“People always get on me because a lot of my social media, I’ll post my failures. And I’ll tell people: I learn more from failing than I do succeeding” – Ray “Cash” Care
Ray “Cash” Care (@raycashcare) is a former SEAL and a co-host of the podcast “Overcome and Conquer” as well as one of the founders of The LTD Project – a leadership training program for business people. Today he talks with Commander Divine about the importance of failing forward fast.
- We’ve created a “zero defect society” where we use social media to display perfection, rather than dealing and progressing with faults
- Every aspect of teamwork comes from Communication skills, making it the primary skill you need to learn to become a leader.
- Effective listening is also a major part of communication
- Properly dealing with and understanding failure will lead to your success
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Hi, this is Mark Divine. Welcome back to the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Thanks so much for joining me today.
Super-stoked to have you here. Don’t take it for granted. I know there’s a lot of things vying for your attention. So let’s get busy.
Before I introduce Ray “Cash” Care – another teammate of mine from our beloved SEAL teams – let me remind you that my new book “Staring Down the Wolf” comes out on March 2nd, and we’ve put together a pretty cool pre-order program. Big deals put on these launches for pre-ordering, and that’s how people get on let’s say the New York Times bestseller list – which would be really cool – this is my second time we’re on there, if we hit it.
So help me out here. Go to staringdownthewolf.com and you’ll see that you can get a signed copy of the book from me, or if you order 100 books I’ll do a zoom call with you and your team. Gosh, if you’re really feeling froggy, and you order a thousand books, I’ll come out and do a keynote speech with you.
So consider helping us out for the launch of this new book, which I’m super excited about. And on this podcast I’ve been actually pre-reading the chapters and I’m getting some great feedback on those. So you can actually not even buy the book if you don’t want, just listen to the podcast. But my hope is that you’ll do both.
Alright. Thanks for that. I’m super stoked to have as my guest today Ray “Cash” Care. Ray’s a former navy SEAL vet – actually worked at SDV 2, I was at SDV one you’ll recall, so we’ll probably have some things in common there.
He’s out now. He spent 12 years as a SEAL now, he’s involved in leadership development and team-building and hardcore fitness industry. Super-stoked.
Also he works with my friend Jay Redman – who’s an author. We’ve had him on this podcast as well as helps him run the podcast “Overcome and Conquer.”
Ray, super-stoked to have you man. Welcome to the Unbeatable Mind show.
Ray. Thank you for having me, sir. I’m honored to be on.
Mark. Yeah, it’s my pleasure… And you can call me mark, by the way – even though you said you won’t do it. We’ll see if I can squeeze a mark out of you during the show.
Ray. Old habits die hard, sir. It’s gonna take time. We’ll see.
Mark. I understand.
So, hey one of the things I like to do ray is kind of start early in people’s life, just to get the sense for where you came from, and what your earlier influences are. I’m big on kind of getting the whole picture, and seeing what kind of preceded the current version of the individual I’m talking to.
So like, where are you from? And what were your big influences growing up?
Ray. I’m a Baltimore native. Grew up in Dundalk, Maryland. Not the greatest part of town.
As far as influences… I didn’t really have any until much later point in my life. My father was taken from me, was murdered when I was 11…
Mark. Oh my gosh.
Ray. And then I had to go move with my mother.
Mark. That’s a fairly big influence, what do you think, right there? On the negative side?
Ray. It is. On a negative side.
But me and my mother never have – nor will we have – a close relationship. My parents were obviously divorced. I come from a split home.
So I didn’t really start getting influences with people, ` until I probably started playing sports and about 9th or 10th grade. I just really looked up to a lot of my coaches, and I think that’s where the whole mindset/physical fitness all took place from.
Mark. Mm-hmm. What sports did you play?
Ray. Football, lacrosse and wrestling. Pretty average at football and lacrosse. I was a very decent wrestler. I held my own.
But more traumatic things that happened in my life – I was in a car accident with one of my best friends who was killed.
Mark. Oh my gosh.
Ray. And I stopped wrestling after my first year. So I’ve definitely had to overcome some adversity through my times.
Mark. Yeah, I’ve had a couple friends that happened to when I was back in that kind of formative timeframe. And that, in itself, is traumatic. And just overcoming that and maintaining a positive mindset, and moving forward is a big deal.
Ray. I think that’s what helped me establish it. That’s what started the foundation – is all the traumatic events that happened in my life.
Mark. You know, I found that almost is a common theme, you either have like the elite athletes, who just want to go prove something. Prove how tough they are.
Or you have guys like you, who just really came from a really rough background.
I’m thinking of like Goggins, right? Whose background was just horrific. Not unlike yours in a lot of ways.
But then they end up in the teams. And BUD/S for them is just like another day because “hey, it can’t be any worse than my upbringing.”
Did you find that like with your peers that they came from a rough childhood?
Ray. I did. I agree. Some of the most successful people I know, have had to overcome adversity. They’ve had rough childhoods, they’ve been mentally, physically, emotionally… Some even sexually abused. Something that I’m not a stranger to in some of those areas.
And I think they just appreciate life more, because they know – like you said – how bad things can be.
And I couldn’t agree with you more. When I came it took me three ASVABs just to get to BUD/S, so when I got the BUD/S… I swear to you BUD/S was – I don’t want to say easy – but I got up every damn day like I was winning the lottery. Because obviously I tried and tried.
And finally when I got it, it just really pissed me off when I saw guys that would show up – and I’m sure you’ve dealt with this too when you went to BUD/S – and they would just quit. Like it was nothing.
And I just couldn’t understand how if you ever wanted something so badly, how people were just so easily willing to give up.
Mark. Yeah, well they wanted it for the wrong reasons.
Ray. The wrong reasons. Yes sir. I agree.
Mark. And I think people who have that really rough childhood or that trauma… The worse the trauma, the more they’re compelled in their sane moments, to find the growth, right? To move toward health, move toward loving relationships… And then there’s transformation in that, right?
