Every young adult in Israel serves in the Israeli Military at the age of 18. Although it’s mandated by law, serving in the Israeli Military is a huge point of pride for those who have served. My experience is no different. Even before serving, my business partner and I served as combat officers, commanding teams. From a very early age, I learned the importance of putting the care of others ahead of myself. I had chosen my place—an assignment on a Navy ship, but many of those who reported to me had not made that choice. They had simply been assigned to that position. Early in my tenure, I had to be a highly motivating leader because I needed to inspire people who didn’t necessarily have the same level of commitment. I served in the military for six years, but many of the lessons I learned and the leadership skills I acquired prepared me for a lifelong journey as an entrepreneur.
Here are 4 Skills I Developed Serving in the Israeli Military That Still Serves Me As An Entrepreneur:
- The ability to improvise.
Often in life, we know exactly what we need to accomplish a task well. That said, we frequently have to make do with what we have. It’s the same in the military. Understanding how to stretch resources and do a lot with a little is a skill that keeps you alive in the military, but it also really comes in handy as an entrepreneur.
Being able to think on my feet creatively has helped me to overcome many of the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. My superpower has always been finding a problem and solving it with technology. Being forced to work with the resources available to me has led to innovation and the creation of services that stand out and disrupt industries.
- Leading by example.
In the military, you have to walk and talk the talk. You can’t demand something from your soldiers if you yourself don’t obey the same rules and meet the same requirements. like you can’t demand something from your soldiers if you yourself do not obey those same.
Hours can be long when you’re running a startup. I would never expect my team to pull an all-nighter or put in extra hours if I wasn’t right there beside them. Along with that, I also believe in rewarding my team for what they do. When my partner and I sold our first company, it was very important to us to make sure our team was well compensated. The exit should be a life-changing event for everyone on the team, not just the founders.
- Pushing people out of their comfort zone.
Obviously, no one is in their comfort zone serving in the military. But through my experiences pushing my soldiers even beyond what they thought they could do, I learned the benefit of pushing people out of their comfort zone. Anytime you push someone beyond what they are comfortable with, you help bring them to the next level.
As an entrepreneur, I know the importance of motivating my team and pushing them out of their comfort zone. For example, not everyone is comfortable talking with customers or putting themselves out there. But once they are nudged to do so, they feel that sense of accomplishing something bigger and the next time they are faced with a similar challenge, fear is no longer holding them back.
- Focusing on the task at hand.
In the military, we are trained to deal with stressful situations, focusing on what is happening at the moment and how to bring our team through it safely while reaching our objectives. While building a company involves endless distractions and even more ups and downs throughout the process. Focusing on the most urgent and important matters is a skill one must master to succeed as an entrepreneur truly.
Litan Yahav is a former officer in the Israeli Navy and the CEO of Vyzer, a solution for investors with multiple income streams who spend too much time managing, tracking, and monitoring their portfolios. Yahav and his business partner, Vyzer COO Tomer Salvi, were previously co-founders of Segoma, a revolutionary diamond display technology that was established and successfully sold. Connect with him on Twitter @Yahav.Litan.