In today’s episode, Dawna Campbell talks with William Branum. William is a former US Navy SEAL with 26 years of service. He is the founder and CEO of Naked Warrior Recovery, a CBD company focused on the recovery of veterans and first responders. William has served on both traditional SEAL Teams, taught as a SEAL Sniper Instructor and served on Teams that specialized in undersea operations. During this time, he learned many lessons for himself and others and distilled them into five secrets. And today, William reveals these five secrets that were the key to his success and every other Navy SEAL’s success.
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The Five SEAL Secrets To Success With William Branum Of Naked Warrior Recovery
I am Dawna Campbell and I am the lead trainer for The Mentor Studio. The vision of The Mentor Studio is designed to educate, enlighten, enrich, and enhance our mentors’ experience and expertise. I like to invite some of our different mentors to come on and share theirs with the world because it’s all about one community, one family, and serving others. My guest is William Branum. He is a 26-year Navy SEAL veteran. He has led teams ranging from 4 to 400 people across Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the Founder of Naked Warrior Recovery. He’s a speaker teaching the GET NAKED Mindset. He’s a leadership and business coach. He helps leaders lead their teams like a SEAL team. Thank you, William, for being here with me on the show.
Thanks for having me on here.
You went from Navy SEAL to leading business teams. Share with us. How did you do that?
It was not my plan for sure. I had zero intention of ever speaking, coaching, leading or anything like that. I got out. I had a plan. I started a company to help companies navigate their way through the military acquisition system, which is very difficult. What I found out is most people and the companies I was talking to didn’t like the word consultant. I had to rebrand and refigure out what I wanted to do. I had a lot of baggage along the way.
What I discovered is I don’t know how to be a civilian, I don’t know how to run a business, and I don’t know anything about any of this stuff. I hired a coach and then I hired another coach. Through that learning process, they were like, “Why aren’t you coaching people? Why aren’t you helping other people lead in business, life and all these other things? You have so much to share.” I was like, “I didn’t think I had that much to share.” With enough prodding from people that I was paying, I started my coaching business. I also help other organizations coach some of their students.
Going through that process, what would you say would be the number one thing that you learned that you can share with others who might be going through a transition?Getting NAKED is about becoming your authentic self, not the self that you're hiding behind a mask or armor. It's about you becoming your authentic self. Click To Tweet
Make a plan. I’m not complete. I don’t think I’ll ever be complete. I like to say that my transition from the military to becoming a civilian is the hardest military mission I’ve ever been on. When I left the military, I was a little bit in denial that I was going to leave. I thought, “This is all I’ve done my entire adult life. This is what I do.” The military is like, “Sorry, bro. We got to make room for those young and up-and-coming SEALs. You got to get out of the way.” I got out of the way, not happily but I did it. The mistake that I made is number one, I was in denial. I had to come to reality.
To do that, I had to make a plan. What do I want to do? I figure out what I want to do, which is not what I’m doing now but it at least got me pointed in a direction. I started going down this road. It wasn’t a road I liked being on, so I made some adjustments and then started an eCom company, Naked Warrior Recovery. From there, I haven’t transitioned but in addition to it, I have a real-world MBA now from business, successes and failures. I know what works and what doesn’t work. I know what works in leadership and what doesn’t work in leadership.
Had I not had a plan, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I had a plan. I executed it. It didn’t work out that well. I had lessons learned, “What do I want to do? Maybe I want to sell stuff online. I want to have an eCom brand.” From those successes and failures and the coaching that I got, I’ve transitioned to also doing speaking, coaching, and things like that. The end goal is to help improve other people’s lives. I’m a service person. I spent my entire adult life serving the country and the military. Now I’m trying to do it again in a different capacity.
How do you take the skillsets that you learned as a Navy SEAL and apply them to business?
It’s helpful that I have my business to learn from. With 26 years of leading men and women around the world, I have a lot of experience in what works and what doesn’t work. When I’m talking to a client or I’m talking to a company, the most important thing I can do is to not talk. It’s to listen to what they have to say. In that listening, they may even tell me what the solution is. All I have to do is stay quiet enough and listen to what they’re telling me to help them develop a plan and navigate what their next right thing is going to be.
