I recently returned home from Cleveland after an incredible 26-hour Navy SEAL Training experience.

My goal going in was to leave my comfort zone, embrace the opportunity, enjoy the experience, do my best, and learn valuable life lessons. I’m proud to say I accomplished all 5!

Here are “The 22 Most Impactful Lessons from my Navy SEAL Training Experience”

1. “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” Take your time, pay attention to detail, and be precise. Rushing increases mistakes. Add speed after mastery. “If you don’t have time to do it right, then you won’t have time do it over.”

2. Everything we did had a distinct purpose. We didn’t do anything just for the sake of doing it. Everything had a deeper lesson/reason.

3. Trust systems/processes. They lead to the most favorable outcomes in the long term.

4. Always have a plan but always expect adversity.

5. When it comes to training, you need to “Crawl, Walk, Run.” Start with ideal conditions to set the standard, then add in adversity/challenge, and then work to block out distractions (and things outside of your control).

6. Focus on what is right in front of you in the moment: You can’t get to hour 26 without going through hour 1.

7. “Don’t fight the water” (because you can’t win). Water it the ultimate equalizer. The worst thing you can do when compromised in the water is panic and flail. Stay calm. Breathe. Relax. (This applies to life: don’t resist reality! It’s a fight you’ll lose 100% of the time!)

8. Good leaders also know how to follow.

9. Anticipation is usually worse than reality. Stay present. No sense in fearing something that hasn’t happened yet (and may not even happen at all). Don’t believe everything you think!!

10. When you struggle… step outside of yourself and look to pour into others (your teammates). Take the focus off of ‘me’ and put it on ‘we.’

11. “If it isn’t written down, it isn’t real.”

12. The 3 most important questions a leader can ask their team: 1) Who are we (identity)? 2) What do we do (purpose)? 3) How do we do it (strategy)?

13. “1 is 0, 2 is 1.” Don’t go through anything by yourself. Always involve a teammate.

14. “200/1 vs 200/5.” A 200 pound log is unmanageable for one person to carry. But 5 people working together (each carrying 40 pounds) makes it doable!

15. Aim to work SMARTER, not HARDER. Brains will beat brawn in the long term.

16. You can’t be anywhere other than where you are. The more you resist that, the more you suffer. Be present.

17. Effective communication is clear and concise. Ambiguity and complexity create confusion.

18. Effective communication needs to have cadence and candor. Consistency and compassion increase compliance.

19. Even great leaders don’t have all the answers. But they have the humility to acknowledge that and ask for help/support/guidance/direction.

20. Strong teams use adversity to increase cohesion. Weak teams use adversity to erode it.

21. When you feel strong, lend a hand to a teammate. When you feel weak, reach out to ask for help from a teammate. No one should go ‘at this’ alone!

22. We often have to make important decisions with imperfect information. Do the best you can with what you have. You’ll never have the time to wait for things to be perfect!

As powerful as these lessons are, the MOST impactful lesson was a reminder of the immense gratitude we should have for those that have served in our armed forces. The sacrifices and commitment they have made to protect our freedom is unparalleled.