Excelling in Multiple Fields: The Thoughts of a High-Functioning Person
April 16, 2021
From Navy SEAL to author-entrepreneur, we hear what it’s like to navigate life through the perspective of Brandon Webb.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE
When did you start to realize that there is something special about you? That you got that extra edge? Listen in and hear what it took our guest to become highly successful in multiple, seemingly polar opposite fields!
We have Brandon Webb with us today. At 16, he left to join the U.S. Navy and later become a Navy SEAL. He is now a New York Times Best Author and entrepreneur who has built two brands that have grown into an eight-figure business.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:00:00] Hi, everyone. I'm super excited about today's interview. My guest is Brandon Webb. He is a former Navy seal and actually not only was it CEO, but was training deals and he's a New York times bestselling author. And he's the founder of hurricane media, but you think it's now an eight figure business. So.
[00:00:26] You know, going into the two digits, millions so multiple, multiple millions in his business. He's an incredible father, I think three, maybe four kids. He's just high functioning in a lot of different areas of life. And I have to admit, you'll probably even kind of see this. I almost get a little star struck where it with him, where I'm like, Brandon, I just, I I've known him for so long and he's always.
[00:00:50] It's been so kind, he actually wrote the forward to my book, Dr Chloe’s The 10 Commandments of dating. And yet, sometimes I still just kind of can't believe really true. He is he's in my opinion, kind of an ongoing person. So I was really excited for the chance to speak with him on camera. And I hope that you enjoy watching as well.
[00:01:11] So without further ado, Brandon Webb.
[00:01:17] Hey Brandon, Yeah. Hi, it's good to see you.
Brandon Webb: [00:01:24] Yeah, you too. Is that the virtual background?
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:01:26] Yeah, just a virtual background. Everything needs days is virtual. It's so nice. So you're in Puerto Rico now, right?
Brandon Webb: [00:01:36] Yeah. All my kids are down here. Doing cool from online. So it's like a spike for bandwidth and attention.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:01:45] Yeah. Yeah. How many kids do you have? Three.
[00:01:49] Brandon Webb: [00:01:49] Yeah,
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:01:50] two boys and a girl. I enjoy seeing those posts of yours on Instagram, or you share about them. So thanks for joining me. I just wanted to confirm, obviously that, you know, we're [00:02:00] recording here. But I, I love that you, that you do share those photos. This podcast is the high-functioning hot spot.
[00:02:06] So I'm interested in high-functioning people and obviously you're a super high functioning person, but being high functioning as a parent is really special too. And so it's been great, you know, just to see that. Online. So thanks for sharing that.
[00:02:23] Yeah. I, so just to kind of like, you know, jump right in, I just want to share a little bit about, you know, what it is in the first place, you know, to even be a high functioning person.
[00:02:33] Yeah. And then I'm going to become curious if you can share, like, if you have thoughts about what helps you to be such a high functioning person, and then even too, if you think about it, like with your kids or with teams that you lead businesses that you own how you get, you know, high functioning performance out of other people too, but in psychology we think of a high functioning Well, maybe it's easier to even start with with basic functioning is the ability to make sure that you [00:03:00] can take care of your own basic needs in life.
[00:03:02] So, you know, you're able to obtain and keep basic employment or, you know, make sure that you have a place to live and you have food to eat. Right. Obviously, some of it is situationally dependent. So if you're in a location where there's a famine, it wouldn't be about your functioning, that there was no food, it would be about the situation.
[00:03:20] But assuming that the resources are available a person with at least basic functioning, Can take care of those basic check marks. Whereas a person with high functioning is going to go above and beyond. They're going to, you know, maybe do what you did of like, you know, starting companies. And instead of just being a parent, they're going to make sure that their kids are, you know, really challenged and really stimulated and you know, really going above and beyond.
[00:03:45]So with that in mind, I'm just curious if you have thoughts about what makes you different or how you get that out of other people too.
Brandon Webb: [00:03:55] Sure. So it's hard. I, I think, [00:04:00] you know, when you look at what makes up the DNA of a high functioning person that personally, I think it probably has to do how we're brought up and then a little bit of, you know, so it's like, what, what kind of childhood environment did you grow up in?
