Are you ready to chart a bold course for 2022? Are your aims set comfortably within your reach? If these queries have not yet occupied your thoughts, be forewarned, you’re trailing behind the top 1% of performers in your field. It echoes a creed we held dear in the SEAL Teams… Go Big or Go Home. The harsh reality? Most will choose home. That’s an unwelcome truth, yet instead of sulking, it’s time to brace yourself and charge ahead.

First up, adopt a Grand Colossal Objective (GCO). Think along the lines of: I desire to explore space within the next two years. Or, I will establish a company with a $100M valuation. GCOs don’t operate on logic…they’re so immense they instill fear in your companions. “Whoa, they’re really diving headfirst! What’s the implication for me?” they’ll wonder.

The whirlwind of adventures I’ve undertaken often evoke astonishment. From leaving home at 16 (with a fatherly push) to earning a SCUBA certification at 13, becoming a Navy SEAL, to overseeing the SEAL training program, publishing a NY Times bestseller, and earning my pilot’s license – the list continues. The reason behind these audacious leaps? I embraced the art of setting Grand Colossal Objectives early on. You’ll know you’re in the groove when your pursuits earn you the “madcap” label. This happened to me when I announced my goal to become a Navy SEAL. “Impossible! 90% fail or quit!” was the refrain. After succeeding, the same people echoed, “We knew you had it in you! Pleased to be your friend.” …I no longer consider them friends.

Next, delve into the Process – The Real Game Changer.

Pinpoint the hurdles (Ryan Holiday calls it ‘the path’) obstructing you, and craft a process to inch closer to your goal. My full-length novel? Penned in 1.5 months because I created a system that had me producing 2000 words daily. A standard novel runs between 60,000 to 80,000 words.

Shift your focus from the final score and invest it in the journey towards that score. Embrace the practice of delivering peak performance. Ponder over, “What process is championed by those at the top?”, then adopt it with the flair of an artist. Though we can’t command many things, we CAN control the process, such as how often we train, study, read, and so on…

Lastly, let’s talk Mastery versus Fleeting Success.

Fortune can smile upon anyone…as the saying goes, even a dog gets its day in the sun once a year. Don’t be that dog. Aspire for mastery rather than fleeting success. This is what separates a fulfilling career from merely having a job. How many people do we observe drifting between jobs, never focusing on mastering a skill like a virtuoso, a filmmaker, or a tech guru who builds and accumulates knowledge for mastery, rather than just tasting success?

Consider an athlete who lands a spot on a professional sports team only to be expelled for poor conduct – that’s fleeting success. Mastery is akin to a sports legend like Tom Brady.

There are remarkable Navy SEALs who falter transitioning to civilian life simply because they refuse to put in the work. The belief seems to be, “I was a Navy SEAL! Hand it over.” Reality doesn’t cater to such demands. Being a former Navy SEAL and $5 will score you a Starbuck’s coffee, not much else unless you commit to honing mastery beyond the SEALs.

Why do some comrades drown their frustrations in a twelve-pack and scoff at the few of us SEALs who thrive on the outside? “What a sellout!” they exclaim…well, if attaining mastery equals selling out, then consider me cashed in.

People who achieve mastery in their field dominate for a reason… they’re willing to break a sweat. More often than not, you’ll have to reinvent yourself, as I did when leaving the SEAL Teams. Accepting this and committing to the process will set you on the path to success.

And remember, The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday…