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The Way of the SEAL: Training and building an elite team

By May 23, 2018 No Comments

 “What’s the team’s ‘why?’ And how does it show up as a vision for the team and an ethos for the team?” — Mark Divine

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In the final episode of his special “The Way of the SEAL” podcasts, Mark talks about the final two principles in his book, Training for the Way of the SEAL, and building an elite team. Commander Divine goes through some of the exercises and tools that he uses for training the 5 mountains. He also talks about ways to make sure that the members of your team are all on the same page with you as you work to accomplish elite goals.

Hear about:

  • how to combine horizontal training—practical skills—with the vertical development you need to attain higher plateaus of consciousness
  • Remember that slow is smooth, smooth is fast. So, think more about being smooth than going quickly when you train
  • Understand how you will need to make sure that every member of your team is following the same ethos

Listen to this episode to get many insights about training the 5 mountains and developing your ability to lead according to the Unbeatable Mind and Way of the SEAL principles.

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Hey Folks. This is Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Welcome back. Thank you so much for joining me today. Super-appreciate it. Today I have a solocast. This’ll be the final in The Way of the SEAL series where I’ve been riffing on the principles in my book “The Way of the SEAL.” in anticipation of the release of the new 5th anniversary edition which’ll be due out Memorial Day. So if you missed any of these, you can search at iTunes or at our website for the earlier podcasts. I basically covered 2 principles or two chapters of the book in each podcast, to include Leading from the front in a VUCA environment, Accelerating environment. Principle 1: Establishing your set point. Developing front-sight focus. Bullet-proofing your mission. Do today what others won’t so you can do tomorrow what others can’t. Forging mental toughness. Breaking things. Building your intuitive awareness. And Thinking offence all the time. And in this last recording we’re going to talk about training The Way of the SEAL, and building an elite team.

All right, so before I get started–if you haven’t joined the Burpees for Vets challenge, I encourage you to take a look at that. Put out a big challenge this year for tribe to join me, to do 22 million burpees. We’ll each do as much as we can. I’ve committed to 100,000 minimum. And I’m donating 10 cents a burpee.

So the idea is you commit to a minimum that you’re going to do. And you either get some pledges or you pledge amount yourself. Or both. And our goal is 22 million total. And a minimum of 250,000 dollars with which we’re going to support veterans who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress. 22 a day are committing suicide. That’s why we chose that 22 million number. We wanted to suffer in a way that was worthy to some extent. Even though nothing can compare to the suffering that these men and women are going through.

So we want to do our part, because they need our help. Go to to check out how you could get involved. And it’s all through the Courage Foundation. We’re already at 125 K in commitments and about 6, 7 million burpees. So we’re off to the races. So

And as I said, this 5th anniversary edition of The Way of the SEAL will be coming out Memorial Day. You can learn about it and pre-order it if you go to and we have some special features that you can take advantage of there. And we’ll have a companion workbook that’ll be offered at a URL that’s listed in the book. Along with the tools. Which we didn’t offer with the 1st edition.

So 2 new chapters. Every other chapter’s been edited, updated, key takeaways added. And we’ve added the workbook as well as some digital tools. All available on our website at That URL like I said, will be in the book. Gotta get the book first.



Okay, at any rate let’s go dig into Training in the Way of the SEAL. You know the concepts in the book are designed to help you think more like an elite warrior. To lead and succeed. To drive your team toward mission success. And to become a more world-centric and holistic leader. Most of the skills, if you’ve read the first version of the book or are familiar with it, are really the inner-development. Winning in your mind. And winning in the heart/mind and the Kokoro whole mind. Learning how to really cultivate the character of a SEAL. And character is all developed vertically, meaning you evolve yourself vertically to higher stages of consciousness. Stages of awareness. To be able to access more refined states, such as flow state and the ability to take more comprehensive and integrated perspectives on the world and other people and your organization. That’s all vertical development.

So this book really is a vertical development manifesto. Having said that, you know, horizontal development is also important. So there are some horizontal skills that we offer in the book, such as physical training regimen, yoga… the movement practices. Those are horizontal skills. Communication skills–those are horizontal skills.

