Knowing Your Why


At the onset of the SEALFIT 50 hour Kokoro Crucible I ask trainees why they are there. I get all sorts of answers. I can often tell from the answer to this simple question who will not make it the entire 50 hours. Getting clear about your “why” and connecting to it often as you work toward your goals is very important. Having a weak “why” is a recipe for failure when the going gets tough. Strong whys are connected to your “3 P’s” life: Passion, Purpose and Principles. Your why comes for your deepest convictions stemming from your drive and determination to fulfill your purpose. When my SEAL Team Three platoon was about to ship off to Desert Storm in 1992 I had a young enlisted guy refuse to go. He claimed conscientious objector status. I was stunned…I honestly never thought a SEAL would go that route. SEALs literally tripped over themselves running toward the sound of gunfire, and here was a conscientious objector? The reality was that his “why” for becoming a SEAL was to see if he could make it through BUDs. He had no desire to actually embark on an actual combat mission. Last time I checked the SEALs still hire and train men for the most arduous and dangerous of combat missions, not to help the recruit self-actualize. This recruits “why” was weak, and he put his teammates at risk. Not to mention his abuse of the trust and treasury of the citizenry.

My friend and SEALFIT Coach Glen Doherty knew his why. Contracted with the agency to hunt for loose MANPADs in Libya, Glen was at the embassy outpost in Benghazi in September 2012 with his agency partner Ty Woods, another teammate of mine from SEAL Team Five. Glen and Ty heard the sound of gunfire and ran toward it to find the Libyan security personnel faltering under the blaze of gunfire from a coordinated attack of about 200 extremists. They relieved a couple of the security team of their weapons and proceeded into the breach of the firefight. In doing so they saved 20 American lives while holding off the attackers for over 2 hours. Glen lost his life in this effort. But he never, not once, questioned his why. Glen and Ty were Unbeatable Mind warriors who lived and died with the highest form of integrity offered to a human. They had the great privilege to live on and die “on purpose” and are with their warrior brothers and sisters fighting on a different realm now.

Most of us are not “danger close” like Glen and Ty…but you never know…do you? I believe this concept of contemplating on and aligning with the 3Ps – which are reserved just for you – is crucial to living a full life and fulflling what the Buddhists call your Dharma – your reason for being here on this planet at this time and place. Thus it is a very good idea to set aside quiet time before committing to a big goal, project or challenge and ask yourself why you are doing it. Make sure the answer is powerful and impenetrable. You want to ensure you have the right “why” backing you when the going gets tough.

Course Discussion