve never heard I wanted to become a professional golfer, golfer. And the best way to do that would become a, a navy seal. That’s not ever something I’ve heard before. So, um how, how did you uh make that conclusion? So, in sports and in high school, thankfully, they had a requirement in the US in my particular uh school district where you had to have a, at least a 2.0 which is ac average to play sports. So, of course, I was always hovering just above that 2.0 level. I, I enjoyed learning. I just wasn’t very interested in what they were teaching. So I was very curious to go out and learn everything that I wanted to learn, not necessarily what the school wanted to teach me. And as soon as I started to play golf, I was fascinated, my aunt and uncle took me out to play golf on a summer trip and they are like, hey, rich, do you play golf? I’m like, no, that’s for old people. And they’re like, well, we play golf. So why don’t you grab some clubs and come with us?

I’m like, all right, whatever. At that time, I was playing a lot of football and surfing and when I went out there and I’m like, oh man, this is so easy. Like, nobody’s trying to tackle me in my back swing. Right. Nobody’s trying to block the cup. Can’t be that hard ball doesn’t even move until you hit it. As soon as I play it. I’m like, you’ve gotta be kidding me. Like, I was just fascinated by, like, why is it that one time I can hit it and it’s just pure and next time I don’t even know what I’m doing. Right. It totally whiff the ball or it just goes out into the woods. I love the power, the finesse, just the beauty of the outdoor environment. I mean, golf courses are on some of the most beautiful places on earth. And as soon as I started playing, I’m like, oh, this is something that I can do. This is something I can get really good at. And that’s one of the lures of golf. And I was a pretty good athlete growing up. But all my friends just kept growing right past me.

So what I lacked in size, I did not make up for in speed. So I’m like, oh, ok, golf, I mean, there’s guys of all shapes and sizes out there playing professionally. This is what I wanna do. And so I went to junior college to start studying golf management and I wanted to compete. And I remember walking through in a library at school and there’s a a magazine and on the front of this magazine there’s these guys and they’re wett and Sandy and they’ve got a log in their hand and they’re screaming, it said something to the effect of like, are these the toughest guys in the world? I’m like, ok, I’ll bite. I was probably 1920 years old this time, probably 19. And so I started reading this article and it’s talking about these guys that are going through training to become a navy seal, they jump out of planes, they’re blowing stuff up, you know, hunting the terrorists around the world. I’m like, wow, that sounds pretty cool. And at the end it says, are, they’re the most mentally disciplined warriors. I’m like, huh? That’s interesting because the guy that I was always chasing, he’s a year younger than me is Tiger Woods.

And he grew up in Southern California where I did. And by the time I, I didn’t start playing the first introduced the game until I was 15. And so I’m like, how do I catch this guy? He’s already won everything. By the time I even pick up a golf club, he’s just a phenom. And Tiger’s dad is a former green beret and his dad on the golf course used to like jiggle change in his pockets or cough in his back swing and just try to disrupt him as much as possible when he was practicing. And Tiger said dad, why are you doing that? To me. And he’s like, because I’m gonna make you the most mentally tough person on that golf course. And so when I read that article, I’m like, that’s how I get in front of him. That’s how I beat him. I’ll be more mentally disciplined. I’ll be mentally tougher then Tiger. So then I’ll go into the teams, I’ll get out when I’m old, like 30 then I’ll go kick his butt on the golf course. And so as soon as I thought that of course, I’m like, ok, you’re crazy. Like you’re gonna go into the Seal teams and then you’re gonna get on the PGA tour.

And at 19, I’m like, I just, there was a duality in my mind. Part of me was like, that’s crazy. And the other part of me was like, why not, what stops you, why would you not take a shot at it? So when you’re looking back when you’re older going, hm. I wonder what could have happened? I’m like, hm, I would much rather try and see what happens than to have to look back and wonder. And so at that point in my life, I didn’t have any ties, right. So it was just me and I had the opportunity to pursue that dream. And so I decided to go into the military, went into the teams and had just an awesome time in the teams. And what I learned pretty fast is most of the guys you know, it’s a, it’s a physically demanding job and most of the guys are just dealing like it’s not, if you have an injury, it’s just the amount of injuries you’re dealing with at any given time.