But those skills are deployed at a higher stage of consciousness, with greater states of awareness when you do them combined with vertical development. So that’s kind of a general overview of what we’re doing when we train the Way of the SEAL.

The concepts are for you to think about, but the training is where the rubber meets the road. These things are meant to be trained, day-in and day-out. On a battle rhythm. On a plan.

So that’s what I want to talk about in this chapter. The approach you want to take is that slow is smooth, smooth is fast approach. You don’t want to drink from a firehose. There are literally 20 or 30–when I look at the page, the chapter on training–I have a matrix of all the tools. And it’s 2 pages long. There are some incredible tools.

Just as an example, the assessment of where you’re at. The “future me” visualization. The Still Water Runs Deep visualization. Fantasizing with purpose. The witness process or sentinel at the gate, where you learn to direct your mind and your emotions. The KISS process. The idea lab. Transmuting pain into positivity. Finding you 20x factor. Box Breathing. Turning stress to success. What wolf are you feeding? Smart goals. FITS. PROP. KIM game. Awakening intuition. Authentic communication.

That’s just a small sampling of all the different tools. Now these tools are meant to be used in different scenarios. Some are part of your morning ritual, some are part of your evening ritual. Some are part of your pre-workout and post-workout. Some are meant to be done daily, some weekly. Some monthly. Some just periodically if you need to. Some maybe just once in your life.

So, you’re not going to try to do it all. A lot of people will read this book through, and then they’ll go back and work through the exercises and the practices in each chapter. And then when they get back to this chapter on training, they develop what we call a 5 mountain training plan.

So take an approach that’s slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Just try to integrate one new thing maybe a week or even a month if necessary.

And if you approach this as a course, over the course of a year, you will transform yourself and develop vertically as a leader to higher stages of awareness and what we call 5th plateau is our ultimate goal.

The 5th plateau stage of awareness is the stage where you can take perspectives on all the other plateaus or all the other stages of development that humanity falls into. And you can travel and traverse those stages or plateaus with ease, and overcome the shadow elements that you have in your own life at each plateau.

We go into great depth on this in the Unbeatable Mind Academy and our live Academy. I don’t go in so much into this theory in The Way of the SEAL book but I do reference it here in this chapter as well as in building elite teams.



But my point is that there is a destination. It’s a never-ending destination. There is not “there” there. But ideally we want to move from… a lot of us are at 3rd plateau which is “the Achiever” or 4th plateau which is “The Equalizer.” Some of us are still at a 1st or 2nd plateau which are “Survival” or power projection or “Protector,” I think is what I call the 2nd plateau.

So these are all fine, and they’re not judgements. They’re not a hierarchy. They’re just more archetypal energies.

And the 5th plateau, “The Integrator,” is inclusive of all. So “The Integrator” can also be a protector/Sheepdog. Is able to handle survival situations or deal with root elements of basic human survival instincts and needs very well. Can deal with people who are stuck in those roles in a service mindset.

Also have a healthy “Achiever,” where the achievement isn’t at the expense of others. The achievement isn’t driven by ego. It’s at a much higher level of achievement where it’s world-centric. It’s for the good of humanity. The money trails instead of leads as a priority. That type of thing.

And then the “Equalizer” that 4th plateau, that has a lot of shadow in it in our society. And the “Equalizer” is the pluralist, the spiritual egoism that exists is avoided at a 5th plateau. And you just kind of bypass that.

So it’s really interesting and it’s grounded in developmental psychology. Integral theory. And some other even Eastern traditions. So there’s a lot behind it. And the way I present it is really just unique to The Way of the SEAL. So I’m not making up this plateau concept.

It’s grounded in science.

So at any rate, I went down a little bit of a rabbit hole there, but it’s relevant. Because you might say, “Well, what are we training for?” And I’m saying we’re training to vertically evolve ourselves to higher states and stages of awareness. We call those the plateaus.

Most of us reside in the 3rd or 4th plateau. We want to be in the 5th plateau. And the 5th plateau has probably plateaus above it. But that’s the beginning of the integration. The beginning of what the East would call “enlightenment.”

