Face Your Next Crisis Like a Navy Seal

React to Crisis Like a Navy SEAL

The recent successful heroic mission of Navy Seal Team 6, the top counter-terrorism unit, demonstrated their ability to achieve daring objectives and remain resourceful in the face of unknown obstacles. Despite unexpected issues such as the surrounding walls interfering with the helicopter operation and causing it to crash, they immediately modified their plans and completed the mission.

Physical Capability is Only Part of the Solution

Brutal training for a SEAL takes over 30 months to be ready for deployment. With a training drop-out rate of 80%, it was found that physical ability was not enough. A critical ingredient was mental toughness…the ability to be resourceful in the face of crisis and under extreme stress. A new program was introduced to teach self management under stress.

The SEALs (Sea, Air and Land) whose motto is “The only easy day was yesterday” are now taught four critical mental skills. Think about applying these same principles to your next crisis or to a critical part of your business plan.

  1. Narrow Goal Setting
    This means having a clear focus on a specific near term objective such as your presentation to the board next week; over coming a client’s objections; solving a budget shortfall or making an 8 foot putt. Get clear, get specific and get focused.
  2. Visualization
    Athletes are proficient at employing visualization whether it be hitting a free throw, making a par from the sand, racing down a giant slalom, or scoring a goal in hockey. Visualizing your actions and those around you and the successful result is like a “dress” rehearsal. It prepares you mentally for the real thing. It gives you an opportunity to prepare yourself to handle potential obstacles and glitches. Whether it is a critical presentation, important client meeting or executive review, mentally walk through it in your mind several times. For yourself and the other participants. See it. Feel it. Hear it. You will de-stress the situation and prepare yourself for a successful interaction.
  3. Self Talk
    Our self talk influences our emotions and our mental agility. That old saying, “whether you think you can or can’t, you are right” is true. Both your internal mental ability and your external body language is impacted by your self talk. For example, have you ever met someone who says they are happy to see you and yet you know by their body language that they are not really happy to see you. Harness your self talk to be positive and self confident in a given situation. In order to exude warmth when meeting a room full of strangers, JFK would say to himself just before entering, “I am happy to be here and happy to meet you.”
  4. Reaction Control
    This is the ability to control your internal emotions……pounding heart, sweating palms, awful feeling in the pit of your stomach- in the face of crisis, stressful situations or unexpected problems. Inhaling and holding the air for 2-3 seconds and then expelling completely will help. Repeat a few times. Pausing to physically or mentally take a step back, lean back or push your chair back from the table will help you mentally decouple from the situation and allow you to think more resourcefully.

Practice these 4 techniques in non stressful situations so that they will “be there” when you are facing a critical stressful situation.

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