The Resiliency/Grit Development Challenge – Day 13 – Who Inspires You?

The Idea

Resiliency and Grit are learned behaviors that enable us to not only survive, but thrive in the face of adversity.  This is your 13th of 14 daily messages, each containing an exercise designed to strengthen your development of these two key skills.  Keep a journal, record your reflections and chronicle your growth.

Exercise #13

There have been many people in my life who have inspired me, but in the tough times the memory of one stands out.  I can’t recall his name, but he was a Drill Instructor (DI) I met up close and personal while attending a week-long leadership seminar at MCRD Parris Island.  One of our concluding activities was a challenge to complete a five station obstacle course.  I accepted it, I was 62 years old and in good physical condition; I could do this. The course consisted of five obstacles each separated by a half mile run.  Essentially you overcame the challenge presented by the obstacle and ran to the next one. Following the fourth obstacle, I felt pretty good.  I wasn’t leading the pack, but there were more people behind than in front of me.  I turned the final corner, saw the final obstacle and froze; it was the infamous Parris Island Rappelling Tower. 

I have a real fear of heights and this was a seven story tower.  I remember an officer yelling, “Wolf, what is the problem?”  I responded, “Sir I have a real fear of heights!”  He laughed, turned to a nearby DI and said, “Tell Wolf about fear!”  Marines have little regard for personal space.  With his nose almost touching mine he said, “Wolf, we embrace fear, we wrap our arms around it and own it.  Do you understand?”  I responded, “Yes sir!”  He continued, “Repeat what I just said!”, which I did.  He then said, “You will never get this opportunity again, if you don’t embrace this challenge, it will haunt you for the rest of your life!”   Needless to say I climbed the tower and completed the course.

Inspiration serves as a unique goal approach function: it motivates people to express the newly appreciated qualities of the inspiring person, and pursue these same strengths in a future self.  The goal of today’s exercise is for you to identify those who inspire you and help you reach your goals.  You do not necessarily need to know these inspirational people in real life, but it does help.  It is a two-part exercise.  Use your journal to record your answers.

Part I

  1. Identify one or two people who have or do inspire you.
  2. Identify specifically what it is about the person that inspires you (list at least three things).
  3. When you try to achieve something, you are guaranteed to have obstacles and challenges get in your way.  Identify a challenge that you are currently trying to overcome. 
  4. Now, think about how the person(s) you find inspiring would handle and think about your challenge.  How would he or she respond?
Part II:  Use the following questions to guide your reflection.
  1. How can the thoughts you recorded above alter your current mindset regarding the challenge you are facing?
  2. How would the the thoughts above serve to inspire you?
  3. What would the people who inspire you think or say about your current mindset and approach regarding the future?
  4. What would they tell you to do?
  5. What action will you now take?
Wrap your arms around this challenge and own it.  Remember what that Marine told me, “You will never get this opportunity again, if you don’t embrace this challenge, it will haunt you for the rest of your life!” 
Embrace the Challenge!