Several months ago, when panic surrounding COVID-19 and real estate was reaching a peak, I had an incredible opportunity. I got the chance to host a virtual seminar with Jason Redman, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL, about his incredible story and how his mindset allowed him to survive the physical and metaphorical attacks that the world has thrown his way. 

In case you haven’t heard his story, here is a little bit of background information on Jason. He enlisted in the USN at 17 years old and quickly earned his Trident — that is, he became a member of the lauded SEALs. For 11 years, Redman served as an enlisted SEAL before taking a leadership role as an officer. The newly minted Lieutenant Redman led strike teams of some of the world’s most elite fighters into Iraq during an incredibly volatile period…and in September of 2007, he was grievously wounded in the line of duty. 

While leading a team of SEALs in pursuit of a high-value Al-Qaeda target, Jason was caught in an ambush and took 7 shots from machine gunfire. The bullets struck him in the elbow first, before also tearing through his left arm and his face. Despite this catastrophic damage, which would bring most people to the brink of despair, Jason survived, recovered, and grew into an icon of positivity and motivation for those who need it the most. 

And today, I want to share 15 things with you that I learned from Jason Redman — and how they apply to the world of Real Estate:

1. What is “the X?”

During our time together, Jason consistently mentioned something called “the X.” As he explained it, this is a term used amongst military service people to refer to an ambush. When you are at the center of an ambush, you are considered to be on the X — and your #1 priority is to get off the X

While this term might originate from the world of defense, it has applications in daily life for most people. After all, ambushes aren’t always literal; sometimes, you might find yourself ambushed by the circumstances that life throws your way! 

Both real estate agents and their clients are likely to find themselves on the X at some point during the home buying or selling process. For instance, if you are trying to decide whether to sell your house now or wait until later — especially if you feel trapped by common COVID-19 myths — then you might be trapped on the X. Similarly, a new real estate agent who is struggling to meet their goals could feel similarly ambushed by the market and their circumstances. 

There are 2 really important things that Jason shared with me about “the X” — 

  1. All of us are on the X at some point in our lives. Right now, in fact, you could say that the entire country is on the X. Feeling ambushed is not a sign of failure; it’s something that will happen to everyone at some point.
  2. Only you can get yourself off the X. Sure, other people will be there to support you — but when it comes down to it, getting out of the ambush is a matter of your mindset and determination. 

So, how are you supposed to get off the X once you are there? The secret lies in the next few things that I learned from Lt. Redman.

2 – 6. The REACT Steps

People don’t face just a single crisis in their lives. It is almost inevitable that you will find yourself on the X multiple times in your life, especially during a stressful era like the one in which we currently live. As a leader and fighter, Jason has been on the X many times — and out of those experiences, he created a 5-step tool that can help you escape the ambush and get off the X

Here are the steps to using the REACT system:


It’s impossible to escape (or solve) a crisis if you won’t even admit that you are in one. That’s why the first step is to recognize that you are on the X.  

Humans have a tendency to sit in denial when we are facing a crisis. However, it is impossible to escape one of life’s ambushes if you can’t even recognize that you are on the X. That’s why, if you want to come out of the struggle stronger than you went in, you have to realize and admit that you are facing a crisis. 

Of course, it’s not always blatantly obvious that you are on the X. Especially when you are dealing with the stresses that come with buying or selling a home (or helping a client take care of their real estate needs), it’s vital to take a step back and identify whether or not you are in an ambush. Here are some of the common ambush situations that our clients have faced in the past, as examples:

As you can see, most of these don’t seem to be as much of a crisis as facing gunfire from insurgents — but they are stress-inducing moments nonetheless! Jason put it very well when I spoke with him: “Your body doesn’t know why you are in fight-or-flight mode — just that you are.”


Once you have recognized that you are on the X, you need to take a step back and examine what tools you have available to solve it. It’s not enough to just think about what you have; you need to also consider how they can get you off the X, too!

These tools won’t always be physical objects. For instance, if you are facing a real estate crisis, you should be confident that you have a high-quality agent on your side who can help get you out of the stressful situation. Take some time to consider how an all-star agent could specifically solve your needs and reduce your stress.


So, you have recognized that you are on the X and evaluated all of the tools at your disposal — now it’s time to assess your options and the potential outcomes. Of all of the REACT steps, this takes perhaps the most foresight. 

The temptation that many fall into is to pull the metaphorical trigger too early. Don’t just go with the first plan of action that enters your mind — take the time to think about the primary, secondary, and tertiary outcomes that will follow each choice and determine which one is the best way to get off the X

Choose and Communicate

DO NOT GET STUCK IN INDECISION. As a leader — and we are all leaders of some sort — you have to be able to make your choice and communicate it to those who rely on you. If you get stuck ruminating on all of the options, then you will never take the steps that you need to free yourself from the crisis!

So, why is it so important to communicate your choice to others?

  • Establishes accountability: Once you say something out loud to other people, you are more likely to stick to your guns and actually do it. 
  • Provides hope: Being hopeful is one of the most important aspects of getting through a crisis. When you, as a leader, are on the X, then those who are relying on you are there as well. So when you communicate with them, you can provide the necessary hope to help them get through the crisis, too! Think about how soothing it would be for a real estate agent to guarantee their client that they can show them how to sell their home for the most money, for instance!

