Adapt and Overcome – Military Mantra For Business

Four years. A typical military contract can range from two to four years, but mine was four. In those four years, you are demanded to assimilate to military culture and develop mental strength that is unlike other professions. When you walk into boot camp the mantras begin. During my time in boot camp, every RDC (Recruit Division Commander) heard would reiterate that you needed the ability to adapt and overcome.

At the time, we would mock the idea of adapt and overcome. “Shipmate, those creases on that uniform are trash. Looks like you may need to adapt and overcome with that flat iron and water.” The majority of us in the berthing were under twenty-two, and we had no appreciation for what the discipline, teamwork, and critical thinking would mean to our futures.

The U.S. Navy taught me to adapt and overcome on a ship where resources were scarce, morale was low, and communications with loved ones was very limited. Everyone on a ship is surrounded predominantly by strangers and they have to figure it out. There are leaders, but the expectation is for sailors to fall in line and perform according to predetermined standards. Failure to perform in the middle of the ocean without additional resources can literally mean life or death. The strangers who surround you become drinking buddies and lifelong friends. There is no experience like a military deployment.

  • Adapt as a situation arises. Develop the ability to become malleable as business changes.
  • Overcome any business change by executing on the adaptations developed. Persevere through all obstacles.

In business, there are so many situations where you will have to adapt and overcome. Every day presents new challenges or opportunities for you to learn and grow. Once you start figuring out how to conquer obstacles, you’ll start looking for them. Momentum is real and it can go in either direction. Create a mindset to adapt and overcome, don’t let the obstacle win. Inability to execute in business will likely mean going out of business. It’s not as dire as the inability to execute in the military, but the outcome is very bleak. 

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