#81: Meet William Branum: From Navy SEAL to Entrepreneur

In today's episode, William Branum, a former Navy SEAL and entrepreneur, shares his incredible story of resilience, bravery, and the power of seeking help.

Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.

William Branum is a highly decorated Navy SEAL veteran who served in the United States military for 26 years. During his extensive military career, he honed his leadership skills, cultivated a strong mindset, and gained invaluable experience in high-pressure situations as a sniper instructor. After retiring from the military, William has made it his mission to share the lessons he learned with others as a speaker, author, and business, and leadership advisor.

William’s expertise in leadership and mindset has been sought after by organizations ranging from small Universities to Fortune 500 companies. Learn more about William: https://www.5sealsecrets.com/

Throughout the episode, William provides fascinating insights into the world of special operations, shedding light on the unique mindset and approach these elite forces employ to accomplish their missions. From William's personal life story and examples, you will learn about the importance of asking for help and the value of leading by example.

Watch this episode when it premieres live for a chance to interact with William. Leave your questions for him in the comments! 

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This show uncovers their journey, tips and tricks to success, failures and pitfalls — so you can learn from their examples and start your own online business following your passion.

Listen to the stories of successful artists, musicians, online coaches, designers, course creators, digital experts, fitness gurus and much more. How did these creators manage to conquer their niche?


William Branum [00:00:00]:

We would hire the best shooters in the world to come out and teach us how to be 1% faster. That's all I need to do is be 1% faster than my opponent.

Bryan McAnulty [00:00:08]:

Welcome to the Creators Adventure where we interview creators from around the world hearing their stories about growing a business. Today's guest is going to teach you how to kill mediocrity, the importance of asking for help, and how to expose your fears. Hey, everyone. I'm Brian McAnulty, the founder of Heights platform, get into it. Hey, everyone. We're here today with William Brownham. He is a highly decorated need, navy seal veteran who served the United States military for 26 years. During his extensive military career, he honed his leadership skills cultivating a strong mindset and has gained invaluable experience in high pressure situations as a sniper instructor. After retiring from the military, William made it his mission to share the lessons he learned with others as a speaker, author, and business and leadership advisor. William's expertise in leadership and mindset has been sought after by organizations ranging from small universities up to Fortune 500 Companies. William, welcome to the show, and thank you for your service.

William Branum [00:01:16]:

Thank you for having me here. I'm stoked to be here.

Bryan McAnulty [00:01:19]:

Great. So my first question for you is what would you say is the biggest thing either that you did or you are doing that has helped you to achieve the freedom to do what you enjoy.

William Branum [00:01:30]:

The biggest thing that I'm doing right now to help me enjoyed the freedoms that I have. I think, gosh, that's a little bit of a tough question. But I think really the thing that helped me transition to the civilian life that, I was not prepared for was really going out and and seeking help. Asking for help, which is not something that we do as men. And and really it's really in the form of of coaching. So I always thought that this coaching thing was not necessary because I can figure it out myself. I'm not I'm not a dumb guy. I can I can figure some stuff out, but the the thing that has moved the needle in my life is actually going out and hiring coaches, going out and finding people who have done what I wanna do, and and getting their help? I mean, it it it there is an investment there getting their help to basically collapse time so that I can achieve the things that I wanna achieve faster. And when I kind of think back on that, the thing that really, like, flipped the switch in my mind was, you know, in the in the seal teams, we're not the fastest shooters. We're not the best drivers. We're not the best, at won any one specific skill, but one of the things that we would do, I think I believe the thing that really set us apart from the other other special forces is we would go out and we would hire people who were experts in those fields. So for example, when we were learning, you know, how to do close quarters combat, We're the best in the world at that. But we're not the best shooters. So we would hire the best shooters in the world to come out and teach us how to be 1% faster. That's all I need to do is be 1% faster than my opponent. And so they would, you know, ramp up our ability to shoot faster to transition from 1 weapon system to the next. And then we would take the things that they taught us and then we would go into the kill house and then we would apply those those techniques to our tactics techniques and procedures so that we are that those are the things that help us be the best thing in the world. So really that, the the biggest thing that helped me as I transition to this weird civilian world of of, entrepreneurship was really going out and asking for help, going out and getting coaching, going out and and making the financial investment in myself. So that I could get where I wanted to get faster.

Bryan McAnulty [00:03:55]:

Awesome. Yeah. That's an excellent answer. It it makes me think about how I started as an entrepreneur. I never went to school. I never went to college. And once I had figured out enough in my business that I knew I didn't to be living in the same spot and I could kind of travel around. I went to all these countries and I met with all these, like, I made it a goal for myself at least to meet with other entrepreneurs in that country while I was there. And I didn't make it a goal from the standpoint of saying, like, I wanna learn and and be coached by them. But thinking back on it, like, I did learn so much from them, and that was, like, the most valuable part of the whole thing. And I'm sure I learned more than I could have if I went to college from all those entrepreneurs, and it was very specific to the things that I wanna do, just like you're saying. So the same reason you would to hire a coach. So I like that.