Because the only other option is to stay in the depths of despair, and that’s a losing path, pretty quickly.
Ray. Yeah, I agree. Like I say – and I shorten that up – you’re never gonna know unless you grow. You’ve got to take chances. And I refuse to peak out. I refuse to get complacent, and I refuse to say I have enough.
Mark. Yeah, agree. If you’re not growing, then you’re backsliding. And that’s a day-by-day thing.
So how did you learn about the SEALs? Where did that come from? And tell us about your journey – what BUD/S class, and if you have any big takeaways from that experience.
Ray. I can’t believe I’m saying this of all people to you… So I was heading down a dark path. I was going to community college, and between you and I and all your listeners, I wasn’t doing very good.
My head wasn’t in the game. I needed something more – I always knew I had a higher calling.
So I decided to go to some of the recruitment centers, because if I didn’t, I was gonna probably end up going to jail. So I looked around and true story I took my ASVAB test. Bombed it. I don’t even want to tell you how bad, but I bombed it. It was bad.
And I went around asking… You know, I went to the air force they’re like “you’re too low.” Marines was my last… No offense to the marines… It was like air force originally… Was looking at them for an education… And then it was navy. And then it was marines and then army.
And when I went in there the navy was like “hey, we’ve got these programs and you kind of qualify for this mis, and I saw this pamphlet on the recruiter’s desk, and it immediately resonated. I was like, “what is this?”
And he goes “oh, that’s the navy SEALs.”
And I didn’t know anything really about them. I mean, I was like a 17 year-old kid getting ready to turn 18 – I’m like “my god, these guys look amazing. They’re like superheroes. They have to do all this stuff.”
And he’s like “you know, being a Navy SEAL isn’t for everyone.” And right then and there I was just like…
Mark. (laughing) But it’s for me.
Ray. Yeah, he’s a recruiter. First thing I thought was “wow, you’re a shitty salesman.” and then the second thing was is I was like “I’m hearing a constant. You’re never gonna amount to anything.”
So he says “I want you to go home, take the pamphlet and think about it.”
So I went home. I told two of my best friends. Told my mother. My best friend – his name is Bill Harmon to this day – he came to my graduation. He said “hey, I just don’t know if that’s for you.” and mother said the same thing. Everybody said the same thing. And I just kind of gave them a big f-you… Not to their face… Just that mental note.
And I said, “I’m gonna do this.” and that was my driving force. Now took the ASVAB. They told me “you’re not gonna score high enough.”
I said “I will.”
I took the ASVAB. You have to wait like a certain amount of time… I had to wait like six months. I studied… True story, I’ve talked about this before… I missed it by one point. God as my witness.
Everybody then said “stop, stop, stop. It’s not for you.”
And then finally I asked for some external help. I went to some classes. I had established myself with my superiors in the navy. They realized that I wasn’t going to give up on this. So I started taking some classes, and what started the journey I was working with a YN1 Conklin. Still to this day I remember him.
The last time I took it, I’m standing in front of him and he said “how do you think you did?”
And I said” I pray that I passed.”
He goes “you did.”
And I said “can you tell me how much I passed by?”
He goes “it doesn’t matter. Go become a navy SEAL.”
And I showed up BUD/S class 200. And I graduated with BUD/S class 200, because I told people “I may not be the most talented,” but there was nobody that wanted it more than me in that class. I know that and I’m saying that with a caliber of studs, but no one wanted it as bad as me.
Mark. That’s awesome. So BUD/S class 200? How many guys did you start with an end with? And what was the most challenging aspect for you?
Ray. Okay. This is what I like. So we started with 136 of us.
Mark. That’s a pretty small class, by the way.
Ray. It is. Original, only 16 that started made it. But we ended up graduating with like 50 or 51.
Mark. People rolling in. Right.
Ray. Yeah, we had people rolling in. I mean Chris Corley rolled through for a while, got hurt again. Actually Gus Kaminsky was my OIC. And Todd Vandegrift was our LPO too… Obviously, Gus isn’t with us anymore, and just Todd Vandegrift is a legend. And everything he’s done.
But yeah there was 51, but of that there were 16 original. And it’s funny – and again I feel so funny saying this to who I’m talking to – but people always ask me what was your secret? I know you’ve heard this a thousand times to pass and BUD/S.
And I said I just had 2. I said “1) don’t quit.” I mean it’s like people are like “that’s ridiculous.”
I’m like “no it’s not.”
And 2) I still with my mindset coaching, I do self-reflection drills. I do them all the time. I look in the mirror, I take pictures of myself. And all I told them and I tell kids this to this day I said, “just look in the mirror, take a picture, and just imagine the word ‘quitter’ in red going right across your face.” you’ve got to tell that to your friends, your family – and I know guys that went through my BUD/S class that I ran into like 20 years later.
Didn’t have a clue who they were. They were like a chief standing guard somewhere, which there’s nothing wrong with that. And they were still pissed off like at me that they didn’t make it. And I’m like “I don’t even remember you.”
And what my point to this is, is they were just so willing to quit. Because the thing is I tell people if you quit, you’re gonna have to deal with that for the rest of your life. And most people don’t deal with losing something so important to them like that, giving up so quickly, easily.
And that’s my secret. People are like “that’s it?”
And I’m like “it worked for me.” I’m sure there’s a more scientific method – Stew Smith and Jeff Nichols and you guys… But literally roll your sleeves up, do what you’re told, kick ass, put out so your teammates will believe in you and have your back… And just don’t freakin’ quit. That’s it.
Mark. Yeah. Life of a non-quitter is far better than a life of regret, right?
Ray. Exactly. And no one’s gonna remember a quitter. Like I told him, I have no clue who you are.
“I remember you.”
“Well, I’m glad, but I remember the people that graduated with me in BUD/S. I don’t remember the people who didn’t.”
