It's Sunday, March 29th, 2020 and we are in the midst of a global crisis, the COVID 19 crisis. Leaders are challenged with an unprecedented situation where there is no corporate playbook to follow and very little evidence of contingency planning.
Where can we look for guidance? for leadership insight in this time of crisis, this time of uncertainty - who is ever really trained for this?
The answer – the military – and we look to an elite group of warriors known as the NAVY SEALS
In this episode, you’ll meet Nick Norris. Nick was clearly born to serve, he not only served his country as a Navy SEAL but continues to serve the Navy SEAL community with his active involvement with the C4 foundation www.c4foundation.org . The C4 Foundation honors the legacy of Charles Humphrey Keating IV, a heroic Navy SEAL who gave his life defending our country and the freedoms we enjoy.
Nick also serves in his current role as CEO and co-founder of Protect Products, a wellness company committed to positively impacting customer health with both personal care products and nutritional supplements. www.protektproducts.com
Nick embodies the qualities of his brand and this is EXACTLY the type of leadership we need right now, leading through this crisis can be the most rewarding and, yes, exhilarating experience of our lifetime if we step up and embrace this leadership opportunity right NOW!
06:42 Nick Norris – Nick’s story
09:43 Contingency planning is everything
12:08 Why are SEALS so effective?
14:47 Micromanagement – The handicap
17:51 Trust and Hell Week
19:56 Love and compassion
23:55 Calm breeds calm
27:30 A time for creativity
30:59 Balancing emotions and vulnerability
36:22 The sand table
46:47 Dealing with toxic employees
51:35 Can you trust too much?
54:09 Extreme sports, pushing the limits, inside your head
1:03:05 Starting your day and Nick’s morning routine
1:07:49 Changing habits
Mentioned in this episode:
[00:00:00] Welcome to the finding gravitas podcast brought to you by gravitas Detroit, looking to become a more authentic leader. Finding gravitas is the podcast for you. Gravitas is the ultimate leadership quality that draws people in it's an irresistible force encompassing all the traits of authentic leadership, junior podcast hosts, Jan Griffis, that passionate rebellious farmer's daughter from Wales entrepreneur leadership, coach keynote speaker, one of the top 100 leading women in the automotive industry as she interviews some of the finest leadership minds in the quest for gravity.
[00:00:48] Jan: [00:00:48] It's Sunday, March 29th, 2020. And we're in the midst of a global crisis. The COVID-19 crisis we're living either in isolation, shelter in place, [00:01:00] or some form of quarantine, only essential services are allowed to operate in every business leader out there is figuring out what to do next amidst, a sea of unknowns and uncertainty.
[00:01:12] And it seems that information and predictions of what and when will happen next are changing by the minute. Leaders are challenged with an unprecedented situation where there is no real corporate playbook to follow and very little evidence of contingency planning. Almost all employees are told to work from home and every single routine we had a few weeks ago is now entirely changed and disrupted.
[00:01:38] Wait, can we look for guidance for leadership insight in this time of crisis, this time of uncertainty who is ever really trained for this, the answer, the military, and we look to an elite group of warriors known as the Navy seals. [00:02:00] In this episode, you'll meet Nick Norris. And man, I met through a video conference just a few days ago.
[00:02:07] This man is nothing like what I expected. My first interaction with a Navy seal. I expected an aggressive command and control type who would talk about barking out orders and following them blindly, nothing could be further from the truth. Nick is humble, kind gracious, and more than willing to support the mission of authentic leadership and the quest for gravitas.
[00:02:37] Nick was clearly born to serve. He not only served his country as a Navy seal, but continues to serve the seal community with his active involvement with the C4 foundation, the C4 foundation honors the legacy of Charles Keating, the fourth, a heroic Navy seal who gave his [00:03:00] life, defending our country and the freedoms we enjoy.
[00:03:03] The C4 provides support and resources through science-based programs to active duty Navy seals and their families. Nick also serves in his current role as CEO and co-founder of protect products, a wellness company committed to positively impacting customer health with both personal care products and nutritional supplements.
[00:03:29] Looking at the mission statement taken directly from its website. And I actually looked at this after I had interviewed Nick and it says this protect wants you to get closer to exhilarating experiences and reveling in your element. Uncompromised undaunted protect is not about resistance. It's about acceptance living in the moment, not just stepping into the void, but [00:04:00] leaping towards it, having the trust, faith, and confidence to do so we're not in the business of protection.
[00:04:06] We're in the business of freedom. And as I read that, I thought that's exactly it. This statement not only embodies everything about the product, Nick embodies the qualities of his brand, and this is exactly the type of leadership we need right now, leading through this crisis can be the most rewarding and yes, exhilarating experience of our lifetime.
[00:04:37] If we step up and step into it right now, Nick Norris is a graduate of both the United States Naval Academy and basic underwater demolition seal buds class two 47. Upon completion of seal training in 2004. Nick assumed progressively [00:05:00] higher positions of leadership within Naval special warfare is deployed roles included combat advisor to Iraqi and Afghan military units.
[00:05:11] Cross-functional team leader and ground force commander during combat operation in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Nick was most recently assigned to Naval special warfare basic training command seal qualification training as officer in charge prior to transitioning off active duty. Originally from Chicago, Nick received his bachelor in science from the United States Naval Academy in 2003 and his masters of science in real estate from the university of San Diego in 2013.
[00:05:47] And if that isn't enough, he's also a high performance athlete who pushes the limits at every turn, perhaps most [00:06:00] importantly, what really fuels him and drives his vision and mission. He is the proud husband and father of two young children. Nick Norris, welcome to the show.
[00:06:15] Nick: [00:06:15] Thank you for having me, Jim. So
[00:06:17] Jan: [00:06:17] Nick, that was a rather long introduction in bio.
[00:06:21] Normally I don't have a bio that says that's that, that lengthy, but it's great to have you on the show. And I could not think of a better guest to have on the show to talk about leading through crisis. But before we get to that, what's your story really? Who are you? Nick Norris.
[00:06:42] Nick: [00:06:42] Well, we covered it a little bit in the bio, but I grew up in Chicago, Illinois.
[00:06:48] Uh, I went to a private all boys Catholic school, um, for high school. And, you know, I think prior to that is, is when I was first introduced to the seal [00:07:00] teams, uh, in concept. I, you know, I had a good friend that I grew up with that was really into the military. Um, you know, personally, I think he really had an affinity for the United States Marine Corps and in a conversation early, uh, as kids, he mentioned to me that, uh, you know, there's this unit called the seal teams and they were elite and it was very difficult to be part of.
[00:07:24] And I, I think at that point, I fixated on that as this, this lofty kind of ambitious goal as a young man. Um, so from that point forward, you know, my goal was to. You know, get to basic underwater, demolition, seal training, and successfully completed and join the ranks of our us Navy seal team. So that took me to the Naval Academy for my undergrad.
[00:07:49] Uh, I finished there in 2003, and then I spent a little over 10 years with the seal teams to places like Iraq and [00:08:00] Afghanistan, uh, conducting combat operations on behalf of our, our wonderful nation and, uh, you know, find family and decided to transition off the active duty after, you know, running our training command, uh, for about two and a half or three years.
[00:08:16] Um, so that kinda got me to transition, you know, since transition, uh, I've had a number of different experiences, but, uh, namely I've been an entrepreneur. I've been involved with a couple of different startup consumer packaged goods companies. And, uh, most recently found a new company, protect crops is focused in the wellness space, um, both personal and nutritional supplements.
