I learned my best habits--and made some of my most dangerous mistakes--as a Navy SEAL. Once, when our platoon was preparing for a mission at one of our shooting ranges in Iraq, I had failed to reload one of my pistol mags after the previous night's operation. Our point man, the best-selling author of No Easy Day (under the pseudonym Mark Owen), discovered my mistake. To this day, I still think about the look of disappointment on his face.

The experience drove home the importance of good habits. The term habit generally has a negative connotation, but if you form the right habits that drive you toward success, you can't lose. To be an effective team member, people usually need to break old habits and develop new ones by letting selfishness fall by the wayside. The SEAL community forces you to break habits that don't positively contribute to mission success. If you can't make that happen, you're done.

I've gotten these habits right, and I've gotten them wrong. But those mistakes of yesterday have forged me into a better leader and team member today. If you want to be part of an elite team and are going to shed old habits, make sure to keep these!

Be loyal.
loyalty in the corporate environment
Put others before yourself.
Be reflective.
Be obsessively organized.
Assume you don't know enough.
Be detail-oriented.
Never get comfortable.

You may be wondering how you could ever have a relaxed life if you maintain all of these habits. But that's the beauty of it. If you enjoy what you do and form good habits, it all becomes second nature. Maintain these habits, and encourage your team members to do the same. 

Published on: Apr 8, 2014