What does it take to command a team of elite individuals?
It requires a commitment to seven key principles: Courage, Trust, Respect, Growth, Excellence, Resiliency, and Alignment. All of these are present in an elite team that commits to them deeply in order to forge the character worthy of uncommon success.
In his new book, Staring Down the Wolf: 7 Leadership Commitments That Forge Elite Teams, retired Navy SEAL Commander, entrepreneur, and New York Times bestselling author Mark Divine—founder of SEALFIT, NavySeal.com, and Unbeatable Mind, (who first joined me on the episode “Secrets Of The Navy Seals: How To Train, Eat & Think Like The World’s Toughest Fighters“)—reveals what makes the culture of an elite team and how to get your own team to commit to serving at an elite level. Using principles he learned on the battlefield, training SEALs, and in his own entrepreneurial and growth company ventures, Mark knows what it like is to lead elite teams and how easily the team can fail by breaching these commitments.
Mark believes that elite teams challenge themselves to step up every day to do the uncommon. Developing the principles yourself and aligning your team around these commitments will allow you to thrive in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) environments, no matter your background or leadership experience.
Drawing from his 20 years leading SEALs, 25 years of success and failure in entrepreneurship, and 10 years coaching corporate clients, Mark has a very unique perspective that will allow you to unlock the tremendous power of your team.
During this discussion, you’ll discover:
-What a Kokoro event is…6:15
- Modeled after Navy SEAL hell week
- Round-the-clock training for 7 days straight
- Hell week typically cuts a class in half
- “It’s not a challenge, it’s a transformation”
- The event:
- 50 hours non-stop physical, mental, emotional training
- Team environment
- Led by SEAL like instructors certified by Mark
- The intent is to build a new breed of warrior
- Mark was a black-belt in karate, as well as a student of zen prior to his time in the Navy
- This allowed him to tap into his “inner voice” and pursue a military career (a warrior)
- Book: 8 Weeks to SEALFIT: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Unconventional Training for Physical and Mental Toughness
- Two key sayings:
- “You come to Kokoro to meet your true self for the first time”- connecting yourself to a deeper sense of why you are doing things, you learn to say NO to people/things that are distracting you
- “Life before Kokoro is very different from life after Kokoro” – creates a whole new paradigm, a transformation of consciousness
- “Kokoro” is from the Samurai legend: merge heart and mind into your action
- You’re capable of 20x more if you lead with your heart and head into your actions—and be part of a team
- Those who focus on individual achievement suffer the most, drop out the earliest, etc.
- Most important thing is “teamability” – how are you taking care of your teammates: a consciousness thing, not a tactic or strategy
-The philosophy behind Kokoro events…19:50
- Studied martial arts under Tadashi Nakamura
- Ken Wilber: Founder of Integral Theory
- Regular personal development is horizontal: acquiring skills that make you more efficient and effective, but it doesn’t change who you are
- SEAL Fit and Kokoro training is vertical: You acquire skills that are designed to shift your perspective of who you are, your relationship to the world and other human beings: a more world-centric rather than an egocentric perspective
- Unbeatable Mind and SEAL Fit are patterned after Ken Wilber’s theories and philosophy
- Five domains of the training:
-How box breathing is different from other forms of breathwork…28:00
- BGF podcast with James Nestor, author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
- The breath is the bridge between the body, mind, and spirit
- Wim Hof is focused on the physiological benefits; not recommended as a daily practice
- Holotropic breathwork is recommended once per month max
- “Breath is moving mental energy”
- Alternate nostril breathing promotes balance in your thinking (stimulates left and right hemispheres of the brain alternately) – okay to do daily
- Kapalbhati: breath of fire – okay to do daily (use code BEN to save 20%)
- Box breathing:
- The beginning of a deep meditation practice
- Mechanism to calm the body and brain down (physiological response)
- Do it first thing while lying in bed
- Helps activate parasympathetic nervous system post-workout
- Effective in dealing with stressful situations
- Morozko Forge cold pool (use code BENFORGE to save $150)
- Daily box breathing leads to a deep destressing
- Most people breathe sub-optimally
- Always breathe through the nostrils as much as possible
- Book: Coherent Breathing by Stephen Elliot
- Slows down brain waves, and thoughts racing through the brain
-Why zen and mindfulness are not more widely practiced in the extreme fitness community…46:30
-How social media has skewed the efficacy of the SEAL training programs and mentality…54:40
- People like Jocko Willink and David Goggins teach leadership and motivation, not physical fitness
- Focus is on the “performance zone” i.e. workouts, doing stuff
- Focus on potential as well as performance leads to the 20x factor
-Why slow is smooth, and smooth is fast…59:30
- Mark had a parachuting accident in the Navy
- Had 9 seconds to react and save his own life
- He felt as though he had all the time in the world due to employing breathwork, deploying emergency equipment that had been rehearsed, etc.
- “Time is a perception”
- Flow on demand: shift perception of time
- Practice slow, with perfect form in your mind
- Integrate movement with breath, spinal alignment, and mindfulness
- Big 4 skills:
- Breath control
- Positive self-talk
- Task orientation on micro-tasks
-Two phrases from Mark’s book that stuck out to Ben…1:11:20
- Shugyo: Japanese word for “practice” i.e. a life practice
- Allow you to involve, tap into and become your most complete self
- Pratyahara: Developing greater sensory awareness of your surroundings, both external and internal
- Situational awareness
- Training right hemisphere of the brain
- Internal sensory awareness
-Mark’s fascination with wolves…1:17:20
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
– Mark Divine:
– BGF podcast and articles:
– Other resources:
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