William Branum [00:04:45]:

Right. And I and I think it it really comes back to that. I think it's, I forgot the guy's name. It's right at the tip of my tongue. Who said, you know, the the five people that you surround yourself with? Really, that's what it is. And so I think about it in terms of I think about in terms of of the seal team and who are the people that you want on your team. And so I got out and I was like, oh my god. What do I do? Oh, I go I went and found the people that I want to be in my circle and I or I wanna be in their circle. And so those are so I saw the people that I wanted to be around. And I think that, you know, oftentimes the people that are around us currently are not the people that actually service in where we wanna go. And so sometimes we have to change our circle.

Bryan McAnulty [00:05:31]:

Yeah. Yeah. I completely agree. It's so important because I think most people don't give it enough thought, but like if you really sit and realize that the people that you spend time with, like, there's only so many people that you get to know like on a pretty deep level in the world and so it's important to consider like who those people actually are.

William Branum [00:05:51]:

Yeah. Find the people that you that are gonna hold you to a higher standard.

Bryan McAnulty [00:05:56]:

Definitely. Alright. So, you're a highly decorated Navy Seal veteran who served in the United States military for 26 years. Today, you're a renowned speaker and coach who helps leaders and CEOs. Can you share a little bit of, like, What else happened in, like, the transition from military career to deciding, like, okay. I wanna be an entrepreneur.

William Branum [00:06:18]:

So what I wanted so I will say that my transition from the military to civilian life is the hardest military mission I've ever been on. And I've been on a a few missions in my in my 26 years of of service. The one of the things I realized is I'm not a 9 to 5 kind of guy. So a lot of most people get out of the military and they want stability. They want a that guaranteed paycheck because you have that in the military. And I do kinda want that, but I also, you know, I interviewed for several jobs. And one of the things I told him, I'm like, hey, listen. I'm not a 9 to 5 kind of guy. Like, I I may work 20 hours a week, but if there's nothing to do, I'm not just gonna sit there and do nothing. So the thing that worked better for me was sort of this entrepreneurial thing. Like, I'm like, I would run my head through a wall. If I had to sit in a cubicle, for hours and hours a day with no mission, no purpose, no nothing, and just sit there and fog a mirror. That's that's not who I am. That's not what I do. I'm I and I think this is really very much what we do in the seal teams is we're always moving forward. We're always trying to do something. We we can't sit still. And so I could go and have a contract job that paid me 6 figures a year and have very small responsibilities. And I've you know, have had people in my life say, why aren't you doing that? I don't want that. I wanna make an impact on the world. I wanna make I made an impact in the seal teams. I wanna make a bigger impact out here. There are more people to impact. So why sit in a cubicle letting my life slip away when I can be out here in the world, helping make the world a better place, helping people become better leaders, helping people become have a better mindset. Helping people change the way they think. And, you know, yeah.

Bryan McAnulty [00:08:21]:

Yeah. I like that. Is there do you think there was a specific, like, point where you realized, like, I'm not this, like, 9 to 5? Was it because of, like, how you worked on, like, a seal team, or was it something else?

William Branum [00:08:35]:

I think so. My last 3 years in the military, I was chained, I'm gonna say chained to a desk, but I didn't sit at my desk very much. I was always on the road traveling. One of the things I did was My job was to go out and solve problems. And so we had a whole list of problems. We call them operational deficiencies. In the seal teams. And my job is to go find solutions to these problems. You know, some of them was were technologies that didn't even exist. So I went out and, you know, I went out and found other people's money. I went out and found $16,000,000 of other people's money to help solve problems that we had in at at the specific seal team, that I retired out of. And so even though I was chained to a desk, I didn't sit at my desk. I got up and I went out and found the right people, the right money, the right solution to solve these problems. So in in that kind of, in scenario, which was and there were lots of civilians that worked in these same positions in the same office and they, like, showed up. They clocked in. They played sudooko or surf Facebook, and then they went home at the end of the day. And I showed up and I, you know, wrote the reports. I needed it right. I made the phone calls. I needed it. And then I got on the road, and I went and found looking for the solutions that we need or looking for the money that we needed. And I told myself, I'm never gonna be one of those guys. Like, they're just wasting away waiting for a retirement to kick in at some point in their government service job so that they can collect that retirement. And I'm I I just can't do that. I have to be moving. I have to go out and do stuff. I have to go out and make an impact. So I made an impact inside, like I said, inside you know, the command that I was a part of, and then now I'm I'm as I've transitioned, I'm trying to make an impact on so many different levels.

