34: Adversity is a Gift with Marcus Aurelius Anderson

We are only as strong as the adversity we overcome.  If that is the case, then Marcus Aurelius Anderson is a StrongMan of character.  But facing adversity isn’t the only prerequisite for developing grit, you have to choose to use it as an opportunity for growth so you can adapt. It is not freedom from adversity, but it is the freedom, the power, the choice to take a stand and lean into your adversity.  Our stories are unique, but the struggle is universal.  To the strong, Adversity is a Gift

My guest is Marcus Aurelius Anderson. Marcus is an author, TedX Speaker, and Mindset Coach who, while preparing to deploy with the U.S. Army, suffered a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down. His life was turned upside down, and after dying twice on the operating table, he was told he would never be able to walk or use his hands again. He discovered he was left with two choices, he could either be a victim, or change his mindset and become a Victor. Having no other option, he began looking for any lessons to be learned from his injury, and soon discovered that his set back was a gift. After being paralyzed and coming back from death, Marcus is here to help guide us not only out of adversity, but into it.

SHOW NOTES:

Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

3:10 Who was Marcus prior to joining military at 38? Marcus the Younger

9:00  What he learned from his great uncle.  The power of intention and purpose. 

18:40  Joining the military at 38.

23:40  The concept of Arete and Ikigai

35:00 Knowing yourself – Temet Nosce

38:15  Grit – Dying and Paralysis – Movement is a Gift – the healing power of Gratitude

Genuine gratitude is not a buzzword, it is acting in a grateful manner.

57:34  You should be seeking out adversity, one in way shape or form. If you can have adversity as your compass, it will always direct you in the right direction, and for most people that are going through hardship, the answer they are looking for so desperately is found within the adversity that they are not facing.

58:30  Resiliency training – cold exposure – micro adversity 

1:05:50  Adversity Scale 

1:16:50  If you want to go beyond mediocrity, then you have to demand more from yourself. If you don’t demand something from you, life will start demanding things from you that you don’t want.

Misery loves company but not as much as mediocrity.

1:19:00 The meaning of service

1:22:30  Lessons from a failed marriage

1:31:17  Favorite quotes and books.

LINKS:

Book:  The Gift of Adversity: Overcoming Paralysis and Pain to find Purpose

Websites:  MarcusAureliusAnderson.com  TheSisuWay.com

Social Media:  @marcusaureliusanderson  @1scottmcgee  @thesisuway

Marcus’ Podcast: Epic Achiever 

The Sisu Way Podcast – PLEASE LEAVE AN ITUNES REVIEW IF YOU LISTEN TO THE SHOW

24: Ryan Fischer – Strength, Work Ethic, & Reflection

Ryan Fischer has off the charts fitness, numerous feats of physical strength, and experience in helicopter flying, Olympic skeleton, BMX racing, competitive CrossFitting, and hiking all over the world.  His life is a set of circumstances that have developed him into a fulfilled gym owner.  But his biggest strength is his drive and his work ethic, and Ryan is more than a competitor or gym owner.

This episode is more than what his bio says.  This episode is about the man you think you know as Ryan Fischer. We had the chance to dive deep into Ryan’s life on a level you have never heard before. This episode goes beyond fitness as we reflect on where Ryan’s drive comes from, his relationship with his family, how he always knew he was different, what makes him happy, and where his unconquerable soul comes from.  This isn’t an episode I took lightly. I wanted to offer a platform of reflection and growth through a respectful path of vulnerability and strength. This special episode was an honor for me to record. I humbly thank you for choosing this to listen to with a special thank you to Ryan’s mom, Kim.

With gratitude,

Scott McGee

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Show Notes:

Short story:  The Cracked Pot

4:32  What is stronger? Your muscles or your work ethic.

10:36  To find your work ethic, does it need to found through physical effort?  Moments that forced you to be strong.

A story of a Son.

