Jason Redman, retired Navy SEAL shares life changing advice to beating life’s ambush. Jason was ambushed in battle and shot 8 times including on round to the face. Jason believes he survived this ambush by tapping into his, overcome mindset. In this episode Jason teaches the difference between:
- a micro life ambush
- a mini life ambush
- a major life ambush
- How to spot the warning signs of a life ambush
- How to move forward after a major life ambush
- What is situational awareness
- How to become your own point man
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Retired Navy SEAL Lieutenant Jason Redman electrifies audiences around the world with his high-energy presentations on leadership, failure, redemption, catastrophic injury, and his breathtaking journey to “overcome all” in the aftermath of wartime enemy ambush and in the face of what he calls life ambushes during the years that followed.
During his 21-year Navy career, Jason spent 11 years as an enlisted SEAL and 10 years as a SEAL officer leading teams in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today he puts his vast experience and expertise to work as a speaker, coach, author, and trainer, helping individuals, teams and organizations of all types and sizes to define and implement lasting change, even in the wake or face of failure, crisis and adversity.
He’s lived through it all at the highest level in his Navy SEAL career: From failures as a young leader that resulted in him almost being kicked out of the SEAL teams, to redemption and leading teams in intense combat operations in Iraq, to being shot eight times, including a round to the face, and nearly dying during an enemy ambush, Jason has lived the OVERCOME Mindset he now teaches others. He has done an incredible job of taking these lessons learned and making them relatable to teams, businesses, and organizations around the world.
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Walking into an ambush on the battle field
Myrna: Can you share your story of walking into an ambush as a Navy Seal and the, overcome mindset, you had to survive being shot several times.
Jason: I’m super blessed individual. I just could not survive that ambush that night without some kind of a miracle. We’ll talk about the, overcome mindset, and how that translates to other aspects of life later in the interview. It was an intense night, it was a night at the very end of our deployment as, Navy SEALs. One of our jobs is something we call direct action. We go after the mid-level and high level leaders across the battlefield.
That was one of our jobs, when I was in Iraq and we were tracking both outside in and through leadership across with my troops were focused on the weapon western province of Iraq. So, a lot of people are familiar with Iraq, a very dangerous place. We were actually based out of Volusia and tracking leaders. On September 13, 2007, we went after the number one leader for the outside organization in the Anbar Province, the western province of Iraq. A pretty dangerous guy.
We’ve been tracking all deployment. He had been responsible for and ran multiple sniper cells, IV shells, attack cells. He had shot down a Marine Corps helicopter in the fall of 2006. Killing the whole crew on board and they lost five individual and run out of the building across the street.
So, on this night we got orders that he was at this place. We got there and even though there was no one there we noticed some suspicious activity in the building a few yards away. My team leader said hey, I want you to take your team, you know, walk these individuals down let’s find out who they are in question. And make a long story short, our enemy leader had been in the first house that we were in right now.
He had moved to the house that was about 150 yards away that we were now moving on and his security detail and shut off a very, very well staged enemy ambush we estimate about 15 shooters with two large machine guns and my team and I walked right into this ambush.
My overcome mindset helped me survive
My medic, a fellow Navy seal, took a round of bullets right below the knee which almost took his leg off. One of our other guys ran forward to grab him and tried to move him back behind us. There was kind of a bar, there was one tree and a large like John Deere tractor tire and they pull and drag our medic and himself back.
He himself was shot three times while doing this. I was out front and I was trying to shoot and lay down fire. It was at this point I had both machine guns turned on me and I was hit eight times between my body armor and my body I took two rounds in the left elbow which in the moment I thought it shot my arm off.
I took rounds off my weapon and my right-side plates. I turned around to see what was happening with my team and that’s when I caught around in the face. That hit me right in front of the ear. Travel through my face took off my nose, blew out my right cheekbones, vaporized my oval floor, broke all the bones in my face and knocked me out. I was pinned down in front of my guys. They continue to fight the enemy. There’s this very intense gunfight occurring with me pinned down on the ground and had literally bullets traveling around me.
I came to probably we don’t know the timeline. We know the entire gunfight lasted about 40 minutes. So, when I woke up after about 10 mins, I realized that was in a really bad situation. I called out to my team leader and he realized Holy smokes, you know, Red still alive, and they started to extract me. I owe my life to my teammates. I owe my life to an Air Force aircraft called an AC 130 gunship that brought in the closest fire mission. Meaning they brought rounds in from the aircraft to the ground at military speeds. My team leader did an amazing job coordinating this in between fire and ran forward and got me and hold me back to where they were about a tourniquet on my mangled arms really saved my life.