[00:08:45] So, uh, I, I glossed over kind of a lot of that. We'll get into it and I'm sure during this conversation, but, uh, that gets you to present day, Nick Norris. Great.
[00:08:57] Jan: [00:08:57] Well, Nick, given your experience as [00:09:00] a Navy seal, you are no stranger to dangerous environments, to uncertainty, walking into situations where there perhaps isn't a playbook.
[00:09:12] And you know, here we are today where a lot of leaders in the corporate world are faced with, I'll say a similar situation where they just don't know exactly what's going to come at them from one day to the next. And I'm curious, what prepares you for that type of leadership? What kind of training and on in your head, what prepares you to be a great leader in a crisis situation?
[00:09:43] Nick: [00:09:43] So, you know, it's funny. Um, yeah, I think right now people are being tested, uh, immensely. And I think the first thing that's being tested is do, do they have solid contingency plans and, you know, throughout my training, you [00:10:00] know, the whole, the whole goal during seal training, uh, both as a student and as a seal because, you know, we never stop training when we're working up as a full blown seal, part of a platoon, you are constantly training and you always are working on your contingency planning to be prepared for these uncertain times, uh, because the, the best way to inoculate EDA stress is by presenting you with a tremendous amount of stress at all times, and always prevent presenting you with uncertainty.
[00:10:34] So, you know, it's simple as terms, you know, the seal teams, you know, prepare, you know, Navy seals so well, because, you know, we're constantly being stress inoculated during all of our training. You know, we're presented with, uh, training scenarios that are, uh, not only difficult, but very difficult to, uh, to prepare for, you know, the, the goal of our training cadre is [00:11:00] to present uncertainty all the time.
[00:11:02] So you always have to be thinking on your feet and you need to be, uh, ready, willing, and capable of executing contingency plans, which, you know, really contingency planning is the only way that you can prepare for uncertain times, because you're really, you're, pre-planning kind of your playbook that you can reach into, um, you know, not knowing what, what problem you're truly going to be presented with.
[00:11:26] Jan: [00:11:26] The corporate leadership playbook handbook doesn't have a chapter in it for what's happening today. And I believe as you well know, my whole mission is authentic leadership, and this is a time where the real authentic leaders and the people that can connect with their teams. It's a great opportunity for them to step up.
[00:11:50] It could be the most rewarding leadership experience of their lifetimes, but they might be feeling some level of fear and anxiety [00:12:00] in stepping up and taking the lead in this type of environment. What advice would you have for them?
[00:12:08] Nick: [00:12:08] Yeah, I mean, I think this is an opportunity to embrace, you know, there's a lot of people that ask the question, what makes Navy seals or seal teams or any special operations units, so effective and.
[00:12:22] The first thing that I will always point to is the comradery, right? The brotherhood, uh, that deep sense of team that exists within a seal unit. And I, I think that that is the lifeblood of our community and it's, what's led to tremendous success over decades of combat. So if you look at what we're being presented as a, as a society right now, we, you know, in the current day with this pandemic, uh, there's a great opportunity for leaders to, to embrace this as a shared struggle, you know, a shared struggle.
[00:12:59] And I, I'm not [00:13:00] saying your people need to be the ones that, that, that are struggling or the leaders by themselves need to struggle. It should be shared. You know, you need to be willing as a leader to kind of dig in and go through this together. And if you truly embrace that as an opportunity, I think it's going to galvanize the bonds that can lead to these, these kind of mystical cultures that every corporate leader aspires to, to kind of model their company after, you know, if you want to create a seal platoon in your company right now embrace the hardship that we're, that we're dealing with right now, that's a product,
[00:13:36] Jan: [00:13:36] you know, Nick, I think there's a tendency in the corporate world right now to shift into a very hard, aggressive command and control type leadership style because people don't want wanna, they don't want to come across as being weak.
[00:13:51] They want to show their people that they're in charge and it, it could be in some situations, a sort of knee jerk reaction to move more closely [00:14:00] into command and control. And as I look at the military, which is. As you and I both know a field that I don't know much about. I always thought that that would be very much command and control type of environment.
[00:14:14] Right. Where, you know, you had this sort of guy who was in charge, his commander, who was barking out orders at people. And then everybody just follows. And I, you know, I read the book extreme ownership by Jocko Willink, and really nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, I had it all wrong. Didn't I?
[00:14:33] So could you explain a little bit about that command and control and why perhaps people shouldn't move necessarily early into this strong command and control and how should they lead through this crisis?
[00:14:46] Nick: [00:14:46] Yeah. I mean, if you, if you look at it, if you go into a micromanagement type leadership construct, as you're describing with a command and control structure, you are really handicapping yourself as [00:15:00] a leader.
[00:15:00] You know, as a leader, you basically are then taking on all roles and saying, you know what I know best, I know everyone's role best. And I'm going to tell you how to do your job. And, you know, I don't think you could point at a single individual that knows how to do every single job in an organization perfectly or better than any individual in that organization.
[00:15:22] So, you know, from a sales perspective, you know, I recognize that immediately, you know, I came into the seal teams as a young officer with zero combat experience, uh, zero workup experience. And I had guys in my platoon that had done. Three four, five combat tours or, and had worked up for a decade prior to me joining them.
[00:15:47] So, you know, I'm, I would be insane to think that I can, uh, that I know how to play snipers better than my snipers. I know how to communicate via radio and get a [00:16:00] communications up better than my radio, man. I, that I know how to administer medical cure better than, you know, the corpsman, you know, the combat medic that's attached to us.
[00:16:08] Uh, so we embraced the fact that every single person is a leader in their own, right. And they're an expert in their own category and we allow them to take charge. You know, I want as a leader, I want my people. To lead. I want them to take ownership of their job and their responsibility in an operation, and I want them to flourish and I want them to be the person that I can rely on because I'm not going to be there all the time.
[00:16:38] And, you know, guess what, as a leader, as the ground force commander, or let's say the CEO and the corporate world, you know, I need to be looking up and out. I need to be looking at a problem from the 50,000 foot view, not from the ground level. And if I'm going to do that competently and quickly, which every leader is [00:17:00] expected to do, then I need to rely on my people to execute, you know, on their own and be confident in their ability to lead as individuals.
[00:17:08] And, you know, that's what makes, you know, a, a unit like the steel team. So successful is because, you know, we applaud everybody's strengths. We want them to be leaders in their own. Right. And we know our role and we know our responsibilities and we execute it in our lane.
[00:17:23] Jan: [00:17:23] Very well said. And in corporate, in the corporate world today, many leaders would, if you asked them, you know, do you delegate appropriately?
[00:17:32] And do you respect the strengths of your team? You know, and most of them would say yes, but then the F the reality is very, very different. And when you get high, it is indeed. It is indeed. And it comes down to, it's a fear, and it's a lack of trust. And I see it playing out now in a very simple thing. You know, I'm talking to a Navy seal.
[00:17:58] Who's in, has been in life and death [00:18:00] situations, and this may sound comical, but this is where it plays out. Right. All of a sudden people have to work from home. And a lot of leaders and managers and even CEOs out there are terrified because they don't know how to manage that. And the trust isn't there in some cases.