Bryan McAnulty [00:10:22]:

Yeah. Yeah. That's great. Do you think there's any similarities that you have observed between, like, the traits that make a successful Navy seal? And, like, those that contribute to to success of an entrepreneur?

William Branum [00:10:37]:

Yeah. 100%. So I and I wouldn't even say Navy Seal. I'll say most of special operations, which includes green berets, army rangers. The Marine Corps has a, I think, Marsauk and Air Force has some special operations. And the things that make us different, the things that make us help us transition into the civilian world as an entrepreneur specifically is we think differently than the rest of the world. We don't You know, the the regular military, the army, the marine corps, they go in and they hold land, and then they do the things that they need to do in combat on on that piece of land that they own. We don't in the special operations, we don't own anything. We go in. We do the job that we need to do and we get out. We think very differently about how to accomplish a mission. And so it I'm not saying that what they do is wrong or right. I'm not saying what we do is wrong or right. It's just different. So we think about things differently. You know, there's that, you know, we talk about thinking outside the box. There is no box in my world. So if we, you know, we may have like, you know, tactics, techniques, and procedures that we're doing In combat, they're not set in stone. Like, these are the things that work today. Well, the enemy changes. The enemy learns our our TTPs. And so we have to adjust where when you're talking about conventional forces or conventional companies, once they get so big, It's very difficult for them to maneuver on the battlefield. The business field, the battlefield, whatever you wanna call it. We're small. We're agile. We're not constrained by big rules. We can maneuver and we can think outside the box. We can think differently. And we can attack the enemy or our competition from a different angle.

Bryan McAnulty [00:12:21]:

Yeah. Yeah. So I think, yeah, that's super important as an entrepreneur because You have to be able to see, like, where am I allowed to ignore that box and just because other people do it that way and figure out the way that I'm I need to do it for for this specific thing, for this goal, for this mission. So I'm curious then where with you describing that, and how you you coach companies and leaders. Do you enjoy like working then with like a larger company that's like has trouble struggling or like the the smaller company who's already more agile? Like, who do you serve mainly?

William Branum [00:12:58]:

I I generally serve the leadership more C suite kind of, grew because those are the people who are generally making the decisions who should be leading the organization and and, but this is what what oftentimes happens are the the the c suite, the the the leadership of the organization. They forgot what it's like to do the work down at the plate level. So my job is to go in and encourage them to actually understand what's going on down at the deck plate level, to go in and and, you know, encourage them to see, like, see what actually happens. I know you think you know what happens up here in your in your crystal palace. But you need to get out of your chair. Get off your throne and go down and talk to the people who are actually running the company. You think you're running the company. You think you're leading but you're actually not. So I I like working with all companies as long as they want to learn. A lot of times, you get people who are making big dollars and they they think that their their poop doesn't stink. And and so, unfortunately, they think they can't do wrong because they're so successful. You're not actually as successful as you think you are because someone else is running the culture of your organization. You're just up here reaping the benefits of their work. And so if one of the things I tell leaders is if you're not driving the culture of your organization, someone else is driving that culture and, and it's probably not the culture that you actually want happening in your organization. So you have to drive that culture but you also need to understand what your people are doing and what your people want. So you can support your people. Leadership is all about most people think that leadership is about being in charge. And being in charge is not specifically leadership. And I learned this by failing as a leader in the seal teams. I failed more times than I'd like to admit. But, but that but that that's just that's how I learned. That's how I've learned over and over is through failure and failure and failure, and then I did it right. And I might have done it right accidentally, and that's okay. I learned the lesson. Oh, that works. And these other things that I thought were right didn't work. So I continued to learn through failure and, on how to do it right. So I know how to do it right because I have decades of failure under my belt. You know, I I remember times where I was in charge. I was I was in charge of of a sniper school when 911 happened. And I had senior guys that were in the class all senior to me I had senior guys working for me as student instructors. 911 happened, and they turned to me and said, what are we gonna do? I was looking to them for advice on what to do. They have so many more years of decades more experience of in leadership. And so I was like, hold on. I don't know. Let me call and find out what what the headquarters wants us to do. Do we do we, you know, do we do we drive up to New York and help with the recovery effort? Do we come back home? What do we do? And they told me to like, hey. Listen. We're gonna need your skill set very soon. Continued training and, and soon after that, we started deploying. So but that was one of those leadership lessons where I was like, I'm in charge. I'm the the leader. I have no idea what to do. So I had to be like, okay. I'm I'm I'm gonna I have to ask for help. And again, that goes back to really the first question. Like, don't be afraid to ask for help. And I think mostly men were afraid to ask for help. We think that our freaking ego gets in the way and I've got, again, decades of failures, where my ego has gotten in the way and and it wasn't until very recently that I learned to It's okay. It's okay to ask for help. It's actually a good thing to ask for help. And, by asking for help, you actually show a little bit of humility. You show that you're a human and you show that, once you show that vulnerability, which is very counterintuitive as a man, Once you show a little bit of vulnerability, other people actually want to be wanna support you more. And as I was kind of working my way through this and struggling through this, I was on a call with a it was like, I forgot the platform, where it was like, It happened. It the platform came out right as, COVID happened. It was a clubhouse. That's the one. And I was in a room and there was thank you. And there was a, a psychologist in there. And I got on. I was talking to him. Like, I hate asking people for help. And she said, well, Let me ask you a question. How do you feel when people ask you for help? I said, I feel great. I love I love helping people. And she said, Well, why are you taking that joy away from someone else by not asking for help? And I was like, I can't talk to you anymore because you just burst my even though I'm trying to I'm trying to be more, you know, go down that road, but, I I think again, we as men mostly, we don't we're not gonna ask for directions. We're we're not gonna ask for help. Be brave enough. That's the problem. We're not brave enough to ask for help. We let our ego get in the way. So I have no idea what the question was, but but really at the end of the day, asking for help is almost always the right answer.

