The human mind needs the body to perform action. Without the body what can the mind perceive?
Many people are dreamers like myself. I imagine running 100 mile distances, swimming 5-10 miles, biking over 200 miles.. but can my body achieve it?? I am sure with the proper training and timing it can. It is one of my life goals. I imagine it and test my body day by day inching my way past each destination before embarking on another journey.
We all heard the mantra Fitness is 10% physical 90% mental. I agree with that statement and I always keep that mind when doing an intense workout to break through that wall and fight that little voice inside me that is telling me to quit.
If you read the book “Mind Power” by John Kehoe he talks about an experiment that visualization can produce the same results as physical practice.
The first group practiced shooting free throws for an hour each day. The second group visualized shooting free throws daily. The third group didn’t play basketball or think about basketball. After 30 days, all the players in all three groups took another free throw skill test. The players in the group that had practiced daily improved by 24 percent. The players in the group that hadn’t done anything didn’t test as well as they had the first time (no big surprise). The players in the third group, those who had ONLY visualized, improved by 23 percent, nearly as much as those who had physically practiced!
This is the power of the mind.
The mind is a very powerful TOOL. You have visualize what you want. You have to visualize small and large dividends and create a strategy to overcome them. Sounds complicated? Perhaps for some it maybe easy to visualize and to put it down on paper. Just like the experiment, action needs to be taken. I can not visualize myself running a 100 miles without physically training myself for it. The body can achieve what your mind perceives.. until you test yourself it just a pretty quote to post on your facebook wall or twitter .
Use your mind and use your body.. anything is possible if you have perseverance.
Note: I am not a pro athlete, nor am I someone with spectacular times and physical achievements. I simply put philosophy into my own practice and challenge myself for self growth. I don’t intend to be a motivational speaker.. I write to document what goes through my mind and use it for reflection. I am ordinary person just like yourself and I know what I am currently capable of.. but I can’t settle for what I have done, I want to keep seeing what I am made of.. and by doing that it has enhanced my personal and professional life.
- I’m nobody special. Let’s be perfectly clear…I don’t like to run. I don’t like to swim. I don’t like to bike. I do this to raise money for the children of soldiers killed in combat. David Goggins
How do you expect to grow as a human being without testing your limits and breaking through your comfort zone. There are many things in life we don’t want to do but we have to do it.
I admire the Navy Seal David Goggins who runs ultra marathons and competes in endurance challenges to raise money for fallen soldier’s children to go to college. He constantly state he hates running, biking, and the hours he puts into training but he has a purpose and a mission. He is not only contributing to a great cause but he is testing his physical and MENTAL capabilities. Fitness is 10% physical 90% mental.
His next and probably last race is the Race Across America on June 9th. By hating it and doing it he grows. Growing by testing your mind to go where it doesn’t want to go. He is the real deal! Many people view him as a machine, non human being, that is born to do things that he does. You know what, he is an ordinary person just like you and me put on this earth to do extraordinary things. He has found the balance of being a Navy Seal and working towards his mission and purpose. We can learn a lot from this man!
Your purpose is whatever YOU chose it to be! You don’t have to run ultra-marathons to break through those barriers. Sometimes people aspire be a professional but hate the burden of academics (trust me I’m in your shoes right now) but we have to do it. The barriers you face are your uncomfortable zone. Testing your mind and body is great conditioning for success! Support this great man! He inspires me in many ways!
This post is dedicated to all the forgotten veterans who served their nation proudly after four years satisfying the motivation inside themselves. Welcome home and stay a hero!
I am a big fan of Bing and Owen West. They are 2nd and 3rd generation of Marine Corps infantryman. I was reading an article in their website Westwrite.com and he made a valid point on today’s veterans:
Today economic dynamics have resulted in a shrinkage of the work force. Veterans face higher rates of unemployment than the general public. A 24-year-old veteran on the job market seems over-aged and under-skilled compared with his cohorts who did not serve.
