Leadership

Former Navy SEAL: To manage stress, you must 'attack your weaknesses'

Jocko Willink faced intense challenges as a U.S. Navy SEAL serving in one of the most highly decorated special operations units of the Iraq war.

While he experienced stress, he also learned two key ways to manage it. Used correctly, these tips can even turn your worry into fun, says Willink, co-author of the book "The Dichotomy of Leadership" and the founder of management consulting firm Echelon Front.

He shares his two key tips with CNBC Make It.

1. Let go of what you can't control

When confronting your stress, Willink recommends asking yourself, "Am I stressed about something that I can control or is it something that I cannot control at all?"

The key to moving forward, Willink tells CNBC Make It, is acceptance of what you can't change and moving forward with what you can.

"Every moment that you spend worrying about something that you have no control over is taking away the energy that you could put into the things that you actually can control," he says.

2. Attack your weaknesses

If you do have control over a situation, and are knowingly entering a stressful environment like a big meeting or presentation, then take an "offensive mindset," he says.

The best thing you can do in these situations is to "attack your weaknesses." Consider what's worrying you and what you think will go wrong. Then prepare and train accordingly.

"Think to yourself: OK. I'm going to attack this meeting. I'm going to do a great job," says Willink. "It goes back to preparation."

It takes discipline to evaluate and strengthen your weakest areas. But ultimately, this process will give you confidence and control, eliminating stress.

"Wake up early. Know your material. Train hard. Study hard," says Willink. "Be prepared for the situation that you're going into and then there's no stress. There's just, quite honestly, fun."

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