But the whole time this was happening. There were several things and we’ll come full circle now to a little bit of the, overcome mindset. I knew I had lost a lot of blood. I’d lost a lot of blood between my arm and my face and my injuries. And we go through a lot of, trauma medicine, and special operations training. We’re probably trained up to the level of a patient, emergency medical technician that would ride around an ambulance. I knew all the signs. I knew that I was going to what we call, hypovolemic shock, from blood loss. I was struggling to breathe.
In our last moments we think only of our loved ones
And in final moments, I was still pinned down and I started to think that I may die here, I was dying. I was I was literally bleeding out and dying. And there were several things that went through my mind when I was lying there dying but not once did I think about stuff. You know in this life we’re all focused on stuff and trust me I like stuff. You know, I love my house. I love you know some of the nice things we have. But I also recognize every day that all that stuff can be gone in an instant. The people you love are all you’re going to care about in the final moments in your life, because that’s all I thought about.
I thought about my wife and kids and how I would do anything to have another moment just to say I love you. And it was at that point that I also I called out to God. I really need help. I need strength. And that enabled me to have some strength which I can’t explain. But I will tell you this, this thought popped into my head in that moment and the thought was this. Stay awake to stay alive.
And if you’ve ever been severely injured, or something bad has happened you reach a point where physiologically your body wants to shut down and you will become extremely fatigued. And that’s what happened. I wanted to go to sleep. I wanted to just let go and go to sleep, but I know I had to stay awake to stay alive and I knew that if I made it to the military hospital, I would live.
The military emergency room. I knew the statistics, from operating overseas that if our if we got our soldiers or wounded warriors to the hospital and they still had a pulse, they had a 90% chance of making it home alive. So that was my focus. You know, stay awake, stay alive, stay awake, stay alive and this stuff there’s so many nuances and stories but the bottom line is that’s exactly what happened. My teammates managed to get me on the medivac helicopter metabolic and I survived. My team leader helped me off and I walked 75 yards and got on the helicopter under my own power.
That is the, overcome mindset, and it is this mindset that says I’m not going to give in, I’m going to push until I succeed. I survived this vicious enemy ambush, but everybody gets ambushed in the life. It may not be the bullets and bombs in battle, but it is the bullets and bombs of life. And when you’re on the X and the X is what we talked about, point of attack, point in crisis, the point of the incident. We all feel as overwhelmed as if you are on a battle field with bullets flying all around you. You think you’re going to die because your marriage ended or your child died. And it is in those moments where we have the ability to drive forward and push ourselves a little further and get off that X, point of attack.
Major life Ambushes
Myrna: Wow, what a story. I had to fight back tears when you talked about lying on the ground thinking you were dying and wanting one more moment with your wife and kids. Thank you for your service to the United States of America, Jason. I heard you talk about, life ambushes, and the fact that we all have about 5 and I immediately started counting mine! So, I want to talk about why you think first of all that we get five ambushes in life.
Jason: So the five ambushes came about from interviewing people and just kind of an informal poll. In order to understand what is a, life ambush, we have to break them down.
There are 3 types of, life ambushes.
- micro ambushes,
- mini ambushes,
- major life ambushes.
I talked about the average of five those are the, major life ambushes, and the majors are devastated. They will forever leave scars forever. I’ll come back and we’ll come back full circle for the, major life ambushes.
The interesting thing, about the X, the point of attack, the point of an incident, the point of the crisis, it’s the point of any adversity, everybody in life, finds himself on the X at some point in life. Everyone walks on this X at some point. In battle, we were taught you have to get off the X, point of attack as quickly as possible because the longer you sit on the X, the harder it is to move forward.
And this is true in any aspect of your life. If it’s a, mental ambush, and you’re stuck on the action in your mind, and we all get stuck there and these are these, micro ambushes, they come every day. It’s that little voice in your head that says you’re not good enough. You’re not strong enough. You’re the wrong race, creed, color, gender, demographic, etc.
So those are my core ambushes and they come all the time. The formula is the same for all of these, you have to get off the X as quickly as possible. So, my motto I overcome and drive forward and get off that X.
