Okay, you might immediately say to yourself after reading the title of this post, “NO Way—SEAL training is waaaaay harder than starting a company!” Hear me out, because it’s true. Just to clarify, I’m not accounting for the physical abuse that is served up during SEAL training. Honestly, there’s not a civilian job that is going to dish out the physical punishment that SEAL instructors do, but that’s not the point. Here’s why SEAL training is easier than starting a company: X-Division. That’s right, BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training) has X-Division, and there’s no such thing in the civilian world.
Let me explain before you throw another B-S flag at me for writing such ridiculous comments of comparison. When a person quits in BUD/S training, they are immediately sent to X-Division—at least that’s what it was called when I went through SEAL training—X-Division is where quitters go. After 50 plus years of dishing out some of the world’s toughest training, SEAL instructors have discovered how fragile the human psyche can be. They don’t want those who are still committed to slugging it out in the arena to be distracted by those who willingly have opted out of it. So, they created this place called X-Division. Once you quit, you are placed in this X-Division holding area where you wear regular Navy uniforms—not the ones that active trainees wear—you’re not allow to interact with those active in training, and you are processed out as quickly as possible. The point of X-Division is to remove those who no longer wish to be there—Navy SEAL training is expensive. The Navy doesn’t want those who have chosen to continue training to be influenced by those who don’t want to be there.
Here’s the rub—in the civilian world, X-division doesn’t exist. You have no idea who is ringing the bell (quitting) and who’s truly in it to win it. Worse, some of your friends and family might be part of the group who should be in X-Division. Don’t get me wrong, SEAL training is fabulously difficult, and there’s no comparison when it comes to the amount of physical pain you have to endure, but the real challenge lies in understanding who is on your team. I had an instructor who routinely reminded us that he was searching for those candidates who “wanted to be a SEAL on a sunny day.” He had the authority to seek out and selectively eliminate those candidates. It’s not that easy in the civilian world, and you can’t just tap someone on the shoulder and say, “You’re out—you’re not what we’re looking for—report to X-Division.”
What I discovered is that you have to make your own X-Division. You have to decide who you want to listen to—who you want on your team—and remain constantly vigilant. I call this team—the ones you select—the All-in Division. No matter what you’re trying to achieve in life—no matter how hard or how long it takes you—this is the battle you will wage continually: determining who is in X-Division and whose in your All-in Division.
Don’t be discourage if you’re starting a business—if it was easy, then everyone would do it. Struggle builds strength. Stick with it. You’ll make mistakes, and that’s part of the process. Just remember, going All-in is a daily process. It’s a habit. It’s not reserved for 9-5 work on certain days of the week. Over time, the All-in teammates will rise to the top, and you’ll know who truly has your back. In the meantime, maintain course and speed by going All-in and Moving forward every day—that’s where success is found.