Mark. Right. That’s fascinating.
Yeah, you’re right. There is a lot behind that. Just saying “don’t be a quitter.” you could unpack that into a six-month long training regimen. I used to do that right?
With my SEALfit program in the beginning, I had a 30-day live in academy for SpecOps guys. And we would train from zero dark thirty until like ten and eleven o’clock at night. And then around the clock sometimes for the little crucible, hell week experiences.
And we developed non-quitters, but within that, we taught them how to control their breath, how to control their mind, how to stay positive and do the positive self-talk. How to visualize the win. How to focus on only the task right in front of you. How to put out 100% all the time. Focused on your teammate, without giving up your own autonomy.
And how to freakin’ have the warrior mindset, or the warrior attitude of a lion. And to be aggressive, right? But not to be an asshole.
I mean so that’s a lot. It’s all about character. You don’t just take a pill, or wake up with it one day. You got to work on it, you got to cultivate that, right?
Ray. I agree. I told you, one of my equations – I have equations for everything – equations and acronyms for everything – and it’s my equation of life – time plus effort equals results. You have to put in the time. You have to put in the effort… And you say it so eloquently
Sitting here it’s like I’m talking to Jason Redman, if you listen to us like I’m complete savage and he’s like… But it works and I say the same thing that you do, but I tell people you just have to learn how to slow down the crazy – when the shit hits the fan – and control the chaos.
That’s what I’ve learned how to do. You know as well as I do – when the bullets start flying and the bombs start coming in – you have got to slow things down and start making critical decisions in split seconds. And you can’t do that once… You have to start training now.
Mark. Right. Absolutely.
Mark. So let’s talk a little bit about your career you went to SDV 2. Did you go there right after BUD/S?
Ray. I did. Yes, sir. I went over there. Went to SDV – did that for a few years. I actually got selected for green team.
Ray. Went to green team. Got busted up in green team. I broke my leg a year prior. Was advised not to go to green team, because my leg wasn’t healed. No one’s gonna listen to anyone that says that. We were jumping out where we jump out… I’m not gonna disclose that… And I hurt my leg and started… It was a downward spiral.
I was asked to stay in a master-at-arms shack because they wanted to keep me. And my ego got the best of me, and I said “no. I’ll go back to my team.”
And it was probably one of the worst things I ever did, because that really marked me. Like “oh, you want to go back to SDV, versus being here.
Mark. Being at DEVGRU, yeah. If you had stayed, would they have given you another chance at green team?
Ray. They said yes. They said they would if I would have had a wait. You had to wait till the next one came, but they wanted me working in a master-at-arms shack.
At least that’s what I was told. Who knows? Maybe they would have… I’m not gonna lie to you or the listeners… I wasn’t keeping up with anything… My leg, the runs… Just not doing what I needed to do, so who knows?
Mark. You never know… Those decisions… I’ve had those where I’m like “god, if you could take me back there now, I would make a different call.” and then I trace that thing forward and I’m like “yeah, but if I did that, I wouldn’t be right here, right now.”
Ray. Exactly. I regretted it for years, but then when I got out I think… Everything happened for a reason that put me working for the agency that got me to what I’m doing now…
So I think everything lined up for a reason. Is there some regret? Yes sir, of course. It’s the same thing – did I have what it took to do it? I won’t ever know that.
Mark. Finding the silver lining helps eradicate the regret. I mean, let me give you a personal example. I’m completely transparent, like you – and I’m more and more talking about my fuck-ups – in fact my new book “Staring Down the Wolf,” I’ve got all these phenomenal leaders doing amazing things around these seven commitments. That would be very familiar to you – like trust and respect and courage. And like McRaven and Olsen and whatnot.
And then I’ve got little Mark Divine, just fucking up, left and right, you know what I mean? Mostly in business, right? And one of the things I talk about was how I was fired by McRaven at SEAL team three. Went out partying with my guys after a couple week training op – and that was just something that was a little bit more common back when I was in the teams – but still frowned upon.
Ray. Oh yeah.
Mark. And I got a in a little trouble. I got called out on it. Basically called on the carpet. And McRaven was new to the team, as a CO, and he fired me. Took me out of my platoon.
Which I probably had the same exact feeling that you had when green team didn’t work out. My ego was blown. I went from number one lieutenant to basically douche-bag – excuse my language – who walked away from his team. Let his team down, or his platoon and he put me in the op shop.
So anyways, I had a lot of regret around that. That’s the point.
And so the regret stayed and stayed. And then it’s right around this time that I met my future wife. So we started dating, then I got orders to SDV team 2 – or 1, I’m sorry – in Hawaii. And now my wife is all excited. She’s starting to close down her personal therapy practice and we’re gonna go to Hawaii.
And it was right around that time about three or four months after the first incident, when I got fired, that McRaven came and said “listen, investigation’s complete. Turns out we made a big mistake –I made a mistake. Shouldn’t have fired you from the platoon.”
Which of course, I knew, but I could never convince the guys. In the navy you’re guilty until proven innocent, right?
And so he said “I’d like to give you a platoon back. I’d like to send you to language school to learn Arabic. And then to take a team over to our new unit that we’re building over in Bahrain.”
And my ego at that point was still like pretty hurt, so I said “no, I’ve already got this plan to go to Hawaii with my wife.”
And so we went to Hawaii and I did a tour at SDV-1, then I got out. Started my business career and that all led to here – and so when I look back and saw that if I had taken that job with McRaven, I wouldn’t have gotten married, I probably would have gone to DEVGRU, because that was the next thing on my docket – I was already getting asked for interviews and stuff like that – and I probably wouldn’t be on this frickin’ podcast with you, you know what I mean, ray?
So being able to look back and see all the silver linings from our biggest fuck-ups and the biggest challenges in life, is a huge, valuable skill. Like I think it’s one of the most important skills to develop for anybody. Any leader.