[00:04:16] And then, you know, into early adulthood, what influence influences were around you and, and. In my case, you know, I had pretty, pretty adventurous parents. You know, we grew up on a sailboat. I started working at a young age on boats as a kid, and then my dad ended up kicking me off the sailboat at 16 years old when we were on a family trip in Tahiti.
[00:04:42] So I left home at a young age, joined the Navy at, at 18. And became a Navy seal. The, the thing, I, I think that during that period, I really learned in the Navy and the seal teams what we're capable of is much, [00:05:00] much more than what we walk around. In what I would call normal society and think like seeing how much we can accomplish in one day and how much we're capable of physically and mentally in my time as a Navy seal, you realize, wow, we really do kind of set the bar low and society.
[00:05:20] When in reality we're capable of so much more. So I think, you know, the childhood experience. And my time in the seal teams just made me appreciate how much we are capable of. And so I tend to call bullshit a lot on people when they say, Oh, I'm just, I'm working so hard. I'm like, well, I don't care about hard work.
[00:05:40] I care more about results. So if you're not getting results, maybe you should change the way you're working and work smarter, not harder. Cause it's really about output all as well. Right. So I think that's, to me, probably the two things I think about.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:05:58] Yeah. So, I mean, that is, it's such a fascinating story, really, you know, about being kicked off the boat by your dad and like where you went with that in life.
[00:06:09] But I'm, I'm curious if you, if it was at that point or before or after. When did you start to realize that there's something special about you? That you're not, you know, like that, that you've got that kind of extra edge. I mean, you know, Navy seals starting these multi multimillion dollar businesses, New York times bestselling author.
[00:06:32] I mean, it's clear now obviously that, you know, you're, you're not the average bear, but when did, when, when did that start to become clear or did you just always know?
Brandon Webb: [00:06:42] No, I mean, look it. I think I started to see it when I was in the seal teams. After my, after my initiation period, I had started to kind of break out among my peers.
[00:06:55] I was promoted as the number one [00:07:00] ranking seal at my command out of many talented people, but chosen out as one to get, to get early promoted. I ended up Being recruited to, to be an instructor for our Navy seal sniper program. And then the guy that recruited me ended up putting him in charge of a program.
[00:07:15] So I knew you know, I had the confidence and, and I knew I could manage Haifa other high. High-functioning kind of what I would consider pretty high functioning, but also high, high man or high maintenance individuals. As a Navy seal. Not only instructing students, but also, you know, being in charge of seal instructors themselves.
[00:07:39]So I, you know, I, I did realize, okay, I've, you know, I'm, I have the experience and the knowledge and the how to kind of do this and then do it, do it. Well, when I transitioned from. The military to civilian world, you know, I made many mistakes, like, like people do in life. [00:08:00] I just had a different mindset around mistakes and failures because I knew it's just part of the process.
[00:08:06]And so I think that gave me a, gave me an edge too. And I was talking to somebody the other day, you add had written a book and submitted, you know, 10 proposals and nine out of the 10. Publishing editors wanted the book and I said, wow, that's, that's great. I had a very different story. My first book, nobody wanted it.
[00:08:28] I had like one of 10 say yes. And it was St. Martin's press. And the book ended up doing, doing well. But I had a lot of no’s people, a lot of people telling me no. And I, I think that. I had enough experience in the Navy and to, to kind of learn that just because somebody says no to you or puts up a roadblock doesn't necessarily mean that it's time to kind of throw in the towel.
[00:08:59] And I had my first Navy seal package. I applied for it got turned down, like they told me no. And it was, it was really. Really rough on me because I'd put so much into it and had to kind of earned it in my eyes. And they said, no, we're going to decline you. So I had to do their deployment on the USS kitty Hawk aircraft carrier as a rescue swimmer.
[00:09:23] And then finally, my second, my second package got approved. But, but I think that that's a long answer to your.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:09:29] No, no Honestly, I, I love it. I love having the chance to, just to ask you these questions, you know, so, I mean, As you said that you started to really be getting this feedback from others that, you know, you were getting promoted in.
