Jared Hamilton and Flynn Cochran: Entrepreneurship and SEAL Training Teach About Leadership

Pictured left to right: Flynn Cochran, Jared Hamilton

Highly sought-after keynote speakers Jared Hamilton and Flynn Cochran taught lessons from entrepreneurship and the laws of combat in forum on February 8 at Southern Virginia University.

Hamilton is the founder and CEO of Driving Sales, the largest social and educational platform for car dealerships in the world.

Cochran is a former U.S. Navy SEAL Officer, Harvard Business School graduate and management consultant at McKinsey & Company. He is currently the chief strategy officer at Echelon Front and works alongside fellow Navy SEAL officers and authors of best-selling book “Extreme Ownership,” the concepts of which they use to train businesses about leadership and strategy.

Cochran spoke first on lessons he learned from SEAL training and combat about the importance of discipline, leadership and taking responsibility.

“As you move on to your careers or here at school and you get into a situation where things are getting crazy and you’re getting emotional, remember to detach, take a step back, even wait a little bit, before making a decision,” he advised, drawing from the tactic ‘prioritize and execute.’ “Identify what is going to have the most impact on the situation right now and make the decision.”

Citing principles from “Extreme Ownership,” Cochran taught students to take responsibility for problems instead of placing blame and invited them to take ownership in all parts of their lives.

“Take ownership of your relationship with Heavenly Father,” he said. “Don’t let anyone else get in the way of that. That’s your relationship. Take ownership of relationships with your families, take ownership of the problems you get to when you move on [from college]. Don’t make excuses, because at the end of the day it’s about you.”

Following Cochran’s remarks, Hamilton spoke about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and gave a behind-the-scenes view of his personal journey to success.

“The journey of entrepreneurship is a journey of creating value,” said Hamilton. “It is a ride. The valleys are deep and the mountains are tall.”

According to Hamilton, everyone is an entrepreneur in his or her own way because everyone is trying to build value in their homes and families. He shared experiences from his entrepreneurial journey to point out three key decision points he believes can be applied to all parts of life.

  1. Commit. “Make a decision to be in the game. Because it is a decision to become. And all of us have a godly birthright to become something better than what we are. So, make the decision to harness that.”
  2. Work Hard. “It’s about a lot of hard work and a lot of commitment. It’s a grind, but you’ve got to enjoy the grind. You’ve got to get up and love the grind. I will outwork anybody, and you just need to wake up with that mentality every day.”
  3. Learn fast. “The way you learn in a start-up is different than in school. There’s learning that teaches you what to think, and there’s learning that teaches you how to think. It isn’t about being right up front, it’s about how fast you can adapt…How fast you can get the right answer after being wrong.”

Hamilton encouraged students to be ambitious about making a positive impact on the world, pointing out how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ demonstrated great ambition by taking on the grand task of bringing about the eternal salvation of humankind.

Speaking of Christ’s atonement, Hamilton said, “The Savior did the most ambitious thing that we could ever think of. My point is this: Ambition is not bad. In fact, ambition is a godly attribute, when applied appropriately.