Q&A with Kenny Bigbee Jr.

We took all of your questions straight to the man himself. Here’s what he had to say!

Q: What made you want to be  a Navy SEAL?

Kenny: I had to discover for myself if I was willing to die for what I believed in and who I believed in. A lot of people figuratively say, “you’d have to kill me” or “over my dead body,” you know, we have these colloquialisms. I needed to test that, see if that was true for me. I believe firmly in the idea of family, friends, and country. So if I was ever going to have a family, I needed to see if I deserved that. The root of it all is that I wanted to test my mettle to see if I would really pay the ultimate price with my life for what I believed in.

Q: What’s was your biggest takeaway from your time as a Navy SEAL?

Kenny: That’s a great question. The biggest thing I learned as a Navy SEAL is the mindset to deal with adversity and failure. And when I say failure, I also really mean the risk of failure. We say in jiu jitsu, you don’t lose if you learn. I had the mentality before, but as a SEAL I had the opportunity to hone it in, and really apply it. In essence, most people think failure is the ending. When they miss the mark, they think it’s time to quit. Failure is the beginning if you choose to make it a learning opportunity. Winston Churchill said “success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” So the only way you can do that is if you learn from failure. So I look and objectify at failure as feedback. It’s feedback that I didn’t prefer, of course. But then I learned from the feedback. And the actual way that human beings learn, is we learn how to do it wrong until we get it right. So the most successful people fail more than anybody. Michael Jordan said, “I fail therefore I succeed.”  So it’s okay to miss the mark, because you learned something about how to get closer next time. Here’s an imperative distinction, you’re only defeated when you choose not to learn, reapply and grow from what you discovered. So failure’s not the problem, defeat is. So what I learned in SEAL training is that failure is the beginning, not the end, if you learn from missing the mark, and to distinguish defeat as a choice of choosing not to learn from failure and choosing not to reapply yourself. I tell my teammates in life this warrior ethos of mindset, inevitably you will face failure at times, but always, always, remain undefeated.

Q: What is the thing that tests your discipline the most?

Kenny: Man that’s a good question. The thing that probably tests my discipline the most is  the balance of work ethic and time with the people that I value. That’s probably the biggest one, because they’re almost in juxtaposition. There are times where I have to sacrifice some time with my loved ones, in order to earn us a better quality of life. But if I’m not prioritizing them too, that work is in vain. So finding that balance between work ethic for greater quality of life and spending time with my loved ones, that’s the greatest discipline challenge.

Q: How do how do you keep your motivation up? I have never seen an individual as motivated as Mr. B.

Kenny: You can write cocaine is a hell of a drug. (Kenny asked us to make sure that we write “laugh out loud” and add a laughing emoji so that you know this is a joke). No but seriously.  For me, it’s not motivation. I found the thing that propels me and pulls me enough that motivation is not required. So you have to find the thing that propels you versus you pushing yourself because discipline fails in the face of self preservation. I know you’ve heard it time and time again. You have to find your “why.” Allow me to articulate with more visceral clarity. I found the thing that I value above everything else, so I never have to talk myself into anything. Instead I just remind myself of gaining or losing what I value most by my mindset or actions. There’s a great quote, about how you find courage in the face of fear. It states that you have to find something more valuable and greater than all your fears. And I’d  add it has to be greater than all your comforts as well. So I found something that I value greater than all my fears, and greater than all my comforts, and that exceeds motivation, it exceeds my desire to procrastinate. You will exceed and excel  beyond all previous limitations from within.

Q: What sparked your career decision to go from being a Navy SEAL to coaching, helping and guiding others?

Kenny: That’s a really cool question. The answer is that they are indistinguishable. No one in the SEAL teams says, “are you a Navy SEAL?” They say, “Are you a team guy? Are you in the teams?”  The colloquialism we have in the SEAL teams is that there is no “I”in Team. Meaning there’s no independence, there’s interdependence. So the mindset of the SEAL teams is all about helping your brother to the right and the left. And it’s all about serving and sacrificing to help your country. So that’s indistinguishable from what I do today. That mindset allowed me to become, and be a SEAL. And then once a SEAL gets out, that’s just  who they are in most cases, and then that just continues outside of that way of life. So there was no transition, I just was no longer in the military. I carried those character attributes along with me forward. So I was that person before, during and after. That’s really the requirement to being a SEAL. Being a seal is a we thing, not a me thing. And from day one of SEAL training, they’re going to try to get rid of people that are doing the “me” thing. So that mentality gets practiced from day one of the teams and carries on to all parts of your life.

Q: As such an inspirational person himself, who does Kenny look to for inspiration?

Kenny: These people are extremely kind. Lol! I look to everyone that I meet. Every time that I engage with somebody, somebody has something to teach me, that can help to propel me forward. So I look to people, and I always find something. Sometimes I am motivated by what not to do!  Sometimes I’m impacted in an inspirational way. I try to spend my time with people who are better than myself, and better still, I seek out those who are the best to have done it. I then learn and apply it relevant to the outcome of how I wish to serve with the greatest impact. But at the end of the day every single person, and every single moment has something to teach me to motivate me to become great.

Q: What is the best program for me if I want to get better at the Big Three lifts, but also keep running?

Kenny: I would say the Functional Fitness and Infusion that we’ve created for my Gym Jones Train Like a SEAL team because it is the synergistic blend of endurance, power, strength, and agility with a sliding scale to accommodate options of your preference. We lift three days a week, we do power and dynamic endurance work three days a week, and it’s very calculated to maximize that optimally in both areas. 

Q: Where did your nickname come from?

Kenny: Oh, wow. It came from Muay Thai. So in warrior culture, you don’t grant yourself a nickname. You are given a nickname by the way you behave or what you do. So in Muay Thai I was always really, really nice and engaging. And then as soon as we got in the ring, something changed and I didn’t like you anymore, and people said I fought angry. And so first my nickname was “Angry Bumble Bee”. Then it became “Angry Bee”,  and a few other variations, and then they finally ended on Killa Bee.

Q: How can I develop the mindset and characteristics of a Navy SEAL if I don’t have the opportunity to actually be one?

Kenny: That’s really cool. It seems Stephen Covey said it best: begin with the end in mind. The SEALs plan their mission the same way; you begin with the end in mind, not just from achieving the mission,  but from being home with everybody alive having succeeded. So the way that you build those character attributes is you want to find the end game that you want to achieve. Then work your way backwards. Ask yourself these questions: Who is it that I want to be in principle and character and what do I want to achieve? What activities would I envision myself doing daily to embody that and to achieve that? What mindset/mentality would I need to consistently manifest to become the most empowered version of myself? So the idea is not just to achieve a certain goal, but to become a certain person along the way. We don’t want to simply achieve objectives. We want to gain the characteristics that allow you to achieve that objective. That’s the concept of being a SEAL.

Gym Jones Train like a SEAL is open for registration! Join today, programming starts 1/30.

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