The second level of Ambush is what I call a, mini ambush. And these are I find this fascinating because I meet people all the time who will they’ll use the phrase, oh, I had a bad day. And I’m fascinated with this because I’ll always say what’s the tell me about your bad day and 90% of the time when people use it. They did not really have a bad day. So, I’ve tried to erase this phrase from my vocabulary. I actually have an entire line of clothing called “No Bad days”
Myrna: What are the, major life ambushes?
What are major life ambushes
Jason: Sometimes many ambushes, we did it for ourselves. And now we have to navigate through the journey of figuring out how to drive forward.
- It could be life threatening ailments or injury to you or someone you loved.
- Sexual trauma to you or someone you love.
- Maybe the loss of a loved one including the highest one, the loss of a child.
Most people we polled have about five of these, major life ambushes, in their lifetime. I’ve seen people with more. I know people that have had 10. I myself, I’m getting ready to turn 48, I’ve had four, major life ambushes. I’d love to get through life with no more.
Myrna: When I heard you speaking, I started counting my, major life ambushes.
Jason: But the here is the fact, the, major life ambushes, are devastating. And I tell people they will they will be permanent scars. They will leave permanent physical, mental, or emotional or the financial scars. And when we look back on those, major life ambushes, they will always hurt. The, minor life ambushes, and the, micro life ambushes, they’re in your head, they are schedule disruptions, a couple years later, you’ll barely remember them.
But here’s the amazing thing about, major life ambushes. I talked about this in the TED Talk. The, major life ambushes, frequently are the end of something that occurred in your life. It may be the end of a relationship, it may be the end of the job, or maybe the end of your health, your innocence. Whatever it is, oftentimes what the amazing thing is and once you develop the, overcome mindset, you’re going to figure out how to drive forward and when we figured out how to drive forward no matter how painful it is, the ones that I’ve been through, so often it becomes a new beginning.
Every major life ambush builds an overcome mindset
And when you get to the other side of that journey when you climb through the pain and the misery and storms and the darkness, I can tell you probably 95% of the people, get to the other side saying you know it really was hard. I do not ever want to go to the gym, but it’s one of the best things that ever happened to me because I grew and got better and, major life ambushes, build us up. Every, major life ambush, no matter how painful they are, they help build an, overcome mindset. You cannot just flip a switch and suddenly have an, overcome mindset.
So when these bad things happen. I don’t want to tell you to celebrate that they happen. I know that that’s probably a stretch, but instead just lean into it and say okay, I know I have to get to the other side. I have to overcome. I have to get off the edge. Somewhere out there, the sun still shines and I will find that sunlight once again and when I do it’s going to be a new path.
I try to explain to people with, major life ambushes, a lot of times people waste a lot of time focused on I want back what I lost. I want to repair this relationship. I want my job back; I want my business back. I lost all this money and I want it back. I want the lifestyle I had before I was severely injured like me, I want my health back. And the reality is it’s gone and never coming back. We have to focus on is how do I get to my new 100% I may not be able to fix what’s broken, I embrace the open door. But you know, so many people are focused on the past. We have to focus on the future now. And how do we shape our future? And when we do that, that becomes our new path that becomes our new 100%.
Major life ambushes always leaves clues
Myrna: that is that is so true. We are always focused on the closed door and not the open door in front of us. So, you said that, major life ambushes, leave clues. I can understand that a divorce leaves clues. You mentioned that when you walked in to the ambush on the battlefield, you noticed certain signs but you ignored them. So how does that missing the clues in an ambush in the battlefield and missing the clues of a, major life ambush, in real life? Give us the correlation.
Jason: I have an online course that I teach called The Point Man For Life course. And point men are navigators and leaders in the military. They’re very talented individuals, they get us where we need to go. You have to be, the point man, and it’s for your own life. You have to be the one that sets your course that understands where you’re going. So, these indicators are the things that many of us through normal human activity. Either choose to ignore, or, procrastinate, we do all kinds of things. I mean, I break these things down.
You know, sometimes it’s a blatant sign and I use a stop sign in my course. Like we just ignore it no different than somebody who is not paying attention. And they drive through an intersection and miss that stop sign. And they get hit by a car. Well, you know, afterwards, they’re like, yeah, you missed this stop sign. That’s, that’s a really bleak one. But it happens all the time. It happens in businesses, it happens in relationships. If your spouse is constantly saying, hey, we’ve lost our intimacy or we’re not talking as much anymore if we continue to ignore or just flat out, not pay attention to that, you are going to end up divorced. And then you say, I did not see it coming.
