I am thrilled to announce that the SEALFIT flag is now flying at the North Pole. Geordie Young, Kokoro 29 graduate and long-time Unbeatable Mind student, humped the SEALFIT Flag to the Pole two weeks ago to stake his claim. The expedition included wounded warriors from the Canadian military, notable Olympic athletes and executive sponsors.
Geordie will be the first to tell you that he is quite “average.” He really is not any stronger or talented than any of us. (Sorry Geordie, but I know you agree.) What makes him different though, is his belief in the training principles of SEALFIT. He disciplined himself to do the work daily and pretty soon some amazing things started to happen. His confidence and self-esteem shot up and he was able to entertain bold initiatives he had previously never thought possible. These included the daunting challenge of Kokoro, and trekking to the North Pole. When the going got real tough in both events, he stayed in the fight because he knew his “why.” Also, since he had ingrained the “big 4 of mental toughness” skills into his subconscious, he was able to fall back on them to keep himself calm, focused, energized and positive. Though we must await the pictorial evidence of his feat, I thought I would share his inspiring message to ground us in the “why” of our daily training. Here are his words:
“Coach Divine – Just wanted to let you know that I am back from a successful expedition that reached the Pole. All 53 members of the team achieved the target. There was a wide disparity of ages and athletic abilities present and we all pulled together to get it done.
I wanted to thank you again for your generous sponsorship of UMA memberships for all the participants. I had many conversations with other team members who had spent some time working through the material, mainly the ex-soldiers. These wounded veterans are struggling to re-establish themselves in civilian society, and I know that for many of them, UMA has been very helpful. I did my best to communicate through my words and my actions the principles of SEALFIT / UMA.
I will follow up with some great pictures, including some good shots of the SEALFIT flag flying proudly at the North Pole. But now I want to share one event with you. It was our fourth day of skiing…and for the first time we were going overland as we had to cross from the sea ice over a peninsula back to the sea ice on the other side. On this particular morning, in addition to my gear, I had also picked up three personal gear bags from other people, plus our section’s tent, most of our section’s fuel and most of the remaining section food. Needless to say my sled was weighed down. And I knew the terrain was going to be tougher than the flat of the sea ice. The previous day I had picked up a second sled to drag when one of the team members struggled with it. So I went across the camp that morning and offered to take the second sled again. Between the two sleds and all the extra gear, I had a pretty decent load.
This is where I went through the UMA checklist. First I created a “strong why,” a reason why I wasn’t going to let this load beat me. Then I closed all the doors to eliminate the quit option. I made it clear to myself, and anyone who asked, that I was GOING to get this load to the other side – no matter what. In my mind I made it clear that people were going to have to fight me to get the load off my hands.
Once we started, I worked through all the UM tools. The terrain was worse than I had expected. But I kept finding myself forcing a smile onto my face. I worked hard to control my breathing and never let negative thoughts take root in my mind. I kept close attention to my body language, and on the steep climbs I kept repeating my mantra “embrace the suck, own the suck, turn the suck, use the suck” over and over again. I also kept re-living the second night of Kokoro and how this situation was nothing compared to that. Bottom line – I didn’t want to just survive, I wanted to thrive! And thrive I did…after 8 hours of hauling those sleds and that load up and down the countless icy hills, I finally skied into the bivouac site for the night. Someone asked me how it went. I turned, stood tall, smiled and said: “Easy day.”
To be truthful – it was an easy day because it was the most rewarding day of the trip. Thanks again for providing the tools to handle any challenge life can throw at me.”
Wow….pretty darn cool. Ok – I have to admit my first reaction to the email was jealousy that I wasn’t there side-by-side with Geordie. But after I got over my pity party, I felt very proud of Geordie and his team for this accomplishment. It wasn’t getting to the Pole that was the big deal, it was Geordie proving to himself that he could carry his load, AND the load of some teammates, while accomplishing the mission AND thriving all the while. Geordie pretty much demonstrated, through his actions, my 4-word objective for our training:
“Master Yourself, Serve Others.
Can I hear a resounding Hooyah for Geordie and his team?
HOOYAH! -Coach Divine