DAY 6/90: Seeking Pain

DAY 6/90: Seeking Pain
We seek pain because it’s the pain we seek that strengthens us, preparing us for the pain life inevitably throws our way.

8 July 2022

Pain is inevitable. That’s the one thing we all have in common. Pain. We’ve all experienced it in different forms. And the good news? Strength is found through seeking pain.

Our team experiences adversity. We all do, but the adversity you face growing up in a neighborhood like Parramore as a kid is different. I don’t know from my own experience because I didn’t grow up in Parramore. But I know from what I’ve seen. Parramore was once named among America’s most dangerous neighborhoods in the country. It’s a community with high poverty rate, high unemployment rate, low high school graduation rate, high rate of violent crime, and a place where many say hope goes to die. Anyone who has worked with the young men and women, the boys and girls of New Image Youth Center, has seen families struggle with homelessness, the inability to pay the power bill, the inability to cover funeral expenses for a family member who has passed away unexpectedly, the inability to put food on the table, poor health care, and the list goes on. And then many of those kids move forward and attack days with smiles and incredible energy. It isn’t easy, and I don’t want to pain the picture that the kids of Parramore aren’t suffering. But many find a way to deal with that adversity and to get strong despite that adversity. A question . . . how can we find a way to get strong BECAUSE of adversity?

Dr. Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz wrote The Power of Full Engagement almost 20 years ago. That one book had a greater impact on my life than any other book, and the concepts addressed in it form the foundation of The Give Team program. The principles stand up 20 years later if you can ignore reference to Palm Pilots and Blackberries. In 2012 I attended the Corporate Athlete program hosted by the Human Performance Institute here in Orlando which was a 3 day program attended by people from all over the world. The focus of the book is around ENERGY MANAGEMENT. The most important thing we bring to the world is our ENERGY, and there are unprecedented pulls on our attention and energy. How do we manage it more effectively? Loehr and Schwartz discuss the pyramid of energy with PHYSICAL at the foundation followed by EMOTIONAL, MENTAL and SPIRITUAL. If you can align your energy at all four levels, you’ve reached FULL ENGAGEMENT. If you can bring your best PHYSICAL energy (in our words, not just health but STRENGTH), if you can be on top of your EMOTIONAL state, if you can be engaged MENTALLY, and if what you’re doing is aligned SPIRITUALLY (not necessarily focused on religion, but making sure your actions are aligned with how you define yourself as a person), you’re fully engaged.

How do we maintain FULL ENGAGEMENT in the face of challenges? Loehr and Schwartz emphasize the importance of RITUALS; maintaining regular actions that ensure you’re engaged on all four levels. If you can make what needs to be done a HABIT, then it’s easier to stay true to what needs to be done at all four levels. You don’t need to think about it, you just do it because it’s what you do. Like brushing your teeth.

Mindset matters too. How you think about a scenario will have an impact on your physical reaction to that scenario. On Episode 56 of his podcast Huberman Lab released on January 24, 2022, Dr. Andrew Huberman interviews Dr. Alia Crum where Dr. Crum addresses the science behind mindset and how we THINK about a situation influences amplifies our response. For example, if a subject thinks a milkshake is indulgent and unhealthy and then has another milkshake that he or she thinks is healthy, the levels of ghrelin are impacted. Ghrelin is known as the “hunger hormone” and is highest before a meal. If ghrelin levels are low, it’ll drive a desire to eat. In the milkshake study, even though they were the exact same milkshakes, when the subject THOUGHT they were getting an indulgent milkshake, their ghrelin levels were lower. There are several other examples that are consistent with the concept that MINDSET MATTERS when being placed in a stressful environment. Levels of cortisol are impacted.

If mindset matters, and we create strength by facing adversity, then how can we create the rituals and routines aligned with POSITIVE CHANGE? How can we create an environment where ADVERSITY is a source of STRENGTH? The key is MINDSET and having a SOLID TEAM environment, because it’s important to know we’re not alone.

The experiences we’ve provided for members of The Give Team have provided that framework for those who have embraced it. We’ve become aligned with organizations like Operation Enduring Warrior, GoRuck, Spartan Races, Driven Games, and through those experiences we’ve met hundreds of inspirational people who don’t exist to inspire. They just do what they do. Once you see people dealing with PHYSICAL challenges in amazing ways, it serves as a reminder of how strong we all are if we apply ourselves. Mindset matters, and we’re stronger together than we are apart.

My last day with my employer was a week ago, and this past week has been spent dialing in those rituals. This is an OPPORTUNITY. There’s uncertainty, and that needs to be addressed with family to minimize that uncertainty and make sure we’re aligned with the direction. It’s an opportunity to get things straight that need to be straight, because now I have time to focus. It’s important to not waste this opportunity. It’s time to learn from the young men and women of The Give Team and face these challenges with a smile and energy that makes people thing, “Wow. Badass.” It’s time to BE STRONG! GIVE MORE!

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