Welcome back to another episode of Peak Performance Leadership and today we have the privilege of diving deep into the world of elite leadership with our esteemed guest, Mark Divine. Mark is a former US Navy SEAL, best-selling author, and extreme coach known for his expertise in building high-functioning teams and driving peak performance in challenging environments. In this episode, Mark shares invaluable insights on cultivating trust and respect within teams, developing resilience, and fostering a culture of excellence. Join us as we uncover the key principles of elite leadership and how they can propel individuals and organizations to new heights.

Meet Mark Divine

Mark Divine is a former US Navy SEAL officer, a bestselling author, and a highly sought-after speaker, known for his expertise in mental toughness, leadership, and peak performance. After serving in the military, Mark founded SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind, two organizations focused on providing elite training and mental conditioning for individuals and teams. Mark’s extensive experience and unique blend of military and business insights make him a valuable resource for those seeking to excel in leadership and achieve peak performance.

Timestamped Overview

    • 05:49 Thrive in VUCA by doing uncommon things.


    • 07:42 Teaching mental toughness and resilience in chaos.


    • 10:47 High tolerance for risk, meticulous planning, growth-focused culture.


    • 16:05 Equal commitment, clarity, and effective communication essential.


    • 18:11 New ideas and methodologies create innovation. Leaders must be open to change.


    • 21:39 Horizontal skills necessary for mission success. Vertical development changes individuals’ character.


    • 23:11 Enhance awareness, control reactions, prioritize team needs.


    • 26:21 360 feedback critical for leaders to improve.


    • 29:57 Authentic, vulnerable communication fosters trust and respect.


    • 33:21 Excellence in behavior and action; mindset important.


    • 38:26 Warrior mindset: show up, be resilient, focused.


    • 39:49 Resilience is about learning and growth.


    • 44:53 Overcoming fear and embracing authenticity and courage.


    • 48:48 Support the vets through The Courage Foundation.



Stay tuned for more insights and practical strategies from Mark Divine in our next episode! And remember, building a culture of trust and respect is a continuous journey that requires commitment, authenticity, and open communication. Thank you for joining us on Peak Performance Leadership, as we continue to unlock the secrets of elite leadership.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Join Our Elite Mastermind Community

Join Scott and our dynamic Mastermind Community! 🚀


Unlock the power of growth-focused leadership with a group of like-minded individuals who are passionate about taking their leadership skills to the next level. 🌟


Ready to transform your leadership journey? Click here for more information! 👉📈

Leave an iTunes Review

Get a FREE membership!

If you’re enjoying the show, leave us a review on your favorite podcast appIf your review is chosen as the Review-of-the Week, we’ll get a free month to the Leader Growth Mastermind!

What do: Write a review, send an email to scott@movingforwardleadership.com with a screen capture of the review, and wait to hear it read out on the show! 

Thanks for the amazing support!  


Write your review or rating here:

Unlock Your Peak Leadership Potential with Personalized 1-to-1 Coaching

Elevate your leadership to its highest potential with personalized 1-to-1 coaching from Scott. Discover the path to peak performance and achieve unparalleled success in your leadership journey. Ready to unlock your leadership’s full potential?

Subscribe to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast

Join thousands of leaders worldwide who are transforming their leadership skills with the Peak Performance Leadership podcast. Unleash your full potential and stay at the forefront of leadership trends. Subscribe now and embark on your leadership journey of excellence!

Follow us on Your Favorite Social Media

Share now!


The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:01]:

How you do anything is how you do everything. These are the words from my guest today, former US Navy Seal, return guest, best selling author, extreme coach, Mark Devine, ladies and gentlemen. And, yes, what you are going to listen to, if you listened to last episode. This is a replay episode, mainly because I am extremely busy right now with work and with life. But at the same time, I know that many out there are new listeners. And in fact, even if you’re not a new listener and you’ve heard this episode before, it is a great reminder, the lessons that are in there. And I just figured, you know what? Why not do a back to back Mark Devine, run. So here we are.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:56]:

This is the 2nd interview between Mark and I. It’s all about his new book, staring down the wolf. And my last question to him in this episode was, who exactly or what exactly is the wolf that he’s referring to. Stay tuned to listen to his answer. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, sit back, relax, and enjoy my conversation. Again, a replay with Mark Devine. Cheers. Welcome 1.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:37]:

Welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership podcast, a weekly podcast series dedicated to helping you hit Peak performance across the 3 domains of leadership. Those being leading yourself, leading your team, and leading your organization. This podcast couples my 20 years of military experience as a senior Canadian army officer with world class guests bringing you the most complete Podcast on leadership going. And for more, feel free to check out our website at movingforwardleadership.com. And with that, Let’s get to the show. Mark Devaughn, welcome back to the Moving Forward Leadership podcast, man. It is Fantastic to get you back here.

Mark Divine [00:02:31]:

Scott, thanks for having me. Nice to see you again.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:35]:

Just to let you know, you are Still, even though it’s been, like, almost a 100 episodes, you were still number 1 downloaded on my

Mark Divine [00:02:42]:

Oh, no kidding.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:42]:


Mark Divine [00:02:42]:

Oh, that’s pretty

Scott McCarthy [00:02:43]:

cool. And I’m not talking by, like, 2 or 3 download numbers. I’m talking by significant percentage wise. So well done. And it’s, you know, it’s great to have you back here.

Mark Divine [00:02:53]:

Yeah. No. It’s lots happened. It’s been a couple years. Right?

Scott McCarthy [00:02:55]:

Oh, yeah. It’s been both,

Mark Divine [00:02:57]:

It’s like a real different world right now compared to last time we chatted.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:01]:


Mark Divine [00:03:02]:

From strange ways, for sure.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:04]:

So how you making out in in this COVID world and COVID environment? Because I know a lot of your business Focus around getting people together with the seal fit thing and all that.