And so when I was working up for deployment, I end up, I blew my knee out, had it reconstructed, was able to go on deployment, came back, had another operation on it. And when I was looking around, uh, I’d asked myself like, ok, to be competitive, I’m gonna need my joints to be working for me. So when do I want to get out and pursue that? And so then I decided to get out and pursue golf at that point. And, uh, to wrap up this story making, put a bow on it. So when I got out, I played on a mini tour as an amateur in California and my wife was my caddy. And the only thing that really happened was I get out there and just beat myself up mentally. Nothing was ever fast enough. I was never good enough and, uh, I never made it on to tour. I would say I was a pretty good weekend golfer. So I got to like a zero handicap, but, uh, I got just good enough to see really good players out there playing and I’m just like, and that’s not me, right.

So it was a lot of fun. I really en enjoy. Well, looking back at the time there’s a lot of pressure I put on myself way too much pressure. Um So there’s some things I did really well and there’s some things I really fell down on my face about, but it’s all learning right at the end of the day, it’s like I learned a lot about myself. I learned about my behavior and my mindset what worked for me and what doesn’t and some people would thrive in that environment. Some people would fall apart, but really getting clear on, you know, how do I talk to myself in a way that really gets me moving in a direction that’s meaningful to me. Well, a couple of things that I wanted to follow up on first, um the public perception of the Navy Seal is that the most sort of mentally disciplined warriors on on earth, if you like, you have the benefit of the before and after. So did you find that that was true uh that the perception of Navy Seals mentality uh is the reality? So I think it’s yes, in certain aspects.

Uh There’s definitely a lot of aspects about me that I would say it’s not really mentally disciplined. Like I’m, I can, I have a gear within me that is really strong. So it’s kind of like that, that masculine energy, the tough energy, you know, rip a limb off, rub some dirt on it, keep moving. I can do that. Right. It’s like I can keep moving through. That’s one aspect of being mentally tough and the other is like, do I have the awareness piece or like when to slow down and go? Hm. You know, do you have to keep beating your head against the wall? Does that make you tough or is it just smarter just to open up the door? Right, and just walk through? And so having the awareness of, like, when to lean into being tough and when to back off, look around and have the awareness to go. Uh, sometimes I’ll, I’ll talk to people about mental toughness and they can get fired up and they want to become more mentally tough.

I said that’s great. And there’s a lot of tools in which to cultivate mental toughness, but they get fired up and it’s like, ok, let’s go for a 10 mile ruck and we’ll throw 30 £40 on our back and we’ll go and then they go, well, I want to become even more mentally disciplined, more mentally tough. So now I’m gonna throw a attack in my shoe because that’s gonna be tougher. And if I walk with a tack in my shoe, then that should be better for me because I’ll be more mentally tough. And it’s like that would be tougher to walk around with attack in your foot. Is that necessarily the best approach, the best long term approach, right is trashing your foot. The best approach to get more mentally tough and that’s where the debate can come in. That’s where you can look at yourself going. Why do I want to be tough? What does it mean to be tough? Because there’s lots of things that I think are a lot tougher than going through seal training.

And I haven’t experienced it yet but to, to be a parent and have to, uh, take care of a child maybe going through cancer or like when my son was young and he was severely injured. Seeing that happen was a lot tougher than anything. I had to survive within the teams going through because it was not just about me, it was about me seeing somebody suffering so I can handle it. And it’s just me and you know, being tough like that. But there’s, there’s so many different aspects of being tough and what that means to us and one thing being tough and another not, it’s so individual. One thing that’s hard for me and easy for other people may be completely different, right? So if you want to talk about mental toughness, one of the toughest things I have to do is spell. I’m terrible at spelling. It’s tough.

It’s hard. Thankfully, there’s spell check out there. If I had to handwrite everything, man, that would be a mess. But thankfully, I have tools to help me and I’ve never been good at spelling. I could spend all day trying to learn how to spell, not gonna work. It was a real tough day. One of those times in the summer when I was a teenager and I felt food four different ways and I couldn’t quite remember which one was. Right. They all look good to me. And it’s like, hm. So for me, spelling is tough. It’s hard. I put a lot of time and energy trying to get better at it. And it’s like, how much time and energy am I gonna invest into that? And it’s a give and take. It’s like for all of us, we need to get really clear on what do we want to get good at? Is it meaningful? Is it purposeful? Is it in moving in a direction that really we want in our life? And then we pursue that because we can get good, we can get tough at things that just don’t matter. My interpretation of your answer is that yes, seals are disciplined but discipline isn’t everything when it comes to achievement.