Those in positions to hire these young people must not overlook veterans just because their resumes have only a few succinct lines describing their time spent as guardians of our lives. What does a grunt put down on his job application — experienced machine-gunner? We need to give the veterans more than gratitude or a hand clap at an airport. That said, America is in much better shape today relative to its veterans than was the case after the Vietnam War. – Courtesy of Bing West
He mentioned 75% of those who serve four years and leave the service does not qualify for a pension or other compensation, therefore when transitioning into the job market they are over-aged and under-skilled.
Can this be the reason why veterans unemployment rates are at 14.7%. The hand claps in the airport are greatly appreciated on the return home from war. America has finally learned from the previous wars on how to treat their soldier when they return. Veterans groups are much more aggressive lobbying and advocating for livelihoods. The post 9-11 GI bill has been one of the greatest bills that has ever passed (despite the process flows of the VA).
I believe our veterans have much more skills than their cohorts who did not serve. They possess technical skills that may differ from what the market demands, but a skill that is hard to develop and can only be gained through life experience is emotional intelligence. Veterans develop much higher emotional intelligence (personal motivation, empathy, self-awareness, and the ability to love and be loved). Perhaps the job market does not understand that veterans possess a much greater EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.
Emotional Intelligence focuses on three features: self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation. Research has shown that those who possess higher levels of emotional intelligence will be much better performers.
Four-fifths of the difference between top
and average performers is higher EQ.
Dan Bobinski – Workplace excellent wrote “Ten Secrets of Emotional Intelligence.” His suggestion is:
Setting the Foundation:
1. In the realm of personality styles, we should drop the ideas of “good” and “bad.” People are just different. — Veterans experience differences when they encounter basic training. As they progress into their careers and travel to different countries, they encounter and cross different cultures. They are properly trained on how to conduct their behavior prior to their travel.
2. People often equate “different” with “difficult.” In reality, different is difficult only because people haven’t learned to work effectively with the differences. — Veterans work effectively with differences and learn to analyze the differences. Military does a great a job exposing differences to their troops. For example, working with different terrain, weather conditions, geographic, livelihood (sleeping in barracks or the field), cultures (internal and external), etc.
3. In the same way that a stick has two ends, people have strengths and weaknesses. All strengths have an associated weakness, and all weaknesses have an associated strength. You choose which end of the stick will receive your attention. – Veterans learn in basic training that you are only as strong as your weakest link. We discover within ourselves what is our strengths and weakness and how can we balance and improve our weaknesses.
4. All personality styles add to team strength; it’s just a matter of focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses. By focusing on strengths you’ll get stronger. By focusing on weaknesses, you’ll get weaker. — Additionally, working as team and being around different types of people we grow stronger learning from each other’s strengths.
5. Seeking the strengths in differing styles does not come naturally — it takes constant effort. – We encounter many different leadership styles, all are effective in their own way. We are provided training to further enhance our leadership and to practically apply them immediately.
6. We cannot be effective if we expect everyone else to meet us on “our turf.” -- In the evolution of counterinsurgency, troops must now face a new world. Bing stated it well, it also requires skills in local governance and development and “people friendly” projects. This is wild: our troops are bringing 21st-century cultural and political values to a 9th-century country.” We are just as effective on “their turf.”
7. We cannot assume we know another person’s definition of “win.” We may have a general idea, but to truly be effective we must ask. — Veterans understand mission accomplishment/troop welfare. Mission accomplishment is the overall “win” for the organization, but a leader must understand troop welfare. It is not just looking out for their livelihood, but to understand them, learn what they want in life and gaining their trust.
8. If we place personal goals over those of others, the team, and/or the organization’s vision and mission, we create divisions. This severely weakens our ability to maximize results. – With my above statement- Mission accomplishment is FIRST before troop welfare, however there is a thin line between the two.
9. Effectiveness has to with doing the right thing, efficiency has to do with getting things done fast. When working with people, effectiveness is rarely efficient. The best results usually come when we take the necessary time in our relationships to do things right. — As Dr. Demming once said, “It takes more than doing your best, it takes doing the right thing.” In the military, we emphasize on drill to be efficient and effective on command and control. They learn to be precise doing it effectively and right with minimum if not zero mistakes. Effeciency is important inthe battelfield, it is now a matter of life and death. The military is constantly training in peace and war to be the most effective fighting force.
