Mike Hayes’s life experiences read like an adventure novel, but rest assured he is the real deal. He has been threatened with execution while held at gunpoint in South America. He’s helped amputate a teammate’s leg and made countless split-second life-and-death decisions. Rising through the officer ranks to Command SEAL Team 2, he served in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Navy SEALs and with a combined joint Special Operations Task Force. Later he ran meetings in the White House Situation Room, negotiated international arms treaties, and developed high-impact corporate strategies in the civilian workplace.

Mike graciously shared a copy of his book, Never Enough: A Navy Seal Commander on Living a Life of Excellence, Agility, and Meaning with us at SOFREP and we recorded a podcast with him just this past week. (Look out for that one coming soon!) 

Mike Hayes writes his book on leadership and life with an easy writing style but with the clarity of life’s lessons. It is a very enjoyable book as he fills it with anecdotes that perfectly make the points he’s striving for in each chapter.

The book starts in Fallujah, Iraq in 2007. In the midst of an operation to find a high-value target, he is outside of a building, which his SEALs are searching, providing command and control. At that point, an Iraqi man wearing a long-flowing robe appears and reaches inside it. The question for Hayes wasn’t whether he could shoot, but whether he should shoot the man. He decides he has the reaction time to wait and assess the potential threat. And it turned out the man was only reaching for an I.D. card. As a reader, you are immediately hooked.

The rest of the book is filled with similar anecdotes that illustrate his decision-making process. 

Hayes has taken his life experiences from the Navy SEAL Teams to the White House and the boardrooms of civilian corporations.

According to Hayes, his book’s title Never Enough isn’t about a search for perfection or about downplaying the accomplishments one has already achieved. Rather, it is about always growing your capacity for learning and excellence by constantly moving the goalposts forward and challenging yourself.

He writes about acting life with intention every step of the way, rather than letting it carry you along on a trajectory where you are not in control. He hits the point home by describing how every day he tells his daughter not to “have a great day,” which is a passive activity, but instead, “make it a great day.”