Fortitude: from Training Day, to the Day of Days

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4 key Takeaways

From small things, big things one day come

From small things, big things one day come

Shining your shoes till they reflect. Making a bed so perfect that a tossed coin could bounce off it. Getting it right on the ordinary tasks adds up to a habit, one that manifests in extraordinary missions. Always sweat the small stuff.

Swimming with the metaphorical sharks

Swimming with the metaphorical sharks

Whatever ocean you choose to dive into, there will be risk in every shape and form. And staying ashore will never take you anywhere. On the quest of next, let courage be your guide. Step up to the size of the challenge you face.

Cast your ripple of inspiration

Cast your ripple of inspiration

"I'm 24 years old. I’m going to be just fine." These words from a quadruple-amputee serviceman spurred Admiral McRaven to keep inspiring 70,000 of his troops, who’d inspire millions more. Positivity and hope can be contagious.

Nurture the contrarians in your midst

Nurture the contrarians in your midst

Dissenting voices offer many things of value: a reality check, a new viewpoint, a moral compass and much more. A healthy debate goes a long way in cultivating a culture of equals: one where everyone feels they are shaping the bigger picture.

Think of some of the most influential military missions of the 21st century, and chances are, Admiral William H. McRaven has commanded them. No stranger to the bearing of risk or the abundance of grit over 37 years, the retired US Navy Admiral has seen it all.

At Confluence, the veteran took everyone on a tour of courage under fire. Revealing the character that it takes to navigate the toughest of mandates, Admiral McRaven’s perspectives are hardened by his experiences on the front line and in the White House. But above all, by being a gentleman, friend and mentor to those around him. In a keynote bookended by his early days in the Navy SEALS, it was the final image that brought home the most important lesson of all. The image of a bell that one could ring if one wanted out of the gruelling training. He never rang the bell. And asked us never to either.