Bryan McAnulty [00:18:16]:

Yeah. No. That's great. And I think that's a great way to to frame it to be brave enough. I'm curious. So can you relate anything to, like, having to maintain, like, physical and mental health during your active service and, like, any advice related to that that you would share with leaders who are striving to, like, prioritize self care in their busy lives as, executives entrepreneurs.

William Branum [00:18:43]:

Yeah. So I I was certainly guilty of this on active duty and you wouldn't think wouldn't think so. Activity Navy Seal. I would I would deprioritize my own physical fitness. To work on the paperwork. The stuff that really at the end of the day doesn't matter. I mean, it matters. Don't don't get me wrong. But if I wasn't out of shape. I could have been in much better shape. You know, I I would always compete against the young guys. And and those were the things that helped keep me going and helped my actual physical fitness but, like, brand new guys coming in, I would always compete with them. And if they lost, then they would they would certainly hear about it for me and and and other people. But, as I transitioned out of the military, a light, you know, kind of light bulb came on. And I was like, you know what? I can't be as I'm building this brand that I'm that I'm building right now, Navy Seal, etcetera. I can't let my body go downhill. I have to maintain. I actually need I'm actually in better shape now than I was in the steel teams. And and the reason for that is you know, it's it's about leading by example. If you if you don't have your health, you can make a ton of money And this is what I've I've observed in in the world in the in the civilian world. I've seen people. They make a ton of money and their health sucks. Are you really happy? So what what are you gonna do with that money? Because you're only gonna live, like, 5 more years because you're gonna have a heart attack because of the stress. You're not working out your family, you don't your your your marriage is going, you know, downhill because your wife doesn't like the way you look naked your kids don't respect you because you're always gone. And and so that is one of the things that that I teach is, like, you have there there has to be a level of self care because if you don't take care of you, no one else is going to. And that is the bottom line. And I've learned that lesson over and over again. If you don't take care of yourself, no one is going to. So I tell entrepreneurs. I tell leaders. I tell everyone. Like, you have to prioritize your health. One of the things that I do now is I go out and do really hard things that I don't like doing. I just finished a swim across the Hudson River. It was a fundraiser with for the Navy Seal Foundation. And it was a three mile swim. I hate swimming, and people are like, oh, you're a navy seal. Why do you hate swimming? I hate swimming. I didn't know I hated swimming until I joined the steel teams. But the reason I go out and and do these swims or go out and do these hard things is because I don't like doing them. I'm not good at swimming. So let's go do a three mile swim where we do you know, 300 push ups, a bunch of pull ups, and run a few miles with with flags and and things like that. Or, you know, I I'm part of a, a men's coaching group where we've gone and do epic adventures. We last year, we went out and climbed the Grand Teton. This year, we went out and did Grand Canyon, rim to rim to rim in a day. We didn't make it to the to the north rim because it was 8 feet of snow on the ground. So we We did save a kid's life because we were there. So that was pretty cool, but we're gonna go back and do it again in October. We're gonna go back and we're gonna do rim to rim to because it's unfinished business. We didn't make it all the way. We were we stopped a half mile short. That that hike that 25 a half hours was one of the that's top 5 hardest things I've ever done in my life, and I'm gonna go do it again. I did not enjoy it, but I'm gonna go do it because it's hard. Because I didn't like it because it almost broke me as a person as a man. Like, my I was I I went to some very dark places. So you know what? I have to go do it again. I have to go embrace that that suffering so that I can be a better person. So that can help other people be better people. But, yeah, you have to you have to prioritize fitness over other things because if your fitness is gone, no one cares about how much money you're you've made because, you're dead.