Mark Divine [00:03:13]:

Yeah. Well, fortunately, we had already begun To move digital. You know? So we have our online courses. We have several of them all, and we’ve had those for several years. And then we had shifted our, coach certification program for Unbeatable Mind from a long you know, year long process that required Four different touch points in person. We’d shifted that to a virtual only using Zoom, and that was about 9 months or a year before COVID. So we, yes. And now that our live events are on ice, we’re you know, we’ve shifted to mostly virtual.

Mark Divine [00:03:47]:

And, actually, we just did a hybrid event. We we did our annual our our biannual Unvealed Mind Experience as a hybrid event where we had a few 100 people watching and participating virtually. And then we had about 25 high end clients locally, you know, and we had to, As best we could do social distancing and all that, but it was it was pretty it was pretty cool. It went really well. And so that’ll be a model for the future for us. It’s interesting. You you would appreciate this, but the you know, because we’re a very experiential embodied leadership, leadership and team development company. And so we thinking, how how are we gonna do this? So with the people we had in person, you know, we took them out to the beach and did seal fit type training on the beach, you know, Military style boot camp training on the beach, and then we had them do a long, 3 or 4 hour rock at night with, you know, sandbags, the classic stuff.

Mark Divine [00:04:37]:

And we had them do an ice bath and, You know, Kekora yoga and all the breathing techniques and and, the people at home Pretty much. You know? I’m not not everyone, but pretty much most of them, because they were deeply committed to this whole process of being unbeatable, Did it on their own. Right? So they filled up their bathtubs with ice. While we did the ice bath, they did their ice bath. While we did our PT, they did their We did our yoga. They did their yoga. While we went out for, you know, a rock, they went out for a rock. It was pretty extraordinary.

Mark Divine [00:05:12]:

Loved it.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:14]:

You know, it kinda goes towards a couple different things there. One of your background, I e, US Navy Seal of, You know, adapt, overcome, still find a way to achieve the mission, I I e, for your business. Right? And pushing things to to the online space and doing a bit of a mix there and stuff like that. But the other part which we’re really gonna dive in today was, you know, forging that elite team that people, regardless of where they were physically located, Still felt that connection and that drive to be part of the team, not let the team down and continue on, including, you know, filling up their bathtub with ice and jumping into it.

Mark Divine [00:05:49]:

The whole theme of the event was uncommon. And the idea is, you know, to to thrive in VUCA, you gotta you gotta do uncommon things. And And in order to do uncommon things, you gotta become uncommon yourself. And that means you have to develop and live an uncommon stand. And the stand is essentially What do you stand for? You know? Because if you don’t stand for something else, you’ll fall for anything. And so we had them throughout the course of the weekend develop their, integrated 5 mountain training plan and get really clear about their future post COVID. You know? So a lot of vision work around what’s their purpose, what are they passionate about, how are they gonna align with that and create a new vision for their future, and then a mission plan to focus on that. But then the piece that really makes people uncommon is to create a stand that is They’re uncompromising set of behaviors that they’re gonna habituate and discipline until they’re just baked into their character.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:48]:


Mark Divine [00:06:49]:

So that when they show up, they just show up as an uncommon human being, and other people take notice. But more importantly, they just get Ridiculously uncommon results. And that’s kinda what’s happened with our company. Like, we’re we’re thriving in VUCA. Personally, You know, I’m thriving. Of course, as a military guy, you understand this. When the crisis hits, we kind of up our game because that’s what we’re we’re tooled for crisis. Yep.

Mark Divine [00:07:14]:

And when everything’s all hunky dory and and it seems all calm, you know, the Navy Seal tends to get a little bit bored. Not to say we get complacent, but we can get a little bit bored. So we take on extra projects, and we work out extra hard. But it’s when the crisis comes that we kinda ratchet into our front side focus mode and, like, okay. Now is now is this time. You know, the warrior steps into the breach. Let’s go. So that’s kinda what’s happened with myself and my company.

Mark Divine [00:07:42]:

We’re like, we’re in the breach, and we’re teaching people how to maintain mental toughness and resiliency and, You know, a calm center in the, you know, in the storm that they’re experiencing around them. And then to understand that this is the new reality. To be fair, it’s always been the reality, but the perception was that we were going through a comp period for the last, you know, maybe few years. But, if you’re if you can prepare your body, mind, and spirit to handle any situation, No matter how chaotic, how VUCA, then, you you can pretty much thrive and help others thrive and bring your team along, you know, and to Really accomplished some extraordinary things while everyone else is suffering. And you don’t wanna see that suffering, so then you can turn your eyes toward those people and really help them through it as well. So that’s kinda what we’re doing.

Scott McCarthy [00:08:33]:

That’s awesome, man. So much good stuff in there. So today, we’re really focusing in on, your latest book, Staring Down the Wolf. Which

Mark Divine [00:08:42]:

came out a week before the lockdown, by the way.

Scott McCarthy [00:08:45]:

Great timing.

Mark Divine [00:08:46]:

You know, what else we’re gonna do? Every single media appearance was Canceled because they were so focused on the COVID. Oh. It couldn’t have been a worse time to launch a a book.

Scott McCarthy [00:08:57]:

But I was thinking it was a great time

Mark Divine [00:08:59]:

to launch a book because no

Scott McCarthy [00:09:00]:

one else got nothing else to do but read, but I I’ve proven wrong. Yeah.

Mark Divine [00:09:05]:

That sucks.

