Most people aren’t born great leaders. However, there’s one organization that often produces incredible entrepreneurs and startup power players in the private sector – the Navy SEALs – and Jeff Boss is living proof.
After serving as a SEAL for 13 years, Jeff uses the principles he learned to help people build businesses, become better leaders, and find their purpose through leadership and team coaching.
Jeff knows how to persevere through challenges and adversity – even when faced with setbacks, do-overs, and disappointments. He helps team players thrive under chaos, position themselves for success, and build organizations that are efficient, powerful, and positioned to grow. He is a regular contributor to Forbes, the author of a new book called Navigating Chaos, and the host of a new podcast called Shut Up and Show Up – all of which are incredible resources for anyone looking to transform their business.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
[00:00:37] Andrew: Welcome, everybody, to another episode of Your Wealth & Beyond. I’m your host, Andrew Rafal, and today we’ve got a fantastic show lined up. The reason is simple: it’s our guest. I’m excited to introduce you all to Jeff Boss. Jeff is somebody that I’ve known a long time since our days growing up on the East Side of Cleveland but more than that it’s somebody that I highly respect for what he did for this country, serving in the Navy SEALs. He was deployed eight times to Iraq and Afghanistan and what Jeff’s going to bring today is not only his experiences within the Navy SEALs, goes through items such as being shot at, parachute not opening up four times, two in one day, and really just navigating chaos and how to keep your team together.
So, what Jeff has done as he’s now become a leadership guru, helping businesses and CEOs become better leaders and team building, he brings that experience from the Navy SEAL into the corporate world, and as business owners, we’re all striving for success and keeping the team on the same mission. As an author and a podcaster, Jeff has some great ideas that he’s going to bring to making sure that you are the best leader you can be and that your team is on track for a purpose. Without further ado, my podcast today with Jeff Boss.
[00:02:03] Andrew: Welcome, everybody, to another episode of Your Wealth & Beyond. I’m your host, Andrew Rafal, and today I am super excited to introduce all of you to somebody that I respect thoroughly and that I’ve known actually for a very long time. Jeff Boss, welcome to the Your Wealth & Beyond Podcast. How are you doing today?
[00:02:26] Jeff: Hey, thanks a lot. Thanks a lot for having me, Andy. It’s been a while but I’m doing great and you’ve got a great show here. Love what you’re doing so thank you.
[00:02:34] Andrew: And thank you and before we get started, I just wanted to take the time to really thank you and your teams over the years for everything you did for this country. So, we’re going to dig into a lot of that stuff today, but I really appreciate everything that you did over those 15 years so awesome stuff, man.
[00:02:52] Jeff: Thank you. Thanks a lot.
[00:02:53] Andrew: And as the listeners know that Your Wealth & Beyond Podcast is really built to help entrepreneurs, business owners build their business, become a better leader, find purpose, and having Jeff on today is so perfect because that’s what he lives and breathes and we’re going to dig in today on some of the principles that Jeff that you used at your time as a team member in the Navy SEALs and now in the private sector of your passion to help business owners become better leaders. And I think and probably from your experiences what you see with leaders a lot of times entrepreneurs, they’re not that great of a leader and they need some guidance and that’s something that I don’t – they just don’t teach that in school.
[00:03:41] Jeff: No. It’s not something you really can teach. It really just comes from experience but there’s also got to be that will to become better. To go back to what you mentioned earlier about entrepreneurs, you’re exactly right because what typically happens with a lot of startups that I see and even with promotions in large companies, you’re promoted where you start a company based on what you know on your skills, on your subject matter expertise but that doesn’t necessarily transfer to leading others, to bringing people together and to forming a team that can carry out and execute that product flawlessly. So, that’s a huge gap but the ones who bridge that gap, sustaining growth and the ones who don’t kind of flounder and fail.
[00:04:24] Andrew: So, you’ve obviously got this passion for being better yourself every day and for teaching those to business owners and employees and to just people in general but before we jump in and go through your philosophies, can we walk the listeners through a little bit of who Jeff Boss is? As we mentioned in the intro, over 15 years’ experience dedication within the Navy SEALs and protecting the country and doing many things that we’ll never really know truly what you guys did to help us but walk us through kind of what led you down that path. How did you know at a young age or if you knew at a young age that you wanted to be a Navy SEAL? And kind of walk us through how you got to that point and we’ll go from there.
[00:05:08] Jeff: Yeah. I always knew what my purpose was. Actually, I knew what I didn’t want to do. Actually, I started with that. I knew, nothing wrong with it, but I didn’t want to wear a suit and tie. I didn’t want to work in an office, didn’t want to sit in a cubicle and just pull my hair out and just do mindless stuff. Like I said, nothing wrong with it. I’m totally good with it now but at the time it just wasn’t the path for me. So, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be the best at it and I wanted to see action, so I figured SEALs are it. There’s one group out there that seems to do all this and they’re awesome at it and that’s what I wanted to do. So, I went to – and that was in high school. As you know, I knew ever since high school what I wanted to do. So, I went to enlist after high school and I couldn’t because I had a skin irritation that prevented me from enlisting. They didn’t know if it was contagious or not so whatever. That actually turned out to be the best sort of draw or event because it forced me to go to college. Thank God.