Bryan McAnulty [00:22:44]:

Yeah. Definitely. I I completely agree. I I always am personally at least striving for the balance between everything. Don't care if I'm the most in shape. I don't care if I make the most money. I wanna be balanced with everything and we just continuously grow at all that as I can. But I I think some of it, like, it comes from it stems from people just generally like being uncomfortable with themselves. And, like, then they figure like, okay. Well, if I have the money, then I can feel better about it. If I have the fitness, then I can feel better about it. But then if they only have one of those things, then they're they're not really helping themselves or their family, their friends in the long run.

William Branum [00:23:24]:

No. 100%. You you you have to you have to prioritize fitness in there. Even though you're making a ton of money, if you're not in shape, so what? You're still not happy. You're still not happy. When you can combine the 2, you make a bunch of money and you're in really good shape, something happens in your brain. We're like, okay. But you should but you're never never satisfied. And that's I think that's healthy. You should always never be satisfied because when you do, it's like this escalator that goes up And as soon as you stop walking, it's actually going down. So it's actually it's the escalator is always going down. And if you stop walking up the escalator, a little bit faster than with the escalators going down, then you're gonna make it to the top. But as soon as you stop climbing, you're going back down.

Bryan McAnulty [00:24:08]:


William Branum [00:24:08]:

And the escalator doesn't stop going down.

Bryan McAnulty [00:24:11]:

That's a great analogy. My my dad would always say that, like, in business and everything, like, it's always in a state of atrophy, like, just like your muscles. Like, if you don't use them, like, it's it's going to go down at some point. And, yeah, so I really like that. I'm curious. Like, you've been exposed to I'm sure a bunch of high pressure situations and your time as a sniper instructor. How can leaders in the business world prepare themselves to better mentally tackle, like, high stakes scenarios.

William Branum [00:24:44]:

I'm gonna go back to what we just talked about going out and doing really hard things. And I believe that's true for everything that you do in life. If you're continually challenged your challenging yourself physically, that physical turns into a mental challenge. It turns into an an emotional challenge. Like, I talked about the Grand Canyon or the Grand Teton I struggled. I went into some dark places. And and because it was hard because, you know, we're walking, we're climbing, we're we're doing all these things struggling with some altitude and, in in But because I did the preparation to go do that, I was able to finish. I was able to finish the hike. In the amount of time that it that it, you know, whatever in in one day. But also because I've done really hard things, physically hard things, when emotionally challenging things happen to me or, you know, get right in my face, I'm I'm better prepared to handle the stressful situation because I've already put myself through a, other, self made stress. It's not the first time that I've been stressed out. It's not the first time that I've felt this way. It's the it's it's easier for me to get through that stressful situation because I put myself through artificial stress, stress that I made up myself. Or stresses that I put myself in. So that that definitely helped. But if you so on the entrepreneur side, outside of physical fitness, ways that you can prepare yourself is are really is do do a plan. Like, figure out what the plan is. What are you trying to accomplish? And then think about all the things that could go wrong. So when we're doing mission planning and we're getting ready to go somewhere, we'll do what we call a dirt dive or a rehearsal. And so we we we we we we we we figure out what the mission is. We brief the mission as soon as we finish briefing the mission, we'll go outside and we'll go rehearse. We'll do this dirt dive. We'll practice the mission. We'll talk through contingencies. We'll talk through What if this goes bad? What if this goes wrong? What if we're compromised? What if we lose guys in route? What if what if what if And I think most entrepreneurs, most business leaders, they don't think about what if. Because they're afraid to think about what if. Like, they're just like and and I'm okay with this. I'm okay with, like, a 60% solution, put the blinders on and just go forward. But have an idea that that's not gonna work and have an idea of a direction to go. Never stop moving. Always move forward. Even if it's, you know, you have to pivot one way or another or the other. But when you hit a roadblock, just expect that it's gonna happen and figure out what you gotta do to get out of that situation. And I think because people just put the blinders on and, like, nothing bad will happen to me. Just expect that something bad is gonna happen. Just plan for it. And if you plan for it, just like working out, when it does happen, because it will happen, no plan is foolproof. It will happen. So just go figure out what your contingencies are in the beginning and then, you know, work around whatever that problem is.