Scott McCarthy [00:09:06]:

But Well,

Mark Divine [00:09:06]:

people find are finding it anyway. So

Scott McCarthy [00:09:09]:

Well, hopefully, hopefully, you’ll you’ll get a at least a couple sales, because I’ll give you a quick little story. The last time you were on episode 54, by the way, for the listener, it’s moving forward leadership .comforward/episode54. So if you’re listening to this and haven’t listened to that, Go back and listen to that one because we’re not going back. We’re we’re gonna launch forward here. But after that show, one of the listeners, Rob, shout out to Rob, sent me a copy

Mark Divine [00:09:35]:

of of

Scott McCarthy [00:09:35]:

the way of the seal. So we’ve discussed the way of the seal with them. But today, we’re gonna talk about staring down the wolf. So it’s all about Forging elite teams in the 7 commitments. So from your standpoint, what are elite teams? And what are they comprised of? You know, what makes a team an elite team vice an average team.

Mark Divine [00:09:54]:

Well, there’s a a few things that are really key. One is that in pursuant to what I was just talking about, an elite team has a set of standards That they’re willing to stand their ground on, and those are unique standards. You know, if you take the seal teams for instance, they have an extraordinarily high standard for Physical and mental preparation and readiness. I have extremely high standard, and bias toward action, Which means the way they think and the way they plan and the way they execute is is very aggressive, very action oriented. Not everyone has that stand. They have a high standard for who they let into the organization. And as a result of that, it takes sometimes 3 to 5 years, You know, to to actually become a Navy SEAL. If you even if you’ve got the right stuff.

Mark Divine [00:10:47]:

They’ve got a high standard for How they handle risk. So they have a a a very high tolerance for risk, but a very low tolerance for lack of Risk mitigation and risk planning. Does that make sense? So they they kinda bracket that with very, very detailed planning, Obsessive, amount of training, ridiculous amount of training so that, you know, we can take on risk that seems impossible or inordinate for the average human being, You know, or organization. So those are some of the things that kind of characterize in lead team as a culture of, You know, a constant and never ending growth, built on courage and trust and respect And, an an operational focus of improvement every day, trying to improve the individual’s capacity to perform, To improve the, team’s capacity to accomplish the mission given the range of skills tools, You know, operational, requirements and actual mission sets that we’re, you know, we’re tasked with so that every day, we have this commitment to excellence. I just figure out how to do something better, figure out how to improve the equipment, figure out how to improve the SOPs, always looking at, trying to simplify things and do things a little bit better, and everybody gets to have a say in that. It’s not like a A department of improvement. Right? It’s everybody has their own department of improvement. Even the most junior individual can weigh in on how to improve or simplify a process or a piece of equipment.

Mark Divine [00:12:26]:

And a lot of the, like, entire industries have been spawned by the Navy SEALs. Like, the tactical backpack Industry was spawned by a friend of mine, a seal team 3, because he was a parachute rigger, and riggers are sewers. Right? They they have these sewing machines when you guys say they gotta sew up parachutes when they rip. And so he just started sewing together tactical backpacks because he’s tired tired of the old, you know, Vietnam era Atlas pack that Kept getting issued, you know, to the operators. And I had mine when I got, you know, into SEAL team 3. And the next thing I know, I see him Walking around with what everyone thinks must have been around forever. These really cool tactical back he had built the first one, and then he created a company called Blackhawk. There’s, like, ten Tens of these examples where these seals just innovative stuff, not just seals, but special operators.

Mark Divine [00:13:13]:

So they’re very innovative, very prone toward constant improvement. And then resiliency is another one. By the way, these are I’m I’m kinda checking through the 7 commitments here, probably unbeknownst to most listeners that I talk about in my book, but this they’re super resilient. Right? So we have a a mindset that we will fail. It’s a necessary condition of success. Right? So we don’t expect everything to go well. We expect things to go poorly. We train for shit.

Mark Divine [00:13:43]:

We train for Murphy to show up. And we’re not surprised when it does, which is a really valuable skill for leaders today. You know, we don’t we don’t have a perfect plan, and we know that the execution is not gonna be perfect, so we fail forward fast. And we actually try to fill forward faster every day, and that makes us extremely resilient. Because when we’re hit by that challenge or the obstacle or the failure, we’re ready for it. We’re expecting it. We’re don’t shy from it, and, actually, we embrace it because that’s where the growth is. That’s where the up the learning moments are and the real opportunities for the team to To innovate and to adapt and improvise and overcome and find a way or make a way to succeed.

Mark Divine [00:14:25]:

And then the the last thing that really makes elite teams Utterly unique is is total alignment. So many teams are not aligned. They’re not aligned in vision. They have different visions for what what their, You know, what their personal vision is for being on the team, what the team’s vision is. They have different Senses of what the mission is even and maybe different pictures in their mind of what success looks like for the mission. They have different levels of commitment. Right? Personal commitment toward the team and toward the mission. A lot of times, individuals have different levels of discipline around their preparation and training And even their commitment to self improvement.

Mark Divine [00:15:13]:

And so you get all this disparity, and these clashes, right, which make a very complicated culture. And any culture will Literally vibrate to its lowest level. You know, if there’s a dissonance it in the culture, then it tends to Shift the vibratory energy of the the whole team out of balance. Right? It’s like if something’s oscillating nice and smooth, and then someone injects some negativity or A a different level, a different viewpoint that is a fixed mindset viewpoint, for instance. It it’s it’s creates this kind of either cognitive or emotional dissonance, And then it shifts everything out of whack. And so teams tend to fall to the lowest common denominator. Whereas an elite team, they don’t allow this to happen. They’re in total alignment.

