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Action Heroes

Who’s your favorite “Action Hero?” Indiana Jones? Jet Li? Jackie Chan? How about…. You?

This past weekend, my wife Sheilia and I journeyed to Charlottesville, VA to attend Action Hero Boot Camp. This unique event provided a fantastic opportunity to escape our ordinary surroundings and embrace unprecedented challenges. We learned to crack whips, throw knives, shoot weapons, and sword fight. We performed staged combat, broke boards with our fists, walked atop slack ropes, and honed our instincts and awareness. We even starred in our own action movie and thwarted evil by completing the “Hero’s Journey Adventure Course!”

The hosts of Action Hero Boot Camp are my good friends Spencer Humm and John Davis (a.k.a. Hack and Slash). You may recall that I joined John and Spence on a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan last year to entertain our troops. In keeping with their philosophy of pushing limits and providing unique experiences, they launched Action Hero Boot Camp this year.

After experiencing it firsthand, I predict that the annual event will thrive for many years to come. Simply put, it was awesome! Not only is it the ultimate playground for grown ups, but I also found the learning substantial and the life application to be profound.

Many times each day, we participants abandoned our comfort zones and embraced new challenges as exciting opportunities for growth. And each time we did, we learned that our capabilities were greater than we had anticipated.Being an Action Hero is a mind set. It’s about understanding that your actions matter.

Every day you have an opportunity to influence your world. You can choose to do so in a way that is positive, bold, deliberate, and even a little bit flashy. That takes commitment and a willingness to adopt certain practices.

Time for Action 1. You must do something you have never done before.  Do so regularly. Trust me, you will never run out of new experiences or challenges. They don’t have to be wild or outrageous (although that sometimes helps intensify the transformational effect).

2. Practice safely. While the stunts we did appeared to be dangerous, they were not. We relied on expert instruction every step of the way. We built our skills slowly, following a progression that developed confidence as well as technique.

3. Break through barriers. In order to muster the confidence to break wood with our bare hands, we first wrote across the board with marker, naming a personal challenge we intended to overcome.

On the back of the board, we listed the rewards that would be ours if we followed through and bested the obstacle. “This is what you want,” Spencer said, showing us the rewards we had listed. “In order to get to these outcomes, you must first pass through this challenge [our obstacle]. Are you ready to do that?”

Without fail, each person shouted “Yes” and broke through the mental and physical barrier.

We met many wonderful people at Camp. Some inspired me with their expertise and years of dedicated training. But others delivered inspiration simply by their willingness to embrace new challenges. Take Richelle. She had never done anything like this in her life.

But, Richelle arrived with a purpose, deciding it was time for her to shake things up in her life, get uncomfortable, and discover something new about herself. Richelle tried and achieved all that I’ve previously described. She also learned to juggle.

And (here’s the real capper) until Monday she had never so much as flown in a plane. Yesterday, she not only did that, but she jumped out, performing her very first skydive. Now that’s some record: one take off. No landings!What are you ready to do? Take action. Be a Hero!


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