Ray. I agree. And that’s what I… Actually people always get on me, because a lot of my social media I’ll post my failures. And I tell people “I learn more from failing, than I do succeeding.”
Ray. And some people… They can’t grasp their head around it. And I’m like “you don’t understand. I take taking an AAR – an after-action report – on every single thing I do. I’m expanding, I mean… It’s funny… I kind of do what you do, but at a lower level, because we’re all trying to do great. And I’ve called you before and asked you for advice.
And I’m never too proud to ask for advice or I raise my hand – it’s funny, I do public speaking now, and I just I just spoke to of all things a pest convention – was 500 people. I had 30 minutes to talk and the teams actually had a scheduling conflict. Burnett.
And I said “hey I’ll do it. I’m around.”
So I go there. My opening statement was “hey listen guys. I’ve got 30 minutes to talk about all my fuck-ups and failures. So here we go.”
And literally everybody was just like “what the hell?” and I just laid it out there about how I have succeeded by failing. I guarantee, everybody that’s at the top of their game has failed, until you succeeded.
At least that’s what I’m learning.
Mark. Yeah, I agree with that. In fact, it’s so countercultural, right? Because we have this kind of zero-defect society. And everyone – especially on social media – presents this perfect image. One thing that is surprising for a lot of people to hear, is that SEALs – those who make it through BUD/S and really succeed in the SEAL teams – do exactly that.
They push the envelope, and they expect to fail. And then through the failure they learn how to do it a little bit better. And then they do the self-assessment so they lock down that gain, they don’t ever go back – or best as they can – they don’t ever go back and repeat the same mistake over, right? So you just keep on moving forward, moving forward, learning, growing… And that, to me, is one of the most important skills for leaders today.
It’s how we deal with VUCA – volatility is just failing forward fast. Just keep expecting failure and learning from it. What a great mindset.
Ray. I fail forward. Everything that I do, is moving forward. Like I said – if I’m succeeding every day – then that tells me…
Mark. You’re not pushing hard enough.
Ray. Exactly. You remember as well as I do, the boats on your head. You start slowing down unless you’re… Someone’s going to be pushing you, whether it’s an instructor or your guys stepping on you, but that’s what I go back to. That damn boat bouncing on my head.
Mark. Let’s talk about a couple high-profile ops that I know you know something about. First of all, I read somewhere you’re pretty good friends with Rob O’Neill. And O’Neill – for the listeners – is the quote-unquote “guy who shot bin Laden.”
By the way, this is funny as shit – I don’t know how many people saw this – but right after bin laden was shot, some brilliant person put a little video about the lieutenant who shot bin laden. Did you ever see that?
Mark. You gotta google it. It is absolutely hilarious, right? It’s got some gray haired admiral telling this guy “hey, you’re the guy who shot bin laden, but nobody can know this,” right? And then later on in the evening, he’s at this bar and they’re doing shots and he’s talking to these hot girls and he’s like “yeah, I’m the one who shot bin Laden.”
Next thing you know, they’re dancing and just partying up a storm. And the admiral comes in and he’s like “oops.” it’s hilarious.
Anyways, I went off on a little tangent there. But Rob O’Neill was the actual guy theoretically shot bin laden. I remember, I was actually in Virginia Beach with some friends of mine about a year after that whole thing, and they were talking about who did it. And they were telling me it was rob.
And I said, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Because nobody knew about it. And they said Rob’s a great guy. He’ll never like publicly acknowledge this.
And I said “well that’s cool.” because that’s the warriors quiet professional ethos.
And then like a year later, Rob comes out on TV and says he’s the guy who did it. I was floored. It’s like what the fuck?
It wasn’t you. It’s a whole team effort there. What are your thoughts on this whole thing?
Ray. I still talk… I talk to rob weekly and that question has never come up. That’s a revolving door, it goes two ways.
Because there’s other people that have done the same thing – I’m not gonna say who – I won’t sit here and talk about a SEAL. But – like I said – I can look at the glass and see it half or half empty.
I love rob. I’ve never asked him what… Was it inspired by money? Was it inspired by…? I don’t know…
Actually rob wrote me yesterday of all things. And we have a good relationship, but to be honest with you I’ve never asked. And I’ve never even thought about it – because there’s other people that have written books and done things about battles and accounts that they were part of.
Ray. We got Marcus and everybody else that’s written some books so… And I’ve never asked them either… I’ve got him, Jason… I’ve got all the guys on call… I’ve even got your number.
I just have never judged them by that, because I just always knew them before they were shot, or they took the shot, or they were the last man standing.
Same thing people ask me about the Eddie Gallagher thing. I wasn’t there. I don’t know. I try not to pass judgment on people. I try to remember the people… When I used to go to gen rose and drink with them. And all the places that we did here. That’s the only thing that I remember.
So I don’t know if that’s answering you directly, sir. Or evading the question.
Mark. But no and I love the ethos about… I don’t… I’m not like dissing rob… I was just surprised.
Ray. No, I don’t think you are. I think you’re asking a question, because the public wants to know. People have asked me all the time “what are your thoughts on…”
And I tell people I like Rob, and I’m not the thoughts police. He’s always been good to me… I don’t want anything from him, or Marcus or Jason. I just love them, they’re my brothers.
Mark. Yeah. And writing memoirs about your military experience has been going on since time immemorial, like forever…
So if other people had been doing it for hundreds of years, why not navy SEALs? With their high-speed ops? As long as they’re not revealing secrets and whatnot.
I think that Rob was pressured… I think that people on the inside knew. I think the admirals knew, generals knew… And congress knew. And so he was already starting to get pressured to come talk to these groups, and basically he got kind of backed into a corner. That’s what I think.
When I put my little insight hat on, I’m like “oh Rob got backed into a corner.” and he said “you know what? Someone else is gonna reveal this, so I might as well reveal it. And just go forward and see what comes of it.
