“Default Aggressive – I don’t view aggression as an outward attitude. I view aggression as an internal character trait. A fire in your mind that says: I’m going to win”!”— Jocko Willink
Good Sunday To You,
Last post we talked about mindset and this week we are going to dive deeper into a component of a Values Based Mindset that is essential (remember that?) for tough/stressful times. Default: Aggressive. Here is a short YouTube clip to get you in the right place to think about this mindset focused on executing on your deepest and most important values.
Jocko calls this one: Destroyer Mode
Here is the deal. I know what it’s like to be at the end of yourself. It was a bad day, almost a decade ago, when I sat down on my front stoop and wept. I had just finished restraining my son from attacking my wife for hours in uncontrollable rage…his Autism was out of control and the only thing that stopped him was he was exhausted and fell asleep. I was convinced that I was going to have to place my son in an institution…I cannot describe to you the pain and anguish.
I called my father up out of desperation to somehow figure out how to go on. My dad was overwhelmed by the situation and especially by my mindset of helplessness and straight out asked me if I “was going to %#$#$ quit?!?” My immediate response was “bleep No!” He then said one of the greatest compliments I have ever had:
“That’s right. You aren’t a quitter. I don’t have any idea how you are going to get through this, it’s harder than anything I have ever seen, but, you are the strongest man I know and I know you won’t quit. If you just keep trying you will make it through son and I am proud of and love you.”
There might have been an expletive or two included. I didn’t quit and, though it took years, our family is intact and we are doing well.
Another time I was ’empty’ was at Airborne School for the US Army at Ft. Benning, GA in 1987. That is where you learn how to jump out of ‘perfectly good airplanes’ and parachute somewhat safely to the ground.
Airborne school is very short (4 weeks) and if you get sick or injured there is a high likelihood that you will be ‘recycled’, where they send you back to do the whole thing over. Not a good thing. I saw a large number other soldiers get mentally ‘exhausted’ and quit when they had a lot left in the tank…and made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t quit…no matter what.
At the end of the 3rd week, I sprained both my wrists and tore an abdominal muscle and was almost debilitated with pain. I was sent to the doctor to see what needed to be done…they wanted to recycle me. I asked to go to the bathroom and left out the backdoor and went back to my unit. The very next day, I had to complete a series of practice sessions hanging in a parachute and dealing with using the directional controls for a parachute in preparation for actually jumping from a jet airplane the next week.
One of the sessions involved using a parachute that required pulling down on straps with your hands to steer…you had to pull it down and hold it in place so that the Instructor could verify you understood the technique.
One problem: I couldn’t hold onto the straps while pulling them.
My solution was Destroyer Mode. I pulled the strap down enough to bite it with my teeth giving me an opportunity to then hold it in the right spot. The pain was amazing…so sharp it was almost bright like the sun. I wasn’t going to stop…no matter how much it hurt.
An Instructor walked by and saw my ‘technique’ and asked me what the @$$ I was doing? My response was my wrists hurt, but, I was adapting and overcoming! He shook his head, called me an animal and then walked on. No recycling for me and a week later I earned my Jump Wings.
Whether it was Covid-19 for you, the death of a loved one, a betrayal in your personal/professional life, or, the absolute necessity to get too much work done in not enough time…we all need to be able to get into Destroyer Mode and the secret is understanding and preparing a mindset that is always Default: Aggressive
Here is a simple way to look at the concept: “a confident, independent and proactive default approach to real-time challenges.” When you construct and maintain this type of values based mindset you will be able and, most importantly, be able to properly assess when it is appropriate to hit the button for Destroyer Mode.
After the first 30 days of the pandemic, realizing I had gained over 10 lbs of fat in less than a month, I was shocked and dismayed. However, after checking the scale, my mindset switched to Destroyer Mode and I ruthlessly used logic and emotion in balance to reframe everything and get aggressive.
This isn’t about arrogance, attacking others, or, anything toxic. All that matters, in the end, is your ability to look yourself in the eye and be able to know that you did your best and that you lived as well as you according to your values.
Get inside yourself and decide where you will ‘make your stand’, embrace aggression as a positive value and then prepare to flip the switch on Destroyer Mode when you need to. You can do it.
I have friends that are able to do this on their own. I am not one of them. I, like many of you, need help with course correction. In all humility, a coach that has ‘sailed’ through some storms of their own can be of tremendous help in course corrections that make a difference. I am blessed to have incredible mentors and coaches in my life that help me.
Every one of my coaching and consulting engagements starts with a conversation…if you are ‘off course’ let’s have a call to see what getting back on track would mean for you.
As always, I appreciate you reading and hope that something today was of value to you. If it was, please share this with others like you…folks that you want to help navigate the future in such a way that they can impact other people beneficially.
Think critically. Train to get stronger. Practice compassion and empathy with others. Rest and recover so that you can do all the above better tomorrow.
There is a ton more I want to share, but, this was probably enough…don’t you think? Next week I will have another newsletter for you on Sunday…make sure you look for it then.
If you have any questions about the material, or, need some help please reach out. Whether or not you are a client is a different discussion for another day…if you need help we can do that now.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org…I check it too often.