Former Navy SEAL Takes His Expertise to the Prepping Community

What do you do when you have some of the toughest and most sophisticated training in the world, have experience using it in combat in Iraq and other hotspots in the world, but think the next hotspot might be within our own borders?

You prepare.  “The problem with that,” says Randy Kelley, “is that any team is more powerful and capable than any one individual in a crisis situation”.   He should know, Randy was a SEAL in the Navy for 11 years before starting a company that helped his former community with their training and special equipment needs.

As a SEAL, one of his specialties was intelligence on and off the battlefield, which allowed him to see some clouds on the horizon a few years ago.  Some are economic, some are cultural, some political, some are conflict-driven, and some are natural.  They all add up, however, to a very bad storm headed our way.

“I feel a little crazy sometimes, since we’ve lived in a country of peace and prosperity my whole life.   Yet, I know the mechanics of conflict and I’ve seen it the theater of war.  It’s indisputable that our country is headed for a very ugly few years, if not a decade.” Randy says.

On a battlefield, technology, strategy, strength in numbers and skill are the determinants of a winner in warfare.  “The same thing is necessary for normal everyday folks to weather any possible crisis in the future” he states.  That is exactly what he is doing with that knowledge and skill-namely helping families prepare for an unknown, but not-so-rosy, future.

With his background in business, mixed with his specialized “conflict mediation” skills, he started a training program in San Diego last summer to fulfill his strategy of bring real skills to those who saw the same future as him, or at least intuited it.

“The funny thing is that people focus on my warfare skills and yet we’ve identified 11 other domains that people need to take care of to be prepared for crisis. All of them must be taken care of or failure will occur, and in the SEAL teams, failure was never an option.”, he says.

“If the strategy is to take care of those domains, then the philosophy that directs the strategy is to be ready and be responsible for my family and friends, even if they may not see what we do.  We have to know why we are doing something,” he states.

Not everyone agrees with him either.  Many think that we are in a normal recession and things will get better somehow.  They may also think that the government will be there to take care of them if disaster strikes.

“Good luck with that train of thought”, Randy says, “The only sure future is the one you make and even that isn’t guaranteed.  I for one won’t rely on anyone or any entity that isn’t fully incentivized to help me or my family survive.   My experiences overseas support that view“

His team’s new program, called “Ready 5”, teaches skills, in person, to folks who need teachers and uses the best instructors he could find in food storage and preparation, engineering, martial arts, mobility and of course firearms ownership and skill.  Randy is the lead instructor on that piece, since as a SEAL Sniper; he knows a thing or two on getting a bullet where it needs to go.

“As humans, every action we do is oriented towards survival, either as a being or as a species, so teaching these skills is coherent in context of a future we can foresee.  What isn’t coherent,” He says, “is living like everything is going to be just fine when any one of us can read the headlines and know deep down that life is about to change.”

For more information about the Ready 5 program, visit their website at www.ready-five.com.

The Five Elements of Capability

(Warning Deep Thinking Ahead!)

What does it really take to be able to accomplish something?   What if you want to be competitive at the same thing?

What skills are needed for the next challenge?

First a word about what would allow me to write on a subject like this.  Just a few short years ago, I was a Navy SEAL sniper spending my days in Iraq hunting people.  Sounds harsh, huh?  I would like you to think about it from a competitive standpoint though.  My team and I had to build skills and capability to be able to “compete” on the battlefield.  We had to do it before deploying and we had to build those skills BETTER than anyone we thought we might fight against.

Since that time, I’ve built several businesses helping people build skills and capability in different domains and my philosophical bent has allowed me to explore, test, and confirm what I’ve observed to be what I now call the “Five Elements of Capability”.  As in any theory of observable fact, I put forth the theory to be tested, confirmed, disproved, and/or used if it will make your life better.  For me, I use it in all my competitive learning events and practices.

Let’s first define capability: The simplest definition in Webster’s is power or ability.  I’ll take it a bit further and say the power and ability must exist at the time needed to take care of a situation or concern.  (Hint:  Not after the situation is gone.)  For an example, let’s say I got a flat tire along the highway and need to get to work (situation).  If I have a good spare, knowledge to change the tire, skill to manipulate the equipment, and commitment to get it done, I will say I have the capability to take care of the situation.  Getting a good spare 3 days later didn’t help me in this situation.  It had to all exist for me when I need it.

