It was day two of SEALFIT, I was in the shower letting the warm water pour over my body as I watched sand run down my legs and into the drain. I knew we were only going to get a few hours of sleep before they woke us up and had us back in the ocean.
Hey, I was just glad we got to sleep!
Anyway, I thought to myself, “Man, I haven’t been this covered in sand in years…”, and I did’t get all of the sand out of my ears until about day 3 AFTER the event.
But back to the shower, once I got out and sat down I realized how good sitting down actually felt; you know…all pressure is relieved, your muscles start to relax, and you joints take a break. It’s almost as if you feel your body jump into recovery.
Then, I had a flashback of the few times in my life where sitting had felt this good.
There aren’t many times in my life where I have sat down at the end of the day, and had it feel not only amazing, but well-deserved. I could only recall a few times, in the military and tournaments in college, that I felt I deserved to sit down at the end of the day.
And I do some pretty grueling workouts on a regular basis, I played sports growing up, I have done a lot of manual labor, run a marathon, etc… And none of those times pop into my head…
If you know me, you will know I don’t believe I deserve much of anything. I have a reverse-entitlement mindset:
- If I don’t have it, I haven’t earned it…
- If I want to keep it, I will have to work for it…
And that’s what I want to talk about today, and the one takeaway I want to provide to you:
- Work to deserve you seat!
I want to tell you a little about my SEALFIT Experience, my lessons learned and I want to challenge you to deserve your seat!
Also, Talon and I did a podcast about this experience you can listen to below:
Lesson #1: The Power of Breathing
Being in control of you breath gives you an amazing ability to recover, minimize stress, and stay focused.
The SEALFIT Academies are not like their Kokoro camps (their toughest event), but rather a good mix of physical training, mental training, meditation, box breathing, getting wet and sandy, nutritional information, etc.
It’s very all-encompassing.
The stuff that really hit me was all of the breathing exercises we would do. Mark Divine teaches a box breathing method and you can watch a video all about that here. It is a great exercise and really helps you clear your mind, focus, and control your mind.
You should give it a try, for sure.
But what had me on the floor and in tears…literally…was Warrior Breathing.
I have to start by telling you I was a huge skeptic of this practice before we started. I like meditation for gaining the ability control my mind better than most, and I use it as a tool to keep me sharp and in the moment. However, when I meditate I view it strictly as a workout, but for the brain. I don’t associate meditation with my religion, and distinguish differently from when I pray, etc. In my mind I separate my religion and meditation entirely.
Long story short: I was a skeptic about this “out of body” or “spiritual” experience they were talking about.
But hey, I wasn’t there to half-ass anything. So I gave it 100%.
Ben Greenfield summed this up perfectly, and I had a very similar experience:
During this warrior breathing exercise, led by an intense bearded martial artist and yogi that Mark Divine brought in for the special purpose of blowing our minds, we laid on the ground while booming music played and hyperventilated/hyperoxygenated our bodies with about 50 rounds of warrior breathing, which is a fast and deep nasal inhale followed by a quick exhale. We then relaxed and did deep breathing in between each set as our bodies tingled and trembled from the hyperoxygenation phase.
It was an incredible experience in which I had visions and an out-of-body experience. Crazy stuff, I know – but you have to experience it to understand.
It was really crazy! But I won’t talk much about it here, so if you want to know more about this experience listen to the podcast associated with this article (scroll up).
Lesson #2: Be Vigilant
I knew early on my role was going to be to serve my team, and nothing else.
- “Line up!”
- “Who’s in charge!?”
- “Why aren’t you in order!?”
When we started, I was ready to get blasted.
Having been in military training situations for truly 8 years, I was ready for the worst and I started to get focused about 5 minutes before we started, not knowing what to expect.
They immediately made an attemept at getting us flustered by hurrying us with their commands, telling us to get in height order, and divide into teams. I knew if we lost order, it would all be down hill from there. As a military officer, I’ve been on the “trainer” side of many of these types of events. I knew the game, and I knew what was coming if we didn’t get organized quickly.
As everyone started to look at each other and ask, “Am I taller than you?”, I decided to speed up the process.
I quickly organized the team by making them stand in a line and “taller-tap” each other. Which is simply having a long single file line and one person look at another person in front of them, and if you are taller than them you tap them on the shoulder and take their place.
Next, I had them count off in 7’s (since their were 21 of us) . Now we had three teams. I designated a team leader for each team, an alternate leader and people to keep track of time if given time constraints.
This took about 60-90 seconds and I turned and said we were ready, and I saw some of the coaches smile as they asked who was going to lead this group.
Everyone on the team pointed at me and I was glad to take the role as the class lead.
Being the leader is a comfortable role for me, but one that is quite mentally taxing. Constantly being vigilant, maintaining accountability and serving the team was much more mentally taxing than I had expected.
However, I think that being in a constant state of vigilance and trying to stay one step ahead of what was happening helped our team succeed.
I noticed this vigilance in many of my teammates and they helped us all get through the process together.
Lesson #3: Deserve Your Seat Regularly
Now, that epiphany, or realization, I had once I sat down after my shower made me think long and hard about taking on different mental and physical challenges.
An it’s motivated me for more!
I know I live in a pretty comfortable world, and I never HAVE to go outside my comfort zone unless I WANT to. I try to make this a weekly occurrence, but I can only take myself so far and that’s where they types of events can help you shape you body and mind.
It doesn’t matter what it is: a GoRuck Challenge, Spartan Race, Half Marathon, SEALFIT, CrossFit competition, Powerlifting meet, triathlon, etc.
Do something that is going to…
- A.) force you to train for it, and…
- B.) make you feel like you deserve you seat once it is over.
So, what is that for you?
For me, I want more SEALFIT.
I want do their Kokoro challenge and get completely broken down mentally and physically, and to quote Fight Club, “Its only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything”.
But that’s me.
What about you? What are you going to do this year to deserve your seat?
I’d love to hear it.
To becoming better!