Monday, February 16, 2009

Are You There For Yourself?

Guest blogger: Tom Rancich

A friend of mine came up to me at a party once and said—“You saved my marriage.” I was fairly surprised as I hadn’t realized that I had made an attempt to do so. I asked—“How so?” She said, words to the effect of, well, “We were talking one night and blah blah blah and then you (Tom) asked me," “Where is he?” I said---"He is at home" and you replied, "No—he is there". My friend continued, "And you were right—he was there and always was there----and all of his imperfections and annoyances became less important than the fact that he was there---always." What she had realized was that he could have been anywhere but he chose---and continues to choose--to be with her in their life. That is worth a lot in a man’s view of the world.

So, what does that have to do with anything—well—mostly just this---are you there? Are you there for yourself? Do you stand up for yourself? Are you the friend to yourself that you always wanted to have at your side?

I know that might sound a bit huggy feely—even to the point of cheesy, but it is an important question to answer—because at the end of the day, or even the beginning, if you are not there for yourself then the day is lost.

So why wouldn’t you be there for yourself? I ask that as a serious question---but at BUD/S I saw it over and over---men walking away from themselves because they had decided that they weren’t worth the effort---and back then I didn’t care---good riddance to the quitters—but not anymore. I see the fallacy in that emotion---people need to understand that success starts and ends with ego. Ego is not something we are born with, it is something that develops---and for most of us our egos get developed around the things that embarrassed us—the things we fail at. I mean, I won hundreds of races that I don’t recall---but I certainly recall the one I lost by 2 one hundredths of a second. So here is the point---in my lectures I call it active introspection: Actively, consciously and periodically ask yourself what, why and how you are doing things… take time to define for yourself your:
a)Formative Experiences-Those experiences or events that formed the way you think, act, react, view your-self etc.
b)Definitive experiences- Those experiences that define the way you think, act, react, view your-self etc.

So through active introspection you can understand why you are making the decisions that you are making---if you are honest—and begin to sculpt how you make decisions to better achieve your true goals. I tried to start a tradition at BUD/S whereby the class leader from the class that had just made it through Hellweek would talk to the class about to go through Hellweek---my talk was pretty simple—“If you quit during Hellweek it is not because you can’t make it or because you are too cold or because all along you really wanted to be a teacher (actual excuse given to me from a quitter)—it is because you are willing to walk away from your brother when he is struggling for his life dream”. Okay a little harsh perhaps but I did have two people from my boat crew quit during log PT (4 people carrying log a lot harder than 6). Point is, that if you spend some time to know why you make decisions—honestly—you will start to see that a lot of decisions are made on old biases and are counter to your goals---oh, and doing this allows you to make bad decisions if you want to---just not lie to yourself about it!

If you are not there for yourself—no one is. If you are not thinking--actively and introspectively--about why you are doing things then you are not there for yourself. And if you are beating yourself up because you are short or fat or old or ugly---then you are not there for yourself. I told one of my dearest friends in the world once, “If anyone talked about you the way you talked about yourself, I would break their nose.” Don’t let your ego prevent you from being your friend.

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Lt. Commander Thomas Rancich, US Navy SEAL (Ret.) is the co-founder of VRHabilis, a disabled veteran-owned small business that seeks to employ the highly trained and motivated veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for work in construction and related fields. Rancich and co-founder Elliott Adler are pioneering the concept of using adaptive technology to bridge the gap between industrial and medical technology. Their company contributes proceeds to two worthy causes: a fund for the development of adaptive technology that will allow disabled veterans to pursue their desired career path and the EOD Wounded Warrior Fund.





Through his consulting firm, Off-Shore Consulting, Tom provides professional advice on leadership and team building, often as a motivational speaker, in addition to being an expert consultant to the entertainment industry.

Alden Mills and Charlie Mike blogger Tom Rancich served together in the Teams.

12 comments:

oklanannie said...

I grew up with a mother and dad who preached "if you don't like yourself, how in the heck can you expect anyone else to like you?" or another, "if you don't believe in your own abilities, why should anyone else?"

Your blog reminded me of some traits I've pushed to the side and failed to practice for a long time. Lots of inspirational food for thought on a morning I really needed an extra kick in the rear. I think we would all be surprised by how much we could accomplish if we would only put your reminders into action.

Great blog! Thanks Lt.Cmdr.!

B. Villard said...

This is really good.. I'm not sure what the difference is between experiences that define and experiences that form the way you think, act, etc. Can you provide a couple of examples? Thanks.

Tom said...

B.
Sure---like a lot of things clear lines don't necessarily exist--but basically formative experiences are those that lead to understanding why you are the way you are and definitive experiences are those things that show you (and the world) who you are. So, one day when I was about 10 I was in my Dad's truck in the winter when he went to a house fire at a tropical fish store--so house not badly damaged and Dad-a plumber--restared the guys oil burner for him---I asked Dad if the man was a customer and he said no---I asked him why he started the burner--and Dad replied "I am not going to let a man loose his business because he isn't a customer" Formative experience. Thirty years later I am at the garbage dump in the sleet and rain (with my son actually)changing a tire for an elderly gentlman who hadn't even realized it was flat until I waved him down. Definitive--showed who I was---I wasn't going to abandoned the fellow to his on devices or a wait for a tow truck just cause it was uncomfortable for me. Does that make sense?

Barbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MLS said...

Do you think that a person can be overly introspective? Enough so that it leads to depressiveness rather than a positive outlook?

Tom said...

Well--like Mom use to say, to much of anything is not a good thing--so yes I suppose you could overdo it--but the real point is for the introspection to lead you to action and change---or to reaffirm you don't want/need to change--people go on Oprah (think she reads CM?:) )and make it big talking about living consciously-- what I am saying is spend sometime--maybe just a few minutes to figure out why you made the decisions you did that day---but to be able to do that effectively, you have to spend some time laying a foundation

Joe G. said...

Six months ago I was campaigning like a maniac for John McCain, but one thing Mr. Obama has said he will promote has encouraged me: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

If that just means starting the day looking in the mirror and saying "I AM SOMEBODY" (an old Jesse Jackson mantra), that's great. Now that you've convinced yourself that you ARE somebody, go out and show the world. Better yet, show a young person how much potential he/she has.

Joe G. said...

Six months ago I was campaigning like a maniac for John McCain, but one thing Mr. Obama has said he will promote has encouraged me: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

If that just means starting the day looking in the mirror and saying "I AM SOMEBODY" (an old Jesse Jackson mantra), that's great. Now that you've convinced yourself that you ARE somebody, go out and show the world. Better yet, show a young person how much potential he/she has.

Joe G. said...

Sorry for the double post. (Note to self: If you press "Enter" and then press "PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT," it posts twice.)

My point is, DO WHAT TOM SAYS.

Over and out, Champs.

Barbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

Barb- Won't get into political debates here, but I couldn't disagree with you more. Afghanistan was certainly winnable when I was there in 2003. I'd go back in a heart beat. and no it won't bring anyone back--but at least winning will mean my friends didn't die in vain

Barbie said...

Tom, can you put your picture back up?