Is that a fair assessment? Yeah, because it’s, it’s like discipline and what? Because there’s a lot of military people not just seals themselves. They would say they’re not disciplined with that. It depends on the culture as well because in the culture, it was like, you know, we were drinking a lot, you know, that was just part of the culture. It would be more disciplined to not drink. And there is extreme personalities on all sides. There’s some guys that didn’t drink, uh, anything, some guys that were drinking all the time, uh, were we discipline with our diet? Most of them know? Right. Were we disciplined in our relationships outside the teams? Most of them? Probably not. So, it’s like you can be disciplined and were those things considered to be important for some of the guys? Yeah. Some, no. So they can be disciplined in the things that they say matter and I was very disciplined in the things that mattered to me. But if somebody was on the outside, some neutral third party looking in going rich.

Uh, ok. Yeah, you do that pretty good. But over here, you know, with your relationships, you’re pretty much a mess. You have no discipline there. You’re not consistent, right? You don’t, you don’t reach out to people and connect and to me it’d be like, ok, uh, that doesn’t matter to me. Why would I need to do that? What are you talking about? Doesn’t everybody do that? No. So I’ve gotten better at that. I’ve gotten better at connecting with people. Would I be more disciplined in connecting with people before I thought it mattered. I could. But it didn’t really matter to me at that point in my life. Then as I became more aware of really getting clear on what matters and what do I want. Then the discipline started being more cultivated. I started putting and investing more time and energy into that aspect. Right? Because we only have so much time. What are you gonna put your time and energy? Where are you gonna put your focus? Right. So, um, perhaps the, a civilian’s take on Navy seal discipline is somewhat simplistic form of it.

Is that fair? Yeah, I think so. And it evolves over time for me as well as I become more aware, like there’s so many different nuances and aspects to, I think what one person would see as a disciplined way of life. Another person may not. Ok. And, um, based on everything that we’ve spoken about so far, I feel unusually invested in your golf game. So, uh, do you still have, um, aspirations in any form or is it more of a hobby for you now? Yeah. So I, I love that. And I’ll ask you, I’ll, I’ll tie this back into discipline. So I gave myself an ultimatum. I said, you’re gonna get to this level by this time frame or you’re done. And so I didn’t get to that level at that time. So I completely quit the game. I was done. I severed myself off of playing because what I, I learned is I, I put the pressure on myself to really push forward and become that player that I wanted to be. And I gave myself a deadline. I was disciplined so that once I was done, that bar didn’t move, I didn’t say, well, I didn’t try to justify.

I just said you didn’t hit the standard, you’re done. So, some people would say that’s pretty disciplined. Like I would play eight days a week if I could. Right. I was on the golf course, 68 hours a day. If I could, I was also going to school full time, uh, college after I got out of the teams and working where I could. And so I would spend a lot of time invested in getting better at competing in the game. And what I learned is that when I gave myself that deadline and I didn’t reach my goal and I cut myself off from competing. That’s really where the challenge came for me. Like, what do I want to be when I grow up? All right, because I was pretty clear on what I wanted to do to that point. Once I said you’re done playing the game, then it was like, now what do I do? So then of course, in my mind, it’s like, well, if I’m not gonna play golf, then I guess my job is to go out and make money. And that’s when I went out into the world and got involved in real estate because when I grew up, I knew people that were making money were in real estate.

So I said that’s what I guess I’m supposed to do. And I remember going out playing a couple of times with people uh, in that world and they go, oh man, do you still play a lot? And I’m like, no, I mean, as soon as I stop competing, I was like, literally done. I went from doing it every day to not doing it at all because when I got on the golf course and I wasn’t competing, I was like, man, it was just, it so enlightening for myself because I never saw it when I was in it. But when I got out of it and was looking in, I’m like, wow, this takes a lot of time. Like, I’m on the golf course, like four hours, five hours on the golf course. I got a lot of things I have to do. This goes way too slow. Right. And it was just so funny because I’m the same guy. But if you’d asked me a year before, I’ve been like, oh, of course, I, I, you couldn’t pull me off the golf course and I’d be out there practicing until the sun went down and when the sun went down, I’d still keep practicing.

