TOM ROWLAND PODCAST
Episode #0011 - Matt Lawson
How SealFit Kokoro and 20x Supercharged His Life
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"An event like this could really benefit anyone in any profession. It might be hard for some people to understand or even get their mind around how going out and training with a team of Navy SEAL's for 50 hours in the cold ocean on a California beach might somehow make you a better fishing guide, might make you a better outfitter or a television host. I can promise you that it did for me."
– Tom Rowland
The birth of his second child left Matt Lawson searching for a way to take better care of himself for his family. He wanted something more holistic than the typical workout regimen, something more along the lines of both mind AND body training. He started with the Unbeatable Mind Program and corresponding workouts. The Unbeatable Mind process focuses on being present and aware as as you train your body, and the four pillars of the program are controlling your breath, positive self-talk, visualization, and effective goal setting.
Lawson started SEALFit in May 2013, and by November 2013, he was in a 20X event. This is an intense, 12-hour, nonstop event that will show you you’re capable of 20 times more than you think you can do. This was Lawson’s stepping stone event to the SEALFit Kokoro, which is where he and Rowland’s brotherhood really begins.
Listen in to hear how both Rowland and Lawson have applied the principles of these programs and events to their everyday lives in regard to both family and business. Learn their favorite resources to prepare their bodies and minds for such intense events, what their favorite books and podcasts are, and how getting out of your comfort zone both mentally and physically can impact literally every aspect of your life.
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"I definitely felt that. It's how I would frame that. One way I would say it would be, it's something bigger than myself at the end of the day. Also, another big takeaway is having that strong "Why?" "Why am I here? Why am I doing this?" Like starting that journey back in May of '13, "Why am I doing Kokoro? Why am I going down this path?" It was really from our family, our son being born. Also, for myself, just to get back in shape and stuff and I wanted something totally different. The SEALFit experience from 20X to Kokoro was a thousand times better than what I originally thought it was going to be. I would recommend it to anyone."
– Matt Lawson
- Tom Rowland
- Matt Lawson
- Mark Divine
- Brad McLeod
- Lance Cummings
- Marcus Luttrell
- Laird Hamilton
- Gabby Reece
- Derek Price
- Adam Brown
- Patrick Charles
Tom Rowland: I'm Tom Rowland and this is the Tom Rowland Podcast. [music]
Tom: Hello, friends. On today's show, I get to catch up with one of my good friends, Matt Lawson. Now, Matt is not a professional fisherman or involved in the television industry, nor is he a guide, an outfitter, or anything like that, like so many of the guests that we have here. What we do share is a common interest and a common experience called SEALFit Kokoro.
SEALFit Kokoro is a crucible event where you go out and train with Navy SEAL's, former Navy SEAL's like Mark divine and his staff of both current and former Navy SEAL's and BUD/S instructors. It's the real deal. I wanted to catch up with Matt because this event was profound in my life, it really helped me to re-evaluate my leadership qualities, get a gut check on my leadership qualities.
I thought I was a decent leader before I went there, and boy did I learn a lot about it at that point. In hindsight, I look back and there's a person that was signed up for that event, and there's a different person that came out on the other side. It really was profound in the success that I've had with my business, and also the success-- more importantly really, the success that I've had with my family.
As my leadership abilities grew, we just came closer as a family, and that really is the take home value from something like this. I wanted to catch up with Matt because I wanted to see if he felt the same. There's been a little bit of time now since he's graduated, and I wanted to see if he felt the same as well as finding out what his reasons were to go to the event in the first place.
An event like this could really benefit anyone in any profession. It might be hard for some people to understand or even get their mind around how going out and training with a team of Navy SEAL's for 50 hours in the cold ocean on a California beach might somehow make you a better fishing guide, might make you a better outfitter or a television host. I can promise you that it did for me.
What it did it, it went far beyond just completing the event having some sense of satisfaction that I had completed this event. What it did-- then I wasn't really expecting this, is it really-- those guys really force you to find out why it is that you're doing whatever it is that you're doing.
Really, once those questions are answered, of, "Why I am a devoting my life to fishing in the first place? What is it that I was trying to accomplish? Why?" Once those answers come into focus for you, everything else is easier in your life. Whether that is why are you running your business? Why are you running your business the way that you're running it? Are you even interested in doing what you're doing? Is there another way? So many of those questions.
The answers that I received, I found on a very cold beach surrounded by some really amazing people. It was about three o'clock in the morning, I was soaking wet, covered with sand, physically exhausted, pushed way beyond my limits, and I came to grips with what it was I was trying to do and why.
Really came away from the event with a much stronger focus. Since then, we have experienced a lot of great successes and also said no to a lot of other opportunities that don't really fit the mission, don't really fit the purpose. Matt had a similar experience, and we discussed it in length on this show. For Matt, he had been so focused on his job, growing his business, growing his family that he forgot about his own physical health, and a lot of people do that.
I think a lot of people go through a period in their life where they really are focused on things that are at the forefront, but they forget about one of the most important things. That is that if you're not physically healthy, you're not vibrant, you don't have enough energy, you can't really be the person that you could potentially be, you can't really accomplish a lot of the things that you could accomplish if you are physically fit and strong.
There's nothing in this life that you can't do better if you are healthier, if you are fitter, if you are stronger. Everything, you can do better. Matt had an experience where he was getting ready through the birth of his son.
Like me, that was a major motivator to get back in shape, re-evaluate the focus of your life and your priorities. He looked around and floundered for a bit until he looked to the extreme, signed up for SEALFit Kokoro, and embarked down this journey. He told me that he has thought about SEALFit Kokoro every single day since the event. He's not the only one that told me that, and pretty much for me, it's almost exactly the same thing.
Wherever you are in your journey, you might be thinking, "That's for me. I need to do something like that." I don't think it's necessary really for somebody to go to the extreme that we went to with the SEALFit Kokoro or something like Goruck Selection-- all right, maybe it is. Whether it's 50 hours or 5k, embarking down that journey of regaining your health, of getting to the point of physical exhaustion, there's something about the way that that helps you with mental clarity.
Like I said, I could be 5k, it could be a walk around the block, it could be going to the gym every day for a month, it could be yoga. It could be whatever it is to you that kind of pushes you to that limit. There's a profound effect on clearing the head involved with exercise. I'm a big believer in it. I really enjoyed his conversation with Matt, and I hope that you will too.
If you get something out of it, that I would just love it if you would go down to iTunes and rate and review this show. Apparently, it's super important for a new podcast to get these ratings. I have actually been quite surprised and blown away with the ratings and reviews that we've already gotten on this show. I want to thank everybody that's already done that, very much.
Your comments and the things that you said about me and the show, the potential for the show, it really meant a lot to me, and I appreciate that very much. If you enjoy it, go over to iTunes, hit the stars, whichever one you think is appropriate, and give it a little rating. That will sure help to get this thing started and get underway because I've got some big plans for this.
I'd love to get some of the people on this show that have really meant a lot to me, and I'm sure that they might mean a lot to you. This episode is brought to you by Waypoint TV. Check out over 2,000 episodes from 60 different producers of the best hunting and fishing shows and short films that there are. Waypoint is absolutely free, and it's available on virtually every device including Roku, Apple TV, and right there on your phone.
Go to waypointtv.com for more information and you can figure out how to watch all these great producers, all these great shows on any device, anywhere, anytime. Now, that all that done, I want to introduce you to my friend, Matt Lawson. What's going on with you today?
Matt Lawson: Just coming into the work and just getting ready for the day.
Tom: Well, I like your new office. I just walked up here-- and Matt has moved into a new office. You got a whole new office space. How many square feet you have up here?
Matt: We have roughly about 4,000 square feet. We moved in in November of last year.
Tom: How many employees do you have?
Matt: We have 13 right now. Still looking to grow and expand, so still have a long way to go.
Tom: We've done a lot of training together, we've done a lot of-- we have a couple different groups that we belong to. One being the book club that we started, which we'll definitely talk about some of that. Also, just the training group, and I've watched you over-- six or eight years, probably grow this business, grow yourself on a personal level, and do things like challenge yourself on purpose.
I'm just wondering what that looks like for you. When you are living your life-- and you're a dad too, right?
Tom: How many children?
Matt: We have two kids. We have an eight year-old daughter and a four year-old son.
Tom: You're pretty busy. You're a busy guy.
Matt: We're pretty active, yes. Nonstop, like everyone else.
Tom: You've found time at one point to do a couple of different events. You went to 20X.
Matt: I did. I did the 20X in November of '13 in Atlanta.
Tom: Then you did SEALFit Kokoro also. Both of those are going through the SEALFit organization. How did you find out about that?
Matt: That's a good question. We just had our second child Mac, I wasn't in the best of shape physically.
Tom: How did that happen? You kind of strike me as somebody that stays in shape-- or at least now
Matt: Well, just going through-- I was in decent shape until we got married. Then that typical process where probably for roughly about a ten-year period of time, not a lot of physical activity. On and off, on and off, on and off.
Tom: Is that because you're putting so much effort into being newly married, starting your business? Getting your business to a certain level?
Matt: I would say that has somewhat to do-- Yes, that's definitely a part of it. Then I just moved away and I was just doing-- moved away meaning I just started doing some other things. I wasn't working out or being as physically active as I probably should have been. Especially, on a consistent basis. When I was 38 years old-- turning 39 roughly, we had our second child, Mac.
