Finding My Voice: Mastering The Art and Science of Having It All
This essay was my final assignment for my certification with Wake Up Warrior as an official Trainer. Warrior is the #1 men’s training program in the world. To learn more about Warrior, sign up for updates or follow me on Instagram.
This story begins at a sudden end.
As I sit in my kitchen, alone, several weeks away before I complete my certification with one of the most intense leadership programs I have ever committed to, my story begins as a quitter.
For most of this year, I have been training for and planning to compete in the 2017 World’s Toughest Mudder (WTM) event. This is the Super Bowl of endurance races, a 5-mile, 20 obstacle course in which you complete as many laps as possible for 24 hours straight. Last year I made it to the 2016 WTM and slogged through 50 official miles of dirt, mud, trapeze-like obstacles, and even electroshock.
This year was going to be epic. My target? 75 miles. Nothing to sneeze at. My times would have to dramatically improve and at the same time eliminate all but a few minutes of rest per lap during the 1,440-minute grind-fest.
We planned to leave tonight, Thursday night. My 2016 team and I qualified as “contenders” giving us preferential treatment this year setting up our base camp before the race. A close base camp means easier access to water, your wetsuit and if you’re lucky, a bowl of lukewarm chicken noodle soup in the early hours of the morning.
But as I said, it doesn’t matter now. Three hours ago I called my teammate Luke and told him I was out. I was staying home, with my family. The Voice inside me was screaming me to stay, and I knew I had to listen. What may surprise you is at this moment of temporary defeat, I realized tonight I had passed my final test in mastering the art and science of having it all.
Tonight I did what for most of my adult life I have struggled to do. Despite all odds, I listened to The Voice.
Understating The Voice
In 2009 a man named Garrett J White decided to go all in on something he’d been fighting for some time. For most of his life, he had been searching for his place in the world. But one night, in his darkest pit of despair, he decided to do something so simple, yet so unnatural to him at the time. He listened to The Voice.
The chain of events since that moment has sent a shockwave through the universe so compelling; it continues to this very day. The purpose of this essay isn’t to recap everything since Garrett began his journey alongside The Voice, but let me make one thing clear: If he had not listened, I would not be the man I am today.
The Voice is nothing new. We hear casual idioms like “trust your gut” or “go with your feelings.” As children, we read comic books and watch Marvel movies about heroes who stand against the grain to go with what they believe is right. At some point, our certainty is castrated from us like an abused dog adopted from the pound.
Boys grow up and remain boys. Men who once dreamed of being engineers, astronauts and athletes, stumble through life in a stupor of depression and uncertainty.
Where did things go sideways?
How did we fall so far from the heroes of yesterday?
On the one hand, we are witnessing a new pandemic of extended adolescence. On the other hand, corporations have sold the masses a false bill of security wrapped in a lifetime of servitude. What remains of virtues from our fathers and grandfathers – hard work, commitment, perseverance – are focused into a perverted economy that has convinced us to work through our prime years of living to eventually have a life we can love (See: http://www.tropicalmba.com/retirementhypothetical/).
If The Voice had anything to say, its no surprise we can’t hear it. We are deaf from the noises of our fears, uncertainty, sedation, commercial messages and emotional baggage amplified year after year, decade after decade.
But what is The Voice?
If the odds of finding and hearing it are against us, then why should we even care to listen at all?
Many people around the world believe The Voice is divine. A voice from God piped in from the universe directly into our own heart. The men who steer away from direct religious frameworks merely look at The Voice as our compass in life. If we only have one life – and there is no afterlife, reincarnation, or anything beyond the great sleep, the voice is our champion to ensure we maximize our limited time on this earth.
Either interpretation gets us to the same outcome – trusting a part of you beyond your conscious thought process to serve as a trusted guide as we live, breath, eat and shit on this world (and perhaps one day in space too, assuming humanity can get moving on that front).
Another, more practical argument for pursuing a life in earshot of The Voice, is merely the results when we fail to listen to that inner tug when it comes to decisions in our lives. The Voice only speaks when we’re at a critical crossroad. 99% of the time if we ignore The Voice, the results are most often, if not always, a disaster.
In my darkest pit, I was wrapped up in an affair, sedated by drugs and alcohol. The Voice was SCREAMING at me, yet I did everything possible to drown it out. Only when life became a living nightmare and the walls I had built up around The Voice crumbled in a fiery storm of tears and unfathomable pain, only then could I finally listen.
Find Your Voice, Have It All
To be honest, had I not discovered a group of men committed to discovering their Voice as a modern man in this fucked up world, I would have never begun the journey to find my Voice. This group was Wake Up Warrior, founded and led by Garrett J White. More than 6 years after Garrett took a stand to live a life of truth and certainty, our worlds collided.
I was forced to look at my current reality and accept the unfortunate truth: I was not living a life of full integrity, committed to following The Voice. I knew this had to change.
As we reviewed, the odds are stacked against men to live life as an authentic, genuine and most importantly truthful inside this world. Hearing the message, the path and the promise of Wake Up Warrior almost seemed too good (and too simple) to be true. Stop lying. Tell the truth. Listen to the voice.
But I listened, and I followed.
First to Garrett and his training team, but more and more I realized they didn’t have the answers I was seeking. What they did have was a radical, yet highly effective way for me to uncover the answers inside me, and finally listen to (at level 11), you guessed it, The Voice.
In the two years and two months I have dedicated to finding and listening to The Voice, my life is unrecognizable. In every category of my life I have grown 5x to 10x or greater. My Voice is the principal guidepost for my decisions both inside my family, with my business, and with myself.
What I discovered tonight was the final test in my ability to listen, act, and create my desired path ahead regardless of what anyone thinks, irrespective of prior commitments that no longer serve me, and regardless of my fears of the “what if.”
As I sat this afternoon with the cell phone in my hand, in the deserted parking lot outside my office, something took over my body. I pulled up iMessage, typed in my teammate’s name and began typing…
There is an Art and Science of having it all. I have spent 2+ years studying it, living it, becoming it. No short essay will be able to encapsulate what I have learned. But tonight, I aced my final exam. The Voice spoke when I was all alone, and I listened. I took action. And I moved forward down the path He set before me.
The path to having it all doesn’t come magically with meditation, green smoothies, daily workouts or wonderful notes to my children and family. Is that a piece of the formula for success? Absolutely.
The foundation for creating anything I desire begins with hearing and acting upon The Voice.
The Voice that never lies.
The Voice who will never deceive you.
The Voice who will never lead you astray.
My results, and my ability to now teach others The Warrior’s Way is anchored in my certainty in myself, powered by The Voice. Like the monk who studies for a lifetime, I will never stop on my path of mastery, but tonight I feel good.
I’ll go to sleep knowing I have expanded who I am in alignment with The Voice and tomorrow; I’ll wake up, and begin all over again.