#1781 Your STANDARDS

Is It Time to ELEVATE Them?

In our last couple +1s (here and here), we took a very quick look at a couple Big Ideas from Tim Kennedy’s fascinating autobiography, Scars and Stripes: An Unapologetically American Story of Fighting the Taliban, UFC Warriors, and Myself.

Today I want to shine a spotlight on ONE more inspiring idea from his inspiring book.

I want to talk about STANDARDS.

First, a little context.

After flailing around for the first several years of his adult life (remember: he was kicked out of the fire department AND the police department WHILE getting two women pregnant in the span of four days!) Tim nearly ENDED his own life.

He was lucky he didn’t.

After he describes that experience in the book, Tim tells us about how he enlisted in the Army following the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

He had the rare opportunity to take part in “a new program aimed at athletes who have already graduated from college.” It was called the “18 X-Ray program.

As he tells us, this was “a fast-track way of joining the Special Forces. Typically, the recruiter explains, you spend six years or more in the Army before you are eligible to apply for Special Forces. This program would allow me to cut the line. It sounds perfect. I ask for a pen, then I sign the contract. I’m headed to the Army.


Tim proceeded to go through that Army Special Forces training and became a Green Beret.

He walks us through the details of the training (😲 🤯 !!) AND his experience receiving his Green Beret.

He tells us: “I will never be able to truly describe the profound weight of that moment for me. It isn’t just a hat. It’s a brotherhood. It’s a responsibility. It’s a moment that will define me, and the expectations of me, for the rest of my life.

Later, he went through Ranger Training and became an Army Ranger.

Note: If you think that U.S. Navy SEAL training is the toughest in the world, it’s time to learn more about Green Beret and Ranger training. (Tim describes both.)

They’re ALL insane.

😲 🤯! 🫡 🇺🇸!

😲 🤯! 🫡 🇺🇸!

😲 🤯! 🫡 🇺🇸!


So you know...

One of the reasons I read (and share Notes on!) so many books by military leaders/special forces operators is to remind myself (and you!) of JUST HOW HARD these men and women work to protect our freedoms.

The challenges they must endure to earn the right to serve in the most elite forces is ineffably humbling and inspiring.

Which is one of the reasons why my Heroic Energy Identity in our app is “Disciplined SOF Athlētē.”

SOF is short for “Special Operations Forces.” I chose that Energy Identity and recommit to being that best version of myself every day with guys like this in mind.


It’s time for our discussion on STANDARDS.

Here are a few ways Tim captures the standards to which his elite forces hold themselves that inspire ME to step up my game.

He tells us: “The entire military runs on the premise of Task, Condition, and Standard. You are given a task and a condition and you are expected to meet the standard. Special Forces operate on the premise of Task, Command, No Standard. In other words, the ‘standard’ is your best effort, every time.

Think about that for a moment longer.

Imagine being judged by whether or not YOU DID YOUR BEST.

THAT is the standard.

Anything short of that?


That’s closing the gap and living with ARETÉ.

Forging the Heroic strength for TWO.


That’s Today’s +1…

Spotlight on YOU!!!

To what standards are YOU holding yourself?


Can you see any opportunities to step up your standards and close the gap between who you’re capable of being and who you’re actually being?

Me, too.

Let’s go.

P.S. Here are a few other wisdom gems on high standards you might find as inspiring as I did…

Tim tells us: “Ranger School is hard but fair. There is one standard: Ranger Standard. You either meet the standard or you go home. This is a meritocracy. There’s no rank. There are no favors. There are no exceptions to the standard. It’s a simplicity I immediately respect.

And: “As with all things, I didn’t do it until I got it right; I did it until I couldn’t get it wrong.

And: “I generally live by the rule that you don’t rise to the moment but rather fall to the level of your training.

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