Not many entrepreneurs can say they’ve applied skills learned as a U.S. Navy diver to build an eight-figure business, except for Chris Cavallini.
He’s a former US Navy Deep Sea Diver and the founder of Nutrition Solutions. It’s a U.S.-based lifestyle and meal preparation company that provides custom meals for people looking to accomplish their fitness or health goals.
The company’s clients range from professional athletes to overweight middle-aged men and women looking to lose weight, build muscle and just be healthier.
Own The Success Of Your Teams
Cavallini was arrested 17 times before he turned 18.
“I was given an ultimatum that I could either go to jail for seven months or join the military,” he said.
“I opted with the latter, and the military gave me structure and taught me the importance of discipline.”
Clearly, Cavallini learned from past mistakes and knows how to enables his team of more than 50 people to thrive.
“If your team isn’t doing the things that you want them to do, that’s not their fault, that’s yours,” he said.
“You have to take responsibility there and provide them the training, coaching, and resources so they’re able to grow personally and professionally,” he said.
“You have to provide them the support, the structure, the accountability, and the ongoing training to help develop them into leaders.”
Prepare For Adversity
U.S. Navy diver trainees must complete a test at the bottom of the pool while wearing a blacked-out mask.
During the dive, his or her instructor swims down and turns off their air unexpectedly. The instructor then tries to rip away the air tanks and slams the trainee off the bottom of the pool for 15 seconds.
“You have to just stay as calm as possible, and then remember the training that you were given all while being under stress,” said Cavallini.
“If you panic and attempt to bolt to the surface, which a lot of people do, the potential for your lungs to over-inflate and ultimately explode is a very real possibility.”
The goal of this terrifying exercise is to teach the diver how to cope with stress and be able to take action in real life chaotic situations, remember their training and to weed out weak candidates who can’t handle high stress, adverse situations
“It helps you build confidence and helps you learn how to operate under very stressful conditions,” said Cavallini.
Most entrepreneurs don’t face life and death challenges, but they will encounter adversities and even crises, such as a making the wrong call which could result in you losing customers and losing thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars as a result, or abruptly losing a key team member without notice.
“We try and stay prepared so If somebody goes down unexpectedly, we have two people that can step up and fill in that role and keep the momentum going,” said Cavallini.
Maintain Composure During A Crisis
Cavallini believes remaining composed during difficult moments is key to succeeding as a business owner. He remembers when his company sent the wrong orders to clients due to a technological error.
Almost immediately, the company began receiving dozens of emails, calls, and texts from clients with allergies and specific nutritional needs.
“I made the decision to bring a team in overnight to immediately correct the situation. We worked for 30 hours straight and essentially re-prepared everybody’s order that we had screwed up. The amount of money and stress that cost us was absolutely off the charts,” he said.
“It was chaotic, but it was the right thing to do. By explaining to the team the responsibility that we had to our clients, everybody got on board with it,” he said. “It won us a lot of respect, raving fan clients, and also brought us closer together as a team.
Today, Cavallini invests in himself through physical training, and self-education. He is consistently focused on bettering himself and applies that principle to his team at Nutrition Solutions, as his culture is built on the principles of self-discipline and hard work.
Cavallini said other entrepreneurs can apply his approach, and he encouraged them to act. “The magic happens in execution, and the most valuable lessons I’ve learned were through mistakes I’ve made.”