So, went to college. Graduated in about three-and-a-half years from Ohio State. Thank you very much. And then I joined the SEALs after that and then went through BUD/S. Had a setback with a stress fracture in my femur midway through Hell Week. Got sent back to day one. Went through it again. Went to SEAL Team Four. Did two deployments there before I screened for another SEAL team which the public knows entirely too much about now which is Naval Special Warfare Development Group that everybody knows as a SEAL Team Six. Went through selection for that which is very similar to the selection process for BUD/S except on an operational level. Did six more deployments there, total of eight. Got shot on two of them. Deployed mainly to Iraq and Afghanistan. Other places had four – this is crazy – four times my parachute didn’t open. I’ve done hundreds of free fall jumps. Four times my parachute didn’t open. It didn’t matter who packed it. I packed them. Professional riggers packed it.
[00:07:08] Jeff: That’s just my dumb luck but walked away from those. Lost a number of friends including my best friend and I got to the point over at the end of 13 years that it wasn’t what we were doing that really got to me. It actually became what we weren’t doing anymore. It kind of goes back to purpose because when I signed up, I knew that I wanted to be a SEAL and I knew why I wanted to be a SEAL and I knew what we’re doing was important. And so, through all these, I gave a talk and I share all these peaks and valleys throughout my career and equate it to the audience but the takeaways for returning for two all those sorts of crazy elements and what kept me going that going and returning despite getting shot, despite losing friends, despite my parachute not opening, what kept me returning wasn’t like the superhuman resilience that people like to equate the SEALs. It was really two things that I’ve realized that really come down to what compels people to return back to chaos and it’s having a team to return to, the people and having a mission that you believe in to return to.
And so, when that mission changed, that’s when I left because I didn’t feel that I belonged to it. So, that’s what I do now is translate and share those experiences through the leadership and team coaching with private companies. Because what I find is that people, teams, organizations, we all define success differently as we should but the means by which we all go about succeeding is always the same. It requires leadership, teamwork, communication, decision-making.
[00:08:38] Andrew: And thank you for that high-level overview and what you just said, a lot of great nuggets that I want to dig into but when you think about – I read in your book, the Navigating Chaos, which we’ll touch on some of the key points of that later on, you had mentioned that in one of the chapters kind of the motto for the SEALs is first the mission then the team and then the individual. And if you look at that and I was thinking in terms of me as a business owner and you listeners as a business owner, linking that from what you did in your model there to what a successful business is all about, would you say that you could interconnect that and cross those over to show why you guys were successful what you did and then in businesses why they are successful because they have a common mission?
[00:09:25] Jeff: Yeah. Absolutely. So, that whole mission team individual flow, it’s a priority of thought. You always put the mission first, and then the team that executes that mission ends in the individual who supports that team. It’s always in that priority and the flow 99% of the time. At the same time, we’re not going to accept a mission that’s going to pose an imminent threat to force. We’re not going to accept a suicide mission. It just wouldn’t make sense. So, that’s when you put team ahead of the mission. So, there’s no 100% solution but that’s the general thought process of and not just the SEAL but I would say military in general. It’s service-minded.
When you equate that to organizations, when I go in and I’ll ask, say you got like the head of sales, the head of marketing, the head of finance, whatever, get them all in a room, ask them how the organization that they’re a part of define success, you get three different answers. Because they don’t share that. They don’t have any sort of process to communicate across silos because they’re so nearly focused on their own. They’re so focused on what they do and not on what each other does and it’s not because they don’t care. They just don’t have a process for it and they may not necessarily see what market is doing, is impacting sales but obviously, it completely does because organizations are one big system.
[00:10:45] Andrew: And that would be also for, I mean, whether it’s a small one or two-person company that’s just getting going and a medium company and then you’ve got employees with hundreds and hundreds of employees. You’ve kind of seen that where that type of success or failure, it doesn’t matter how or where you are in the zone of building your company but that you’ve seen at in both sides in both small and large?
[00:11:08] Jeff: Oh, yeah. From say the startup up through the Fortune 500. What it really comes down to is awareness. You ought to know at a granular level what each other is doing which certainly have to be aware of it because if you don’t then duplicative efforts arise, you waste time, you waste money, you waste mindshare to doing things that other departments are probably doing as you don’t even know about simply because there wasn’t any sort of communication process to identify.
[00:11:34] Andrew: I know you gloss over it kind of quickly and we could spend a whole show in regard to your career with the SEALs, but I want to go back to the training and you had indicated with BUD/S that you had it, you had a setback, you had a stress fracture. So, I know a lot of it had been publicized in movies and we’re not going to dig into the nuts and bolts of what you did on a daily basis especially like in a Hell Week but what did you do to persevere there and as you went through this training and then all of a sudden you got hit with this adversity, the stress factor. What does that mean? Can you kind of walk the listener through what that meant to you and how you had to pick yourself up and refocus and stay true to what your passion was?
