Determination In Business
Overcoming obstacles in order to reach my goal
To practice Determination I will:
- set goals that are right for me
- avoid distractions
- not allow others to discourage me
- face problems head-on
- see obstacles as a challenge
“Never Fear The Circus”
– Jill Tomey
In Navy SEAL training, The Circus is an extra 2 hours of calisthenics after the day’s training is complete. Anyone who did not perform up to the day’s standards was ‘invited’ to The Circus. It was during the swims that Trainee McRaven and his swim buddy, Marc, were invited to The Circus for coming in last in the swims. As if the day’s training was not exhausting enough, now they had to endure two more hours of the same, making them even more worn out to face the next day’s challenges. Many did not make it through The Circus.
He and his partner were determined not to let The Circus get to them. As day after day, they earned The Circus, they continued to persevere through the extra work. A funny thing happened, though. The additional work made them better, and bit by bit, they moved up in the pack of swimmers. The Circus, threatened as punishment, was making them stronger and faster in the water.
On the day of the last swim, Trainee McRaven and his partner drug themselves up on the beach, bitterly cold and exhausted after swimming for 4 hours. The instructor ordered them to drop. He began circling them and telling them how they once again embarrassed their class. Only this time, they embarrassed the rest of the class by outperforming them. The pair were the first to reach the beach, and the next pair was not even in sight. The Circus had paid off.
The Admiral continues with a story about a time in 1983 when he was relieved of the command of his SEAL squadron. He felt his career was over. He was permitted to join another SEAL team, but the shame of his failure followed him. He could have quit and returned to civilian life, but he was determined to recover. He worked as hard as he could every day to show the others that he still had what it takes to be a SEAL and regain the respect he had lost. His hard work paid off, and he once again was given a command.
Learning from failures is essential for leaders to do to improve themselves and to show others the importance of doing the same. Not only did the Admiral regain a command, but he eventually went on to command all the SEALs on the West Coast. His ‘personal Circus time’ had made him a stronger leader. He closes this chapter with, “I realized that the past failures had strengthened me, taught me that no one is immune from mistakes. True leaders must learn from their failures, use the lessons to motivate themselves, and not be afraid to try again or make the next tough decision. You can’t avoid The Circus. At some point, we all make the list. Don’t be afraid of The Circus.”
This month, how can you use The Circus to be determined to overcome a failure?
(All the essays this month are based on the book, Make your bed: little things that can change your life…and maybe the world by Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy retired). It is about the lessons he learned in Navy SEAL training that served him well his whole career. The training is beyond brutal to weed out the weak and give confidence to the strong. It takes strength and the ultimate Determination to make it to graduation.)