It’s possible, with some dedicated training and development to achieve that enlightenment in a Western contextual sense through this book, and through this training. There is vast, vast… now, after 5 years of this book, have a tremendous number of testimonials and it points that that’s possible.

Several years of training in this can really evolve someone and transform them. And then you can take it to your team, and transform your team and your organizations as well. Very, very powerful stuff.

So I call it the Way of the SEAL development model, and we evolve or develop 5 particular domains. And they are the physical domain, which is involved in physiology, functional fitness, and biological health.

The second is the mental domain, which is really about developing focused concentration. Control of your mental mind and states. Accessing whole mind which is basically a state of being able to use both linear and non-linear thinking. Direct perception. And whatnot.

So that’s basically a personal PhD in vertical development right there. And then the 3rd domain is the emotional mountain. So that’s developing emotional control, emotional resiliency and really being able to connect at a more emotionally mature level. Which is critical for world-centric care and concern.

And then the 4th is the intuitional mountain or domain, where we’re going to develop awareness and intuition. And we had a whole principle on intuition. So that’s covered pretty deeply in the book.

And then the last I call the spiritual. Also Kokoro. Kokoro means whole mind. Or whole mind in action. Which is also known as spiritual. Although that term can cause some confusion because people have different ideas of what that means. So for us it means developing your non-quitting spirit. Your warrior spirit. Merging your heart and mind in action. And being very clear about why you’re on this planet and what you’re meant to do.

5 Mountains


So those are the capacities and each one of them is trained at some level across all the Way of the SEAL principles. And then they’re activated when you develop your 5 mountain training plan which covers the physical, mental, emotional, intuitional and spiritual. And then you deliberately develop these on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. With a battle rhythm or some sort of ritualistic approach that is appropriate for your life.

There’s not one approach. It really depends upon where you are. And so I offer you a number of guiding questions which we call self-assessment questions to assess your starting point.

Where are you at right now in the physical domain? Some of you are total physical studs. You’re CrossFit games athletes or you’re Navy SEAL candidates or maybe you’re already in the Special Ops community. Or you’re triathletes. Or whatever. You’re running Spartan races. You’ve been to SEALFIT Kokoro camp.

Awesome. Then the physical domain you’ve got a good handle on. But you can always dial it in through breath control. Through supplementation. Through maybe refining your diet with a ketogenic diet. Through eating less, but better. Those types of things.

Through getting into somatic movement like Tai Chi, Chi Gong, or yoga. So Kokoro yoga, which is our yoga practice, is a comprehensive physical, mental, and intuitive and spiritual training regimen that includes all of that. It’s a very comprehensive hybrid program that includes functional fitness, traditional Asana or yoga poses. Chi Gong and some Tai Chi. Various breath practices. Various concentration, meditation and visualization practices. And each training session has some element of 3 or 4 of those together. And so it’s a total integration.

So Kokoro yoga is meant to be a supplement to this program where we spoon-feed you the practices for your morning and evening ritual. But you don’t need that if you have a connection to maybe a yoga or a martial arts practice. Or even CrossFit or something like that. Or your own hybrid can be used for that. If you bring the right approach to it.

At any rate, my point is that you wanna assess where you’re at. But if you’re out of shape and you’ve been on the couch for a while, then you got some work to do in the physical domain. And that’s a good place to start. Cause these are… generally we want to get our physical line up, get our body healthy, because that’s going to affect the next one a great deal.

That’s the mental. And if you’re moving well, and trying new things, and learning new skills, and playing sport and all that, then your mental development is already very advanced. And where the body leads, the mind follows. And you’re going to have a pretty solid foundation in mental toughness and thinking clearly and all that.

But now we want to take that up a notch and develop our own little personal vertical development PhD program that you’re chipping away at throughout the year. And so that might include things like developing your memory, accessing your right brain through creativity–I’m taking a creative drawing class called “Drawing from the right side of my brain” in a few weeks. So that’s part of my own mental mountain this year.

Stuff like that.

And so I offer you some assessment questions on mental mountain to help you understand where you’re at… where’s your starting point? Where are you at?

