There is something more dangerous than being shot at.
And leaders struggle with it every day.
You might be one of them.
I stepped into a whole new world when I raised my right hand and swore to defend the Constitution of the United States.
Not only was I excited and motivated for this new world challenge, I was also scared shitless of what this decision meant for me as a man and my future.
As I signed that Airborne Infantry contract, every emotion you could possibly feel I felt all at once.
This was the most vulnerable I’d felt in my life. I found my thoughts wandering:
What would the military be for me?
How would I best serve my country?
Was combat arms the place I’d discover what I was looking for?
But there was no turning back. It was time for me to get after it.
Boot camp and my specialty school were intense, but fun. We barely slept, rarely ate a full meal, and were pushed beyond our mental and emotional capabilities 24 hours a day for months on end.
Being conditioned to “embrace the suck” revealed what I could accomplish under such immense pressure and stress. It turned out to be exactly what I needed to grow into the man I desired to become.
My Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was 11C, an Indirect Fire Infantryman. I was a soldier specialized in mortar gun systems.
These powerful tools of war were awe-inspiring. Infantry mortars are lethal teams for combat effectiveness. On the front lines and often in direct communication with battlefield leaders, we can quickly adapt to any changing combat situation.
I quickly took to them in the same way I first had to the mound and then to the bull chute.
After training, I arrived at Fort Campbell, KY. This was the 101st Airborne Division, a prestigious combat unit with a first-class reputation.
My Combat Infantry Regiment also had its own impressive history, so I had big boots to fill joining this type of crew.
However, I was unprepared for how being a part of this unit, and the combat tours that followed, would bring my unique abilities into focus and unearth much more of my potential.
This would become yet another life-altering challenge for me.
Being a member of a historic Combat Infantry Regiment brought me to new heights in this quest for becoming more.
All three of my tours over the course of six years tested me, including my self-understanding. They highlighted the stark contrast between the wars I battled within my family life and the wars I fought for my country.
They further served as a testament to my warrior nature that had been stifled, if not actively discouraged, by those close to me.
My first tour was KOSOVO for Operation Joint Guardian. At the time, Kosovo was a war-torn region plagued by a genocidal maniac. We were sent in on a multinational peacekeeping mission tasked with securing the region and ending any further ethnic cleansing. This is where I got my feet wet when it came to hostile combat experiences.
My second tour was AFGHANISTAN for Operation Enduring Freedom. Within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, the 101st was one of the first major Army Divisions given orders to deploy. The tension and focus on us was palpable as we prepared for our first combat tour together. It was in Afghanistan where I discovered a significant ability to be eerily calm amid the chaos and uncertainty. In every combat operation from ground missions to air assault, I felt more at home than I did back at home.
My third tour was IRAQ for Operation Iraqi Freedom. We were called upon again after only six months home from our long and exhausting tour in Afghanistan. In this conflict, I found even more solace in my performance as a seasoned combat soldier. This included flying as a door gunner during the push for Baghdad as well as leading my team through other intense situations for another successful deployment.
Whether it was handling a firefight during intense combat ops, leading a covert mission to stop a cultural genocide, undertaking a search-and-seizure operation involving high-valued targets…these were the leadership lessons I could never cultivate in a classroom or boardroom.
War gave me the opportunity to bring out the best in others through our team dynamic and cohesiveness, and the effects this had on my guys and our efforts were immeasurable.
The military served as a bridge to personal discovery, both as a man and an eruptor. It opened up my own intuitive style of leadership and unleashed a newfound philosophy of performance for those in positions of power or influence.
Much of what I work on with leaders today comes from the lessons learned during my time as a team leader in combat arms.
2 Things I Learned And Why It Matters For You:
- I discovered an innate ability to transform stress into optimized focus and performance during combat operations. This led to precise execution of missions that achieved their goals without loss of life.
You can find greater focus amid chaos – whatever battle you may be waging – when you’re willing to “embrace the suck” and fearlessly face the unknown.
You need to erupt to transform your stress from a detriment into a benefit.
- War was the environment for cultivating my ability to see blind spots in human behavior and feel the underlying causes of stress. I quickly discovered that the stress of war isn’t limited to the battlefield. Battles will rage on from childhood into adulthood until they’re faced head on and resolved.
You will understand the true nature of your stress, where it comes from, and how it affects your performance, both personally and professionally.
The process of ERUPTION demystifies stress and gives you a new ability to thrive in any environment. You will learn to be comfortable in any uncomfortable situation and controlled in times of unrest.