#120 My awesome guest this week is Mark Divine. A former Navy SEAL officer, entrepreneur, bestselling author, and leadership expert.
Even though this episode was recorded before everything changed with COV19, this conversation is very relevant, empowering and will have you contemplating it for days!
We dive into his journey and also the 7 pillars from his new book; Staring Down The Wolf – COURAGE. TRUST. RESPECT. GROWTH. EXCELLENCE. RESILIENCY. ALIGNMENT.
About Mark Divine: Mark Divine is a retired Navy SEAL Commander, New York Times Best-Selling Author, Founder / CEO of SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind, founder of multiple million-dollar businesses, lifetime Martial Artist, Ashtanga Yoga teacher, and host of the Unbeatable Mind podcast (recently rated #1 health podcast and #30 overall on itunes.
He’s also an expert in human performance as it is displayed in mental toughness, leadership and physical readiness. His work is based on an integral warrior-leader model that he developed and tested on over a thousand special operations candidates worldwide.
Guy: Hi, my name is Guy Lawrence. And thanks for tuning into my podcast today. If you’re enjoying these conversations and you want to check out more of this transformational work, be sure to come back to guylawrence.com.au and join me as we go further down the rabbit hole. Enjoy the show.
Guy: Mike, welcome to the podcast.
Mark: And so good to be here. I really appreciate it, Guy.
Guy: Thank you. Uh, I love to ask everyone on the show cause it gets a different answer every time, but I know you travel a lot. So if you sat to a complete stranger on an airplane and they asked you what you did for living these days, what would you tell them?
Mark: I tell people that I’m a trainer, train, you know, I’m a leadership development and team trainer. Um, that’s kind of close to the truth and it’s, it’s an easy conversation following that.
Guy: Yeah, fair enough. Yeah. Cause your CV is so vast. It’s incredible. And even just looking for this podcast today, there’s so many, topics you could potentially tackle. Um, but the one thing that fascinates me, especially coming from your background as well, is your, your passion for meditation and you’ve been such an advocate of it over the years as well.
Mark: I forgot about that.
Guy: Oh, there you go.
Mark: Sorry. I might’ve been a little bit distant in this first one.
Guy: That’s fine.
Mark: Microphone was a mile away from me and I was like caught up in it. Um, I do have a passion for meditation. You might be a recall that I started when I was 20, when I, um, began a practice Zen meditation and that was through a martial arts program and the math, the grand master of the martial arts, the founder of the martial art was also a Zen master, even though he probably never really identified himself as such. He was very clear that he was passionate about Zen and I was a big part of his life and he had a small cadre of students that we would have a class every Thursday night and sit for 45 minutes. And then I had committed to 20 minutes a day and I’ve pretty much kept that up when I was in the seal teams. It was difficult, right, with all the missions and travel. But, um, I found that the real practice is done off the mat anyways in how you orient your mind throughout the day. And so, um, that’s become my dominant and primary practices off the bench practice. But I still like to sit and meditate daily on these days still.
Guy: Yeah. Wonderful. And do you think, um, from that meditation practice, it’s really interesting because it’s so subtle. Cause I’m somebody that’s a keynote advocate of it oversleep myself as well. And I remember you spoke about the fact that you were set up for a corporate world. You were, you were going down a certain trajectory. And I see that so often in many people’s lives. To this day we kind of get groomed for different areas. And so often we don’t question things.
Guy: And we go down that path. There you go.
Yeah. Um, do you think, um, if it wasn’t for the discovering that work and being attracted to work and resent master, that you would have continued on that path? What did it reveal itself later in life?
Mark: It may have, you know, the, your calling is lies within and I think it, it knocks on the door, um, constantly. And when you’re ready to hear it, you’ll hear it and then you’ll make a shift like you did, you know, you had your awakening experience and you sold your company and shifted everything. I was fortunate enough to have that experience when I was 20, 21. It took me several years to ground myself in what I was experiencing and to really trust the vision that I was meant to be a warrior in a dangerous field and not a corporate, you know, bureaucrat. Um, but I think that’s largely because the urgency of youth isn’t as strong as it is when you’re maybe in your forties or 50s, right?