I was all, "Well, I've got to get in shape. I've got to do a better job. I've got to take care of myself. I really want to see this through being active in his life-- both kids for that matter, but really for his life as well because he was just born. I've got to get back in better shape." In the past, I'd always done a lot of more traditional working out with weights, more of a body-building type and I thought, "Well, I want to try something different."
I was just really searching online, I came across SEALFit and I thought, "This is really interesting." When I saw the events like Kokoro, I was like, "Wow. That is extremely intense." I think that I can do that mentally, but from a physical standpoint, I was a long, long, long way off.
Tom: When you first see that-- this is before we knew one another, you first see that, what are you thinking? At this point, are you needing a massive change? Something to really shock you back into a different type of routine? Where were you when you first came across this?
Matt: Well, I wanted a change. I didn't want to go back to what I'd been doing, even before when I was pretty active. I wanted something, you could say, more holistic, more mind-body combination type of training. That's what appealed to me with the SEALFit. I joined the
Unbeatable Mind program initially at SEALFit, then started down that path. Then started doing the workouts, the OPWODs or the SOF WODs, and stuff of that nature.
Then I started progressing. A couple months into it-- again, going through their events, looked at the 20X. I thought, "That sounds doable in about six months."
Tom: What you just discussed there, it's important-- not everybody knows what all that means. SEALFit is an organization that is run by Mark Divine, a former Navy SEAL. On his staff, either by contractor or sometimes full-time, are former Navy SEAL's, even currently serving Navy SEAL's, and he puts out a website that at this point when you're looking at it-- when I used to look at it every day, it was free.
He would put out these different stair stepped approaches to fitness at the level of a currently serving Navy SEAL. That would be what was called the OPWOD. The OPWOD- WOD meaning workout of the day, W-O-D. The OPWOD, that was a really major league amount of volume. I'm talking about, it would take me two hours, some days to get through those.
Matt: They're intense.
Tom: Yes. They incorporate a lot of volume, a lot of-- not just weightlifting or conditioning, but both mixed together as well as rucking, rowing, swimming often, and swimming with fins often. Basically, it's a great opportunity for someone who is getting ready to go to BUD/S or getting ready to go into the service, especially at a special forces level, to follow that program and get in shape.
Honestly, you're not just going to jump into that, so Mark Divine is smart enough that he has a Master's program, which is a little bit stair step down-- not much, though. Then there's the SOF WOD, which is-- what's does that stand for? Special Operations-
Tom: Okay. That in my recollection was less weight-focused, more-
Tom: Yes. More endurance and more body weight oriented. Then maybe there's even another stair step down.
Matt: There was an On-ramp.
Tom: Yes, an On-ramp program. That's what you see in a lot of CrossFit gyms is that you look at the workload and it just seems too much. Not only does it seem too much, but there are all these crazy acronyms that you don't understand, then people are talking about things that seem foreign.
There is this On-ramp program which might take two weeks. It might take a month. Some people, it might take more. Some people might just stay on the On-ramp program and be fine
and be challenged fully. What you're saying is that when you saw this, your main motivation for getting in really good shape was the birth of your child.
Matt: Yes, absolutely. I definitely wanted to improve where I was at that time. Then also, just for myself too, to feel better again and get back in better shape. When I came across the SEALFit, I said, "This is it. This is what I'm going to do." I jumped in, both feet. I really had no idea what I started as I started down that journey, you could say, with the 20X. After I started on board with Mark Divine's Unbeatable Mind, which is a super program that he puts on.
Tom: Let's just explain that. If somebody asks you, "What is Unbeatable Mind?" What would you say?
Matt: I would say the Unbeatable Mind process is more of a routine that Divine puts in place. It's more focusing on the present awareness. He has the big four. He's a big believer in the big four. Which is controlling your breath, positive self-talk, visualization, and an effective goal setting. That's the cornerstone of the Unbeatable Mind. Just managing your mind.
Controlling your mind, and not letting that monkey mind take place and run different direction, so coming back to centering yourself and stuff. that's not only in working out, in different events and stuff like that, but even day-to-day-- Whether we're dealing with our families, whether we're dealing in the workplace or just with friends. How we have that monkey mind always moving.
Really trying to focus and create a stronger, more controlled mind. I guess you can say that.
Tom: When you're not in shape, and you don't have this structure-- before you embark on this-- when you look back in hindsight, where you just frazzled? What was it like when you were not in shape? Was your monkey mind driving you crazy?
Matt: Sure. I think I was more reactive in a lot of situations. You feel so much better when you are working out, you are doing things physical. As you're working your body out, you're also working your mind. You know that as well as anyone. I just wasn't where I really wanted to be. I just didn't feel very good. Physically, I felt sluggish. How's that? My waist size actually was showing that.
Moving from a 32 size waist to a 35 size waist. I know it's crazy. Today, I'm back to a 32 size waist. Not that that's really important, but I'm just talking about how I really let myself go. It was just really out of just being-- at the end of the day, lazy. No other excuse.
Tom: Now, you have a motivation, and you actually have a goal of the first one going to be 20X, or was your goal to do Kokoro first?
Matt: When I saw Kokoro first, I knew that I wanted to do that. To take on Kokoro, but I was so far away from what the standards were, the minimum standards. Then finding out after more and more reading that it was a 50 hour nonstop, no sleeping. It's modeled after the Navy SEAL Hell Week. I was like, "My goodness, I've got a long way to go. Let me do a baby set up or a smaller step, I should say. Let's work towards the SEALFit 20X event."
I contacted through email, Brad McLeod who is a former Navy SEAL.
Tom: SEAL Grinder PT.
Matt: SEAL Grinder PT. Awesome guy, phenomenal guy, and just really down to earth. Very helpful. Reaching out to Brad and it was really good going through all that process on the emails back and forth, and giving me some workouts to focus on. Then in November '13-- I started the SEALFit in May of '13, in November '13, I went and did a 20X event
Tom: Describe a 20X event because I have not done a 20X event. I have coached a 20X event, but I've actually not been through a 20X event.
Matt: For me, Tom-- initially, I was like, "Wow, what have I got myself into." When the door came up and they came out with a water hose, the ice baths, and everything else right off the bat, the intensity level, I was like, "This is far more than I originally expected. What have I gotten myself into?"
I remember having that thought as we were doing thrusters and push-ups. Getting in the ice baths, and being sprayed in the face with a water hose, and all the screaming and yelling with the bullhorns and all that. It was like, "Wow." It's a phenomenal event that they put on. It's very professional. I thought Brad did a phenomenal job, and coach Lance Cummings, who's also with SEALFit, is also a Navy Seal, phenomenal. I mean, very professional.
Then you had the Black Shirts which were former Kokoro graduates.
They also participated in it and helped Brad and Lance Cummings run the event. It's a 12-hour event. We started at roughly seven o'clock in the morning and we finished at seven at night. It's very intense, it's nonstop. It is a great mental training, and physical training definitely, as they'll say, show you that you're capable of 20 times more than you think you can do.
The intensity level was crazy. The [inaudible 00:20:27] capacity was crazy.
Tom: That's really the point. That's the point of really all of this. There's a couple of different reasons for an event like this to exist. One, you are a young man that's thinking about going to the real Special Forces. Probably nothing better than to have a dose of this. Occasionally, beforehand to really get a good idea of what you're going to subject yourself to for six-eight months, and possibly for the rest of your life.
Then there's something else that appeals to people like you and me, and that is a massive change from what you're doing right now. Whatever that may be. For me, it's fishing guide. I'm a fishing guide, going fishing every day. I'm in my comfort zone. Everything is comfortable. For you, it is you're a new dad, have motivation as someone who just had a child.
That was really the beginning of my fitness journey was when Turner-- my oldest son, was born. He's 20 now. He's about to be 21, so we're talking of 20 years ago. Cynthia gets pregnant with Turner and I'm thinking, "I'm happy with so many areas of my life, but not all of the areas of my life. When this baby gets here, I'm going to be in the best shape of my life."
That's what I decided. That was my motivation. I started [chuckles] and it was not easy. I'm out there pulling a boat all day long and that's as simple as it sounds. You're pushing a boat with a
stick into the wind usually, all day long. Which makes for strong shoulders. It makes for a strong chest. It makes also for a big belly occasionally because your clients bring you lunch every day.
You're out there, and sometimes the fishing's not good. You get a little bored and what do you do? You sit down, have a sandwich, think about what's your next move. Eating is a part of this whole thing. Next thing you know-- Then your clients ask you out to dinner. A lot of the times you're not getting enough sleep, and you're back up before the sun again, the next day.
Next thing you know, you're 40 pounds heavier than you want to be, even though you're incredibly active. Even though you're incredibly leading an awesome life, and it has you being incredibly happy with what you're doing, the things you're accomplishing, and the people that you're around, but there's this other aspect to it that you're missing. That's the discipline in your diet, the discipline in the working out.
Quite simply, I couldn't go very many days on the boat, one after another when I wasn't in very good shape. I wasn't drinking enough water. the whole thing when you start to clean up your diet, you start thinking about all these other things. When I'm out there on the boat every single day, I'm not drinking enough water. I'm letting my electrolytes get low. Then four, five, six days in on a stretch.
