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How to survive a “HELL WEEK” like a Navy SEAL


Could you imagine if the third week of your job was called “HELL WEEK”? I can only imagine the HR nightmare that would be for most businesses, but that’s the case for anyone who wants to become a Navy SEAL.

“Hell Week consists of 5 1/2 days of cold, wet, brutally difficult operational training on fewer than four hours of sleep. Hell Week tests physical endurance, mental toughness, pain and cold tolerance, teamwork, attitude, and your ability to perform work under high physical and mental stress, and sleep deprivation. Above all, it tests determination and desire. On average, only 25% of SEAL candidates make it through Hell Week – the toughest training in the U.S. Military (”

Why do so few make it?

There is no easy way out! Success is a tough road and only the best can survive. You rarely hear about the internal struggle, see the scars or truly understand how those who survive were able to do so.

This same struggle is true for businesses and entrepreneurs – very few people know about the challenges they endure in order to survive their first few years of business.

What can you learn from surviving “Hell Week”?

Below are two interviews from Navy SEALS who survived “Hell Week” and have gone on to transform lives by helping people live an optimal life; mentally, physically and emotionally. The lessons they share can be applied immediately to your daily life.

20x your potential:

In a recent product launch for 20x your potential, Ramit Sethi   interviewed former Navy SEAL Commander, and founder of SEALFIT, Mark Divine.

To be SEALFIT is to embody the character traits of discipline, drive, determination, service, self mastery, honor, integrity, courage and authentic leadership.

Both SEALFIT and 20x Your Potential, teach you a disciplined approach to focus on all aspects of your growth, specifically your mental state of being. The very first day of 20x Your Potential, you are met with the challenge to do either a 21 minute plank, or 1,000 pushups – sounds impossible right? The course teaches you how to do it. Here is an excerpt from the course:

How to Fall in Love with Pain: The Key to Resiliency and Success (School of Greatness)

In a recent podcast, Lewis Howes interviews former Navy SEAL and Author, Eric Greitens about his new book; “‘Resilience‘ is the characteristic that gets us through the hard stuff – how we process pain in the moment and after.”

Eric is no stranger to this, as he recounts in our conversation Navy SEAL training, his travels around the world photographing war-torn areas, and working with veterans with PTSD.

What you can take from the two examples

  1. Your mental state is paramount – there are a number of techniques you can learn to mentally prepare for success. Be willing to try new things, and practice these mental disciplines consistently. Your state of mind will dictate your ability to succeed
  2. Your physical state can always be improved – once mentally fit, your ability to improve your physical ability will become limitless. You can ‘segment’ your work to overcome any physical limit (i.e. the 21 minute plank challenge – break it down to 21x at 1 minute).
  3. Live a life of service – when your goals are bigger than you, failure is not an option. You will hear both Mark and Eric talk about how they focused on their team, and what it meant for them to succeed in order for those around them to succeed. Failure was never an option. The same applies for you – when you’re chasing a big dream; the reason has to be big enough that failure is not an option.

You are all capable of surviving your version of Hell Week, just take it one step at a time and follow the suggestions of the above leaders as a start.

Inspiration for this article:


Doug Foley
Doug Foley is a podcast host, content marketer, and problem solver. He is also the youngest of 7 brothers and sisters, a proud father of 2, and is on a mission to help people find their passion, take action, and build the life they want to live. He frequently writes about entrepreneurship, personal development, and motivation.
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