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MilitaryWe Are Leif Babin and Jocko Willink, Authors of EXTREME OWNERSHIP: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. Ask Us Anything!

Mar 17th 2016 by LeifBabin • 7 Questions • 182 Points

Hi Reddit!

We're Leif and Jocko - former Navy SEALs, and co-founders of Echelon Front, where we serve as leadership instructors, speakers, and executive coaches.

Jocko spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams, starting as an enlisted SEAL and rising through the ranks to become a SEAL officer. As commander of SEAL Team Three's Task Unit Bruiser during the battle of Ramadi, he orchestrated SEAL operations that helped the "Ready First" Brigade of the US Army's First Armored Division bring stability to the violent, war-torn city. Task Unit Bruiser became the most highly decorated Special Operations Unit of the Iraq War. Jocko returned from Iraq to serve as Officer-in-Charge of training for all West Coast SEAL Teams. There, he spearheaded the development of leadership training and personally instructed and mentored the next generation of SEAL leaders who have continued to perform with great success on the battlefield. During his career, Jocko was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and numerous other personal and unit awards. In 2010, Jocko retired from the Navy and launched Echelon Front where he teaches the leadership principles he learned on the battlefield to help others lead and win. Clients include individuals, teams, companies, and organizations across a wide-range of industries and fields.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Leif served thirteen years in the Navy, including nine as a Navy SEAL. As a SEAL platoon commander in SEAL Team Three's Task Unit Bruiser, he planned and led major combat operations in the Battle of Ramadi that helped the "Ready First" Brigade of the US Army's 1st Armored Division bring stability to the violent, war-torn city. Task Unit Bruiser became the most highly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War. Leif returned from combat as the primary leadership instructor for all officers graduating from the SEAL training pipeline. There, he reshaped SEAL leadership training to better prepare SEAL officers for the immense challenges of combat. During his last tour, Leif served as Operations Officer and Executive Officer at a SEAL Team where he again deployed to Iraq with a Special Operations Task Force. He is the recipient of the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and a Purple Heart. In 2011, Leif left active duty and co-founded Echelon Front, a leadership consulting company that helps others build their own high-performance winning teams. Clients include individuals, companies, and organizations across a wide-range of industries. Leif speaks on leadership, U.S. military strategy, and foreign policy matters. His editorials have been published in the Wall Street Journal and he has appeared on a variety of national television news and radio programs.

We're here to talk about our experiences, our book, and anything else you want to know! You can get our book here on Amazon, and follow us on Twitter, too!

Leif - @LeifBabin

Jocko - @JockoWillink

So, Reddit, Ask Us Anything!

Proof for Jocko

Proof for Leif

Volunteer moderator u/courtiebabe420 is here with Leif in person and with Jocko over the phone to assist with this AMA.

Jocko will be up this net until 3:30pm Eastern. Back to answer questions later. Leif signing off for a few. Will be back online to answers later.

Q:

People kept asking if we had the principles written down. So we wrote them down.

A:

When we came home from TU-BRUISER's 2006 deployment to Ramadi, Iraq, we had been humbled by continuous combat operations. And we brought back immense lessons learned. I ran the leadership training for all junior officers graduating from the BUD/S (SEAL Training pipeline). Passing on tough lessons learned to those JOs made me realize just how much we had learned. Later, talking to business leadership in the civilian world made me realize that so many of their challenges were the same, with only a little less of the intensity and pressure from combat.


Q:

No.

A:

If you can't spell Al Qaeda, it's unlikely you have fought them.


Q:

Hello guys. Love the stuff you're putting out.

Could you talk a little but about the current perception of law enforcement.

A:

I've got a lot of friends in law enforcement. They keep us safe on the homefront and are critical to our ability to live in relative peace and security. As a response to negative press in recent months, I'm now seeing more positive law enforcement-community interaction stories coming out which is excellent.


Q:

Leif and Jocko: have you ever seen anyone who lacked mental toughness develop it? Do you think you're born with that will or are there methods for cultivating it? I know something clicked in me when I heard Jocko talk about saying "Good." no matter what came up... any other tactics for getting your mindset right that you can share?

A:

Some people are born with it. Others have to learn it. Mental toughness must be cultivated through disciplined, continuous training to push you outside your comfort zone. Physically, so much of what we call getting "in shape" is not strength or endurance but the ability to fight through pain and fatigue.


Q:

Burpees with push-ups or without?

A:

Travel makes it challenging, but as Jocko taught me, you've got to make time for the things that are important. Get up early and get your workout in, regardless of the schedule. Make an effort to eat healthy. Or even fast while traveling. Discipline = Freedom. Have the discipline to workout and eat good for the bulk of your travel so you can have the freedom to crush the mint chocolate chip milkshake afterward.


Q:

We are starting to work on number 2...

A:

We will have some signed books available on website soon. And also, you should be able to get them through Americas Might Warriors (americasmightywarriors.org), a charity that Marc Lee's mom, Debbie Lee founded in Marc's memory to help veterans, in a few weeks.

Thanks for the kind words. Hope to meet you and your sons in our travels sometime.


Q:

I have not worked with them.

A:

I know some guys that worked with them. But have not worked with either.