You see it happen with the clients all the time, is they just go down. Their energy level all week long just goes down, and down, and down, and down, and down until the last day, they're basically mush. They just haven't been drinking enough water. Their electrolytes are down, they've been staying up too late, they've probably been drinking at night. They're off their diet, they hadn't gotten any exercise, and they're out in the hot in the hot Florida Key sun. It's a recipe for just wilting someone.
Matt: Yes. No doubt.
Tom: As I started to get back into shape, I just decided 30 minutes a day. That was my first thing. I'm going to run for 30 minutes a day. That was my idea. Of course, going from no running at all for years to trying to run 30 minutes a day, usually equals a running injury of some sort.
Matt: Yes, that's tough.
Tom: You got plantar fasciitis, you got a [unintelligible 00:24:12] IT Band. You're just out sorts because you haven't been doing this. You encounter those problems and the fitness journey goes up and down until finally you get that under control, but I didn't know how to stay in shape. I didn't know how to get back in shape. I was a high school wrestler, but I didn't know what does a regular person do.
What? Am I going to go and find a wrestling team to wrestle with?
Tom: I go back and try to join a regular gym, which is a weird situation because I haven't been in there in a long time. There's a lot of mirrors, and it's kind of weird. Anyway, I just settled on
running. Then I ended up running marathons and all that. That was the beginning of my journey too, was having a baby. That's a huge life change.
It's a great monumental time in your life where you can say, "I'm changing this now. Like a major indelible change." With you, you go to this 20X. I'm interested in that first part. The door opens, the water hoses, in some cases, fireworks, smoke bombs, noise, megaphones, and the toughest dudes you've ever seen in your life are right there. How do you not quit right then?
Matt: I guess some people do, and I have witnessed that from being on the other side. I was fortunate to be a coach on a 20X event after completing Kokoro-- and they do quit. It's amazing. There was just no way-- that wasn't an option for me. It just wasn't going to happen no matter what.
Tom: Well, one of the things that's interesting there is that that's not an option because your main goal is Kokoro. This is just a stair step on the way, so you have mentally trained yourself immediately that this is just a stair step. If I can't handle the first five minutes of this, there is no possibility that I'm going to be able to handle this over here.
Matt: No way. It was funny because we were going around the room before we actually started the event, Brad was talking-- Coach Brad and Coach Lance[inaudible 00:26:26] We had to stand up and tell everyone why we were there and what our goal was. When I stood up and said that I wanted to complete Kokoro in the next year or two-
Matt: -Brad looked at me like I was crazy.
Tom: Other than the target being on your back at this point, what else did that do for you?
Matt: Yes, then I had the Black Shirt giving me a hard time throughout the whole event, just ragging me on in the sense. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy-- I probably was to some extent, but that was coming out at the gate at the very beginning. I was just blown away by the intensity of it. I really can't explain. It was great for me to experience that intensity because that's Kokoro nonstop.
I would even say then some, but it's a great event that they do, that SEALFit puts on. The 20X is phenomenal. All the coaches were so professional. They definitely don't cuddle you by any means, and people quit all the time. I think the ones that I have been involved with in the coaching side, the attrition rates. I know they don't want it to be there. That's not the goal of a 20X at all, is to have anyone quit.
That's not the objective of it, but they still have 50% attrition rates that I have witnessed inside it. It's really in my opinion 80% or 90% mental. You have to get there physically. Get your body prepared physically. I heard a wise statement by someone a while back, saying, "Preparations with anything is everything." That's the key going into it, physically getting prepped, and then mentally, just committing.
I mean, no doubt, no matter what. They are big at staying present and not thinking too far ahead, thinking about what just happened, and focusing on others. I learned so much about
myself going to the 20X experience, what's really possible, then about handling other people in those situations as well, and watching others go through it.
Tom: You're talking about handling other people in your regular life or in that particular camp?
Matt: No, in that camp but also assisting, helping, encouraging and motivating because everyone goes through the ups and downs. The roller coaster-- even of a 20X event over a 12 hour period of time. The intensity factor of it is crazy and it's a real deal. They are serious about it, and it's odd to do a lot of the things that we did, and others had done going through those 20X events.
It's not normal. I've ran a marathon and I think they are awesome. All those events are awesome like that, but it's not my pace, it's the coach's pace. Their pace being navy SEAL's is a little bit different, a little bit faster.
Tom: It's customized.
Matt: It's intense.
Tom: Yes. It's super intense, but when I say it's customized, it's like, "Okay, this guy is sailing through. We are going to put the hammer down. This other guy can't keep up, so we're going to structure this to where, 'Let me see your bag pack. I'm giving it to the strongest guy.' In fact, let us give him five bag packs because everyone here is going to suffer. It's not like the 5K, where it's a very significant challenge for some people.
Maybe that's the peak of their athletic life, and that's fine, that's great. There's another guy that ran a marathon last weekend, this is a training run, and he sails through. That's where the coaches in these events are equalizers. That brings me to the whole point of the thing is that it's not about individuals. It's about the team.
Matt: That's right. No one does 20X by themselves. It's impossible. It's virtually impossible to do a Kokoro by yourself. You cannot do it by yourself. It's something bigger than you.
Tom: Those are the things that I really learned in my experience with this. My background for whatever reason is in individual sports, wrestling, swimming, tennis, racquetball. What else? Water skiing, competitive water skier growing up, and probably a few others that I could-- oh, like martial arts, karate or whatever. I was drawn to these individual activities. I don't know why. I generally found comfort in these individual things like wrestling, for example.
You could be on a bad team, but you could win your match. Your team could lose the match, the duel meet or whatever, but you put your performance and you did well. You could do well and the team could do poorly, or the team could do well and you could do poorly. I never had a problem with the one-on-one. I like the one-on-one, which has served me extremely well. It's also been probably one of my greatest weaknesses in that--
Then fishing is the same thing. Especially, with a history of wrestling and competing one-on-one with people-- now, I'm the captain of the boat. All the decisions are on me. I'm not asking anyone else for decisions. I don't need anyone else for decisions. There I am again in my comfort zone of living as a one-man-show. Well, that worked really well for a long time. It
definitely helped me to overcome a lot of challenges, and to achieve a certain amount of success.
Then I embarked on this journey of SEALFit Kokoro, later, Goruck Selection. I was looking for a challenge. I was definitely looking for a challenge. What I got out of the events was never considered going in. When I got out of the event, what I learned in SEALFit Kokoro immediately was that Rambos don't make it. In other words, Rambo if you remember, maybe some of you are too young if you're listening to this, but Rambo was a movie that probably was out in 1985, right?
Matt: That's correct.
Tom: He was a one-man army, he was a wrecking machine, he just tore down this whole town, and he did it completely by himself. He didn't need anybody. The SEAL's use that as an analogy. Rambos don't make it. If you think you're going to be like Rambo, you will not make it here. We will guarantee you that. What they were trying to say is the whole point of this camp is for you to learn how to operate as a team with strangers that you've never met before.
You're going to endure the most challenging physical things that you've ever endured in your life until you figure out how to be a team. Then what you're going to find is that you're going to be enduring those same challenges, but somehow they're going to be ways-
Matt: Yes, absolutely. When you come together, that's a big thing of Kokoro and the 20X. When you figure that out-- and it takes a while, but fortunately some faster than others. When you figure that out, and you come together as a team, it is seamless the way you operate. Like you said it, it's-- I won't say easier, but it's amazing how you move together once you do come together.
Tom: Yes. The point of really all of this is it's really nice to be talking about going to training with Navy SEAL's and all of that, but the real take-home value is what does this teach you? How do you bring any of these lessons back to your normal life? Here we are sitting in your office that you've just moved into. Obviously, you've achieved a pretty significant level of success since you went to one of these events.
What lessons did you learn the hard way by going to both 20X and Kokoro that you bring back into your business life, your family life, your friends? What is it that you brought back?
Matt: Well, there's a lot. On the leadership role, it's not-- just like you said earlier, the Rambo, the one person. It's more of a team group and how do we lift up others. The person that's going through the tough times, how do we pick them up, and move them forward? Not taking the responsibility off their shoulders, just like in Kokoro, you still had to do the work.
Matt: No one did anything for you.
Tom: Yes, it's exactly the opposite. You're actually holding them exactly accountable for what they said they were going to do.
Tom: Maybe for the first time in their life or for the first time in a while. Not so much for the people that are attending these camps because they're pretty much stand up people. Some of the best people I've ever met in my life were in this camp, but some of them were not being held accountable in their regular life. That was one of the things that I learned, is you're definitely helping people.
Matt: Taking the focus off myself, and not so me, me, me, I, I, I, and focusing on others, and how can we lift them up. How do we move together as a team?
Tom: How did you bring that back to your family?
Matt: Of course, from an accountability standpoint, maybe a little bit more-- it's weird to say empathy in a sense, but a little bit more patient on the processes of what we're doing in raising the kids and stuff of that nature. Again, just knowing that we're all capable of so much more, and working and talking with the kids about how we grow as getting outside our comfort zones.
I was definitely in a comfort zone for some time. We were bursting our butt building the business, but I'm still staying in my little cocoon. When I moved in this path of this journey with SEALFit, that was way outside of my comfort zone-- I mean, the things that we were doing. I'm really not a cold water person, to be honest with you.