Mark: Where all of a sudden mortality staring you in the face and you’re like, boy, I better get on with it and start fulfilling my mission. Or else I’m toast, you know, it’s too late. And a lot of people actually wake up to their calling, you know, in their 30s forties or 50s and um, I would say more in the forties and 50s and they think they’ve already invested so much and what it is that got them where they’re at, that it’s too late or they, they can’t risk making a major shift and that’s a mistake. That’s a mistake. And that’ll lead to even a more of a midlife crisis type of situation that could lead to ill health and a real breakdown. You know, my feeling is it’s always it is the right thing always whenever you discover your calling to pursue it.
Guy: Yes, right.
Mark: Through fulfillment will come from and your, that’s how you’re meant to serve, you know, the world. If you go through life just accumulating wealth and you know, wives or husbands, it’s kind of an unhappy ending. You know, we’ve all seen that movie before. Yeah, absolutely. And I’m assuming you see a lot of that with your work as well, people coming in and ready to make a shift at some level. Yeah, I see a lot of people who just don’t know how to do it right. They get this sense that they’re missing out on something or that they’re meant for something else. And maybe even they’ve identified it. They just need the tools and the inspiration and the guidance to, you know, to shift and to follow a path. And that makes total sense because even all the great spirits tradition said you need, there’s a path and the path has certain kind of trail markers on it. But I’m oftentimes it’s helpful to have a guide or a Sherpa to, you know, point out when you go astray or to make sure you’re on the right trail, you know, cause it’s different for every individual. Total journey of spiritual and becoming whole again is unique. It’s a unique path. Every, every person, there’s no one way that fits, you know, you or me.
Guy: Yeah, absolutely. And I find the shifts are continuing in my life to be honest too. Did you find that for yourself as well? You know, you’ve made this conscious decision to become a navy seal.
Guy: gone into this warrior like environment and were there shifts happening again after a while where you thought, you know what, it’s time to actually address this and follow another path?
Mark: Yes. And I’ve noticed that there is kind of a dominant archetypal energy that is informing our lives. You know, for me it’s warrior, but then the way that it’s expressed changes as I evolve and you know, as I get older and as I get more competent in different areas of my life. And so that, you know, when I was young in my twenties, that was like a warrior leader. And then, um, twenties and thirties in my thirties and forties, it became more of like a warrior. Mmm. Uh, strategist and entrepreneur. And now it’s more of a warrior teacher and becoming more of a warrior monk. Right? So, but the, the underlying theme is all kind of like this warrior. I’m here as a warrior and I’ve actually had some pretty profound visions around that. And one of them was that I’ve been a warrior for many lifetimes and this was a lifetime that I was meant to lay down the sword, so to speak, and to become more of the spiritual guide or teacher, you know, spiritual warrior or teacher, you know, or both. And um, and that kind of has played out in my life. So it’s really interesting that vision kind of came well after that was already underway. You know what I mean?
Guy: Yeah, absolutely. Well, what does spirituality mean to mock? I, I’m always fascinated to hear people
Guy: Sinking behind it because I think it’s a word that can be said and we can bring so much different interpretation to it.
Mark: Yeah. And everyone, when you say that people begin to conjure up religious symbolism and thoughts about, you know, constructs like God and whatnot. And to me it’s not that, to me, it’s the ability to align with your, um, highest and best self and serve in, um, in a meaningful way that is your calling or your, your duty. So, and that comes from your essential nature, which we can say is your spiritual nature. You know, some might call that your soul, some might call your spirit or whatnot. We don’t have to get into semantics. You know, there’s all sorts of everyone’s right, but everyone’s also partially right. You know, cause it’s beyond no one, right? It’s beyond our ability to truly know. And anytime someone claims to know, then I get a little cringey, you know, because some things are just unknowable and that’s one of them.