Ray. Now I will tell you, we’re supposed to get up eventually here in the near future – have some steaks, drink a little bit of whiskey – I don’t drink too much anymore – and have a cigar. Maybe that conversation will come up. But it has to come up organically.
I’m not a salesman, I don’t try to push things on people…
Mark. Yeah, it’s gotta be a sensitive issue with him, anyways.
Mark. I do have to tell you though, he’s a smart guy – I don’t watch TV much, but when I do see something that goes on that involves the SEALs or military, and I see Rob’s face like on Fox or something…
Mark. Yeah, he’s actually pretty damn good.
Ray. He is good. Actually, we were both speaking at the same time a couple days ago. And I said I was speaking for 500 people – he goes “500 people? I could do that in my pajamas.” he was joking, but you got to start somewhere. I remember when I used to speak to three people – now I’m speaking to five and six hundred people. Maybe it’ll get higher.
Mark. That’s awesome.
You went on to work in that movie with Tom Hanks, on “Captain Phillips.” how did that come about? And I knew a bunch of guys on that op as well and some interesting stories around that one.
Ray. That was funny. I actually did a TV show prior to that – a TV show with Rob Roy. I’m sure you remember Rob. The chocolate mousse.
And this is what I’ll tell you, sir – if you watch it – it was called “The Ultimate Soldier Challenge.” And we went against the Spetsnaz and the contractors. I went 1-on-1 with them. Beat the Russian out of the kill house, which it was literally just paintball.
And then we had to go against the contractors. At the time I was 40, rob was 50 – they were 23 and 28.
We kind of… I don’t want to say… We didn’t keep the 6-foot rule, let’s just leave it at that. You know what I’m talking about.
But we got the mission done. And not only did we get it done, but I went back down, because rob was behind me, and one of the guys started getting some heat issues, he was a heat casualty. And mac – mac was the host – and they were yelling “you can’t go down,” and I just said “fuck you. We got a man down. We’re gonna go get him.”
And they were they were focused about just us beating them. And I mean the guy was literally starting to shit the bed, so I grabbed water. I ran down.
I guess a couple people saw that and I got a call asking if I would be an extra for “Captain Phillips.”
And did you know Hugh Middleton?
Mark. Yeah, real well.
Ray. Big Hugh. Hugh got the role for the part, but there was an issue with the ferry transiting out to the boat where we were at. Swear to god.
So anyway, I don’t know how, but I got put in his role, and they made me just kind of do a line one-on-one with tom hanks. And literally it started off with they give me the scene and they were just like “do it.”
And I’m like “Hunh?”
And literally, they just said “do what you would do.” so I’m sweeping for wounds, I’m checking for holes, doing everything…
And then when it was over they said “hey give us a second.” tom said “I like him.” now when this happened, Big Hugh now was coming on the boat looking at me.
Mark. (laughing) “You took my spot!”
Ray. You know as well as I do, you do not want to make Hugh mad. So I was like, “uuh.” and Hugh’s just like ripping out of his shirt. And I’m like “oh my god, I’m gonna get killed. He’s gonna throw me over the boat.”
So we talked about it and we ended up getting him a different role, being the lieutenant under max martini. And he literally told me if that didn’t happen he would probably beat me to death. (laughing) So it was a win-win.
So Hugh is just a dynamite guy – I mean, officer – but man, he’s an enlisted monster at heart. But not a man you want to make mad.
Mark. Yeah, I agree with that.
Ray. And the movie was good. Tom was tom was nice. I tell him the same thing I tell most people – I don’t know if we had the same political or religious views, so I don’t like to speak of those things. We talked about boats, he loves boats. I did a couple impersonations for him. He said they were horrible. I did my Forrest Gump impersonation, he laughed at me.
Kevin spacey was the executive director, I met him… So they were kind of like in awe with the whole presence of the navy SEALs. But what I love about us is… There was a couple of us that were… Hamster was on there, Hugh was on there, I was there…
And we didn’t act any different around them than we do with other people. And I think that they were drawn to that. You know…?
Mark. So the guys who did the shooting on that and played the SEAL team – were they actors or were they team guys? Or both?
Ray. Both. We had both. Some were like… We had one that was a police officer who’s an actor. We had one that was a firefighter. But I think there were six SEALs… There was me, shad, Scott Oates, Hugh, a couple others… Mark Seamos – who’s doing SEAL teams now. And there was like two others.
And then the rest were actors that filled in. Oh, but dale McClellan was in there too. I love dale. I gotta give dale a shout out. So, yeah…
But the rest were actors.
Mark. You got picked up for the show “The Selection.”
Ray. Yes. I actually turned it down when I first got it. Because I had been on this show called again “Ultimate Hell Week,” for the BBC.
And I did it with Woody Minster. You remember Woody?
Mark. I do not. It’s not ringing a bell.
Ray. Woody was one of the first enlisted who went officer, one of the first GB guys boots-ground, back in the day. Great guy, great guy.
And we did a show there, and they just kind of contractually screwed us over. So I got a call from this other gentleman named Grant. It’s like “hey listen, I’m the showrunner, I want you. We’re gonna be doing this. It’s gonna be like legit.”
And I was like “nope, no thanks.” just hung up on him.
So he had like callback, and he said, “Hey, you haven’t even heard what we’re doing.
I just tell people… I said and I explained her I said… This is so funny… I said to the lady “have you ever had bad sushi?”
She goes “what?”
And I’m like, “if get a piece of bad sushi, you don’t want to eat sushi anymore. Or at least for a while. I just had a bad piece of sushi.”
And he was listening, and he goes “well listen, I’m a sushi lover too. I just want you to fly out. I’d like you to see what we’re doing,” I don’t know if you know… I’m sure you do… But TV can make you look anyway that they want.
Mark. Oh, totally. I’ve done so much of that with SEALfit, that I just finally stopped doing it. I’m like “This isn’t really helping me out at all.”
