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

33: Perseverance & Gratitude with NFL Athlete Erik Swoope

Train Keeps Moving: No matter what happens in your life the train keeps moving and it doesn’t stop for anyone.

Erik Swoope is an NFL Tight End with a humble spirit who was with the Indianapolis Colts the past 5 seasons. He is 6’5”, 250 lbs, athletic, fast, and moves with the mass of a truck and coordination of a gymnast. The impressive part is this: He’s never played football before playing in the NFL. The more impressive part is that for as big and strong as Erik is, his character is more powerful. If perseverance, depth, gratitude, humility, and grit were measurable statistical categories, Erik would not only be an All-Pro amongst the NFL, he would be in the Pro Bowl of humans.

This episode is dedicated to understanding where Erik’s grit and gratitude come from, his upbringing, and the importance and meaning of family. We look at his accomplishments in the classroom, community, and on the court/field. We learn what it’s like to go from playing ACC basketball at the University of Miami to playing football for the first time (ever) in the NFL.

Want to know what it feels like to score a touchdown in the NFL? This episode is for you.  Want to know how to overcome setbacks with a growth mindset and perseverance?  This episode is for you.  How you handle yourself when everything is great is one thing, but the best of us excel in the face of adversity.  That struggle is where true strength is forged.

SHOW NOTES:

Into:  Keep Your Dream

Don’t let your own will be the reason you fail.  Keep that will strong and unconquerable.  There are too many dreams buried in the cemetery of collapsed wills.  Not yours. Be unconquerable. -Scott McGee

8:30  Where does Erik’s grit come from?  What does it mean to be a Swoope man?

18:30  Family and upbringing. “If you start something you have to finish it.”

25:50  Athletic background as a kid.  First dunk at 12 years old.

Lake Elsinore to Harvard Westalke (Los Angeles)

36:20  What are some of highlights from high school? “My struggle.”

One of my fondest memories. I found out how to do something the right way. I knew how to put in the effort, but are you doing it in a way that benefits you.

39:30  More proud of academics or sports? 

The school work was where I had to prove to myself that I’m willing to go through something with no one else’s help. I had to find a way.

41:05  When did Erik figure out he was really good at sports?

48:00  How went from high school in SoCal to Miami to play basketball. What was it like leaving family?

56:22 Train Keeps Moving: No matter what happens in your life the train keeps moving and it doesn’t stop for anyone. If you think that life is going to hold up because you hit something… that train is going to keep moving. 

59:00 Post college – The interest from the NFL Scouts. They want to see if Erik had “football traits.”

Learning football and drills. Try outs. 4.57 40 on first try. 

1:01:40  Jimmy Graham – Mentor – First advice from former basketball player turned football player. “Football is not fun”. Ha.

1:10:40  Workout with NFL scout to the Indianapolis Colts

1:17:45  Learning the basics of football.

1:24:34  First time getting hit really hard in practice and a game. First Catch.

1:30:30  What it was like playing with Andrew Luck.

1:34:40  What it feels like to score a touchdown in the NFL.

1:39:40  The hardest part of playing football in the NFL…  Handling stress

1:41:11  Where does Erik find the fun?

1:49:00  Purchases with NFL money.

1:51:50  NFL journey through being undrafted, injuries, practice squad, active roster.

In game experiences…

Responding from injuries, surgery, and learning to recover stronger than before.

2:07:18  Where does he go from here?  Restricted Free Agent

2:09:16  What do you do with your doubts? I try and take that energy and put it into my training. My journey is not like anyone else’s. 

2:13:50  Tips to Overcome Setbacks

Social Media:

@swooperstar86   @1scottmcgee   @thesisuway

Website:

TheSisuWay.com 

22: Kenny Kane – A Path of Joy, Suffering, & Effort.

