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Former U.S. Military Commander Compares His Rise in the Ranks to an Endurance Race

2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If anyone is an expert on grit and determination, it's Sgt. Major Frank Grippe.

In this video interview for the Spartan UP! podcast series, Tim Nye, the Spartan Race race military liaison and former U.S. Army colonel, talks with Grippe, who was the senior enlisted soldier for U.S. Central Command in charge of military operations in 20 countries in Northern Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East before retiring. 

The two military veterans, who met in 1989 during a night time parachute jumping session in Panama, chat about how Grippe knew what he wanted and simply did the job, day in and day out, and when opportunities to advance presented themselves, he was ready.

Outside of the interview is the subzero weather of the Spartan Winter Agoge race in Vermont. Grippe draws parallels to the challenges and subsequent growth these athletes go through during the race to his own career in the military.

"The roadmap was simply this: I always wanted to be a paratrooper. I always wanted to be a ranger. I always wanted to test myself in combat for the United States of America, the free world -- as simple as that," he says. "And I took on those challenges ... striving for more responsibility but in a way that I was taking care of the mission of my service members, my soldiers."

Lessons from this interview include: 

  • Knowing exactly what you want makes getting it that much easier.
  • Force of will is everything.
  • Positions of responsibility demand complete transparency.

Watch more videos from the crew at Spartan UP! on their YouTube channel

Related: Christopher McDougall Was Born to Run. Now He Explores the Ancient Way of Thinking About Strength Training.

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