Where can you learn about yourself. It’s usually in everyday environments that you can learn small things. But to truly know yourself, you must test yourself.
There is no bigger test than a Royal Marine’s training. For a 16-year-old Scotty Mills, that seems an absolute world away from Peckham.
Scotty Mills, the highest-ranking black officer in the Marines, was the inspirational guest speaker for TransCity Rail North.
It was never his intention to join the marines, in fact, he was a just a boy from Peckham. And one day it was raining, hard. So, he dived into a shop to grab some cover. It was then, he got a tap on his shoulder.
He said: “I was a black boy from Peckham, bounced around a little and eventually adopted by my grandparents.
But one day, it rained, and I desperately wanted to get out of it, and I dived into a shop, which turned out to be the Royal Marines recruiting office. They saw potential in me, and gave me some positivity, and I had never had that.
I went home and told my granddad. He said that if I could survive it, then it would be the making of me.”
But what Scotty didn’t realise was, he was going to go through one of the toughest job interviews he’d ever likely encounter. But he recognised quickly that what he was learning was values that he would have for the rest of his life.
“I got to the training centre, and they were saying words like integrity, self-discipline, humility and excellence. I was hooked. I knew that was everything I wanted, everything I never knew I needed until I was there.”
What are those lessons. What can be translated across from such an intense and unique situation. In truth, the Marines are a closely knit team, with all the values that you would expect in any teams.
He told the audience, that one of the biggest things that you could take away from Marines was accountability.
“One fail, you all fail. So, it’s accountability, making sure you know your own and your teams’ strengths and weaknesses, and making sure you have each person’s back.
“That’s a simple thing when you say it out loud but putting it into practice is a different thing.”
For many teams, even if you are not a high-performance team, can start with individuals. And improving yourself.
“It’s that mindset of improving every single day and then looking at yourself and being honest, and ask yourself, what is your 100%. Knowing what that is, facing it means that you can improve it.
It doesn’t need to be huge, massive strides, but small improvements, and having that mindset of improvement.
You then find yourself looking back and realising that your 100% now, is better than the 100% you asked before.”