Behind the Mindset and practice of true professionals

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Oahu an island of the Hawaiian Islands with my friend Eric. The purpose of the trip was to meet and talk to some professional outside the spectrum of people I normally interact with on an everyday basis. I had the pleasure of meeting two very different types of people. At face value they are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. However, after conversing found them to be very similar in a variety of ways. Having the chance to meet and hang out with two Naval Special Warfare Operators, (SEALS- One who is retired and the other who is in the process of retiring). The person I had the pleasure of meeting is the lead actor of the popular TV show series Hawaii 5.0. 

I talked to the SEALS about mindset and their approach to failure. I talked to them about my profession. I spoke relayed to them that many people I work with spend a lot of time on dealing with adversity and what they consider failure in their worlds. I also talked about practice, discipline and mastering basic skills before moving onto the next step in the process. The worlds are completely different but the the approach can be applied the same way. One of the SEALS we ended up staying with.  Watching his every day action from how his day was planned and intentional. His interaction with other professionals, to regular conversation around a bonfire and dinner, everything about him was intentional. Every word he spoke, how he carried himself, all had intentional purpose about him. He is a man of god and faith and an extremely humble, direct and caring person. He was a SEAL. They say that if you make it as a Navy SEAL, you do more for your families legacy then graduating top of your class from the best Ivy League School in the world. He was a true professional in every sense of the word. After talking to him and the other SEAL for a while, you quickly realize that there are no short cuts, there are no hacks, there is no skipping steps to get to the top. You start at the bottom and practice, practice, practice. There is no other option. You master the basics. They mastered the basics knowing for them their life, the life of a team mate or the life of innocent people are at risk. Yes in training they failed. In missions they failed (in their eyes). But they take those mistakes and failures and absolutely destroyed them in training to make them a strength. There is no room for failure for these types. They make failure into a strength because their teammates depended on them. They put no value/effort in attempting to control the things they couldn’t. They trained, practiced and executed the things they could control and that lead them to survival and success. 

One of the SEALs is a consultant on the show Hawaii 5.0, so we were able to get a behind the scenes viewing of how the crew/cast operates for 3 days.   While there I met and had the pleasure of talking in depth to the lead actor on the show. Again, an extremely humble individual. He was a master of his craft. He is a Hollywood actor yet took the time between filming to show a true interest in why I was there and what i did for a career.  Watching how the show is filmed from the director to the actors is perfection in every sense of the word. Not perfection that they were perfect every time the film was rolling but perfection in the sense that they wouldn’t accept anything less then perfect. For a 2 min scene to be completed, we were there for hours. There were multiple takes because the angle was off, someones hand wasn’t in the proper place, their head was titled in the wrong direction, the lighting wasn’t perfect or the sound/tone of a specific word or phrase didn’t sound correct. So they would do it over and over again. There were no short cuts, there were no hacks to the system, it was a simple theory of mastering the basics to get a professional and perfect result.  It was a matter of being prepared and not focusing on things that you couldn't control. Each person was responsible for their specific part so they mastered what they needed to do when they needed to do it. 

This trip was an amazing opportunity to watch and talk to professionals. You quickly learn that professionals, wether an athlete, an actor, or a SEAL,  all have one thing in common. When they fail, they take it as a learning experience and turn into a strength. They master the basics time and time again so when the their time is called, they can execute. There is no room for ego.  They realize that others before them have paved the way and they take that opportunity to learn and grow from those that can add value to their craft so they can be better.   

In the world I currently work in, time and time again we see people that want to skip the basics and the boring and try to get to level 10 before going thru levels 1-9. Why do we do that? Its done because we are a world of immediately gratification. But what it takes it patience, practice, and repetition after repetition of the simple, boring things. It takes putting aside ego and learning from those before you. This is applied to everyday life as a parent, a teacher, a first responder, a mechanic, a coach or a significant other. 

The simple things, once mastered become the very foundation that lead to perfection.