And then similarly, with the emotional mountain. This is critical. How do we develop emotionally? Are we developed emotionally? Do we have great self-awareness of our BOO or Background of Obviousness. How we relate with other people?

The effect that our words and our emotional energy has on other people. How are we? Most of us aren’t that good at that. Especially guys. So we want to really, really dig into the emotional mountain. And develop ourselves there.

And then the intuitional. And then, of course, the spiritual.

So interestingly my experience in teaching this, and working with thousands of students over the years is that if we go in this order you’ll find that physical leads to stronger mental, the mental allows us to tap into the emotional life. When the emotions has become better understood and you’re more aware of them, and you can trace the energy to incidents and to belief systems and whatnot, then it allows us to separate the wheat from the chaff and become more intuitive. And pick up the intuitive signals that are guiding us away from danger or toward opportunity.

And ultimately, right at the center of all that. Like a Rorschach nesting doll in the center is that spiritual center. And when you can tap into that and then bring that through into your emotional, intuitive, mental and physical body, that’s what we mean by whole mind. When you bring it all together in an integrated whole.

Wow. When that happens, that essentially is what I’m talking about. That’s where you experience the enlightened moments. Those moments show up as states–peak states–and then eventually they stabilize into that 5th plateau stage of development. Super-amazing when that happens, and I trust all of you will experience that if you’re disciplined with your training plan.

Now if you’re strapped for time I’ve got a little section in there. Saying “Well, Mark, there’s so much to do and I don’t have enough time in the day. I’m already running 10,000 places and I’ve got kids to deal with and 3 businesses I’m running. And I’m taking a course on the side.”

So okay then what I’m hearing there is you already are covering some of these bases when it comes to developing your physical and mental mountain. Now we gotta look at it, and how do we do those things more efficiently, and now we want to add a morning and evening practice to your routine to cover some of the intuitional and spiritual training. Develop some of the skills so that you can deepen your level of connection and caring concern. So do certain things.

There’s a lot of really cool things that we can do that you fit into the cracks in your day. We call those spot drills. Lot of spot drills that you can do that you can do to deepen your awareness, and to control your physiology and to develop mental control and concentration and whatnot.

All of that’s in this book, but it doesn’t really take much time. Now for me, the biggest chunk of my time spent training is my physical workout. But when I do that I’m also doing breath practices and doing visualization and practicing kind of a version of moving mindfulness meditation while I train. So I’ve let go of needing to win, I check my ego at the door.

I’ll train either alone or with a team, but when I do it, I turn it into an integrated training session. That means I’m trying to cover all 5 of those mountains or domains when I train. So that’s one way to turn your CrossFit workout or your yoga session into a really much more of an integrated practice.

And I don’t know anybody who really can’t fit in at least 5 minutes in the morning and the evening of a little bit of practice, right? And practice I mean like Box Breathing practice, or mindfulness or visualization or even some light movement. So I offer you the morning and the evening ritual. And those are easy to plug into your day.

Also, what can you eliminate? Eliminate some time spent on social media. Time in front of the TV. Time that is just not used maybe in a sense that’s wise, or leading to your development.

So you can assess where you’re wasting your time and squeeze some time. Plus, you have breaks during the day. There’s time when you’re in the car. That’s good training time. There’s lunch time. To me, lunch time is training time. So when you eat like The Way of the SEAL and you’re eating a lot of fat, and you’re eating a lot of fat and protein from healthy sources. And you’re developing your own ketones. And you’re eating intermittently. And you’re fasting intermittently.

Then you don’t take lunch in a traditional setting. I haven’t had sit-down lunch in years. So that becomes great training time. That’s like what Tony Robbins calls your “power hour.” So use that time wisely.

So really, this is no excuses. You do have the time, you just have to acknowledge it, and begin to declutter and apply the KISS principle. Do less better. Say no to more things. Say Yes to developing yourself to the highest level possible, tapping that 20x potential. And leading as a warrior/leader, at a 5th plateau world-centric level.

That’s just a commitment and to me it’s a no-brainer. But takes a little bit of getting used to.