[00:12:16] Jeff: Yeah. That was definitely a low point. That kind of sucked. It sucked because when you start something as intense as BUD/S training, as SEAL training, you want to finish with the class that you start with because when you had those crazy just transformative experiences with a certain, with guys, with the team, you want to stay with them. And so, when I was rolled back to day one, I was just completely shocked. I was so just depressed, I was angry, I was sad. It’s like you know why, why is this happening? Because I know I’m going to be a SEAL. So, why the delay? Well, what kept me on track was two things. I knew what I wanted to do, and I knew what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to go to the fleet. Nothing wrong with it but sitting on a ship for six to eight months at a time is not for me and so there’s really one only option that’s to put all sort of emotion aside and just put your head down and keep going.
[00:13:12] Andrew: What did that mean? And you said going back, roll back to day one, yeah, so how far were you or close were you to the goal line? And then what did that mean stepping back to day one? It was basically starting brand new again, a new class?
[00:13:26] Jeff: Yeah. Starting off in a new class but Hell Week is the third week of BUD/S. BUD/S is roughly six to seven months. So, it’s the beginning but it’s also a pretty intense selection point in BUD/S. It’s not the only selection point. We actually lost more guys in my second class after Hell Week than we did before and during Hell Week, but I was rolled back Wednesday morning of Hell Week. I think when you get to like Wednesday afternoon they roll you forward so I missed it by just a matter of hours and I was rolled back to day one. The first few weeks of BUD/S are just intense physical conditioning so what it meant for me to be rolled back was I would just more Log PT, more running around with boats on your head, and repeating those first couple of days of Hell Week.
[00:14:13] Andrew: Well, I’ll tell you, you still stay true to that passion because if anybody’s following your Instagram and all of this would be in the show notes along with some great calls to action that we’ll be able to do but pretty intense, man. It gets me motivated, get the kettle ball going, I’m ready to rock and roll at the gym after seeing some of your videos there. So, keep up with that.
[00:14:33] Jeff: Oh, do you? Cool.
[00:14:34] Andrew: Yeah. It’s good stuff there. So, you think about and I think I heard maybe on one of your podcast and it makes perfect sense, but you think about what you guys learn your team as training and then through the different missions that you’re on, why is there so much when those of you get out of the service and you get to the private sector that so many SEAL team members become entrepreneurs or thrive in a startup type of environment. What do you think is the catalyst for that?
[00:15:08] Jeff: You know what it is? It’s because we know what it’s like to live without rules. It’s exactly what it is and working for somebody else just sucks because it’s not your rules. I can’t think of – there’s few guys, nothing wrong it, few guys who actually work for a larger company. I worked for a management consulting firm for about a year-and-a-half before I was like, “All right. I’m out of here. I got to do my own thing.” Because I just felt that I could do things better, but I believe, I think that’s exactly it, plus there’s a small team aspect. Startups are small teams and our entire career, our entire upbringing in the SEALs was always centered around a small team and so that’s exactly what the startups are. You have the opportunity to create, innovate, to make decisions on your own and that’s exactly what SEAL teams are about. SEALs are very, very creative.
The SEALs were actually when I was in DEVGRU, it was a very, very entrepreneurial culture. If you can rationalize a reason to bring in an outside vendor for training or whatever, make it happen then you can do it and when guys get out and they leave, and they go work for a larger company, they don’t have that sort of luxury, so I think that’s what lures them into becoming an entrepreneur.
[00:16:20] Andrew: And how many years were you in the SEALs?
[00:16:22] Jeff: Thirteen.
[00:16:23] Andrew: Okay. So, what led you then? Was it just time for you to go on to the next chapter? When did you finally realized that, “I’ve done what I needed to do, and I needed to move on?”
[00:16:33] Jeff: Yeah. A couple of things. So, when I got my master’s in organizational leadership, I did it while we were training or we were deploying. It was a distance-based degree but I wanted to apply it and I knew I always been into leadership development and improvement and so I wanted to translate how we operated and just the lessons and experiences from the teams to business because I knew they translated. I didn’t know how yet at the time, but I knew that they would – it would just be a matter of semantics. I thought the degree would help me. It did to a certain extent and so I got to the point that I just wanted to – it just got boring. Honestly, you go out on a couple of hundred targets after the same kind of shit and it just gets old.
[00:17:18] Andrew: It’s amazing that I guess in anything, it gets old. It’s something that complacency, doing the same thing over and over again, I mean, obviously business is a lot different than what you were experiencing on a day-to-day basis but that’s so interesting to hear that even in that from those that have never been in your shoes to think that it ever became complacent is just it’s mind blowing but I see it. It does make sense that obviously you’ve got more on the line than getting bored in business, but I think that rings true in all parts and that’s interesting for you to hear.
[00:17:50] Jeff: It’s very true because you playing basketball games, the next game is going to be another basketball game. It’s the same thing. And for me, I was getting complacent for sure despite all the crazy shit that happened to me. I knew that that wasn’t a place for me to be complacent because then I was a liability for the team. And the mission changed. The mission was a new mission that I just didn’t believe in, so it was just time for me to leave.