10. It’s one thing to understand these things, it’s another thing to do them. The longest road can be the 18 inches between your head and your heart. — It is concrete evidence that veterans have practice all the above. They are proven to be much more effective than those who did not serve.
What is it that men take a second look and say wow shes beautiful. The look they get when they turn their heads and nearly break their necks. Yes they are captivating not by just physical beauty, but their wholesomeness within.
It is the beauty of a woman and her captivating presence wherever she walks into the room. But it is not her clothing, her body type, jewelry, or accessories she wears. A woman is not beautiful by her material possessions, her beauty is not attained from the surface. Beauty comes from within.. she is true to herself by having a great balance of power, intelligence and being sexy. She is articulate and raises people’s spirit with a simple smile.She values the expression of her femininity by being charming, playful, and flirtatious to the man she finds interest in.
Just like a man being beautiful, a woman’s yearn to want more out of life is similar. She has the drive to keep reaching for the top, including the important responsibilities which is demanding at home. She also respects herself, her man, his dreams, her family, and when she bears children of her own, their life and future over hers.
A woman is nurturing, empathetic, and also independent. She is not threatened or intimidated when she is surrounded by other beautiful women. She remains secure and is quick to defend herself when necessary. She seeks her male companionship to bond and grow with. She also takes great care of herself by being polished and healthy. Just as a man ensures her woman is safe, the woman looks out for the well being of her man. She seeks to sooth her man. Her hand and heart becomes the healing tool in the lives she is surrounded by.
The man is proud to have her in his arms because she is a BEAUTIFUL woman.
This post is dedicated to the student veterans of Fairleigh Dickinson University. We have formed a university wide networking group to identify and collaborate the student, faculty, staff, and alumni veterans to support each other and open new opportunities.
This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to pick up my cap and gown for graduation and attend “Uniform to Workplace” seminar in Fairleigh Dickinson University. It was a wonderful opportunity to see veterans from different branches of service to cover topics such as networking, job search, interviewing, etc. I will attempt to give my best advice for recently transitioning veterans into the work force.
Before I start.. I want to say congratulations for your honorable discharge.. you are my HERO!
As you transition away from military life you two path’s to follow. Think of the classic board game “The Game of LIFE.” You have two routes, Career and College. Both routes can lead you to greater success, but in my opinion I value the importance of education. If you decide in a career after serving (Congrats.. many veterans wishes they can be in your shoes) I advise you to go to college part time, pursue certification programs, or even online degrees (from leading universities). If you pursue the college route.. I advise you to gain civilian experience, through internships and volunteering. Both routes routes are great opportunities and just like the board game, you are likely to land a better and higher paying job with having a college degree.
So now you chosen your pathway and your looking to enter the workforce. Now the bad news is that most veterans can face major roadblocks in making the transition from the uniform to workplace. It is a fact the the percentage of unemployed veterans is far greater than the national average. The good news, the roadblocks I am about to present to you can be overcome with the skills, talent, and experiences you developed while serving in the military. Here are some tips:
Roadblock #1: Having the lack of knowledge in the civilian world, the work place, typical positions, and how to find them.
What is the best way to gain the information. In the seminar, they stressed the value of networking! I’m not a subject matter expert on networking but I am learning and actively networking. The days of applying to jobs online through monster, careerbuilder, and other sites is far over. The difficulty of getting a job today is like breaking into a castle front door with a moat, no drawbridge, and archers ready to fire at you. The best and maybe the only way is to be escorted through the backdoor.
My mentors suggest start establishing connections. I met with one of the top Media Strategist at UBS who found me on Linkedin.com (join this site). He thought it was interesting to see a Marine pursue an MBA, so he volunteered to share his thoughts. He advised me that one thing he did not do while he was going for his MBA in MIT was aggressive networking. His advice is to start joining special interest groups and expose yourself as much as possible. Join special interest groups in which people from the company you want to work for might have an interest in. Seek out a senior manager or executive find their email through Linkedin or through a reference and send them a kind email seeking advice (not a job) and direction. Most people will be willing to provide their input and the worst that can happen is not having a response. Another suggestion is to keep attending seminars, workshops, and be active in something you love. If you love running, join the New York Road Runners. There are thousands of runners every weekend who share one thing in common with you; it is also a great opportunity to meet people, stay active, and network.
