Archive for the ‘mindfulness’ Tag

VIDEO: EVERY RUNNER HAS A REASON   Leave a comment

Here is a cool inspirational video on what running is about for so many of us!

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SERE Training Mobile Phase Video   Leave a comment

This is it! Land navigation! It combines physical fitness with developing the ability to think along multiple dimensions simultaneously – not just spatial, but chronological and situational as well. Perhaps unlike other phases of SERE, this is phase involves exercises and drills for skill development that you can participate in locally. If you or your team want to to improve your own skill level as well test your mental and physical limits with land navigation, contact me – Tom Delaney – at greatriverfitness@gmail.com and let me know. I will set you up with introductory training and a challenging course that will educate you, motivate you and give you a focus for future skill development.

LEADERSHIP IN THE LEANING REST #7: “HOW’D YOU DO IT?” – SIX THINGS THAT KEEP ME SUCCESSFUL   Leave a comment

This morning I was asked by a group how I accomplished the significant goals in my life – “How’d you do it?” I want to share my short list with you, so that you can look through it and see if any of my “operating principles” as I call them, might help you reach your personal goals and establish a more fulfilling and meaningful life for yourself. Here are six things that keep me successful:

1. 24-Hour Mindset: I view the world, plan and act with a 24-hour cycle in mind. This keeps me focused on what I need to prioritize for the next 24 hours, and helps me accomplish more difficult goals as I focus my energy. This doesn’t mean that I ignore the fact that the world’s statisticians are saying there’s a high probability that tomorrow will happen, I am conscious of the need to prepare for the future in the next 24 hours. By thinking and acting purposefully in 24 hour cycles, the days add up to weeks and months of success.

2. Self-Check: Rather than adopting a point of view, immediately acting on it and stubbornly expecting everyone and everything else around me to do so, I check out that point of view for misplaced motives, intentions, blind-spots and most of all – FEAR. I have very much benefitted from self-check, and reality checking with others to see if my point of view needs adjustment, or some additional information in order to be more realistic, and for it to be more to be more effective.

3. Warrior Ethos: Adopting and acting with the mindset of a warrior helps me be the true and best me. It is a place I can go to within me from which I can operate with profound commitment and focus. When I get out on the trail or in the woods to exercise, warrior ethos pushes me to train harder and to discover deeper places within myself. The same warrior ethos is the foundation of profound commitment to letting go of my own ego and striving for the safety and welfare of others. In this way, warrior ethos is about being a highly committed defender of peace and prosperity. A quote that has always been important to me in this regard is, “Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself” (Siddhartha Gauttama).

4. Resilient Humor: Humor, especially in tough and even the worst situations, helps me disrupt the reflexive arc that otherwise might lead to despair and surrender. Instead, humor always presents an option of hope. It introduces to the situation some new space for bigger context that lowers the ominous factor in a bad situation. It also opens up space for some alternative attitudes toward a tough situation besides attitudes of despair and self-pity.

5. Prioritized Needs: Being self-conscious in the right way keeps me mentally, physically and spiritually on track. What I am talking about is using Maslow’s “Pyramid of Needs” to prioritize first things first. For example, before anything else, my physical health comes first. If I am sick or injured, I need to attend to that because my physical body is my platform for my mental and spiritual life. I can be altruistic and self-sacrificing for a while, but it’s a house of cards and not a good long-term strategy. Right next to that priority are things like food, water and sleep. When I am irritable and having a hard time making calm decisions, a self-check on hunger, dehydration and sleep is often called for. Granted, sometimes you are in a situation which calls for you to delay food, water or sleep, but it is a mistake to ignore hunger, dehydration or sleep deprivation. It is much wiser to factor it in, recognize your limits, and do a self-check and reality check with others before taking decisive action. A good operating principle says “when I’m hungry, I eat, and when I’m tired, I sleep.” I picked that one up from the old Chinese Zen master Han Shan. It worked for him a long time ago, and works for me today.

6. Always challenge your mind!: Challenging and pushing my own thinking helps me to stay in motion and to stay in growth mode for my view of the world. I enjoy having my points of view challenged because it can be a valuable learning experience. I even purposefully seek out and consider conflicting information. I always want to see as many sides of a situation or question as possible, because this helps me work through those questions and situations in the ways that are most productive or beneficial to myself and others, or best fulfill an ethical or moral imperative. I am fully open to being dead wrong on something, and appreciate being informed when that is the case. I am a true lifelong learner and a perpetual student. I am always seeking and working with new knowledge that will open new more productive and beneficial ways of living and working for me, and that help me reach personal goals. I regularly review and happily throw away decisions, ideas and points of view that have outworn their usefulness, effectiveness or grounding in reality.