[00:18:16] Andrew: Yeah. The term of 13 years doing it day in and day out, you think about what Lebron James has been doing for 15 years day in and day out and staying the top and the best, I mean, that just that kind of even instills that legendary status of him and obviously everything he does is around the passion and 15 years doing it. You’re doing it 13 years. Business owners in and out doing it for all those years. And it’s hard to wake up every day and say, “You know what, it’s game time,” and so it’s just incredible to see what he keeps doing. So, I digress back. So, when you think about some of the trials and tribulations that you face, and I think you lead that into the leadership or when you’re teaching leadership to business owners, in your book you talk about this, I guess, again this mantra of shoot, move, and communicate. Can you kind of take us down the road of how you take from what you’ve learned in the Navy SEALs and how that can be utilized to be an effective leader and to build a bigger and better business?
[00:19:19] Jeff: Yeah. We could go on a number of different pathways here but in the context of the book, there are three things that we needed to do on the battlefield both as individuals and as a team in order to win. We needed to shoot, we needed to move, we needed to communicate together and as sole operators. So, when you translate that to business, I’ve developed, if we were to break down each of those, shoot, move, and communicate into how each one of those applies to business, I don’t know if you’ve ever shot a gun before but when you like bullets don’t just find their target like they do in Hollywood. It takes a lot of focus, a lot of physical, and mental and sometimes emotional alignment to pull the trigger and make sure it’s a small smooth pull and make sure that the bullet finds its target. It takes a lot of focus, it takes a lot of mental prowess, it takes a lot of physical actual stability.
So, what I did was boil it down to four different elements that really define or actually consist of us and how we show up just in life. In every single situation of life were all made up of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual capacities and so those four elements kind of determine how we perform. And I’m kind of generalizing here but that’s what I boiled down from shoot. When you move into the move domain, all it took was that say for example we’re in a gunfight. We’re receiving incoming fire from an enemy. We need to move. We need to move from where we are to where we need to be in order to keep our strategic advantage. It’s adapting to the moment. So, I equate a move to adaptability and communicating is just that, communication, but also, it’s a degree of leadership as well.
[00:21:05] Andrew: So, when you look at the first aspect to shooting and you see how smooth it is, it just doesn’t happen overnight so to get that performance it’s about training, it’s about putting the time in to be successful, whatever you’re doing and so when you look at a business and a business owner, being a leader doesn’t just happen overnight. I struggle with it as my team is growing and I know what I’m good at and to be a leader like we talked about earlier, they’re not teaching it in school and I think some have the gift. Most don’t have it innately. They lead from what I’ve seen successful lives is they lead by example and they put the time in to be the best that they can be. So, would you correlate that then that performance to whatever you’re doing whether you’re an athlete, whether you’re in the Navy SEALs, whether you’re the best business owner that to be that – to have that look of the smoothness of the shooting is about putting the time in to get there?
[00:22:01] Jeff: Absolutely. You got to put the time in every single day. Whether you like it or not, you got to put in the time, but it also comes with identifying the end state, identifying what that target looks like and then working backwards for how you’re going to hit it. Because leadership looks differently to different people so when you work with those different people, it’s important to determine what that shared definition of success looks like so that when they’re looking at you, they realize that you’re not micromanaging. You’re doing this for a reason.
[00:22:28] Andrew: And then when you look at the move and the adaptation, you talk through a lot on chaos, one of your podcasts, The Chaos Cast, right? So, inevitably when we look at anything and especially business, business is ever-changing whether you’re a small business or you’re a mature business, I don’t want to correlate it to go into battle, but would you say that going to business it’s every day there are going to be new challenges. And to become the best and stay on top, you’re going to have to weather storms and that’s going to be being able to understand where chaos is and how to thrive in that environment. So, how do you prepare a leader to be able to lead their team? What are some of the ways that we can teach a leader to have their teammates, their employees thrive in an area of chaos which is the norm for all businesses?
[00:23:19] Jeff: Yeah. It comes back to a daily grind. We can’t just give people the tools. One thing, they need to want to sort of have those tools and then, two, leader guys set the conditions for that sort of motivation to occur. I can’t motivate you. You can’t motivate me because motivation is intrinsic but what we can do as leaders is set those conditions. Where I typically start with team leaders, for example, is looking at the conditions that allow for teamwork or that prevent it. 60% to 70% of the effectiveness of the teams can be traced back to the conditions that set that team up for success, to begin with. 30% comes from how that team is launched. Only 10% comes from outside coaching so setting those conditions is the majority of effectiveness which are huge.
What those conditions I remember from the book, the 5Cs, clarity, competence, confidence, and curiosity and that it’s probably too much to go into each one of those for this podcast but starting off with why the team exists, what they do and why, what they do is important. A lot of times, most of the teams that I see, they don’t have that sort of clarity as to what they’re doing, I mean, at a granular level and why, and by that, I mean, there’s ambiguity and rules, responsibilities, right? There’s unclear membership. Sometimes when an SVP thinks that they’re a member of a team just because of their roller position, it completely disrupts the team’s dynamics and therefore its results because membership wasn’t clear, to begin with. So, getting those conditions right from the get-go is what sets that team up for success.
[00:24:55] Andrew: And so that comes with that communication which I think a lot of leaders aren’t that great and they just communicating the message, the mission to the top to the bottom. What are some tips that you can give real high-level today to be a better communicator for the company as a whole so that everybody is motivated and understands the mission that’s at hand for the business?
