Steve Kaplan

Rtd Navy SEAL, Owner of Trident Adventures - Helicopter Jumps, Scuba Diving, Hunting & More

Conquering Fear and Leading with Courage: Insights from Retired Navy SEAL Stephen Kaplan

Welcome to this week’s episode of the Team Never Quit Podcast, where Marcus & Melanie Luttrell dive deep into the realms of leadership, courage, and strategic thinking with an extraordinary guest. Today, we are honored to have Stephen Kaplan, a retired Navy SEAL, keynote speaker, business consultant, and leadership expert. Stephen has dedicated over 20 years to mastering tactics, organizational leadership, strategic thinking, and professional team building. After his illustrious military career as a Navy SEAL, he has been transforming corporations, teams, and individuals through his insights and expertise.
Stephen shares his perspective on what it truly means to be courageous, emphasizing that being “fearless” is an illusion. True courage is about facing and conquering fears.
Steve’s adventure business, Trident Adventures is located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The company specializes in leadership and team-building experiences that offer an adventure of a lifetime. Learn how these adventures provide teams with a unique edge in leadership development.
Whether you’re looking to enhance your leadership skills, build stronger teams, or simply get inspired by a story of transformation, this episode is packed with valuable takeaways.

Resources and Links:
TridentAdventures.com
LinkedIn: Stephen Kaplan

In this episode you will hear:
• After I Graduated High School, I went to Bible College to be a Pastor. I felt was that’s where I was supposed to be. That was calling on my life. (5:32)
• [Marcus] Q: What was the one thing in BUDS that got you?
A: I put a stick through my forearm on the obstacle course. (15:34)
• [On the obstacle course] my heart’s pumping like crazy. I’m excited.  I’m in BUDS. There’s 300 guys and I’m thinking I’m gonna be the guy that doesn’t quit, and I throw myself over the wall, and when I hop off the other end of it, I hear a snap. (17:06)
• The next obstacle was the high wall with the rope, so I go to grab it, and my hand doesn’t work. I look at my arm and there was a big stick sticking through. (17:28)
• I didn’t know how to swim when I signed up. (21:21)
• You’ll become a good swimmer at BUDS, for sure, but you won’t become a good runner at BUDS. You’ll get worse.  (22:34)
• I blew out my ear drum really bad.  They had to cut my ear off, and replace the membrane in my ear with a skin graft. (26:54)
• On the second day of hell week, I stepped in a hole in the sand and I hyperextended my knee and tore a bunch of stuff in my knee and ankle. Now I’ve got a bum leg, I’m in day 2 of hell week, and I had such a bad infection in my ear, that it actually rotted a hole in my   tympanic membrane. (28:20)
• I do not look like the type of person that should be lifting the type of weights I can lift. (50:55)
• [After having shortness of breath and chest pain for days, I was commanded to go to the ER] They do all the x-rays and all the blood tests, and the doctor says, “How long have you had these symptoms?” “5 days, I think.” “You’re supposed to be dead.” (55:47)
• I had to have 2 nurses hold me up, because if laid down, I’d pass out and die. My friends came by to say goodbye. I ended up not dying. (56:26)
• I was a SEAL tech advisor for Hawaii 5-O, Magnum PI and a couple of other shows. (58:44)

• Everybody has fear, Team guys have fear. We’re not fearless. What we do is that we overcome our fear because we have courage. Courage is not the lack of fear, it’s what you do in the face of fear. (62:35)

• We’re the only operation [Trident Adventures] – I think in the world – that’s allowed to have civilians jump out of a helicopter into the ocean or a body of water. (63:28)
• I used to love free diving, but I lost most of my lungs when I had the pulmonary embolism, so my breath hold now is embarrassing – maybe 30 seconds. (64:32)
• [Marcus] In SEAL teams, we will name something funny like Seal Transport Device (STD). 65:11)
• I choose to take my previous chapter of my life, and thru my entrepreneurship and my company and how I conduct myself. Through my integrity and my character I want to be that guy that makes people look at the teams in a higher regard because of how I carry myself. (73:33)

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