Take Action

Jason Redman describes “the X” as being like quicksand. The longer you stay there, the harder it is to escape. This directly parallels the world of real estate, as any seasoned agent will tell you. The market moves incredibly fast, especially in seller’s markets like the hottest neighborhoods of Washington DC or the surrounding area. If you try to take your time and sell for more, or if you think that you are able to delay buying a home in hopes that you’ll get a great deal on your dream home, then you are wasting your time and money. 

If you want to get off the X and solve your crises, then you need to be decisive and follow the action plan upon which you decided! The actions that you take might not get you where you are trying to be — but they will give you the momentum that you need to keep moving forward. 

7. Productivity Is Inspired by Structure

Sure, every person is different. Some people like to live very orderly lives, while others thrive in a more chaotic environment. But the fact of the matter is, everyone gravitates towards a type of structure. This structure is one of the key facets that allows us to be productive. When you have some sort of order, you can get the clarity that you need to achieve the REACT steps and pull yourself off the X

8. Productivity Is Inspired by Progress

It’s hard to get the motivation to be productive if you aren’t seeing any results for your hard work. This is why a lot of real estate agents are giving up during COVID-19 and closing down their businesses. Because they aren’t getting a return on the work that they are putting in, they lose the drive for productivity. 

And here’s the other thing about productivity that Jason shared with me: both of these sources of inspiration — structure and progress — are far harder to come by during the era of the coronavirus. So, how are you supposed to be productive and get yourself off the X at a time when it is harder than ever? Jason gave me 3 keys:

9. Be Your Own Pointman

In the military, a pointman is someone who is an expert at navigation. This means that they have to know the landscape, the objective, the potential threats along the way, and the possible outcomes of each action. 

On a SEAL team, the pointman uses a compass to navigate in hostile territories — because all you need to have to use a compass is a destination and a bearing. If they know where they are going, and they know which path they should follow to get there, then a pointman can unerringly reach their goal. 

During stressful times, both personal and professional, you have to be your own pointman. This means that you need to have a clear understanding of your destination and be willing to pull out your metaphorical compass and reorient yourself to the correct path. 

Luckily for you, there are supplementary tools that you can use to help re-discover your bearings. If, for instance, your goal is to sell your home fast, then you can use an online guide to how to prepare your home for sale to help you determine the best way to navigate your situation and get off the X!

10. Move the Needle

As I said earlier, productivity is tied to progress. And although it is hard to see big progress during these stressful times, you can still create progress in your life. That’s why Jason stresses the importance of accomplishing some goals every day. He calls this “moving the needle,” and there are 3 P’s that you need to consider when setting these goals

Set 1 Physical Goal

This is pretty self-explanatory. Each day, set 1 goal for yourself that is related to physical activity, then make sure to do it. And stay at home orders aren’t an excuse, because there are plenty of great home workout exercises that you can do to get your body moving and your blood pumping. To paraphrase Jason:

Our bodies are incredible machines — but if you don’t keep the machine moving, it’s going to start collecting rust. 

Set 1 Personal Goal

Our personal life is what makes us who we are. That’s why it’s so important to continue to set and achieve personal goals, too. 

These goals don’t have to be large — it can simply be making your bed each day, having dinner with your family, or finding a new favorite restaurant in your area. 

Set 1 Professional Goal

Each day, make sure to do one thing that sets you on the right path in your business. This can be as simple as building relationships, making content for your business, or anything else. It doesn’t really matter what you are doing to push forward your professional goals — as long as you are moving the needle. 

14. GSD

GSD is an acronym: Get…*ahem* Stuff … Done. The meaning of GSD is that you have to create progress by making smart, attainable goals. If you try to set goals that are too large, you won’t be able to accomplish them on your chosen time frame — and this will leave you mired on the X!

You can think about this in terms of real estate, too. Learning how to build a home is a huge undertaking, for instance — but if you break it down into smaller, more achievable goals, then you can chip away at the crisis and build your customized dream home!

15. Discipline Vs. Motivation

The final thing that I learned from Jason Redman was incredibly resonant in these times. He explained the difference between discipline and motivation…that is, that discipline is the ability to achieve your goals even when you aren’t motivated!

Because, the thing is, everyone loses motivation at some point when facing a crisis. Even Lt. Redman, who has one of the most incredible mindsets that I have ever encountered, gets discouraged and loses the motivation to progress in his life and business goals. But he also has the discipline necessary to keep moving the needle despite this!

So no matter whether you are a home owner trying to sell your home fast despite market conditions, wondering whether you can buy another house before you sell yours, or a real estate agent who is looking to take your career to the next level, you need to have this same discipline!

If you are ready to take advantage of the tools at your disposal to get off the X and thrive when other people are stuck facing crises, then we want to help you! All you need to do is contact the Keri Shull Team today and let us know about the ambush that you are in — whether it is unexpected real estate needs, a desire to get into the real estate business, or anything else, we are here to help you!