Mark: But my experience of it is that if you listen through meditations, through insight being quiet, I call it sacred silence, then you hear that inner voice, that whispering, that’s telling you go this direction, go via a warrior Mark. You’re not suited to be a merchant right now. And um, and it always speaks in very archetypal energy. It doesn’t speak in words, it speaks in feelings. It speaks in imagery, it speaks in direct knowingness, which is like knowing something without knowing how or why. You know what, you just spontaneously know it. And so when you listen and hear that and it’s pointing in a certain direction, and then you also follow that guidance and suddenly everything starts to get easy. And the obstacles fall away. And then you begin to live life much more authentically and holistically, meaning Holy, like you become whole again. You’re not separating from your true nature.
Mark: And then when that happens, you also stopped separating from other human beings and then you become much more compassionate and inclusive and you have great care and concern and that expands even further and further. And this is, there’s no there, there and now you alluded to that. There is always changing, always expanding as your understanding and your re-integration occurs, you become more and more capable of taking perspectives and, and beginning to embrace the suffering and the disconnection that’s happened and wanting to serve all human beings. And that’s like the boat, you know, the Buddhist concept of the bodhisattva. So to me that’s what it means to be spiritual is to align with your inner nature, your true essential nature, which is calling you in service in a certain direction. And anytime you’re out of alignment like that, you could say you’re not living a spiritually aligned life.
Guy: Yeah, that’s fantastic. It’s interesting when I started to look at the Southmore and in the silence and put the spotlight on my own dark areas, if you like, and see my own flows for the good and the bad of them. It’s certainly as I dealt with that more, I began to feel more connected to other people and actually see past the veil and feel the compassion underneath just like you, you touch upon, which is really [inaudible].
Mark: Well, I think so. You know, I think you could almost like summarize that all the suffering in the world is due to separation humans separating from themselves and then hence separating from others and separating from this vast wisdom that exists all around us that some religious traditions would call God. Yeah. We’ll call just universal wisdom. Um, I, I don’t care what you call it. You could, you could call it, you know, an iPhone if you want. It doesn’t matter. It’s not, we don’t have to label it because labeling it then contracts it and, and constricts it. So let’s, I prefer not to label it anyways. So yeah, it’s, um, but, but simple is not easy, is it?
Guy: No far from it, far from it. And my next question for you was, which is triggered from that is that, would that sense of connection and trusting, like does a huge amount of courage and trust that goes into allow in this self to evolve? And then how do you view the challenges that then come your way in life? Because challenges cannot quite often make or break us. What I’m finding on my personal journey is from having that stronger sense of self and from this work is how allowing me to look at these things slightly differently to me, how I would have maybe five, even five years ago.
Mark: [inaudible] well, the challenges are welcome because there, that’s where you’re gonna find your greatest learning and your growth. And if you shy from the challenge, um, a you won’t grow and be, it’s not going to stop them from coming. I’ll keep coming. And so we prefer, I prefer to train for the challenge by taking on challenges in controlled environments. You know, that’s what my whole SEALFIT business is built upon. It’s like try to build this most extreme challenge in a controlled environment. So that when you develop the mental and emotional skills to navigate that gracefully, then all other challenges that come at you, um, begin to become much more navigable and you embrace the suck of them and you go into them with a clear eye and a calm, uh, approach to, to see where the learning is and see what lesson you’re supposed to get out of that challenge.
Mark: And so you don’t, um, you end up really enjoying the fact that challenge is part of our human experience and that we grow from it. Right? Yeah. So you look forward to them actually you look forward to the growth. Yeah. And you couldn’t imagine a life where everything was easy. I’m not saying, you know, we don’t enjoy and embrace, um, the benefits of hard work through maybe taking time off or you know, celebration. We want to do that. Otherwise, you know, you might break down if everything is all push, push, push against the next challenge. So we want to have that balance between effort and surrender. But, um, if it’s all, if it’s all easy and your, you do as a void, you know, the hard work and the challenges, then you end up, uh, locking yourself in a prison of mediocrity and weakness and that’s not good. And we S I think there’s a lot of people in the world who are doubly suffering because a human existence is about SEP separates and leads to suffering and then we lock ourselves in this prison of mediocrity and weakness because we avoid the challenges we run from them instead of toward them.