Ray. In the show that I portrayed with Rob Roy, they portrayed us as making fun of two contractors for shaving their heads. When they actually did it because their buddy who got killed overseas had a Mohawk.
And then what you didn’t see is we said “screw you guys.” we walked right over to them. We were in different tents. And rob and I were like “listen, they’re making it sound like this. We’re not doing that.”
And we had that bond right there. They appreciated it. And they weren’t even SpecOps guys. It doesn’t matter – I’m not gonna sit here and belittle a man for something that he believes in.
So we go back to “The Selection.” I went back out there… A whole bunch of us screened. And the one the only reason that I took it is he goes, “listen, we are gonna be taking exercises and events from each community. We will be calling the community.”
So I was like “whoa.” so like we called SERE school, we called SpecOps, we called sf, we called the rangers. And we made sure – and you know as well as I do – in SERE school we gave them a taste. We didn’t give them everything, “you can’t do this, but you can do this.”
And we followed it to the tee and it was done. I think it was a very good piece of literature that can be used for people… We covered the integrity, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership communication… The four pillars of success. We started with 30 and four made it.
Mark. One of my SEALfit coaches was on that show. Another SEAL named Sean. Remember? Ray. Sean Haver.
Mark. Sean Haver is an amazing guy.
Ray. I just talked to him last week, because I was in California to see him. He did a thousand sit-ups, two days before he did them live and literally I’m like on the treadmill and he’s like “I’m gonna do some sit-ups.”
I was like “100.” and 45 minutes later in the show… He still, to this day, laughs about it. A thousand sit-ups. I can’t even count to a thousand.
And he just… I loved his whole attitude, his presence and I mean he is just the most humble… He’s a servant, you know what I mean? He’s just a servant. He does good things for people.
And every single guy that they picked for that show, we still keep in touch. Amazing.
Mark. What a great experience. Now with all that kind of TV stuff, did you ever make any money? Or is there any urge to continue doing it?
Or was it just a phase? Just trying to experience…?
Ray. It was a phase. I had some fun… Originally when I started everybody is like, “I’m going to be a star.”
Mark. (laughing) I know, right.
Ray. Things that I found out. One) a season one of a TV series, you don’t get paid a lot. We didn’t get paid a lot. But it was rewarding, because I think the end product was great.
I’ve been asked to probably do 20 different shows or screen for them.
But you know as well as I do, it’s like “oh, we love you.” and then you wait for the call.
And it was never like a real dream of mine. It was a dream of mine to produce something or be a part of something that would be memorable. And I mean, I still get texts every day “is there gonna be a season two? You changed my life.”
I’m all about impact, not impressing people and I think that show impacted enough people that if they asked me to do it… I’d drop everything to do it again. If we had the same cast and that gentleman grant who was running the show. And it was done on a very low budget, but you know as well as I do, you can put three SpecOps guys in a room and we’re gonna make it rain, we’re gonna make it happen. No matter what. It’s what we do.
Mark. Now, you’re getting into leadership development. Obviously something that my company unbeatable does. And it’s a big passion of mine, as well.
What would you say is your model or your focus? How do you impact people to be better leaders and better teammates? What are the biggest things?
Ray. I love it. Currently, I go around with a marine of all people – go figure – and we go around the companies. It’s called ltd – leadership team development – and we work on I believe things are in fours – I know we always say the threes – but the pillars of success that I’ve learned in the SEAL teams are leadership, problem-solving, communication and teamwork. Those four things.
So that’s my battlefield. Now, what we do is we are taking the battlefield, to the business field, to the home field by focusing on those pillars. And then what I call my 4 f-bombs.
So I live by four things, and I honestly believe this. If you are at the top or the bottom of your game, it’s because of your 4 f bombs, which are family, fitness, finance and faith. Faith is the ability to believe in yourself – and what we do is we have… What’s so different about us is we do classroom application for these businesses.
But then we do hands-on drills. Like I have a communication drill that I’ll take 20 people and have them pass five words. Five words. They just have to pass it.
Four single syllable, one double syllable. And I’ll tell them “I’ll make it easy. I’ll cut one off. Pick what you want.”
Everybody takes the double syllable, which you shouldn’t, because that’s the one resonate in your mind to remember…
Mark. (laughing) This reminds me of the “telephone” drill we did sitting in the bay way back in 1991.
Ray. Exactly. Literally. So let’s use commander divine. What I would do is I would pick you and nineteen of your staff. And then the person right beside you would be the most junior person. And I would have you say those words in their ear. One time. One shot, one kill.
And then what they have to do is the arms are linked – we talk about the importance of linking arms – I talk about all that I build it up as “this is what we do in the SEAL teams. This is what we do in life.”
And then they pass it down to the next person. But then after they do it, sir, they have to turn around, break the link, write down exactly what they heard. So when it’s done with the CEO – Mr. Mark Divine – I still said “Mr.” see that? Comes up and I said “sir, can you please read those five words.”
And then what I tell them is they’re not five words, they’re your five core values of your company. And if you don’t get them correctly you can cost this company a detrimental amount of money… And blah, blah, blah… And we get in this whole thing.
The last person reads it – nine times out of ten it’s not even the same word – so the people that said the wrong thing, they have to take two steps forward. Now if the person beside them repeated what was wrong they’re fine. All they did was repeat it.
But you’d be amazed – out of 20 people – it usually doesn’t get past the second person without a mistake. And on average we have a quarter of the people that aren’t communicating properly. Or not using their mind the right ways to capture what they need.
Because 60% of people – the CEOs, they don’t want to hear this – they don’t read your email. You know how you get the corporate email? They don’t read it. They don’t read it start to finish.
And we’ve proven that before. And then we have drills where we ask people what core values are.