Mark Divine [00:16:05]:

Everyone’s, you know, at the same level of commitment. Everyone must have the same level of dissonant toward their training, preparation, and mindset. You know, they’re they have clarity around what the vision is And what the vision for mission success is and what the boundaries are for that. They have clarity around their level of authority as well as autonomy. Sorry about this. And, and they’re able to share this in a, you know, In a really transparent and frequent way through their communication protocols, which which is, you know, we call better rhythm. Right? So how do we Communicate across and up and down the chain of command and the frequency of that and the type of things that are communicated. That’s all, Thought through and done with, you know, an uncommon level of, attention to detail on elite teams.

Scott McCarthy [00:16:58]:

That’s awesome.

Mark Divine [00:16:59]:

There’s a lot there. Sorry.

Scott McCarthy [00:17:00]:

Yeah. Yeah. Just a co just a couple of 1 or 2 things to unpack there. Right? But one of the things that struck me that I’d like to dive a little bit deeper into was your your notion that even in the most junior person or the, you You know, newest person of an organization can bring things forward. And often, when people think of military organizations, they think of That hardcore gunny sergeant Hartman, orders coming down. You will do this. You will do that. And they often think you know, especially from special forces Perspectives like, oh, they must be all but that.

Scott McCarthy [00:17:34]:

Everybody’s falling in order to to the exact letter. But the reality is it’s not true like that at all. So can we unpack that part of, You know, how we can go about how leaders can go about, you know, inspiring their younger people to bring these ideas forward because a lot of the younger people out there these days are the ones coming with the new ideas. They’re the ones that are coming with the new ideas of, You know, tapping into the different social media outlets or tapping you know, using the new technology that’s out there. And if the organization doesn’t Have that culture already of enabling these new folks to bring these ideas forward. It’s just gonna falter and leave.

Mark Divine [00:18:11]:

That’s right. Yeah. Innovation comes when a new idea gets paired with a, unknown methodology, And something, you know, that works better comes out of that. Sometimes, but rarely, you know, a new idea And a new methodology will spring forth that completely replaces something old. But usually, it’s where the the new and the old kinda mix and Mash up, and then you get some sort of incremental or, you know, leapfrog innovation. And it’s very difficult for someone who’s done things the same way, You know, over and over throughout the years to really think outside that box. Right? So that’s why it’s it’s important for leaders to constantly empty their cup and think what Let go of what they know and what they think they know to open up to what they don’t. And, simultaneously, it’s for young leaders to respect that there’s you know, not everything’s meant to be thrown out.

Mark Divine [00:19:09]:

Right? Because you oftentimes throw the baby out with the bathwater. And so you want to look at what’s working, but how to improve something. And if in that process, you see that it does need a complete overhaul, Then great. But work together to create that overhaul because there might be 2nd and third order consequences that you don’t see as the young guy that the older, You know, the more seasoned veteran might see. So it really is kind of a dance. It requires just respect from all parties. Right? So I can see this both ways. I’ve seen it where the old timers don’t have respect for the young timers because they lack the experience, and the young timers don’t have respect for the old timers because they’re, You know, they’re old school, and, you know, they’re on their way out or, you know, their systems obviously Yeah.

Mark Divine [00:19:59]:

There’s always they always think there’s a better way to do it when you’re young and looking forward. The older folks are looking backwards saying, you know, well, we’ve already tried that. So you need to have respect on both sides of the equation. Right? How do how do we develop that respect? It’s where everyone Everyone on the team is doing things where they share experiences and they share vulnerabilities. They share, training. They share risk. And so the young guy you know, let’s say an example of the military. You know, the young guy gets To see that the older guy actually has some tremendous experience on, you know, in operationally in certain things that, you know, they don’t and that that experience could save their lives.

Mark Divine [00:20:46]:

And then the older guy sees that the young guy has a tremendous amount of energy and inspiration and and new ideas. And so they’re willing to you know, more willing to accept those ideas and that energy because they’re training together and they’re sharing risk together. Right? So that’s kind of uncommon. Right? So that requires that teams learn to Grow both horizontally and vertically. And what I mean by that is that they do things teams will do things to improve their skills For things that they already know how to do or things that they need to know how to do. And and those skills, you know, were always training. In fact, most organizations and most teams, that’s all they do, is training new skills. You know? And that’d be akin for the, you know, the military unit to go out and refresh their shooting skills and Refresh their pair, you know, their jumping skills or their diving skills.

Mark Divine [00:21:39]:

These horizontal skills are necessary, and they increase the capacity of the team to get The mission done, but they don’t change the human beings who are doing them. Right? The it’s the same person that you know, the person I am, Mark, you know, before I do the 1 week Shooting course is the same person as I am when I finish the 1 week shooting course. Those are horizontal skills. So they do those together, but they also engage in What we call vertical development. And vertical development is a type of development where it changes the character of the individuals. And what this looks like and what we’re starting to work with With the SEAL teams is when a team can commit to actually doing, Breath work and mindfulness training together and visualization together as a team. And so through that process, they’re Proving their capacity to get mission accomplishment because, hey, the breath control is gonna make them calmer as a team. It’s gonna bleed off stress.

Mark Divine [00:22:35]:

You’re gonna have more confidence That, you know, you’re you’re not gonna wig out or your teammate is not gonna wig out. Great. Check. But also that breath control, you know, has a Has this the the breath training has a serious effect on your capacity to see more. It’s gonna change your brain over time, you know, through neuro Plasticity, to be able to, you know, entrain yourself into more of a flow state, and you’re gonna feel more connected to your teammates. So you tend to have this sense of growth beyond just being able to shoot better. Right? You have the sense of growth. Same thing with mindfulness.