It was just like, wow, the same person, would one person be disciplined and the other person, not the same person I thought. Isn’t that interesting? But one of my mindsets, it’s kind of like this all or nothing mentality serves me really well in some aspects of my life, totally derails me in other aspects. Right. So it’s like this black or white thinking and our brain loves it. Our brain loves to have like, just give me the rule book. So I know what it looks like to win or lose. But life isn’t necessarily like that. Most of the time, most time it’s gray, it’s squishy, it’s ambiguous. And so, uh when our brain feels like there’s no clear answer, it’s very uncomfortable for it. I’m no different. I love to just know it’s either this or this. And so when I gave myself that alma ultimatum and I cut myself off, it was a clean sever from the game. Uh Looking back, would I have done it differently? Maybe? I mean, I learned a lot from it.

It was painful. Um I definitely think there’s a better way to do it, but now that it’s done, it’s like, can’t change any of that anyway. So now I just take and extract the lessons from it to make me a better human moving forward. Thanks for the clarification. Um You mentioned the, the magazine which showed Buds, I think um for, I think there’s a public perception about what that is, how that, how that looks. What would you say the um what would you say that that’s real about the public perception and what are some of the misconceptions around um about buds. So for the general population, I would say how it gets a lot of attention. It’s like the fifth week, it changes a little bit, but usually around the fifth or sixth week, 4th, 5th, 6th week of training. What most people don’t understand is how difficult it is to actually get to that train, like to raise your hand and then go through the selection process to make it to the grinder on day.

One of basic underwater demolition seal training, like the people that line up there are all very qualified physically. So when you’ll hear me talk about buzz is like a, a mental game. And simply because everybody there is already physically been screened to be prepared to be in that environment. For the basic part, for the most part, they can do push ups and sit ups and they can swim a little bit and you know, they can run a little bit. So then when everybody’s fit, then it becomes a real mental game. Then the selection process, I think most people don’t really understand like buds is not there to teach you, it’s a selection. So you go in there and if you’re hoping to become mentally disciplined by going through that course, you’re probably not going through that course, right? If you don’t have something before you get there, you will not survive that training.

So most guys going into that training already have cultivated discipline within themselves, a capacity within themselves to go into those dark places and thrive to go into those places where the brain wants to quit. And you have tools, you have coping mechanisms to keep you moving as dark as it gets. When your brain says, man, why don’t we just quit? The instructors are world class of getting underneath the armor and really pushing your buttons to be able to get knocked down and keep standing back up, get knocked down. Everybody gets knocked down multiple times. Like some guys are really good runners or swimmers are just really good athletes and then the cold just hammers them. Or it’s just the length of the training, the six months because he, he gets the attention. But really, it’s just the accumulation of time. Like there’s no one day where you’re like, oh, that was the hardest day. No, because everybody has those days. Like I couldn’t say, oh, there was one hardest day.

It’s just six months of challenge in different ways. Some were mental, some are physical, some were all were emotional, right? Some days you walk in and you’ve got a cold or you have the flu and it’s like you just push on right because you don’t wanna raise your hand and going. Oh, I don’t feel good today, I’m not feeling 100% and it’s like, welcome to life, you’re gonna have a lot of days where you don’t feel 100% and you need to figure it out. And I think today a lot of people are like, well, if I don’t feel it, then I, I must not, I should probably shouldn’t do it. It’s like you can be right about that or you can just go, I’m not feeling too good and I’m gonna do it anyway. So I think it’s over that six month time frame. Everybody’s gonna have those days where it’s a real gut check and they have to find a way to keep moving. And is there anything that you can share? Um, because my, my perception of your answer is like you’ve either you’ve either got it or you haven’t mentally.

Is there anything that you would say for people to do if they were trying to get through that difficult training that you could maybe turn? I don’t know what percentage of people get through like 10% or something. If you were attempting to raise the number of people that actually got through the training, what would you tell them? So I’d have them in one of the things that you’ll hear in the teams is embrace the suck. So your relationship with hard things, your relationship with difficulty, if you can learn to cultivate in your mind, the story because it’s all just a story, the story of the harder it gets, the more I like it. So the darker it gets, the harder it gets, the colder it gets, the more I wanna be part of this. If you can play that game and get your brain to seek out the suffering man, there’s nothing you can’t do. But what’s the human brain do as soon as it starts to get hard and our culture creates us for us as well.