[00:09:44] It was kind of around that time of the seals that you started to realize, you know, that, that there was really something special and unique about you and I'm curious. How, you know, you balance that a lot of high functioning people, I think [00:10:00] struggled with this awareness that there's something special and this, you know, sense of pride that, that you kind of need to have sometimes because you do need that to offset those feelings of rejection that you encounter along the way.
[00:10:12] But how do we, how do you balance that? You know, normal, natural, strong, good pride versus arrogance because a lot of high functioning people are afraid to be arrogant, but yet they also feel like they know that there is something special about them. Have you ever navigated that?
Brandon Webb: [00:10:32] I can think of of a situation recently where I think is a good, good example.
[00:10:39] So I'm finishing up this two year program at Harvard business school and it's for business owners, very high functioning people. I have a hundred people in my class. Six of them are billionaires. You know, a woman in China that runs this, a steel conglomerate to, you know, a young French guy that has a aluminum line.
[00:10:58] And in Africa, like very [00:11:00] high functioning people. All over the world. And we're going to this situation now where Harvard business school is coming up with alternatives for us to finish our last class. We have a, normally it would be almost a month on campus, seven days a week, interacting in this classroom environment, very close.
[00:11:22] And we've all gotten to be very, very close because it's an intimate environment. You're with each other every day. You build these relationships and now we're faced with doing the last part of our curriculum virtually and in the WhatsApp group and everyone's losing their minds. Like this is bullshit, you know, we don't, we don't want to do this.
[00:11:42] We want to be in person. We need to basically stick it to the staff at Harvard and all this stuff. And I was like, wow, like, I was almost shocked. Like I get it. I want it to be with this group too, but I'm looking at all these people, like, kind of, [00:12:00] and I think a lot of this has to do with me my tolerance for like what is, what I would consider a true like problem or dilemma.
[00:12:09] Right. And I'm like, guys, this is not. That big of a deal, right? Like, and it's out of Harvard's control. Like I'm sure they want us in the classroom, like everybody else, because they would make more money. Now they're having to discount, but everyone is losing their mind and I'm like, I'm like someone has to say something like, it was just like this dog piling in the WhatsApp group.
[00:12:31] And this morning we had a call with the staff and everyone's in these private chat rooms and on WhatsApp, just kind of like venting and throwing what I would consider an, an adult tantrum. I find the ice, I sent a message to the WhatsApp group. I told a story that I told them in my last book, mastering fear.
[00:12:52] I said, I'm going to tell you a story about how they trap monkeys to eat for food and jungle survival [00:13:00] training. They dig a hole in the ground and they chop open a coconut. They put the coconut in the hole, they put the sticks around the hole. And when the monkey reaches in grabs the coconut, he can't pull it out of the hole.
[00:13:15] Cause the sticks block has his hand in his fist. Around the coconut, even one handed, he, if he has the coconut, he can't pull it out of the stick. All he has to do is just let go and he's free, but he just won't, he, he holds onto the coconut and you lock, watch this, you know, Filipinos, survival guy come over and just bonk the monkey up the side of the head.
[00:13:38] And there you go, you got monkey kebabs for dinner. And so I think of a lot of, a lot of people hold onto these six ideas and mindset. And they want change. They're asking, Oh, I want to start a business. I want to do this. I want to become wealthy, but they're not willing to let go of their coconut, whatever the coconut is for them.
[00:13:55]And I told the story to this group and they're it just their whole ranting [00:14:00] process just shut down. And guys were like, wow, that was true. That was really good. Cause I'm like, come on guys. And so I'm, that was a situation where I think I was. I saw an opportunity to, for leadership and to kind of reset everybody and say, guys, this let's focus on.
[00:14:19] What's really important here. The world has changed the way we learn and interact as it's forever changed. And maybe we should just think about, you know, whatever coconut you're holding onto and, and maybe let it go. So I think that's a good example of, of a, of a case where. I, I felt like somebody had to step up and I had something.
[00:14:45] You know, to contribute and I wasn't afraid, and I don't think it came across as being arrogant.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:14:52] No. Yeah. That's a, that's a beautiful story. I'm glad you shared that. And it actually kind of prompts another question then for me, which is how do [00:15:00] you navigate tenacity? Versus flexibility. So how do you know, like when you're in a coconut situation and holding on, it's just going to be trouble, or if it's like, don't let go, just keep going and keep, keep staying persistent.
