This post is a series of FaceBook posts I did on the four habits of successful Navy Seals, based on a study by Eric Potterant. Follow me on Facebook to see more posts daily!
The Navy did a study to find out the differences between the Navy Seal recruits who finished training and those who quit. What was the difference? They were all highly qualified, super smart and in top physical shape. What made the difference between those who made it and those who didn’t? There are 4 things they identified and for the rest of the week, I’m going to share one with you.
Habit #1: They focus on RIGHT NOW. Typically when we think about goal setting, we think about longer term goals. What we will accomplish in the next month or quarter or even over the course of a year. What made the difference with the Seals is that they focused on RIGHT NOW. They were able to narrow their focus to see what was immediately in their future. They didn’t think about ANYTHING after that. Just do the job directly in front of you and do it with excellence. Don’t worry about what has to happen later.
This reminds me of when I was training for a marathon years ago. I would only worry about that mile. Then the next. Then the next. If I was on a hill, I only thought about one foot and then the next. Narrow focus.
So today, can you be like a seal? Don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture. Focus in on the immediate and do it with excellence.
Habit #2: Imagine how good it will feel.
The seals had experiences in the past where they succeeded.
Where they had victory, completed a mission or pushed themselves successfully, beyond their previous limits.
They knew how this felt. Not just emotionally, but how it felt in their body.
Think of a time you were on top of the world. How did you stand? Hold your shoulders? Where were your eyes focused?
Now think of a failure. How was your body at those times? Where do your eyes go when you are defeated and beat up?
See the difference?
The seals who were successful in completing the training had a habit of remembering how good it felt to succeed WHILE they were struggling and they intuitively changed their body language to match success.
You can use this today by noticing every time you do something that feels good. Every time you check off a box or finish something you’ve been working on, celebrate it in your head. When you do this over and over again, you’re providing your brain with extra experiences of success and this makes it easier for you to remember that feeling when you need it!
NLP TIP: I noticed this with my weight loss clients. They thought about success BEFORE they ate, What it would feel like to eat something healthy or something unhealthy and it influenced what choices they made at meal time. To help your weight loss, focus on that success before you choose and eat your meal!
Habit 3: When all else fails, breathe deeply
When I’m working with a 1:1 client on video conference, I can start to tell when they are getting stressed. Their eyes dart around, their breathing shallows.
It’s a normal reaction. Inside, your brain is saying, NOPE. STOP. THIS FEELS DANGEROUS. CONSERVE ALL RESOURCES AND BE PREPARED TO RUN!
It’s their amygdala and I’ve taught on this subject and wrote about it in my book. Your brains amygdala determines when it’s all gone bad and it’s time to panic.
You can sneak past this reaction by flooding your body with oxygen. It actually changes the chemistry of your body and calms down the amygdala.
Navy Seals are actually taught to do this in a very specific way.
Want to try it?
Inhale deeply for a 6 count (deep, fill up so your belly moves).
Hold it for a 2 count.
Exhale for a 6 count….. totally empty those lungs!
6-2-6 breaths 3 times in a row and you’ll lower your blood pressure, flood your brain with oxygen and increase your ability to react using your conscious brain, not your unconscious, reactionary brain.
If you can learn to do this, 3x a day, you can more easily accomplish every other task on your list with sound mind and objective thought. So try it, set the alarm on your phone and 3x a day hit it: 6-2-6, 6-2-6, 6-2-6. Don’t wait until you are stressed, schedule it in and then when you DO get stressed you’ll jump right to it out of habit, just like the Navy Seals.
When I ran my first (and only) marathon, it was two laps around the island of Bermuda. It rained, got hot, rained some more.
A normal day in Bermuda, apparently.
Around mile 14, I lost a toe nail.
My socks were so wet and my feet were sliding around inside my shoe and I had blisters everywhere.
Out of the bushes (or so it seemed), this woman came running at me with a little kit with band-aids and Neosporin. She bent down, took my shoe off, threw my toenail to the side of the road and bandaged me up.
As she was putting my shoe back on, I told her, “My foot hurts so much.”
She looked at me and said, ‘The other one looks great.”
I was tired, in pain, feeling very alone at that moment and so I figured she must not have heard me, so I said again, a little louder this time; “My foot hurts so much!!” *Extra hard eye glare here
She smiled, zipped up her baggie full of bandages and said, ‘THE OTHER ONE LOOKS GREAT. NOW GO!”
And so I did but mostly because I didn’t know what else to do but get to the finish line so I could sit down!
Habit # 4 : Cheer Yourself On (clearly I am not a seal)
Navy Seals have a habit of hearing their own voice say, “You can do it! Your other foot looks great!”
They focus on what is happening that is good in that moment, and not the things that are hard or painful.
This habit isn’t about being reasonable. It’s about being successful. They tell themselves whatever they need to hear to make it through; so they ignore the bad and hyper focus on the good WHILE they are in exhaustion and pain.
Now you’ve got all four habits of successful Navy Seals:
1.Focus on right now
2.Imagine how good it will feel
3. When all else fails, breathe deeply
4. Cheer yourself on
Remember, you can be the hero in your own story! GO GO GO!