Ep. 015 – Leadership Skills with Retired Admiral William H. McRaven

By now you know that on the Better Off podcast we talk about more than just the nuts and bolts of investments and economics. Our mission is to help you take control of your financial life, and that includes helping you better yourself, invest in yourself, and ultimately, become an all around better off individual.

One of the amazing byproducts of leaving a full time career in investment management and entering the news business is that I now meet (and have the privilege to interview) a wide range of incredibly smart people. While at times I can take that for granted, every once in awhile, I host a guest who helps me realize just how lucky I have it.

That’s what happened when Retired Admiral William “Bill” McRaven walked into the studio last week and talked to me for about 45 minutes. It happened to be the day after the U.S. had launched airstrikes against Syria, which made the visit timely.

If Bill’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he presided over the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Bill was the man who identified the body when it was flown back to Afghanistan and told President Obama that the U.S. finally had their guy.

A few years later in 2014, the four-star admiral and 37-year Navy SEAL veteran delivered the commencement speech at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em Horns!). Little did McRaven know that his address, which spoke to how students could overcome challenges and change themselves, would become a viral hit with nearly 25 million views online.

In January, 2015 Bill became the Chancellor of the entire University of Texas system and was encouraged to expand his commencement speech into a book, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World. The ten fundamental life lessons McRaven learned in Navy Seal training resonate with all of us, but these are three of my favorite:

-If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed
-If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle
-If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment

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