(This lesson comes to you from Mike Fucking Connelly, The Iron King of Chicago. It’s Part 2 in a 3 part series on how he’s integrated the book Extreme Ownership into his coaching, business and life. Go fuckin’ get ’em, Mike!)
Welcome, , to Part 2 of my write up on Extreme Ownership!
I really appreciate all the positive feedback and discussion that went down after the first installment. Even if you all were just being nice, it is nice to have a group that gives you confidence to put yourself out there. Thank you for that!
So far we’ve covered 3 of the 12 pillars:
Extreme Ownership. Take responsibility for everything.
There Are No Bad Teams, Just Bad Leaders. Set standards and develop systems to support those standards.
Believe. Develop a product you believe in.
Pillar Four: Check the Ego
Everyone has an ego but it’s how we deal with our own and other’s that dictates our success. Too much ego will sabotage your success in business, get you hurt while training, and drive you away from communities like the Faction. On the other hand, too little ego will similarly sabotage your business, keep you from reaching your potential in training, and get you trampled on by the masses. It’s a balancing act that few pay attention to, but could stand to benefit greatly by just paying it just a little bit of mind.
Too much ego can affect us in many ways. It can keep us from getting valuable advice, to accept and grow from constructive criticism, and keep you from setting attainable goals for your business. It can really fuck your day up. I’d be willing to bet that we’ve all had a moment here and there that we let our ego go a bit. Controlling your ego is constant work and adjustments because you are constantly learning and growing. Therefore, to keep it in check, we need to continually assess and adjust how you handle your ego.
Nothing attracts me more to a person than seeing them bask in humility. It’s so endearing! It is the ultimate display of confidence and trustworthiness in my book. Show some humility and it will go a long way in building relationships both professionally and personally.
Some people (a lot of people in this beloved group of ours) face the other side of the coin in this battle with ego. It’s not always an abundance of ego that kills our efforts but a lack thereof. Todd and I speak to it quite often as of late.
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.*
*Straight outta Wikipedia
Let me know if this thought has ever crossed your mind; “What the fuck am I even doing here? I don’t deserve any of the success I’ve had. I’m a fraud and it is just a matter of time before everyone figures that out”. Does that kind of crap ever sink into your head? Mine too. And it’s scary because it hits hard.
This dips back into the last pillar: Believe. It’s important that we believe in our systems and our product but most importantly we must believe in ourselves. At Rebell, we have a sign on our front desk that reads “Start Where You Are”. It’s a reminder to our staff as well as our clients that we have to be honest with ourselves about our abilities and our experience in order to get the most out of the day. Start too far down the road and you will inevitably have to backtrack. Start too far back and you are just wasting time and slowing your progress.
We have to have confidence in what we do know and the humility to admit what we don’t in order to better ourselves and the people around us and approach our collective full potential.
Pillar Five: Cover and Move (Teamwork)
Despite what you may have heard about Marine Corps bootcamp, I thought it was a damn good time. With a good sense of humor and a little bit of guts, you can turn it into quite an enjoyable experience. And if you pay attention to what’s going on in all the organized chaos, you may realize that you are a part of the finest “teamwork” training on the planet.
There’s no special sauce to it, just a tried and true strategy that turns forty to fifty strangers into a finely tuned machine capable of anything in a matter of three months. What makes this group of strangers turn into such a loyal, hardworking, and dependable team in such a relatively short period of time? I’m not going to quote any textbooks on this, but I’m going to give you my best summation of my experience.
They broke us down to make us realize we are all the same.
Regardless of your financial/social status before you entered bootcamp, we all wore the same clothes, donned the same shoes, received the same haircuts, and were taught to speak exactly the same way. It didn’t take a very long time for my entire platoon to realize that there was not one of us that was special. So, now we looked around the barracks and saw a bunch of ourselves shuffling around doing the same thing we were doing. We didn’t see race, financial status, political parties, gays, straights, or religion… we just saw people that wanted the same thing we wanted. We saw ourselves.
They educated us about our prestigious history.
Surprisingly, a fair amount of bootcamp was spent in a classroom learning a complete history of the Corps. From day one in Tunn Tavern to present day conflicts. We learned about the heroes that served before us, the triumphs of units that wore the same uniform, and the insurmountable odds that can be overcome by Marines. As people would realize the depth of all of this, you could see them walk a little taller and approach their task with tenacity. We had a standard to uphold and we were damned if any one of us were going to let down our heritage.
They trained the shit out of us.
Since 1775 the Marine Corps has been honing their training skills; using every opportunity to learn how to do it better than they were presently. You walk that road long enough and you’re going to have one top-fucking-notch regimen. The key to it is, never be satisfied with how well you are doing things and never let a learning opportunity pass you by. From strategy to the everyday operations, everything can be better.
They gave us a common goal/enemy.