Training Plans


In this chapter I offer 3 different training plans as an example. My own. Melanie’s–who’s one of our Unbeatable Mind/SEALFIT coaches. And some of you have seen her in some of our videos. She runs our SEALFIT online program. And our community over there. So she’s got one. And then a fellow named Jeff Grant who used to be one of our SEALFIT coaches and he’s a running expert. So we offer those in this chapter.

I wanna say one thing about staying the course. Like I say, this training is meant to be done methodically, in a disciplined manner over a long period of time.

Just jumping into this book and reading it, isn’t going to do anything for you except for maybe open your mind a little bit. But doing the work day-in and day-out. Using the training in this as your personal practice, that’s where you’re going to find some major results. I’d rather see you do 5 minutes a day of one or two of the principles. Like, for instance, just start with Box Breathing. Just do 5 minutes of Box Breathing every morning. And then report back to me and I’ll guarantee you in 30 days you will have transformed already. You will be well on your way. And you will prove to yourself the power of that practice.

And then you’re going to want to pick it up and maybe add the Still Water Runs Deep and Future Me visualization and you’re off to the races.

But in order to stay the course, it’s helpful to have a training space in your home, or a place where you’re not going to be disturbed to do the inner work. The mind-gym work. The winning in the mind, the Box Breathing, the meditation.

It’s helpful to have a space that’s dedicated for that. Where you’re not going to get interrupted. And people aren’t going to look at you weird, and that kind of thing. So set up a space at home or wherever it’s going to be for you, where it’s going to be your dedicated training space.

Number 2 is get buy in from your family. Make sure that they know what you’re doing, and you’re not sneaking around hiding this cause you think they’re going to judge you or whatever.

Better yet, get them involved. So many people have gotten their kids involved. And so great tools from the book to use with your kids are What Wolf are you feeding? Getting them to feed the courage wolf and develop positive dialogue. Simplification and front-sight focus tools. So getting them to think about what’s important around their purpose and their values and goals.

And then getting them to really declutter their environment and breathe into stress. That’s awesome.

Also getting them into like, functional fitness. Burpees and pushups and squats. As well as yoga movements is very useful. They can start to play with that.

And then developing deeper, authentic communication with them by actually listening and just trying to be present instead of always telling them what to do.

That’s a great way to get your kids involved and get them really into the language of what you’re doing. So they support it and they’re excited about it when you go do your training. Or if they see you sitting and Box Breathing with your eyes closed.

To stay motivated if you get bored or fatigued, then what you want to do is change things up again. So change things up, try something new. Also, go back and check in with your why. Revisit your ethos from principle 1, 2 and your front-sight focus. And why you’re doing what you’re doing. So if things get stale then go back and check in with your why and really fuel that up.

Also track your progress. I recommend you journal–have a journal handy when you train. Have a journal handy when you wake up and you do your morning ritual so you can journal things your grateful for. You can journal insights. Same thing in your evening ritual.

And your 5 mountain training plan is a living plan, so you’re going to want to refresh it. I like to refresh mine every month. At a minimum, every quarter.

And ideally find someone to train with. So use the team approach. There is no “I” in team, so maybe create a practice group. Or join us at Unbeatable Mind where all these principles–which came from the Unbeatable Mind training program–are embedded and we have boat crews and we have coaching and all that kind of stuff. So Unbeatable Mind is the place to get support from us as a company and from me…

I have a group I work with called the “Inner Circle” and these guys and ladies are going really, really deep with the training. It’s very effective.



Okay. Enough on that. The last chapter and the last part of this I want to address is called “Building Elite Teams.” Now this is one of the new chapters that I added for the 5th anniversary edition. The other one being “Leading in VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous environments.” So in order for you as a company… if you’re an organizational leader, or running a team. Or even an up and coming leader on a team, then you will deal with VUCA environments because that’s what our world is like right now. Technology is accelerating things, or the perception of acceleration anyways.

And there’s a lot of complexity. There’s a lot of uncertainty. Things are ambiguous… you don’t know whether to go left, right, up, or down.

And there can be chaos in that. And so how do we deal with it?

