The world of special operations is a small shark tank. Some may even say it’s a dog-eat-dog world. It’s a place where you must be tough, fearless, and willing to do whatever it takes, no matter what.

Working in special operations is very competitive. Who’s the best on the team? What team is the best in the company? Which battalion is the best to be in? These are questions that we all think about. To top that, defining success is nearly impossible. One bad rumor can ruin a soldier’s career; one DUI and you’ll lose your long tab; one bad act can ruin your team’s flawless reputation. Blood in the water.

All jobs involve stress. I believe that a certain level of stress is a good thing; it can motivate you to perform better. Living in the shark tank is absolutely stressful. There was a time on my team where it seemed as though nobody could pass a school; four guys in a row had failed. My team was seemingly cursed. This added to the stress of everyday life and our team began to feel like we were the worst of the six teams in the company, rather than the top special operations team we knew we could be. It was as if the sharks were beginning to circle us searching for a weak link.

What Exactly Is Success?

Army Career Expo A Success
Students from the Killeen Independent School District participate in the 2020 Army Career Expo at Fort Hood, Texas, March 3. (Photo by Pvt. Richard Barnes/ DVIDS)

What is success? Sir Richard Branson, Virgin’s founder, is worth some five billion dollars; he equates success with being fully immersed in your work. “My definition of success?” he asked himself on Virgin’s blog. “The more you’re actively and practically engaged, the more successful you will feel.” Is he basically saying that the more you do and the more you are engaged, the more successful you feel? Is success something so minuscule as a feeling?