Often when we confront obstacles – whether in work or at home – we want the map. We want the “how-to guide” to solving the problem. Today we have former Navy SEAL and author of Unbreakable: A Navy SEAL’s Way of Life, Thom Shea, to tell us why searching for the how-to is a waste of time and how to commit to our goals the Navy SEAL way.
Buckle your seatbelts, tie your shoes, because you’re really going to enjoy this show!
Thom says he had a great childhood in southeast Indiana at a time when kids could do anything. He didn’t come from wealth, so if he wanted something he had to go out and get it, and he did.
At 10 years old, he had his own trap line to catch raccoons, muskrat, and other game. He kept a gun in his car and a knife on his hip. Now parents will get arrested for allowing their kids to carry weapons, but his parents were the best in the world. They told him, “As long as you can earn it, we endorse it.” This mentality took him all the way West Point and the SEAL teams. As long as he could accomplish it, they were supportive.
Of course, good support didn’t mean they agreed with his choices. They didn’t want him to go into SEAL teams. They were afraid of him being sent to war and getting killed. But, as a young man, he told them they could either support him or he wouldn’t come home. Now that Thom is a dad himself, he draws on that experience to inform his own parenting.
Your kids are going to do what they’re wanting to do. Keep encouraging them to be bold and brave. Say yes, instead of no.
Thom Shea has been married to his current wife of almost 13 years, Stacy. They have a boy named Chance who is going on eleven years old. Thom also has two children from his first marriage, a seventeen-year-old son and a twenty-year-old daughter who is now attending West Point.
Thom said there is a huge difference between his first and second marriage. When Stacy came into their lives, everything changed. They all became better people.
If the woman is fully engaged as a mom, the kid flourishes. When the mom is checked out, the kid is checked out.
Thom says the are straightforward in their home life and that it’s the small things that keep the family together. They are physical and cuddly. His kids see mom and dad being affectionate. They eat as many family meals together as they can. They embrace failure because they know it’s the only way to learn and grow.
We love people making mistakes around here.
Thom knows a lot about failure. He had to run home with his tail between his legs after flunking out of West Point. Then he had to endure BUD/s training five times in order to become a SEAL. He didn’t even know how to swim when he first signed up, but he didn’t bother on how to become a SEAL, he decided that a SEAL was who he was and committed to it until he succeeded.
Thom Shea says it’s never a matter of how-to. That’s not the place to look for the answer. The first place to look is at who you are is a human being. Being a dad is one of those challenges. When you become a dad, that is who you are and you must decide to commit to it. That means committing to your health, your business, your wife, and your spirituality.
It’s who you are and what you do. “How to” is tertiary.
During deployment in Afghanistan, Thom didn’t know if he’d ever make it home alive. Each day, he wrote notes on what he was going through and what life lessons it taught him. At the end of a 6-month deployment, he had thirteen unbreakable lessons to share with his children.
After he came home, what would be a book sat on the shelf. His wife Stacy told him that she wanted him to complete the manuscript to print out five copies for immediate family. He organized his experiences and the lessons they taught him in a linear fashion and printed the first version.
They released it on Amazon and the book struck a chord with readers. It was soon picked up by a publisher and has been doing well ever since. Thom put the lessons online so every person can go through a guided process of the thirteen lessons outlined in Unbreakable. He also developed a course especially for executives.
Thom Shea has a wealth of life-changing advice for men and dads, but his top words of wisdom are these:
- Honor your word. Honor the fact that what comes out of your mouth is the most powerful thing you can give people.
- Face everything that you’re afraid. Go do it.
- Push beyond your self-imposed limitations and do it often.
- Find love. Find a way to have love for the people in your life. Be one with the people around you and do it often.
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