Guy: Yeah, absolutely. Same. The, the, the thing which leads into this as well. And um, cause I think we’re quite often frightened to fail when we want to move forward and move these things in and failure, the thought of failure can often hold us back. But like you say, if you create environments where you’re putting yourself in challenges in the training ground that translate into real life. And I was fascinated to, to hear about your transition out of the, the seals back into, into being a civilian if
Mark: you like. And you talked about a brewery company and the fact that it kind of wasn’t resonating with you in alignment. And I thought that might be nice to touch upon as well because, um, I’ve certainly done things and failed at them, but there’s always been great lessons that have come from it that’s aligned with more to my path. Yeah. And entrepreneur-ism can be a great slap in the face, um, to help you understand that, you know, the business that you start, are you relying around, it’s, you know, it’s gotta be aligned with your life purpose or else he ended up really struggling sometimes with it. And that was what happened with the Cornell brewing company. I was getting off active duty and I wanted to start a business and I went, so I decided to go into business cause my brother in law, which right there, you know, has a little bit of a minefield attached to it.
Mark: And um, and I didn’t really know him well. And then he brought in his brother and I didn’t put up any protests, which was my co-dependence and, and fear of confrontation. And so I just allowed it to happen and all of a sudden my ownership stake was cut by, you know, from 50% to 33% and then of course we diluted it by raising all the money, which I raised all the money and I did basically all the early work of getting the business, the brewing company corn to bring coming. It’s called up and running and profitable. And my partners ended up basically reneging on most of their commitments, if not all. One of their commitments was that we’re going to all put in $25,000 seed capital. I put in mind and they didn’t put in there and I didn’t protest, I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t protest. Meaning you know, a normal entrepreneur would protest by saying you’re out of the partnership, you know, this is done. And I just allowed it to slide and they were going to quit their jobs and work full time. Neither of them did that. And yet they would come in at like beer 30 and give away three or $400 worth of beer and food every night.
Mark: And yet they insisted on having equal decision making power. And it just got up there and uglier from there. And finally I brought it to the board of director’s attention that this thing wasn’t gone so well and that made things worse because then all of a sudden, um, the board alerted them and you know, instead of cleaning it up, it turned into a three year legal battle for control of the business, you know, shareholder proxy battles and everything. And I want all those on the fact that, you know, I was president and the company was profitable and growing and all the investors had invested in me along with the idea, you know, Navy seal, MBA, CPA, I’d put all my money in. A lot of the investors were family and friends. So we won all those proxy battles and we were winning that outer surface level fight.
Mark: But I was losing the fight internally because I was losing any kind of passion or motivation for the business. And my wife was getting just hounded in attacks. We met Missy by the family, by her, you know, her brothers and her mother and her mother. And father got divorced. It just got really ugly. So, um, my wife Sandy was kind of begging me to just walk away from the business. And I understood that even though my ego was wrapped up in it. So instead of walking away, I organized a buyout and had my was mom buy me out and buy any, you know, any other, the of the investors who got him, you know, supporting me got out as well. It was, it was a hard pill to swallow because I had built this $10 million really profitable business that these guys had no business owning and yet they owned it, you know, and I, so I gave him basically this massive retirement plan on a platter.
Mark: And the business has really succeeded since then. You know, they didn’t, they didn’t mess it up too much. And that’s worth about probably 50 a hundred million dollars. Now that is an I, you know, I saw nothing out of that. So it was a real lesson in emotional awareness. Um, legal, you know, this is my legal, my legal degree, my emotional degree. And, but the biggest lesson, uh, related to what we were talking about was after that, it was very clear to me that I forgot, I got smacked down, that I was not in that business for the right reasons. I was doing it for the money. I was doing it cause I thought it’d be cool to own a brewery and have all that free beer. And you know what I mean? That we could be the big fellows in town, hormonal reasons to be in business.
