Discipline Equals Freedom – Wise Words from Dave Berke


Our leader team truly cares about investing in and developing their employees. I have been provided with many opportunities to grow my skill set through Leader Training. As a part of Leader II and III training, Interstates brought in retired Marine pilot and Navy SEAL, Dave Berke. Dave presents with his consulting group, Echelon Front. His background in the military is the catalyst to his message. He uses his experiences and lessons learned in the military and makes them applicable to people in business. While there are clear differences between a life in the military and a life in construction, Dave explained that the skills necessary to be successful in each of these professions are surprisingly similar.

First, is the mentality of humility. If we don’t have the ability to check our egos at the door, we will fail in the ability to self-assess, which causes an inability to evolve and get better. We can no longer adapt to new ways of thinking and we don’t “respect the enemy” because we can be trapped into thinking we are already the best. Next, is the idea of ‘Extreme Ownership.’ This is the title of the book behind Dave’s entire keynote and it seemed to line up well with how we view our teams at Interstates. It is a leader’s responsibility to take ownership with his/her team and create solutions! Finally, my biggest takeaway is discipline. Dave made it clear that the things he was presenting to us would not be motivating. Instead, they would be simple. The catch? It would be hard. While I have only described a few of my takeaways, everything Dave spoke on seemed straightforward, but all require discipline. Embracing humility and taking to time self-assess our processes and work structure sounds doable, until you actually take the time to do it. Having tough conversations, taking responsibility for a team, creating new habits, or sticking to a new plan can be very challenging and all require great discipline. Motivation can only get you so far, but “discipline equals freedom.”

Check out the Echelon Front website to learn more!

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Darin Vreugdenhil, Interstates Project Coordinator