Mark Divine [00:23:11]:

Right? You’re gonna see patterns. You’re gonna be able to, eradicate kinda negative conditioning, which allows to greater situational awareness on the battlefield as well as, greater control over any kind of reactionary conditioning that might, get in the way of a good decision. It’s very important for that as a leader. And so, you know, those skills, which are the softer internal skills, Tend to lead to vertical development. And there’s other skills too, like, really, really teaching the team To move beyond their own needs and to take care of their team’s needs and also to have a a definitive teammate, you know, that you are responsible for. So that’s like in the SEALs, you take care of the team and the team’s gear and mission first, then you take care of your teammate. And your teammate takes care of you. And in this way, you’re always watching someone else’s back, and someone’s watching your back.

Mark Divine [00:24:08]:

And this has a profound effect of creating a greater depth of relationships and connectability with other humans, which then Extends to your ability to be a a good leader and a good follower, a good teammate. These are all skills we call vertical development skills. When you combine vertical and horizontal development skills into your training plan, man, it it really does open up A whole new vista for teams, that bring great, trust and respect, which are the you know, the glue and the grease that Allow teams to really operate at an elite level.

Scott McCarthy [00:24:46]:

Love it. Absolutely love it. Now one of the common themes I keep hearing over and over out of you right now is Fact. And you you have that, you know, as as one of your one of the 7 commitments in the book as well. So, Obviously, this is this is, this is super important thing. And Mhmm. And it obviously is part of fit, you know, part of the glue that that forges these, these elite teams. So how do leaders go about what are some of the best ways for leaders to go ahead and ensure that, you They have an organization that embodies respect, has a culture of respect for everybody up and down the chain of command, horizontal, lateral, whatever.

Scott McCarthy [00:25:27]:


Mark Divine [00:25:30]:

The first 3 commitments are instrumental. Everything’s built on those. 1st is courage, then trust, and then respect. So without courage, you’ll lack respect in organization. And what I mean by courage is the courage to as a leader and every everyone’s a leader. So you’re you’re leading or you’re following, And that those roles kinda shift and change. I’m not talking necessarily about positional leadership. Although, if you’re a positional leader, then, obviously, that you have to pay Special attention to this because you could be the limiting factor or the limiting, energy of your team if you’re not, courageously looking at your flaws, looking at your biases, looking At your emotional shadow and how you show up with the team.

Mark Divine [00:26:21]:

Right? And this is why, like, 3 60 feedback is so critical. You know, when I did one of those a few years ago, it was like getting hit over the head with a 2 by 4. Holy cow. You know? Here I am after all these years, and I teach elite teams and leadership, and And this is still how I’m showing up in certain ways with my team. And so I was able to, you know, humbly admit that I still flawed as a leader and And take action to, to improve, you know, certain aspects of my character so that I can show up more authentically and and, You know, and lead better. So, you know, great humility and transparency and, follow through are required, right, When when or come out of courage. And what I mean by follows through is a follow through, you know, when there’s a character defect that I don’t that’s identified, you actually Take action on it. You don’t just nod your head or or deny it or, you know, pretend that it’s just you know, people don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

Mark Divine [00:27:22]:

So when everyone commits to courage to show up authentically with humility, to check their egos at the door, To radically improve the quality of the team experience starting with themselves, then then trust starts to really Grow. You know? And trust is an incremental thing. It it takes a long time. Trust is built one action at a time, one follow through at a time, 1, you know, authentic conversation at a time, but it can be stripped away in an instant. You know, you’ve heard the term in the military, one one off shit wipes out a 1,000 attaboys. Right? That’s what we’re talking about there. Like, you could build a 1,000 attaboys of trust and have it wiped away in one heartbeat Just because if you’re not paying attention to your negative reactionary conditioning or your shadow and you show up and you drop a little bomb Because you’re having a bad hair day, then boom. It’s gone.

Mark Divine [00:28:22]:

The good news is if you build a bank account of trust, you can build it back Fairly quickly. But you have to start with apology and start with acknowledgement that you, you know, you did something to screw things up. And a lot of leaders struggle with that because they they think they’re supposed to be perfect. So you’ve gotta drop the perfectionism, drop the need to be right, which is like Crack cocaine for human beings needing to be right. You drop all that. Drop righteousness, drop judgmentalism, drop perfectionism, And show up at the team fully admitting that you’re a flawed human being and don’t have all the answers just like them and together. But together, We can we can solve this because together, everyone can achieve more, which is one of the acronyms I love for team. So then trust, man.

Mark Divine [00:29:10]:

Trust In the team, trust in the ability to, when we’re authentic and we act with integrity and we speak the Truth. You know, we may not always my truth may not sync up with your truth, but we can have a conversation about, You know, why and and maybe there’s a a middle ground or a higher order truth that could come out of that. I love the saying that The definition of high intelligence is when you can hold 2 contradictory truths in your mind and not go crazy. Right. And that’s what a good leader and a good team can do. Like, you come and you have a truth, and I come and I have a different truth and they clash. Instead of me judging your truth or thinking I’m right, we We examine those 2 things. We hold them up and we look at them.

Mark Divine [00:29:57]:

We’re like, oh, wow. These are consistent with our within our points of view or our perspectives. But out of by combining these 2 and stripping away this and that and maybe creating a simpler model, we can actually create a higher order truth, which is gonna Be more effective and lead to less second or third order consequences. That can only happen if there’s tremendous courage and trust Amongst the teammates, right, to not feel like they’re gonna be, judged or or, you know, backstabbed or you know what I mean? All that kinda subtle communication stickiness that happens in organizations. Right? So you open up to To more authentic and, vulnerable communications around how to get stuff done and the effect of, you know, your energy and and your personality on the team and that type of thing. And once we start to have those conversations at that level, The depth of respect both for yourself and for the team starts to really, really expand because we you know, again, respect is when you recognize that Not perfect, but I’m willing to admit that and to work on myself every day. And when people show up every day with that with that attitude, you know, that That growth attitude and are willing to admit when they screw up and are willing to help others, you know, through challenging times, then, You know, there’s nothing but respect all around. Those 3 attributes or those 3 commitments, and I call them commitments because they really are They’re practices.