Tom: Me either. [chuckles]
Matt: I'm telling you, I mean, the ice baths scared me to death. There's something I just don't enjoy, but you have to learn to like that. It's like doing bear crawls. You hate bear crawls, but you do so many of them, you end up actually liking them. It's weird. Preparation for the Kokoro event was definitely a lot of cold baths, a lot of ice baths, a lot of cold showers, those type things.
Going back to the kids--
Tom: That is because they're going to put you in the Pacific Ocean, which is about 50-some-odd degrees.
Matt: Yes, 55-56 degrees.
Tom: You're going to be sitting in there for a long time, very similar to the training that they do in the real BUD/S. The cold water preparation is so that you don't freak out when you get there.
Matt: I have never been in colder ice baths in my life than the ones they prepped at Kokoro. It was ridiculous.
Tom: It's that California air.
Matt: I guess so. The other things they do-- I won't spoil it for anyone that's thinking about doing Kokoro, or doing Kokoro and what else takes place while you're in the ice baths. That's another level that they do. With the kids-- our kids, and stuff wanting them to understand to get outside
their comfort zone and trying new things, do new things. It doesn't matter if you fail or don't succeed, that's part of it.
That's how we learn, so don't be afraid to do new things. Really, encouraging them to do a lot of things, even if they don't think that they're good at it. Let's try that. Let's try as many things as we possibly can. That's okay if we don't do really well, but let's keep moving forward. That's the-
Tom: Is that being well received?
Matt: Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. That's day to day. That's definitely day to day. The Kokoro journey was phenomenal, and that there are so many takeaways-- I think about it, I would say on a daily basis, something that happened. I had phenomenal teammates.
Tom: This is how many years ago? That you went to Kokoro and you're still thinking about it every single day.
Matt: Isn't that crazy? I would call it an extremely transformative process that you go through. The journey itself is an amazing journey just to get there, but phenomenal teammates. I mean, phenomenal teammates.
Tom: Are you still in touch with those people?
Matt: Some of them, I am-- not all the time, but periodically, we touch base and stuff like that. They're just really good people. Like you were saying [unintelligible 00:39:02] we're a stand-up people, but the intensity that you go through with Kokoro, and it's three-day deal, no sleep, self-torture, massive amounts of work capacity, and constant mental chaos, I think those four things sum it up.
Tom: Constant mental chaos on a level of expert plus by the Navy SEAL's who have already been through the real BUD/S,who have been instructors in the real BUD/S, and have also been in active duty. When you're talking about how do you manipulate the mind? How do you get someone to quit? How do you make things really difficult? Make somebody answer a question that they have when they got there?
Like, "Am I good enough to do this? I'm I capable of doing this?" They are experts.
Matt: They are. No doubt about it. They are experts beyond what I think we could comprehend, and they're serious. They're extremely serious. We had several former BUD/S instructors there on staff. They run in shifts, as you know. They run in the shifts [inaudible 00:40:17].
Tom: That keep them fresh. Matt: Absolutely, and that's awful. [laughter]
Matt: Awful, but as Coach Divine-- he made a lot of good points. Where he started out on the Grinder-- that's the SEALFit headquarters in Encinitas, is that you could watch it. You can watch videos, you can get great books, and you can go hear people talk about mental toughness.
Tom: You can hear people talk about going through this camp like we're talking about right now.
Matt: Until you actually step into it and do it, you have no earthly idea of what it really is, and what you really go through. We can watch a two-minute clip at home and think, "Hey, I can do that," but it's really totally different when you're there and you're in it. Again, I said intense a hundred times, but just-- they are masters at finding your weakness. They're going to push you to that limit and then you're going to decide.
You're going to make that decision, whether you take that step and move forward or you quit. That's where they're masters of. I'm not even--
Tom: Did you see that?
Matt: Oh, I did. I did. I felt that. [laughter]
Matt: Countless times, as you well know, as you're doing runs, sprint, or whatever we're doing, whatever evolution we're doing at that time, if you're in the back, that's not a good place to be. Obviously, you haven't prepped enough. It's nothing to then see someone pull to the side, and then let's do an extra 50 perfect 6-count burpees because you haven't put the work in to be here.
You do that enough, that makes you really start thinking, "Should I be here?" It's really a mind game, where they're getting in your head. I mean, the constant yelling, screaming, which is great. You don't really enjoy it while it's taking place, but it's nothing personal. That's just part of the whole process. If that really bothers you, maybe you shouldn't be there in the first place.
Tom: I don't know. If that really bothers you, maybe that's exactly where you should be.
Matt: Well, that's true, too.
Tom: If that's the thing, if that's your weakness, and that's where somebody calls you out, and you immediately freeze, you immediately recoil, and go into this behavior of-- A non-healthy behavior like you just shrink if somebody were to call you out or tell you that you're-- Maybe even it's giving you-- I've seen people do this a lot. Where you're giving them or someone is giving them constructive criticism, actually trying to help, they just freeze, shut down, and actually shrink.
Matt: Well, yes, that's a great point. I saw a lot of things go through the Kokoro camp. When you're up for 50-plus hours straight, with no sleeping, you're doing all these activities-- or they refer to them as evolutions, you're going to see a lot of stuff. Your body does a lot of things that I never thought it would do from a breaking down standpoint-- not in a bad way, but just an adjustment standpoint.
Yes, people are being called out for accountability things and their attitude is changing, and really, the coaches getting under their skin immediately. Then the person physically looking perfect, a great specimen, obviously, put all the work in physically, but mentally, wasn't there and equipped. It's like because you got called out because you didn't do your air-squat past parallel, you're going to really get upset and quit?
Are you kidding me? It happens.
Tom: 36 hours in sometimes.
Matt: Yes, it happens. People quit 30 minutes before you finish.
Tom: Yes. We found-- in my class, that most people quit within the first two hours. Then there was probably another little rush in about 20 hours in. Then once people made it past that, we became-- just like you were mentioning earlier, we bonded together as a team, and there was going to be actually nothing that would stop us. Actually, at that point, I think the coaches have to be careful that they don't kill somebody because they will-- we would have done anything.
If someone went down, which we had a couple of people-- two people in my class, that were hurt, they physically wanted to continue and we said, "You're not quitting." We carried those people-- literally, physically carried them everywhere we went. What they could do, they would do. When we went to the ocean, they went to the ocean, but our class just pulled together, and actually carried those people right through. Physically carried them.
Matt: I think that just shows a tremendous amount of grit and determination. Didn't you have one of the guys in your class that had a torn ACL? That made it through-- actually, towards--
Tom: Yes, he's one of the people that we were carrying.
Matt: Yes, sure. That's awesome.
Tom: Those moments are really cool to be part of and everything, but what that did for me, and I think what it did for a lot of people in our class-- It had a really major impact on me because of this background of being an individual athlete and thinking, especially as a fishing guide too, thinking, "I can do anything by myself. I don't need anyone. I'm going to put in the work. I have enough discipline. I am going to do all these things."
You know what? That's true to a large extent, but what was massively transformative for me, was to go there and realize, "First of all, I might be the second oldest one here." Then they did this thing where they invited all of these CrossFit games athletes so we had a bunch-
Matt: You did. You had a stellar class.
Tom: -of super high-level athlete including Kenny Leverich was there. We had Becca Voigt who is an eight-time CrossFit games champion, Katie Hogan and others that I'm not even remembering right now. Even those three, I'm nowhere nearly as physically capable as Becca or Katie. As those female athletes can just about do anything that I can do better. They're stronger, they're--
Matt: They're amazing.
Tom: [laughs] They're unbelievable. I get there and I'm like, "Wow. Not only am I not one of the better people here, I think I might be the worst." I know that I put in the work, but no amount of work that I put in is going to make me Kenny Leverich. That was the first clue like, "Wow. I'm going to need some help to be able to do what they can do. I don't know what we're about to do, but if I'm supposed to measure up to him, this is going to be really, really hard."
Matt: Well, it's just the long PT work? It's a [unintelligible 00:46:55], there's no way you could pick up that log and move it 500 yards by yourself-
Tom: You can't, exactly.
Matt: -walking [inaudible 00:47:00]
Tom: That's a perfect example. There's no way that five people on that log can move it without all five of them doing the work. Not only just doing the work, but doing it all at the same time, in the proper movements, exactly at the proper time, and this thing sails up, it's not that heavy, and nobody gets hurt.
I took that and I learned that immediately by being beat over the head for 50 hours, that no matter how good you are, Kenny Leverich or any of these other athletes cannot move that log 15 miles down the beach without a bulldozer.
Matt: It's hard to go to that next level without having a good team.
Tom: Well, I learned that the hard way. Then when I graduated Kokoro, I came back into my life and I'm realizing, "Wow. This can be applied to every area of my life." Starting with the most simple example, who is my team? My team is my family. I can lead this family. I can go out and I can make money. I can make the decisions for the family. I can pay attention to the finances.
I can do what I think a man's responsibilities are for my family. They can just trail along behind me, or we can come together as a team, discuss these things, and have each one of these team members contribute to what we're trying to do. We all get on the same page, and we're an unstoppable team. Right?
Matt: Far more successful. No doubt.
Tom: You can take it into your business. I can be a business leader and say, "We're doing this and you do that, you do that, you do that, you do that, and everybody report to me at the end of the day." That's one way of leading. The other way of leading is to get everyone to understand what it is that we're trying to do, why we're trying to do it.
