The instructors made us wait for an hour, though to us it felt like all night.
We were prepped for night rock portage, one of the highest risk training exercises in BUD/S. Not only was the night pitch black, but the surf was extra high tonight, too high. We stood waiting on the beach, feeling the chill of the weather reminding us of the fact that this was mid-January, a dreaded winter class. Hell, we had just started on our road to becoming a SEAL, we had a solid year of training looming before us. Your mind starts to play games in your head during lulls in training. “What the fuck am I doing here?” “How is it that you think you will make it a year of this?” “You didn’t train for this.” “When will they find out how unprepared you are.” “They were supposed to cancel winter classes.”
It was too much for our class leader, or LPO. We just thought that he had gone to check with the instructor staff to let them know we were ready and waiting. But he never returned. And it got colder.
Feeling raw and vulnerable is a wonderful yet terrifying place to be. It reveals that which is on the inside, unveiling the curtain on the quality of grit and those who possess it. When we come to this place and toe the line between our fears and our triumphs, we find what we are truly made of. You don’t have to experience SEAL training have your grit tested or your inner self challenged. Fear will find you, you cannot hide from it. Fear will find you and expose you for who you really are. The question is, what will the outcome be? Will you triumph in the face of fear, or will you crack and give in? Maybe there is something in your life that you know that you need to do or a past wrong to be righted. Is fear keeping you from taking a stand for your beliefs? Is fear keeping you from changing jobs or keeping you from becoming an entrepreneur?
Those men who faced their fears that night and completed the evolution knew that there were more fears to face ahead. But they also knew that to fold over fear was to loose a part of themselves - and to never realize the potential of their dreams. Fear takes from you, courage and grit give to to you. It’s your choice on which to accept.