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Inside the mind of a Special Forces leader: Dean Stott’s rules to live by

A former UK Special Forces operator and star of Netflix’s “Toughest Forces on Earth” shares accounts of extraordinary missions, his journey to overcome a career-ending injury, and insights on leadership and resiliency

In an exclusive interview, Rob Lawrence sits down with Dean Stott, a former member of the elite UK Special Forces unit, the Special Boat Service. Stott, now a global security expert, Guinness World Record holder and star of Netflix’s “Toughest Forces on Earth,” opens up about his remarkable career.

From clandestine operations and high-stakes evacuations to a record-breaking cycling challenge, Stott’s journey is filled with lessons on leadership, resilience and the importance of team dynamics.

During this interview, we dig into:

  • How Dean prepared for and executed a record-breaking 14,000-mile cycling journey from Argentina to Alaska, and how a royal wedding invitation from Prince Harry added unexpected pressure.
  • How Dean transitioned from military life after a career-ending injury to founding a successful private security company, including high-stakes evacuations during the Arab Spring.
  • Dean’s unique insights into maintaining mental and physical resilience, and the crucial role of physical activity in mental health.
  • Dean’s experiences on the Netflix show “Toughest Forces on Earth,” where he and his team train with elite special forces units around the globe.
  • How family support has been the cornerstone of Dean’s success.

Join us as we explore the experiences that shaped this extraordinary individual and the invaluable leadership and resiliency insights he offers for those in public safety.

Memorable quotes from Dean Stott

“Manage your ego and listen to your team. A good leader respects their team and understands that everyone is unique, from the youngest guy to the most experienced.”

“Lead by example, never ask of them that you can’t do yourself. I saw instructors telling people to do things they couldn’t do themselves, and that doesn’t inspire respect.”

“Don’t just scream and shout at the students; they’re just going to switch off. You have to humanize yourself as an instructor because these folks are going to be working alongside you one day.”

“Being reactive to the situation changes on the ground was the success of this project. Even to the very last day, I was having to change the way I planned and executed my mission.”

“Everyone in the team is special; everyone has a role and responsibility. Make sure everyone feels valued, because that’s how you get the best out of your team.”

Additional resources

Relentless is the extraordinary true story of Tier One Special Forces soldier, adventurer, and world-record breaker, Dean Stott

Rob Lawrence has been a leader in civilian and military EMS for over a quarter of a century. He is currently the director of strategic implementation for PRO EMS and its educational arm, Prodigy EMS, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and part-time executive director of the California Ambulance Association.

He previously served as the chief operating officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (Virginia), which won both state and national EMS Agency of the Year awards during his 10-year tenure. Additionally, he served as COO for Paramedics Plus in Alameda County, California.

Prior to emigrating to the U.S. in 2008, Rob served as the COO for the East of England Ambulance Service in Suffolk County, England, and as the executive director of operations and service development for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust. Rob is a former Army officer and graduate of the UK’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served worldwide in a 20-year military career encompassing many prehospital and evacuation leadership roles.

Rob is a board member of the Academy of International Mobile Healthcare Integration (AIMHI) as well as chair of the American Ambulance Association’s State Association Forum. He writes and podcasts for EMS1 and is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Connect with him on Twitter.