[00:18:20] So I've even heard of a company that has asked people to take photographs of themselves working from home, or even, I believe there's some sort of keyboard tracker that tracks how much time you're on a keyboard, you know, talk about lack of trust. So you're, I mean, you're literally in life and death situations as a Navy seal.
[00:18:41] So you have to trust people and you're all, you're delegating the responsibility for certain jobs. How do you get to that point where you can trust everybody on your team as a leader? How do you get there?
[00:19:04] You know, we go through. How weak during that initial selection training. And, you know, it's a, it's a very difficult physical, uh, test. And I think that shared struggle and that shared pain forces you to trust people. And, you know, people's true character shines through, you know, when you're, when you're put in a stressful situation and you need to look in, rely upon the person to your left and the person to your right.
[00:19:31] You know, you have to, you have to present who you are, you know, there's no hiding at that point. So, you know, I think that this is an opportunity for people to kind of go through that. But, you know, regardless of the, of the, kind of the scenario, whether it's stressful or, you know, totally benign, you know, I think it's every leader's responsibility to really dig in and get to know the people that are working with them.
[00:19:56] You know, you shouldn't treat employees as just cogs [00:20:00] in the wheel. You, you know, if you truly get to know them and they. You know, they believe that you care about them because you should care about them. And they know that you have their back. They're going to reciprocate, you know, nine times out of 10. Um, you know, that's, that's just, that's just human dynamics.
[00:20:17] You know, we respond to, we respond to love. We respond to compassion. We know when people care about us and we know what people don't care about us, you know, everybody's been in those situations where you, you meet somebody or you're interacting with somebody in a relationship. And, you know, we all are very in tuned with whether or not somebody's.
[00:20:40] You know, it was truly listening to us and truly wants to, uh, you know, get to know us and it'd be a good kind of partner and kind of good teammate. And, uh, you know, I think that's, you know, that's where very, very solid teams are built in, in kind of caring and loving for each other. And in that, you know, [00:21:00] trust is built and in, if you could put in the situation that we're in right now, You don't have to worry about how much keyboard time somebody is putting in, uh, you know, or you want them to take pictures of themselves at home.
[00:21:13] I mean, those are probably the worst things you could do, you know, you talk about further eroding trust. Uh you're you're basically telling them, yeah, I don't trust you at all. Uh, I can't wait until this is over. And then I can't wait till I put you back in the office and I can watch over you. And they, you know what you're doing every moment of the day
[00:21:30] Jan: [00:21:30] and get back to their comfort zone, you know, and to fit the corporate mold that they have determined for themselves.
[00:21:39] And many corporate leaders will definitely put a line between themselves and their employees. And I will be totally honest and tell you that for many years in my corporate career, I thought that you were supposed to keep a distance with the people on your team. And then I learned over time that that was dead wrong [00:22:00] and the more authentic, and the more open I became and the more human.
[00:22:05] I became and connected with people at a very deep and meaningful level. Then the tighter the team became and stronger. And it wasn't seen as being a weakness. I think a lot of leaders think that when you try to connect to that human level, that that's a weakness. It's not. So I want to hear it from a Navy seal for every corporate leader out there.
[00:22:26] That that is not a weakness.
[00:22:29] Nick: [00:22:29] No, not at all. I mean, I hate, I, I truly, I mean, I tell friends of mine that I've served with in combat that I love them. You know, and I'm not afraid to say that ever. Uh, and I've said that to some of the most hardened individuals and there's a lot harder people out there that came from my community, uh, than I, and, uh, you know, and I will get that response back, you know, because it's men and those are the bonds that, that you want within a team.
[00:22:55] That's going to be a high performing team. And I, I tell you right now that, you know, [00:23:00] talk about a great situation to build trust. You know, you know, as a leader, you know, who you have that are the leaders working in your organization, and if you can give them your trust and your confidence right now during this hard time and challenge them to kind of grow their facet of the organization and it show performance and success in the most austere environment that we've seen Friday for a century.
[00:23:27] I, I mean, I think you could, you could really, uh, set your company up for success and skyrocket. Once we get past this, this pandemic scare,
[00:23:36] Jan: [00:23:36] I couldn't agree with you more. This is the corporate world's version of Halloween, right? You guys are,
[00:23:43] Nick: [00:23:43] corporations are going in a war right now, and they're going to do that right now.
[00:23:48] We're we're seeing who, who did a good job of building trust and rapport and their team. And, you know, who's been micromanaging. Yeah,
[00:23:56] Jan: [00:23:56] that's true. One of the hallmarks [00:24:00] of a great authentic leader and indeed is one of the traits behind gravitas is this ability to bring calm into a stressful situation. And that doesn't mean deny what's going on, run away from it, sugarcoat it, but to bring, bring calm.
[00:24:20] So as you. Look at the corporate leaders out there, what would you say to help them maybe address some of the initial conversations with their team around this crisis?
[00:24:33] Nick: [00:24:33] Yeah. Yeah. So calm breeds, calm, right? It's contagious, you know, and you see that on the, kind of the opposite end of the spectrum, you know, panic breeds, panic.
[00:24:43] Um, you know, I I'd like to share something Janet. And I thought about this the other day. You know, kind of, you know, leading up to this conversation, it always was so impressive to me to listen to the way pilots, you know, [00:25:00] jet fighter pilots, uh, that we interfaced with as, you know, kind of combat units on the ground, calm, cool, and collected.
[00:25:08] Uh, those pilots were every time we were on the radio with them, it almost kind of put you at ease. You know, when you're on the ground, we'd be in gunfights on the ground. And you're interfacing, you know, with either an FAA team, uh, or even, you know, a helicopter pilot, like an Apache gunship. And, you know, you're pretty stressed, right?
[00:25:28] You're being shot at you're shooting back, you know, your red line and you get on the radio with one of these pilots and they're just cool and calm as could be. And it actually would like ratchet your, uh, you know, your level of anxiety down like multiple notches. Um, so that means for me, that was proof of concept.
[00:25:48] And it's something that, you know, I personally, uh, put into practice, you know, in stressful scenarios, you know, as a seal, uh, and you know, even leaving the seal team size, [00:26:00] I've really tried to, uh, you know, physically, uh, Portray my emotions, uh, in a way that, you know, it, it actually breeds that same calm, uh, reaction from the people that I'm trying to communicate to.
[00:26:17] So I think there's, there's a lot of power in the way a leader communicates, especially right now. And if, you know, you can take a step back, you know, stop think, you know, and then speak. You know, instead of just, you know, you to go in and, and, you know, rattling off a bunch of orders and sounding frantic, I think it can make a big difference in the way that your people receive your guidance says as the leader in charge.
[00:26:44] Yeah. Yes.
[00:26:45] Jan: [00:26:45] Yes. And as you know, I'm, I'm a huge supporter of turn those cameras on people when you're on those video calls. Right. And that's, and that's because you need, you need to be seen. Visibly seen people need to see the [00:27:00] calm in your eyes and your face in your facial expressions and your body language.
[00:27:04] Everything is communicating out. 55% of communication is body language. And people need to see that 38% is the tone of your voice. So when you're going through a video conferencing, medium, that all needs to be portrayed and thought about ahead of time. And then I think you're right. It is infectious, right?
[00:27:26] So the people will, will calm and then they're able to focus and then you're able to move forward. I also think that this is a great opportunity, not only from a leadership and a bonding and developing trust perspective, but I think it's a great opportunity to tap into creativity because now the rules are different, right?
