US Army Special Operations Leadership Experience

On April 6, 2013 I flew into Raleigh North Carolina to attend a 4-day US ARMY Special Operations Leadership Experience that was created by Scot Spooner with Reflective Leadership Solutions LLC. (http://www.facebook.com/reflectiveleadershipsolutions?fref=ts)

Scot is a retired US ARMY Special Ops that served in DELTA. He is the best in the world at what he does, and it was an honor to attend the event. I was very nervous to take on such an intensive leadership experience. I had been to many other leadership seminars, but this one was different and I felt it intuitively.

After the basic introductions, we ate dinner and I was informed about white and black status. “In White Status, we were relaxed and friendly,” explains Scot Spooner. “In Black Status, get your instructions from the board” as his faced turned very serious.

Josh Lannon with team at US Army Special Ops

It became very clear that things were about to change. For our control freaks in the group, not knowing what was next was nerve racking. We organized our gear, AND settled in the living quarters awaiting the next instruction.

At 2200 (10pm) a Special Ops instructor Blake walks in and announces “We are now in Black Status. Get your instructions from the board”.

When: 2300
What: Ruck (40 pounds without water), Boots, Headlamp
Where: Starting Point

Note: a ruck is a military backpack. In this case, we loaded it with a 40 pound sand bag.

And from that moment on, the training did not stop.

This event consisted of 9 CEO’s that are very driven and successful in their fields of practice. Many of us thought training with the USA ARMY Rangers, Green Berets and DELTA guys would be a great opportunity.

We talked about why we signed up for the event and said, “We wanted to get pushed beyond our own limits and learn from the best in the world”.

That all sounds good and dandy, but did we really know what that meant?

The idea of wanting to go beyond our own limits vs actually doing so…is a HUGE Grand Canyon difference.

Were we there just to play soldier? Were we the weekend warrior that by signing up for this event could give us bragging rights at cocktail party?

Or did we really want to experience, at a small scale what it was like to BE an elite Specials Ops soldier?

Those thoughts began to come up as it was late, we were tired from traveling with the 50-pound ruck (after water), our rifles and other gear was uncomfortable and heavy.

The reality of what we really had to do was in front of us. This was not going to be happy camp with 9 CEOs’ running around playing soldier. The Special Ops community was not going to rip us off. We were beginning to experience the process, of what it really took.

As we lined up at the starting point with our 50-pound rucks on, we were given the next set of instructions.

Gentlemen, this is a non-talking and un-timed event. You will be assessed on your individual performance. Follow the glow sticks into the forest. Keep your headlamps off unless it’s an emergency. Continue rucking until informed to stop… Ready Go!

Here we are, marching off into the unknown. Not knowing what the measurement was to pass, or to fail. Not knowing the distance, for how long and if we were even allowed to take a break.

The 9 of us started off, a few started running ahead, others grouping together and the remaining falling behind as the line lengthened into the darkness.

As we were “rucking” into the unknown, mile after mile the sexiness of being a soldier … shooting, blowing stuff up, jumping out of helicopters was coming to an abrupt end. This sucked! Yep, mile after mile, after mile… Was this what being a soldier was really like? Marching off into the unknown, not knowing for how long or even why?

Our minds were racing, questioning everything.

This is just like becoming an entrepreneur, many people talk about how cool it would be to own their own business. Glorifying all the fun parts of opening a business.

The reality is, when starting and operating your own business; you will be faced into the unknowns. You will get to put on your 50-pound ruck late at night and march off.

This is the reality of business ownership. The assessment and selection is for you and you alone to judge. Should I run? Should I walk? How long till I get a break? Can I give more? What should I do?

This is the process to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Like in the Special Ops community, so many “want” to be the best, but the reality is, very few make it.

Are you one of those select few men and women that have what it takes to join the elite group of Entrepreneurs?

Is the drive and commitment to your mission…to your vision, stronger than the 50-pound ruck? Can you go mile after mile when no one is around?

Are you up to the challenge… the experience… the process?

If your answer is yes…. its time to “soldier up” put on that ruck and march on!

It’s worth it!

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