I let them guide the conversation for the most part because I’ll ask some leading questions. I don’t know if anyone that’s reading this has ever taken a polygraph. That was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. It’s even worse than getting beat up while going to prisoner of war school because they ask you these leading questions. You have to tell the truth.When you're brave enough to tell yourself the truth and then share that truth with other people, that's a superpower. Click To Tweet
They ask you the questions and then give you time to think about it, “Did you lie to your supervisor about being sick once upon a time?” Maybe. Probably. They hit you with the guilt trip, “You know that you’re being entrusted with national security information. How could you?” They start counseling you and giving you a hard time. They ask you another leading question. They make you feel super guilty about telling the truth and then you tell more. They’re like, “Your questions are not lining up with your answers. We need to dig into that a little bit more.”
I learned a lot from that. Ask leading questions and get the other person talking. It’s an interrogation. At the end of the day, that’s what it is. They end up telling you what you need to know. I know that when you and I have had some sessions together, you’re like, “You need to be a little bit vulnerable.” You told me, “Tell me a little bit of vulnerability, and then we can work on that.” I have to share with you what it is that was bothering me before you could help me.
Listening is such a key in communication and probably one of the biggest skillsets that people need to have or develop. Without listening, you don’t understand the customer, what their needs are or their wants, or how to help them and facilitate that. We want to ask you a couple of more questions about your brand, GET NAKED. In The Mentor Studio, we have a heart of service because we’re always serving each other and other people, and coming together as a community. You talked about having coaches. Within The Mentor Studio, we’re looking at different mentors. What drew you or attracted you to being a part of The Mentor Studio working with mentors?
There’s something in The Mentor Studio that I need. First of all, there are amazing people and mentors in The Mentor Studio who come from all different facets of the world and experiences, from speaking on stages to running different companies, doing different things, and being surrounded. Jim Rohn once upon a time said, “You’re the sum of the five people that you surround yourself with.”
As I transitioned out of the military and into civilian life, if you’ve ever seen the movie The Avengers where Thanos snapped his fingers and half f the world’s population disappears, that’s how I felt. I felt like I lost my purpose, my mission, and my team. Over time, I found my new mission and my new purpose but along the way, I didn’t have a team. I had been building my new SEAL team.
The Mentor Studio is part of that new SEAL team that I’m building around myself because the great thing about being in a SEAL team is even if I’m in charge, there’s so much I can learn from the most junior guy that is on the team. The most important thing I can do as a leader is ask questions, “How would you solve this problem?” Once I was brave enough to start doing that, my world opened up. My ability to lead got so much better. Something that The Mentor Studio brings is so much knowledge from many different industries to pour into one another.Use failure as a foundation for your success. Click To Tweet
Instead of one person on stage talking at you, everyone is sharing together so that we’re all able to grow and build our brands into the things that we need to do, and provide more of a network. There’s that commercial of Finesse or something. She tells two people, and they tell two people, and they tell two people. That’s what it’s like. If you can get out there and give in such a way that people want to share what you’re sharing, then they tell two people and the two people, your network will grow exponentially that way.
I remember when I first joined The Mentor Studio. I thought, “How cool is this? I can be connected and have connected relationships with different people who will help facilitate me moving forward growing and expanding my business, but then I get to help them in different ways back to be of service to each other.” I’ve since then changed my position a little bit.
It has become a second family for me because I know the people. We’re great friends. Everybody I meet along the way, it’s like, “You’re like my brother. You’re like my sister. Let’s go do this together.” It has been truly phenomenal that way. Speaking with business, you have a brand called GET NAKED. I know that NAKED is an acronym, but will you share with us what it means to GET NAKED?
What I generally tell people is with my time of 26 years in the military, I’ve got some baggage and maybe some not-so-awesome relationships. I’ve got some baggage from that and maybe childhood trauma or whatever it is. We all have some baggage that we’re carrying around. GET NAKED is about taking that baggage or that armor that we’re wearing around because we have been attacked by whatever it is, society, a family member or trauma in some capacity.