[00:15:17] You know, how, how, without the benefit of hindsight do you have thoughts about how, you know, whether it's time to be tenacious or whether it's time to let go of the coconut?
Brandon Webb: [00:15:26] Yeah, I, I think it, it really helps to have. A group of people around you to help you see that kind of stuff, right? Like you and I met an entrepreneurs organization I'm in YPO and I have a forum of six people plus myself.
[00:15:41] And, and so I, I think I use them to kind of pressure test situations. Like, should I be. Should I push through here or should I change course? Am I holding onto something I'm just afraid of changed until let something go? I think that's important that you, you have to build [00:16:00] those networks. You can't do it by yourself.
[00:16:02]So, and if you don't have that kind of network, you have to find that somewhere, whether it's, you know, curating it off of your LinkedIn contacts. Joining a group like, you know, entrepreneurs, organization, or young president's organization. There, there are these groups out there, but I think that plays a big part in helping me kind of see through the fog sometimes.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:16:25] Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's true. I remember you told me once about I think, I think you told me about the fog of war and I've always just thought that such an interesting concept, you know, that when we're really just in the thick of things that we sometimes can't really see what's going on. And yeah, the right community definitely makes all the difference.
Brandon Webb: [00:16:46] And also I think. As a time, like I've definitely developed a habit of keeping an open mind. That's why, when I, so I noticed in myself [00:17:00] back to the Harvard story when they were saying, Oh, we're considering doing this online. I immediately had the reaction like, Oh, that's going to be really tough. And I'm going to miss out on this opportunity to, you know, be around my classmates.
[00:17:16] But then I was like, wait a minute, let me, I caught myself. And I said, okay, let me just see what they're going to come up with at least, you know, keep an open mind. And, and so when you develop a habit of that, it, I think it does help also. Yeah.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:17:30] You know, I mean, I, maybe I maybe tend to get stuck in polarities sometimes, but.
[00:17:36] I guess I always, maybe would hear that and I would think, yeah, like it's great to keep an open mind. And then on the other hand, I feel like sometimes it's better if I have certain kind of standards and ground rules and structures that I just, I have a framework that I just have to hold. But then of course at the same time it is good to keep an open mind.
Brandon Webb: [00:18:00] Yeah. Yeah. I agree.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:18:03] Yeah. So anyway enough of like the super formal stuff, I just, I just wanted to kind of ask you that series of questions, but I'm curious, are you like working on any new books or anything like that at the moment?
Brandon Webb: [00:18:17] Yes. So I would say I've had a pretty good pandemic so far. I sold I was working on.
[00:18:26] My first work of fiction. So it's essentially a novel actually one of the main characters as a psychologist. It and so I ha I had this idea. I, I felt like I said a lot, like I felt complete with what I've written about in the past. As far as my military experience, my childhood, I wrote a book on entrepreneurship and focus.
[00:18:51]I wrote a book on mastery called mastering fear. And I felt okay, I want to do something more creatively and it's very different [00:19:00] type of writing. So I, you know, I read, I read a book called on writing by Stephen King which shared. Kind of showcased his style of writing fiction, which is very like kind of flow state, no outline.
[00:19:13] Just kind of write the characters jump out at you. I've watched a couple of master classes on other people who were very structured and at least kind of build that, that narrative and world structure and then fill it in. And so I started writing a novel, it took me I think, three years to get almost halfway done.
[00:19:33] And then. I was, I just wanted to finish it and, and I, I asked the guy that. That writes of me, John, and he'd never done any fiction either. I said, John, let's do this together. Cause you, you wrote screenplays in school. Like you know how to write fiction. I've written short story fiction, but not a full length novel.
[00:19:52] So we ended up collaborating and finishing the book and we turned it in and that'd be wary of this year. [00:20:00] And so I'm thinking great. This sucks. It's like, it was end of February, early March, even I'm like, we're like in the middle of this pandemic. I don't know. What's there's all this uncertainty.
[00:20:12] Fortunately, the publishing world has done pretty well through the, to the pandemic. Cause I think people are at home they're reading or.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:20:19] Captured by audience. Yeah. Yeah.