So literally what I do, sir, in a nutshell – is we go around, we call people out on what they’re doing wrong, and then we have techniques and drills to fix it. I mean just a smaller version of them what you’ve already done. But we go around, and we’re working with companies… We work with teams.
And we love it. Because we’re seeing results.
Mark. That’s awesome. I mean, right there… Communication, I think, is one of the biggest, ripest areas for development. Because essentially we can’t communicate beyond the level of our emotional awareness. And the other thing is we can’t communicate if we haven’t learned how to listen.
Ray. I agree.
Mark. Right, so there’s two things that stand in the way of effective communication. Two things that are not trained in corporations. And they’re just barely starting to understand, or to train mindfulness – I know there’s a big push around that – and I think we had a little chat earlier, before we started the show, about meditation. So I want to get to that.
But communication’s the link. Like why do we want to learn how to meditate? So we can be more authentic, more connected to our heart, and so we can listen – really listen – we call it active listening in our Unbeatable Mind program – so that we can communicate effectively, right?
Because in that telephone drill that I learned in BUD/S, sitting in the cold water and someone whispers a statement in your ear, and you’re right, by the third person it’s completely gobbled. It’s because nobody’s listening. They’re thinking about how cold they are, how they don’t want to be there, wonder when this evolution’s gonna be done. “Why am I even at this thing called BUD/S? Should I quit?”
Ray. Exactly. And I agree. It’s funny, whenever I go to businesses, I ask them the same question – what do you think the problem is? And what is the solution?
Everybody says the same thing – leadership is always the problem, leadership is always the solution.
And I’m like “no.” communication is always the problem and communication is always the solution. And every single CEO goes “prove it.” and then I go “well I’m just glad you did that.”
And then that’s what I do. And then they have a “holy-shit” moment, because they’re like “what are these guys coming in?” because we don’t do the suits and ties and graphs. We have presentations and then we go out and we apply the applications. Then we have an AAR…
And then we have about five or six different skills depending on what the company’s specific needs are.
Mark. Yeah, when I was at BUD/S third phase – for us third phase is land phase – but way back when. Yeah I think the very first class – I forget who the instructor – wrote up on the board – for our first class he writes down “shoot, move and communicate.” “Shoot, move and communicate,” right?
And, of course, he goes “what’s the most important one?”
We’re all like “shoot.”
He’s like “nope.”
“Communicate.” None of the other two will happen without effective communication, right? And same thing with your 4 – leadership, problem-solving, communication and teamwork. Teamwork doesn’t happen without good communication. Problem-solving doesn’t happen without good communication. And leadership is a complete fail without good communication.
So how do you train good communication? Through self-awareness, right? And practice ray. Yes. See you get it. Thank god, everybody’s not like you, or I’d be out of work.
Mark. (laughing) Do I pass your course?
Ray. And all I’ve done, and all I’m doing – it’s nothing that… I mean you’re pretty much the founder of doing it, the OG of doing it… I know that. But I just take what I’ve learned from the battlefield… Like Brent Gleeson… I love Brent, he’s a very good friend of mine… In the business world, the battlefield.
But I’m like let’s get one layer deeper and take it to the home field… And that’s what I tell people. I use the word shoot, move and communicate – shoot for the stars, move with a purpose and communicate – and this is what I say at the end… “Communication, it’s a must.”
And people are like “oh, I thought it’d be something different.” no.
And then we just get into it more. We break down the acronym of team. Trust, effort, attitude and mission. If your team doesn’t have trust effort attitude mission, you’re not going to be a productive team. And that’s what we go around. We just show people.
And that’s what I love, we show people their deficiencies… And we’re not sitting here beating our chests… We’re like “listen, the reason why we know this is because we’ve been here, we’ve done this. Use it here…
And everybody has a battlefield, you know what I mean? Everybody has an overseas battlefield somewhere. They’re battling with something. So, again, I’m gonna talk to you later about the meditation…
Once I can conquer that, sir, I think I’m going to be a full spectrum warrior. Because we had that talk before and I don’t like to use the word “trying” to Mark Divine, but I am working on it.
Mark. Let’s talk about that. And I think this is something that like one of my little sub-mission – linked to my overall mission – is to help people understand how to do the mental work, right? And get away from this kind of fuzzy misunderstanding of meditation and what meditation is.
Meditation is like saying “leadership.” I mean, it’s a very, very broad subject. And does someone say to you “hey Ray, go practice your leadership today.” Well, we say that with meditation as if it’s one thing, right?
So in that context you have actually been meditating for a very long time. Because the SEALs trained one aspect of meditation extremely well. And that’s concentration. The ability to laser-focus in on a target, in on a task… And to keep that focus there undisturbed, undistracted for a very long time.
In fact, it’s one of the reasons that SEALs are so damn successful at what we do. We fail forward fast, and we are able to concentrate on a task to completion.
Boom. Those two skills are huge. So one of the prerequisites for being able to be mindful -which is being aware of I say cognition as well as emotional patterns – is to be able to concentrate on just one thing. And then when you release the hold on that concentration -imagine like you’re gripping a pistol grip really hard, and then when you want to move into mindfulness, you release the grip on that and you just feel the weight of the weapon in your hand.
So releasing the grip on your concentration means you’re now able to kind of experience the thoughts and emotions coming back into your awareness. And you can see the patterns, because you’re not merged with them anymore. You’re not those patterns. You’re not that thought. You’re not that emotion.
Because your center of consciousness was seated on the concentration item which is remote and separate from the thought and emotion that’s arising. In this way – this is like a little bit of mini-lesson here so I apologize for going down this rabbit hole – you develop this thing called metacognition. And metacognition is like the first step in what we would call mindfulness meditation.
So, start with just concentration. We use box breathing, which helps with arousal control. But then that breath pattern becomes your concentration focus. And you hold your mind on that just as tight as you would like on a shooting evolution in the SEALs. And then after five minutes of that, or eight minutes of that – just release the grip, mentally. And just watch what happens. Just watch the thoughts and emotions and whatever else comes up… And you can even categorize them, but don’t latch onto them. You want to just let it go.