Simple so far, right?  Let’s say now that I’m in a pit crew at NASCAR and every second counts for my driver to win the race.  This is a competitive situation and different from the one above (even though I’m changing tires in both).  Now, I still need all the elements stated, but since I have to be better than others, I also need coaches and teachers to help me learn, and serious practice to become more competitive. So lets hold onto the two distinctions of capability and competitive capability while we look at the five elements in detail.

Commitment

A commitment to take care of the situation or concern must exist first.   Most of the time, pain or displeasure is the trigger for this type of commitment.  In that way, pain can be a good thing.   Either way, the commitment must exist before the situation presents itself and you must be clear about all the other elements needed to take care of it.  There is a level of seriousness when commitments are made since there are costs associated with them. If I commit to learn how to change a tire, that means there is another 30 minutes that I’m not resting my bones (or whatever).  Many people do not know how to make commitments because we see broken promises all the time.  They are everywhere.  To build a strong commitment, it takes practice.  Try one today.  Commit to do something by the end of the day and do it.  See what happens in your head and what it takes to get there.  I will say it is not easy.

Knowledge

This is the trickiest element by far.  All of the other elements flow into this one and knowledge supports all of the other elements.  Sounds weird, huh?  Let’s go through it.  Knowledge is the mental capacity to know what the problem is, the commitment needed to take care of it, the equipment needed, how do use it, and if it’s a competitive situation, it all needs to be better than anyone else trying to do it.  That means you need to know what others are doing and what their standards are. That’s a lot, huh?  Let’s go back to my sniper days.  As a sniper, I had to know how to shoot my rifle well.  That means I had to know in what situations I would find myself to use my gear and knowledge.  I had to learn from very, very good teachers how to do it.  (This is a key point!)  I had to learn about the equipment and how to manipulate it (see practice below).  I also had to know my competition and how we would compete.  This, by the way, had life and death consequences.  Then I had to put it all together to build my knowledge.  Somehow, that knowledge kept leaking out of my head (ears maybe) and my body (why couldn’t I pull the trigger the same every time?).   I dunno, I suppose that happens to us all.   The point is acquiring this knowledge is a never-ending process if you want to maintain competitiveness!  Hmm, sounds like a big commitment, huh?

Equipment

You must have the right equipment at the right time to be able to use it.  This takes knowledge of what the right gear is and the situation you might find yourself in.  Then you have to buy it, maintain it, and prepare the gear to be used.  This part isn’t really rocket science, but how many of you have a multi-tool on your body, backpack, or car everyday?  Do you have a jack in your car?  Are you sure?  If you have a gun in your home, do you have ammo?  A safe to keep the gun in and the kids out?  Cleaning materials?  Accessories for it?  The big issue with equipment is that people don’t put enough thought into it or don’t have enough knowledge to buy the right gear and accessories.

Coaches

Really, why would I  need a coach or a teacher?  Can’t I learn from a book or the internet?  In a way, those things are “teachers” but then the question becomes, how competitive do you want to be?  Are you in business?  You better know that business is competitive as hell! What other areas are you competing?  Coaches provide feedback on your commitments, knowledge, equipment and practice so you can keep getting better at a skill.  They keep you from making deadly or costly mistakes.  Coaches and teacher need to be accomplished though.   I wouldn’t want a person who has never built a successful business coaching me on building a successful business. It’s amazing when you look around how many of us are “sold” on non-qualified coaches and teachers.  Seek out the best!

Practice

Like I said earlier, knowledge and skill “leaks” out of us every day.  We are not robots and when we acquire skill it has a shelf life, usually measured in day and weeks.  When we make our commitment to building a skill, we decide if that skill will be competitive or not, which leads to how we will practice. How often do you need to practice changing a tire? Maybe once every couple of years. How about Fire Drills?  Twice a year?  How about a sales presentation?  Every week?  What about shooting your handgun? This is a tricky one.  In what situation would you find yourself needing to pull a trigger?  I would say it would be life and death and the consequences very serious. No matter who you are, I would say that you should practice COMPETITIVELY for situations like this. Coaches and all.

How do you practice?  With the purpose of building skill every single time.  In order to get faster, more efficient, and better than any competitor.  One skill at a time and then put them all together.  Get feedback and compare yourself against your past work and other’s doing the same thing.  Coaches can really help with practice.

That’s it. The Five Elements of Capability (in brief).  This is meant an an executive summary and a template.  Obviously much more detail and grounding lie below my assertions above, but this is enough to help you think though any skill-building exercise.  If it’s training for a triathlon, business or warfare, these elements must exist for building any kind of capability.  Try it on for size, skill-building is a skill, after all.