In summary: You have the experience, now get more experience and education. Try to utilize your leadership, communication, and development skills you learned in the military and apply it.
Roadblock #2: Not fully understanding or selling your military experience.
I was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps and a LVS Operator. How can I put that down on a resume if I want to apply to jobs such as Project Manager or Business Analyst? Think deeply about your military experience. What have you learned? How does your experience apply to the work you want to pursue? Consider all the professional development and leadership courses you look (for example Corporals Course). How can your leaderships skills apply to the workplace? How can being a platoon sergeant relate to management in the workplace?
Identity your key talents. This will give you an opportunity to draw your core competencies and how to sell those to an employer. Examples are: Innovate Leadership, Training and Development, Accomplished Spokesperson, Project Management, Internal Growth, etc.
However, some of your experience can work against you in this marketplace. Create a functional resume that highlights your achievements, leadership, awards, etc. rather than stating “you patrol dangerous territory, lead troops”.. Aside from that, your MOS in the military might not be the job you want to pursue in the civilian world. You have experience but not direct experience. Sell that you have POTENTIAL. Let them know in them know you have a strong ability to learn and prove it because you have done it before.
Document everything you have done. I write on wordpress to document my journey, experiences, and my mind. I am also documenting many values and skills I learned in the Marines. It gives good exercise to discover your potential and how GREAT you really are.
Most of all, be an active learner!! You are in the evolution process and entering a new life, be open to it and learn how to re-learn (triple loop learning).
Roadblock #3: Failure to develop personal commitment and desire.
What upsets me most are heroes that are now fallen heroes. I’m not talking about fallen troops in combat, but heroes who returned home and make nothing of themselves.
As it is hard to transition in this new world. Focus on your next chapter in your life and what you need to do towards that goal. I understand when you were in military it was a structured life with many internal rewards. You were part of something that is high impact and worked for a purpose. Guess what, those opportunities are here for you in the civilian world!
Create a mental picture: Imagine yourself in a parallel universe: if you stayed in the military your momentum is fast and see yourself moving up the ranks to Sergeant Major or if your an officer, you see yourself towards Colonel, perhaps even the General ranks. Take the momentum and apply that to the civilian world. Seek the pathway where you become an analyst –> Director —> VP—- CEO. Don’t lose that momentum and remain a true hero in your new world.
In conclusion, your military career will not only prepare you for the workplace but as you know will prepare you for life. As long as you keep those values and know your worth, you will thrive personally and professionally.
Why America’s Veterans are great hires, By Eli Amdur
Climb to Mount Everest.
On May, 1953 two teams were committed to climb Mount Everest. The first team was Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans and the second team consisted of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. May 26, Tom and Charles accomplished climbing only 300 feet away from the summit. It was an accomplishment that no other human was able to accomplish, but why stop at 300 feet? History stated it would be too dangerous with low oxygen supply to reach the summit.
The next team left on May 29 and Hillary and Norgay set to to climb the mountain and reach the summit. Sir Edmund Hillary had a mental imagery in his mind before climbing that mountain. He had a feeling that he would give everything he had and he was sure that his team was going to reach the top. He believes that is someone is going to start a challenge and they are not completely confident they are going to succeed, then why bother starting it. He believes, it is better to start something that you are not sure you can do. When you overcome and defeat those obstacles the satisfaction is much greater! It takes a lot of concentration!
Sir Edmund Hillary had mental imagery since he was young. He was a dreamer and most of them was adventurous dreams. He would take long walks and find himself dreaming. He created the mental imagery and condition himself at early age.
His story motivated me and it made me look more into Mental Imagery. Plato describes Phantasmata as we call today as a mental image. When some desirable object is not actually present to our senses, exerting its pull on us directly, our motivation to strive to obtain it is driven by our awareness of its (memory or fantasy) image.
Learning from Sir Edmund Hilliary’s story inspired me that it is ok to be a dreamer. It is suggest to paint a mental image of your dream (what you want to accomplish) and accept the challenge to overcome it. Without a mental image I will not have the direction.
