There is nothing worse than sitting through a speech by a “motivational” speaker and feeling absolutely bored stiff and totally disinterested. Sadly, there are often individuals who simply don’t know how to connect with your own internal warzone, much less offer you any hope of making it out alive… except for Navy SEAL motivational speakers.
Navy SEALs are the elite of the US military, and they have literally lived in warzones and come out the other side triumphant, despite tragedy and trauma. They have survived some of the world’s worst hellholes by showing mental resilience and focus.
Here are the best Navy SEAL motivational speakers to see this year and everything you’d like to know before booking your seat.
Why Navy SEALs Are Great Motivational Speakers
Before you look up retired Navy SEALs in the yellow pages, it’s worth knowing just why you may want to book a Navy SEAL as a guest speaker for your next work or social function. Navy SEALs:
11 Navy SEAL Motivational Speakers to See in 2023
When booking a Navy SEAL motivational speaker, it’s a good idea to look for specific qualities before making your reservation. Here are the top 11 Navy SEAL motivational speakers to consider for 2023.
1. David Goggins
“You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft, that you will die without ever realizing your true potential.” ~ David Goggins
David Goggins was born February 17, 1975 in Buffalo, New York. He is perhaps one of the best known retired Navy SEALs turned motivational speakers and draws huge crowds to each engagement where he spreads his message of never giving up and changing your mindset.
Goggins is an author, speaker, retired Navy SEAL, and former Guinness World Record holder for 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours. He participates in numerous ultra-distance marathons and continues to challenge himself daily.
The start of Goggins’ journey to becoming a Navy SEAL included losing 106 pounds in three months before he could qualify for the elite SEAL teams.
Goggins has published several books, including his successful latest publication called Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within. Many of his speeches, like I Am Unbreakable, focus on how never giving up when the going gets tough has motivated and inspired thousands.
2. Jocko Willink
“The more you practice, the better you get, the more freedom you have to create.” ~ Jocko Willink
Born on September 8, 1971, John Gretton “Jocko” Willink hails from Torrington, Connecticut. As the leader of task unit Bruiser, Willink saw some of the most harrowing parts of the Iraq war in Ramadi. Willink is a highly decorated retired Navy SEAL officer and received both the Silver Star and the Bronze Star.
After retirement, he started a private consultancy firm known as Echelon Front. Willink’s company offers leadership skills training for corporate entities, using the same principles that he employed on the battlefield.
Willink has a hugely successful podcast, and he is a New York Times number one bestselling author. Some of his book titles include Extreme Ownership (co-written with Leif Babin) and Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual. His podcast that he often shares with David Goggins has over a million subscribers, and one of his best known podcast speeches is Why Discipline Must Come from Within.
3. William McRaven
“Hope is the most powerful force in the universe.” ~ William H. McRaven
Admiral William H. McRaven was born on November 6, 1955 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. During his military career, he advised two presidents and was deployed during the war in Iraq and also the war in Afghanistan.
He is an exclusive Washington Speakers Bureau guest speaker and has been involved in 14 different educational institutions that have been responsible for the education of 220,000 students.
McRaven is a New York Times bestselling author and his iconic speech, making your bed, delivered to the University of Texas went viral. His bestselling book Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life and Maybe the World uses battlefield analogies to help leadership and personal responsibility develop so the reader can excel in life.
4. Mike Hayes
“The entire mission belongs to all of us.” ~ Mike Hayes
Mike Hayes commanded SEAL Team Two in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Hayes was credited for the START treaty negotiations between the Bush administration and Russia.
He received the Bronze Star in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after retiring from the SEALs, he became the chief operating officer at VMWare, a software company.
Hayes wrote the bestselling book, Never Enough: A Navy SEAL Commander on Living a Life of Excellence, Agility, and Meaning, and all proceeds from the book sales are donated to Gold Star Families to help families of fallen military heroes.
Hayes’ speeches are mostly for private corporate events, but you can view a podcast discussion of his book, Never Enough, online.
5. Rorke Denver
“Whatever might happen, I always knew my brother had my back.” ~ Rorke Denver
Born on October 26, 1973 in Saratoga, California, Rorke Denver is a retired Navy SEALs commander, turned actor, author, and motivational speaker. Denver was the star of the hit film Act of Valor, and he also starred in the FOX TV series American Grit.
While he was an active SEAL, he saw action in the Middle East, Africa, and numerous international hotspots. Denver established the brand Ever Onward under the banner of which he delivers motivational speeches and leadership workshops to corporates and marketing organizations.
