Joining the military can be a daunting experience: hundreds of forms and paperwork, "sign here, sign here", Drug tests, blood tests, fitness tests, eye check, doctors exams, psychological evaluation, criminal background check. Depending on what job you signed up for, they might even send out private investigators to speak with and interview your family and friends… Not your everyday career onboarding.
But despite all the nonsense, I was focused. What ever it takes, I said. “I will be a Navy SEAL”.
In my mind, nothing and no one could stop or dissuade me from this goal.
BUD/s, short for Basic Underwater Demolitions, the first 6 months of the SEAL training pipeline, is unbelievably brutal with an extreme purpose: create the most elite fighting force on the planet.
Anyone without supreme fortitude is eliminated very quickly. It is some of the most grueling training on the planet. You can train and train until you run the rubber off your shoes and your blue in the face from breath hold practice, but you can’t ever be fully prepared. You just have to show up and see if you have what it takes.
Eventually, finally, the checkered flag, GRADUATION DAY!!
I had been through hell and back in training. I was ready to put the grunt work behind me and start doing all the stuff I had dreamed of like jumping out of airplanes, explosives, and other cool SEAL things. I had assumed that once you become a SEAL that “student” life, and nonsense and general low level work is over. That is an incorrect assumption.
some of you knew where this was going... graduation day was not the checkered flag, it was the starting line. In fact, in some ways, the pain and suffering only got worse. Of course there were days that felt fun or rewarding, but there were many more days that didn’t.
Often times, the actual SEAL job was more painful and arduous than BUD/s. Other times, we got the crap kicked out of us for no reason(theres always a reason). Sometimes, I stayed up through the night manually putting encryption into radios(not what i dreamed about). Or everyone's favorite, shooting range cleanup.
Shooting a millions rounds is really cool, until you train in the deserts of California and the environmental hippies complain. Then you have to go and pick up a million rounds of brass over a square mile in the desert, on your hands and knees. I could go on and on with a list of ridiculous tasks...
Im not complaining. Quite the opposite. I’m telling you to stop complaining.
On those days where we were doing the most ridiculous activities, we would often look at each other and say “this wasn’t in the brochure” and laugh. I never imagined myself crawling on my hands and knees through the desert picking up brass, but you know what, at least I got a tan (or a sunburn). Yes, it's stupid, and yes, it's easy to say I shouldn’t have to do this. But I did! I did have to do it. And I had to do many other seemingly meaningless activities.
I only had two options, do the crap work or quit.
Every job has it. I don’t care if you are a SEAL or a celebrity. A pastor or the president, every job has things that aren’t in the brochure. Whatever your job is, shut up and stop complaining about all the stuff you shouldn’t have to do… do the work or quit.
One ounce of advice. Focus on the why. I didn’t pick up brass for the hippies, I picked it up to be a part of the most elite fighting force on the planet.
Stop thinking about the tasks and how long until the finish line.
Focus on who you are supposed to become and why nothing can stop you from being that.