Whether I am in long drive or a long boring run, I let my mind wander and dream of impossible accomplishments. I see and feel myself living that dream. I paint a mental image and then I create a visual road map, drawing the checkpoints and risks I have to overcome to live that dream. Until this day, all the small and large accomplishments I have was having a mental image seeing myself and feeling my soul in that image. I live it before I encounter it. I have a beautiful image in my mind and one day I will have the opportunity to live it.
This blog is dedicated to the veterans who are currently transitioning from military to civilian life. The skills and knowledge you learned while your in the service can be applied to the business world today. Never forget who you are and what you learned and take this as a reminder that you have the ability to make strategic decisions as you evolve yourself into the corporate world.
- Ryan Enriquez
Learning Objective: Given a scenario at work, how can the Six Troop Leading Step be applied to accomplish your project (mission).
We are often tasked with projects that can be day to day operations or complex projects that may support your day to day operations. The United States Marine Corps uses an acronym as a guide to “troop leading steps.” BAMCIS is a structured format to help develop operational risk plans. Having a structured format will help you not miss any steps. I spoke about the 5- Paragraph Order (SMEAC) which can be applied to the project management planning process.
Six Troop Leading Steps:
- (B)egin planning.
- (A)rrange for reconnaissance and coordination.
- (M)ake reconnaissance.
- (C)omplete the plan.
- (I)ssue the order.
- (S)upervise activities
I. BEGIN THE PLANNING:
The first step is to develop an action plan. In the Marine Corps and any other organizations, orders are conducted at the higher level. It can be small as moving supplies to one location to another or complex as creating the invasion plan for Iraq. Whether the project is small or large, BAMCIS is applied. Orders will be passed down, eventually the “Project Manager” will develop a plan on how they will carry out the orders.
- Planning available time: SMEAC (5 Paragraph Warning Order – Great for Project Management)
SMEAC is an order to describe who, what, when, where, how, and why.
- Situation – Information needed to prepare your plan
- Mission – clear statement on what needs to be accomplished
- Execution – general instructions for the project team
- Administration and Logistics – supporting structures such as resources and budget
- Command and Signal – chain of command- and communications plan
NOTE: I like to include an I before SMEAC (I-SMEAC). I always want to provide an introduction prior to issuing the 5 Paragraph order.
II. Arrange for Reconnaissance and Coordination
In the Marine Corps, this step involves conducting recon on the terrain on which you will be moving or coordinating. This step will be how will you plan your attack. In the infantry you will received a visual, aerial, and photographic recon of the area you will attack. Although, in the business world this can be applied. This means a way to identify things you may not know at the moment to create a strategy to mitigate it. In project management this would be the Risk Management Plan. Here we can foresee the risk, come up with an estimate on how we can be effective, and create a response plan. Your steering committee (in the Marine Corps it can be your Staff NCO and officers) can determine any risks that can occur and come up with strategies to mitigate them.
III. Make Reconnaissance
During this step is conduct the reconnaissance and coordination of your project team, sponsors, and it’s subordinates. This step is important because it ensures if all information gathering was met and then to actually utilizing and taking action towards your plan. Based on the previous step or “Risk Management Plan,” this step will be the execution phase of the project. During the execution phase, you will provide milestones that need to be completed. In Marine Corps terminology think of a convoy brief and you will have various checkpoints will you pass.
IV. Complete the Plan:
Here is where you will provide status reports and monitor and control phase of your project. Support, communications, and major activities will be important during this phase. For example, there might be reviews and changes that can occur during your plan. Communication is key to ensure that the changes that may occur is relayed from top down and bottom up. In project management you want to execute and complete each milestone (checkpoints). This step also involves delegating authority, measuring the on going activities, monitor the variables (cost or in Marine Corps terms bullets), corrective actions, and influencing factors that can occur prior to completing the plan (mission).
