Tuesday, July 27, 2010

MY LIBERATION TOUR STORY


My last 100 days of existence has been anything but fun. But sticking with one of my favorite motto's, "if it doesn't suck, don't do it," I endured the Liberation Tour and completed it right on the deadline.

This is a quick story of my Liberation Tour experience and a few things I took from it.

Pictured to the left is me, bent over a sledge hammer, in a puddle over my own sweat. I just swung that thing for twenty minutes straight. That was after I had the bright idea of running the 4 mile run challenge in my garage at 4pm. Bad idea. Not only because it was the longest running challenge (4 miles) but also because it was 324 degrees inside my garage.

Train in the worst conditions possible...that's what I always say right? Well the only thing that was missing that day was Lucifer himself poking me with his flaming devil Triton.

But I thought this picture would give you a good idea of the way I felt after enduring through 30 of the worst physical challenges someone could volunteer to do...dripping sweat, utterly exhausted, relieved that I was finally done, and ultimately quite accomplished.

If you are not familiar with the Liberation Tour it is simply a battery of physical and mental challenges I created that provide you with "30 ways to make you quit." The goal is to check off each of these challenges in 100 days or less.

A better explanation is given below. I use this in the blog site.

"You are about to embark on a truly unique experience of '30 ways to make you quit.'

Your mission...conquer all thirty ways to quit in 100 days or less.

'30 ways to quit,' will challenge your mental and physical capacities.

To complete this tour is a great feat.

To complete this tour is to prove your ability to withstand constant adversity for 100 days. It will force you to keep going when you want to give up. It will force yourself to push yourself farther than you want to go.

In the end, you will be Liberated. Liberated by knowing that the person you once were no longer exists, You, my friend, will see a whole new meaning to your potential."

I created this tour understanding most of you fail to realize how much you have already inside of you. That everything you want to accomplish, you already posses. It's just waiting to be liberated.

But you settle. You choose to take the path of least resistance. You let fear, insecurity, doubt, selfishness, and flat out laziness steal the greatness from inside of you. You let others direct your paths and set barriers on you.

Every now and then you need to do something to see what you're made of. This tour gives you that. It challenges you by providing a set time of consistent mental and physical adversity. It's done in a controlled manner. All challenges are based on you as an individual.

Finding what you're made of can't happen if someone else is forcing you to do it. You'll cop out. Finding what you're made of is a voluntary activity.

Voluntary...You don't have a schedule or time to show up to do these exercises. You don't have anything motivating you but your own will and competitiveness against yourself. You have no one coaching you. Each one of these is done on your own merit. Your own will.

The toughest thing about this challenge was not listening to myself. Those words that spoke to my not so great personality characteristics of laziness, doubt, and fear. And many times telling myself, "I don't really need to finish this. It doesn't matter."

But it did...my dad taught me to never quit. When it starts to hurt that's when it gets fun...that's where you separate yourself from everyone else. That's where you put a smile on your face and shift into that other gear.

My biggest fear: Running...I despise it for some reason. I believe when I was putting together the challenges for this tour put the 1, 2, 3, and 4 mile run challenge in for myself. If it was going to liberate me, I had to get over the fear I had of running for more than 94 feet at a time.

A ex-navy seal once said, "running is the best exercise because it build's character." It does. It's easy to stop. Your body has given you a great muscular system that brakes quite easily. The key is forgetting you have breaks and just keep going. That saying always made sense to me, but now, after doing it, I really understand that statement.

When I began the tour, I was ready to conquer these runs, and the first thing I did was the 1 mile run. It had been two years since I ran one mile, without stopping. I ran it in 6:45. I later wrote on a facebook post, "When I got off the treadmill it felt like a Gnome was repeatedly hitting the back of my hamstrings with a 2 x 4." It was tough, but not as tough as I thought.

I had the pleasure and was motivated by watching two Liberated Warriors crush this tour in 40 and 41 days.

Jimmy Powers, a young fire fighter, absolutely ran through the Liberation Tour in 41 days. He'd show up on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and kick the crap out of these challenges (you can read more of Jimmy's story on the Liberation Tour blog). Jimmy would talk a lot of noise to me, "are you gonna finish?" "Come on old man?" "Step your game up." Jimmy didn't know but he was a large part of my motivation.

Then we had a second person finish. Picture a mother of four, 40 years of age, knocking out 150 squat jumps and 20 minutes of sledge hammer swings in one single day to make sure that she completed the tour in 40 days...completing it a day faster than Jimmy the fit fire fighter man. It was amazing. She will probably hold that record until she decides to break it herself.

So far three people have finished. That leaves quite a few in what I call the "Liberation Tour Graveyard." Some got close, some tried one challenge and then thought, "what the heck am I doing," and, some never even started.

What I realized is that most of us fall short in accomplishing what we want in life when things start to get hard. When things start to get uncomfortable. That's when it's easy to start making excuses and justify another route.

It's also easy to quit once the newness and excitement wears off. We are all fired up the first couple of weeks, but then when things start to get repetitive, boring, or especially more difficult, we get that voice in our head that starts to talk us out of completing what we started.

Sunday, the day after I completed my tour, I got more things done around my house than I'd done in months. I said to myself, "I just finished the Liberation Tour, why they heck can I not get these little things done around my house. I just ran 8 miles in one week, I can do anything." My wife was probably wondering if someone broke into the house, knocked me unconscious, and got all these things done.

TO WRAP THIS UP, HERE ARE 5 QUICK LESSONS I LEARNED FROM THE LIBERATION TOUR.

1. YOU CAN'T REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE INSIDE YOU UNTIL YOU FACE WHAT SCARES YOU TO DEATH: Over the last 100 days, I've heard a lot of people talk about how they could complete the Liberation Tour in 1 week, 2 weeks, 30 days, etc. I giggled. It's easy to talk trash to an enemy when they're behind a brick wall you won't climb over.

2. EXCUSES RULE OUR LIVES AND STEAL OUR GREATNESS: Excuses are easy. Get rid of things in your life that are easy. An excuse is nothing more then validation of weakness.

3. IF YOU WRITE OUT SPECIFICALLY WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH, WORK ON IT A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME, IT'S AMAZING WHAT YOU CAN ACHIEVE: Only set goals you can measure numerically. Set thirty today for the next year. Then go liberate yourself.

4. WE GET OUT OF LIFE ONLY WHAT WE COMMIT TO FINISH: You can never give what you don't have. And you will never have what you do not finish.

5. IT'S STILL NOT FOR EVERYONE: No matter what, some will, some won't, and some just choose to defer. I think I would rather be the one that does. What about you?

If you would like more information on the Liberation Tour, you can reply to this email or go to the Liberation Tour blog.

HAVE A GREAT WEEK