We deal with it through clarity of vision. Clarity of mission intent. And by being human. By really… in a VUCA environment the rigid management systems of the past just simply do not work. Cause they were built for complicated environments, not complex environments.

So to build an elite team requires first that you become an elite individual. And I don’t mean that in an elitist sense. I use that term really from the SEALs. To think that if you want to be an elite team–or part of an elite team–then you gotta start thinking like an elite operator.

So all the principles and all the tools in the book The Way of the SEAL are all about you as an individual leader developing kind of that elite operator mindset. And winning in your mind before you step foot on the battlefield. Developing the tools for crafting that win.

But then what happens if you do all that, but then you go in and your team really doesn’t give a shit, and they’re all on a whole different wavelength? I’m sure some of you have experienced that.

Well, then, it’s incumbent upon you to lead by example. Show up differently and inspire your team to jump in with you to do the training.

And if you’re actually the owner or leader of your business, or your organization–awesome. That means that you can then bring these tools in.

So let me give you some examples. I just got off a call with Paul who’s in my Inner Circle. And he’s been training in The Way of the SEAL and the Unbeatable Mind principles for over 2 years now. And he brought these into his contracting company.

He’s got a big construction company. Very large organization.

And now every morning when their key leaders get together, and all their team leaders, they do some of our Kokoro yoga training to really work out the kinks. To get ready for the day. To touch bases at an energetic level. To synchronize. So there’s a whole… they’ve learned that when they do this the feel more grounded. They feel more connected, and they’re safer out in the field. And the work they do is dangerous.

So they’re doing yoga together every morning. They’re doing breathing training before every meeting.

So we do this at our company too. Box Breathing before every key meeting. And what this does is we’re basically co-inspired together and we’re synchronizing ourselves. And we’re getting rid of the baggage and decluttering our minds. You know, we’re focusing.

And then when we start the meeting, we have much more productive meetings. We practice feeding the Courage Wolf. We don’t allow negativity. We practice brutally honest communications.

So does Paul. So there’s a real power to bringing these tools into your organizations and your teams.

So my point is, to journey as a leader in the Way of the SEAL principles, you’re never going to be alone. The work starts alone at home, but then when you step into the team, you need to build that elite team. Which who can inspired by your vision and aligned with your principles to develop a culture of excellence or an outstanding culture. Which is capable of executing the mission that you have in front of you.

So one of the things I talk about in this chapter is developing team spirit of an elite team. This is really a palpable energy field where the team accesses flow. So what I’m suggesting here is that sometimes the flow that you see or you experience is the result of team energy. Pulling you into that flow.

Now you can experience flow as an individual. Where your challenge level and your competence kind of intersect and it pulls you into a state of deep focus and concentration. Where everything just flows out of you. You’re in the zone, and everything feels effortless. But oftentimes this happens when we’re with a team. Where everyone’s synched up and really, radically focused on mission accomplishment and sharing that vision. And all those oars are rowing the same direction.

I’m reminded of when I rowed crew in 8 man shell in college, and we had some rough days where, you know, oars were all hitting at just different times. And people are getting thrown out of the boat.

But then we had those times where every single oar connected with the water and was pulling through the water at the exact same time. In total synchronicity. And when that happened the boat would literally leap out of the water. And it just felt amazing.

And everyone just completely settled into this flow state.

Until something clicked one individual out of it. And it was one individual clicks out of it, then the whole team clicks out of it.

So we want to learn how to create the conditions for team flow, which’ll then magnify the power of the team dramatically.

And so that’s what… team spirit isn’t just a back slap after the game. Or let’s go have some beers. Or let’s do some sort of ropes course team building event.

That’s all interesting. That’s kind of pedestrian. I’m not saying it’s bad to do. It’s useful. But its way more interesting to Box Breath together. To visualize together. To clarify intent. To really dialogue about alignment around principles.

And then see what happens when you up the game and when you add more intense goals, and you get clear about the stakes. And you’ll see team flow start to kick in and that’s what I mean by building an elite team.

So it all starts with the team knowing its “Why.” So how often do you have…? You’re maybe clear on your why, but you have no idea what your teammates’ “Why” is. What’s driving their behavior?