As I said, this is my list, and it doesn’t need to be your list. If you see something that might be useful, try it out. If it works, keep it! If it doesn’t, throw it away. If you or your team want to spend some dedicated time identifying or working through personal strategies for success contact me – Tom Delaney – at greatriverfitness@gmail.com and we will design a productive and sustainable experience.

MOTIVATIONAL MOMENT #4: JONATHAN SIEGRIST CLIMBING   Leave a comment

Hang with Jonathan Siegrist in this incredible climbing vid. If liberal wisecracks from Naropa University alumni bother you, have a kale chip and refocus on the unflinching commitment this guy brings to scaling the vertical! Besides, look at me…that’s right I’m a Macalester College alumnus with more clock hours on the meditation cushion than a commercial airline pilot, an impressive Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan record collection, several ethnic shirts — and I can still qualify for a security clearance! Always challenge your mind! Anyway…this guy has skills and hardcore commitment, check it out dude!

LEADERSHIP IN THE LEANING REST #6: ALWAYS CHALLENGE YOUR MIND   Leave a comment

Tonight I had an incredible leadership development experience. I completed an introductory metal welding course through a local art college – Vesper College. It may seem counterintuitive that metal welding, especially artsy metal welding, can be something that supports the personal capacity for leadership development, but let me share a few highlights with you. Let me start by asserting that three critical competencies for leadership are creativity, problem-solving, and adaptive ability.

During the course we completed a “conceptualization phase” activity which called on us to utilize our impressions and associations in naming a creative direction for what we were to construct from welded iron bars and thick wire. It was difficult for me to jump out of the rational thinking box and into a wider space of possibilities. Our activity consisted of naming our impressions of welded pieces, adding random words to the mix, taking associative feedback from other classmates, and finally naming our prospective welding project and creative direction. To be honest, I would appreciate more practice at it, because I can see how this mode of thinking is absolutely critical for thinking of something that either hasn’t been though of before or hasn’t been accomplished before. That’s the maelstrom of leadership.

The process of learning how to weld metal is a non-stop series of problem-solving situations. You start with two pieces of cold metal that won’t stick to each other, a cylinder of inert gas, some electrical and gas lines, and a vision in your mind of what you want to construct. That’s where the problem-solving starts. The iron bars need to be cut, the seam weld needs to be hot enough to hold the iron together but not so hot that I burn a hole through the pieces, etc. Needless to say, I burned my hand within the first 10 minutes (freshly cut iron is hot), burned a few holes through my iron bars, and never finished strong spot welds. Even so, the process of setting a vision and problem-solving my way toward it was a a true learning experience. At one point, my spot welds simply were not taking, and I felt like quitting and heading home as it was the scheduled end of class. Instead, I took 5 minutes, walked around, decided to stay after class since the instructor was keeping the studio open. I took a run at it again, this time finishing a decent enough spot weld. The process involved both technical problem-solving and adaptive problem-solving from me.

I started this whole process with an initial vision and plan. As I completed my project, some things did not work out as I had planned, and required me to be creative again and adapt. My final product was developed through a process of adaptation and evolution.

I walked out of the building tonight having engaged in a challenging creative mental process that got me out of my comfort zone, challenged me to define a personal vision, and work my way towards it through problem-solving and adaptation. The series of problem-solving challenges required both technical and adaptive solutions from me. I am a better leader because of this experience.

Want to work on your leadership ability? I’ll say “Always challenge your mind!” Get out of your comfort zone, seek new information and experiences that will require you to create, problem-solve and adapt in new ways. If you have an art school near you…think about it! Me? I’m going back for another class next month! Train hard, never quit, live well! – Tom Delaney (that’s me in the photo)

If you or your team would like to more meaningfully engage and work on the leadership principles of creativity, problem-solving and adaptation, contact me – Tom Delaney – at greatriverfitness.org to select or custom design individual or team training professional development designs.

LEADERSHIP IN THE LEANING REST #1 (NEW GRTFC SERIES)   Leave a comment

Today is a rest day in my current training program, and rest days are good days to re-focus on goals and reflect especially on developing leadership competence and character. I am reading an outstanding book entitled Team Secrets of the Navy SEALs by Robert Needham. Needham is a currently active Navy SEAL. I have a feeling that the publishers picked the long wordy esoteric sounding title, not Needham, because this is a very straightforward text on leadership in the context of high performing teams.