Mark: And so after that I really committed that any business that I built was going to be much more aligned with what I consider to be my main calling as a warrior teacher now. And so that’s why you saw, you know, seal fit is all about teaching people how to be mentally tough and resilient leaders and great teammates and unbeatable is all about leading and coaching teams to find their elite, um, operating mode. And Kokoro yoga is about, um, a personal practice of integration. So I feel aligned now and that if I hadn’t had that really painful lesson at first entrepreneurial lesson, I’m not sure it might’ve taken me longer. Yeah,
Guy: yeah, yeah. Thank you for sharing that. I think it’s important. Um, I, you mentioned Kokura yogurt as well. Where did you passion for yoga come from? That fascinates me as well, especially coming from your background as an AP.
Mark: Well, it started with the martial arts, so I was a martial artist, black belt in karate and Zen practitioner for four years before I joined the seals. Um, when I got off active duty in the seals, we didn’t have time. I studied, uh, Sensu Kung Fu, which we called scars and I was in certified a military instructor in that. But know I didn’t really have time beyond that to practice a martial art because we were always somewhere else. Right. We were gone 11 months out of the year, but when I got off back to duty and kind of settled down again, I got back into karate. I got a, another black belt and goes, you, you. And then I found a ninjitsu program and I was working up toward my black belt, running the cusp of getting my black belt in jujitsu when the, uh, instructor, uh, shut the school down.
Mark: It wasn’t a great business guy, but he’s a great martial artist. And, um, and so I was looking around for what’s next. And there was very little martial arts in my, uh, AOE in Northern, uh, Northern San Diego. But there was a yoga studio right down the road from me, literally within a few hundred yards. And it was beat drums, yoga. And so they had, they had a 60 day challenge where they had a 30 day challenge, which I did back to back where you do a yoga class every day. So I did 60 days nonstop every day, a hot yoga class. The end of that 60 days I felt terrific and I never wanted to step foot in and be come to yoga studio again in my life. And I haven’t. And, um, but it, it sparked this interest in yoga and I recognize that the martial arts and yoga had a lot in common.
Mark: And someone told me about Ashtanga yoga, which was, uh, founded by Patabi Josephson was used to train a warriors in India and it’s a very rigorous style of yoga that actually has a leveling system, sort of like getting a belt ranking. I thought, Hey, that might be what I’m looking for. So I started studying Ashtanga yoga and took some teacher training in that. And that led me to find a incredible book called the autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. And when I read that, it just cracked me wide open because this was like true yoga. I was looking at yoga more like a physical practice. And I started to understand that yoga is, that it’s the science of mental development, mental and spiritual development. And the physical part is just a way or mechanism to make sure that your body holds up during your journey. And I was like, wow, that’s interesting. So that led me on this unbelievably deep quest that continues to this day to read everything I could find from all the ancient texts and every, um, you know, every, um, interpretation of the Patanjali’s yoga sutras. And then I had gotten into Tibetan Buddhism is Adrienne and both practice and, and, um, and reading.
Mark: And I recognize that they’re all talking about the same thing, right? Whether it’s yoga or the martial arts or a spiritual practice like Tibetan meditation, it’s all about evolution. What we started talking about, it’s all about the human being, taking responsibility to evolve themselves, to unlock their massive potential, their fullest potential, and to serve and somewhat, you know, and there’s, there’s a myriad of cultural nuances to that and there’s a myriad of disagreements over things like duality and non-duality or you know, both the nature of reality, the nature of God or Brahman, you know, all this stuff. And people who’ve argued and killed each other over that stuff. And none of it really matters because the answer is something else. Anyways, like we talked about, these are all just human beings trying to interpret something that’s vastly a vast and not easy to even put words around in the minute you put a word on it, you, yeah, you can track it.