 

The Sisu Way is defined as strength and determination in the face of adversity. Persistence. Hope. GRIT. An unbeatable mindset full of courage, tenacity, resilience, willpower, triumph, and an unconquerable soul. They say the finest souls are those who gulped pain and avoided making others taste it.  Well ladies and gentlemen, that is my brother and esteemed guest, Kenny Kane. 

Kenny Kane is lighthouse to many of us, but even lighthouses have shadows.  If strength is a product of suffering and struggle, then Kenny is by far one of the strongest people I know.  He has faced a massive amount emotional trauma and death packed on top of each other.  He was force fed a beautifully violent lesson in the balance of life and death.  In the face of this much pain and chaos, how do you do the most good?  How can we use our resources to be in service to something greater than ourselves?

If there is a lesson I have learned from late world-class Coach Marion Kane Elston through her son Kenny, it is you have to be willing to get up strong each and every time without complaint.  You have to put in the effort and open yourself up to the experience, or the time won’t come.

This episode was an honor for me record, but the real honor was the vulnerable and heartfelt conversation.  Kenny is one of the best humans I know. I’m proud to call him my friend and a mentor.  This episode is dedicated to the Kane family.

Get Up Strong.

Humbly,

Scott McGee

Show Notes:

Three Marbles – W.E. Peterson

5:00  Oak Park LA Bio and intro

10:44 Introduction to hosting podcasts

14:00 First Question – There is no elegant answer.  It’s complicated. It’s a journey.

15:30  Birth of son followed by death of mom

Challenges outpacing capabilities

21:55  Pillars of Good and Pillars of Strength have shadows

23:22  Most valuable currency – Ability to Connect

25:20  Leaving a Legacy – Kane Family

37:00  Story of Effort – If you don’t open yourself up to experience, the time wont come.

41:35  What is it about your mom that you would want your kids to know?  Her willingness to get up every single time without complaint. What it means to be a Kane. Grit.

41:15  Revisiting the struggle of life and death

51:20  History of stand up comedy career and intention

52:50  Where are you finding resilience while doing the most good?

53:30*  Purpose

57:30  12 more deaths over 14 more months – intense cadence

1:00:20  How do you do the most good when faced with only right and wrong answers?

Are your actions contributing to the joy of the world or the misery?

Sacrifice Rejected

1:08:00  Talia

1:12:50  Justine – The silent walk – The 7 year old leader

1:20:08  VUCA – The world is volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous

1:21:10  The wildfires – Original Oak Park

1:29:30  Navy Commander Schultze band reference of vision, reality, and truth.

1:43:00 The passing of the torch – Becoming the patriarch

1:46:26  Slow down to move fast. Grinding, enduring, grit, and the shadows.

1:48:40  Attention and purpose – profession and family

1:54:20  (extra credit) Social Media and mind control

1:59:20  Student/Magician named Tristan Harris – Attention Economy – impressions and screen time – Time Well Spent

2:28:40  Restoration through fitness, breath work, writing everyday, therapy, and patience. Being okay with the scars and path.

Links:

The Sisu Way Team for Whole Life Challenge

Body of Knowledge  Oak Park LA

TED Talk – Tristan Harris

kenny@oakparkla.com

The Sisu Way

21: Andy Petranek – Stepping Up through a Beginner’s Mind

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” — Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki

Andy Petranek couples curiosity and enthusiasm and applies it to learn new perspectives for a better way.  He is an early adopter, coach, athlete, entrepreneur, family man, and a life-explorer who travels with a sense of humor. He loves to work on developing and improving himself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, but more importantly he strives to help others do the same. He lives his life based on the words of his grandfather, “Never stop learning. Never stop growing.” 

I open the show with a lesson on Shoshin.  Shoshin is a word from Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind.” It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would. 

What is most fascinating about Andy is his curious mind and his ability to choose strength. These themes are evident when we take a step back and observe from a different perspective. From this framework, we take a look at some of the events that have lead Andy to become the father that he is and his ability to change lives for the better across the world through The Whole Life Challenge.

