The Extreme SEAL Experience
Oct 19, 2012
Vacations can relax you, vacations can refresh you, but it’s rare for vacations to stretch you to achieve things well beyond the preconceived notions you have about your limits. In December 2011, I set out on a mission to do something as far outside of my comfort zone as possible. I desired to see what it meant to train like the best, most talented, determined and fearless people in the world. It meant facing fears of heights, water and injury. It meant pushing right through the fear of failure (my greatest fear in the world). To me, it meant training like a U.S. Navy SEAL (Sea, Air and Land).
I found Extreme SEAL Experience (ESE), a small company south of Norfolk, VA. ESE is owned by Retired USN Senior Chief Petty Officer Don Shipley or simply “Senior,” a former Navy SEAL of SEAL Team One and Two. ESE is a civilian training group that runs courses that model the U.S. Navy SEAL BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training. A combination of retired SEALs and active duty SEALs all come together to create one of the most fascinating and realistic training programs available.
What drove me to do this?
Aside from repeatedly answering the question, “Are we there yet, Uncle George,” to my niece and nephews while driving them to Tucson, Arizona, there has never been a more frequently asked question of me. I never could quite explain all of the reasons for doing this, but it came together for me on the second day of our training during “Hell Night” when our Instructor Chief Bill White (former Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer) said something I will never forget as long as I live.
“It isn’t worth talking about if it isn’t extremely hard.” He actually used more “colorful” language, but you get the picture.
Those words rang loud and clear for me because I’m extremely competitive, and I LOVE a challenge. Overcoming huge obstacles and achieving excellence are what drive me in my profession and what drove me while growing up. It’s the part that’s hard that creates camaraderie, it’s the part that’s hard that drives those who are motivated to overcome and it’s the part that’s hard that makes it all worth talking about.
I learned that it’s important to find something you passionately identify with to motivate yourself. In ten short months, I will be going back for more in phase two and “Week of Hell” which includes a seven-day, 24 hours a day mission in which students traverse over 200 miles in the ocean on a Zodiac boat complete with several reconnaissance and assault operations.
The U.S. Navy SEALs live by a code of service, honor and patriotism built on a foundation of being the very best at what they do, demonstrating absolute undying determination and delivering results independent of the potential costs to themselves. This is identical to how I live my life and how I treat my career, and it’s why I chose the SEAL training challenge. If you aspire to be the best, emulate the best. Find similar values, and it will all fall into place. There is truly nothing you cannot do when you apply yourself including not just overcoming your fears, but leaving them in the dust.
What have you done to stretch yourself to achieve new things? Share your experiences on our Facebook!
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