I Drink Weakness For Breakfast!

At a meeting for our Producers Club Members, we had Jocko Willink, an author, podcaster, and retired naval officer who served in the Navy Seals, speak about leadership.

Jocko is the physical embodiment of what you think of when you picture a Navy Seal. His arms are bigger than most men’s thighs, he’s barrel chested and has a booming voice that could topple small houses.

Dude is intense!

Before he spoke, we mentioned that there were a couple of fresh bottles of water on the podium for him, and he said, “I don’t need water. Drinking water while speaking is weakness.”

Funny thing is that he meant it…this was not simply a Jocko-ism.

For a guy who has been through what he’s been through, the idea of not getting to sip bottled water during his hour-long talk is simple!

When I compare this against my presentation, I’m pretty sure I sucked down two bottles and was still parched at the end.

That’s because I drink ‘weakness’ for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and whenever I can in-between.

While I know (I think?!?) Jocko isn’t saying that you shouldn’t drink water ever or that drinking water is weak. It’s that he’s trained himself to go without water during a talk.

And while initially, I wanted to chalk the whole ‘weakness’ thing up as being silly, when I thought about it, I realized that me stopping, even briefly, to grab a sip of water during a presentation certainly doesn’t make it better for the audience.

So, maybe water IS weakness in this instance.

The bigger question though, is what are we willing to ACTIVELY give-up to be better?

As business owners, we sometimes excuse or tolerate activities in ourselves we wouldn’t tolerate or excuse in employees.

Things like surfing the web or being on social media during working hours. Or coming in late, or leaving early, or doing personal errands in the middle of the day.

We justify some of those activities because we “work ALL the time.”

But what about things that could cost your company business like putting off making those prospecting calls, writing follow-up notes or e-mails, reaching out to clients about new services, or not send proposals and getting back to people as soon as possible.

These things happen because we’re busy servicing clients, being a tech, maybe being a boss, maybe doing bookkeeping, answering phones (though in this industry that never seems to be what we’re focused on) closing out tickets.

All that, too, is weakness.

We’ve trained ourselves to do activities instead of focusing on the most critical thing in the business…constant, continuous, consistent, profitable growth.

It’s easy to mistake ACTIVITY for ACCOMPLISHMENT. They are not the same.

I have a friend who has been unemployed for almost three years now. She sold her business on the West Coast and moved to Nashville, planning to take a year off after spending 20 years busting her butt as a business owner. But after about a year, she said she was looking for a job, but in reality, she wasn’t.

Then COVID hit, and that became her excuse for not looking because “No one is hiring right now.” (At Technology Marketing Toolkit, we’ve hired at least 10 employees in the past year.)

She just started an Etsy store selling custom bandanas for cats. She’s very excited that she’s finally ‘working.’

The problem is, she’s really not.

Once you factor in her cost of materials, time to make these things, post them, sell them, etc…she’ll be lucky to be making minimum wage.

She’s mistaking being busy with activities for accomplishing a goal…making money…which she needs. It’s not because she’s dumb, she’s super smart, but it’s because she’d rather post cat photos on Instagram than resumes on job boards.

Spending hours a day on Instagram to earn less than minimum wage is weakness.

So while I don’t know that I’ll give up drinking water while speaking, I’d rather work on not saying, “um,” I do know I need to examine what weakness in my life I’m willing to give up to accomplish a goal.

Maybe it’s time to finally give up my Farmville account and instead do the dishes? I wonder what Jocko would say about that. Probably better that I don’t ask.