Bryan McAnulty [00:28:11]:

Yeah. Yeah. I like that. Yeah. With the in regards to the the stress and, like, preparing yourself for that that you said earlier, I think, like, an entrepreneur has to be able to deal with incredibly stressful situations sometimes. And if you're if you get paralyzed by some kind of stress that happens because of whatever event in your business, then you can't serve anyone. So you have you have to be able to be able to handle that in a way that it's not going to stop you from taking the the correct action that you have to take in that situation. And and I like what you're talking about here about, like, running through it. Like, the The closest way I can compare that in my own life is from, like, playing with a team on a sport where, like, yeah, if you don't have that, like, potential thing that, like, if something goes wrong and you don't have at least thought about that that would happen and you freeze for just a moment, Like, that makes all the difference sometimes. And so it doesn't have to be have, like, the perfect plan, as you said, like, for every single situation, But being aware of it and knowing that there's something that you can do if whatever bad thing happens, I think really can make a big difference.

William Branum [00:29:22]:

Yeah. You know, what I so about the 1st company, 2nd company I started after, I retired was a Cbd company, naked Warrior Recovery. And everyone said you need to run Facebook ads. You need to get on social media. You have to do all these things. I did not have a Facebook account. When I started the company. So I'm like, okay. And then I just started boosting posts that I would do about, you know, the products that I was selling. And then all of a sudden, my my account was deleted by Facebook. And then I started another account. So 4 Facebook accounts and 3 Instagram accounts later I finally realized this that Facebook doesn't like Cbd products. And I was like, oh, I I didn't know that, but those were just like roadblocks that I just kept running into. No one told me that. I wasn't prepared for that. I'm like, so so what I did, I had to pivot and figure out a different way to get in front of in front of people to advertise or whatever to tell them about my product was I started getting on podcast. I've been on over 450 podcasts to date, like, really in the last probably 24 to 30 months. And and so that's how I've been able to really organic reach rather than pay per click kind of marketing, but, that that's what I've that's what I had to do. So even though the traditional route, and that's kinda what I go back to in in the first question was what's what's different? I had to like, everyone's like, you gotta run Facebook ads. You gotta do this. You gotta do got billboards or whatever it is. Okay. Well, none of that's gonna work for me. So I have to think outside the box or go a completely different route than what everyone else is doing. And so that that was just sort of an example of of, you know, not not going with the status quo. You gotta just change things up and do things differently than everyone else.

Bryan McAnulty [00:31:05]:

Yeah. So you came up with a list of 5 key principles that encapsulate how a Navy Seal thinks. Can you share a little bit more about those principles and then how they translate into strategies for our CEOs and leaders?

William Branum [00:31:19]:

