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 

5: Val Voboril – Strength is a Choice

 

 Val Voboril is the everyday woman with super-powered fitness.  She is a mother, 4th Grade teacher, and a 6-time CrossFit Games Athlete.  But these titles do not define her. The quality of her character is shown through her resilient spirit, her unconquerable soul, and her commitment to teaching kids that they have the power to choose strength.

Val’s successes has not come without a dip, a trial of “failure.” Despite her almost super-human powers, in 2015 at the CrossFit Games California Regional, Val doubted herself and felt the fear of disappointing others by failing to meet certain standards. This is a place we have all been. We have all been knocked down, but that’s not where we have to stay.  She thought about the kind of message she wanted to send to her daughter, her students, fans, and the community.

Her dad asked her:

What do you want the story to be to tell your daughter? That you pulled through, gave up, or persevered when it was hard?

When faced with adversity, we have a choice. Val found strength in having fun and connecting to the community. She used strength and love to conquer. Val remembered to smile. Through this simple act, Val showed the power of having fun. That Health is Wealth. In turn, through her unconquerable spirit she prevailed in competition and triumphed over her own adversity.

Val is not only a role model to the CrossFit community, she leads the way by teaching her students the importance of a positive attitude and how to get themselves out of a dip. This mindset and indomitable spirit is why we at The Sisu Way are proud to welcome Val as our first guest.

Vals website: Just Val

Instagrams to follow: @valvoboril  @1scottmcgee  @thesisuway

Books: The Art of Living

Daily Stoic

Temet Nosce – Know Thyself

3: Strength to Love – MLK “Loving Your Enemies”

Episode 3: Strength to Love is about perspective. This episode stands to provide a different light on the finger pointing mentality we sometimes show, and instead, turn the light back on ourselves. We have the ability to chose strength, love, and forgiveness.  This leads to growth, not pain.  We are the master of our fate. We are the captain of our soul.

I open with the Man in the Arena, a speech by Theodore Roosevelt that hammered critics who look down upon people who are trying to make the world a better place.

One of those people was Martin Luther King Jr. He is someone I very much admire. His approach to dealing with hate and negativity is so simple yet very difficult. It starts with analyzing ourselves and forgiveness. We can show the strength to love by looking within. We can heal by actively and intently listening, taking accountability for ourselves, and learning to forgive. That includes forgiving ourselves. His sermon, Loving Your Enemies, is covered in the middle of the podcast.

I close out the episode by providing a way to stand up in the storm and have compassion for those that fail. I provide tenets I try to live by and a social media challenge.

The goal of this episode is to shine light on some of the dark thoughts we have and show you that it’s okay to put the heavy bag of resentment down. It’s time to surrender. Love is the Way.

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Books:

Strength to Love – Martin Luther King Jr.

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