jocko willink

Leadership Lessons, Killing the Ego, Why You’ll Never Be Free Unless You Tell Yourself The Truth, and More – A Solo Episode with Jocko Willink on the Jocko Podcast #215

Check out the Jocko Podcast Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • “Many of the problems that come about for a leader are from their ego. We have to learn to keep our ego in check.” – Jocko Willink
  • “If you find yourself distraught about your failure inside some random ecosystem, remember that if you can detach and step outside that ecosystem, you’re going to realize that the ecosystem, in most cases, doesn’t matter much at all” Jocko Willink
  • Never be a yes-man; never be a no-man
  • If you find yourself in a difficult situation, often the best thing to do is detach
    • Relax, lift your chin up, take a breath, look around, and make a decision

Intro

  • Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) is a podcaster, author, and retired United States Navy SEAL 
  • Co-host – Echo Charles (@echocharles)

Books Mentioned

Leadership Lessons

  • Leadership lessons stay fairly consistent throughout history
  • “Many of the problems that come about for a leader are from their ego. We have to learn to keep our ego in check.” – Jocko Willink
  • Being a leader is like being a bouncer—always use the minimal force required in every situation
    • Don’t start with a direct attack; start with indirect suggestions and escalate force as needed

Jocko Answers Common Listener Questions

What should you do if your peer/co-worker is working extra hard and trying to out-shine you to get promoted?

  • At first, you might be offended that someone is trying to out-work you, but it’s critical to realize that it’s actually a good thing—you’re a team and their extra effort is making the company stronger
    • Jocko’s advice: Turn it into a positive and healthy competition—if your coworker is stepping up their game, you should step up your game as well

What should you do if your coworker ends up getting promoted, and you don’t?

  • Instead of getting mad, bitter, or jealous, do everything in your power to seek out where you can improve
  • NEVER play the blame game (i.e., saying your boss is dumb, your coworker doesn’t deserve the promotion, etc.)
    • Remember: You can’t control other people; you can only control yourself—focus on that

Why do people bully others in school?

  • Realize: Bullies are generally unhappy, scared to be vulnerable, suffering, jealous, or have low self-esteem
    • Many find joy in hurting others

What do you do when you’re stuck in a loop of failure?

  • TAKE OWNERSHIP of your failures and stop blaming others—that’s the only way out of the loop

How to Address a Leader with a Big Ego

  • Never confront a leader with a big ego about their big ego directly—it’ll only make them defensive
    • Instead, pull on the thread by addressing some of the team’s problems (by doing so, you’re guiding the leader to come to their own conclusions about their ego/the true source of the issues at hand)
    • You can also try an indirect attack:
      • Instead of saying, “Your plans are too complex, and you’re only sticking to them because you have a big ego,” say, “Maybe the workers aren’t as smart as you, and the plans should be simpler”

Kill Your Ego

  • YOU: Get your ego under control
    • Realize: You’re not the only person who can do your job—train your people properly, give them responsibilities, and trust them to do the job well

Most People Don’t Care About Your Ranking

  • Some examples:
    • If Jocko called his mom after he got his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), she probably wouldn’t have cared all that much
    • You may think you’re super cool because you have a Ferrari or Porsche, but realize: they’re a TON of people who would call you an idiot for spending that much money on a car
    • Most people won’t care which school you got your MBA from; some employers may, but most won’t. 
  • “If you find yourself distraught about your failure inside some random ecosystem, remember that if you can detach and step outside that ecosystem, you’re going to realize that the ecosystem, in most cases, doesn’t matter much at all” Jocko Willink
  • Many kids get wrapped in an ecosystem (like school) because it’s all they know
    • It’s critical to travel with your kids to allow them to experience different parts of the world. By doing so, you’re helping your kids realize that life is bigger than school—school is undoubtedly important, but it’s one of many ecosystems.

Relax & Detach

  • If you find yourself in a difficult situation, often the best thing to do is detach:
    • Relax, lift your chin up, take a breath, look around, and make a decision
      • When you open up your body, you’re also opening your mind, allowing you to view threats from different perspectives

Never Be a Yes Man; Never Be a No-Man

  • Don’t be a no-man: If you always resist whenever your boss asks you to do something, they’ll stop valuing your opinion
  • Don’t be a yes-man: Avoid saying “yes” to situations that put your team or company at an unnecessary risk out of ego
  • If your boss asks you to do some menial task (like filling out paperwork), do it—it’ll improve your relationship
  • That said, with the above in mind, if your boss asks you to do something that you know, deep down, isn’t the right move, push back
    • You might say: “Oh, you want me to do something that’s going to negatively affect the team and put massive amounts of capital in jeopardy/put people in risk/put safety at risk? You want me to do that? Hold on, boss.”

Additional Notes

  • Always be humble, but never be passive
  • If you ask yourself whether or not you’re happy with what you’re doing, you’ll likely find the truth and the discipline to improve
    • “Discipline is rooted in the truth. The truth will set you free.”Jocko Willink
      • And remember: Discipline equals freedom
Jocko Podcast : , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 12,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks