Hey Team. I just wanted to share an incredible story with all of you. Last week I was on the road traveling across America sharing the Froglogic Concept with some really amazing people and organizations. One event in particular stands out not because of what happened during my talk, but instead what happen afterward.
First, a brief background. One of the motivational speeches I give is called “Team Life”. This event is designed to help individuals and teams redefine their personal and professional understanding of what it means to live a team oriented lifestyle. I utilize four Medal of Honor stories from the SEAL community to explain the standard by which we, SEALs, push ourselves to achieve a total commitment to our brothers on and off the battlefield. These stories are so inspiring that the audience is left in complete awe of the men who created the SEAL Team standard. In the 40 plus times I’ve given this talk in the past two years, I’ve issued a Froglogic Challenge to every group. The Froglogic Challenge is given during the final Mission or Topic, when I discuss the importance of leadership while living the Team Life. I explain that the first step in becoming a great leader is your ability to lead while being completely uncomfortable or outside of your typical Comfort Zone Behavior. A great leader must embrace being Cold, Wet and Sandy every day of their lives in order to place their boots firmly on the ground. In return those members of the team will strive to do the same. Now, for SEALs this is a literal fact of operational life. During training and while conducting the most challenging operations on the planet we are typically freezing cold, soaked to the bone, and covered in sand from the environment we are working in. The challenge I present to the audience is as follows.
– The Froglogic Leadership Challenge: Wake up early. Put on your work attire. Go outside to your back yard. Grab a hose and spray down an area to create a nice sandy mud pit. Spray yourself head to toe with water, soaking every part of your body for at least 2 minutes. Insert yourself into the mud pit and role around. Cover yourself head to toe with sand, mud or both. Get in your car. Go to work. Work the whole day without flinching, changing, complaining, or whining. Contact Team Froglogic with contact email, video log, or phone message telling about your experience. Team Froglogic pays for your cleaning bill and gives you autographed copy of my awesome book “Navy SEAL Training – Self-Confidence.” –
Finally, after two years of issuing this challenge to thousands of people around the country, a brave soul took me up on the offer and made the plunge. Ryan Kieckhaefer, a 25 year old Wells Fargo financial consultant from Waukesha, WI, stepped up to the battlefield and took the Froglogic Leadership Challenge (see photos below). The following day, Ryan sent me some photos showing the totality of his satisfaction and misery. I have to admit I was stunned and stoked at the same time. After so many challenges having gone unmet, I was losing faith that people were ready to accept challenges in their lives. He proved me wrong.
I called Ryan a few days after his amazing experience. We chatted about his actions and how it’s impacted his life and the lives of his teammates and clients. I first asked him why he did it. He told me that it wasn’t that often a Navy SEAL issues challenges to the general public. So he felt if I was willing to accept the call of duty for my country, why shouldn’t he take the Froglogic Leadership Challenge? In his words, to get down and dirty. He spoke of his team’s focused commitment to their clients and how personal they took their jobs. Words like sacrifice and credibility have great meaning to Ryan and his teammates, so it’s important that they instill total confidence in their clients. He believed this act of dedication would help him to remember what his purpose is and what it means to place his boots firmly on the ground for the greater good of his clients. Next, I asked him how it felt operating in complete discomfort. He laughed and told me it sucked. Especially late in the day when he was trying to concentrate on doing his job, the constant reminder of soaking wet, muddy clothes was definitely a distraction. Ryan said this literal discomfort was a perpetual reminder about the important role he played in the lives of those he was helping. A constant reminder about what his clients might be going through financially or personally. He went on to talk about some personal discomfort he’s had in his life and how he’s managed to overcome his adversity. By utilizing the swim buddies, family members and teammates in his life, Ryan has embraced his fears head on. He isn’t afraid of finding the help he needs when confronted by life’s challenges. He welcomes the Team Life. It strengthens his resolve and makes him a better person. The most important question I asked him was, how many people did he feel his actions made an impact on. As he started to describe how the word spread like wildfire throughout his office it was apparent he hadn’t realized how huge his actions would be on others. He tallied up the people who stopped in, the phone calls and emails that came in and the amazing testimonials of inspiration he personally received. He felt like his action had a direct impact on at least 50 people and of the residual affect that flows from those immediately impacted. He was amazed how such a simple act of leadership can inspire so many.
Human beings never cease to amaze me. We are capable of so much more. The problem is that most of you allow Comfort Zone Behavior to take over your ability to embrace your fears and take risk. It’s extremely hard work living the Team Life and especially difficult being a leader. It takes real commitment to put yourselves out there and feel the discomfort of making mistakes. But that’s the beauty of cutting a fulfilling trail for others to follow. Ryan Kieckhaefer tested his resolve last week. He accepted his Mission to lead and it changed his life forever. Will you? OOUUTT