Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where in the World is Charlie Mike?

I would like to thank Mr. Mike for the opportunity to be a guest poster on his blog. Charlie, it really is an honor to be invited to post.

Okay—just kidding—as we all know, Charlie Mike is the phonetic shorthand for Continue Mission—and that is what I am here to do as Alden’s buddy—help you all Charlie Mike while Alden is off getting soft---err, I mean—spending some important family time. So first topic—the buddy. Since being featured in Doug Waller’s “Commandos” I have been asked thousands of times, “What does it take to be a SEAL?” Well, I believe that any question can be answered with a long, well thought out reply or the truth---and the truth is that there are only two things it takes to be a SEAL---Never quit and never leave your buddy. That is it. You can layer a foot of honor, commitment, courage, strength, patriotism, desire, blah blah on top of it—but the bottom line is Never quit and Never leave your buddy.

Never Leave your Buddy: In 2001 my friend Neil Roberts found himself alone on a mountain in Afghanistan fighting incredible odds. He did not make it. Sometime after that a few SEALs, retired and active, officer and enlisted were commiserating and a retired Captain said what we were all thinking----“He should not have been alone.” Now that he was alone was an accident—a happenstance of battle, but what that Captain was saying and what everyone understood and agreed with—was that anyone worthy of the Trident would be willing to give their life for the opportunity to be on the mountain with Neil so that they could give their life there—and not let Neil be alone. So—who is your buddy? Okay—well, let’s not over think it—you got buddies everywhere—use them! Your spouse, your kids---when I was on staff at Newport one of my best buddies in the PT world was the towel guy. He was a retired guy and just like shooting the sh!t with people and he was funny----so sometimes when I didn’t really feel like working out—I would just go talk to my buddy----and he would hand me a towel and—well—can’t just hand it back, can you?

But the other thing is never forget---that you HAVE TO BE YOUR OWN BUDDY!! We all have a dialogue running in our head---and if you are honest with yourself—some of it is not very nice to you. I have had friends and clients tell me things that they think about themselves and I’ve said “Do you know what I would do if someone said that about you while I was in earshot---I would break their f’ing nose” (I am not as refined or politically correct as our friend Alden—I should probably take a lesson from him, but---naaah) So think of the things that might make you a good buddy to someone else----supportive, kind, always there, kind, prepared, kind, ready to work, kind, non-judgmental, kind, truthful, kind, honest, kind---okay well you get the idea---do not beat yourself up—it is the worst trap in the world—be kind to yourself but be honest and truthful too---that combination will do more for you than anything (except the Perfect Line) especially if you use it to NEVER QUIT!

Never Quit---everyday you do some things you want to and a bunch of things you don’t want to---but you don’t quit. Same with physical training---the airwaves are full of people selling stuff and systems---but what they are really doing is selling hope. But let’s just say we are good buddies to ourselves—and we have some other folks looking out for us—like Alden—now what does never quit mean? It does not mean working out four hours a day—although that is cool—it just means that at every turn, do something good for yourself---park a little farther from the mall, do some yard work—or set a day aside to kick the snot out of yourself with the Perfect Pushup or the Rev or a 50 mile bike ride----see—the circle is—I am honest with myself—I am kind to myself---but I am not letting myself off the hook---because part of being kind and being honest and not quitting is saying---it is better for me to (sweat, run, walk, drink water etc etc) and thus I am going to do it.

So—one last thing—a good friend of mine—a civilian—once told me while I was still in “Well, it is easy for you—you get paid to work out.” He was correct----and that caused me some amount of problems when I retired. All of the sudden I had to make time to work out---and I wasn’t always very good at it—until I realized how crappy I was feeling—and here is the deal---a swim coach told me when I was about 13----you’re trapped in this lifestyle forever (I was swimming about 16000 yards a day----well I blew him off on account of being a teen—but after 8 more years of swimming, then a career as a SEAL his words suddenly had credence—I was trapped in a lifestyle that insisted on being fit, being a good buddy to myself and never quitting—worked pretty well for me----what lifestyle do you want to be trapped in?


Guest blogger Tom Rancich is the CEO and co-founder of VRHabilis, an employee-owned, service disabled veteran owned small business. Tom and his partner, co-founder Elliott Adler, provide military range management, remediation and emergency response as well as other government and federal contract services. VRHabilis stands for Veteran Run Work (habilis being the Latin word for work). It provides a venue, through the use of adaptive technology, for disabled veterans to compete for government contracts.

Through his consulting firm, Off-Shore Consulting, Tom provides professional advice on leadership, team building, program development and strategic vision.

Alden Mills and Tom Rancich served together in the Teams. Tom has been a guest blogger and “on-line” coach for the Perfect Pushup team many times over the past few years: this is his first guest blog on Charlie Mike.


20 Meterville said...

Tom, Thank you for an inspiring post. After reading it, I was kind to myself and did an hourlong Rev workout. Skipping would have been easy; I'd worked an hour later than usual and I couldn't get started until 8:30. But now I'm pleasantly tired and glad I went to the effort. Will your next post be "Where in the world is Charlie, Mike?"

Nancy B. said...

Thank you so much for your post. You had so much to say that I can take into my life.
Just got back from a hike with my"Buddy". She is always there for me...sometimes a little late and sometimes with no shoes on... .
Thanks again.

Up My Mind said...

What a great post! Your words about being a buddy to yourself, and never quitting, really hit home. My 12 yr old little sister (trhough Big Brothers/Big Sisters) is having a hard time lately with weight and looks. Your post has given me added encouragement and some great words to share with her.


Tom said...

Carole--"Where in the world is Charlie, Mike?" will certainly be my next title---wish I thought of it for this one!!

Nancy---nothing wrong with a buddy with no shoes---heck, they don't call us naked warriors for nothin'!!

Natalia--Cudos to you for having a little sister----twelve is a hard age-but the good news is it only gets harder! Seriously--it is valuable to understand the things you want to change about yourself---but not in a judgmental way---and then work on it--BUT--there is always a but--do so while consciously remembering the stuff you do good did good at and all the things you don't need to work on--makes the self appraisals a tad less brutal

royallyeffed said...

Yow! What lifestyle do you want to be trapped in....that phrase hit me like a ton of Body Revs. Thank you so much for the encouragement.

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Lisa A said...

Wonderful blog Tom :) Touching story about you Team guys and Neil Roberts, thanks for sharing. A huge thanks to you all!

"you HAVE TO BE YOUR OWN BUDDY!!" that makes great sense, and something I can work on, being kind with the judgements and especially the part of not letting myself off the hook, too often, or too easily!

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Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Rancich,

Thank you for your heroism and your intelligent post.

I was wondering if you could share any of your tips on how to never quit when your mind and body are both exhausted.

Also, I lost my best buddy who was also my brother. I was wondering if you could share anything about your perspective after losing a close buddy.

Thank you


Tom said...

Thanks for your follow-up question. You raised some important issues and I'll reply in my next Charlie Mike guest blog. If you want to contact me offline, email me at