[00:25:19] Jeff: You just hit on something really important is communicating from top to bottom and that’s the usual perspective because we operate in like hierarchy so if we think very literally but one of the best learning lessons at least that I took away from JSOC was when we shifted from communicating top down to communicating across because when you communicate across, you hit every single node in between you and the recipient so that everybody understands what’s going on and why. Now, if I just communicate top down and say between myself and the recipient, nobody else is going to know but when you communicate across, then you build that shared context and that awareness that enables others to go make decisions that you need to decide upon.
[00:26:04] Andrew: Excellent. You’ve helped a lot of companies, a lot of employees a lot of leaders over the years and if you were to think about put yourself in the employee shoes and looking up to the leader, what do you think they’re looking for? What does that, again, whether it be in the military, whether it be a business but what is that person or that group of people looking for in a leader to motivate them?
[00:26:26] Jeff: What are they looking for in a leader? They’re looking for leaders to give them opportunity because everybody wants to flourish, everybody wants to get out there and be effective, be successful in what they do and when they don’t find those opportunities, when a leader stifles development opportunities or they just don’t communicate with them or they don’t ask them questions as to how they can show up better the next day, those employees are going to find somewhere else where they can flourish so that they missed that belonging piece. I think at a very human level, people don’t want to work. They want to belong. They want to belong to somewhere where work is just a byproduct of it and I don’t mean like doing hard work. I enjoy working. I’m sure you do too but I enjoy working in something that I belong to and believe in and I think that’s what everybody is looking for. That’s what they’re looking for leaders to create those conditions of.
[00:27:19] Andrew: Yeah. You think in terms of right now where we are in the economic expansion, I mean, unemployment is at an all-time low. So, you’ve got now really, it’s of an employee market out there so if you’re not doing everything you can and as you said, it’s not so much about how much you’re paying them, for some it is but I think for the vast majority especially for these younger millennials, it’s about the experience, it’s about being part of something. And you hit it on the head there which is providing that opportunity where so many leaders forget that and if they’re micromanaging because I think from my standpoint I think most entrepreneurs in the beginning stages are so hands-on, it’s their baby, and they are micromanaging things to the tenth degree and that stifles growth. I think we all face that. Would you say that you’ve seen that with businesses that maybe aren’t succeeding and moving as fast as they could? Is that there’s that micromanagement and not allowing these employees to flourish?
[00:28:17] Jeff: Totally. I actually just wrote an article on Forbes the other day about how to manage a micromanager. You’re absolutely right. Those entrepreneurs, those leaders, they just can’t get out of their own way or that they don’t know how to get out of their own way. It’s for example with an entrepreneur, if an entrepreneur comes up with a great idea like you said, it’s their baby and so trusting somebody else with their baby is a big step and that oftentimes kind of requires learning how to trust others. You need to trust them with, how to set up decision-making boundaries so that five people are making the same decision or kind of encroaching on the same space but, yeah, it’s absolutely setting up, identifying those conditions for trust.
[00:29:01] Andrew: Okay. So, let’s talk a little bit about adversity. In all walks of life, we face adversity and I know you glossed over in the beginning but if we could touch on kind of the adversity you faced especially with two aspects, being deployed eight times and I believe you mentioned with regards to a parachute four times did not basically go as planned, is that accurate, when you were jumping?
[00:29:28] Jeff: Four times my parachute was less than ideal. Yeah.
[00:29:31] Andrew: Okay. So, let’s walk through this because I bungee jump. I never skydive. I know a lot of the listeners have skydived. Obviously, a lot different skydiving then. What you did with I don’t know much weight is on your back when you’re going and doing that but how do you – and I know we could spend a whole hour going through the emotions going through it but your first time you jumped, so what’s happening? You go to pull the chute and it doesn’t work?
[00:29:56] Jeff: And it doesn’t work. Normally, there’s a pilot chute that opens up and it catches wind and that pilot chute is what pulls open the canopy out of the container and you feel it but this time I didn’t feel it. And so, I’m falling in and I’m like, “What is going on?” I’m looking over my shoulder and I don’t see a canopy. I’m like, “What the?” So, this is my first parachute malfunction that I’m referring to. It was a pack closure. It’s like the absolute worst you could have naturally because that’s just my dumb luck. There is no indication whatsoever of the container even opening so I went through my kind of emergency procedures and cut that away and ultimately pulled my reserve and in a cornfield about a mile away from the drop zone. That was a first jump of the day. I went back up a second time because you got to get back on that horse. You got to get back in that saddle and not let fear fester. Second jump was good, came back down, went up a third time, and then I had another parachute cut away. And then after that, I was like, “I’m not going to push my luck anymore. I’m good for today,” but you kept on jumping the rest of that week.
[00:31:08] Andrew: What kind of whiskey did you drink that night?
[00:31:12] Jeff: A lot of it.
[00:31:13] Andrew: A lot. Okay. This goes back again adversity and keeping your wits about you because I want again to correlate it back to if let’s think of the business owner who doesn’t get the deal or who blows the presentation, right, thinks the world is ending. So, you’re in this midst of going how fast are you tumbling down to the ground. Any idea how fast you’re going when you’re plummeting?