Fucking Drill Instructors. The meanest sons-of-bitches on the planet. They’re also really funny but don’t ever laugh at their jokes. That’s a big no-no. Our platoon had three common foes to work together against. We also had a common goal of pinning that sweet Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on our uniform at the end of bootcamp. That would mean we finally could call ourselves “Marine”. I cried my eyes out that day.
As I write this, I have goosebumps. The hair on the back of my neck is standing at attention and all the sensations of that experience can be felt like it was yesterday. That is why you will hear people say, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine!”. That is why I can bump into a Marine I have never met before and sit down and talk like we are old friends. Correction, brothers and sisters. Because we are part of a team. In my opinion, one of the better teams around.
Is this feasible in the civilian world? Probably not. You might get arrested for trying some of this stuff and people not knowing what they are walking into might lose their shit. But we can adapt similar ideas and maybe knock some of the intensity off of it and still have a pretty kick ass system for building teamwork.
For instance, if we can make our work force or our clients in class realize we are all the same in one way or another, they will more easily band together and work with each other. If we can instill pride in them for joining your effort or making a decision to better themselves we can probably get them to work pretty hard. If we constantly train our coaches and ourselves to put out the best training that is possible in the present time, we will inevitably turn out some great work. And if we can help people realize that we are all working for the same thing, I think a lot of differences will start to fade away until we realize that we are one team.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch Heartbreak Ridge.
Pillar Six: Simple
I have a couple of clients that just plain do not like to think during our sessions so when I’m writing my programs and thinking about my cueing and explanations I always test my final product with, “Will so-and-so be able to understand this?”. If my answer is “yes”, hooray! If not, it’s back to the drawing board. The best coaches/teachers are the ones that can break their content down to the simplest form.
Our clients don’t need a physiology lesson. If they did, we wouldn’t be the best source for them anyways. The general population also doesn’t need the most complex movements or intricate programming to get the job done either. They NEED the bare minimum! Trying to make things complex for the sake of sounding smart can really fuck things up in a hurry. There are enough variables in our professional relationships as it is without us trying to go all Will Hunting on shit.
If your clients can’t understand your instructions, you failed to simplify your instructions appropriately. If there is too much work for them to do and they get lost on the journey, you failed to program appropriately for them. If your coaches can’t get your message across to your classes, you failed to break it down for them to understand it enough to relay the message. Keep it as simple as it can be while still getting the job done! Everything else is unnecessary and opens you up to more problems than you need to face.
The other facet of Simple is keeping open communications with our people. Sometimes they don’t know what questions to ask unless we educate them on the subject. In some cases, employees might not even know it’s ok to ask questions. For real! Get out there and be an open book for the people you are working with. Leave nothing for granted. The easier it is for the people around you to talk to you, the easier it is to stay on track.
Keeping every facet of operations simple is crucial to success. Whether it be planning for a business expansion or implementing a new program, simplicity will eliminate some potential for disaster and keep the machine rolling nice and smooth!
Pillar 7: Prioritize and Execute
When I started my career I had a very different mindset than I do now. My view of what it took to be a good trainer was formed by my first employer and they believed that fitness was all about decimating people. Make them sweat, make them puke, make them push through the pain and you had done your job. As that mindset has left me for good, it certainly has not vanished from our industry. Over the years, I have adapted a better way of doing things thanks to my mentors and those that put out all that good information. Today, I use many tools to put together my systems for training. I interview and screen my clients when they first come in to see me. I use that information to see what is most important to address in order to get my clients to my goals. Then I implement my understanding of different tools to follow through on that path. In short, I prioritize and I execute.
Dan John states, and I’m paraphrasing here, “plan the hunt, hunt, analyze the hunt”. Talk about keeping it simple! I’ll add one thing to that for our view as coaches; figure out what you’re hunting.
Having a plan laid out gives us a timeline and allows us to set reasonable expectations. Your client will listen to you a lot more attentively if you can tell them that they will reach X goal in Y amount of time. That’s a hell of a lot more professional and trustworthy than “you’ll get there at some point!”. Now I’m not saying that plans always work out the same way they are written on paper. In the Marines we lived by the idea that no plan will survive first contact. Similarly, Mike Tyson tells us that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. That’s just fine! I promise!
When that inevitable hiccup comes along, all we do is reset the plan and keep moving forward accordingly. But the difference between trouble hitting in the middle of the plan and trouble hitting in the middle of chaos is now we just have more chaos. Chaos sucks! Having an original plan gives us reference points when things go wrong so that recovery time is minimal. It also provides us with valuable information about how we can avoid similar problems in the future.
Have a fucking plan and stick to it!
Hey Faction! We’re through seven of twelve pillars! Woohoo! I hope that these are helpful and maybe helped make sense of some problems you might be facing with your business. I know some of these are common sense but being reminded of them really helped me out. I hope it does the same for you!