Rich Diviney – The Attributes: A Navy SEAL Commander on the hidden drivers of elite performance 

Skills are not enough. 90% of Navy SEAL recruits fail to pass the basic training. And 50% of Navy Seals fail training for specialised command. 

Today’s guest, former Navy SEAL Commander and officer in charge of training for specialised command Rich Diviney asked why? 

Beneath skills there are hidden drivers of elite performance. These drivers are attributes like resilience, grit, and adaptability. But how do you develop attributes?

I am a big believer that if you want to develop mastery in any area you need to learn it from those that perform that skill in the arena’s where the stakes are the highest. And if you want to learn resilience, grit, adaptability, and leadership then it is hard to go past Rich Diviney.

Today’s guest Rich Diviney

Rich Diviney served in the US Navy for 20 years. He served in 13 overseas deployments including Iraq and Afghanistan. 

As a Navy SEAL, Rich served as the officer in charge of training for specialised command. In this role he went on to create the “Mind Gym”, a program of physical, mental, and emotional training designed to train Navy SEAL’s brains to perform better in all environments, but particularly stressful environments.

Since retiring from the Navy in 2017, Rich has worked as a consultant and speaker with Chapman & Co. Leadership Institute, Simon Sinek Inc, and Dumanis Enterprises.

He has spoken to over five thousand leaders from the worlds of business, sport, and the military. He has spoken to leaders from organisations such as American Airlines, Deloitte, Zoom, and the San Francisco 49ers. 

On January 26, 2021, he released his first book “The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance”.

“What skills don’t tell us is how people are going to show up in stress, challenges and uncertainty. In those environments we lean on attributes.”

“The secret to success is not necessarily to never quit, I’m going to quit as many times as I have to until I find the right way to do it.”

“People decide whether or not they want to follow us. You cannot self-designate as a leader.

Someone else decides whether you are someone to follow and that is always based on your behaviour.”

“The quality of our lives is directly proportional to the quality of questions we ask ourselves on a consistent basis.”



You’ll learn

  • Why quitting is different to giving up – and how successful people use quitting to redirect their energy elsewhere. 
  • That perseverance is made up of the attributes of persistence, tenacity, and fortitude. 
  • Why the best leadership is mostly observing rather than micromanaging.
  • The difference between skills and attributes. Skills are taught, however attributes are inherent and developed. Skills direct our behaviour in known situations. Attributes direct us in situations of stress and uncertainty.
  • What attributes you should develop and how to develop them. 
  • That grit is made up of four attributes: courage, perseverance, adaptability, and resilience.
  • Why courage is the ability to step into our fear – and how our brain rewards us with dopamine when we do.
  • Freezing in a moment allows you to stop and think deliberately about what to do next and, unexpectedly, is a technique used by all Navy SEAL’s.
  • Sometimes you just need to move, and movement will reveal the next course of action.
  • The different ways to recover from stress and trauma. And why sometimes you cannot do it alone.
  • How to master the pivot. The one you don’t see coming and the ones you choose.
  • That elemental behaviour is made up of attributes and identities, and how identities shape our behaviour.
  • The attributes of leadership: empathy, selflessness, decisiveness, authenticity, and accountability. 
  • That our minds are question answering machines – and by feeding it the right questions, we can guide ourselves to success. Including why, by default, we tend to get ourselves into a negative question loop when the road gets tough.
  • The power of gratitude.

Reference and links mentioned

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