Yeah. 100%. So this is a keynote that I that I give from stage, quite often. And so I talk about the the get naked mindset. And when I originally came up with this idea, it was really about taking that ego off, taking that armor off, and become vulnerable expose yourself so that you can find the healing that you actually need. So that was some of what I needed when I got out of the military. And and I I did talk about that a little bit. And then I was, in in one of my coaching sessions with a coach, and he said that, you know, you need to have a first team who's like, you need to start coaching. And I was like, what am I gonna coach about? What do I know? I don't know anything about this whole weird civilian world. He convinced me otherwise, actually several of my coaches convinced me otherwise. And then one of them said, you need a signature presentation. Okay. What's that? Well, it's it's something that you're an per day in, and it's something that you can you can you can give in 10 minutes or you can give in a in 90 minutes sec, you know, session. And, and it's gonna impact people's lives. So I was like, okay. What what's that about? So something about being a navy seal and how I've used the skills that I've learned to to to transition and these exact same skills are the things that have made me successful now as a civilian, outside the seal teams. And so Again, I go back to the get naked mindset. So if you wanna think like a navy seal, you have to get naked. And so naked is an acronym. Naked, the n stands for never quit. I don't mean never quit smoking or drinking. I mean, never quit on yourself. If you started a project, a program, whatever it is, there's a finish line somewhere. You have to take that thing all the even if it's a relationship. There could be a finish line somewhere in there. You know, maybe you've you've you've gone, like, completely different directions. Well, let's figure out what the finish looks like, and you take it all the way to the end, whatever that looks like. So you never quit. And and one of the things I talk about is is in order to do that, oftentimes it will seem overwhelming. It will seem absolutely overwhelming, and you just will wake up one morning and say, I don't wanna do this anymore. Well, what I say is I say create small And this is something that I learned when I went to prisoner of war school, where they said, you know, it when you're captured, when you're being interrogated, you resist as long as possible. At some point, you need to give some information. And so what you do is you give them just enough information for them to stop beating the crap out of you but maybe you give a little white lie. You change some of the details of the information. So it's not really giving them the information that they could really truly use against your or you know, against the United States or whatever it is. And so, every time that you do that, you create a small victory and small victories are things that they It's a win. It's a win for the day. Maybe your small victory is just not hitting snooze on the alarm on the alarm clock when it's time to get up. You You keep that contract with yourself. That's a small victory. In hell week, you know, it's five and a half days of of of suffering. You don't sleep. You're cold. You're wet. You're miserable. All you have to do is they feed you four times a day. All you have to do in hell week is just keep going and make it to the next meal. Once you make it to that next meal, you're good to go. Okay. Well, let's start over. And it doesn't matter how much it sucks. You just make it to the next meal. All of those are small victories. So the n is for never quit. And if you're gonna not quit, you just need to keep creating small victories. To get you where you wanna go. The a is accept failure. I've already talked about failure and and leadership. I've failed in almost everything I've done in my life. I've not naturally gifted in any way, shape, or form. But, you know, I've I have found the courage to accept failure. Yep. I'm gonna do it. I expect that I'm gonna fail. That's fine. I'm gonna go fail. I'm gonna learn, and then I'm gonna do it again. I'm gonna fail. I'm gonna learn. I'm gonna do it again. Every time I learn, I get better at whatever the thing is that I'm doing. So there were I remember all these guys in seal training that were just naturally gifted athletes. They could run. They could swim. They could do anything very, very well. Charismatic leaders and, like, they're gonna definitely make it through. And there's some of the first people to quit because in seal training, you fail every single day. It doesn't matter how good you are, how fast you are, You fail every day generally multiple times a day, and these guys would quit because they couldn't stand the thought of being told they weren't good enough. And that blew my mind. It took me so much time and effort and sacrifice to get there. I'm like, I don't care how many times I failed. Let's let's go. Actually, the more times I fail, the stronger I get, and the better I get. And so once I learn to accept failure, I my life became so much better. So never quit, accept failure, k is to kill mediocrity. You know, we're surrounded by mediocrity every day. You know, how easy is it to get not get stuck scrolling your phone? Like, I'm like, my phone just does that automatically because I get stuck scrolling my phone. And scrolling my phone, surfing social media, finding excuses to not work out, to not attack your goals for the day. Super easy to do for me for everyone. The thing I tell people, if you wanna kill me the equity in your life, you have to start competing, but I want you to start small. I want you to start competing in kindness, competing gratitude. When you start getting really good, can you be the kindest person you know? Can you say hello to someone you don't know or smile. Like, that will change their whole day. You just competed. Like, they may have, like, I forgot what the, like, they're always like, have the grumpy face. I forgot what it's called. There's a there's a a name for it. But, and you just say, Hey, how you doing? And, even though they got grumpy face syndrome, it will put a smile on their face or it will at least catch them off guard and make them think a little bit differently. So when you start competing, you start to win. And once you start competing and winning in these small things and you start competing against yourself. You start competing against your ego because your ego knows exactly what to tell you to make you quit on yourself to make you mediocre. So wanna impact your life and the life of the people around you, you have to kill the mediocrity in your life. So it's never quit except failure, kill mediocrity. E is exposure fears, and I don't mean lions and tigers and bears. I mean, like, the fear that lives in the back of your mind, I consider that fear to be like a vampire. A vampire lives in the darkness and it sucks a life out of you. And how do you kill a vampire? You expose it to sunlight. You kill fear exactly the same way. You you expose your fears. So if you have a fear of, like, public speaking, you have a fear of of You have low self esteem, low self esteem. I would say go because you're bullied as a kid, go take a Brazilian Jiu jiu jitsu class for a year. You're gonna be forced to fight someone every night. You go to class. You're gonna learn a skill. You're gonna get better at what you're doing. You're gonna increase your self confidence. If you have a fear of public speaking Go take a public speaking class. Get in front of your class and speak. You're gonna see very quickly that they want you to succeed. They want you to get better. And you will start exposing that fear and you will start controlling the fear. 1 of my friends and and mentors and and business coaches who's in the billionaire category, he says he likes to say that fear does not exist on paper. So even though he is a very successful. He still gets these stresses, these anxieties, these thoughts that that swirl around. He's driving along. And what he'll do is he'll pull over stop maybe get a Starbucks or something, sit down with a pen and a piece of paper. And he will write down every one of those stresses, those anxieties, those fears that are in his mind. And he'll read them back to himself. And he'll, like, once you see the things that are really bothering you, Again, he's just exposed the fear that was in his mind to the world. Like, oh, that's really bothering me. Like, how silly is that? You'll you'll really play that game with yourself. And I've I've done all of these things and they all work. Because I've certainly struggled with my own fears, my own stresses, my own anxieties. And once I learn to control the fear, once I learn to expose the fear, I learn to control the fear and the fear no longer controlled me. So it's never quit, accept failure, kill mediocrity, expose your fears and the last is to do the work. And, you know, in this world of of social media, TikTok, we have this idea of instant gratification. You know, we post something online and we feel like we should have 10,000 likes and whatever And those are the things that we go off of. Doing the work is seldom about instant gratification. Doing the work is about doing things expecting no accolades. And in 10 years, you'll be an overnight success. That's what doing the work is all about. That's what entrepreneurship is all about. Just because you build it does not mean that they will come. You have to go out and you have to advertise. You have to go out and get in front of people. You have to go and do the work every single day and expect nothing in return. You know, there's a saying that Rome wasn't built in a day. I guarantee you it was built every single day until it became an empire. There's a saying in the seal teams that, you have to earn your Trident every day. And the Trident is that shiny gold pin that we wear on our on our uniform. And, you know, I I'll be honest when I when I graduated from seal training, I did not have that idea of earn your Trident every day. I had the idea of I've just graduated the hardest military training in the world. And when I showed up at the seal teams, no one cared that I had graduated the hardest military training in the world because every one of them have done it. You know what they cared about? They cared about what are you doing for me today? What are you doing for the team today? How are you supporting the team? How are you getting better? Are you Are you getting better today? You should always getting be be getting better at something, you know, kinda like that escalator. It's the escalator's always going down. You have to be going up faster than the escalator is going down and that never goes away. And so that's really what never quit or doing the work is all about. You know, in the we we also have another saying that says the only easy day was yesterday. So it doesn't matter how good you were yesterday. Today's a whole new day. Prove to me that you've got what it takes to be here. And that's what it's all about. So it's never quit, accept failure, kill mediocrity, exposure fears, and do the work. And if you wanna think like a navy seal, you have to get naked. And if you want a free copy of that, if you go to 5 seal secrets.com, the number 5 seal secrets.com, download it. Enjoy.

