There is always value in reading the story of a Navy SEAL.
Whether it is Jocko’s rendition of Extreme Ownership or Mark Divine’s backstory of his transition from corporate America to Navy SEAL Commander.
READ MORE: The Way of the SEAL by Mark Divine
And let’s not forget about David Goggins’ 106 lb. weight loss journey prior to taking on the infamous hell week three times in a single year.
These are tales of the Hero’s Journey but rarely do we hear about their failures while at their pinnacle.
This is what I found interesting about Jason Redman’s story of his forging and reforging as a SEAL — the reforging came after a series of failures as an officer. An effective enlisted SEAL operator, his transition to officer left him overly arrogant, becoming more of a drinker than a student of war.
Eventually he would go on to ignore direct orders and place fellow SEALs at risk during a firefight in Afghanistan. Cause for termination, he was instead exiled to the Army’s Ranger School for tactical training. Although a highly sought after school, Redman’s status as a SEAL officer and combat veteran made it clear that this was a punishment and completion was perhaps his only path to redemption.
Humbled, Redman put his head down and persisted through the hazing that accompanied a man of his prestige in a course mostly filled with Soldiers half his age.
In his book, The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader, he was intensely introspective giving readers a rare look into what it takes to succeed at the elite level.
Growth is a humbling experience and leading men in combat requires a selfless approach.
Eventually Redman would redeem himself with valorous action in Iraq, incurring a devastating injury in the process while pursuing a key al Qaeda commander.
His recovery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center would receive national attention for a sign that hung on his door:
“ATTENTION TO ALL WHO ENTER HERE. If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounds I received, I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery. What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20% further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism and intense rapid re-growth. If you are not prepared for that, go elsewhere. From: The Management.”
Redman is proof that the most elite among us are flawed and it is introspection that frees us.
Failure is not forever, regardless of your past success.
If only you are willing to put your head down and return to the grind.