Mark Divine [00:31:29]:

A set of practices for each one. There’s a set of practices that you can work on daily to be more courageous like we talked about and more trustworthy so that you can, you know, show up with, get you know, have more trust, you know, For yourself or your actions. And then also, there’s practices around being respecting, respectable, and to respect others. And that’s the foundation. Without that, like, if you try to jump right toward alignment or right toward excellence, you know, and a lot of people do that. They they focus on them Going right toward the processes or the behaviors without working on the, the intentions and the attitudes and the mindset, and it doesn’t work because It all starts with intention, attitude, and mindset when it comes to leadership and teams.

Scott McCarthy [00:32:21]:

Love it. Absolutely love it. And so much truth in there. And, you know, yes, that kind of music, that was a very American one. We don’t use that one up here in Canada, but We we we have our similar ones. Right?

Mark Divine [00:32:33]:


Scott McCarthy [00:32:35]:

But one of the things that really comes out there is, you know, dropping ego. As leaders, we have to let our egos go. We let it get the best of us because if not, then we’re gonna start lose people are gonna start losing respect for us because Mhmm. We think we know it all, like you said, and and that Drive as human beings to seem like they know it all. It almost sounds counterintuitive. Now one of the things that you’ve mentioned, which Someone, if they’re looking at they’re on your book, you say one of the 7 key principles is excellence, but at the same time, you say, well, you don’t have to write all the time.

Mark Divine [00:33:06]:


Scott McCarthy [00:33:07]:

And and that almost could sound, you know, a little bit counterintuitive. Well, the oxymoronage. Like, well, how how is it that we can be excellent and have a commitment, A key principle of commitment to excellence, but at the same time, be wrong. How does that work?

Mark Divine [00:33:21]:

Well, that’s a great question. Excellence really has to do with behavior and action, whereas being right and wrong has to do with intention, Attention and mindset. Right? So another way to say that is, Excellence has to do with the exterior domain. Right? And trust, respect, and courage have to do with the interior domain. Right? The the field of your potential versus the field of performance. So excellence another way to look at excellence is the saying that we always had in the seals that the way you do anything is the way you do everything. Well, that’s partially true In a in a kind of a platitude in a sense. But what was really speaking to is, like, if you pay attention to detail And you do you know, you and you’re able to focus on your 1 task that you and not multitask and not you know, throw your attention all over the place.

Mark Divine [00:34:19]:

So if your intention Is to put your attention attention on the singular task, which is the right task for you to do right now, which is tied to your mission. And then when you take that action, you take that action with enough mindful awareness and attention to detail that it that It is an excellent action. Meaning, it’s, like, as perfect as you can make it knowing that there’s no such thing as perfection. There’s only perfect effort. And that is excellence. So you see how those those link. And if we try to do if we Strive for excellence in the small things, then the big things tend to work themselves out. And you have a much higher degree of success Given the fact that the the bigger it is, the more complexity is gonna be involved, and no plan survives contact with the enemy or reality.

Mark Divine [00:35:09]:

So that’s where the attitude that, you know, it’s not gonna be perfect. And part of my excellence is to be prepared for Challenges and obstacles and setbacks and failure and and to have a contingency plan. And then to, you know, to rapidly, assess the situation and, you know, activate the OODA loop, you know, figure out what’s going on and observe it and orient yourself to it and make a new decision, And then act on that and radically focus on that. Right? So excellence is about a set of behaviors, Habits and actions that lead to excellent results and constant improvement. But that’s all built upon Intention, attention, you know, attitude and mindset, which are all interior and have to do with nonaction, but about everything that precedes action.

Scott McCarthy [00:36:04]:

Makes absolute sense to me and absolutely love it. And one of the cool things that’s coming out now is suddenly the linkages across the 7 principles And how one is basically flowing into others. So you talked about courage, trust, respect, and how they’re the foundation. And Mhmm. We we kinda skipped over growth, but it’s been sprinkled throughout. And now we’re doing that.

Mark Divine [00:36:23]:

The growth is, like, vertical and that horizontal growth.

Scott McCarthy [00:36:26]:

Right. Right. Right.

Mark Divine [00:36:26]:

But it’s hard you can’t get the vertical growth unless you have courage, rush, and respect.

Scott McCarthy [00:36:30]:


Mark Divine [00:36:30]:

Because the energy gets stuck.

Scott McCarthy [00:36:32]:

And now we’re just talking about excellence in that and, you know, like you said, no plan survives contact with enemy, reality, however you wanna use the saying. And therefore, excellence becomes how do you adjust? How do you continue? How do you ensure that you still get the task done. And that now ties into resiliency. Right. Right? And we talked a lot about resiliency. But, Obviously, resiliency is a leader and as a team. They have to be important because, you know, we go through ups and downs. That’s life.

Scott McCarthy [00:37:05]:

Mhmm. You know? We’re in a major down right now for some people and others are major ups depending on what kind of business that you’re in. So let’s dive a little deeper into the resiliency aspect, shall we?

Mark Divine [00:37:16]:

Sure. Resiliency for for us there’s so many ways to look at resiliency. It’s this attitude or this you know, again, resiliency has an internal and external aspect to it as well. The internal aspect is yesterday’s done. Right. The Navy Seals said the only easy day was yesterday. That’s basically saying, hey. It’s over.

Mark Divine [00:37:42]:

Yeah. So that’s therefore, it’s easy. In your memory, it’s easy. Yeah. You You did this. You did that. You kicked ass. You took names.