[00:31:36] Jeff: I want to say terminal velocity is 172 miles an hour. I’m not positive but it’s pretty freaking fast.
[00:31:42] Andrew: Okay. So, you’re going fast and now how do you have the resolve? You obviously got the backup but what is going through your mind there in both the first and the third time and you’re like, “Shit, three times. This is ridiculous,” but two out of three times is not a good batting average but what did you do to keep your wits about you to focus on the mission at hand which is in this case now become survival?
[00:32:09] Jeff: You know what it comes back to? It comes back to training. So, before every jump, every jumper goes through the emergency cutaway procedures in his own mind and walks through it. Just walks through with his hands, what would happen if he had to cut away and pull his reserve. I never had to actually do that. I never actually physically did it in practice because it’s not something you can really do in practice, but you can mimic emotions, right? So, what really what became so just second nature for me was the visualization exercises that I would go through not just prior to every jump but prior to target. I would go through a lot of – so this comes down to the performance aspect that we talked about earlier, the mental component.
There are actually seven mental components, one of which is visualization. So, I would visualize going through I would actually need to do if this situation ever had to occur. So, the key with visualizing is to visualize right. You don’t want to visualize what could happen or what might go wrong. You want to visualize a flawless execution so that when you’re in that sort of instance where things are not ideal, your brain already knows what right looks like, so it finds it immediately. So, having that sort of process that mental I call it mental game plan and going through it each and every time that’s what it just became second nature to me.
[00:33:34] Andrew: Incredible. And I assume then you use that same adage in picking yourself up and focusing on instead of the you, the mission when there was two separate times that you were actually shot during your eighth deployment?
[00:33:48] Jeff: Yeah. I was shot on my fourth and sixth deployments and just on the topic of mental game plan, I think what saved me the first time I got shot, this is in Iraq, and I saw a guy. I was making a room entry and I saw a guy out of the corner of my eye, out of my periphery, about 8 feet away standing with something on his hip and I knew it wasn’t a handshake. And I knew because of the distance I was in, I knew that I couldn’t swing my weapon around, aim and fire faster than he could on me because I was in something called the reactionary gap. It’s a distance where action will beat reaction every single time. I just knew this instinctively and so I backed out and as I backed out, he caught me three times in the rail of my gun and one time in the lower left chest plate. But had I not seen him, who knows? I mean, he would have a much larger target to hit but if you’re familiar with stress and its impact upon the body, when you’re under intense amount of stress, it creates something called visual constriction.
It’s tunnel vision and so you don’t see that periphery. You don’t see anything out of the corner of your eye. What allowed me to do that was a mental game plan that I had prior to target and it was just a breathing exercise that allowed me to lower my heart rate, same thing I do before going into like high-level client meetings, same thing anybody can do before a cold call is just something called box breathing and I’ll share that with you in a second. What I did was lower my heart rate so that I wasn’t stressed. I can see everything, and this would kind of allowed me to walk away from that unscathed. But box breathing just for anybody, for the listeners out there who aren’t familiar with it, box breathing, say for example, just choose a time limit. I chose four seconds. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath at the top of the lungs for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and then hold at the bottom of the exhalation for four seconds and to repeat that until you’re good. I did that before every target, at least most targets when I knew that it was going to be hairy and works every time.
[00:35:56] Andrew: So, it’s almost in a sense like a mini-meditation?
[00:36:00] Jeff: Yeah. It really is.
[00:36:03] Andrew: Awesome stuff. Yeah. I had not heard of box breathing. I had not heard that but I’m going to do it right now. Probably not good radio there. So, one thing and this kind of leads into the secret sauce of success in everything but I know you mentioned in your podcast is and maybe also in some of your writing but the secret sauce of what makes the SEAL successful and then how you can connect that and correlate it to business and it’s everything and I don’t know if you have, I’m sure you have it memorized there, but one of the core focuses there is the easiest one, listeners, is what? It’s showing up on time and you would think that, “Oh, that’s second nature,” but how many times do you have somebody who doesn’t show up on time? It’s just disrespectful, right? And that’s a motto that I think you live by anywhere, military or not. Correct?
[00:37:01] Jeff: It is. Time is a precious commodity and so when you show up in time which you’re really showing is respect for the other people there as well. When you don’t show up on time, it’s disrespectful so, yeah, absolutely show up on time but some of the companies like they have this “culture” where it’s okay to show up 15 minutes late and that’s complete BS. That’s complete BS. What they don’t have, what’s the secret sauce that you’re referring to is teams and one of the aspects that goes into having an effective team are team norms, norms, behavioral rules, expectations for how the team is supposed to behave and how it shouldn’t and part of that is being punctual. And there can always be a consequence for those who show up late but having those rules is absolutely you got to have those rules.