Mark: And so the wisest leaders recognize this lies. Why is teachers recognize this? And, and, and point to the fact that this is a very personal journey. And so you don’t need all those wisdom texts or they’re good to get you motivated and get you started on your path. But ultimately it’s about your own exploration. Having said that, it is helpful and I mentioned this earlier, to have a teacher keep you on track because sometimes, you know, we can wander off the trail and you know, suddenly we’re like facing a cliff and we don’t know which way to go. We don’t know, you know, then we turn around and go back cause that seems like retreating or do we scale the cliff? So we avoid that by, um, you know, trap traveling the path skillfully. [inaudible] and a teacher can help us travel a path skillfully. Yeah.
Mark: You mentioned, uh, before we’ve talked about accumulating awakening, this is, this is an experience that has really tripped a lot of people up in the West. Um, Korea, yoga, CUNA Leni yoga, you know, working with the energy bodies and energy system is important work, but it was never, um, taught as like the place to start. It was really a more advanced practice. There’s a lot of preparation that went into be able to hold that energy, um, allow the energy to ascend properly and then to integrate and descend properly. And there had been some seriously big blow ups with people in the West who went deep into Kundalini yoga without any preparatory practice or maybe they needed to work on just some simple breath control practice to, to stabilize their mind before they did that. And then, you know, literally they
Guy: fried their circuitry by releasing all the energy too quickly ring true to you night. I um, I mean I was ready in all honesty. I was ready. I’ve been doing a lot of the work. I was prepared, but I wasn’t, nothing can prepare you for that to, for something like that. [inaudible] the voltage of energy that went through my body was so intense. All my arms had killed in because the energy was coming up the spine. It was going down my arms and I could feel it coming up my hands and everything was spasming and it was just, but, but what’s really fascinates me around this and the nervous system is that the nervous system has been adapting ever since. So there’s an adaptation that starts to change. It changes you from the inside out, you know, and then, but once you have those experience, and it was like being able to have embodied experiences along the way. I resonate with everything you said about, um, you know, you have guides and the Sherpas to, to show you and all the textbooks in the world you can read. But until you start putting that into practice, yeah, it’s meaningless. It’s meaningless. Yeah. The other thing is, it’s
Mark: one thing you can get from, you can get a warning, like from the yoga stretches from the text to say, Hey, you know, don’t get, don’t get stuck in the experience of joy or bliss or the light. You know from Coon Leni awakening because that’s an obstacle that the experience itself is just your experience. Let it pass and don’t think that’s that. That’s it. Don’t, don’t keep striving to repeat an experience. That’s an obstacle. And a lot of people are, you know, are, are like peak state or flow state junkies and they, they think that is spiritual practice or like a Iowasca journey junkies where they think that just, that’s it. And it’s not it. That’s just an experience that, that that shows you that Hey, the subtle realm has all sorts of, you know, ways that energy can express itself through imagery and through sensations and bliss and even pain and suffering.
Mark: And all of those are just experiences. So keep moving through and move beyond. Don’t, don’t get stuck trying to repeat those experiences and think that that’s the same as awakened awareness or enlightenment. It’s not, it’s not. And so a good teacher can help you make sure you don’t get stuck at one of these, you know, false plateaus. 100%. I think by chasing that, it still keeps you avoiding the very things that you need to look at within yourself. Absolutely. And that’s the emotional development to me. I think one of the biggest areas for spiritual development that gets ignored is the emotional development. And so many spiritual teachers are finally acknowledging that. And not like John Kevin Zahn who brought mindfulness to the United States, you know, he, he wrote a book, this is after enlightenment, take out the trash. And what he meant by that is, you know, you can achieve great States of, um, mental awareness and still be stuck in a low stage of development because your emotional, shaggy shadow hasn’t been cleared up and it’s keeping you stuck.
