Ex-Navy SEAL Dan Luna: Leading Through Volatility

Dan Luna is a former United States Navy SEAL and an expert in Leadership with a highly accomplished military professional with over 20 years of experience in the SEAL Teams at the unit, operational and command level. Dan was a member of SEAL Team One where he served ten years completing five deployments, including two tours in Iraq, two tours in Afghanistan. In 2010 he became a member of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, AKA DevGru, AKA Seal Team Six. His decorations include 2 Bronze Stars w/ Valor, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, and the Navy Commendation Medal w/ Valor x4.
After his time with the SEALs, Dan became an instructor at the United States Naval Academy where he developed leadership programs and trained Navy and Marine Corps officers. He earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Georgetown University and is the Founder of 3LX, a leadership consultancy, and coaching business.

Dan Luna’s journey to becoming a Navy SEAL began as an only child fascinated with The Hardy Boy mysteries. He romanticized the idea of joining a brotherhood and going through a rite of passage, and the more books he read the more the idea of testing himself and the intrigue of becoming involved in big, international affairs appealed to him. His search for a crucible to challenge himself led him to look for the hardest program possible to forge him into the man he was looking to become. Dan considered law enforcement and the military, but nothing seemed to compare to the hell one must go through to become a Navy SEAL, the program known as BUDs Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training. Dan graduated BUDS class 228, the same class that produced Marcu Lutrell the lone survivor of Operation Red Wings, and the SEAL training school class featured in the book The Warrior Elite: Forging of SEAL Class 228 by Dan Couch.

Dan talks about the struggle of transitioning from a 20-year career with the SEALs and military as a warfighter handling presidential-level missions, to the metronome-like tempo of civilian life. “What you do as an occupation, it goes into your being, and that being (becomes) your character, your personality, your actions, and how you move day-to-day, and how you look at the world, and how you perceive things. So to sort of move from that from (being) covert to overt for me … I felt like a Martian. I felt like I was on another planet.”

Dan explains how his epiphany for how to navigate and succeed in the foreign terrain of civilian life came when he asked himself a different question from the ones that had been vexing him … “instead of thinking about doing and I had a lot of issues with that what I started asking was different question was, who do I want to be?”

We also talk about building a “Feeder Mindset” and avoiding falling into the trap of the “Receiver mentality,” how this applies to success in all realms of life, a fascinating concept found within Sayoc Kali, a fighting system for using edged weapons (blades) in combat, invented by the Sayoc family and popularized by Pamana Tuhon Chris Sayoc, a martial art that Luna and many in the SpecOps/shooter community practice.

Dan also discusses leadership, the powerful concept of “The Push” and “The Pull,” and what you must learn in order to lead in circumstances where men and women are expected to follow you, whether into battle, in business, or as a mother/father guiding a family. He describes his specialization in “leading through volatility,” pre-traumatic coaching for military, law enforcement and first responders, and his training to help those whose profession places them at the front lines of violent crises to help prepare for the psychological effects of catastrophic and harrowing events and help prevent or ameliorate the consequences of PTSD.

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