As a Special Forces operator, the duty to my team led to the contemplation of my roles as a husband, father, and leader. I understood there would be times I’d be faced with challenging situations in difficult circumstances. I wrote my Standard of Performance (SOP) to serve as a guide about how to live, love, contribute, and perform to the very best of my abilities—to make and be the difference. My combat experiences mandated that I’d default to my most basic level of training when confronted with issues of life and death. My SOP would serve as a blueprint for the difficult questions.
Below is my Standard of Performance. When I wrote it, I had no idea it would save my life. Do you have a Standard of Performance for your life? Are you living your legacy? If not, take the time to sit down and write out the things that are most important to you. This will give you a blueprint for living your best life. When the difficult questions of life are suddenly thrust upon you simply return to your ready-made answers and execute.
My Standard of Performance
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same . . .”
—Rudyard Kipling, “If”
The real measure of life is how the race is run. Triumph and disaster are only by- products. To run the best race, one must cultivate a process in which a laser-sharp focus results in the capacity to plan, prepare, and perform to the best of one’s abilities.
British philosopher and author James Allen wrote, “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.” Whether you believe that you can or that you can’t, you’re right. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can control what you will feel and do about what happens, and so, in one way or another, you can shape your circumstances.
In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl said that our primary motivation in this life is our personal search for meaning. His experience as an inmate of a concentration camp was the catalyst for his discovery of meaning in all forms of existence— even the most horrific. History reveals the presence of a relentless search for meaning amidst great tragedy, suffering, genocide, and more. A conscious effort to perform at one’s best in all things at all times in the pursuit of meaning yields unlimited opportunity and fulfillment.
Furthermore, I believe purpose and fulfillment are ultimately realized through love and how we give to others. In this way, placing others’ needs ahead of our own in consistent acts of selflessness provides for the kind of meaning and success we can only begin to imagine. When things become hopeless, and even when they are not, find a way to make what you do about somebody else.
More details appear in TALES FROM THE BLAST FACTORY: A Brain Injured Special Forces Green Beret’s Journey Back From The Brink. These lessons were paid for in blood, it is my honor to give them to you. What I once thought was the worst thing in my life is now one of the best things in my life, it can be the same for you.