Brandon Webb: [00:20:22] So we in, in the book to give you an idea, it's based on when I was on a, the aircraft carrier, they just put women on the ship, 10% of the 6,000 person ship aircraft carrier.
[00:20:36] Was women. And we had a sexual predator on the boat. This guy had assaulted, I think seven women. They never caught him the whole time. And these women were terrified because the sh the Navy and the ship is just not equipped to deal with complex crime like that. And so I am, I was like, imagine if it was a serial killer on the boat, kind of making it look like [00:21:00] accidents and cause people do die on the ship.
[00:21:03] It's like a floating city, you know, mishaps happen and people commit suicide. And so I based the book off that and, and we wrote it's called steal fear and. Turned into a bidding war. We got, you know the highest advance we've ever gotten for a book deal. They wanted thanks. They wanted us to do a series.
[00:21:27] So we sold it to Ballantine books, which is an imprint under random house and our, our editors incredible. Her and her publisher did all the game of Thrones books. So. Yeah, we're, we're done. We're already working on book number two and, and we've got we're working with Ben Smith. Who'd produced all the Jason Bourne movies cause we had film and TV interest right away.
[00:21:49] So we, we decided to go in with Ben. And so we're, we're pitching a bunch of the studios and streamers right now for this, for the like a limited series.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:22:00] Now Brandon, I'm curious. Like, so I'll be honest, like to be like, for me, even just to like, meet with you and talk to you on video, I get like a little jumpy still.
[00:22:11] Cause I'm like, Oh my God, his friend. And whenever I'm talking to Brandon Webb and whoah and you know, like you and I actually have known each other now for years and you know, you're the nicest person and you know, but, but for me, there's still just kind of this. Things sometimes where I just get like, and so I, I, I'm just curious, like, when you start talking about kind of like these, you know, really big leagues and doing all this stuff, do you ever reach a point where it just kind of, you, you say to yourself, like, wait a minute, is this my life?
[00:22:39] Or, or do you just feel like totally normal within it?
Brandon Webb: [00:22:42] I feel normal. I mean, here's my life. I'm upstairs. There's my kids. They're not jumpy. Say hi guy. Hi.
[00:22:56] Well, I, I don't, I think of myself as, [00:23:00] as normal, but I get what I get, what you mean. I have friends who are, you know, celebrities and professional sports athletes. And, and I th I think you know, sometimes I feel a little bit off. You know, ads around some of my, some of those friends, but I get what you're saying, but I honestly don't, I don't feel like, I feel like I remember telling someone, excuse me.
[00:23:28] I remember saying, yeah, my childhood really wasn't that big a deal. And they're like, well, actually it was very different and kind of a big deal. Not too many kids leave home at 16 and do what you did.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:23:41] Well, but that's, that's really interesting that you, what you re revealed here, which is that, that you actually also occasionally will get that feeling yourself a little bit.
[00:23:52] And I'm super curious. How do you handle that? Do you just like take a deep breath or what do you [00:24:00] do?
Brandon Webb: [00:24:00] I, I just remind myself to just act normal. Like I would, anyone else. And I think you know, I I'm by no means a big celebrity, but I have like, I'm friends with Mark Harmon. Who's been on NCIF for something like 16 seasons.
[00:24:18] Now he's major celebrity, no social media gets recognized everywhere he goes. And I think the last thing that Mark wants is, you know, for me to be making a big deal or. Just treat them normally. I think that that's just kind of what I remind myself to do. Just, just be normal and, and don't make a big deal out of it.
[00:24:39] Or even like, Oh, should we sit here, sit there. I would just like, just, I would do whatever I do with my friends, you know?
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:24:45] Fair enough. So I want to ask you about your love life. Do you want me to ask, can I ask you an hour? Do I have to try the camera first?
Brandon Webb: [00:24:53] Sure.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:24:53] Don't mind. Sure. Okay. Tell me what's going on.
[00:24:56] Cause I, you know, I just, anyone didn't know, I have my book, Dr. [00:25:00] Clay's 10 commandments of dating and so I can't help myself. I always want to know about everybody's dating life. So thanks Brandon. What's going on?