V. Issue Orders
We can use the 5 Paragraph Order (SMEAC) to provide instruction to the subordinates. The project has been accepted, plan has been finalized, and documenting all necessary actions. There are four keys to success when issuing orders:
1. You must ensure your members are present and aware
2. Proceed with the orders with an orientation (introduction).
3. Hold all questions until order is complete (prevent interruption)
4. Use visual aids to enhance understanding
Finally execute the orders…
This is the most important to the “Six Troop Leading Step.” You should continuously supervise your team to ensure all orders are being carried out. A good plan that is properly supervised is far better than an excellent plan that is poorly supervised. Remember each person in your team is different, therefore apply the mantra: IMPROVISE, ADAPT, and OVERCOME.
Further reading: “Transition from Military to Business Professional”
“So as long as a person is capable of self-renewal, they are a living being.” -Henri Frederic Amiel
As long as you are living you are capable of self renewal. As I analyze this quote, I believe everyone is capable, but are you willing and able to re-new yourself? I’m in the evolution process to transition myself into the professional world. I find myself going through boot camp again, re-learning many things I’ve learned and opening my mind to learning from others. One of the main traits I am re-learning is Discipline. Sometimes discipline doesn’t doesn’t last, well neither does bathing, therefore it is recommended daily.
If you read the book by Jim Collins- From good to GREAT..there are characteristics that make a great leader.. my favorite of those characteristics and it’s the embodiment of my service in the Marines is Discipline..Jim Collins quoted, “RINSE THE COTTAGE CHEESE.”
Rinse that cottage cheese means taking that small step to lead you to something better. One small step to add to the other small steps to create a consistent program for achievement and progress. Create a plan and stick to it.
Jim Collins likes to explain his principles through a story and life experiences.. He featured “Dave Scott” who won the Ironman Tri-athalon six times. Scott would ride his bike 75 miles, swim 20,000 meters, and run 17 miles – on average, every single day. He believed a low fat, high carbohydrate diet will give him that extra edge. Here is an example of Dave Scott rinsing that cottage cheese to achieve victory.
Most of the answers in Jim Collin’s book From Good To Great is founded on the principle of discipline to do whatever it takes to become the best within carefully selected arenas and then seek continual improvements from there.. Sounds easy, but not that easy.
I want you to think about your surrounding culture, whether it’s work, at home, with your friends, or colleagues. Think about the culture of discipline that surrounds you. Where do you want to learn and grow? I chose the Marines when I was 17 years old to establish my foundation for discipline to create a lifetime of success. Not everyone desires to serve in the military, but it was an organization that washes out the “cottage cheese” as a culture.
So here are some tips and guidelines to ask yourself (Jim Collins):
What does it take to create a culture of discipline? Can you be your own Dave Scott in your world. He is a superstar and a champion, but in your world, what do you need to do to make yourself a superstar? Lets start by planning and creating a road map (Post coming soon) for yourself or organization to develop a guideline for you to follow.
- Take a single mind focus to your cause… What are you passionate about? Are you the best in the world your in?
- Commitment to yourself and to your system.. each person and organizations have different systems of doing things. Many are alike but the system is different. Take the differences of the Army and Marines.. many people view them the same. They both serve the same cause and purpose but have different systems.
- Entrepreneurial freedom for that system… In business success is measured by revenue (just one aspect).. if life success is measured by impact! Being entrepreneurial means taking actions into your own hands and creating your own results.
What will Discipline produce?
- disciplined people- in organizations it’s about getting the right people on the bus and getting the wrong ones off. Think about it.. the right people are invaluable to becoming great. Chose the right people to enter your world and inspire others to be disciplined.
- A disciplined mind- being consistent, doing what is right, creating a plan, and following through.
- Disciplined actions- The result of disciplined people engaging in disciplined thinking is disciplined action. In the Marines, we recruited and molded them to become discipline. With the discipline, they created the culture and the mindset. With the the mindset caused great actions. As a result, the Marine Corps is one of the most powerful conventional force in this world.
Jim Collins: Built to Last. Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.
Jim Collins: From Good to Great. Why companies make the leap.. and others don’t.
Read that quote.. and read it again…
I ask myself, how did I get to where I am in this point in my life? How did achieve the honors, awards, championships, and success throughout my short 26 years. Many of you will agree it is motivation, perseverance, commitment, etc.. But, I believe I am mentally tough..