We’re always in this defensive mode. We put our armor on to protect ourselves but we never take that armor off. We never take that baggage that we’re carrying around off, set it down, and expose ourselves, becoming vulnerable so that we can find the healing that we need. That’s what I mean when I’m talking about getting naked. It’s about becoming your authentic self, not the self that you’re hiding behind the mask or hiding behind an armor. It’s about you becoming your authentic self.
I had probably been hiding behind some mask or armor my entire life. I still do it at times but I’m more aware of it because I talk about it all the time. You can lie to yourself but you can’t because you know the truth. When you’re brave enough to tell yourself the truth and then share that truth with other people, that’s a superpower. Once you’re able to do that, you have no idea how much you will impact other people’s lives by sharing some of your trauma and some of those things that you’ve been hiding behind. That’s what GET NAKED is all about. There’s the acronym side of it as well.Once you learn to win the war against your ego, nothing can stop you, and you will positively impact your life and the people around you. Click To Tweet
Will you share with us the acronym?
In the acronym for NAKED, the N stands for Never Quit. When I say never quit, I don’t mean to never quit smoking or drinking. I mean never quit on yourself and who you are. If you have started a goal or a thing that you think could maybe change the world or your life and impact someone’s life, then you should take that thing all the way to the end no matter what it is or how long it takes.
I talk about ways that you can never quit because all the gurus say, “Never quit. You’ve got to stick to it.” No one tells you how to do it. What I tell people is to create small victories along the way. Take this massive thing that you’re doing, chop it up into bite-sized pieces, things that you know you can accomplish every single day, and eat one of those things every single day.
I use the analogy from SEAL training. Hell week is five and a half days. How do you get through that? There’s one thing that’s constant during that time where you don’t sleep, you’re cold, wet, and miserable. The instructors keep you going the whole time. One thing that’s constant is they feed you four times a day. No matter how bad it sucks and how miserable you are, all you have to do is make it to that next meal. If you make it to that next meal, you get to sit down, consume some food, maybe have a little coffee, warm up a little bit, then start it again, and then go to the next meal. If you take that and apply that one thing to your life to whatever the thing that is you’re doing, you will be unstoppable. The N is Never Quit.
The A is Accept Failure because failure has been the biggest teacher of my life for sure. I look at failure as a good thing. Most people fail at something and they want to hide it. I will take it out and put it on the wall as if it’s a trophy, “Look at what I learned. Look at how badly I failed.” That was awesome because I have so many lessons learned. I’ll never do that again. I’ll make other mistakes but I won’t make those mistakes again. I use failure as a foundation for my success. If you think about it another way, there are memes out there. You could also look at failures as rungs on a ladder. Every time you fail, you get closer to getting over whatever obstacle is in your way.
The K is to Kill Mediocrity. Let’s be honest. We’re surrounded by mediocrity every day. How easy is it to make excuses to not workout and not attack your goals for the day, or to get sucked into your phone, scrolling social media? The way that we can kill the mediocrity in our life is we can start to compete. I don’t mean compete in sports or anything like that, although that’s useful.Doing the work is about grit and the grind. And it's about the goal at the very end. Click To Tweet
I tell people to compete in small things. Compete in kindness, generosity, and gratitude. When you start competing and you start winning in those areas, you start competing against your ego because your ego knows every single thing about you. It knows all the good and all the bad. It knows exactly what to tell you to make you quit and make you mediocre. What I tell people is, “You have to compete.” Once you learn to win the war against your ego, nothing can stop you. You will make a positive impact on your life and the people around you.
The E is Expose Your Fears. I don’t mean lions, tigers and bears. I mean those fears that live in the back of your mind that you don’t want to share with anyone. A lot of people go to talk therapy. I’m not one of those people. I say I don’t like to talk but when I get on camera or in front of people, I start running off with my mouth. I can’t stop myself. Apparently, I have a lot of suppression there. It’s about taking those things that you have suppressed and bringing them into the foreground. You can do it by doing things that you’re afraid of. Maybe you have a fear of public speaking. Take a public speaking class.
