As leaders in business, we’re the ones others look to for guidance, for instruction, for inspiration, hope and results. We’re the ones ultimately responsible for a vision, the mission and all that occurs for their unfolding.
While that’s a scary undertaking to many, to a spirited leader, that’s exciting, energizing and plenty of reason to jump out of bed every morning and into the predictable unpredictable, burn the candle at both ends, and then, on a good night, maybe get just enough sleep to dream about what’s next and how it can be done even better than the day before.
What’s more, our general attitude is that we are fortunate to be in this role.
Ideally, in time, we also come to understand what is and what is not within our control, and we work tirelessly to do “everything right,” to allow for the optimal merging of human dynamics, inspired ideas and natural law. What can go wrong when everything about the planning and execution of the mission is right? Right?
Uh-huh … Pretty much anything.
The face of adversity can be ugly as all get-out and more frightening than your worst nightmare. This series is about the chaos that can accompany the cool — the “life ambushes” we endure in the face of adversity and change — and how to face it down with what it takes to survive, thrive and prosper in its wake.
R.E.A.C.T. is a simple and effective model for rapidly moving away from crisis, or, as we say in special-operations, “getting off the X,” and forward in the ongoing mission.
I’ll keep this short, and you’ll find the long version in my book “Overcome,” but I often recall the 2015 life ambush that pummeled me in nonprofit business eight years after the enemy ambush that tried to take me out on a battlefield in Iraq. In both events, I was a leader — a trained, experienced, diligent leader intent on doing all the right things for the fulfillment of a noble mission that would impact good people in good ways. I had the vision. I ate, slept and breathed the mission. I had a plan and the confidence and support of great team members with whom to execute it. Of course, what I didn’t have was any control over external circumstances beyond my influence, including how someone intent on doing us harm would think and behave.
Physically, I had never been so vulnerable as I was on the X in that 2007 ambush in Iraq. As painstakingly detailed in my book “The Trident,” I had nowhere to go but down and likely dead while my team fought hard from behind makeshift cover on behalf of us all to our eventual victory. If not for the overcome mindset and automatic reactivity forged in me to the point of subconscious default, I would have succumbed to the overwhelming external circumstances to the extent of full incapacitation and mortal defeat.
Fortunately, even as I drifted in and out of consciousness in a spongy pool of my own blood, I knew better. I knew how to R.E.A.C.T. I knew enough about how to recognize my reality (“R”), evaluate the scope of my situation (“E”) and survive for long enough to get off the X, get help from my team, and, eventually, continue with my ongoing mission (“A,” “C” and “T”).
Although my mission has since changed from that of a Navy SEAL officer to that of a business leader, it’s all part of the broader mission for my life. And so are your experiences, if you’ll see it that way.
How I have expanded my life mission is to take what I learned and experienced about leadership and “overcoming” during my military career and transfer the drilled-down principles to be applied by anyone to all areas of everyday life — both personal and professional. I don’t know what you’ve envisioned and experienced regarding your life and business missions, or if you’ve even defined yours, but I can attest to the fact that, ironically or not, it’s the people courageous and optimistic enough to willingly accept the great risks in life without any guarantees of great reward who will be called, at some point, to lock eyes with the motley faces of adversity that many others will never encounter.
If you feel overwhelmed, helpless, paralyzed or crushed, knowing that something in your life has been changed — possibly forever — and you believe that you are trapped by and in your circumstances, perhaps feeling increasingly empty, worthless and as if your life has no meaning other than that marked by failure and punishment, you’re in what I call a life ambush.
Whether it’s a micro, mini or full-blown major life ambush, you must REACT to Overcome.
Your next step:
Evaluate your position and your assets
In any crisis, evaluating your position includes taking into account losses, impact, assets, and the positions and conditions of others on your team. All of this is important because it will help inform the next critical step, “A,” in getting off X.
Even if time is short, gather all the intel you can, from all the sources you have, to compose a no-BS big-picture assessment of your current situation. Be honest with yourself and others you trust, and insist that others are honest with you. Only then can you accurately evaluate your predicament and how to handle it.
Where do you stand right now?
What do you need?
Identify your assets: What physical, mental, and other tangible and intangible tools do you have in your toolbox?
Who can assist you?
And what other resources can you count on or access to immediately help you?
Refer to how you survived a life ambush from the past if it helps, and list your reserve:
Being well prepared to handle life ambushes will be the key to overcoming. So take time to assess your own situation. Begin by recognizing your reality: Are you currently in or heading into a life ambush in your personal or professional life? Think, write your notes, and then return for the next post on my REACT Methodology’s “A” strategy to begin applying it. (Or get my help getting straight to all of it with my Pointman for Life program, Pointman Planner or 72 Hours to Peak Performance or How to Build the Overcome Mindset online courses.)
Until then …
“Lead Always and Overcome All,”
Since retiring in 2013 from my 21-year U.S. Navy SEAL career, I’ve made it my mission to transfer my military leadership training, experience and skills to helping individuals and organizations to lead and launch themselves and their teams to elite performance. I accomplish this through an array of speaking topics, courses, books and coaching programs I’ve developed based largely upon proven SEAL and special-operations mission-centric techniques.
How can I be of service to you or your organization?
For information about my speaking offerings, visit www.jasonredman.com
Nearly all the topics covered in this series are also currently or soon-to-be available in an array of coaching programs, online courses and books. Visit: www.getoffx.com
2021 Speaking Topics Include
Get off the X and LEARN to Lead, formats include keynote, half/full-day workshop, perfect for: leaders and managers of all levels, companies/organizations going through change, companies struggling with forward momentum/resiliency, companies pushing toward higher-level goals. Topics include: Get off X, REACT Methodology, LEARN to Lead (includes the 3 Rules of Leadership), Leadership Fence.
Pointman for Life keynote, topics include: Mission/Values, Destination & Course, Risk Assessment & Indicators, Overcome Mindset to Get off X, REACT Methodology.
Six Tenets of Success keynote, perfect for companies or individuals looking to create a work/life balance in their team/workforce. Topics include: Live Greatly, Lead Always (3 Rules), Love Deeply, Stay Humble, No Regrets.
Five Principles of Elite Performance keynote, ideal for: teams, organizations, and companies; mid-level managers to senior leadership; organizations going through change or struggling with forward momentum/resiliency. Topics include: Perspective (“No Bad Days”), Teamwork, Leadership, Mission/Goals, Overcome and Get off X.
Will You Be Ready? Keynote, perfect for individuals, teams, organizations, and companies; mid-level managers to senior leadership, entrepreneurs. Topics include: Life Ambushes, Get off X, REACT Methodology, Pentagon of Peak Performance.
Flame of American Freedom: The Unknown Warrior keynote, ideal for patriotic events, Memorial and Veterans Day, July 4th, 9/11 events, military, law enforcement, first responders, schools, history students and buffs, churches, ticketed events. Topics include: a vivid understanding of the excitement and chaos of modern-day combat; a riveting story of heroism, severe injury and recovery; a walk through American military history highlighting the achievements and successes of American military men and women on battlefields around the world.
Delivered from the Furnace keynote, ideal for: churches and Christian-based organizations, non-secular schools, faith-based non-profits, retreats and events.