On Wednesday January 25th I Got the pleasure of Interviewing John MacLaren who is a navy Seal! Special Thanks to him for talking to my 16U Softball Players on Sunday Nights!
1. How long have you had Direct Action and a Navy Seal?
I have been doing this type of work, whether on active duty or after active duty, for 38 years. I did not go into the Navy to become a Navy SEAL. I was a super skinny kid, who loved to run, but so thin I could literally see my heartbeat in my chest. I went into the Navy at the end of 1984. I went into the Navy in the Intelligence field as a cryptologic technician. I met a mentor who shared the benefits of learning biomechanics and getting strong. He assured me that I would never look back if I committed to creating biomechanics learning and strength training for thirty days. He was so right. I committed to a structure and training program for thirty days, and I spent the next year training like a crazy person to get stronger, smarter about training, and faster. It was then that I applied for acceptance into Navy SEAL training. It was not easy to get accepted, and the Navy said no many times due to needing me in my current position, but I persisted, and eventually, I was accepted, and the rest is history. I was in the Navy on active duty and in the Navy reserves until 1997.
2. Have you always lived on the West Coast?
I spent much of my younger years in New England. New Hampshire and New Jersey. I love New England. I have lived in several states because of the military but mainly in California. That is also where I live now.
3. Where did you attend School, and did you do any School Activities?
As I mentioned earlier, I was a super skinny kid. I was always running as a hobby and sport. I ran track and cross country. I moved to Utah in high School and continued running there. I was an average-grade high-school student. I was not too fond of homework, so although I did very well while sitting IN School, I always lost points for my lack of homework. It was a horrible habit that I had to work very hard to break. I don't think we ever truly break the bad habits from high School. It is one of the most critical periods to create solid personal habits. It's one of the reasons I work with so many young people. To help them avoid unrealizing potential and unnecessary screw-ups and minimize bad habits later in life.
I went to several Navy schools in the Intelligence field and even spent time learning at NSA, the National Security Agency. The SEAL Teams life is constant daily training and includes many specialized schools. Learning in that environment is an absolute constant. School and training are never complete, and a Navy SEAL is NEVER good enough. There is always more and better.
While in the Navy, I kept running the entire time, and eventually, I raced for one of the Navy teams they created in each region of the world. After Active duty, I attended the Master's program in counseling and spiritual psychology in early 2000. I am obsessed with how people and teams improve, so I spend time developing and advancing programs so others may benefit. I enjoy working to understand myself and others better to help more people progress. I am always taking some course or another, either self-directed or in an institution. I love learning.
4. What is your Favorite thing about doing presentations like you been with my Softball Team?
I LOVE THIS TEAM! When any Nazball teammate shares something with me, it improves my whole day. Sometimes it can be like pulling teeth, but when anyone on this team speaks, it is worth hearing and learning from. This team getting together to learn and share some experiences is one of the best parts of my week. Young people are soooooo much more brilliant than they realize. Adults are too. The teenage years and sometimes all of life can be full of anger, frustration, and cruelty. Living in fear and anxiety is horrible for any living thing. But, ironically, that is precisely how the brain is designed to respond and feel unless we train it to do something more positive. Excellence is not intuitive. Excellence takes doing something different than what comes naturally and working together.
I began studying the brain more than two decades ago to understand better how to develop confidence and leadership skills, minimize anxiety and anger, and help others train their brains to work toward its brilliance and strength. We ALL CAN DO THAT. If people understand why that happens and how to navigate those times better, life is much more enjoyable, and so are relationships with friends, family, sports, and work. This team is an excellent example of all of this. I see in each of them the brilliance and powerful positive effect that each can have if we understand how our brains work and work as a team to help each other train the front half. It's really cool because it works for EVERYONE at work, School, home, or on the field.
I look forward to each Sunday that the Nazball teammates spend with me.
5. Have you visited many states across the Country along the way or out of the Country?
Yes, for sure. I have worked in at least twenty countries and been to or through every state. In addition, I have spent years working with corporations and professionals as a business coach, leadership, and team development specialist. I also help people solve issues around domestic violence, child abuse, stalking, personal protection, harassment, and other issues that threaten an individual, family, or company. Because of all of this work, I have been to every state and many countries.
6. What is the Mission of Direct Action, and How can people find out more information?
What a great question. I have tried to summarize this for decades. There are two focus areas of Direct Action Inc. The first is Business Breakthrough Strategist and Business and Personal Development Coach. www.directactioncoaching.com
I work with professionals or corporations to help them go beyond what they imagined they could—essentially creating Navy SEAL Team-level success in their professional or corporate development. That is usually a six or seven-figure increase in profit per year, depending on the company's current level. I also focus heavily on creating the most high-performing and collaborative teams because that helps every area of our lives. I have found that every company has areas that hold them back and areas they can quickly grow in, but they can be hard to see from the ground level that the business owners and executives are operating from. I often say, "a great quarterback would never think they can also coach that same team." The view and focus are entirely different. Coach Jen, for example, is viewing the team from an angle, direction, and perspective that no parent or teammate can duplicate. What she sees and processes daily is impossible to reproduce from the parent or player seat.
The second aspect of my work is Navy SEAL/SWCC/NSW/Spec-Ops Candidate Mentor, Veterans Professional Transition Specialist, and teaching and developing teams or individuals to understand and build their "superpowers" physically, mentally, and emotionally. www.directaction.us
Everyone has a few areas or traits that are built to explode into massive success once obstacles to that success are removed, and we develop a committed plan to unleash that true potential that every human has inside of them waiting to be supported and developed. This system and training also increase confidence and abilities and decreases anxiety, depression, PTS, and anger. I call the program I have created Leadership Biomechanics." The programs are based on psychology, understanding human biology and exercise physiology, and the chemistry of our brains, so it works for EVERYONE.
As an example of how well this system and approach work, the Active duty Navy SEAL training program BUD/s has a 5-10% successful graduation rate. Suppose you come from our program after committing to this training; the success rate changes to 96%! This incredible success shift is similar for companies, teams, and even families I work with. Cool huh!
7. Do you have any kids and Animals, and Did you meet your wife when you were a navy Seal?
I have a fantastic son. He is grown and in his thirties. I also have three insanely enthusiastic dogs and a horse my better half brought home a few years ago. I met her after the SEAL Teams many years ago. It took some time to get together permanently because I was all over the Country and the world for work for the better part of fifteen years. 8. What do you like to do in your Free Time? Do you have any Hobbies or like Sports? I love my work and working with people of all ages, companies, veterans, and military candidates. I spend much of my time researching and listening to people to understand better how to help them more quickly and effectively. When I am not working, I spend my time in the gym, with my partner exploring the area, caring for the horse, and CONSTANTLY catering to the dogs. I love being outside in any weather. I also have a motorcycle, although I do not find time to ride as much as I used to.
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