[00:37:51] Andrew: Yeah. I’ve just joined an organization called Entrepreneurs Organization which is a global chapter or a global organization, the Arizona chapter here which has about 168 numbers, all business owners and entrepreneurs that have built successful companies and what we do is we learn from each other, we hold each other accountable, and in a monthly forum meeting, we call it, if anybody’s late and every forum has a little bit different accountability to it but it cost money because time is a precious commodity. No matter if you’re at the top of the chain or working your way up, it’s that respect factor. Even if you’re going out to dinner with somebody, there’s nothing worse, just between you and me, Jeff, that when my wife is a little late to when we’re running, it’s just disrespectful and then would there becomes an argument and so forth. So, it’s like sometimes I got to tell her we’re meeting them 30 minutes earlier than we actually are but that’s a whole another podcast. We’re not going to get into that today. So, what are some of the other secret sauce for that team building that we can incorporate into the business aspect of success?
[00:38:57] Jeff: Yeah. Something else is actually having a team charter like we had, and it was called an operational order but in business, they refer to them as team charters or like almost like a roadmap. What that is, is it clearly establishes what a team is about, its identity, what it does, why it’s important, who’s on the team, and the behavioral norms that guide it. So, it’s almost like – think of it as like a constitution. No team that I’ve ever worked with actually has one of these but once they have it, it’s really just that. It’s a roadmap for success. I imagine that in your line of work, in the line of work that every probably most of your listeners are out there, they need some sort of process, a framework for how they’re going to show up every single day with cold calling, with reaching out to clients, acquiring new clients. There’s got to be that process. And so, that’s what that team charter does.
[00:39:52] Andrew: And so, when you’re starting to work with a team or the leader of the team, what is your process to kind of indoctrinate in and learn about where they are, their systems and how you can help improve it? What does that look like when you start a relationship with a team?
[00:40:08] Jeff: Yeah. First, I’ll partner with a leader just to identify what the current situation is and what they want the situation to be, what their goals are, what success looks like, and then I’ll take that and then I’ll share it with the other team members and see I’ll ask them, “What’s your definition of success here?” And most of the time it’s always different than what the leader has established. So, that question becomes why. Where’s the disconnect here? So, I’ll start with getting a clear definition of what winning looks like, cascade it down throughout the team, and then I’ll start, I really just sit in under team meetings and I’ll collect data on how they meet, how they communicate, how they make decisions.
I think the most challenging part is narrowing down the goals because every team wants everything and just one thing at a time. It’s got to be one bite at a time. So, looking at how team members communicate with each other, their nonverbals, their verbals, the tones they use. I’ll get so specific as to look at their blink rate when they talk about heated discussions because it tells me that they’re nervous. There’s a lot of different aspects but it all comes down to meeting, communicating, and deciding as a team.
[00:41:20] Andrew: So, mainly, a lot of these are on sites then? You’re not doing virtual work when you’re getting in and creating that relationship with the leader and the team? You’re actually on-site touching, feeling, seeing the culture, seeing what’s going on and getting that feel for the energy?
[00:41:35] Jeff: The coaching part can be. So, I’ll start off with that sort of discovery and then move into a team coaching phase and the team coaching it can be online. It’s not as effective as being in-person because you don’t get that feel, you can’t ascertain the chemistry, but it can be done but as far as the assessment goes, that needs to be a person and that’s only a few sessions. It’s only a few times. When you take that and then you convert it into data, present it back to the team then that kind of creates contrast between where they think they are and where they actually are and then that leads into the team coaching.
[00:42:09] Andrew: Let me ask you this, do you yourself use a coach to help better you?
[00:42:13] Jeff: I do. I have a business coach as well because who would I be if I’m preaching and having to coach and I don’t have one myself. So, I have one for…
[00:42:21] Andrew: Good answer, my man. Good answer.
[00:42:23] Jeff: You know, I’ve had one for probably the past five or six months.
[00:42:28] Andrew: Do you think it’s been helpful knowing that this is the world you’re in or I assume it is, right, that you’ve been using it five, six months?
[00:42:35] Jeff: It’s been awesome. He’s helped me identify kind of narrow down my focus because my focus is like it’s with every entrepreneur it’s everywhere. So, he’s helped me with that, help me identify kind of like my target audience. At a higher level, he’s just helped me think about things in a different way that not everybody can think of I would actually say that nobody can think of everything by themselves. Even as a solopreneur, you need somebody else out there to hold you accountable, to challenge your perspective and say, at least offer not necessarily a better way to do something but another way.
[00:43:10] Andrew: And is that where you find yourself most effective being a solopreneur is not having at least at this point not having the team out there that to helping and grow your company? Is that where you feel more comfortable?
[00:43:21] Jeff: Right now, that’s more of a matter of finance. It’s more of a matter of just not having the financial means to really hire anybody just yet but I would like to, but I still want to keep it small. I don’t want to run a company. I don’t want to run a huge team. I like small so maybe a couple of people in the future but just not right now.
[00:43:43] Andrew: And you enjoy getting out there and doing the speaking engagements?
[00:43:47] Jeff: I do. I never used to, but I learned to like it because I actually just learned how to shift my thinking. I used to look at speaking as me versus them then there’s always the fear of social judgment, what are they going to think about me? But I quickly learned how to turn that into almost like a superpower because when you can see as a conversation as supposed to like a me-versus-them discussion, more of a conversation where you are included with the audience as opposed to different sides, and then when you can see it as a challenge. I just saw that as a personal challenge to get better at it. That’s what really kind of like the light switch for me in shifting from kind of being anxious about it, to looking forward to the next opportunity.