Matt: What their roles are.
Tom: What their roles are, how they can contribute in a way that no one else can. This thing that we're trying to accomplish means this to the world, to you, to me, to the viewers, to whoever
it is that we're talking about, and get the team on board and things start happening. Things start happening at a monumental level that are not going to be accomplished individually.
That was the biggest lesson that I learned and that was the biggest take-home. I'd like to know, did you feel that? Was there something else that you took way from it?
Matt: I did. I definitely felt that. It's how I would frame that. One way I would say it would be, it's something bigger than myself at the end of the day. Also, another big takeaway is having that strong "Why?" "Why am I here? Why am I doing this?" Like starting that journey back in May of '13, "Why am I doing Kokoro? Why am I going down this path?" It was really from our family, our son being born. Also, for myself, just to get back in shape and stuff and I wanted something totally different. The SEALFit experience from 20X to Kokoro was a thousand times better than what I originally thought it was going to be. I would recommend it to anyone.
There are so many takeaways that I have from that whole experience at Kokoro that I think about daily or every other day. I do a lot of journaling as well. Immediately after Kokoro, you don't remember everything, but as time goes on, you start remembering just about everything 90% plus of what happened at Kokoro and all the lessons. The coaches along the way, they're also teaching lessons as we're doing things and we never made our times.
We were always--
Tom: [chuckles] When you say you never make your time, they say you got to get the end of the beach in 42 minutes, and carry all this stuff with you. You get there and somehow it just happens to be 43 and a half minutes.
Matt: Always, always, and it pays to be a winner. There's so many things and things that they had, but it's so true. When you're going through that experience at Kokoro, it's so true that Mark Divine says they strip you to your core and you are. You're stripped down, you've got your T-shirt on, your BDEs on, your boots on and that's it. You're doing amazing things with amazing people around you as a team, and moving forward.
I think that's what blew me away in a sense. Whether it's four o'clock in the morning or you're 36 hours into it, and you're hallucinating or whatever it is. We're all capable of so much more and if we can include others in that process, and we're all buying into it and we all have that strong "Why," then we're really unstoppable.
I think that's what Coach Mark Divine has brought in more than anything from the SEAL's, the SEAL teams, is that that's one of the many things that makes them so unique and so elite and special, is that they come together as one and move as one, and that's unstoppable.
Tom: It becomes exponential, their intelligence becomes exponential, their potential becomes exponential, everything as they are such a tight group like that .
Matt: It's very unselfish, very unselfish and sharing information back and forth. Yes, you're right.
Tom: If you could come up with three things that you learned from this period of your life that you brought back to your business, your family, and you could write those down to hand to somebody, what would they be?
Matt: I would say leadership by doing and not talking, but more action. I would say focusing on others as opposed to myself first and just never quitting, never giving up, keep moving forward. Have a positive attitude and keep moving forward. If it's hard, if it's tough, it's going to pass, so just keep moving forward no matter what.
I think having a silver lining mentality, changing your mindset in viewing things, not from sticking your head in the sand in a sense, but there's something positive we can take from about every experience. That was one big thing that Kokoro as hard as it was, it's extremely difficult, there's no doubt about it, it's 50 hours plus no sleep, self-torture, all that and beyond, but it's staying present.
I think that's a big takeaway. Another thing that I would give advice to someone is trying to stay as present as possible, and not really focusing so much on what happened 10 minutes ago or 30 minutes ago or two days ago, with all that crazy chatter in your head or worrying about what happen and sucking all that energy from you. When you're there at Kokoro and you're five hours in or two hours in, I think that's what gets a lot of the people, is just that.
It's like, "Oh my gosh, the intensity is crazy." If it's tough now, I can't see myself making it 10 hours or 50 hours, much less three days. I think that's what psyches a lot of people out, moving into it as opposed to just doing what's in front of you now.
Tom: Everything that we're talking about and everything that you've just explained from that camp is basically that camp is a microcosm of life. It's far more intense at times.
Matt: Little bit.
Tom: Life could be pretty intense too.
Matt: That's no doubt.
Tom: It's really easy. Maybe the only thing that's easy about a camp like Kokoro or Goruck Selection is that you are being forced to make these decisions, you are being forced to have a good attitude because if you don't, there are serious repercussions that are going to happen in the next 10 seconds. That's not necessarily the case in life, it might happen two days later. There's this bigger lag time between-- If you have a poor attitude today, that may be reflected in two or three days. It's easier to understand the importance of things like attitude, of things like taking care of your body, things like being a great team when you are in that environment.
How are you doing it on a daily basis to take those things that you just wrote down and hand it to somebody as advice? How are you keeping those in the forefront of your day, every day?
Matt: I'm trying to live that every day. I'm pretty disciplined, maybe not as disciplined as some other people, but I would say on average, I'm pretty maybe above average on the discipline side. I have a morning routine or a morning ritual that I do.
Tom: What is that?
Matt: I do journal. I journal every morning. I also go through a 10 minute or 20 minute meditation session every morning, I do some box breathing. I do try to center myself and focus and visualize where I want to be, what I want to do today, how can I get better. I'm always striving. I've taken this from Brad McCloud. Always trying to get better, 1% improvement every day in some area and I'm looking back into the day to see, looking at the things that went well and building on those. Then of course on the physical side, I try to do a 20 minute to 45 minutes workout every day, six days a week. Usually I take a Sunday off and maybe still do something outside. Those are some ways that I try to incorporate that and through that morning ritual, then that sets me up for the rest of the day so that I'm following through.
Tom: Well, in your journaling, what are you writing in your journal? What are you writing in your journal every day?
Matt: Mostly the question. I do write down things that I'm grateful for, things that I'm looking forward to doing. What I'm excited about doing, what my purpose is, more on the self-mastery side, which is a constant battle, and then how can I help others? What am I doing to help other people? That's a core of [unintelligible 00:57:36] is self-mastery and service, and then what am I doing on a daily basis to move myself closer to my purpose? What am I doing-
Tom: You have that purpose. You have spent some time to come up with that purpose and you have that clearly, clearly in place?
Matt: I do. Well, I feel like I do. I think as we move forward, things are always shifting and always evolving and growing in that nature. But I do and it's changed since I began the process. I started the journaling in 13 at the Unbeatable Mind with [unintelligible 00:58:14] and that has just been a very positive habit that I've been doing every day. It doesn't take too long. Five minutes, maybe 10 minutes of journaling, and then moving from there. I think it's been very beneficial for me. If anyone has a mucky mind, I do. I try to center that murky mind and calm that down and being more responsive as opposed to reactive.
I have a tendency to be very reactive, and that's just not always a good thing. So how can I be calm and responsive as opposed to irrational and reactive? Those were good things of through the Unbeatable Mind and then all the way through 20X and being present and then Kokora. That's a long process. Kokora is a long-- It was a long rant for me, I would say. I can't speak to anyone else on that. Some people are on different [unintelligible 00:59:06] course. But me even able to come down there and work at your place at the [unintelligible 00:59:12] that was phenomenal because awesome people down there, great workouts, very intense, very challenging.
That tread me floor Kokora as well, and then even some of them wear my boots and as silly as that looks, that's very important in that Kokora training.
Tom: You fight like you train. When I started to get ready for Kokora, I wore boots and pants and the black belt and a t-shirt, the cotton t-shirt. Not just a regular-- I mean I don't wear [unintelligible 00:59:51] T-shirt when I work out, but I figured that if I'm going to wear this for 50 hours, it might as well workout [unintelligible 00:59:58]
It's just this whole process is exactly like what you do for life. If you're getting ready for a sales seminar and you're going to have to get up in front of a whole bunch of people and you're going to have to talk, well, do you want to practice that in your pajamas in front of the mirror in front of no one and then you're going to put on a suit and you're not comfortable, and the shirt's a little too small and you're not comfortable with it and now you're going to have to go through this whole deal and something that you're unpracticed. Everything you do should be practiced as if you're going to do it that day, and make this small changes.
If the collar on your shirt's too small and it is causing you to be super uncomfortable, then you need a different shirt. Well, when it's time to find that out? Not during the presentation. It's three months ahead of time, so you get the right thing. These small little tiny details are what I learned also about preparing for Kokora and preparing for selection, was that you've got to do it exactly like you're going to do it in the event. You've got to have your boots broken in so they're not going to cause any problems. We saw lots of problems with that. I couldn't believe people showed up with boots that were broken in, but they did.
One guy just one guy showed up with steel toe boots- Matt: That's just impressive.
Tom: - which is just incredible. I ran hundreds and hundreds of miles and run hundreds of miles of my boots and then put them aside because they were perfect and then changed them out with another pair of shoes. I find that you're saying like you think about this every single day. I do too and we've talked to so many other people either from our classes or from other classes that say the same thing, that there's not a day goes by that they do not think in some way, shape or form about this experience.
I think that there are probably plenty of other experiences that's going to have this type of an impact on people, maybe a 30 day silent yoga retreat might. I don't know if you want to talk about getting out of my comfort zone, that would be one way out of my comfort zone. I'm sure that you would encounter some demons there.
Tom: Oh, no doubt.