Mark Divine [00:37:48]:

You had these things. It’s it’s easy. But what are you gonna do today to exceed that? Right? What are you gonna do today, to thrive. And so we don’t dwell in the past, And we don’t dwell in the future. Right? You plan the best you can with a good enough plan for the future. You let go of regrets and, any attachment to your accomplishments or failures of the past, whether it’s yesterday or or more distant past, And you show up today with everything you got. We call that one day, one lifetime. You show up today with everything you got.

Mark Divine [00:38:26]:

And to be fair as a warrior, as you know, today might be the Might be the last. So you better be present and, show up so you’re there for your for your the team and and the mission, And you’re aware if it is your last day. Now with that attitude, We tend to become really resilient because we just show up day after day doing the best we can, eradicating the regrets from the day before, Planning for the future and then letting go of attachment to it. And then we get all this energy to focus in the now moment during the day on our mission, On our tasks, on our projects. I I can’t think of any other Any other kind of definition or way to describe a highly resilient human being? Because in the now moment, it doesn’t matter what’s happening. You’re always gonna be able to respond effectively because you’re not burdened with the past and the future, and you’re able to tap into that situational awareness in this and that mindful, presence that we’ve been practicing as a resilient human being, which allows us to respond positively to the situation. And then we move on to the next target, next task, next project, next mission. And we’re always learning.

Mark Divine [00:39:49]:

We’re always growing. And when we really get blown over by something like COVID where it’s, like, knocks us off our feet, Then, you know, we have the tools and the skills to get up and dust ourselves off and and immediately ask, wow. What did I learn? This is a great opportunity to really, really learn because that was a big one. Right? That was a big wave, and it knocked me on my ass. What did I learn from that? We tend to kinda blow off the little ones. Although there’s great learning in the little things that kind of get us sidetracked. So we wanna learn to learn from every everything during the day. So resiliency is about learning and growth And just acknowledging that there is no such thing as failure, just different ways of accomplishing things, Recognizing that the challenges will be there regardless of whether I want them to be or not.

Mark Divine [00:40:41]:

No matter how much I plan or how good my team is, they’re gonna be there And, to prepare for them, be very adaptable. I love the kind of the positive acronym for VUCA. VUCA, you know, of course, is military for Military. I can refer volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. And the positive version of that is, you know, what gets us through volatility is vision. What gets us through, uncertainty is understanding, common understanding. What gets us through complexity is clarity about our mission and about our intention, you know, and our actions. And what gets us through ambiguity is adaptability.

Mark Divine [00:41:25]:

And if you can have vision and understanding and clarity and adaptability, then you’re very resilient as a human being. And you do that by taking things one day at a time and, you know, really applying all the different principles and commitment with commitments we’ve been talking about On this podcast.

Scott McCarthy [00:41:42]:

Love it. And I love the part where you say, you know, there’s basically no such thing as failure. It’s just base you know, Pick a way of explaining it, but just new ways of learning, different ways of learning. And it’s it’s how you react to it and ensuring that you take the best out of

Mark Divine [00:41:58]:

attrition. That’s right.

Scott McCarthy [00:41:59]:

And and that’s what leaders do, and that’s how we forge these elite teams as you obviously know because you’ve been part of some of the world’s some of the world’s mostly elite teams. Right.

Mark Divine [00:42:08]:


Scott McCarthy [00:42:09]:

And and the last part that you’re getting at, I see I could see alignment coming in, you know, ensuring the vision and the mission and all of that. You know, through that resiliency, alignment has to come into play, making sure that I would assume making sure everybody’s on the same page. Everybody understands.

Mark Divine [00:42:26]:

And this is where you can see that this becomes not a linear thing, but like a self reinforcing or almost a holographic, thing where where all these you know, because the alignment then reinforces resiliency. It reinforces excellence. You know? So it has a Almost a backward flow to it. It reinforces growth. Because if you’re out of alignment, all those things could be out, you know, out of whack. Mhmm. You know? So alignment then feeds courage in the other direction in a circular way, which then breeds more trust and respect, which then accelerates growth. And then it’s you know, people then the team is then more motivated for excellence, and they take on bigger, bigger missions because their vision is expanding, Their confidence is expanding, which makes them more resilient.

Mark Divine [00:43:10]:

Right? Because they’re they’re they’re dealing with bigger challenges and having bigger setbacks, which means they’re learning and growing more. And then they have this desire or kind of urge or compulsion to be even more aligned because, you know, think of, like, SpaceX, For example, like, how aligned is that organization around a mission to colonize Mars? And then in order for that to happen, they’re extraordinarily courageous. They’ve got great trust and respect. I know this. I’ve spoken to them. And, they’re very much of a growth organization. Right? Because they have to have honest Vulnerable conversations. You know, like, when I spoke to them, they’re like, yeah, we’re kinda scared that we’re gonna kill a human being, you know, the 1st time we send them up to the space.

Mark Divine [00:43:49]:

And how can we Deal with our stress and our fear. You know? Because we’re we’re not astronauts or navy seals. You know? We’re just, you know, tech we’re technical people. You know, we’re launch control. It was so they’re really growth oriented and committed to, like, ridiculous excellence. Every day, they’re tweaking, trying to figure out and they don’t fear failure, obviously. You know what I mean? How many times they fail, and Elon and the rest of the team just Sloughs it off. It’s like, that wasn’t a necessary thought because we learned something incredibly valuable.

Mark Divine [00:44:19]:

So they’re very resilient and aligned.

Scott McCarthy [00:44:23]:

I remember, watching a a video with Elon, and he was explaining how they’re basically at the brink Until they actually got the successful launch. She’s like, yeah. We’re we’re gonna go one more time. And if it it doesn’t work this time Yeah.

