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How This Former Submarine Officer Learned to Lead Under Pressure As a young Navy officer, Rick Stollmeyer made some mistakes. Now, as CEO of Mindbody, he's learned to make more considered decisions.

By Rick Stollmeyer

This story appears in the March 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

JP Greenwood

I spent a big portion of my 20s underwater — but not in the emotional sense. Back in the early '90s, I was a submarine officer, serving at the end of the Cold War.

I was 24 when I reported for duty on the USS Chicago, a fast-attack nuclear submarine. I was put in charge of 13 men, and despite my extensive training, nothing could have fully prepared me for the intensity of my role.

A month into a mission, the ship's turbine generators started giving us trouble, and it was my responsibility to get them fixed. The ship's engineer — who was my boss — proposed a solution, but the chief petty officer wanted a different resolution. Wanting to impress my supervisor and resolve the situation quickly, I ordered the chief petty officer to fix it the engineer's way, shutting down the conversation and overlooking the officer's years of expertise.

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