There is so much good info in this text that summarizing it would never capture it all sufficiently. My plan is to share my highlights and notes with you chapter by chapter. You’ll get some main points, and if you figure out you want the full story you can go out and hunt down a copy. Team leadership development is a core component of the Great River Tactical Fitness Center (GRTFC) training model. If you want more information or want to get yourself or your team engaged, contact me – Tom Delaney – at greatriverfitness@gmail.com.

Here is the first installment of my highlights and notes. In the text below, sections of text from Needham’s book are in quotes, and my notes follow. Write this stuff down. Think about it. Apply it in your own situation. Keep what works and throw the rest away! Adapt, adapt, adapt …

Chapter 1 – Leading the Best (Part 1)

“Every moment of a SEAL’s life is geared toward the development, education, and honing of the Team! The word ‘Team’ encompasses everything from the sixteen-man platoon to our entire country and way of life.” –See my previous post on Navy SEAL Ethos and consider the term “team” as referring to your friends and family, as well as the implications.

“You can’t think only of yourself and those factors affecting or stressing your life. Everyone’s life depends on each member thinking as one. The ‘poor me’ attitude is poison and is a mjor hurdle in any group dynamic.” – What I observe most often with the mentality that blames others for problems, is that it serves as a false excuse from taking responsibility. A person who wallows in self-pity and blames others for their problems will have a hard time taking charge of making positive change in their life, and repositioning themselves to be a support to others.

“If you have been assigned a task, you had better seriously evaluate your ability to complete it before accepting it…carefully assess the situations at hand and take on any challenge you feel that, through the combined effort of you and your Team, you will be able to accomplish.” – This places probability of success as the decisive factor. Not probability of fame, favor or fortune.

“Remember that once you have committed, you are in. If you suddenly find that you’re in over your head, you had better sprout gils and come up with a way to complete the task properly. …If you need to reset, do so after careful consideration of the consequences and after developing other possible solutions.” — I’ve talked about this quote in a previous post, in terms of technical versus adaptive problems and leadership. The ability to adapt is a core competency for team leadership, because the fundamental nature of reality is one of constant change. Failure to adapt inevitably leads to a failure to survive and thrive. On a deeper level, the ability to adapt is also linked to a leadership character trait of openness to change. Even better, a leadership attitude of expecting a necessity for change, and actively seeking out the advantageous opportunities for positive change. If you live your life expecting to regularly review your beliefs, views, attitudes and modes of living, and subsequently identifying and eliminating the unrealistic and outdated of these, you will be living well.

“Team Concepts for the Individual: Never Quit!” – Enough said!

“You are only as strong as your weakest team member.” – I look at this as a reminder to be realistic in goal setting and planning for contingencies. Overconfidence can result in worse problems than a plan was originally designed to solve. ON an individual level, if you look at your own body as your team, the implication is a caution against thinking that your strengths will compensate for your weaknesses or injuries. You have to address those weaknesses or injuries in your personal plan, whether they be underdeveloped muscle groups, your weight, or an unhealthy habit.

“Surround yourself with ‘operators,’ those who perform, always being mindful of the difference between the person you just like to have around and the one you and your Team need to succeed.” – There are obvious work implications, but on a personal level, the implication is that it is very important to surround yourself with people who actively share common commitments with you. There are plenty of fun people in this world, they’re good people, and they are liked. However, if you have set a difficult goal, are training hard to achieve it, are engaging with physical and psychological obstacles in a very involved and intense way, you need “operators” with you, not “good time people.” Sometimes you can get lucky and have an operator who is also a good time friend! But – AND THIS IS IMPORTANT – if you need to make a choice…go with the operator every time.

… stay tuned for more in this Leadership in the Leaning Rest series I am running. Train hard, never quit, live well! – Tom

LIVE LIFE LIKE A SPEC OPS MISSION! TRAIN FOR IT!   Leave a comment

What attitude do you bring to your life? Do you regard life as an important mission for yourself and others, involving no small amount of risk? Something to be approached with courage, planning, a well thought out strategy, and ideally with the loyal camaraderie of your team? Lots of people place Special Operations (“Spec Ops”) teams on a pedestal – SEALs, Rangers, Special Forces – but don’t apply the operating principles of these teams to the way they themselves approach their own lives. No matter who you are, there is plenty to learn and apply! Recently Men’s Health ran a pretty good short review of training principles and techniques across Spec Ops units, from physical training to mental training and back again. Check out the article and see if you pick up on a few good training ideas or a couple of principles to apply and improve your situational awareness and problem-solving ability. You can read the full article HERE.