13:43  I never really had that dad feeling and because of that I searched for different things to put energy into that couldn’t be bought. You cant get it any other way except for super hard work. If I did that, I created that and it made me feel good.

Finding out some big news at 18 that changed everything.

22:30  I remember always telling my mom that there was something about me that was different. I knew that I was going to be different. I always knew it.

23:00  First contacts with real dad.

30:30  Raising money for Olympics.  The biggest check Ryan had ever received.

The $500 check.

33:20  The grandparents

37:40  Everybody has a struggle. Everyone has a deal going on. But there’s always room for a heart to heart conversation between a father and son. -SM

38:33  Do you think finding out made you a stronger person?

40:00  Reflection on life and relationships.

41:04  What do you think your mom is most proud about you? A conversation with mom.

(Ryan’s mom): He never followed the crowd. He stayed true to himself and his values.

Where does Ryan’s drive come from? And how his drive is a weakness.

49:30  What makes Ryan happy?

58:00  “Settling down” and relationships.

1:04:30*  What is your inner conversation like during a workout?

Once everything starts to hurt, we just started working out. Let’s go to work.

Little cues to help push through the work out.

1:10:20  The Little Man Story

1:14:10  How memory retention works. 

1:16:11  The CrossFit drive that transcends and the ripple effects.

Two things that define you.  Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.

Happiness vs Fulfilled

Planting the seed of gratitude is in someone else’s couch. -SM

1:28:09  Military dreams. How training to be a Nazy Seal led Ryan to CrossFit.

1:37:00  Wim Hof, Ice Baths, Float Tanks, Saunas

1:42:00  Being dedicated to action and non-action.  How to destress.

Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation

1:48:14  What has hosting a podcast taught you?

2:01:15  Ryan’s online programming

You don’t see a moving truck behind a Hearse. 

Links:

@RyanFisch  @1ScottMcGee @CrossFitChalk  @TheSisuWay

CrossFitChalk.com    TheSisuWay.com

19: Adaptive Athlete Lil Misty Diaz – Spina Beautiful

 

Lil Misty Diaz is a force of light that has grown out of darkness.  This darkness began with being born with Spina Bifida (birth defect affecting the spinal cord). Followed by 28 operations by middle school (not including exploratory surgeries) and compounded by medications, isolation, depression, loneliness, and 3 suicide attempts.  But like a lotus flower, she rose from the dust to bloom out of the darkness.

Through the power of gratitude and service, Misty’s ability has grown stronger than her disability. It has been a process. One in which her only goal was to simply feel better.  This process has grown into her ability to complete over 200 races including obstacle races, half-marathons, 5-10-15k runs, 24 hour, Spartan and Red Bull races. She even holds state records in the bench press.

It has been said that it’s not your disability that defines you.  It’s your ability.  Strength is a choice.  The only disability in life is a bad attitude, and Lil Misty has decided to live her life of service by helping as many people as she can.  She has inspired people all over the world, from all walks of life, including myself. 

This is her story, and I’m honored to present it to you.

Scott

Show Notes:

Your Will Is Always Within Your Power – Epictetus

The Sisu Way Poster

6:20  What is Spina Bifida? 

11:00  Cast Life.  Fighting since Day 1.

12:30  The term disability vs Adaptive Athlete

14:50  The races

16:17  What was Misty’s childhood like?

26:16  What can you do for a kid who is struggling?

27:20  Teenage years. The difficulties and the decision to choose a DNR.

30:20  2nd person ever to use a cell saver

31:20  The most painful surgery – Tethered Cord Syndrome

37:00  Depression – Loneliness – Suicide    Beautifully Broken

Dream as if you will live forever. Live as if you will die today. -James Dean

49:20  What woke you up?

53:30  “I felt free”

59:00  Acceptance – Free from morphine fog.  Senses woke up.