Like I use a metaphor of a cloud kind of just passing by. You don’t merge with it and elaborate on that thought – and that’s where people get really stuck with meditation.
Because they sit down, and they just start thinking, you know what I mean? 20 minutes thinking and listening to headspace and think that they meditate, and they really didn’t.
Ray. I’ve been starting… I like to go on the sauna at night. I try to just go in there.
No external sources – I don’t want to have headphones… I saw a guy trying to meditate with headphones, listening to music I’m like…
Mark. (laughing) That’s listening to music.
Ray. Yeah, I know. I told him that. So I go in there and I just try to… Right now I’m focusing on the breathing.
And I apply the same rules – I know this is gonna sound crazy – I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of it like this, but like to mindset – I remember in BUD/S sharpening my knife. You remember sharpening the knife. Just to sharpen and I believe that meditation is like sharpening your knife. If you get a crappy sharpener, it’ll get sharp, but it’s not gonna hold that edge. If you take your time and you’re patient and you have devotion… And I talk about purpose and passion.
You’re gonna develop that sharp blade with your mind, the body, and soul and then it’s gonna stay sharp. Then people what do they do? The symbolism of the knife… They just use the knife over and over and over. And they’re not bettering that, they’re just using it to work with. Sawing.
And that’s how I try to think. So whenever I go in there right now, as crazy it is, I work on my breathing and what I do is I focus on sharpening the knife. And just going “I’ve got this,” with my breathing. So probably – to your standards – that’s completely wrong. You’ll talk to me afterwards.
Mark. No, no. Actually, I think you’re doing a great job. The breath is the best place to start. Like I said, you’re getting all the health benefits, and the arousal control benefits if you slow your breathing down. Breathe through your nose. Use your diaphragm – get a full lung.
That alone is enormously valuable – as you know, from a health, longevity, exercise, fitness standpoint.
But then if we’re just relaxing and concentrating on the breath, then it’s basically shunting our mind down to that one thing. Which is how we develop that razor-sharp concentration. So that continually coming back to the breath with – like you said – passion or intention -that’s sharpening the sword or the knife of your mind.
Then we want to release the grip, so that you can practice the mindful awareness, which is going to help improve your life. Because you’re gonna begin to see what patterns you’re reactionary to. What negative condition has been holding you back, or tripping you up.
You can use mindfulness to trace all the way back to childhood trauma. And eradicate that negative shit from your life.
You can’t do it, though, if your mind is all over the place. Jumping like a jumping bean.
Ray. We talked about the cat playing with the ball, right? We were laughing about it. The ball is slowing down, so I don’t believe in perfection, but progression. So I’m trying to progress – like you said – even though I’m failing at it. I’m failing forward fast. So I’m making progression. I love it.
Mark. Yeah, that’s great. And it is a practice. We call it “meditation practice” because it’s meant to be practiced. If you give up or take a break it’s just like fitness – exercise. You’re gonna move backwards and eventually you’ll get fat and out of shape again.
You might have a little muscle memory, so you can get back in the routine a little bit easier next time.
But meditation is meant to be practiced every day. It’s better to do five minutes a day than it is to do two hours on a Saturday or Sunday.
Mark. It’s awesome. Well, so good luck with that. (laughing) And report back to me your progress.
Ray. I will. I’ll let you know.
Mark. So we gotta wrap this up here, Ray. Tell me… So you’re doing the podcast with Jason… That’s the “Overcome and Conquer,” show. People can find that just by googling it or going to like iTunes, right?
Ray. Yep. Overcomeandconquer.com. You can check that out.
Mark. Okay. What else you got going on that you’d like to listeners to know about?
Ray. Yeah, I’m on Instagram @raycashcare. That’s my name.
And then the big thing that we’re pushing… The passion right now, is theltdproject.com.
And that’s our site where you can see where we’re trying to win on the battlefield of business. We’re trying to teach people to be warriors everything they do… Covering the four pillars of success, the fundamentals of team, and living by the four f-bombs – family fitness and faith.
Mark. That’s awesome. Well buddy, I really appreciate your time. It’s been a blast talking to you. I hope to meet you in person, so let’s get together when you come out here in April to San Diego.
Ray. I’d love that.
Mark. And let me know if I can help out with anything.
Ray. All right. Well thank you for your time, sir. This is the first podcast I’ve ever been on where I’ve taken more notes than I’ve talked. I’ve got like 2 pages of notes.
Mark. That’s what I love about these podcasts… I love teaching and so we get to co-teach. That’s kind of the way I look at it.
Ray. Well hopefully I taught you something – I doubt it – but hey, I learned a lot. And I appreciate your time, sir. Thank you. Much respect.
Mark. Hooyah. Appreciate you, brother.
All right folks, Ray “Cash” Care check out he and my buddy Jay at the “Overcome and Conquer” podcast. And check out ray cash care on Instagram. And if you’ve got a company or team that’s looking to go deep and to improve your communication, then the ltd project. And I appreciate ray for coming on and sharing his insights and his wisdom. And there’s a bright future for that guy. Former SEAL.
Alright folks. That’s it for me. I look forward to seeing you next time on the Unbeatable Mind podcast.
And don’t forget staringdownthewolf.com. Help us out with our launch, so we can help a lot of people out. Developing the seven commitments that make leaders awesome through their teams. So this is a book about how leaders develop through their teams and that the teams become the main petri dish for emotional development in an organization. It’s for organizational leaders and teams.
I think it’s going to be a useful book. Think it’s going to help a lot of people, at least that’s what I’ve been told. So I’m going to eat my humble pie and just cross my fingers. But if you want to get an early copy or pre-order it go to staringdownthewolf.com. And if you want me to come out and do a keynote, order a bunch of them.
Till next time.