Mark Divine [00:44:37]:

We’ve folded up. We’re done. Right.

Scott McCarthy [00:44:41]:

Mark, man, this has been fantastic. So great chat with you again. I I got 1 last question about The book that I’ve been dying to ask you since it came out. And that is, who’s the wolf?

Mark Divine [00:44:53]:

The wolf is yourself. That we need The wolf is your the wolf is yourself. It’s, you know, it’s a metaphor of the fear wolf that resides in your head, which is negatively biased and and, is what holds you back. And the courage wolf, you know, is in your heart. That’s The, you know, metaphor for all those positive internal qualities that you cultivate through the internal practices and And through vulnerability and authenticity and whatnot. But the fear of is in your head is the aspect of you as a human being that, you know, as we’ve mentioned earlier or as a leader that Wants to be perfect, wants to have all the answers, thinks that they need to be the one with a bold vision, and and is gonna, you know, have all the right answers. So staring down the wolf made you stare down the bias toward perfectionism, stare down the bias toward not sharing as much of yourself and Putting a mask on with 1 team and, you know, and then and a different mask with your leadership team and a different mask at home and your family, staring down. I don’t know if I said this already, but perfectionism and, fear of success or fear of failure.

Mark Divine [00:46:03]:

There’s so many, You know? Right. Shadow elements and biases that we carry around as humans. You gotta stare that stuff down and starve it out. You know, like, The metaphor, if you starve the fear wolf, then it’s gonna lose its energy and power. And then you feed the courage wolf And that courage and and acting from your heart center and being more, trusting and and respectful and And more connecting as a human being, which is gonna have enormous effect on your team to unlock its 20 x potential. So starve the fear wolf, feed the courage wolf. You starve the fear wolf by staring at staring down the aspects of your character that are, You know, less than optimal until you eradicate them.

Scott McCarthy [00:46:51]:


Mark Divine [00:46:51]:

And then you show up more fully as a leader.

Scott McCarthy [00:46:54]:

Love it. Now as we wrap up the show here, I do got a couple last questions for you. One which you well, both actually that you did answer last time, but we’re gonna we’re gonna compare notes this one because this last question is one asked all the guests here at Moving Forward Leadership. And as according to you, Mark Devaughn, what makes a great leader?

Mark Divine [00:47:13]:

Yeah. Great leader is someone who takes them takes their eyes off themselves and puts them on their team.

Scott McCarthy [00:47:19]:

I bet that will be probably much pretty much verbatim from last time.

Mark Divine [00:47:24]:

It might be. Because if you can’t do that, you have no business leading. Awesome.

Scott McCarthy [00:47:29]:

And finally, how can we follow you? How can we find you? Feel free to give yourself a shout out shoot us a call.

Mark Divine [00:47:35]:

Thanks. Personal website, mark divine.com. Instagram, hashtag real mark divine, you know, all that kind of stuff. The the training and coaching, we have a great Certified coaching program are really ramping up for Unbeatable Mind, which, you know, we teach these things, and we have, you know, really deep immersive programs to help Leaders and teams embrace these 7 commitments. That information is at unbeatablemind.com, and that’s a good place. You know, those those are probably enough for now.

Scott McCarthy [00:48:05]:

Yeah. And for the audience member, all the links including the other ones that you mentioned in the last episode are all in the show notes. Just go to moving forward leadership .comforward/142. Mark, one thing. We are actually recording this show in the middle of September, but I’m far ahead in my my, Recording right now. But I wanna let you know something and probably something special that this show is actually gonna air on what you guys refer to as Veterans Day. We call it Remembrance Day. So from from 1 soldier to a former, former soldier, you know, thank thanks for your service.

Scott McCarthy [00:48:39]:

But, everybody out there, take a moment to, you know, to do a moment silence for those who our friends who never got to come back.

Mark Divine [00:48:48]:

Thank you for doing that. And, also, I do wanna add that we We have a nonprofit foundation for to, you know, to help vets who are suffering from post traumatic stress. It’s called the Courage Foundation, and we’re doing a, A workout fundraiser in in, partnership with another foundation. And it’s a really fun and simple way to bring awareness, raise awareness for veterans from post traumatic stress. And then what we do with that money is we put them through a integrated recovery type program that includes 12 months of of coaching support from us as well as an immersive training. So courage foundation .net or feedcourage.org are actually the go to the same place. So if you’re so inspired to support the vets, check it out.

Scott McCarthy [00:49:34]:

That’s amazing. Yeah. That’s I have it in the show notes already as well. Again, I am it’s been a pleasure. It’s been an honor to have you back on the show here. It’s a great chat as always.

Mark Divine [00:49:42]:

Oh, yeah. Thank you, Scott. Appreciate it very much.

Scott McCarthy [00:49:45]:

And that’s a wrap for this episode, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting the peak performance leadership podcast. But you know what you could do to truly support the podcast and know that’s not leaving a Rating and review. It’s simply helping a friend, and that is helping a friend by sharing this episode with them If you think this would resonate with them and help them elevate their performance level, whether that’s within themselves, their teams, or their organization. So do that. Help me. Help a friend.

Scott McCarthy [00:50:19]:

Win win all around. And, hey. You look like a great friend at the same time. So Just hit that little share button on your app, and then feel free to fire this episode to anyone that you feel would benefit from it. Finally, there’s always more. There’s always more lessons around being the highest Performing leader that you can possibly be, whether that’s for yourself, your team, or your organization. So why don’t you subscribe? Subscribe to the show via moving forward leadership .comforward/ subscribe. Until next time, leave.

Scott McCarthy [00:50:58]:

Don’t boss, And thanks for coming out. Take care now.