His two books, Worth Dying For: A Navy Seal’s Call to a Nation and Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior, are both bestsellers. He has several online motivational speeches delivered across America.
6. Chad Williams
“Freedom isn’t free.” ~ Chad Williams
Chad Williams retired from active duty with the SEALS in 2010, and he and his wife Aubrey live in Huntington Beach, California. Having completed the grueling BUD/S training, Williams was one of 13 graduates from a class of 173 candidates, and he continued to serve on SEAL Teams One and Seven.
Williams has become a public figure due to appearances on CNN and FOX news as military correspondent on conflicts involving American troops. He is a full-time minister, and he also delivers keynote speeches on a range of topics.
Williams authored the best-selling book SEAL of God.
Williams is a talented motivational speaker, with one of his iconic speeches on “turning out to be a loser” inspiring teens to never quit again.
7. Mark Divine
“My purpose is to master myself so I can serve humanity as a warrior, leader and teacher.” ~ Mark Divine
Born on July 14, 1963, Mark Divine is a retired SEAL commander with over 20 years of military service. After retiring, Divine created two businesses, SEALfit and Unbeatable Mind, and he hosts a successful podcast titled Unbeatable Mind.
Divine also created a nationwide training program for SEAL trainees at the government’s request, which saw attrition drop by five percent.
8. Brent Gleeson
“If you stumble, find the root cause and move on. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in guilt, anger, or frustration, because these emotions will only drag you further down and impede future progress. Learn from your missteps and forgive yourself. Then get your head back in the game and violently execute.” ~ Brent Gleeson
Brent Gleeson is a retired Navy SEAL, best-selling author, award-winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and a columnist at Forbes. When Gleeson left SEAL Team Five, he used what he learned during his time on active duty in the business world.
He founded TakingPoint Leadership, a management and leadership company that specializes in transforming businesses for the better and creating high-performance company cultures.
Gleeson is the author of two books: TakingPoint: A Navy SEAL’s 10 Fail Safe Principles for Leading Through Change and Embracing the Suck: The Navy SEAL Way to an Extraordinary Life. Some of Gleeson’s motivational speeches are available online, and one of his most watched is Navy SEAL’s 10 Fail Safe Principles.
9. Marcus Luttrell
“Don’t let your thoughts run away with you, don’t start planning to bail out because you’re worried about the future and how much you can take. Don’t look ahead to the pain. Just get through the day.” ~ Marcus Luttrell
Born November 7, 1975, Marcus Luttrell is a highly decorated Navy SEAL who was the sole survivor of Operation Red Wings in 2005.
Luttrell received the Purple Heart for valor, and his story inspired the 2013 movie Lone Survivor, based on his best-selling book Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Red Wings and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.
His foundation—the Lone Survivor Foundation—assists wounded soldiers and their families.
Luttrell hosts his own podcast called the Team Never Quit Podcast, and he also travels the US delivering motivational speeches about his experiences and views on life. Marcus Luttrell has delivered several speeches and interviews online.
10. Brandon Webb
“Choose one thing, focus on that one thing, and execute it to the absolute limit of your abilities. Focus on your career, invest in yourself, and learn how to say no to everything else.” ~ Brandon Webb
Born June 12, 1974, Brandon Webb headed the SEAL sniper course, and he was deployed to Afghanistan and also to the Persian Gulf. After he retired, he founded his own company, Force 12 Media, and he is a successful entrepreneur.
Webb has also founded a non-profit company, the Red Circle Foundation, which supports the families of Special Forces members. He is a best-selling author, with titles like Among Heroes and The Red Circle.
Various interviews and motivational speeches by Brandon Webb are available online, and How to Improve Self-Talk is one about how you can change habits, like internal and external self-talk, for the better. Webb has also expanded into fiction with his newest book, Cold Fear: A Thriller.
11. Mark Owen
“There is no honor in sending men to die for something you won’t even fight for yourself.” ~ Mark Owen
Mark Owen’s real name is Matt Bissonette. He was born in the Alaskan town of Wrangell in 1976. Bissonette, who published a book under the name Mark Owen, was a member of Navy SEAL Team Six and served in the US military for 14 years.
He rose to fame after he was chosen to carry out a top-secret mission on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.
When Bissonette left active duty, he became a motivational speaker and co-authored No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden with Kevin Maurer, a journalist. This former Navy SEAL also wrote No Hero: The Evolution of a Navy SEAL.
Bissonette is also an executive producer on SEAL Team, a TV series that follows an elite Navy SEAL team as they go on various dangerous missions around the world. He was also consulted for the making of the video game called Medal of Honor: Warfighter.