[00:27:46] That the corporate playbook is not there anymore. The rules have very, very different. So you can, you can play around a little bit with the creativity side of it. Um, what are your thoughts on that?
[00:27:57] Nick: [00:27:57] No, I think it's awesome. I mean, I think this is [00:28:00] it. You, you have nothing to lose right now, right? Your organization is completely decentralized, uh, you know, and it's outside of your control.
[00:28:09] Uh, so I think empowering your people to come up with strategies to lead and inspire their people now is an awesome opportunity. Um, I, I, you know, Jen and I had a conversation offline and I actually, uh, I thought it was pretty awesome how she shared that she used to make her people get up and dance a little bit before they would engage with her at, uh, at core meetings.
[00:28:30] Uh, you know, it's, I think it's good. I mean, I think it takes the edge off, you know, there's, uh, you know, in my personal experience, you know, a lot of, uh, seals were rely on humor. To combat stress. And, uh, I can tell you there's so much humor that that goes on in, in seal training and, and, you know, throughout workups and deployments.
[00:28:54] I mean, it's, it's constant, uh, joking around and, and kind of lightheartedness because, [00:29:00] you know, if you can't do that, you can't be redlined and stressed and kind of serious all the time. Or, you know, as human beings, we just started falling apart. So, uh, I think that if you can add a little bit of happiness and some humor and, and, uh, and lightheartedness to your day, uh, and push that out to your people, you know, the easiest way to do it is you got your video on, on the next conference call.
[00:29:23] I'll just smile instead of just being stone face the entire time, you know, it definitely makes a big difference. You know, people smile, walk down the street, smile at somebody, and usually we'll get somebody to smile back at you. I think that's a pretty powerful tool.
[00:29:37] Jan: [00:29:37] That's so true. And we had a, actually had a call this morning with a team.
[00:29:42] It's a, it's a global team. It's calling that we have, and this, you know, this poor guy, you can, you can, you can hear it in his voice. He stressing out because he's trying to do his job, manage his team. And he's also got his wife at home and his two-year-old right. And I explained to him, I said, you know what?
[00:29:58] Now is the time it's [00:30:00] okay for the two year old to run into the room and jump on your lap in the middle of a conference call, right. For the dog to bark it's okay. And it will actually make you more human and more relatable as a leader. You know, this is the time to break that corporate mold and just be who you are.
[00:30:17] Nick: [00:30:17] Oh, man. Couldn't agree with you more. I actually had my little boy run into a conference call this morning and everybody, and actually you could, you could hear everybody light up on the call cause you know what? They were like, wow, I'm not alone. I'm not the only person that has, you know, toddlers running in and out of the room trying to get their toys.
[00:30:34] Exactly. And we
[00:30:35] Jan: [00:30:35] don't need all that stress. You know, this, this, this is why authentic leaders were really leaning into this opportunity a lot easier. They'll make the shift a lot easier than leaders, you know, who perhaps sit in a very rigid culprit mold. And I am thrilled to see it, develop to see it and unroll unravel, you know, as we go through this crisis,
[00:31:00] Usually it's just personal insecurity, right? I mean, you have to be secure with yourself to be comfortable to show emotion, you know, especially to your team, right. If you're expected to be a leader, uh, you know, everybody assumes, you know, that, you know, the leader is supposed to be this stoic individual, but you know, the most inspiring leaders that I've ever learned from, um, have shown emotion at the appropriate time.
[00:31:25] And, uh, you know, when it's not appropriate, you know, they are the stone-faced foot stone faced killers that they need to be. And, uh, but you know, the, the, the most powerful, you know, interactions with those people are, are typically when they actually show the emotion, you know, when I've seen, I mean, I've seen, you know, totally stoic seal leaders, you know, add roles, um, shed tears for me when it's appropriate for them to shed tears.
[00:31:52] Nothing more powerful in the world to be able to see somebody that you respect, uh, to that degree, [00:32:00] um, be willing and be willing to be vulnerable and show emotion. Um, and that's kind of the extreme and kind of, you know, the shedding of tears and sharing grief, but you know, any, any emotion that you can share with your team, I think it, it, uh, you know, it humanizes you and it makes them want to connect with you and feel comfortable with you.
[00:32:19] Jan: [00:32:19] And I think that's so powerful coming from you. As a Navy seal with a background that you've, you've had to be able to speak to that because we all, you know, we read the books, we read the posts on LinkedIn about vulnerability, but I think it's, it's hard to understand the balance. Cause you said it right.
[00:32:41] There's a time to be in charge and in control because people need to know that the leader knows where to take the team and where we're going and has a plan. Um, but, and there's a time to be vulnerable. I mean, to, to step up. To the mic on a video recording video conference [00:33:00] today in this time of crisis and go, Oh, I'm really scared to, I don't know what to do either would not be the right level of vulnerability.
[00:33:07] Right. That's not right. But to share about, you know, what this is, you know, I'm very concerned about my family too, but my financial situation about what's happen happening. Yeah. That that's a level of vulnerability, but then follow that with however, we're going to pull this together as a team and, and so on and so forth.
[00:33:25] So, you know, talk a little bit about that balance of vulnerability.
[00:33:30] Nick: [00:33:30] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I mean, balances is key, right? I mean, you're in control of your own emotions, emotions. I mean, I, I agree with you wholeheartedly that you need to, you need to be able to show emotion when it's appropriate to show emotion, but, and, and that's really to, you know, just be a human being connect with people, you know, and when, when it's not appropriate, you know, you know, people are looking up to you to be that, that rock of stability in the organization.
[00:33:56] So, you know, you need to be able to tell people [00:34:00] I am a human being, but I'm also the person that's going to lead you out of this mess. And I'm confident that I know what I'm doing. And I'm confident that my plan is going to be successful because as a team, we're all going to pull together and we're going to make it work.
[00:34:14] I mean, the, the, one of the first lessons I learned as a young officer was. To exude confidence. So it didn't matter if you had got the, the 50% solution as far as a plan, uh, you know, goes, if I was able to brief that plan with the, the highest level of confidence and, you know, confidence comes in the form of the inflection in my voice, my ability to make eye contact with people.
[00:34:47] Um, and, and just the way that I, I can seamlessly roll through a plan and, and give people orders that are in my organization. You know, people, they, they will be, they [00:35:00] eat that up, you know, and they become confident. They believe that, you know, what you got going on and what you're doing, and it allows them to execute with total confidence and no uncertainty.
[00:35:11] So I think that's, I mean, that's something that I have taken to heart and, you know, I, you know, when, when, when it's time to put orders out and when it's time to get things done, You need to speak confidently. You know, nobody, nobody likes a meek later. Uh, you know, they, we, we, eight people live in the, in the seal community, you know, that were meat, you know, and even people that were.
[00:35:33] You know, phenomenal tacticians that, you know, know very intelligent, knew what they were doing. Tactically, if they couldn't plans and lead with some authority and confidence, you know, it's typically they fell apart the whole, where they needed to rely on somebody else in their organization that was willing to step up and be that kind of authoritative, confident, you know, kind of order giver.
[00:35:58] Um, so it may [00:36:00] not be the CEO in an organization. It might be, you know, the COO or it could be one of your, you know, kind of a senior managers that in a crisis situation, maybe they're the right personality. It'd be stepping up and, and, you know, kind of taking charge and, you know, putting out the, you know, the commander's intent, they know that the CEO needs to be put out to the people.
