Earn Your Belt. Every Day.

Earn Your Belt. Every Day.

The Navy Seals have a motto; “Earn your Trident everyday”. There is no doubt that when you see that Seal Trident emblem on someone’s chest you know that they are a quality human being and you understand the ethos that stands behind what they do for a living and their commitment to excellence within that service.

The Navy Seal Trident — Hooyah!

I think about this a lot as a Blackbelt. At the end of each day I worry that I have not lived up to the standard that is implied with wearing that belt.

We must “sharpen the sword of excellence” every day, as one of my mentors Mark Divine would say. So what does it mean to be committed to a daily practice of creating excellence within ourselves and in our community. That seems like a really daunting task. And it is, I struggle every single day. Failing at it more than I succeed for sure.

Let’s examine a few short sections of the Seal creed:

Uncompromising integrity is my standard.

Living life, each day, with integrity takes discipline. Doing what’s right, even when no one is watching you. That’s hard. I ask myself all the time, did I do enough. If something goes wrong with a project at my job, I try to ask myself first; what did I do that made it go wrong. Taking personal ownership of the good is easy and fun but owning the bad is true integrity in my book.

My character and honor are steadfast.

Never flinching in the pursuit of integrity. Making it a priority in your daily activities and not settling for things when you could easily do them the easy way is key. Taking pride in what you do and doing it to the best of your ability will fill you with confidence. This one sucks the most, but it is this DNA that makes up who you really are.

My word is my bond.

Doing what you say you will do. No need to make a “promise”. Just do it. 
Do it because it’s what you said would happen, not because you promised or because you expect something in return. 
Just. Get. It. Done.

Show up on time. Have a good attitude. Putt in the effort. Bring energy to what you are doing. Share your passion. Be prepared. Be coachable. Do a little extra. Help others to succeed.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission.

This is probably my favorite part of the creed. Having both ego and no-ego.

Having enough belief in yourself that you feel confident taking charge of a situation and leading others to success and at the same time, when there are others leading, taking a backseat to them and letting them do their thing without critique (unless asked for.) Having true humility.

I lead by example in all situations.

I think about my two young sons a lot when it comes to leading by example. I want them to grow up to be honorable, hard working men. They will only do that if I exemplify those traits to them.

They learn by watching me, not by me telling them things. This is true for your teammates as well. If you run a team or work in a small or large group, others will follow your lead and respect you for putting your money where your mouth is when it comes time to dig in.


These are all things that will lead you down the path of living life as a true warrior.

My Sensei always tells people that Karate isn’t just about punching and kicking, but that it is about helping others and teaching others about the way.

I believe this, fully.

I want to live my life like this.

This is probably the ultimate in “easier said than done” and I do truly miss the mark with this every day trying to live my life this way. Every day is a challenge because the world (especially these days) is so full of negativity and differences of opinion and even violence in so many sad occasions.

The only failure is the failure to try. So I will try my best.

I am going to adopt this creed from the Navy Seals, but I am going to change it up just a little:

Earn Your Blackbelt. Every Day.