Matt: There's going to be some places where you're going to open some doors in your mind that you didn't know existed, whatever it is. The most important thing is that it's far out of your comfort zone, the most important thing is that there is some discipline required to do it and you and I found that this was a perfect thing for us. I don't know if this is the perfect thing for everybody, it may not be. But what is important is that I think that a lot of people our age, and I'm talking about our age being anything between 35 and 50, you have done pretty well, things are good, you're comfortable.
You don't have to do more, but you choose to do more, you choose to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation to see how you're going to react, and if that's all there is in this particular event of I just want to see how I'm going to react, I'm going to tell you how you're going to react, you're going to quit. It has to be more and you have to dig dip and it gives you an opportunity to go and and journal and book and say what is my purpose and why am I here and what is it I'm
trying to do and then put that to the test because 42 hours into Kokora, you are going to find that either that's really super important to you, or you didn't make it 42 hours. That's the other thing.
Matt: Absolutely. And doing it like 42 hours, 36 hours. It's a 50 hour plus event. Your mind does crazy things and [unintelligible 01:03:45] said over and over before we started, if you can't get control of your mind, if you don't get control of your mind, you won't be here. It's not your body so much as the problem, your problem is your mind. You better be able to control it and silence that, and silence that negative chatter or just chatter period and move forward. I know prior to Kokora though, Tom, I immersed myself.
I've been obsessed because I read as much as I possibly could about the Kokora, I mean crazy. Everything out there I think I read. Your blog that you had, we talked about it. But you were also in that you did not tell me exactly what was going to happen. I thank you for that because I think everyone should experience that because it takes a lot away. I read all the books. Tom, I probably-- As far as SEAL related books on birds and stuff, I've read. I've read countless, from fearless, and they were all, and I got so much from those books.
I have so much respect for everyone that serves or who has served. It's amazing what they've done.
Tom: Well, that's interesting because that's another thing that I find super interesting about Kokora, 20X, GO Ruck advance, GO Ruck selection, Direct challenges, Direct tough.
These are both organizations run by former Special Forces people, seals or Green Berets.
I didn't fully appreciate the Navy SEALs, the Green Berets, the Army Rangers when I was in high school. When it was time for me to have made that decision, it wasn't even on the radar. It wasn't even a possibility for me to think I am going to the Navy. That just wasn't there. First of all, it was peacetime.
Tom: Right? Major peacetime. It had been peace time for a long time. I remember there was one guy in my high school class that thought he might go to the Marines. One guy. But there wasn't this sense of necessary service for whatever reason. I think it probably was peace time, just that there was not a lot going on, so the Navy or the Army or the Marines or Air Force was an option that was out there, but it just wasn't on my radar. Therefore, I didn't read these books and I wasn't exposed to these people and I didn't know how truly amazing that life can be.
I didn't understand how truly elite each one of those individuals was or is as an athlete, as a scholar, as a mental magician really in their own mind and how to manipulate other people's minds, both positive and the negative, but that just wasn't on my radar. I didn't learn about any of this stuff or really achieve any appreciation for it, until really 9/11. Then at 9/11, I started thinking "Man, look at what these guys are doing." You watch TV, you become more aware of it. I start reading some different books and there's the Marcus Luttrell incident that happened, that really brought a lot of this at least more to the forefront of my attention.
Matt: There's no doubt. That's same here. From the lone survivor about Lieutenant Michael Murphy [crosstalk]. No doubt.
Tom: There's a couple of different things there, that it became more of a focus because of 9/11 because of this Operation Red Wings that went bad. If you don't know about that, you need to read Marcus Luttrell's book, Lone Survivor, as well as many other books that are out about it now. That had a big impact and then I got into doing crossfit, and one of their very first hero workouts was Murph, and that was Michael Murphy.
There on the workout it tells you a story and then encourage you to find out more about the story. Then Marcus Luttrell book comes out and it becomes more and more on the radar. Here's an opportunity to where you're thinking, "Man, that sounds really amazing. Look what these people can do with their bodies and their minds." [crosstalk] Look at the amount of training they're getting. Wouldn't it be cool? Because now I'm 45 years old, they wouldn't even allow someone to go in at my age. Wouldn't it be cool if you could experience that, right?
There's all kinds of little camps where you can go and you put on the uniform and you pretend like you're so and so. This isn't one of those. This is actually a snapshot out of Hell Week. I'll be the first to say that I don't know what goes on in the real Hell Week, because I've never been to one and I would never will go to one. From the people and maybe they're born smoker or treating us kindly, they're saying it's pretty close, so whatever.
It doesn't matter if it's close. I've said that before on this podcast, it doesn't matter how similar this is to Hell Week or how dissimilar it is to Hell Week or if it even has any remote comparison. The fact is that you signed up to get challenged and they challenged you to the core and way beyond. Right? It's cool that at a later stage in your life, maybe you didn't know about it, maybe you didn't respect it, maybe you didn't understand it, maybe it wasn't an opportunity, or maybe it was a missed opportunity, but you have that opportunity now to go back and experience it, really, and to get training from these type of people. I think that's cool with anything. You have somebody else like a Laird Hamilton now that has XBT training with Gabby Reese.
Laird Hamilton knows and amazing amount of stuff about the human body and about mental toughness and about achieving things that you didn't know that you could achieve by riding a hundred foot wave. Creating all of these-- Laird Hamilton is a really interesting guy. He has created so many products.
Matt: Doesn’t he have a golf product as a surfer?
Tom: Yes. It's called the golf board and it's like a giant skateboard that rides on big wheels and it's fun.
Matt: He set it in the golf court.
Tom: Yes, you ride on this thing. It's a little more physical, you get a little more activity, you're able to go anywhere on the course because I think it’s so light. I don’t think you could put it on the green, but a lot of places are getting these things and it's kind of like surfing and you're doing this and a lot of people are like, "This is way more fun." He events something like that, he gets back on stand up paddle board and start surfing on one of those things and actually now
there's-- that was something that was not thought of. People had forgotten about the stand-up paddle board and he brings it back and now there's this whole industry-
Matt: It’s crazy, it’s taking off.
Tom: -we fish on it on the shore, it's amazing. But the point being is that people like him, people like Mark Devine, half these things that are set up so whatever you're into, you could probably be into computer coding and there's probably the best guy in the world probably has a camp you could go to.
Matt: That’s originally of course Mark Divine originally started so fit, established so fit to, from what I understand and what I've read about it, is to increase the graduation rate of riding boards. Get people through Hell Week as opposed to having an 80% plus attrition rate. How can we lower that attrition rate? He was working with the Navy and feeding them how can we-
Tom: He fully expected that this camp would be full of nothing but 18, 19, 20-year old people who are on their way-
Matt: Maybe sub-candidates.
Tom: -absolutely and look at my class, my Kokora class 40, we had three guys that had contracts from the last summer Weyo or Chuck. There was one guy that's actually from all I know he's made it and that's awesome and he was-
Matt: You only had one guy [crosstalk]
Tom: -he was planning on going though he didn’t have a contract, but he was planning on going and I don’t know his major was up.
Matt: My hat's off the guy that actually wonders that's made it all the way through phenomenal guy. Just a great 17 years old at the time, 17, 18 years old. He wasn’t the strongest and he wasn't the fastest but he was just solid but wouldn't take away from him is his attitude. His mental attitude was off the charts positive.
Tom: Again, that's just like life. You don't have to be the smartest, you don't have to be the fastest, you don't have to be the richest, you don't have to be the best leader, but you have to be able to do is to be pretty good at all of those things and then to be able to pull it all together to really achieve some success.
Matt: Chris Devine, what he's done was so fit and pulling all this together and the talent that he's attracted with all the coaches, is phenomenal. The way that-
Tom: Do you know what's funny about what I really liked about Kokoro and 20X and all that too, is that-- It's really funny. They had price that's funny big and you can't even really imagine how this goes but Imagine yourself at three o'clock in the morning, you're on the beach and you've been in the Pacific Ocean. You're freezing cold, your teeth are chattering and there's a former NFL player and many Navy seals and they are ridiculing you to the point of really laughing hysterically because of the way that they're doing it.
Matt: It is, outside looking in, no doubt. Derick Prize, he completed Kokora twice.
Tom: I don't know about twice but I know he did it once and he is a phenomenal leader, flow master, I guess you would call him. [crosstalk]
Matt: He’s so quick with it. The things he comes up with on the flow, amazing. He's a great dude.
Tom: He's so funny. When I was coaching the 20X that we had around here, I can’t say coaching, I was a black shirt, Derick Price was coach. Brian McCloud was the coach. I’m there just getting ice for the buckets and watching how this thing all goes down.
Matt: That's what I did, Tom.
Tom: We had some members of our group that played. Watson went through it, Jordan went through it, my son Turner went through that one.
I remember one thing so clearly. They were doing therapies and push-ups and trying to do all these things and they'll tell you, "Get on your back. Get on your belly. Get on your back. Get on your belly." Of course they're telling you to do this in the middle of doing it. They are telling you to do the other way. No matter what you're doing or how athletic you are, you look like a complete spurs.
Matt: That's right.
Tom: All of a sudden, I hear him go, "Gallop, you were cut from every high school sports team-" [laughter]
Tom: -you ever stand up for."
Matt: Derrick is so good. He is so good and he's brutal and he's relentless. He's a great person, but when he's on in that coaching role, it's unbelievable.
Tom: He's doing it through a megaphone too-
Matt: Oh my God.