[00:36:22] Jan: [00:36:22] You remind me of the significance of being able to paint a picture of success when you're talking about speaking with confidence. I totally understand that, but there's another, another piece to that. And that is, uh, being able to describe what's at the end, what success looks like and feels like. So talk to us about how do you do that in a Navy seal, kind of, you know, in a military kind of environment, because people, people really that [00:37:00] resonates with people so much, you've got to have this bone deep commitment to the success of the mission, whether it's Navy seal or whether it's, uh, uh, getting through this crisis or whether it's a project in the corporate world.
[00:37:13] Talk to us a little bit about that.
[00:37:15] Nick: [00:37:15] Yeah. So when we first kicked off the conversation, I mentioned contingency planning. And, you know, I will tell you that that is the backbone of, of, you know, kind of seal mission planning as I was brought up in the community. Uh, you know, I specifically, I was mentored underneath Jocko Willink.
[00:37:34] Um, I, you know, I always looked up to Jocko, you know, I was fortunate enough to go through training, uh, under his tutelage and, uh, and actually served at seal team three, uh, while Jocko was a troop commander. So he preached contingency planning. Um, and we, we used to use a, uh, a device called the sand table and, you know, you could make it, it's basically a mock up [00:38:00] of kind of the target area.
[00:38:02] Uh, you could, you could use a map or a, uh, a computer screen that's projected up as your sand table. Uh, but we used to look at that and you used to have. Each and every one of our kind of element leaders. So I call them on a kind of your lower level managers, um, brief their portion of the operation, and then talk through kind of everything that they could possibly think of that could go wrong at each phase of the operation and how they're going to combat those, those things, um, as they do present themselves.
[00:38:35] So in order to paint that picture of kind of, uh, you know, extreme optimism as your briefing, I think it's important that everybody believes that, you know, not just belief, they know that they have put the time and the energy into the planning. They know what to do. If things do go wrong, they already have the playbook.
[00:38:56] It's like, you've already been able to read the [00:39:00] answer key prior to taking the test. I mean, it's what any, you know, high-end sports team does, you know, do you think a, a Superbowl team goes into the final game, um, without, you know, the ability to call audibles on the line? No, absolutely not. You know, good leaders, good teams go into crises and deal with crises with contingency planning.
[00:39:23] You know, I think it's, it's the only way that you can paint that picture. I mean, if not, you know, you're really just painting a rosy picture that's built on, uh, you know, toothpicks instead of, uh, you know, good lumber.
[00:39:35] Jan: [00:39:35] Yeah, no. Well said, and it's, it's this idea of visualization. And I like the way that you described that sand table, where people are talking through their piece of it and what could go wrong.
[00:39:48] So mentally they've already overcome that, um, whatever could go wrong because they've already talked through it. So when it happens, they've already been there once in their, [00:40:00] in their mind. So it's much easier to push through it. I totally agree. And also this idea of a high performance athletes and the visualization process, they go through mental affirmation.
[00:40:12] We know this, I've only been studying that for maybe the past year, but I'm fascinated with it. And they see that a lot of these high-performance athletes, really the mental portion of, of this visualization process is, and the ability to continuously do that is far more important than perhaps, you know, the skill set that they have.
[00:40:34] Nick: [00:40:34] Yeah. I mean, if you're, you know, if you're a professional and I don't care, if it's a professional athlete, you're a professional in the business world, you have the skill sets, you know, you are, you know, you're as capable as the next person, but the difference between you and the people that truly Excel in that profession is their ability to control their emotions and control their mind and [00:41:00] visualize, you know, accurately and, and truly commit to that visualization process.
[00:41:05] I mean, I know I can speak to it. I mean, I, the sand table exercise is truly just kind of an embodiment of visualization and it's kind of taking it to the next level, you know, as an athlete, uh, you know, specifically as a climber, you know, so for bouldering, you know, I'm talking about climbing small, uh, small pieces of rock, you know, that are just very technically difficult.
[00:41:26] And it's like putting together a little puzzle. You have to figure out body position and movement and. Well, little minuscule variances in body position. The way that you put your foot on a certain ship of rock, the way that you grab a certain hole, uh, the way that you move, uh, the way that you generate your power, all of that stuff matters.
[00:41:47] Um, in order to successfully climb that piece of rock. And, you know, before I go and I'm going to send something and something that I've been working on for a long time, you know, I, I physically, I close my eyes. I sit in front of the Boulder [00:42:00] and like, I will physically. You know, I will, I will move my hands with my eyes closed visualizing kind of how I move myself across that, the surface of that stone.
[00:42:12] And, uh, you know, typically it works. It's, it's crazy how much more efficient you become. And then if you can take that and kind of, uh, you know, projected on a larger scale and to kind of your everyday life and your professional life, you know, it can be a very powerful thing. Um, You know, I, I shared with you the other day, Jan, that I, you know, I've adopted meditation, uh, this past year, uh, thanks to my friend, Tim Ferris.
[00:42:38] He's, uh, he's the guy that kind of kicked off that practice and I'll probably be forever indebted to him for it. But, you know, meditation is a great way, uh, you know, for anybody and then specifically leaders, um, you know, in this day and age to be able to visualize, you know, kind of the problems that they're going to surmount that day and, you know, maybe the contingencies [00:43:00] that they need to go through, uh, you know, as they're, as they're going through, we're dealing with.
[00:43:05] Jan: [00:43:05] Yes, the, this whole process and idea of visualization. I actually wrote a blog on it about a month ago because I'm a firm believer that we need to bring more of that into the corporate world. We tend to look at our objectives and, you know, in this crisis situation, we look up at the mountain, right? So we look up at all these things we have to do.
[00:43:27] And if we would just put ourselves on the top of the mountain and really understand what that looks like and feels like to succeed, and then look down and map the path, it becomes much, much easier. And I think that's hard for people in the corporate world to understand that. And I've done it several times.
[00:43:48] Where I have put myself out there. I did it with a major OEM customer when I worked in the supply base and stood there in front of them in front of many, many people with [00:44:00] my team behind me and made a commitment to launch a project on time to budget. And we would be the example of how to launch that project.
[00:44:08] Now, did I have all the plans and all the pieces, you know, worked out so that I could make that claim? No, but what I had was bone deep commitment and a sense of visualization of what that would look like and feel like to bind the team together and guess what we did it, and it had never been done before.
[00:44:29] So I'm a huge believer in it. And I really want to bring that into the corporate world. And it's very powerful for us to hear that from you from really two different angles. In your military career and also with your experience, uh, in this high-performance, um, athletic world that you're also in.
[00:44:50] Nick: [00:44:50] Yeah. I mean, it's, it is a powerful thing.
[00:44:53] I mean, I, you know, it gets me thinking about even being a young kid, you know, when I was in seventh grade, [00:45:00] you know, I, I latched on to the concept, you know, of being a seal and I didn't just think it was like, Oh, that would be an interesting thing to do. I fully believe. And I visualize myself, you know, serving in an elite military unit and you know, that, I mean, I, I, you know, it set me on a course that altered my life, you know, because I, I firmly believe that I would make that happen.
[00:45:24] So it was without question, uh, you know, I was going to succeed and I was going to do all of the things that I needed to be done in order to achieve that goal, because I couldn't imagine a reality. Where I don't achieve it. And I don't assume that role that I, I could envision myself being in. So, I mean, it, it probably started when I was a little guy now and I mean, it's, it's interesting thinking about this during our conversation because I probably, I really haven't thought of it in that context, but, um, yeah, that's, it's been part of my life for a long time.