It’s so easy for us just to not do it right. Working out. Not that hard. But it’s just easier not to. Right. It’s just easier. Just, uh, is it hard to get out of bed? No, it’s just easier not to. Right when the alarm goes off and, you know, you’re feeling pretty comfortable, it’s dark, it’s cold outside and you got your covers on, it’s nice and warm and comfortable. It’s like the brain doesn’t want to get out of bed, the body doesn’t wanna get up but it wants to stay there. But think about those times where you have something that’s important, like an important meeting or you, you made a commitment to somebody or it’s time to get up for work and the alarm goes off. You’re like, oh, ok. And then you just get up. It’s like, isn’t that interesting? But if you have the day off, you may just sleep in when the alarm goes off. Why is that? It’s because it’s the, that mental discipline of going, oh, I don’t want to lose my job. Right.

That fear, that knowingness of like, hey, you tell this story in your head, like, if I don’t get up, then I’m gonna get in trouble. But on those days where you have all day off, right? Or at least the morning off and the alarm goes off, you’re like, I’ve got nothing I have to do and it’s just easier and you just justify, of course, your brain is gonna say, hey, why don’t we just relax? And the brain, the brain wants to stay safe, right? It wants to conserve energy, right? And it wants to seek pleasure. So if you have that model of like, oh my brain’s just doing what it wants to do. It’s just what it’s designed to do. It just wants to have this pleasurable moment and go back to sleep. But we have to be able to recognize that and go. Do I wanna be comfortable? Do I want to sleep in or do I have something that can override that? And if we don’t, then of course, we’re gonna sleep in. If we don’t, of course, we’re not gonna go to the gym and work out if we don’t. Of course, we’re gonna pick up those Doritos and eat that bag of Doritos or a 12 pack instead of having the, the meat and vegetables.

Of course, we are because the incentive isn’t there to do anything different. So we just have to find a way, a story to tell ourselves. It’s more compelling than whatever that reality is why we don’t do it. Right. So for me, one of the, the things that it may seem morbid to some people, but it worked really well for me going through the selection course buds is before we started, I just said, you know what? I will not quit matter of fact, I would rather die than quit. Matter of fact, if I’m still breathing, I will not ring that bell. And so I just drew that sand, that line in the sand. And I said that I said, you know what if I’m still breathing, I’m not ringing the bell. It’s just a story I made up. Right. And I chose to believe it. And there were lots of times where I’m like on those soft sand runs and my heart felt like it was about to pop. And I just say, ok, it’s a good day to die. But I’m not ringing that bell, right? And so that helped me in those difficult moments because if I didn’t have that thought process, it’d been real easy to go.

Yeah. You know what, this is dangerous. People get hurt. Uh I had one of my instructors pass away in training, you know, he ended up drowning and I was like, ok, this is a very harsh environment and people get hurt and so the mind can buy into that really fast and want to tap out. You know, it’s the same story as like there’s, I love this story of uh this reporter went and he, he interviewed this really successful guy and he said, hey, tell me about your upbringing and he was like, ok, well, my, my dad was an alcoholic, right? It was just me and my twin brother growing up, my dad’s an alcoholic and you know, every day we came home we had to do our own thing and he would drink all day and, you know, and so we pretty much raised each other. And so I decided I was gonna go out in school and create my own business and, and really make it on my own because I didn’t have any other choice. And the, the writer is like, wow, that’s interesting.

What happened to your brother? He’s like, oh, you should go talk to my brother. And so he went and talked to his brother and his brother was an alcoholic. He was homeless and he was on the street. He’s like, oh, what happened? And he’s like, well, you, I didn’t have a choice, right? My dad was an alcoholic. You know, we grew up and we had to make it on our own and it was just me and my brother growing up. And so of course, my dad was an alcoholic and of course I’m gonna become an alcoholic and I don’t have a chance. And so I became an alcoholic and I live on the streets and I always found that fascinating, like, same circumstance, completely different lives because of the story they told themselves. Right? Oh, I can’t do it because I had this upbringing, had no other choice. And then the other brother was like, oh, of course, I chose, I had no other choice because I had this upbringing. So I was gonna go out and make it on my own, I thought, isn’t that fascinating? Right? All these circumstances and it’s like, what story are you gonna tell yourself? What story do you want to believe? And the more I started to believe that if it’s all a story, what story do I want to write for myself?

