May 18, 2022

Living a Life of Excellence, Agility and Meaning

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#57: Former Navy SEAL Commanding Officer Mike Hayes joins Chris to discuss leadership principles, strategies for successful communication, building confidence, and the most important lessons that he learned while serving in the Navy SEALs.

Mike Hayes (@thisis.mikehayes) is a 20-year veteran of the Navy SEALs, where he last served as Commanding Officer of SEAL Team TWO, overseeing a 2,000 person Special Operations Task Force in southeastern Afghanistan. He is also the former Director of Defense Policy and Strategy at the National Security Council, Chief Digital Transformation Officer at VMWare, and author of Never Enough: A Navy SEAL Commander on Living a Life of Excellence, Agility, and Meaning


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Selected Links From The Episode

Connect with Mike Hayes: Instagram | Twitter

Mike’s Book: Never Enough: A Navy SEAL Commander on Living a Life of Excellence, Agility, and Meaning

Mike’s Sunapee, New Hampshire Restaurant Recommendation: The Anchorage

The US National Medal of Honor Museum:

Podcasts mentioned

Full Show Notes

Three principles to aim for in everything you do [1:50]

Why Mike’s book: Never Enough is relatable regardless of the life path you choose [4:32]

Two lessons Mike learned during a near-death situation in Peru [6:01]

Using examples of his time with the Navy Seals; Mike explains how debriefing with questions like “What could I have done better?” leads to success [8:54]

The importance of delivering a message in a way that maximizes the probability of growth in a professional environment [11:59]

As a former Director of Defense Policy and Strategy, Mike explains the exciting and uniquely high-pressure situations that he has experienced in the White House Situation Room [15:43]

Strategies for learning from failure, and the value of being confident AND humble [17:14]

Manufacturing discomfort, pushing yourself harder to live in the struggle, and stretching yourself beyond your perceived limitation, to increase confidence [19:49]

Cost-benefit analysis: simply following the rules versus pushing beyond toward innovation and entrepreneurship [26:38]

Focusing on the outcome and using the most efficient method toward achievement, and the four most important verbs to focus on during a meeting [29:22]

Chris and Mike share methods they use to politely refocus a meeting [32:53]

Mike’s perspective on why asking for help is a sign of strength and why hard, intrusive questions must be asked [38:24]

Building a positive ecosystem and network through relationships with others [43:48]

Technology and tactics to improve presence and focus during conversations [46:12]

Lessons learned from high-stakes situations in Iraq about slowing down, staying calm, and maintaining focus [49:19]

How the principles described in Mike’s book “Never Enough” change in importance throughout a person’s life [51:52]

Mike speaks of his mission to do great things for others, the purpose of writing “Never Enough”, and why he is passionate about its success [55:57]

Advice about getting as much sleep as possible for optimal performance [58:05]

Mike’s restaurant recommendation in Sunapee, New Hampshire [59:41]

Where to find Mike online and ways to support his missions [1:00:44]



“We're only excellent if we know we're never excellent enough.” -Mike Hayes




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