[00:45:57] Jan: [00:45:57] And that's exactly the type of commitment [00:46:00] and ability that the leaders have to have today, as we work through this crisis is this, this bone deep commitment to we're going to get through this. And this is what success looks like. And when this is over team, we're going to do this and this and this, it might be we're going to celebrate, you know, um, I don't know we're going to repaint the office and I don't know what it is.
[00:46:19] It's going to be different for everybody, right? But they should be a milestone and an event and a picture or something that everybody can relate to. That marks that moment of success that they're all marching towards. And that everybody has it as a piece of that. And that that confidence and commitment has to come through from the leader.
[00:46:39] And it is the truly authentic leaders that will step up and deliver that message powerfully. I believe now in this
[00:46:46] Nick: [00:46:46] crisis, I totally agree. And you know, what, along the way, there's going to be those toxic individuals that are going to tell you, that's impossible, you can't do it. Uh, and you know, or they'll try to undermine your efforts, [00:47:00] right?
[00:47:00] There'll be a cancer within the organization or within your social circle. And, you know, for some reason they just, they, you know, they live to be the one that's nay-saying and, you know, I'll tell you in my personal life, I mean, I, you know, I got good to kind of tuning that distraction and that noise out and staying focused on, on what I was visualizing for myself.
[00:47:23] And, you know, I've seen that. You know, throughout my, you know, my time in the military. And then even after the military, you know, finding, you know, kind of those, you know, poor attitudes and, uh, you know, confronting them face on and you know, don't be, don't ignore them. You know, they won't go away as easy as that would be, and everybody would love them to go away.
[00:47:45] You know, your, I mean, your ability as an individual and as a leader, to be able to confront those points of resistance, you know, understand their perspective, you know, really try to win them over and, and, you know, you know, [00:48:00] it bring them in your camp. Uh, but if, you know, if you put that energy in and you give them a shot and they still want to go down the track, that's going to be a counter to the way that you need them to be rowing as part of your team.
[00:48:14] You know, it's, it's always best to cut them loose and remove them from your life and from your organization.
[00:48:21] Jan: [00:48:21] Yes. And we see that quite a bit in the corporate world. Uh, one of the things I really love about Gary Vaynerchuk is that, uh, he talks a lot about how to handle toxic employees and that you cannot tolerate them in your business, even when they are considered to be your highest performing individuals, because they will destroy the team.
[00:48:44] So given that Nick, the fact that this toxic person could be the highest performing employee, how would you deal with that?
[00:48:54] Nick: [00:48:54] Yeah. I mean, nobody is more important than the team and the mission, right. So I have personally [00:49:00] had to deal with this and it's never easy. And, you know, specifically, you know, for me, you know, I'm a person that loves to place my trust in people.
[00:49:10] You know, I'm a very loyal person, you know, I trust that people are going to do the right thing and have my best interest at heart. So it's never easy for me to sit somebody down and actually have two, uh, guests come to the realization that, you know, that's not the case. Um, so I have let it go too long.
[00:49:28] And I've watched the, kind of the consequences of that inaction, um, you know, truly dismantle organizations. I mean, I can tell you it's. I've seen it in the military with bad leaders, um, you know, leaders that were identified in training, um, or in workup as a problem. And you know, other leaders above them said, no, you know what?
[00:49:49] I can fix that person. I'm going to make the right, you know, they're too valuable. Um, and then they drag them out on deployment. And then lo and behold, when you are in a crisis [00:50:00] scenario and you're decentralized, which is the optimal way to lead that person, most likely will let you down. And you're not going to be there to look over their shoulder and you're not going to be over there to hold their hand and show them the right way or to do it yourself.
[00:50:15] And it can lead to catastrophe. So, you know, I've through some of those errors, I've, you know, I've learned to, you know, have those tough conversations, uh, you know, immediately, you know, let people know where they're starting to make mistakes and where their attitude is, is setting the entire organization astray.
[00:50:36] And if they don't want to get on board, It's time for them to go. And, you know, it's nothing personal. Um, you know, it's just not a good fit for them. And if they're not a good fit for the organization, then they need to go. Um, because nobody is more important than that.
[00:50:50] Jan: [00:50:50] And you have to step up to that decision and people in the organization will respect you as a leader when you step up to that decision, because everybody knows it.
[00:50:59] You know, you may think [00:51:00] that you're hiding it or people don't know, but they all know, right. They all know that this guy or gal is particularly toxic. And it's a, I think it's, it's very refreshing and it's the right thing to do when you step up and take action. So Nick, you've had a lot of leadership experience, obviously.
[00:51:17] Um, but as you moved out of the military environment into the world of being an entrepreneur, what leadership skills from your military background served you? Well, being an entrepreneur and which ones perhaps did not.
[00:51:35] Nick: [00:51:35] Well, I mean, I think, you know, we just talked about it, you know, I'll start with the ones that didn't serve me.
[00:51:40] Well, even though I consider them very core to who I am, um, you know, freely giving trust, um, you know, giving trust, uh, to the point where it's almost to the detriment of, um, you know, decisions that I've made. So I've, I've been very free in that capacity because I came from an [00:52:00] organization where, you know, fortunately we vetted most, if not all the people that I was serving with.
[00:52:07] You know, they had to go through a very, uh, difficult, shared struggle and selection process where, you know, I could place my trust freely in everybody because they've already proven themselves in that capacity. And now sometimes there was, there was that one person, or maybe a couple people that slipped through the cracks and, and kind of made it through, but it was very rare.
[00:52:30] Um, so I've had to learn to be a bit more discerning. And, uh, calculated in when I, when I placed total trust and when I placed total confidence and I think in the kind of the, the civilian world, and especially in the entrepreneurial world, you know, you need to allow people to prove themselves to you, um, over a period of time.
[00:52:54] And you've got to slowly, but surely give them, uh, kind of the responsibility, [00:53:00] um, before you completely let go of the rates. So I have been tempered a bit, you know, and a lot of that is coming through some, some, uh, unfortunate situations where it's definitely caught me off guard. And, you know, I probably let people remain in an organization, um, you know, far too long, you know, and it wastes time resources and, you know, frankly puts an emotional strain on, on everybody.
[00:53:25] And, uh, you know, I was going to say this before, you know, it's the one time it is it's really very appropriate for the leader to step up and, and, uh, You know, take ownership has, you know, to have that conversation with that person, you know, never, uh, push that off on somebody else. And if you do push it off on somebody else, make sure that you make a point of, of sitting with that person, you know, point to point as the ultimate wanting accountable, um, and have a face-to-face conversation because everybody around you will, will see that.
[00:54:00] [00:54:00] And then the last thing you want is the thing that you're pushing your problems off on somebody else. And you're not confident enough or capable enough to make that decision yourself.
[00:54:09] Jan: [00:54:09] Yes. Yes. Well said, let's talk about your athletic accomplishments. What drives you into these extreme sports? Could you tell us a little bit about what you're into and why you're you're so engaged into this extreme level of athletic performance?
[00:54:29] Nick: [00:54:29] Yeah. So I think it's either the thing that, uh, captured my attention early on. Um, You know about, you know, both climbing and, you know, ultra distance, uh, you know, activities, whether they be ultra running or adventure racing was the, the mental, um, aspect of the sport. You know, I never, I never considered myself, uh, kind of the best athlete, like the most talented, the most, uh, genetically gifted person.
