Each morning as I begin my day, I think of Admiral William McRaven, U.S. Navy Retired. I thank both him and my dear mother for teaching me how important it is to make my bed.
In January, McRaven began his newest challenge, as Chancellor for the University of Texas System. McRaven is a 1977 UT Austin graduate in journalism. He began his military career in the ROTC Program at UT and ended it as a four-star admiral. His last assignment was head of the U.S. Special Operations Command.
McRaven’s SEALS were responsible for the takedown of Osama Bin Laden during Operation Neptune Spear. Those familiar with the details of the raid know that a disaster occurred that nearly cancelled the operation, when one of the two helicopters crashed in Bin Laden’s compound. McRaven’s heart didn’t skip a beat. “We had a Plan B and we executed it.,” he said.
McRaven is also well known for his Commencement Address at UT last May, which is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBQLFLei70. In his speech, McRaven outlines his “Ten Most Important Lessons” critical to his success during the Navy SEAL training program. They include “Keep moving forward,” “Be resourceful and innovative,” and “Be your best in your darkest moments.”
One of McRaven’s most important lessons is to “Find the right people to help you.” In one of his first speaking engagements as Chancellor, McRaven told current UT students that the best thing they could do as young people is to find a life partner. He credits his wife Georgeann with much of his success.
But for me, the lesson that resonates is to “Start the day by making your bed.” Doing so means I’ve accomplished at least one positive thing, I’ve set the tone for the day, and I’m reminded that it’s the little things we do that matter.