[00:44:31] Andrew: That’s great advice and one thing that you’ve done a great job of over these last few years as your building your brand and your company is really understanding social media and the power of credibility. So, walk us through, I know you’ve been a contributor to Forbes now for a while. If a business owner has good things to offer, how did you get that ability to get into Forbes and being a contributor and writing content several times in a month?
[00:44:59] Jeff: You know what I did? Actually, I just reached out to them via LinkedIn. That’s what I did. I cold email them. I was looking for the editor of the particular channel that I contribute to and the editor didn’t show up, but somebody connected to him did. So, I pitched him and said this is who I am, this is what I’d like to do, this is why I think readers would find it valuable. He said, “Cool. I can’t make that decision, but I know somebody who can.” So, he connected me with the editor and then here I am three years later still writing for them every week.
[00:45:31] Andrew: That’s awesome. And in the show notes, there’ll be the link to basically your main page at Forbes to see all the articles that you wrote. I think you can also set it up where you follow so any new articles that come out, you’ll get it emailed to you. And also, in the show notes is going to be a way to download the first chapter of Navigating Chaos so that will be in there and I highly recommend that book for business owner, team leader, even just getting started in the business, anything that you break it down stuff as we talked through, we can’t get to a tenth of what’s in the book itself. What about this podcast? So, The Shut Up & Show Up Podcast that I think pretty brand-new, right? You’re only a couple of episodes in?
[00:46:20] Jeff: Yeah. I mean, I got the trailer. I got episode two out so it’s going to officially launch May 1 but I got a couple out there already.
[00:46:29] Andrew: Perfect. And this will actually probably go live right around that time frame. So, show notes will be there on how to register and subscribe to The Shut Up & Show Up and so what’s the mission of that? What’s your theme? What’s you’re thinking in what this podcast is going to be all about?
[00:46:46] Jeff: Yeah. Thank you for that. So, it’s really about forging elite teams, translating not just how we operate in the SEALs but how elite business teams do the same and how those ideally the listeners who want to forge elite teams themselves can take away those lessons and apply it for themselves. That’s the byline, forging elite teams. The title is Shut Up & Show Up because oftentimes when I give speeches like one of the questions from the audience members is, “Jeff, we’re not a SEAL team. We don’t have high performers. We don’t have that sort of luxury. What do we do with people who just aren’t motivated?” I’m like, “You know what, bullshit. That’s where it comes back to Shut Up & Show Up. You just got to do the work. You got to do the work, create those conditions for them, and if they’re not living up to those conditions, if they’re not performing, get them off the team.” But the goal isn’t to necessarily convert low performers into high-performance. The goal is really to convert those who are performing decently into high-performers because the low performers they’re pretty much gone. They’re on their own kind of agenda. Needs to be managed in a different way. The goal is to translate average performers into high performers. So, that’s what this is really about and part of that, the Shut Up & Show Up part is just eliminating excuses and just getting the work done.
[00:48:07] Andrew: Well, it’s so refreshing in this environment we’re in. Everything is politically correct. It’s like, boom, let’s hit it head on, let’s go old school, and I love the name and hopefully not too many people are offended and if they are, they can shut up and don’t have to show up.
[00:48:22] Jeff: Well, that’s why I do that. I do that. I create that polarization intentionally because those who are offended, good, find another podcast. You’re not part of my track.
[00:48:29] Andrew: Love it. I love it. The other thing that will be in the notes and I think you talk about these 11 key principles about teams. It’s a little white paper that you put together that can really breakdown on a high level what makes a successful team and then what type of team that you are. So, is this the type of info that you gather when you’re trying to learn about the company that you end up coaching for?
[00:48:53] Jeff: Yeah. That’s more like all that sort of data comes in for sure. That’s something I’ll share with them beforehand just to think about because when people think of teams, what they really are is a group. They’re just a group that calls themselves teams. And so, what that white paper does is kind of show them the difference just at a high level and then when we talk we’ll get into specifics.
[00:49:14] Andrew: Perfect. Awesome. Well, I know we could spend a lot more time going through things but, listeners, on a high level, Jeff was able to take us through what makes a team successful bringing in his experiences and his passion for everything he does whether it be training and facilitating and protecting within the Navy SEALs, we’re out in the private sector, and focusing on for yourself, Jeff, getting better every day, and then instilling that same passion with helping you get better every day as a business owner, as a leader, as a person and it doesn’t happen overnight. What we learned today, Jeff, it takes work, it takes perseverance, it does take passion, and it takes listening to your teams. So, this has been awesome stuff. Anything that you’d like to add before we send you on your way to which I’m sure is a busy day?
[00:50:12] Jeff: No. It’s been great talking with you. Great catching up. Thanks for everything. It’s been really great. Thank you.
[00:50:18] Andrew: Awesome stuff. Jeff, thank you again. And tune in later this month for another episode of Your Wealth & Beyond. Have a great day, everybody.
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