This week’s conversation is with David (leaving his last name out for security purposes).

He’s been a top special operations sniper for more than 10 years.

David has four combat tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan and one tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During the last 21 years he has served in a variety of leadership roles that include; Fire Team Leader, Senior Weapons Sergeant, Tactics and Weapons instructor, Team Sergeant Air Operations NCOIC.

David’s won countless awards along the way and just won the USASOC Sniper competition (top completion for snipers in all branches of special ops).

He’s been asked multiple times how he won and he attributes it to his mental game!

This conversation is a treat.

We get to learn from someone truly on the razor’s edge; putting his life on the line. We talk about what goes through his mind in the most pivotal moments, where everything is at stake, including his and others’ lives around him.

We discuss the difficulties that come with transitioning back and forth between combat and every day life, his addiction to adrenaline, and how he manages dealing with some of the difficult sights and sounds he’s witnessed.

I have the utmost respect for the people who choose to serve our country and put their lives on the line to protect others and I hope this conversation gives you a glimpse into what that sacrifice is really all about.

“I find the most gratifying effect is how many people have I saved. How many lives have I changed? That’s way more important to me.”

In This Episode:

  • Background on how he got his start, joined the army in 1996
  • What it’s like making the transition from combat back into everyday life
  • His addiction to adrenaline
  • The moments when everything slows down and you can make no mistake
  • How he’s gotten better at switching on and switching off: sympathetic vs. parasympathetic nervous system
  • How does he deals with some of the horrific things he’s had to watch in combat/ PTSD
  • The factors that determine a good sniper
  • The best advice he’d give someone: don’t limit yourself on what’s possible
  • His quest for perfectionism / OCD nature and how it causes burnout
  • His philosophy and dealing with the nexus between killing and doing good
  • The crossroad in his life… almost committing suicide and how he got through it
  • How he thinks about mastery

 

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Quotables:

“My addiction in life is adrenaline and that rush.”

“You can’t embarrass me until you ask me to talk about me.”

“The best advice I could give anyone is don’t give yourself a glass ceiling.”

“Living in the present is really important. Learn from the past, live in the present, plan for the future. Whenever your brain’s in one of the other two ways you’re distracted and you’re not effective.”

On relationships: “When you try to do things on your own, you usually fail.”

“My vision right now is to teach, to create, where a lot of my life (previously) was to destroy.”

 

References:

 

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