Strength is a Choice,

Scott

Show Notes:

2:20  Shoshin – Lesson in a Beginners Mind. 

6:10  Spoon Challenge – See it for the first time with a curious mind.

11:20  Perspective Chair Challenge

13:30  Opening question on purpose and emotion

17:25  85 year-old self Challenge

21:00  Musical background and the life bowling analogy

29:10  Trumpet player to Marine – What was he looking for?

34:20  Outdoor Eco Challenge races – Lost for 36 hours, learning, and pushing himself

“Trust your compass”

52:40  Learning a new skill like unicycling.

56:15  The 10-Minute training to overcome weaknesses.

1:04:10  Back Tucks and what you can learn about life through them.

1:07:48  CrossFit History

1:15:13  How do I have a better impact on the wellness of my clients? Beginning of The Whole Life Challenge

1:22:11  “Its the transformation of humans. Its working on virtues. Its developing peoples courage and commitment and testing their resolve. Being in the game of life, rather than thinking of winning or losing.”

You have the power to change your life for the better.

1:26:00  We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, it’s a habit.

Virtues are formed in a man by doing the right actions.

1:27:28  The 7 Daily Habits

1:33:30  Awaken with Gratitude

1:37:20  Fatherhood, post-it notes

1:44:55  Lessons learned from The Andy Petranek Podcast

“You’re taking curiosity, enthusiasm and applying to people to learn new perspectives for a better way.”

1:54:25  Stepping Up – Newsletter

2:04:20  Fitness – Movement is a Gift

Links and Social Media:

AndyPetranek.com  WholeLifeChallenge.com   TheSisuWay.com

@andypetranek  @wholelifechallenge  @TheSisuWay  @1ScottMcGee

The shin box for opening the hips

Oxygen Advantage

18: Wim Hof Method: Breathing, Cold Exposure, & Mindset with Retired Peace Officer Erik Milosevic

One of the best and simplest pieces of advice anyone could give to benefit energy, freedom, and health is:  Remember to breathe and relax. We are constantly faced with acute and chronic stress, which causes soul cavities.  Stress causes inflammation, which may contribute to many serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.  Chronic stress may also give rise to emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, fear, anger, feelings of despair and hopelessness, as well as loneliness. These health issues create distance from our ourselves and our loved ones.  The good news is…there is something we can do about it.

Joining me on this special episode is Certified Wim Hof Instructor, retired Peace Officer, lifetime Yogi, and my dear friend, Erik Milosevich.  Together, we discuss ways to find peace and improve our emotional resilience.  We share our personal journey with the Wim Hof Method of breathing exercises, cold exposure (via cold showers and ice baths), mediation, and mindset to strengthen our mind, body. The goal of this episode is to help you develop self-awareness skills and self-regulation tools to overcome adversity and stress in a healthy manner.

Get Up Strong,

Scott

For those lost in pain, we have to become gladiators. Power is within us all. Anything can be overcome by going within. –Wim Hof

Show Notes:

Opening:  An excerpt from the book, The Warrior and The Monk: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Potential And Finding True Happiness by past guest Greg Amundson.

11:00 Milo’s history and life experiences

20:45  Wim Hof Method intro

26:40  Stress and Trauma, first responders, organizational stress

“The ability to breath and relax is a science and an art.”

33:40  The Autonomic Nervous System and the two branches, Sympathetic (Fight/Flight) and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems (Rest/Calm/Relaxed).

37:20  The Vagus Nerve.  Understanding these systems helps your self-awareness which leads to the ability to self-regulate.

41:00  Mastering Peace

42:00 Purposeful and Mindful BREATHING.  Different types of breathing tactics including nasal breathing, Wim Hof, box breathing, circular breathing, ocean breath, etc. all aimed at giving us tools to self-regulate our stress.

58:48  The gift of Wim Hof breathing. How to do it and why.  The power of the journey inward.

1:11:30  Breathing and its relationship to Grief. Mindfulness – Be here and now without judgement.