Strength is a Choice – Get outside comfort zone

1:03:20  Motivating and inspiring others

1:05:17  Biggest accomplishment (so far)

1:09:00  “It’s not how you win.  It’s how you lose.” -Louis Zamperini

Liz  #LizFreel  Coached Liz to State Division Bench Press Record, but together added value to each others life.

1:17:09  Mantras for others.   “Turtle speed is still a speed as long as you’re  consistently moving forward and helping others along the way.”

1:19:48  When someone thinks of Misty Diaz:  What do you want them to remember you by? 

1:31:10  What does it mean to inspire people in the Spartan Races?

Links:

lilmistydiaz.com  @lilmistydiaz  @1scottmcgee  @thesisuway

TheSisuWay.com      LilMisty.com

11: Christmas Abbot – Pressure is a Privilege

Christmas Abbott is an author, athlete, CrossFit gym owner, girl boss, former pit crew member, entrepreneur, branding/marketing expert, speaker, and model …but these titles DON’T define her. It’s her courage, spunk, guts, and her gumption that make her a relentless human. It is these qualities coupled with her heart, that will fuel her greatest title ever… Mom.

In this episode we talk about one of Christmas’ darkest years, how she is grateful for tragedy, the collateral beauty associated with it, what helps her recover emotionally, and her pregnancy. 2018 is serving to be a transformative year, as Christmas is using her vulnerability, struggle, fire, and heart to not only empower others, but to prepare for the best thing she will do with her life, and that is to be a mother.

I am honored to hear (and share) the news and super proud of her. I hope you enjoy this side of the one and only, Christmas Abbott. 

Show Notes:

“Stopped being impressed by things, and started being impressed by people that were happy. People that made other people feel good.” – Scott

4:00  Who are you? “Work in progress. A human who wants to leave a beautiful footprint.

8:00  1996 Sister’s car accident when Christmas was 13 – Darkest years of life, as was 2017.

11:13  2017 A dark year. Learned what made of and the bigger picture

13:01  Near death experience – Mortar round in Iraq

Experience in Iraq as a female

14:10  Looks a strength or a weakness? 

16:37  Health is Wealth – Broken Foot

2017  Broke up with finance – friend OD’d – Depression – Broken foot

19:15  Big Brother TV show – Human Experiment

23:10  What helped her recover emotionally.  Service. Vulnerability. Struggle.

Vulnerability is Strength

“Saving lives saves lives.”

26:20  Connection and therapy through social media

27:07 Caterpillar or butterfly?

“Life is awesome, but first I’m going to make you strong.” -Scott

28:40  Gratitude

Whats hurting you?  Word for this year is, “Transformative”.

31:00  Slice of life that “normal people” are protected from.

32:30  Nar-Anon – support group – community that understood demons

34:00  How to be honest with yourself.

38:20  How to figure of what your Why is.

38:53  Christmas is pregnant – Her greatest role is yet to come.

41:40  “I’m pregnant

“This is the best thing I will do in my life.”

47:00  Slow Down Challenge – Pay Attention

51:46  Grateful for Tragedy – Collateral Beauty

56:00  Get Up Strong – Live and Love on Purpose – Empowering Kids

1:03:20  Loving your body during pregnancy

1:13:13  Living the life that you Love

1:14:50 Social Media as a journal

 

Social Media:

@christmasabbott, @canutrition, @badassbodydiet 

@1scottmcgee, @TheSisuWay   TheSisuWay.com

Links and References:

Beyonce – I Was Here

How to reach Christmas: info@christmasabbott.com

Badass Life Book

Christmas Abbott Nutrition (CAN) Online Nutrition Platform

Amazing Video: Alexander Tsiaras explaining human development from conception to birth

Badass Body Diet Book

 

“I hope your day gets better.”

7: Matt Aporta – Fostering Love: A Story of a Family

Episode 7: Fostering Love with Matt Aporta is more than a story of what its like to foster-to-adopt a child.  It is a lesson and reminder that everyday is a gift and nothing is more powerful than love. Relationships can come and go in an instant. Nothing in life is guaranteed.  Love with a sense of urgency and live on purpose.