And so it also has to have contact with reality, right? So stories are great, but we also live in a world that has some rules. And so can your story be compelling enough to inspire you to take action even when your brain freaks out and keep moving and then have it contact with reality, right? It’s interesting that you, um had that at the end because what I was gonna say was like, people can perhaps listen to your answer and then they can sort of say to themselves, right? I’m going to, I’m going to get through this and, you know, there isn’t any other way out for me. I’m going to do it or die basically. But there’s still gonna be people who maybe don’t believe that thing that they’re telling themselves. So if they, is there something that you would say to someone or check somehow, whether they actually believe what they’re telling themselves, oh, belief is easy to see. It’s just a matter of, are you, it, you, it will reveal itself by the massive action you’re willing to take.

So if people are like, I’m gonna start a new business. Ok. Awesome. I believe I can do it. Ok. Awesome. What are you doing to bring that? Well, right now I’m reading these books. We call that passive action. Right. I, I’m learning, I’m going to school, I’m gonna start my business in two years. Right. I know, I, I wanna start it today but, you know, I’ve got to get my degree. It’s like, hm. So you believe you have to get a degree to be able to start your business? And what if you didn’t have to have a degree to start your, but what if you just did it right now? What if you just started getting on the phone and starting soliciting people for business? 00, I don’t know if I could do that. It’s like, ok, then you just don’t believe to that level yet where you would just get on the phone and start making those calls. That’s a level of belief, belief. You’ll, you’ll see it in the amount of action you’re willing to take. So, people, oh, I believe I can do anything. Ok. What type you, you must be taking some massive action. Well, I’ve, uh, I’m just reading books. Right. And it’s like, ok, so, and that, that it’s not wrong to read books, but we just have to understand that, that level of belief just isn’t there because if you truly believe you go, there’s nothing actually I have to learn right now.

But to start taking massive action and we want, and I’m just as guilty of it as anybody I want to play in this world where I can consume and get to play the game of thinking, I believe. Right. Because that feels good. But I’m not courageous enough to take that action to fail. Right. To, and to do it over and over and over again, that massive action because everything in the beginning it looks sloppy. It doesn’t look right. It’s not perfect, right? We wanna hide in our perfection. I used to do all the time with people. I got into real estate and sales and I tell people, you know, Thomas, you understand where I come from. If I make a mistake, people get hurt, people can die. So I can’t just throw things out there and it’s like throw the bullshit flag on myself. Like rich, putting an email out into the world isn’t gonna hurt anybody get over yourself.

But I used to make this story up there. It was like, oh, it was just so big, you know, you just gotta, you gotta be careful, you can’t just, you know, put a website up without it being perfect. And that was just a crafty way of me being fearful and trying to justify my lack of action, right? So it presents itself in a lot of different ways and that’s why when it comes down to it’s like how much action are you taking? How many times are you willing to fail? How many times am I willing to look back bad and keep moving forward? So you can look at your actions and go your massive actions will show you how much you believe in what you’re trying to create. Great answer. Thank you for that. And um just generally speaking, uh serving as a seal. Did you take any lessons away from it that you can share? Oh, absolutely. Uh, teamwork, leadership. So, one of the incredible lessons I got to learn is a brand new guy.

Uh, we’re in, I think it was Mississippi going through a shooting training section and we’re in these swamps and we’re doing these immediate action drills, man down drills. So we’ve got all of our gear on. These guys are heavy, you know, you put the gear on, you know, you’ve got £250 no problem. And we’re doing man down. So somebody, hey, I’ve been shot. So we’re dragging people through these swamps and our, our captain of the seal team wanted to come out and see us. He’s our main guy in charge like, oh, captain’s coming out. Cool. He wants to see us doing our work, make sure we’re, we’re progressing. And when he came out, not only did he show up, not only did he fly out from San Diego where we were stationed out to see us, but he came out with his kid on and he’s like, let’s go and he was jumping in the swamps with us doing immediate action drills, pulling guys out of the swamps and working shoulder to shoulder with us.

And he had been there done that. He’d done it all. But that was one of the greatest lessons on leadership that I learned where he was willing to get into the trenches, work with the guys, not just watch us, but he was in there with us. And I thought, wow, isn’t that amazing? Like demonstrating leadership? He was right in it with us doing the work. And I hadn’t seen something like that before. Usually it was I’m the boss. I come and look at the minions and I tell them what to do and everybody, I, everybody just does what I tell them to do. That’s what I had seen, demonstrate his leadership. And in that, that moment, I saw a whole another aspect of leadership and what’s possible and to gel a team together to know that my leadership is with me, not just looking down at me. And that was, uh that was one of those very visceral moments for me to see leadership in action.

