A Memorable Self-Growth Lesson About #Values From Two U.S. Navy SEALs
Way back — yeah, waaaaay back — in March ’93, me and 5,000+ other salty, swinging d*ks were experiencing twenty-degree rolls inside one of the biggest, most powerful ships the world has ever seen.
In this case, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) — also known by crew members as “the Big Stick” or within the U.S. Navy simply as TR.
The ‘Storm of the Century’ was rearing it’s ugly head just as we left Norfolk, Virginia.
Forget that the entire East coast was blacked out or not; monstrous waves or not, we had a mission come hell or high water (literally, in this case)… and on March 11th 1993, nuclear reactors at full throttle, we hit the Atlantic with no fear.
Except for those of us who just..well.. sadly… had never been on a ship before.
How bad could it be right? A SuperCarrier can’t take those kind of side-to-side rolls ! (yeah, ok — see picture above).
As soon as we were in the strait of Gibraltar, en route to the serene Mediterranean sea, I meekly went up to the flight deck where I had a chance to catch up with a SEAL detachment I was doing Cryptography fills* for.
(* = electronic intelligence shit that was cross-checked with the ships Signals Exploitation Space; an oddly dark place with green glowing screens where I worked. On the wall was our slogan: In God We Trust. All Other’s We Monitor).
Anyway, I asked these two overly-calm SEALs what they were doing in their own little ‘off limits’ hideaway cave (right below the gallery deck) when the ship was pitching & rolling across the Atlantic.
SEAL #1: Training!
ME: As in physical?
SEAL #2: No, MENTAL!
ME: Whaaaatt… you guys were meditating and chanting the whole way across… ya claiming that THAT helped you into not getting sea sick, like 25 percent of the crew?
SEAL #2: Funny GOSS — Nooooo! We were doing Leadership training, via video conference, with SOCOM!
ME: WTF? Really?
SEAL #1: It takes a sharp mind, knowing ourselves from the inside out, being raw as we can be with our team… it’s all a daily exercise as a special operator.
ME: Speccccialll…. Dat you are muthhaaaafuccccccka [ fist bump extended to prevent getting slammed to the deck ]
So, the punch-line here? Their DEEPER insight?
Well, it comes down to the idea that they are tasked rigorously to be transparent with their feelings.
Ahem.. Yup… I almost choked too.
You read the right.
These trained killers have to be in touch with ALL of their feeeelings!
The positive and negative — excited / bored; brave / afraid; amused / depressed, etc. You get the deal.
But, basically, they don’t sizzle thru missions, like a sharp knife through butter, without FIRST commanding (and being commanded) from the HEART!
There’s an ethical code that makes them both a good teammate and a good leader. When things go wrong, they look within and seek to better themselves personally and collectively.
The whole #values thing?
They actually have to keep each other in check constantly by asking themselves this question:
“WHAT DO I WANT MORE — OR LESS — OF IN MY LIFE?”
If you’ve ever watched an episode of The UNIT (2006 to 2009), starring Dennis Haysbert, then you certainly know how skewed personal character and interpersonal conflict will affect a mission — one composed of 5 to 10 dudes all needing to operate as close to ONE mind, ONE heart, ONE soul!
So, check it… do you want a way to clarify and have conviction about what will help you stand your ground DAILY?
Just ask yourself the above question shown in all CAPS.
Then, answer, like this:
>> I want to be MORE:
* Loving and passionate
* Grateful and truthful
* Playful and fun
>> I want to be LESS:
* Negative and judgmental
* Attached and controlling
That’s it baaaaby!
Don’t complicate it.
Fill in your own MORE and LESS answers and you’ve just figured out your VALUES
Now how do you hold firm to the boundaries that need to be placed around your values.
Uhmm, that’s a whole other post.
Until then, be sure to give your nearest Veteran a big hug this November 11th.
And, if you need a bit of inspiration to do that, watch the short video I Fought For You…