Tom: -which is all the better. [laughs]
Matt: He is definitely an asset. He's hilarious and I definitely enjoyed watching it as opposed to having to be the producer.
Tom: I don't know if it was-- I don't know who said it. I think it might have been Greg Blasi, but he said, "Men are bound together with sweat and humor better than any other way."
Matt: I like that.
Tom: It's funny because he starts out with sweat and then it's humor.
Matt: That's right.
Tom: That's what we do and when we are in our group, there's a lot of challenging workouts and there's a lot of training that is truly challenging. A lot of times just in your own driveway that you can meet all the demons you want to in your head and you want to quit. Sometimes those are the most difficult times when you're by yourself, when you are realizing, "Man, last night-- I've worked out every day this week. I probably don't have to do this today."
Matt: "I'm a little sore here. They mean that I can just take a day off?
Tom: Yes. Maybe I'd even be better if I didn't do it. Right?
Tom: You encounter that all the time.
Matt: I don't want to get up. It's five o'clock in the morning. It's little raining outside. Shouldn't probably get up, but that's the best after you do it.
Tom: Then to find yourself in a group of other people that have a ruthless wit as well and I just love that. I just think it's so fun to-
Matt: That's priceless.
Tom: -get in with those people. We are lucky enough to have created this group around and if you can't make it every day, there is an e-mail that goes out that will also have a ruthless wit attached to it.
Matt: It's unbelievable.
Tom: [laughs] It's funny.
Matt: It is crazy. It is funny. It's very funny. It actually brightens the day sometimes.
Tom: One of the things also that we've talked about, how do you keep these things, these themes in the forefront of your mind and how do you run your family or bring your family together as a team? How do you bring your business together as a team? How do you do all these things, especially years after going through this crucial experience of Kokora.
One of the things that we've done is starting this book club. You and me and four or five other people have been reading these books chosen specifically to keep these themes in mind. I've got the whole list and we started this. Really, it's anybody could do this. You find a couple of people that you like to talk to and you just say, "Hey, let's meet for coffee for 30 minutes every two weeks and--" or you could talk on the phone, you could have a conference call. You could do anything.
It could be your college buddies. it could be anywhere and let's pick some of these books that we hear about. Some are awesome. Some are life changing. Some not so much. We decided we were going to put this little group together and it really requires almost not time. I read way
more this way and mostly, most of mine is audio books. Either while I'm driving, while I'm running, doing something else. What has been referred to as NET time, No extra Time. I'm out working at the yard. I'm out working on my boat. I'm out changing the oil. I'm out doing whatever I've got to do.
Matt: That's awesome.
Tom: Listen. Going running, going on a five-mile run, you've got something to listen to, better than music. Since starting, we have read Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, Relentless, The Power of Positive Thinking, 10X Rule, Ego is the Enemy, The Road Less Traveled, Mindset by Carol Dweck, which definitely needs to go right on the top of anyone's list, especially if you have children, Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink, Leif Babin, also top of the list for anyone in my opinion, The One Thing, On Fire, Obstacle is the Way, The Rise of Superman, School of Greatness, Open, the autobiography of Andre Agassi, Small Giants, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, The Forgotten Highlander, Never Split the Difference, Start with Why, Fishing for Happiness, Stealing Fire-
Daring greatly, Disrupt you by Jay Summit, also one of my favorites, The oxygen Advantage, Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron, another one, especially if you're specially trained if you are into cross fit, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, that was an excellent one. We read Ellen must book text let's basics and quest for a fantastic future, we read The shack, A million miles and a thousand years by Don Miller. The carpenters, The Stand, The Ultra Mindset, Perceptual Intelligence, Legacy, Story of the all blacks, Un-tethered soul, Bill Bailey Elegy and The art of learning. Of that list, which ones stand out to you?
Matt: Relentless is one that stands out, that is big one.
Tom: It's by Tim Grover, and Relentless is a story told by this gentleman who ended up being the trainer for Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and many others.
Matt: I think Wade is one.
Tom: His story of how he steps into this role of trying to get Michael Jordan to be better when he's already at his peak.
Matt: When he's the best of the best.
Tom: Yes, when he was already at-- and so his first thought was never want to talk to me is already the best, but what he found out was that the best is the most open to being better. It spoke volumes about Michael Jordan's attitude and about why-- You pretty much immediately saw why he was the best at what he did because he had a relentless, just like the book title, He was relentless in trying to get probably at his level is looking at point 0003% better because 1% better for Michael Jordan is like as good as a high school basketball player right. Can he get point 000003% better, and so he puts his faith in this guy, and you know what? He actually did it.
Matt: Extreme ownership is another. I know you mentioned it, but it's another great book that we can apply business, family. I think that's one that's still on my night stand that I re-read.
Tom: If it makes any difference, that's my most gifted book this year. I have given that my nephew, I have given that to a number of people. However, the most profound book that I've laid on anyone where I've actually seen it change the way that they do almost everything, Extreme ownership is definitely one of those, but this book called Never split the difference.
Matt: That was a great too, the FBI Negotiator.
Tom: There are five or six on this list that really, really stand out. That's definitely one of them Never Split The Difference is a FBI harsh negotiator that is retired and now wrote a book on it. His book is amazing. I would definitely recommend that one. Also like for busy people, The One Thing. The One Thing is Gary Kelly.
Matt: That was a really good one, The Focus, Innocence and The one thing.
Tom: That's where your journaling can come in and in my own journaling, I look at that and I write down a few things that I want to get done today. His book is all about what is the one thing that you can do right now that will make everything else either- how did he put it? He said it'll make everything else either unnecessary or-- Basically look at the things that that are on your radar right now. Which one can you pick that's going to move the needle the best or make everything else unnecessary? I like that a lot. If we do this, look at all these things that we don't have to do.
Matt: I'm guilty of this as well and I'm always trying to improve on this, but all the busy work things that you think you have to do but doesn't really move the needle but we convince ourselves that it really moves the needle, and at the end of the day, it doesn't move the needle and so whether that's at work or having a real direct conversation or a conversation with your family at home, just want as opposed to being there present but really engaging and moving the needle that way but it work how often do we all go through the process of getting caught up and busy work as opposed to focusing on something that we really know that loose that needle. That may be a little uncomfortable, but we never get the best reward where we're focusing on that one thing that's a little uncomfortable.
Tom: It's also the old adage of which hat are you wearing? Are you where the $8 hat, the $80 hat or the $800.
Tom: There's somebody else that can do the work of the $8 hat or somebody else that can probably do the work of the $80 hat, but only you are the one that is able to do the work where you're wearing this hat that makes $800. That's an interesting way to think. Do you give books to people?
Matt: I have actually, I have.
Tom: What's your most gifted.
Matt: Tom, I have given the extreme ownership and I've gifted that book quite a bit. I've ordered
the art of learning. I've got that coming. Those two.
Tom: To give that away.
Matt: To give that away.
Tom: The art of Learning, that's an interesting one to talk about because that's the one that's on our list right now. I haven't read it so you know way more about it. I've read about half of it and this is Josh Waitzkin. Josh Waitzkin was a chess, he hates the term chess prodigy, but he was by definition a chess prodigy. He was killing people in the park playing chess in the New York Parks which if you know anything about that scene very competitive, street hustlers playing chess and some really amazingly intelligent people are there and this little six year old kid comes and wipes the table with all of them. Wipes the table with them with help from them. They became his mentors and coaches and he listened. "How'd you do that?" Then they'll tell him but they might not tell everybody because they know this kid's not here's hustling money from them.
Matt: That's right.
Tom: They teach him these little secrets. Then he goes and gets some formal training but never forgets the street hustler side of chess. Then after winning major championships, including a world title, he gets a little burned out and decides to embark on a martial arts career and he finds Tai Chi which is a very slow martial art that you see old people doing in the park. It is supposed to be a tremendous way to clear your head. Stop the monkey mind chatter that we've talked about already on this. I'm speaking out-- I don't know what I'm talking about when I say this because I guess that there is a further realm of Tae Chi which is actually martial arts where you don't move so slowly and you actually fight and it's called Push Hands.
Matt: The Push Hands. yes.
Tom: Anyway, Josh Waitzkin goes and learns this amazingly quickly and becomes a world champion.
Matt: Couple of years becomes the world national champion and it takes a lot of that stuff that he learned from chess over to the Tae Chi and that excelled at the Tae CHi and stuff and it just amazed-- His journey and his concentration and the things that he had to overcome with the chess side and the different styles and the people trying to put him in different boxes and then him really having to find his own internal demons on the chess side to excel.
Another book though, Tom, that I like a lot is also Fearless from Adam Brown. That's when I've given out to the past and that's-- I read that years ago on the journey to Kokora, but that was his story, Adam Brown story is unbelievable.
Tom: It really is.
Matt: It is crazy. I talk about it quite a bit. I've talked to my brother about it the other day. It's hard for any of us to have that excuse when you read his book.
Tom: I know.
Matt: That guy's life and what he did and what he overcame. Are you kidding me? It is unbelievable. The level that he achieved inside the teams making it all the way to Seal Team 6 and in the hand issue, the eye issue.
