These Former Navy SEALs Have Two Secrets To Success

Wow! June already..…where has almost half a year gone?

For my part, I’ve been busy with Bill writing and now finishing up our new book, and conducting final interviews before we send the draft for editing. I’m extremely excited about the book, and it’s been a whole lot of fun writing it with Bill!  We both believe the book is very relevant, and much needed in today’s leadership environment.

I recently returned from a week in my favorite city, San Diego. While there, Bill and I conducted book interviews with two former SEAL buddies of mine: Mark Divine, SEALFIT Founder and CEO, and Randy Hetrick, TRX Founder and CEO. Both were solid SEAL officers/operators, and both are now highly successful business entrepreneurs. Bill and I had a great time picking the brains of these two leaders, stud athletes (in their minds), authors, fitness social media regulars, podcasters, and most of the time, good guys.

Poor Bill had to suffer through an initial deluge of frivolity from both Mark and Randy, as they did their best to convince him that they were both better SEALs than poor, little old me back in the day, and that the only reason they agreed to do the interviews was that Bill had such a solid reputation as an author, business owner and leadership coach! Like I said, good guys…most of the time!

Once done with the jocularity, Mark and Randy shared their perspectives on leadership hubris…the main theme of the book Bill and I are working on. While a lot of ground was covered, I’d like to share two key takeaways that Bill and I got from the interviews. Specifically:

From Mark: “A good leader needs to remain humble. To be (and remain) humble, a leader has to practice humility on a daily basis. Just like physical exercise, a good leader needs to develop a routine and find the time to practice being humble.” Some of Mark’s suggestions to practicing humility: meditation and breathing exercises!

From Randy: Be appreciative of what you have. Become a leader who motivates rather than intimidates. “Focus a little less on the gaps and a little more on the gots.”

Coach’s tip(s) for this month: Great takeaways from Mark and Randy!

One tool I used in the Navy that helped keep me grounded, was to constantly remind myself to never believe one word written about me in any of my annual fitness reports, an evaluation form utilized by the Navy that chronicles an officer’s performance in various assignments throughout their careers. And why? Because I wrote them all!

I wrote these performance reports because my reporting seniors were usually “too busy”, and so it would be delegated down to me to write my own reviews. And I learned very quickly that it was not an uncommon practice for fitness reports to be “overinflated,” with the intent to make an officer look more worthy for future promotion and assignment opportunities. Evaluating and writing about myself always proved extremely nauseating for me every time I had to do it, but in the end, even though I could never make myself sound like the next John Paul Jones, Chester Nimitz or Bull Halsey, I usually did my best to come close!


CAPT John “Coach” Havlik, USN (Ret), retired from the Navy in 2014 after 31 years of distinguished service in the Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) community. He has served on SEAL teams on both coasts, including the famed SEAL Team SIX. Coach completed graduate studies at the Naval War College in Newport, RI, receiving an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies. He graduated from West Virginia University with a B.S. in Business Administration and is a 2017 inductee into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.

Coach Havlik is a Special Advisor to Giant Leap Consulting and regularly speaks about leading high performance teams under arduous and stressful conditions. 

About John Havlik

CAPT John “Coach” Havlik, U.S. Navy SEAL (Retired), led special operations teams around the world during his 31-year naval career, to include the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the SEAL’s most elite operational unit. CAPT Havlik was a nationally-ranked swimmer, and is a member of the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame and Mountaineer Legends Society. @CoachHavlik www.CoachHavlik.com

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