Brandon Webb: [00:25:06] Okay. I had a girl, I actually met a really nice woman. And during the pandemic we met through Instagram, we're on some Instagram group and it was going very well.
[00:25:17] Then I think, you know, you always have this initial excitement and lust phase of the relationship, which I'm sure is in your book, but Then, you know, things kind of settled down and you start getting real with each other. And I was I'm was being more honest with myself because I was, I really, I have amazing children.
[00:25:44] But raising kids a part of my life is over it's. And. I was very honest with her. I said, look, I, you just have to understand, like we can be together, but I probably there's no kids in my future. [00:26:00] And, and so we ended up as adults, but yeah. And so now I'm just trying to, I guess, date more authentically, because to be honest, I would.
[00:26:12] You know, I was like, Oh, I'm open to having more kids. And I was just saying that I think, because I knew taking another position maybe will scare them off. And I said, well, I need to start attracting the right kind of people into my life. So I just need to be, to be real and, and put that out up front. And then would probably start getting matches with.
[00:26:34] More of the right kind of partner for me. Yeah, definitely. I'm single right now.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:26:39] Okay. Well, that's good to know. I'll definitely keep that in mind. Especially if I know anyone in the Puerto Rico area, though, with you and your helicopter on social media. I see that you're always going all over everywhere.
[00:26:52] How far can a helicopter fly? Yeah. Could you, could you jump in and go like to New York or.
Brandon Webb: [00:27:02] No, I mostly fly airplanes, but I, like, I took my plane from New York to Miami and half a day. It was just kind of a fun trip. So there's a little bit longer. The ideal trip for me, it would be New York to Boston, New York to Nantucket New York to Martha's vineyard.
[00:27:22] Rhode Island, upstate. Those are like very quick trips, all, all under an hour, and you don't have to go through security and all that, that stuff. So the that's where the plane becomes really fun and you're on the private side of the field and, and it's just, it's just nicer.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:27:40] Yeah, that definitely sounds awesome.
[00:27:43] Well, I'm glad that you did decide to as you said, just kind of get comfortable with, you know, stating the part about not wanting kids because, you know, even if it does scare off, like half the women you know, Brandon, I'm sure there's. You know, football fields of women that would love to go out with you.
[00:27:58] So I wouldn't worry about just, you know, bending the herd a little bit. I think that'd be fine. Yeah. Well, Brandon thanks so much, you know, I, I try to keep the interviews to like a half hour or so, and I don't want to take up too much of your time. I know that you're doing 1,000,001 things there, but I do want to get out to Puerto Rico and see you sometime.
[00:28:18] Yeah. I would love that and thank you so much again for joining me today. Take care. Bye bye.
Brandon Webb: [00:28:24] Goodbye.
Dr Chloe Carmichael: [00:28:29] Wow. What an absolutely incredible interview. I was so thankful for the chance to just talk to Brandon. I feel like for me as a high functioning person, when I have the ability to just talk to somebody like him and have him just willingly agree to just. Be such an open book and let me ask him anything.
[00:28:47]It's, it's really such a gift, so I hope that you enjoy the chance to be around Brandon virtually as much as I did. And if you want to be around nice, the more you can certainly come and check out my [00:29:00] social media, my video logs on YouTube, or certainly more episodes of the high-functioning hotspot. It was really great to be able to share this with you.
[00:29:09] Thank you so much again for checking out the high functioning hotspot today with me, Dr. Chloe Carmichael, and I hope to see you again soon. I'm excited to tell you guys about another mental health podcast that can help you to live your best life. It's called savvy psychologists and is hosted by clinical psychologist and sleep specialist.
[00:29:30] Dr. Jade, Woo. Every Friday she shares evidence-based research to help you get through life. Challenges she covers topics like how to say no without feeling guilty, what you can do to avoid common thinking traps and how you can settle your mind for better quality sleep. I had the pleasure of joining savvy psychologist recently to share my insights on nervous energy and the role that emotions play in our success with a sympathetic ear and zero judgment savvy [00:30:00] psychologist will help you to thrive in every area of your life.
[00:30:03] The short episodes are full of practical advice to help you be happier, healthier, and most importantly, be yourself. Find email@example.com or wherever you get your podcast.