1:19:20  COLD EXPOSURE – (Cold showers and Ice Baths)  How, why, what are the benefits. Mindset and emotional, psychological, and physical benefits.

1:34:30  Chest freezer turned into Ice Baths

1:45:50  Mindset and MEDITATION

1:47:00  Ice bath conversations

1:51:32  Pursue Satori

Links:

TheSisuWay.com  The Wim Hof Method

@erokdaworld  @1scottmcgee  @TheSisuWay  

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

 

10: Traver Boehm – Strength Reborn

Traver Boehm is a man of the heart. He is a primal man, a sensitive man, and a Man Uncivilized. Traver is a man that was completely broken by life, and decided to skillfully use the pain as rocket fuel for growth.  It is that pain that rebuilt a life dedicated to service. That service is vital to our current state of thought in regards to what it means to be a man.

This episode aims to challenge your way of thinking, and open your mind to the action of surrender, ownership, and forgiveness. We talk about service, choosing strength, soulful crying, surrendering hate and regret, creating space to think, finding gratitude, “seeing” in darkness, finding yourself, the 21st Century Man, and helping guide others like a lighthouse in a storm.  It’s okay to feel.  Vulnerability is Strength. I am full of pride and gratitude for Traver and this episode. This may be one of the most important ones I do. Because of Traver, we are One Day Stronger. 

Get Up Strong,

Scott McGee

No Man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself.” -Seneca

Below are show notes, quotes, links, & more info discussed in the episode:

Intro: Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

3:47  So who were you?  Unfigured Out. Something was deeply missing. I was half born. 

5:21  Beautiful Death – Knowing Thyself – Temet Nosce

8:51  What moments woke you up?  “Hang on”

11:10  Meditation – Go sit down and be with yourself

12:50  Utah – Month in the Wilderness. (Boulder Outdoor Survival School)  – Discussion and lesson about forgiveness.

22:00  Service “My life would not have been ripped to shreds to be be rebuilt in a way that would be self-servicing. I am dedicated to service.”

22:40  Driven by pain or driven by love? “Pain is the catalyst that got me here.”

Balance “If your pain could speak to yourself, what would it say?”

25:44  Strength is a Choice. Comparing Down.

How do you get someone to choose strength?  Humility. Find Gratitude.

28:28  Surrender, Ownership, Forgiveness

30:00  Carrying Hate. How to surrender it?

32:00  Learning to Breathe  “Create Space”  How to meditate. Box breathing.

39:45  The Year to Live Project – 28 day Dark Retreat, 28 day survival course in Utah, volunteered in a hospice

42:00  How long did it take to journey inward while in an environment with no light or sound?

49:15 How do you see in complete darkness? Hallucinations

51:21  “If you are strong within then you can deal with anything without.”

52:52  Why spend time in a hospice? “It is a blackbelt in space holding.”

54:24  Standing in front of someone you love that is dying.

56:45  How do you deal with regret?

57:00  The 21st Century Man

1:02:30  Write

1:03:55  It’s ok to feel. Vulnerability is Strength.

1:07:45 What do you struggle with?  How to find a home.

1:10:35 Communities – Built on a universal struggle

1:11:55  Combat – Taking a throwing a punch – Man Uncivilized

TraverBoehm.com -email, text….. Reach out for help!!

How to teach kids Grit…. Get Up Strong

1:26:45   How can people in support roles help their Men?

Books:

Today I Rise – Traver’s Book

Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman

Social Media:

@traverboehm, @1scottmcgee, @thesisuway 

Links:

Ted Talk – How to make Pain Your Guru

TraverBoehm.com

traver@traverboehm.com

http://www.traverboehm.com/category/year-to-live-project/

TheSisuWay.com

Please be sure to rate the show and give an honest heartfelt review of the show on iTunes. What you say matters, and it helps guide others who may be looking for a show like this.  I humbly thank you.

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