As Fathers, Mothers, Students, Business Owners, Executives, & High-Performers it is easy to set lofty-standards and expectations as we pursue our goals in Endurance Sport.
Therefore it should be no surprise that the motivation and drive an Athlete relies on to fuel the journey toward these goals is something to be cherished.
So then how does a book about leadership principles apply to Athletes striving to be their best…?
And what can Athletes learn from U.S. Navy SEAL’s relentless focus on winning?
The answers to both of these questions can be found in the book, “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEAL’s Lead & Win.
This book is far more than a collection of leadership principles that have served U.S. Special Forces ‘Operators’ to be some of the finest military units in the world.
The leadership principles in this book transcend their battlefield utility to be applicable to many other environments, one of which is the world of Endurance Sport.
There is so much great information in this book, but some of the most easily applicable principles come from the following chapters:
Extreme Ownership, By Jocko Willing and Leif Babin is about more than leadership principles. Photo Credit: ExtremeOwnership.com
Chapter 1: Extreme Ownership
Each chapter of the book begins with a real-world battlefield illustration that details and reinforces the leadership-principle being presented. In the opening chapter that lesson comes from the books title, Extreme Ownership.
In the world of sport it can be tempting to take the perspective that many factors that could enhance performance are outside our control.
But this mentality does not work for the authors of Extreme Ownership, and the U.S. Navy SEAL community.
The authors assert, and illustrate with clear effect, the incredibly positive and powerful impact that anyone, in our case Athletes, can have by taking ownership of all the factors of performance in their world.
Take equipment for example, every Athlete operates on a limited-budget, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a negative thing.
By taking ownership of that budget, and soliciting help from those within our circle of influence (Coaches, Bike Shop Mechanics, training buddies, etc.) an Athlete can maximize their budget and give themselves the best equipment available.
The same concept of Extreme Ownership can also be applied to training time, as time is our most precious and limited resource.
By ‘owning’ the time available to train and consulting regularly with your Coach, you can ensure that you are doing everything within your power to be successful.
Belief is arguably the most powerful attribute of a successful Athlete, and much confidence can come from the knowledge that your training plan will prepare you in the best way possible. Photo Credit: Paul Abrahams
Chapter 3: Believe
Extreme Ownership is a great book, and each chapter has something significant to contribute to an Athletes’ performance, but the chapter detailing belief is arguably the most influential and empowering.
That is because without belief, the entire process of training and preparing is made more difficult and challenging.
The authors apply their Extreme Ownership perspective to the concept of ‘belief’ by emphasizing that it is up to an Athlete to thoroughly understand and believe in the plan they are set to execute.
For those Athletes that have the benefit of coaching, this concept further emphasizes the power and importance of a solid Coach/Athlete relationship.
Purposeful and productive training is at the heart of every training plan, but that is only half the puzzle.
Understanding and believing-in the direction of the aforementioned training plan will make it as easy as possible to execute difficult workouts or otherwise make the commitment to the prescribed training.
Just as U.S. Navy SEAL's must plan for the unknowns of battle, an Athlete must make contingency plans for the uncertainties of event-day. Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch
Chapter: 9: Plan
In the modern world of high-powered data collection tools, the breadth of information that can be gathered to create an Athletes’ training plan is immense.
For the authors of Extreme Ownership, their crucible, i.e. the battlefield’ has an infinite number of variables, only some of which can be controlled. This is a concept not at all dissimilar to Athletes competing in events of all types.
With this reality in mind, the book offers a perspective on the planning process that emphasizes fundamental preparedness, while understanding that some factors are outside our control, no matter how much we prepare.
By creating a detailed and thorough plan, but still accounting for the ‘unknowns’ that could arise on event-day, an Athlete can develop the tools necessary to conquer challenges of all types that could seem insurmountable in the moment.
Unfortunately, due to the constraints of our newsletter format, we cannot detail all of the chapters of Extreme Ownership that are applicable to Athletes. However, we highly recommend Chapter 4- “Check The Ego”, Chapter 6- “Simple”, and Chapter 7- “Prioritize & Execute” as a great start!
As the famous author, Lawerence Clark Powell once said:
“Write to be understood, speak to be heard, and read to grow.”
This sound wisdom has lead us to read, re-read, and share Extreme Ownership with friends, family, Athletes, and now our newsletter readers.
We hope that you will enjoy this book as much has we have and that it can motivate as well as empower you, with it’s pragmatic approach, to achieve your very best in sport, business, life, or wherever you choose to apply the principles of Extreme Ownership.
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching