Robert O’Neill – True American Hero

Have you ever wanted to accomplish something extraordinary? 

Do you feel like you’re just average? Do you want to accomplish something GREAT, but you’re unsure about your ability to do it? If this sounds like you, then this episode will change your life! 

For today’s episode, I’m bringing you someone historic. I talk to a lot of great guests on this show but never have I had the privilege to interview someone who has done so much for America. I’m pleased to inform you that I’m interviewing Robert O’Neill — the man who killed Osama bin Laden.  

Robert’s journey will show you that ARE capable of accomplishing something incredible! It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from — you CAN do anything if you never stop striving towards your goals!

Who Is Robert O’Neill?

Robert O’Neill is a true American hero. He served in the Navy as a SEAL from 1997 to 2012. During that time, he received 52 decorations in the military, including two Silver Star medals, four Bronze Star Medals with Valor, Joint Service Commendation Medals with Valor, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendations with Valor, and three Presidential Unit Citations.

Robert participated in 400 different combat missions to preserve our freedom. One such notable mission was rescuing the Maersk Alabama cargo ship after Somali pirates hijacked it. He was also on the mission to save Marcus Luttrell after the Taliban killed his team in Afghanistan. Those two events alone are enough to distinguish Robert as a hero, but he did something truly remarkable and historical: he took down Osama bin Laden. 

Even though he killed one of the worst villains in recent history, Robert insists that he isn’t a hero but a regular guy who was fortunate enough to work with an amazing team. 

I am incredibly excited for you to get into the mind of this awesome guy as we discuss his journey from being an average kid to becoming one of the most acclaimed SEALs in history. His journey will illuminate the fact that no matter where you come from, you CAN make history and #MAXOUT your life!

It’s Not About Where You Start It’s How You Keep Pushing Forward 

Robert didn’t start his military journey as a hero. He was a normal kid in Butte, Montana, and only wanted to join the military to leave his hometown. 

“I got dumped by a girl and wanted to leave Butte, Montana. The first line of my book, The Operator, it says, ‘I owe my career as a Navy SEAL to a girl.'” – Robert O’Neill

Rather than beginning his journey to greatness as someone determined to make a difference, O’Neill started as an ordinary kid trying to get over a failed relationship. His trajectory to making history began with something average and uninspiring, but he kept pushing himself and became a hero! It doesn’t matter where you start your journey — you can push yourself to #MAXOUT your life and make a difference!

Amazingly enough, Robert didn’t even intend to join the Navy. He joined up because of misconceptions he had about the Marine Corps and a chance encounter with a persuasive Navy recruiter:  

“… I didn’t want to join the Navy. I wanted to join the Marines because … I wanted to be a sniper … The Marine recruiter wasn’t in there, [and] the Navy guy was sitting there. And the only reason that I went to the Navy guy is because I had two friends that I grew up with … [that told me] that the Marine Corps is actually a department of the Navy … And he [the Navy recruiter] goes, ‘Oh, we have snipers in the Navy. Look no further. … You need to become a Navy SEAL first, no big deal. Then we’ll send you to sniper school’.” – Robert O’Neill 

Guys, this is such a remarkable story! Something that I always like to say is that “life doesn’t happen to you — it happens FOR you.” Robert didn’t even intend to join the Navy, but because of chance circumstances, he became a SEAL and made history! 

Robert initially joined the military for uninspiring reasons, but he achieved immense success through hard work and a positive attitude. You can accomplish ANYTHING, regardless of where you start.

“A semi-decent shape white kid that can’t swim from Butte, Montana becomes a Navy SEAL and ends up in bin Laden’s bedroom just because of a positive attitude. It doesn’t matter what you look like or where you’re from. You can do anything. Just keep your head in it. Avoid the negativity.” – Robert O’Neill

Guys, what he’s saying is essential. Apply it to your life RIGHT NOW! You can do anything you want regardless of where you come from! Robert O’Neill went from being an average kid to becoming an American hero. You can accomplish what you want and become the person that you want to be! 

The Story of Taking Down Osama Bin Laden

Robert detailed the story of his team getting Osama bin Laden, and it is edge-of-your-seat thrilling!

He and his team were informed just three weeks in advance that their next mission was Osama bin Laden:

“… the commanding officer from my SEAL team, he walked in the room as calm as ever and said, ‘All right guys, the reason you’re here is this is as close as we’ve ever been to Osama bin Laden’… And the first question was, ‘Cool are we going right now? Let’s do it. We’re ready.’ And they said, ‘Well, no … we need to show you everything’… So we just started training.” – Robert O’Neill

Robert and the other SEALs trained and remained focused on their mission even though they thought that they wouldn’t make it back alive: 

“We weren’t coming back … If anyone’s going to blow himself up and his entire family when the team’s in the house, bin Laden will do it, martyr himself and his entire family … but we accepted it.” – Robert O’Neill 

Can you imagine how Robert and the other SEALs must have felt? They thought that they were never going to see their families again. I have the privilege of interviewing a lot of awesome people on my show, but this guy is a true hero. He and his team were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to avenge those killed on 9/11 and prevent future attacks. 

“We are going for the single mom who dropped her kids off at elementary school on a brilliant Tuesday morning, and 45 minutes later, she jumped to her death out of a skyscraper because that was a better alternative than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit … she killed herself. And we said, ‘She wasn’t supposed to do that. She’s not supposed to be in the fight. We’re supposed to be in the fight, and that’s why we’re going.'” – Robert O’Neill

Once they went on their mission, the situation escalated quickly. The original plan was to trap Osama bin Laden by having a group enter the compound from the ground and a separate group enter from the roof. The helicopter that was supposed to transport one of the groups crash-landed, so they had to change their plan and only enter the compound from the ground. 