Maybe you were bullied as a kid. Take a Brazilian jiu-jitsu class for a year. You’re going to learn very quickly that the people that you’re going into these classes with want you to succeed and get better at the thing that you’re afraid of and those fears that you have suppressed. You’re going to learn skills that are going to make you better and give you more self-confidence.
If those aren’t your things and maybe you have issues and you don’t want to talk to someone, take a pen and a piece of paper and write down every one of those thoughts that are swirling around in your head that you don’t want to share with anyone. Write them down on that piece of paper. A friend of mine and one of my business coaches say that fear does not exist on paper. Once you expose that fear onto paper or you put it out there in the world, that fear no longer has control over you. That’s what I mean by Expose Your Fears.
The D is Do the Work because in this society of social media, instant gratification, TikTok, and all these other things, we forgot what it’s like to do the work. We love instant gratification and that dopamine hit. That’s what doing the work is all about. Doing the work has very little to do with recognition, being recognized, accolades, trophies or anything else. Doing the work is about the grit, the grind, and the goal at the very end. It’s that thing that you’re trying to achieve.
If you keep doing the work every single day, you forget about instant gratification. Pretty soon, you’re there. You are like, “That was easier than I thought.” When you’re expecting to be rewarded for mediocre work, it isn’t going to get you there. It’s when you put your head down and enjoy the process. Lots of people say, “Enjoy the process.” Create those small victories along the way and do the things that you need to do. Do the work. GET NAKED is about taking action. It’s never quitting, accepting failure, killing mediocrity, exposing your fears, and doing the work.
That is sage advice for anybody out there regardless of what type of business you’re in, whether you’re a single owner or you own multiple companies. It’s from never quitting to doing it and getting it done. There you go. As we’re wrapping up here, share one thing about you that might be fun or something that we may not know about you.
I was a sniper instructor when I was in the SEAL teams. Let’s see something else that’s weird and interesting. When I was fifteen years old, I was shot while hunting with my great uncle. My great uncle shot me. Anytime I was in combat, I was never worried about getting shot. I’m like, “This is ugly but my odds of getting shot again are way less than yours. I’m sorry.”
I don’t even want to know why he would shoot you. I was hoping you were wearing orange or something. What’s a favorite book of yours?
There are quite a few but one that I continue to go back to is W1NNING by Tim Grover or the other one that he wrote prior to that. W1NNING is better. It’s a better book. There are more lessons learned. It is a lot of what I truly believe in doing the work. There’s no instant gratification. When you hit that pinnacle, Tim Grover says, “There’s a bus waiting for you outside when you win that last game of the championship to take you back to hell. You have to decide whether you want to stay in hell and work your way back into winning or if you want to call it quits.”
Besides GET NAKED, do you have a favorite quote or a motto that you live by?
I’ve been living GET NAKED for such a long time. Here’s one that I like to say, “Make bold adjustments.” If you’re cruising along in life and you’re making these small adjustments, and they’re not having the effect that you want them to have, make bold adjustments. Do something radically different and see what impact that has on your life. You can make small adjustments to come back to where you want them to be. I got lessons and a whole story behind that.
How do people connect with you?
To learn more about the GET NAKED Mindset, go to the website 5SEALSecrets.com. Put your name and email in there. I’ll email you a PDF of GET NAKED Mindset. It’s got some cool pictures in there also. You can follow me on Instagram @William.R.Branum or @NakedWarriorRecovery. I have Facebook, LinkedIn, and some other stuff. William Branum is pretty easy to google. If you’re interested in CBD, it’s NW-Recovery.com or Naked Warrior Recovery for high-quality CBD products.
Thank you so much. It has been a pleasure having you at The Mentor Studio. Reach out to William, ask your questions, grab his product, and why not just get naked?
- Naked Warrior Recovery
- @William.R.Branum – Instagram
- @NakedWarriorRecovery – Instagram
- Facebook – Naked Warrior Recovery
- LinkedIn – William Branum
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