Mental toughness how do you get it? My way may not work.. there are many ways to achieve it..
Before I get into how to be mentally tough, let me give you a background info on myself. Growing up I was never athletic, I often picked on, and couldn’t run down the block for my life. When I was in high school, I never thought I would ever play sports, I wasn’t physically strong, or athletically inclined. I do believe I was becoming mentally tough (I wasn’t there yet) Through hard work and dedication, I pushed through my limitations, I sneaked into the gym, when I wasn’t suppose to be there.. I ran in the 95 degree heat when no one else was running. In the end I achieved all league honors– not the best, but it was an achievement.. that started my journey.. Along the way, I joined the Marines, I competed in muay thai, natural bodybuilding, multi-disciplinary races, and marathons. Not once did I win 1st place..
But there is a life lesson along each achievement, whether I just finish a race, or place 3rd in a bodybuilding show.. I learned to be mentally tough.. I remember when my wrestling coach told me, develop the habit of running in the mornings.. not in the afternoon, but the early morning when nobody was awake.. I asked, why? He said, it’s a challenge to wake up in the morning to run because, nobody wants to do it.. It’s a challenge to get out of bed, to lace on those shoes and run miles.. It was a lesson that YOU are getting up when you don’t want to get up. Once you develop that habit, when life knocks you down.. YOU WILL GET UP!
Are you born with mental toughness?? I don’t think anyone is born with it, but I am a firm believer through physical training, proper mindset, and high level of maturity you can develop mental toughness. But you have to challenge yourself and overcome it.
David Goggins always ask himself everyday, “Have I broken through a limitation?” He is one man I admire who is mentally tough. To qualify for the Badwater (google it) he had to run a 100 mile race- there was a local race where he ran over 100 miles within 24 hours in a one mile track- TALK ABOUT MENTAL TOUGHNESS!
Another example is Lance Armstrong by defeating cancer. He quotes, “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” When reporters asked him what sports enhancement is he taking, he responds, “I’m on my bike 6-8 hours a day, what are you on.”
I admire great champion bodybuilders, it takes a lot of mental toughness to diet, have a training program, eat, sleep, train in a regime.. You wonder why they do it? I remember going through the difficult journey of bodybuilding, when I arrived in competition, I already knew I was a WINNER. I trained so hard, for it, I want to be nothing less than a CHAMPION. Despite not winning, I placed 3rd. I was happy because from that day on, I became mentally tough.
So mental toughness.. it isn’t just applied to sports and fitness.. It can be applied to life.. Think of the situation your in, are you struggling? are you trying to excel? are you trying to move ahead? In order to take yourself to the next level you need to be Mentally Tough.. and I believe we all have it within ourselves, but unless you take on challenges and break through limitations, it will never be unleashed.. it requires conditioning!!
HAVE YOU BROKEN THROUGH A LIMITATION TODAY?
Two years ago I signed up for Universe Weekend to challenge myself against the top fitness models from around the world. It was remarkable and unforgettable journey as one of my good friends volunteered to train me for that event. I am very grateful until today as training with him has taught me values I will carry onto life. The level of commitment was extremely high and he demanded nothing but excellence and my best effort. Everything was planned out from my daily tasks, training, scheduling, and including my budgeting for food and supplements. After a few months training for this event, my bodyfat dropped to an all time low of 4%.
I had the opportunity to be graced in front of hundreds of people in attendance and thousands watching live over a webcast. The competition was exciting, backstage was much more fun than I expected. We shared stories, jokes, and laughed about how we can not wait to eat pizza after this show. Many people projected me to place top 5, but I ended up placing 25th overall. I was not disappointed in the results as I felt I was in the best shape of my life. I never thought I could ever accomplishing such a journey but I am proud and never looked back.
As I reflect three years ago on the grueling journey trying to be a fitness model, I learned emotional intelligence to be competitive and most of all committed. The journey as a fitness model was endless as I apply the same principles into my current goals today.
Fitness Universe 2007- I placed top 25 over 150 competitors from around the world. I did not win first place, but in my world I was a champion. The journey was remarkable as it taught me discipline, self confidence, trust (trusting my trainer and myself), commitment, and competition (to compete against the best).