“We’re in bin Laden’s house. And we were like looking around for bombs and stuff. When’s it going to blow up? And, but I was so impressed. My guys were so cool. No one cared about the bombs. They’re doing their job. … We’ve been in so many fights before [that] it’s like, you didn’t really get adrenaline. You’re more aware, but it’s just more exciting. I’m not scared at this point.” – Robert O’Neill 

After killing Osama bin Laden’s son, Khalid bin Laden, the SEALs went upstairs to the third floor. Robert encountered bin Laden and killed him:  

“He’s taller than I thought, [and] he’s skinnier than I thought … That’s his nose. That is bin Laden. He’s not surrendering. He’s a threat. I need to kill him. … So I shot him in the face twice [and then] shot him again.” – Robert O’Neill

When he entered the military recruiting office years before, Robert never dreamed that he would kill the most despicable terrorist in history. Life happened FOR Robert O’Neill so that he would do a great service for his country, and he did it through hard work and NEVER giving up! 

The Key to Good Teamwork

Robert O’Neill has a lot of experience and advice when it comes to building a team. Without his team’s strength, he and the other SEALs wouldn’t have been able to take down Osama bin Laden.   

“One of my bosses would say … ‘Nobody ever worked for me. They work with me.’ And just that’s the mentality of a team … I mean, it’s weird because guys do get credit for stuff. But as long as you don’t care who gets [the] credit, as long as the team succeeds, that’s kind of the mentality.” – Robert O’Neill

When working with a team, make sure that you focus on the team’s success over everything else. Strive to push your team to success rather than focusing on your own personal triumphs.

Robert also described the importance of morale and establishing what you’re doing and why you’re doing it:

“Morale is key … when people feel like they are part of the solution, they’re going to work harder. … I always thought that … people [need to] know what they’re doing and why [they’re doing it.] A lot of people don’t want to say ‘why,’ because they want to compartmentalize it. I think they should know why they’re doing it.” – Robert O’Neill 

Identify what you’re doing and why you’re doing it so that you have the motivation to continue pushing your team forward to success. This is essential for your team no matter what you’re working on, whether it be a business or a creative project team. If your team lacks morale, you won’t be able to accomplish your goals together. 

Robert and I discussed the importance of not just saying what you’re going to do on the team but also having the ability to stop talking and actually do it. This is so true in everything we do! Determine your goals and what you’re going to do to get there, and then DO IT! Don’t just talk about doing it, but get out there and get it done!


Robert O’Neill and the other SEALs are heroes, but it’s essential to understand that they’re also just people. They’re flesh and blood, like you and me, but they never stop pushing themselves to #MAXOUT their lives. SEALs succeed because they’re willing to put in the hard work and never quit!

Robert is an incredible inspiration because he was an ordinary kid before becoming a SEAL. He got to where he is today through pushing forward and recognizing that NOW is the time to act: 

“You can do anything. … I’m all about moving forward. And one of my sayings is, ‘I’m as old as I’ve ever been, but I’m as young as I’ll ever be,’ which means life starts now. Right now, it starts.” – Robert O’Neill

Don’t let your past determine your actions. Push yourself RIGHT NOW to where you want to be! Don’t wait for the future to #MAXOUT your life!

Robert recounted his SEAL instructor’s advice for going to war, and it embodies MAXING OUT: 

“He said, ‘You are about to go to war for the first time. And the enemy has all your doubts, all your fears, and everyone you know back home that told you, [that] you weren’t good enough to do this. Keep your head down. Keep moving forward. No matter what, never quit. You’ll be fine.” – Robert O’Neill

Don’t let others determine who you are and what you’re going to become. You can accomplish anything you want if you never stop pushing yourself! Robert was able to do it in the SEALs, and now YOU can do it in your own life!

What is it that you need to keep pushing yourself towards? Maybe it’s a dream job or a financial goal. Whatever it is, you CAN do it if you take Robert’s advice and never quit! Even if you don’t succeed at first with what you’re striving towards, you can learn from your failures and use those failures to keep pushing yourself:

“And now that’s life. Keep moving forward. You’re going to make mistakes. … That’s how you learn. And I’ve failed. I’ve fallen down. Get up, dust off, look yourself in the mirror and be honest. [Ask yourself,] ‘Why did I do that? What did I learn?'” – Robert O’Neill

Don’t let your setbacks and mistakes hinder you from moving forward. Use your failures as an opportunity to grow and move forward with your goals! You can accomplish what you want if you grow and keep moving FORWARD!  

#MAXOUT with Robert O’Neill

I can’t stress enough how much you will benefit from listening to my interview with Robert O’Neill. You will learn much more about the mission to take down Osama bin Laden, and you will be inspired by Robert’s drive to keep MAXING OUT his life! 

If you want to learn more about Robert O’Neill and his time in the SEALs, pick up his book The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama in Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior. It’s one of my favorite books, and it’s so engrossing that I read it in a single day. You can also hire him to speak at your events for motivational messages and excellent success strategies. You can keep up with him through his website, Instagram (@mchooyah), and Twitter (@mchooyah).  

If you felt inspired by O’Neill’s journey, I encourage you to share this episode on Instagram! You can also connect with me (@edmylett) while you’re there! Use the hashtag #MAXOUT to share with me your biggest takeaways from the episode in the comments below! I read them weekly, and select winners get all sorts of prizes, gear, and even personal coaching calls!

NOW is the time for you to do something extraordinary! You can do anything if you just keep moving forward with what you want! You CAN do this! Start MAXING OUT your life TODAY! 

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