Fostering a child is the highest form of service. In the dictionary, service is defined as: the action of helping or doing work for someone. What act is greater than giving a child-in-need a family?  The opportunity to be loved beyond words, a safe environment, and the chance to thrive? 

People might be temporary in your life, but that is not in your control.  What is in your control is the deliberate and passionate love shared in the moment, everyday.  Nothing is guaranteed, regardless of the word (bio, adoptive, foster, step) that comes before parent. What is guaranteed is the love and dedication in the heart of my guest, Matt Aporta and his wife Mary Beth Larue. 

They have opened their heart to foster-to-adopt a newborn child, giving this soul a chance to thrive in the most loving environment.  In these moments, Matt and Mary Beth became what they were meant to be.  This is the story of a good man, who grew into a great dad, and a women who has never known a love like this or had a “purpose as deep as the sea and as vast as the sky.”

I hope you open your hearts and enjoy this story,

Scott

Matt’s Instagram: @matt_aporta

Mary Beth’s Instagram: @marybethlarue

Scott McGee’s: @1scottmcgee  @TheSisuWay

Nonprofit foster family, adoption, and advocacy agency: Extraordinary Families 

4: Health is Wealth – Memento Mori – Movement is a Gift

Health is Wealth” is one of the tag-lines of The Sisu Way, but if I were to make the title of this episode longer it would say, “Health is Wealth, Movement is a Gift, and Your Will is Within Your Power.”

Without health, all the perceived wealth in the world is irrelevant. We all have health, if you didn’t you would not be able to listen to this podcast. If you can’t hear this podcast then be grateful you can read these words. If you have the ability and resources to purchase whatever device you are listening to it from you have health.  We also live in countries that allow podcasts, and other peoples opinions can be heard.  These are all gifts.

There is a latin phrase, Memento Mori, which means remember death, or remember that you will die. This stoic practice of reflection on mortality is an opportunity to reflect on the temporary state of our being and to appreciate what we have in the moment… health, the gift of movement, the freedom and opportunity to choose strength, and the gratitude for it.

Buddha said: To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.

To go a bit further, beyond just a healthy you….is a healthy you full of appreciation, gratitude, and a resilient mind to see the gifts in the world instead of what you don’t have. The ability to wake up from wants and needs and appreciate what you have right now. Remember to forgive and love yourself, and take a moment to really appreciate the ability to see, hear, and talk with your loved ones.

For more info and episodes go to: TheSisuWay.com

Instagram: @thesisuway

Personal: @1scottmcgee

2: Strong Willed – A Parents Story about Strength, Willpower, & Resilience

Episode 2: Strong Willed, is a story of strength, fortitude, and a celebration of resilience told through letters that were written to my sons from several months in 2015. In Episode 1: For Dad I looked back to the generation before me. In this episode, I take a look at the generation after me by sharing a story of life and death with my son, Connor. This story may bring you thoughts of sadness or grief, but I want to change your perspective on that.  This is a story of choosing to overcome adversity, and how an unborn child recalibrated his father’s mindset with one powerful kick. Things happen to us, but like Connor proved, those things don’t define us.  Good and bad things come and go like life speed bumps, but you can choose to have an unconquerable soul and turn anything into an action for good.

This is only part of Connor’s story, as I will discuss him more throughout this podcast.  In this episode I tie together the words my parents wrote, especially my dad, in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I share how I forgave my father about writing to his grandson too late in life, from a letter he wrote me on March 16, 1981.

Time is not a right, it is a privilege. Life is precious, unexpected, and unpredictable.  But like my mom wrote to me in 1979, “This world is only as you make it.” Health is wealth. Vulnerability is strength. Strength is a choice.  You are the master of your fate. You are the captain of your soul.  Choose strength and be unconquerable.

Books mentioned on the show:

The Art of Living by Epictetus

Mask of Masculinity by Lewis Howes

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman