I just finished reading this book “The Navy Seal Art of War: Leadership Lessons from the World’s Most Elite Fighting Force.“
How can you not pick up a book about the Navy Seals? If you are like me and like machismo movies – the movies about Navy Seals would definitely be something you truly enjoy. The title of the book had such a captivating pull on me, I just had to read it. As a 31 yr old Canadian, there is no way the Navy Seals would ever recruit me. But reading the book was the closest thing I could come to a Navy Seal. The book is filled with Leadership Wisdom and Life Lessons. You must definitely pick it up and read it.
My favorite chapter that resonated the most with me was called Embrace the Suck. For the Armed forces, this concept is ingrained into their psyche. Anyone who has worked in the Military would understand what I am referring to.
“That is to say, if the going gets tough, you suck it up. You may not like it, whatever it is, but it’s essential that you lead your way through it”
– (The Navy Seal Art of War)
How does it apply to you, your life, and your career?
There are moments in your career you feel stuck, you feel bored, you don’t feel the most productive, you just don’t want to do anything. Now if you feel like this every day then it is a deeper problem to look at – perhaps you need to re-align and re-focus your career goals. But if these thoughts occur to once in a while, it can be fixed.
It is actually a simple fix- you may not like it. But it is the best way to get over it.
JUST SUCK IT UP!!
Push through. Keep moving forward. Trust me, sooner or later your thoughts will change and your work will change for the better.
Let me illustrate this with the idea of Exercising. I am very confident there are days when you don’t feel like exercising. It might be too cold, too hot, raining, you might have eaten too much – you do not want to do it. In spite of that, you decide to exercise. It sucks at the beginning of your workout, you just want to get the exercise done. However, within a few minutes of beginning your exercise you feel very good – you hit the proverbial Runners High or the Zone. You are enjoying yourself, and perhaps you don’t want to stop now.
The same applies to your work. Sometimes, work feels monotonous and repetitive. Sometimes you feel stuck. Stop whining and get to work. Instead of blaming external factors, or even your lack of passion/energy – just get to work. Just keep working. You might get into the zone quickly. Even if you don’t get into the zone – you will experience a sense of pride & joy for completing the task /project at hand.
Another tactic is to re-frame how you think about your work. An attitude of gratitude comes handy during these moments. Think for a moment about the reasons what you like about your job. Maybe you get a salary, maybe an office, maybe a place to make friends, maybe some benefits. There is always a bright side. Look at the bright side. Unemployment today is 5%, there are people out there who would die to get your job. Be grateful you have one. It pays your bills, it keeps your company moving forward, it pays the taxes. Look at the bright side.
“When I was in BUD/S and on the teams, one of the motivational phrases I always used when things went sour ‘Well, at least it’s not raining’. In essence, things could always be worse. Covered in sand, exhausted from running for miles on end, and freezing your ass off in the pounding surf?’ At least it’s not raining. Extract helo late in arriving, leaving you hunkering down in the tree line behind the enemy line? At least it’s not raining.”
– Rob Roy (The Navy Seal Art of War)
I work in Sales, so a lot of my time involves prospecting. Some days, I don’t want to do it. I just don’t want to pick up the phone. I would rather go home and watch a movie on those days, or look at Instagram pictures of people I don’t know. But I force myself to prospect, I push myself to do it. Within a few calls, I start to feel good. In some calls, I uncover opportunities I never would have had if I did not pick up the phone. On those days, I committed to Embrace the suck and I pull through.
In summary, Armed Forces (Marines, Seals, Army) have one of the toughest jobs on the planet. They are always living life on the edge. It is hard to stay positive in those situations. But they have adopted Embrace the Suck as part of their philosophy. They push through and continue doing their job. They keep themselves, their colleagues, and the rest of us safe.
When I started writing this article, I could not get started. I lacked the motivation and will-power to write today. I wasted an hour browsing the web. After killing an hour I thought to myself “F*** it, Just start writing”. After an hour, I have a completed article. I chose to Embrace The Suck and I have a finished post ready to publish. I feel awesome. I hope you do too, and I hope you adopt this mindset – Embrace The Suck.