Myrna: Yeah, that’s one of the ones I figured out because there’s signs that the relationship is ending.
Signs of an ambush
Jason: Sometimes they’re more subtle. Sometimes they can be helped. I know a lot of people who have health issues and like, oh, this is really been bothering me, but I’m just going to ignore it. And I’m amazed by how many people will do this because they’re afraid of what could happen. And I tell people, you cannot procrastinate, deny or ignore. Those are dangerous things to do, because you’re setting yourself up for a, life ambush. I give the example of a friend who was overweight who was successful business guy, but he was overweight. He wasn’t taking care of himself physically.
The doctor was like, hey, you really need to start taking care of yourself and start working out. You need to watch your nutrition, you’re a ticking time bomb for a heart attack. And, you know, he talked to me about working out and I said, yeah, you can do this. You do that and he never really did it. And then like a year later he had a heart attack and he’s like, why did this happen? The signs were there, but no, you ignored them. And so many people do this in life.
How does situational awareness help in an ambush
Myrna: You also teach about, situational awareness. Tell us what that is.
Jason: So, I teach, situational awareness, in this society, that has to do with awareness and reaction time. We live in this world where we’re all stuck scrolling our cell phones and I can’t tell you how many people I have watched walking around, and they’re totally absorbed in that cell phone, which means they’re not paying attention to the world around them. I’m highly trained. I try to train other people up to a basic level. One of the things that we do in our, overcoming survive workshop is awareness and get out of that situation before it ever occurs.
So, you see things before they happen, you see the signs of the ambush. You are noticing the indicators before it ever develops into an ambush and you don’t allow yourself to get on the X, the point of attack. You don’t walk into that situation. So sometimes you can’t help it. And that’s where awareness and a little bit of training come in. I really encourage everybody out there to have some level of training for self-defense. I know that your target audience is women. I know there are a lot of women who are afraid of firearms. But I really encourage you learn to use a firearm.
We live in a country that whether you agree with it or not. A firearm can be the great equalizer if someone is coming after you and trying to break into your house or trying to rape or take your kids. There is a level of training that needs to exist with that and I firmly believe we should get that.
The Point Man Planner
Tell us about your book The Point Man Planner. What you hope people to walk away with after getting this planner?
Jason: The Point Man Planner, came from the things that I’ve put in my life. They’re also things that I saw in the military and some of these things are interchangeable. I just use a military Special Operations term. So, the idea around this, is that there’s four-point man principles that everybody should follow.
- Relentless belief in mission: This is what makes a successful point man and what makes successful Navy Seals, but also what makes anybody successful. Mission is synonymous with purpose. I know a lot of people who don’t really know who they are. The beginning of the point man planner starts with what are your values?
- I mean a lot of people who don’t truly know their values, they will they will throw out the cliché values that everybody likes to throw out. Fitness, family, spirituality but they are the individual that’s never in the gym. Now they aren’t doing much with their family, they’re sure not in church. So those aren’t really their values. Your values are what drive your decision.
- Have a clearly defined destination and course. Your destination is your long-term goals where do you want to go 10 years from now, where do you want to be?
What a Point Man does
Myrna: Can I interject here? That was the most one of the most beautiful things when you said that when you were in a mission, your point man pinpoints the exact location, not somewhere around a city but the exact number on the map.
Jason: Yeah, so we have to be very specific because most people are not just oh, I want to be rich. Okay, well, what does that mean? You know, I want you know, I want a big house. Okay, well, where and what is your look like? So, you must be very specific to establish because if it’s not very specific, that we can establish all the steps to get there, and that becomes our course. The course becomes all the steps required to get to where we’re going. And this is constantly changing our lives, change our hopes, tunes, our desires.
- Develop the, overcome mindset: We’ve established our course, we know our mission, we have our purpose. Well, how do we avoid the ambushes or at least try and reduce them and I’m constantly checking, where are we at? Are we on course and, overcome mindset, to get off the gas because guess what? Life ambushes, are coming. I tell people you’re either in a, life ambush, you’re coming out, or there’s one on the horizon.
You can pick up the Point Man Planner on Amazon or you can find everything on my website www.Jasonredman.com . Follow me on social media. Every Monday I put out a video called Monday monster and it’s just positive content on preparing for, life ambushes.
Get 50% off 50% off the Pointman for Life Online Course: https://getoffx.com/pointman-for-life-course/?_ga=2.226718749.1473437284.1684181340-1169416450.1585072211