And I really appreciated that and I’ve taken that with me to make sure that as I go through these different positions in leadership that I’m always with the people that I’m leading and participating with and not just looking down and trying to push orders down, right? It’s like, even though you were good 20 years ago. It doesn’t matter in the teams, right? It’s like, what have you done today? What are you doing today? How are you showing up for your team today? The only easy day was when, yesterday, because nothing else matters. Like, what are you doing today? And I’ve, that was one of the greatest demonstrations of leadership that I saw there. And so every day I try to make sure that I’m participating, not only with my teammates at work, but with my family as well. I lead from the front. So I’ve got my gym at home and it’s a home gym and I choose to work out and I, I choose to work out in the morning when my son is getting ready for school.

So when he’s up and he’s starting to get ready, he sees his dad doing the work, not just telling him he should take care of himself, he should eat well. No, I eat well. I shouldn’t have to say anything because what I do speak so much louder than anything I could ever tell him. So I make sure I demonstrate what I want to see in the world. That’s what I believe. Leadership looks like. It’s like I’m doing the things that I would like to see in the world. I don’t tell anybody to do anything that I’m not doing myself or have done or willing to do. And so that puts me in check a lot as well. Right. So it’s like it’s easy for me to be, you know, that armchair quarterback and telling, oh, it should be easier. You should do it this way or this way. And I’m like, first question I ask is, what are you doing? Right. What am I doing before I start going out there and telling people how they should live their life. And so it’s a great filtering mechanism for me to make sure that I don’t get too high on my myself because it’s easy to talk about what things should look like or how they should be.

It gives me a lot more empathy, I think as a leader to really look at myself first and go, where do I fall down? So before I think I’m so great, what am I demonstrating? How am I leading myself? Right. So one of the big things that we focus on is leading the self so that we can serve others good parenting lesson in there as well. Yeah, absolutely. And I really appreciate that. Um And it really humbles me to make sure that like my languages, I use how I speak to my wife, my behavior with her, how we are together, right? He sees it all like, you know, as a kid, we’re we’re just sponges and we take in the energy that we feel like as parents, we want to pretend like, oh we can go into this other room and have a big argument and little Johnny over there will never even know. It’s like here’s everything, experiences, everything and it’s like, who do we want to be?

Right. And so that helps keep me in check. And one more thing with uh leadership and team building, the fastest way to build a team is to put them through a crucible experience, this common suffering. So if you want to get a bunch of individuals, a bunch of random people and you want them in a short period of time to coalesce, right? To come together, you put them in challenging environments or they have to depend on each other and you make them cold, you make them miserable and they will come together or they’ll break apart. But usually people will come together because they need each other, right? Human beings like it’s like, oh, I’ve got such a good team or, you know, I have such good friends. It’s like, do you like the only time they know their friends is we’re at the bar or at the pub, right? Oh, and we’re great mates. I mean, we go, we go out together every Friday night and we go to all the pubs in town.

It’s like, ok, you find out who your friends are when things get difficult, right? When things are challenging. So you go out and you’re like, hey, so what’s going out this Friday night? To the pubs? Let’s go for a run in the park. Let’s go do some burpees for a while. Let’s go do something that absolutely stretches us outside of our comfort zone. And they’re like, well, actually I just wanna be friends with you because I just want a drinking partner. Right. And it’s like, oh, ok. Right. So, if you want to bring people together quickly, put them through common suffering, ideally suffering for a purpose, not just going out there and suffering. right? Because there’s lots of suffering. It’s like, let’s make sure that we’re trained and developing ourselves in a way that we think is meaningful to us. Great point. Um I do want to ask you about when you decide to leave, what that process looks like. So have you got anything significant to share about when you leave the seals? Oh, I think it’s different for each guy.

I was at that point, it was pretty easy for me because I was so focused on what I want to create, competing in golf and my buddies. You know, they’re like, what are you doing? You’ll be back, you’ll be right back. You’re, you’re, you’re coming back, right? But I didn’t. And at that point, it would, it worked out well for me. Uh I had, like I said, I met my, my wife on deployment. I made commitments to her. This is the plan, this is what I want to create. Uh And then when I stopped playing, there was absolutely a time where I’m like, oh, I should just go back into teams one because I was successful in there. I want to go back because when I was in pain of the failure of playing golf and my buddies were out there busy doing the job that we worked so hard to get good at. I was like, oh, man, that would help me feel so much better. But I’d made commitments as well.