Bryan McAnulty [00:41:42]:

Awesome. Yeah. Excellent. It's really cool. Yeah. What I what I like to say is that you should be doing something today that regardless of the outcome or result of it, you'd still be doing it tomorrow because Like, I think as you hinted to so many times during this interview, the the real fulfillment that you get as a human is the the progress that that you make in your growth and yourself. And just retiring, giving up, stopping, doing nothing that No matter what, it's not gonna bring fulfillment in the long run.

William Branum [00:42:16]:

Never. I I will never retire. I mean, technically, I'm retired from the military. I will never retire. I don't I'm sure I will not.

Bryan McAnulty [00:42:24]:

Awesome. Alright. Well, I got one more question for you today. And that is that on the show, we'd like to have each of our guests ask a question to the audience. So if you could ask our audience anything, whether it's something you're curious about, something you kinda wanna get everybody thinking about, what would that be?

William Branum [00:42:39]:

I think the question I like to like to ask is this goes back to to gratitude. So every morning when I get up, I write down 5 things that I'm grateful for. 4 of them are super easy. My health, family, having a roof to live under, income, whatever it is. One of those things, it always has to be something that has brought me tremendous hardship, something that has made my life freaking miserable. Can you in your life wake up every morning and write down one thing that you're grateful for that is absolute hardship, something that has brought you so much freaking pain. Be grateful for that thing or that person or whatever it is. You had to file bankruptcy. Be grateful that you did because of the lessons. So my question is, can you wake up every morning? And be grateful for 5 things. And one of those things be an incredible hardship in your life.

Bryan McAnulty [00:43:41]:

Awesome. Excellent question. Alright. Well, before we get going, William, where else can people find you online?

William Branum [00:43:47]:

5 sealsecrets.com, for cbdnwdashrecovery.com. And I'm mostly on Instagram. I'm on all the platforms. But Instagram, I'm william.r.branum, if you wanna go over there and follow me there.

Bryan McAnulty [00:44:01]:

Alright. Awesome. Thanks so much.

William Branum [00:44:03]:

Thank you, sir.

Bryan McAnulty [00:44:05]:

I'd like to take a moment to invite you to join our free community of over 5000 creators at creatorclimb dot com. If you enjoyed this episode and wanna hear more, check out the HEIGHTS platform YouTube channel every Tuesday at 9 AM US Central. To get notified when new episodes release, join our newsletter at the creators adventure.com. Until then, keep learning, and I'll see you in the next episode.

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About the Host

Bryan McAnulty is the founder of Heights Platform: all-in-one online course creation software that allows creators to monetize their knowledge.

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2009, when he founded Velora, a digital product design studio, developing products and websites used by millions worldwide. Stemming from an early obsession with Legos and graphic design programs, Bryan is a designer, developer, musician, and truly a creator at heart. With a passion for discovery, Bryan has traveled to more than 30 countries and 100+ cities meeting creators along the way.

As the founder of Heights Platform, Bryan is in constant contact with creators from all over the world and has learned to recognize their unique needs and goals.

Creating a business from scratch as a solopreneur is not an easy task, and it can feel quite lonely without appropriate support and mentorship.

The show The Creator’s Adventure was born to address this need: to build an online community of creative minds and assist new entrepreneurs with strategies to create a successful online business from their passions.

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