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Former US Navy Seal David Goggins gives the world's wealthiest executives this tip for a successful life

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Over time many top executives forget what got them into the C-suite in the first place. It’s often a wicked combination of hard work, unyielding hustle, a positive mindset and a whole bunch of luck spanning decades.

What replaces that roll up the sleeves and get to work hustler, is an executive that collects big fat checks and is prone to complaining about things in a business that aren’t deserving of complaints.

Retired U.S. Navy Seal David Goggins has seen his fair share of whining, mistake prone executives in his time. The message he usually serves up to those Fortune 500 executives he works with that have gotten too high on the hog?

Toughen up and stay focused. Goggins says he tries to give executives in pursuit of self improvement an “indestructible toolbox” of lessons that could be applied daily.

“A lot of them still like to whine and complain,” Goggins said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. “At the end of the day, you have to just toughen up and suck it up. You have to be your best self on your worst days, those days where you don’t want to get up and those days you don’t want to perform.”

To be sure, Goggins speaks from experience on the concept of showing up each day.

Once weighing 300 pounds-plus and unsure of his goals in life amid growing up in a rough part of town, Goggins wound up in the Navy Seals in some of the most brutal conditions known to man. It was there where he explored ways to push his mind and body to the extreme in the pursuit of personal growth.

He went on to become an ultra marathoner and holds the world record for consecutive pull-ups — 4,030 over the span of 17 hours.

The Gap’s now former CEO Art Peck is an example of an executive who went off course.

Peck spent 23 years as a consultant at The Boston Consulting Group, joining Gap in 2011 as the president of the apparel retailer’s North America business. By 2015 Peck was Gap’s CEO — not a bad career milestone, and no doubt one dotted with years of hustle. But Peck spent his time as CEO cleaning house internally and publicly voicing disappointment about the performance of his teams on quarterly earnings calls.

CNBC EVENTS -- Pictured: Art Peck, CEO of Gap, Inc , speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, 'The Future of Impact', hosted by former President Bill Clinton, at the Sheraton Times Square, in New York City, on September 28, 2015 -- (Photo by: Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

That’s not how an executive should think about building a great culture.

At the end of 2018, one source tells Yahoo Finance Peck slashed bonuses at headquarters. Many employees were up in arms, the source says, especially in light of Peck’s generous pay package.

Peck was canned in November of this year.

In the end, once a negative mindset takes control, mistakes in strategy happen that tend to not only impact a corporate culture but the financials and if a public company, the stock price. Then, the executive gets shown the door and wonders where it all went wrong.

The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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