Mark: And, and one of my mentors, Ken Wilber says, you know, we’ve got to endeavor to wake up and grow up. So we wake up by, you know, through the process of meditation and awakening to our true nature, our true self. But then we grow up to higher stages of perspective taking, you know, uh, which had been mapped out through a transpersonal psychology and developmental psychology. And then we also have to clean up that if we clean up our emotional baggage and only if we do all three of those, can we show up fully integrated as a whole human being? And a lot of people just focus on waking up. That’s it. And they think that’s it. Oh, you know, in books there’s tons of books written about awakening and everyone thinks that’s the Holy grail and you rally is just one third of the equation. Totally.
Mark: You know, growing up and showing cleaning up. Yeah. I, I mento said to me once you said guide the, um, true meditation is what you do with your eyes open during the day. That’s right. And that’s off the mat. I work is off the mat. It’s in relationships and crucial conversations and maintaining presence with your kids and your, your spouse and um, your team and learning to detach from the emotional rollercoaster and from the thought structures that, um, construct contractor ego into, you know, um, these identity structures that are necessarily real, not in the, um, spiritual sense. They’re, they’re just egoic structures that we tend to mistake is real. Yeah, absolutely. Mike, before we move on, I want to touch on your book as well. And, uh, you’ve got a new book out staring down the Wolf and I was interested why Wolf? What does that represent?
Mark: I obviously have some sort of archetypal energy around the Wolf cause it keeps coming up in my life and it’s on the cover of my book. Unbeatable mind. So the title came from the cover of that book. Originally I was calling the book the seven commitments that forge really teams. It’s kind of like formulaic, like, like Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people. And um, and I wasn’t thinking of calling it staring on the Wolf. I didn’t, that didn’t even enter my mind, but I had hired an editor to help me [inaudible] with um, helping me formulate some of the early chapters, you know, the way that I worked best as I can, you know, come up with the ideas and I can make like a six or seven page bullet of each chapter and I can actually sit down and write, but I get more done more quickly on, in this process that I’m describing.
Mark: So I’ll, I’ll formulate the overall architecture of the book. I’ll formulate each chapter and then I’ll, um, I have a writer who interviews me, transcribes it, and then, you know, formulates that into a first draft and then I take it from there. It’s very helpful for me to, most of the work and writing is in editing. So if we could just get, you know, words on a paper, even if in the editing process, I think practically every single word changed. You know, it’s hard work. The editing. That’s true. You know, so yeah, three or four edits after that, every single word from this first draft changed. But the overall structure of the book didn’t. At any rate, this guy turned it around and when he turned it around, he had a title on the outside and he never told me about it, but the title was staring down the Wolf.
Mark: And then he called me and he says, what do you think? I said, you mean the title, right? Not the writing. He goes, yeah. I was like, ah, man. He goes, I said, I love that, but wow, it’s going to change the book because now I’ve got to go in and explain in a, like an introduction, whole introductory chapter, what, what do I mean? And then not going to contextualize that throughout the book, which is what I did. And it lengthen the process by about six months. Oh wow. So what does it mean? Um, it’s a reference to the native American or probably not just a native American, but native tradition that there’s, uh, two wolves that reside in this. One is the Wolf of fear who resides in our brain. And then the Wolf of courage resides in our heart. That makes sense because courage means heart, like the French root of cor, C O U R is heart.
Mark: So courage means acting with heart at any rate. So the legend goes that, um, the Wolf of fear feeds on negativity and fear. And the Wolf of courage feeds on love and positivity. And the Wolf that you feed the most is the one that will dominate your life. And here’s the irony. If you don’t do anything, the Wolf of fear gets fed anyways because there’s so much negativity in the world and the brain is wired to be negative. They call it negativity bias. It’s got five times as much negative processing and looping than it does positive. And so if you do nothing, if you take no action, then you’ll, uh, you’ll be feeding the fear Wolf and you’ll be negative even if you put a happy glad wrapper on top of that. And we see that all the time in our worlds, right? And the negativity shows up through, you know, anxiety, anger, judgment, righteousness, you know, shadow, you know, emotional shadow.
