Working Out With a Navy SEAL

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A while back, I had the opportunity to work out with author and Navy SEAL, Chad Williams. He was speaking in our town, and my buddies and I asked him to lead us in a workout the next day.

Now we didn’t have any illusions of actually keeping up with him; we just wanted to see how long we could last. Sort of how you feel when approaching a mechanical bull. We knew it would be an epic beat down.

We were not disappointed.

Standing in the wet grass on a Saturday morning, we went through sets of squats, jumping jacks, pushups, and arm-haulers (those were especially nasty) so fast that it seemed impossible to keep up with him. He never slowed down for a second. We did 500 pushups and squats that day! Then Chad topped it off with 100 pull-ups. Some of us managed to hang with him for a few of those.*

Here’s what it taught me: Sometimes we need an outsider to shake things up and keep us from getting complacent. If we feel like big fish in our little ponds, maybe we need a SEAL to jump in and raise the bar a little.

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*My neighbor, Mike (far right), actually completed all 100 pull-ups, but I don’t think he could lift a cup of coffee the next day.

What Are You Pursuing?

Appetites are bottomless holes that can never be satisfied. Even the biggest, best meal you’ve ever eaten left you hungry again the next day.

We can never have enough money, sex, or promotions to satisfy us for good.  The appetite just comes back stronger, and you’ll need even more the next time. Carey Nieuwhof’s book, Didn’t See It Coming, explains that when we first get a little extra money we want more things, then we want better things, and eventually we’ll only want rare things. We can play this “more, better, rare” game with any hobby, object, pleasure, or vacation.

Men have ruined their lives in the relentless pursuit of more money, better houses, and exotic vacations, but this pursuit leaves us empty, unsatisfied, and alone. Ultimately, only the investments we make into the lives of others will bring joy to our hearts.

Imagine if you took your retirement account and used it to build a homeless shelter in your town or a medical clinic in Burkina Faso. If we took less tropical vacations but helped more orphans, would our lives be more or less fulfilling?

Don’t be just another guy chasing pleasures – be a man who changes lives.

Tenacity and Leadership

On October 24, 1915, the men abandoned ship and stacked their supplies on an iceberg. Hundreds of miles away from shipping routes or aid stations, their Captain, Ernest Shackleton, came up with a plan. They ultimately traveled over 1,000 miles of Arctic Ocean on floating ice and in small lifeboats. Once he made it to South Georgia Island, Shackleton walked 32 miles over mountains covered in snow and ice. Suffering frostbite, hunger, fatigue, and insurmountable odds, Shackleton saved his crew. He simply refused to quit.

We will probably never be in a position as harrowing as Shackleton’s, but the quality of tenacity is just as important. A good leader is one who holds fast during the storms, and refuses to quit even when the chips are down.

Maybe you feel like your marriage is sinking, or your business is struggling. Sometimes just the mundane, daily routine of going to work, and raising kids saps the life out of us. If you’re thinking about quitting, the strongest thing you can do is tell someone you need help. Even Shackleton relied on his crew. One of the most tenacious things a man can do is ask for help instead of giving up.