And it seems like everyone’s in it for themselves. And often you’re just all working for different objectives on the same team. And it feels like you’re stuck in the mud. So the team needs to begin to clarify, what’s the team’s “Why,” and how does it show up in a vision for the team? And an ethos for the team?

So just like at an individual level you can develop an ethos, which is the intersection of your passion, purpose and principles. That center target. You know when you’re on target because you feel alive. And you feel purposeful.

And you feel driven in a good way. That’s when those things are like… you’re centered right on that. The intersection of passion, purpose and principles.

Well the team has the same kind of center-point. So it doesn’t have to be exactly yours, or your teammates. But together you all have a shared or collective passion or else you wouldn’t be there. You have a shared or collective set of principles, or else you wouldn’t be there. Or shouldn’t be there. And you have a shared vision or purpose for why you’re doing what you’re doing.

That becomes the vision. And then you as a team begin to communicate that vision through your daily connection points and all-hands meetings. And through your intranet, and through your social media. Through your website. It becomes a common language.

Stanley McChrystal in his book “Team of Teams” calls that a shared consciousness. And I fully support that. It is a shared consciousness that comes from when you’re in sync on purpose, passion, principles. You know you’re on target. You can communicate that. You’ve got common language and boom. That’s an elite team. That’s really driven. Mission focused, okay?



So next up, to have everyone on your team really share your passion for growth. I talk about Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset.” She talks about growth mindset and fixed mindset. You know, it’s a fairly simple concept… she does a great job in her book kind of describing it.

You know, Unbeatable Mind is for growth oriented people. So’s The Way of the SEAL. I assume everyone listening to this is growth mindset or else you wouldn’t be listening to this.

But is everyone on your team have a growth mindset? That’s what we’re talking about here. Everyone on your team needs to have a “Together we grow,” attitude. Where everyone is challenging everyone else. Everyone’s supporting everyone else to vertically develop new capacity. It’s not a threat. It’s critical. We all need new capacities, so that we can bring more to the team. So the team can accomplish higher and more audacious type goals.

So that creates an environment of constant momentum. Relentless forward and upward growth. And momentum. And a relentless focus on training skills and character. That’s the horizontal and the vertical development.

And also it creates a great ownership mindset. We talk about Jocko Willink and his book “Extreme Ownership.” Jocko who I worked with back in the day, he expounded on this really well in his book “Extreme Ownership.” How you need to take radical ownership of everything as a leader. You own the mission. You own the preparation. You own the mistakes. And you own the development of the team.

But you obviously know that you can’t do it alone. So you also have to own your own limitations as a leader and get the heck out of the way. And sometimes become a cheerleader and a servant to your teammates.

But anyways… when your team gets on board with this ownership mindset, and cares for the team, the mission and the structure. And is seeking to improve it every day. Wow. That’s a really powerful thing.

Then we talk a little bit about hiring. So the SEALs and great organizations don’t recruit but they attract. Like moths to the flame. They attract because they communicate and they transmit their vision to the world. They’re very clear about why they do what they do. Not just as a team, but at an organizational level.

And then they put it out there. And they take demonstrable steps to prove that this is their vision. And it’s not just about creating a widget or selling a product or service. It’s something greater than that. Some sort of change the world vision. Or we’re going to impact the earth or humanity in a powerful way. In our little way.

It’s kind of like my Burpees for Vets Challenge. 22 million burpees is an audacious vision. And it’s attracted a really, really powerful tribe. Some of you probably are doing it with me. Who are inspired by helping vets with Post-Traumatic Stress by doing 22 million burpees.

And if we hit our 22 million, we’ll probably go to 100 million. I mean, that’s audacious.

So what is the audacious vision that you have that causes people to just want to jump on board and be part of your team? They’re attracted to it. They’re attracted to that vision. You don’t have to really do much recruiting.

If anything… like, the SEALs, you’re vetting through your training program the character of those who are attracted to you. And that’s why selecting through a rigorous training program is really valuable.

And large organizations do this. If you’re a small organization, well you need to use support tools like top grading and maybe 90 day trial period. And just getting the culture to really vet individuals who maybe slip through the door because they look pretty on a resume. But really don’t share the values or the vision.