[00:54:55] You know, I was the kid that played like an, any and a half in baseball. Uh, cause I was [00:55:00] terrible, you know, I couldn't hit the ball. I couldn't catch, you know, it wasn't a basketball player. Um, You know, so I, I, you know, I took to wrestling because, you know, I, I can just work really hard, you know, if I was in really good shape, uh, I can build my mental toughness and, you know, even if I wasn't the most athletically gifted wrestler, you know, I can gut it out and, you know, you can, you can wear people down and, you know, leaving that, you know, leaving wrestling behind, you know, I found climbing as a young man at the Naval Academy.
[00:55:29] Um, and I had a couple upperclassmen juniors that took me under their wing. And, uh, and kind of showed me the sport and, you know, it was intriguing to me because I was in good shape. Right. I, I lifted weights. I was a big runner, you know, I was training to be a seal or go through a training. Um, but it humbled me immediately.
[00:55:48] Um, it was just so difficult to see improvement and the improvement came through kind of very small, incremental, uh, kind of gains. So there was a huge [00:56:00] mental, uh, kind of component to the sport. You know, I, I had to really be in control of my body and be in control of my mind, my breathing. And, uh, you know, I think that, you know, that discipline, uh, kind of mental component of climbing is what attracted me to it.
[00:56:17] Um, and then with like ultra running, you know, again, I wasn't the guy that was going to win the 10 K you know, I'm not, I'm not the, you know, the speedy cross-country runner. Uh, but you know, I really appreciated the long distance races where it became less of, you know, how fast are you? It was more, you know, how tough are you?
[00:56:39] You know, how much pain can you endure? You know, are you willing to forego more sleep than the other person and continue to slog it out over uneven terrain in the dark, you know, with the mapping compass and, and like, I actually, I appreciated the races that were longer, you know, the longer the race got [00:57:00] the, the more.
[00:57:01] Uh, kind of in tune I was with, uh, with myself and, you know, the more successful I thought I could be. So yeah, I think it, it, they were kind of foundational, uh, you know, portions of my life that prep me to have the grit that I ultimately relied on as I went through training in the seal teams and, you know, took groups into combat.
[00:57:23] Jan: [00:57:23] you participated in the adventure racing world championship in 2007, right?
[00:57:29] Nick: [00:57:29] Yeah, we did. We definitely did not win. Um, I was invited to race with, uh, actually one of my teammates and I were invited to race with a husband and wife. And, uh, we were very fortunate to, to give those slots. We traveled to Fort William Scotland and we raised all over the Scottish Highlands in, uh, Uh, I think it was probably spring summer of 2007.
[00:57:57] Um, so, uh, beautiful, [00:58:00] beautiful country, um, lots of wet weather. It was very cold and miserable. So it was actually very, uh, it reminded me a lot of going through seal training. Um, and it was probably, it's probably, uh, as miserable as I was during seal training, because if you're, if you ever been to the Scottish Highlands and you've been in like a Scottish bog area, um, there's nothing around you for like, you know, 20, 30 kilometers.
[00:58:28] So the only thing you could do is like, suck it up, deal with the fact that you're freezing cold and soaking wet, and I continue to kind of slog forward until you can get to the end. So, um, very awesome experience, but, uh, you know, definitely humbled every time I did those things with, uh, you know, at how fast some of those leading teams and those athletes were able to accomplish kind of the course in, uh, because we, we definitely, uh, remained on the course a lot longer.
[00:58:57] Jan: [00:58:57] Well, that's, that's incredible. So [00:59:00] here's something I have to ask you. When, when you're pushing yourself to these levels, there's, there's always that voice in our head, right. That tells us I can't go any further. Right. And I've, I've experienced it. I had a limiting belief in my head for most of my life that said that I couldn't run.
[00:59:21] And then I actually started working out in a gym and there was a treadmill component to that. And a colleague of mine encouraged me to run a 5k. I'd never run a race in my life. And this was just a few years ago. And then I did it. I was terrified and she put a metal on me and she said, see, you ran a race.
[00:59:41] Therefore you're a runner. And it completely, you know, brew blew that sort of limiting belief away. But then there are, there are limits that I know they're in my head. I know I can run further than that. I know I can push myself further than that, but this story comes into my head. Oh, you know, maybe a breathing is a [01:00:00] bit, it's a bit tight right now, or, Oh, you know, you've reached your limit, so you're good.
[01:00:04] So how do you, how do you get hold of that narrative? That's running in your head and push through that limiting belief so that you can get to this extreme level of performance, get us inside. Yeah,
[01:00:18] Nick: [01:00:18] it's all. It's incremental. Um, I, you know, I have always approached very difficult tasks in bite-sized pieces.
[01:00:27] So, you know, it's easy to get overwhelmed with the concept of something difficult, but it's very, very, you know, palatable to be able to say, I, you know what, I can do this little bit. And that little bit is going to get me a little closer to realizing my goal. Um, You know, I, I w I'll take it back to climbing, you know, um, mean shorter individual.
[01:00:54] Um, and I weigh a lot more, uh, than typical, you know, higher end climbers that are my height, [01:01:00] 160 pounds and like five foot, five and a half or something. So, you know, I'm already constrained, you know, you know, based on my height, weight from performing at the highest levels, but, you know, I've made a commitment to myself years ago that.
[01:01:16] You know, I can, you know, I can always get my fingers stronger and, and I can, I can do hang board workouts and I can stay disciplined and I can make sure that I knock them out every single day, get at the course of a year, you know, my fingers got stronger and I was actually able to hold on and kind of manage my weight better and actually accomplish things that I thought were impossible a year prior.
[01:01:38] So, you know, taking things in small bite sized pieces has always been kind of the way that I approach, you know, my athletic pursuits and, you know, it's the way that I'm pursuing life, you know, and there's a lot of things that, you know, everybody has good days and bad days and you know, there's a lot of things in my life that I still struggle with and, you know, trying to get that, um, [01:02:00] And the only way I can do that is it's kind of managing, you know, kind of my day to day, you're kind of doing the right things I need to do on a daily basis.
[01:02:08] And, you know, for my personal life, I mean, I've, you know, I told you I adopted meditation a year ago. I think meditation has been a phenomenal way for me to kind of break through some barriers, you know, personal and emotional barriers that, you know, I thought, you know, for the longest time, you know, I would struggle with, for the rest of my life, you know, I'm a happier person.
[01:02:31] I feel like I'm a more capable person, um, that I used to be. And, um, you know, it all started with. You know, some simple 10 minute guided meditation, you know, with, uh, uh, STAM, Harris's waking up out then, uh, you know, baby steps, you know, and now I have, I feel like I have a very personalized meditation practice that, you know, is exactly what I need from it, because it's different for every person.
[01:03:05] Jan: [01:03:05] And how you start your day and the mindset that you have when you start your day is very, very important. And actually something that I picked up from extreme ownership from the book was this idea of not hitting the snooze button, right?
[01:03:20] So when you get up in the morning, you make a personal commitment to yourself that I'm going to get up at four 30 or 5:00 AM or whatever time it is and you get up. And that's how you start your day. So you're programming your mind for success and achievement rather than giving yourself an excuse. And then when you make that commitment and then you, you load on top of that, spending some time really thinking about mindset and who you are and where you want to go.