Tom: When you're saying all of this, this hand issue that you're talking about, that's the one of the things that when I think about that book I think about it immediately and doing something as simple as a SEAL for Kokora and then reading a lot of these books and learning just a small amount about what the Navy SEALs are about because I don't think you're going to truly know what a Navy SEAL is really like until you are immersed in that culture, until you are actually one of those people and a very, very small group that I'm never going to be part of. I can learn a little bit about it and I can appreciate it and when you are around some of these people, you realize the training that they've done over really a lifetime. The amount that they are shooting is just absolutely incredible. They are on the range just shooting, and they could shoot the wings off a mosquito.
Matt: It's crazy.
Tom: Yes. Then to think about like in this particular book, you have all of these candidates that are within a fraction of a percentage of one another. Only the ones that are the very best, the most consistently are going to make it to the next stage.
Tom: Adam Brown-- Can't remember exactly how this happened, but he hurt his hand.
Matt: He was in a Humvee and he flipped. It crushed his hand. It crushed his dominant hand, his right hand. That is amazing. It needed to have reconstructive surgery on his right hand.
Tom: Yes. This is at the time when he is-- correct me if I'm wrong, but it's been a while since I read that book, he's getting ready to go to Grandjean.
Matt: Yes. I think he's already made it through sniper. I don't want to give the book away totally, but the eye issue is phenomenal. You're right, he's on his way to green team. I think she know what she wants.
Tom: Perfectly healthy individuals are going through this. Perfectly trained, having shot thousands and thousands and thousands of rounds with their right hand, with their right eye dominant, and there are fractions of a percentage point away from one another, and only the very, very. very best make it to this next level of seals. It was called Green Team in this book. He hurts his hand and has to learn how to shoot with his left hand -
Matt: It's crazy.
Tom: - and compete at that level. That is like Michael Phelps winning these gold medals and then finding out that he could never swim with his arms again. He would just have to do it with his legs and go win some more medals.
Matt: I am so thankful that we have people that are serving this country in the military that have that kind of commitment. It's crazy.
Tom: It's that that type of commitment, but also-
Matt: It's commitment.
Tom: - what you get out of that and what I got out of that was, "Here's this situation where he says "Okay, I can't do it that way. How can I do it? I can teach myself how to shoot left-handed and compete with the best pistol shooters, literally the best pistol shooters in the world.
Matt: Kind of a gross understatement, one of adapt and overcome.
Tom: Wow. Also that there is there is no-- that can't is not a word. That's what we learned in Kokora and that drove my family crazy when I came home from Kokora. That was my new mantra. Can't is not a word. [laughs]
Matt: I say the same thing to our daughter and it drives her crazy. It drives her crazy. You're seeing someone like Adam Brown who ended up giving his life for being killed in the war. What he was able to even early on of the journey, even getting into the Navy was a phenomenal Road and the things that he had overcome just to get there was unimaginable. Then getting there and making it through buds and graduating and joining a team, it's just crazy. It just shows you the commitment and the determination, and the will, the strength. Again, 80%, 90%, that's new.
Tom: Yes, and I'm going to keep in the lie? Of course he had a real lie. If you had read that book, you definitely need to put that on your list as well as so many of these other ones. I'll put this list in the show notes for this show and you can join our book club.
Matt: Another one, Rogue warriors is another good one too. I've read so many of those, so many books that I got a lot from. I learned a lot. They're phenomenal books. Eric Dryden is another who is the governor now of Missouri. He has a couple of books that I've read. He's a phenomenal too. David Rutherford who is a Navy SEAL has a couple of [inaudible 01:33:39] books.
Tom: Rutherford has a podcast too with Marcus Trial. Isn't he on that team, Never Quit? I'm pretty sure he's one of those hosts and if he's not a pawn to asset.
Matt: He has an amazing story. A lot of those guys even Marcus Luttrell his story is phenomena of course, but just getting to but you're going to -
Tom: You're going to find that every story-- I think that every story of an active duty SEAL that is achieving success is going to be an incredible story because the odds of making it are so high and is stacked against anyone from doing it. There's entry, there's illness, there's there's so many things that that happened along the way that is literally like winning an Olympic medal.
Matt: It's extremely a lead a lead. The one take away from their books and even listing the coast of bond or Brad McLeod. They're always learning. Those guys are always learning.
Tom: They have to.
Matt: They're never satisfied where they are. They are always getting out of their comfort zone. If you even look at the things Brad MacLeod's doing now. The 350 mile bike ride nonstop rain snow sleet snow sleet I mean just crazy things but you all capable of doing it.
Matt: Doing it but they're always pushing themselves and pushing themselves way out of those comfort zones. I admire that tremendously.
Tom: That brings me to this. What's next for you? How do you get out of the comfort zone?
Matt: I'm in a cocoon right now. I don't have any of that on the horizon right now. I hate to say that. I'm reading more but that's not really pushing me out of my comfort zone. It's good and I really enjoy that. I've really got to get something on the counter. I would try and grow our business here and what does make comfortable things.
Tom: That's the other thing that sometimes I've missed personally. That getting out of your comfort zone does not have to be a physical pursuit. In fact, as I've looked at it these extreme physical things are actually quite within my comfort zone. If you told me, "Okay, you've got to go to Kokoro again." I'll be like, "I know exactly how to train for it. Everything is going to be good. It's going to be a lot of hard work. I know I can do it, no problem."
That's comfort. You tell me you're going to have to go do a 30-day silent retreat, that is not.
Matt: That's for the University, even a 10 day.
Tom: Yes, or anything even one day. I can imagine I'm talking for a whole day.
Matt: That would be really uncomfortable.
Tom: My family would love it. [laughter]
Tom: Probably lots of you would love it but then learning a foreign language, trying to go to one of this business conferences. Whatever it is that you hate about doing your business. What if you got really good at it? You don't like doing this on social media, what if you went to a social media seminar and you learned how to do it? Or you learned how to fire the right person, to hire for your thing?
Wouldn't that make your life way better? Somehow you've got to get out of that comfort zone and you've got to keep doing it on a regular basis. At some point doing it regularly, doing the physical comfort zone enough makes that within your comfort zone.
Matt: I totally agree with that. Whether you're getting up at 4:30 in the morning or 5:00 O'clock, 5:30 in the morning, 6:00. Eventually, a lot of people don't like that but you're so right. Once you've gone for 30 days roughly?
Matt: It's not a big deal.
Tom: Once you've done this type of events for 20 years.
Matt: It just shows us we're able to absorb and adapt to and how much more we really can't do. We can do so much more than what we currently are doing. All of us, all of us.
Tom: That's probably a pretty good post to end it because we definitely all need to be on that path of learning how we can do more. I appreciate you sitting down with me.
Matt: How do we help others? How do we reach out and help others?
Tom: There you go on how to help others because I think as you find, as you're helping others you're in turn are lifting yourself. That's one of the first things they told us. In Kokoro when it got tough was, "Listen, you're going to go through a lot of hard times in the next 50 hours. The easiest way to make yourself feel better is to reach out to the person next to you and help them up."
It worked greatly. That was not a privilege afforded to us in [unintelligible 01:38:26] selection and the difference was profound. I talk about that a lot with Patrick and Charles. If you're listening to this and you want to hear about the [unintelligible 01:38:37] collection, you can listen to the event or the Podcast I did with Patrick and Charles. He has been in the [unintelligible 01:38:44] selection twice.
First time he pretty much failed miserably. The second time he did amazingly well and ended up in third with only three people remaining until his mind was still strong, his body betrayed him. He had to drop.
Matt: Tons of respect for Patrick, tons of respect just to even go back. Just to even sign up and go back, phenomenal athlete.
Tom: Just to sign up and go the first time.
Matt: That's true, that is so true.
Tom: It takes a lot of respect. That's a different event and on that Podcast, with Patrick, I compare Kokoro and selection from my experience. Everybody has got a different experience and I'm no expert at it. I made one and did not make the other. Take that for what is worse. Anyway, I'm glad you can sit down here with me and talk about all these.
I look forward to the next book. What is it going to be? What do we have?
Matt: Talking about Abundance.
Tom: Abundance, that's by Peter Teil?
Matt: No, the [unintelligible 01:39:48] guy, that should be Dier I believe.
Tom: The experts, Peter Diamonds. Thought we said that wrong but anyway.
Matt: Abundance. If you get on the blog and you check out and you read every one of these blogs, you can then read abundance.
Tom: That's right. Only if you've read notes first.
Matt: All right, thanks, man.
Tom: Thank you. [music]
Hey, everybody. Thank you so much for listening to the show. I hope you got something out of that. Just a little bit of news. We have started a weekly show that is designed to be up to the minute videos of what's happening this week mostly in the Florida Keys but also in other places that we fish as well. We'll be putting that out every week. The best way to find that is just subscribe to the YouTube channel. YouTube/saltwaterexperience. Search saltwater experience on YouTube. Subscribe to that channel and you will get updates of when a new video is published.
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If you have comments, suggestions, ways we can make the show better and particularly if you have suggestions of someone you would like to see me sit down with, in the hunting world, in the fishing world, in the outdoor sports world or just a motivation inspirational character or someone that can teach us all something. I'm very interested in your suggestions. That's firstname.lastname@example.org. You can get the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud. We're also publishing it on the blog. The weekly show will be published on the blog too, but the best way is to go to YouTube, subscribe there and you'll get it immediately when it's published. Until next week, thanks for listening. We'll see you soon.
[01:42:07] [END OF AUDIO]
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