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Business school was the ride of my life. Harvard, no less – an institution whose walls echo the whispers of generations of wisdom, strategy, and innovation. I took the plunge into their Owner President Program (OPM), a refined two-year venture (three, if you count the Pandemic) that’s essentially an MBA for those wild enough to own their own businesses.

What an incredible journey, a wild, psychedelic ride that somehow translated into a wealth of knowledge and connections. The friends I made and the network I built through the program, it’s the stuff dreams are made of. It’s beyond any tangible price tag – priceless in the truest sense of the word.

In an odd twist of fate, Harvard sharpened my Navy SEAL instincts. It’s like getting high on life – you don’t just learn, you experience.

You see, there’s a lot that my Navy SEAL training lent to my business acumen. However, there were parts of it that translated about as well as a turd in a Sunday church punch bowl. It took me a few whirlwind years to sort out the nuances and recalibrate my compass.

Let me impart my top three lessons learned.

Navy SEAL Ethics that DO NOT Work Outside of the Military

  1. Win at all costs: Great in warfare, but it’ll burn bridges faster than a flamethrower when building long-term relationships.
  2. If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying: This kind of guerilla warfare thinking has no place in the boardroom.
  3. You can trust everyone on your team: True in the SEAL Teams, where trust is a lifeline. But in the civilian world, it’s more of a trust but verify game.

Navy SEAL Ethics that DO Translate Well On the Outside

  1. Strategic thinking: The SEAL Teams are tactical geniuses – that’s a card you can play in any game.
  2. Execution: Dreaming is easy, but the military made me a doer. It’s my secret weapon – getting stuff done.
  3. Challenge conventional thinking: This skepticism has been my compass when hearing “Impossible!”, “That will never work!” or any other self-defeating prophecy. It’s the true rebel spirit.
  4. Meritocracy: In the SEAL Teams, talent trumps everything else – race, background, pronoun. In the battlefield of life, it should be the same.

To Sum It Up

Once a reporter told me, “Your business seems to be quite contentious.” My response? “No shit, Sherlock. Business itself is contentious.”

It’s like expecting the ocean to remain calm at all times. But most of the time, it’s waves crashing, wind howling, the relentless chaos of existence.

As an entrepreneur, I’ve seen the peaks and valleys of human nature. Suicide, lies, deception, backstabbing – it’s all part of the package.

So why do it? Why ride this hellish roller coaster? For me, it’s simple. Because it’s fucking worth it.

Being an entrepreneur is like being the captain of a ship, and I revel in the thrill of steering my vessel through the storm.

Storms will rise, and dangerous terrain will emerge. But as captains, our job is to keep the crew calm, the ship sailing, and always pointed towards our destination, even if we drift off course for a while.

A good captain without a good crew is worthless, and a great crew with a lousy captain is equally so. Let that sink in!

Having survived my entrepreneur version of the Navy SEAL’s infamous “Hell Week” (Yep, they kept us awake for five days straight!), Harvard Business School turned me into a better human being. And for that, I’m forever grateful. Not just for the program, but for the lifelong friendships it has forged. So here’s to the wild journey of learning. Hold on tight, it’s a hell of a ride!

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.

(Featured Image: Brandon (orange hat) with his friends Justin and Kristina in Nazare, Portugal.)