Recently I had the privilege of speaking to lacrosse players of the Senior All America Lacrosse Games. This tournament is where the best high school athletes from across the country come together and face off in a North vs. South clash.
Both men’s and women’s teams are super competitive and are top-tier athletes, with most of them attending Division 1 and even Ivy League institutions. I was privileged to be on the sidelines for both games held at Johns Hopkins Field in Baltimore, Maryland.
Sweaty Palms and a Blank Stare
The real story was the night before when I was the keynote speaker in front of over 2000 athletes and their families. As I began my presentation, my hands were sweaty, and the talk I rehearsed 1000 times suddenly and instantly went out the window. There I was, the big bad Navy SEAL and I went blank.
I loved every second of it, too. I was in panic mode, where I thrive.
I felt alive. As all 4000 eyes gazed upon me, I knew it was do or die. But like so many times before with the SEALS, I trained for situations like this. And when I did complete the objective, I would hit a home run.
The Word “TEAM” Came to Life That Night
I talked about teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, and communication. I did this by showing what the word really stood for…
The Audience Came Alive
I challenged two top male athletes in the audience to a push-up contest during my talk. You know I love push-ups, which I pride myself on, so I knew I would kick their butts. However, I had a purpose for this challenge; to instill in them the thought, “No matter what, as long as you can breathe, you are in the fight.”
I quickly realized the audience was more engaged; they took pictures, recorded the event on their phones, and asked questions. This was a speaker’s dream to have a fully engaged audience.
And Then I Said This…
“I have a confession to make,” I blurted out to this room filled with thousands of people.
The room quickly went quiet. People sat back in their seats, mesmerized. The wait staff stopped, and the entire room was mine. I pressed the button on my computer to transition the presentation on the big screen behind me to the next slide. It was a picture of a bell with the words “I’m a Quitter” in the heading.
I know people were on the edge of their seats, wondering if I was about to mouth the words that Ray Care rang out during training. I said firmly and loudly, “I’m a quitter.”
I said, “Yes, this Navy SEAL is the biggest quitter you will ever meet, and I am proud of it.”
A hand raised, and a young lady said. “Sir, can you please explain this.” “SEALS are known for never quitting anything.” I replied, “Yes, I can,” and asked everyone in the crowd, “Do I have your attention?”
Now if you’ve ever been to one of my talks, you know everyone must respond with a loud and thunderous “HOOYAH” when asked a question like this. Sure enough, everyone in the room caused the windows and doors to rattle when they yelled, “HOOYAH.”
School Was in Session
After a moment of silence to let the full effect set in, I explained that, as humans, we will eventually acquire and have toxic people place, and habits if we don’t already.
I explained that to grow and create growth, one must find a way to limit the toxins that have become a part of our everyday life. Some of these toxins include:
- Poor eating habits
- Negative people
- Negative thoughts
Sadly, the list goes on and on.
So yes, I am a quitter! A quitter of the negative bullsh*! in life that can drag a person down.
The Pattern of Life for Quitters
Humans are creatures of habit. We get comfortable with what’s easy or convenient and overlook what is holding us back in life.
Look at your life and the patterns you’ve created. If these patterns are holding you back from accomplishing your dreams, preventing you from being the best version of yourself, or are simply negative in nature, then start “quitting.” So how do you measure your patterns to determine their value in your life?
Take whatever you question or believe might be a “roadblock” in your life, and see where it fits in the mood color index. Ask yourself, does this (enter your issue, habit, or thought here) make me:
Feel overwhelmed, excited, mad, or ready to explode.
Become disassociated from feelings or emotions related to the issue.
Happy, satisfied, complete, or at peace
If the color for how you feel about your chosen issue is red or blue, then you need to quit it. If it was green, hold onto it.
Start repetitively doing this for anything questionable, and you’ll quickly establish a new Pattern of Life.
Get rid of the toxic crap in your life. Whether it’s a bad habit or a bad friend, you don’t have time or energy to spend on anything which will not render you a “green” feeling.
And remember to stay committed and continue the fight for what you believe in, just like those young men who took me up on those push-ups.
Regarding push-ups, close your device and knock out a few ones for me!