[01:03:47] And what's going on in your life, through the process of meditation, then you really are setting yourself up for success. So share with us. What is your, what's your morning routine?
[01:04:00] [01:04:00] Nick: [01:04:00] So my morning routine now, is it, it, you know, I wake up. Uh, I make every effort, the first thing I do before I look at my phone or any of that stuff, it's, you know, I sit up upright and I meditate.
[01:04:15] Um, you know, and, you know, currently, uh, you know, I have meditating day, I have specifics specific music that I've been meditating to. Um, hasn't always been that way, but I, I, I try to meditate for 20 plus minutes. Um, and some days it's longer, uh, if I can do it, if some days it's a little shorter, uh, but that really starts me off on the right foot.
[01:04:38] And, you know, when I finished my meditation, you know, I, I, you know, especially with this current lockdown, I, you know, I make a point of, you know, kind of going in and, you know, giving me my daughter a kiss on the forehead and, you know, able to just kind of enjoy the fact that, you know, I get to be a parent and I have such beautiful, uh, little ones that are at the house.
[01:04:59] So [01:05:00] it's, it's really appreciation for that. And, uh, and, and then I think I may have mentioned this in previous interviews, but I I'm a big fan of hydration. Uh, you know, I, I try to drink two pints of water, you know, spaced out a little bit in the morning, first thing. Um, and I have a very specific kind of, uh, you know, few supplements that I take.
[01:05:22] You know, I take a, I take a lion's mane supplement. Um, I take, uh, a B12 supplement. You know, it's specific for me, but, you know, B12 and D three, uh, you know, it helps support everything that I'm doing. And I think it helps prime me for better sleep. Um, and I take fish oil, uh, you know, fish oil, and then I also take niacin as well.
[01:05:47] I think it's really because I really enjoy the niacin flush up. I'm one of those weird people out there that enjoy kind of the, uh, that warm feeling that you get when you take a few hundred milligrams of niacin. [01:06:00] So, um, you know, that gets me going, um, you know, I think it primes me to, you know, the hydration definitely primes me to perform better.
[01:06:08] I'm, uh, more clear-minded throughout the day, uh, be better hydrated. I regulate my weight better, um, with better hydration. So my body doesn't retain as much fluid. And, uh, you know, at the end of the day, you know, I think, uh, early morning light in combination with the hydration and you know, my, my vitamin D supplementation.
[01:06:29] Yeah. I think it primes me for. Uh, for more restful sleep because I, you know, I'm a firm believer that sleep and hydration are kind of the core, the core pillars of any kind of successful healthy life.
[01:06:44] Jan: [01:06:44] Yes. And of course, I'm sure there's some exercise in there somewhere, right?
[01:06:49] Nick: [01:06:49] Uh, well, I mean, climbing is my life.
[01:06:51] So exercise is around my, my hobby now it's, it's, I've really built it that way. You know, my exercise for me is, [01:07:00] uh, is all geared towards performance as a folder, you know, and I'm not looking, I'm not going out to win any competitions, uh, or be on the cover of any magazine it's, you know, as a personal, um, endeavor that I'm firmly committed to because it's a disciplined practice where, you know, I really, I feel rewarded when, when I do see these incremental gains.
[01:07:19] So I have a, I have a 50 degree home wall in the backyard. Uh, so an overhanging bouldering wall, that's about 13 feet tall. Um, I, I do a lot of my training back there and then my garage, I have a bunch of different fingerboards, uh, and I have rings, so I do a lot of body weight exercises and, uh, and core routines, uh, in the garage.
[01:07:44] So very simple but effective, uh, for what my pursuit
[01:07:48] Jan: [01:07:48] is. Well, and, and it's, it sets up your whole day, right? And a lot of people have lost their daily routines now in this crisis situation. [01:08:00] And there's a, there's a tendency to want to maybe sit in front of the TV and be gripped by CNN and the death counter, which, you know, I think is awful.
[01:08:08] Right. Uh, but I think, you know, a lot of people have gone through this emotional rollercoaster and they've, they've lost their routine. And so their routine is it's all changed and they have to, they have to get a new routine back. And one of the things that I started doing last week, I launched an accountability clinic and it's open for anybody.
[01:08:28] So we're on at six 30 in the morning. And it's a zoom calls. We can all see each other and we have to make, uh, we have to do three things, one personal commitment for the day. So you talk about incremental. This isn't about making some big commitment to a project or, or, you know, all of a sudden you're going to be a long distance runner by next week.
[01:08:46] This is not what this is about. This is. Exactly what you say to incremental improvements. So every day, one personal commitment, whether it's yoga, go for a walk, one business commitment, and then one word to describe your mindset for the day. These calls [01:09:00] are 20 minutes and we go through it and it's amazing to see just in this short period of time, we just finished our first week today.
[01:09:09] How people have just changed. You can see it in their faces. A lot of the stress has gone there. They're more productive and they're setting their day off the right way. So I'm, I'm a huge supporter of understanding what that routine is, what you want it to be. And we all know that you can change a habit in 66 days.
[01:09:31] Now, I don't know if we're going to be out of this in 66 days, but if there's a habit that you want to start, now's a good time to start it. Now is the opportunity because your normal treadmill life has changed, right?
[01:09:45] Nick: [01:09:45] I, you know, what what's going on right now is it it's terrible. Um, and there's a lot of people during a lot of hardship, but I personally I've embraced it as an opportunity to live without distraction.
[01:09:58] You know, I have the things that [01:10:00] I love more than anything else in the world surrounding me, every waking moment. My, my little boy, my little girl and my wife, and it's a time for me to really focus on connection with them. Um, I've learned to juggle kind of phone calls and emails and, and everything that we typically do.
[01:10:18] You know, at the office, I've learned to kind of fully, uh, intertwine it with my life. And I feel, you know, living a fuller version of my life, you know, it's like, I think a lot of people are probably realizing that if they're really embracing this situation, you know, they may realize that, Hey, maybe I can find a way to be more connected with my family and really relish the life that we're, you know, we're blessed to live.
[01:10:42] Um, so yeah, I, I think, I think that this is a great opportunity for people to change habits, um, you know, kind of create new habits and, uh, and maybe eliminate some of the distractions. I mean, we all know that there's so many distractions in this world. I mean, between social media and email and phone [01:11:00] calls and text messages and television, you know, it's, it's, maybe it's an opportunity to kind of cut, uh, some of that out of your life and refocus on what really matters.
[01:11:10] Jan: [01:11:10] Yes. And it is without question, an opportunity to gain the most exhilarating and rewarding leadership experience of your entire life.
[01:11:21] Nick: [01:11:21] Couldn't agree, more jams.
[01:11:23] Jan: [01:11:23] And with that, I would like to say Nick Norris, thank you very much for your time today. It has been an absolute pleasure.
[01:11:31] Nick: [01:11:31] The pleasure is all my, my dear.
[01:11:36] If you enjoyed this podcast and found something of value that will help you on your authentic leadership journey, then please support Nick and the seal community. Please visit the C4 foundation firstname.lastname@example.org. Nick personally served with Charles Keating, the fourth at seal team three, and his memory lives [01:12:00] on through the mission of the C4 foundation.
[01:12:03] The C4 foundation is actively engaged in building a sanctuary for active duty seal families to strengthen the support structure that will be there for our warriors during the decades of global combat ahead. .