So getting the right teammates and getting the right butts in the seats is critical. Because one bad apple can spoil the bunch when it comes to teams.

Team Trust


So when a team attracts for character but trains for skills then what happens is trust goes up dramatically. Trust is the glue that holds teams together. Elite teams take trust seriously. By training trust. By demanding trust. And by removing teammates who violate trust or who can’t be remedied when they violate trust.

That requires a new communication strategy too. It requires a strategy of brutal honesty, truth and transparency. And skillful communications. In our organization, we’re doing communications training, such as crucial conversations.

There’s a training program, great for learning how to deal with hard discussions. In the SEALs we had the debrief. And in this chapter I have a big section on how to debrief effectively and the power that the debrief had.

I use that with the Olympic Silver medal winners. This velodrome female cyclist team, who got the silver medal in 2012. And they implemented a brief and debrief process. And brutally honest communications. And some of these leadership principles from The Way of the SEAL into their team. And they reported that it had a huge effect upon their ability to unlock the teams’ performance.

So learning how to develop trust requires that you invest in communication strategies. Developing more respect. And the ability to uplift people with your communications from the heart level… that Kokoro heart/mind level as opposed to harm the energy or hurt people…

And I’m not talking about tip-toeing around. Tip-toeing around actually is more damaging than being brutally honest. But there’s a skillful way to be brutally honest. You can have a skillful communication that hits someone right in the sweet spot of where they’re screwing up, and do it in a way that’s very sensitive. To the situation.

Like, one great tool that we use–we’ve been developing–I learned from the Engelharts from Cafe Gratitude is that we want to own not only what we say but how it lands with the people we’re communicating… so own what you say, but also how it lands.

That means you have to be able to take their perspective. Again, this is one of the skills of the 5th plateau leader… to be able to take and make new perspectives. So before you just open your mouth and drop a grenade out of it, be able to seek first to understand like Mr. Covey said, before you’re understood. These are skillful communication skills. And that’s the hallmark of an elite team.



All right–there’s more in this chapter, but I’ve covered quite a bit. That’s it. The Way of the SEAL 5th anniversary edition. Check it out at It’s going to be released by my publisher Reader’s Digest/Trusted Media on Memorial Day. You can pre-order it. You can order multiple copies if you like. Share them with your team.

It’s greatly expanded and improved from the 1st edition–although the 1st edition has been received extremely well. And was a number one bestseller on Amazon and a Wall Street Journal bestseller. And the only reason we didn’t hit the New York Times bestseller list was because the publisher only printed 10,000 copies and we ran out. That was back in 2012.

Well we’ve learned a lot since then, and this is going to be a useful book. It keeps getting more and more relevant as the world becomes more aligned with what I’m talking about in the book.

So these skills are money. So hope you enjoyed this series of podcasts, riffing on the principles. They’re meant to be a compendium to the book. I will be doing an audiobook recording of the new edition. Where I’ll record it myself. The 1st edition had someone else recoding it. I don’t really like his voice, either, so I’m going to do this next one.

And also, I’m going to include this compendium of podcasts. I’m going to put that into audiobooks, all linked together, so that someone can listen to it as a supplement or a complement to the audiobook. Or just as a complement to the book itself.

At any rate, again, thanks so much for your time and attention. Thanks for supporting me and the Unbeatable Mind podcast. And if you want more information or more training then please check out our offerings at where we have Kokoro yoga, the Unbeatable Mind online academy. We have the Unbeatable Mind live academy which is 2 and a half day event where I go deep into all the training.

We have our annual summit in December which is an incredible 3 day event here in California. Course we have our SEALFIT events crucible series. The 20X, 20XL and Kokoro camp. And the 2 day performance academy and certification to become a certified trainer.

All of that information can be found at And the training program is due to be released soon for the certification. You may need to find that information if you’re listening to this early in 2018. But that’ll be more of a mid- to late 2018 program.

All right, enough on this. You guys rock. Stay focused. Train hard. And I’ll see you next time on the Unbeatable Mind podcast.


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