Think Like a Navy SEAL
This is not your typical career: after graduation, start as a CPA with a prestigious accounting firm, then go back to school at night for an MBA at NYU Stern School of Business, and leave it all behind to become a Navy SEAL. After full-time active duty, show your entrepreneurial side by co-founding Coronado Brewing Company, NavySEALS.com, and then other businesses like SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind.
That’s the unconventional career of Mark Divine.
I love to learn from people with varied experiences, and Mark is in a rare category. Of all the people I’ve met, no one has quite this type of resume.
His book, The Way of the SEAL, caught my attention a few years ago, and he is now re-releasing it in a second edition.
Truth be told, I’d much rather read his book than go through his brutal training program!
I recently caught up with him to talk about his work and his new book.
You were already a successful consultant when you decided to join the Navy and become the best as a SEAL. What drove you to make this decision?
Shortly after starting my job as a CPA and consultant with PriceaterhouseCoopers (I was with Coopers at the time), I began a practice of Zen meditation with a martial arts grandmaster. Though I was a competitive athlete growing up and in college, meditation was new to me, and at 21 years old it had a powerful neuroplastic effect on my mind’s development. What I experienced as a result of extended practice over several years was increasing clarity and ability to see how the choices I had made subconsciously had driven me into this career that I did not feel inspired by. So I began to challenge all of my assumptions and see them as biased. Then I pondered different questions, such as what is my true purpose or calling in life? I found that what I was called to do was serve as a warrior and leader… and the SEALs became my new focus. This experience taught me the powerful truth that we must all align with our calling, or what Buddha called “dharma,” to find true fulfillment in life.
Think Like an Elite Warrior
The subtitle of your book is “Think like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed.” A powerful statement. How is our thinking directly tied to leadership?
We are all leaders and followers… leading our family, our corporate tribe or ourselves. Whether we do it well is another issue. To think like an elite warrior means to train your body-mind to be able to excel in an environment that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. All Special Operators become masters in “VUCA” environments, and the business world is becoming a lot like the battlefield of the Spec Ops warrior (albeit less risky). If the corporate and entrepreneurial leader can learn to find clarity amidst the uncertainty and take powerful action in spite of ambiguity, then they will lead and succeed at an elite level.
Leadership Tip: Find clarity amidst uncertainty. Take action in spite of ambiguity.