And I’m like, hm, no, that’s not the path, make something happen with your commitments. And so it was uh challenging, it was easy to get out. It was more challenging to stay out, especially once I stopped playing golf. So I was just so clear on what I wanted to create. It was, it was more like, oh, here’s what I’m doing just as the same type of commitment, the same type of mindset I had when I was going in, right. Here’s what I want to create. This is what I wanna do. And so for me, it was easier. I didn’t spend 20 years in the teams, right? My identity wasn’t as a, a navy seal. And that’s, I think for a lot of guys, especially when they have long careers, their identity gets tied to the job they have. And so the transition for a lot of military personnel is very difficult because their identity is, I’m a marine, I’m a seal, I’m a pilot, you know, I’m a top gun pilot or whatever. It is.

And then when, again, in the civilian world now they’re just, uh, I’m a retired this and that, or I’m a former this or that. And so their identity is still there. And now of a sudden they don’t have their team that they had before, they don’t have the structure they had before. And it’s just this open possibility and for a lot of people that’s really challenging to transition out of. right? So you take these skills that you’re really good at and a lot of them don’t apply to the civilian world. And so now you have to recreate yourself in a way that’s like, what do I want to be when I grow up? Well, that’s a nice segue because uh the, the next question I was gonna ask you was what’s next? Yeah. So for me, I, I love coaching, I love mentoring. It pushes me to become a better human being. And I get to really challenge myself and then I get to serve people through coaching. Like I, I absolutely love to break people’s brains right? To show them, maybe there’s another perspective in which you can challenge yourself, right?

And then to be able to put them in a position where they get to choose, right? Like as a coach, I come with a lot of questions, I have no answers, right? So I challenge, I tell people they’ve got all the answers they need already within them. And then we just peel back a lot of the garbage that we’ve piled on to ourselves because we think that’s what we should be doing. Right? A man my age of this generation should have this type of career. You know, this many kids, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s like, are you strong enough to look in the mirror going? That’s not what I want this. Like, do I have the courage to say rich? This is what I really want, but I’m scared and I don’t know if I can do it awesome. Now we’ve got something worthwhile, right? So they can let go of all the bullshit going. Well, you know what? My parents want me to be a doctor. So I became a doctor and now I make really good money and I’m miserable.

I hate being a doctor but I can’t get out. Wow! Ok. And so it’s like we, everybody I coach, like, I’ve had the, the good fortune, be able to coach a lot of different people from professional athletes. Like I got to coach some of the most incredible athletes in the national hockey league and got to work with one of the NHL teams and work with their AAA team as well and create that team culture. And I have gotten to work with some of the uh bankers, largest financial institutions in the world. I get to work with veterans with post traumatic stress and they’re coming back from combat and have done and seen things that you wouldn’t wish on anybody. And at the end of the day, the common nominator is they all just want to become better, they just want to become better versions of themselves and each person is different and each person is the same in that regard. Right? Like when you get to get rid of all these titles and all things that look really good, it’s like we’re just human beings trying to figure it out. And do we have the courage to pursue the things that we really want or do we just fall in line with the pressures of the outside world life goes by fast if you don’t do the things you really wanna do.

And are you really clear on what you wanna do? Let’s go. I do think um having a life coach who was a Navy Seal is you probably got quite a significant advantage there if you, if you have that. So, um I guess thank you for, for doing that and helping people um for people who want to get in touch with you, where can they find you? And then also, do you have any closing thoughts for us today? I’m grateful uh to have this time to speak with you, Thomas. And I’m just grateful for the time that we live in right now, like just incredible opportunities and possibilities that we have in front of us. And so these are exciting times that we’re going through and if you don’t feel that way, why would you choose not to, because it’s just a choice. Everything is just a choice. And if you believe that to be true, right? If it’s just a choice, what would you choose if you could, uh, people can reach me at UVUcoaching.com?

So you versus you and then on the website it’s UVU coaching. So it’s always you versus you. It’s not anything outside of you. It’s just you versus you, Richard. Thanks for being a great guest today. Oh, thank you, Thomas. I appreciate you.