Mark: So what you have to do is interdict that negativity and begin to starve it. Start with a fear Wolf and tap into your courage Wolf by connecting to your heart and feeding your heart with deep felt connection with other human beings. Compassion, you know, positive internal dialogue and positive emotional, you know, uh, anchoring where you have to like fake it till you make it sometimes, especially if you’re not feeling good. And also just an awareness that the human condition does include, uh, a fair amount of suffering like we’ve talked about and, but that suffering is largely related to our attachment attachment to our physical body attachment to our life attachment to our mere material things, attachment to our, the people in our lives. And so one of the great practices that I work on is non attachment and it’s, that’s part of my practice off the mat is practicing non-attachment, which helps me, um, move toward courage and away from fear.
Mark: So that’s uh, the book starting on the Wolf is interesting because it’s got these really powerful commitments that a leader and their team can use as daily practices to forge things like courage, trust, respect, growth, excellence, resiliency and alignment. Those are the seven commitments. But I also go into detail on what holds us back from those fears and the shadows and my own failures as examples. Like the corn out of brewing company. Yeah. Was a good example where I fell down, encouraged cause I didn’t have the courage to have the crucial conversations with my partners. And I have the courage to say no to my partner about bringing in his brother and diluting myself. And he ended up being the real negative nilly. And so, uh, I didn’t have, I didn’t know where I stood. I didn’t have a stand around these things. And so I had to learn that part of developing courage is to take a stand for things that are really important to you and be willing to stand your ground in spite of the consequences.
Mark: So I learned courage, not through seal training, but through failing in my first business venture. And I, I have great respect for entrepreneurs because, you know, to be honest, it’s, it’s easier to lead a seal team than it is to build a business in my business, in my opinion. Can, I’ve done both. Yeah. So it’s kind of done for you. You have your hand in this, this, you know, team of hardcore operators who’ve been through a minimum three years of training and they’re the 5% that made it through. And, and the structure of the team is just ridiculously solid and you’ve got this massive budget and a very clear mission. And you know, the culture is one of, you know, high performance accomplishment when every entrepreneur loved to have all that energy behind their back. Totally. Yeah. What’s clear to me as well, listen to speak is how open you are about your failings and vulnerable.
Mark: And that’s such a, that’s such a big thing. And so often we were frightened to go there and talk about, uh, failings in life and um, but you know, it’s, it inspires change. I agree. Nobody’s perfect. And that’s one of the, one of the masks of fear is to not, is to, um, be seen as imperfect. But you know, that’s a weakness. Actually projecting perfectionism is a weakness because nobody’s perfect. Nobody has all the answers. No leader gets things done alone. So when leaders can develop that authenticity and that humility to recognize that they need their team, and oftentimes they’re the limiting factor in their team’s success because they shut down the energy, the team, when they can get out of their own way, tick off those massive perfectionism and absolutism and judgment and righteousness and all that kind of stuff, however it shows up.
Mark: Or even if it’s just the energy of, um, non not being, not, not trusting everyone, trusting your own, you know, like my way or the highway or you know, I’m the one with all the brilliant ideas cause I’m the entrepreneur. And then, you know, your team feels that and then they get shut down because they don’t think they have a voice or their ideas don’t count or whatever. When you can get out of your own way and when you could stare down your Wolf of fear and whatever form it takes, then you get out of your own way and you show up authentically with your team and your team resonates with that. And then the team together, uh, with you will, um, transform the work environment into, uh, an accelerated growth environment. So every day you show up, you’re, you know, you’re excited to be there and excited to grow together and then all of a sudden magic happens, right.
Mark: 20 times potential comes out of that in my opinion. I’ve seen that with a lot of clients I work with. Yeah. Fantastic. When’s the book? It came out last week in the last week. It’s selling very well. I mean, she used to be, we sold 10,000 copies in the first. Oh wow. Congratulations. Yeah, we’re, uh, we’re off to the races and, and getting great feedback and it was a little scary for me for that reason that you stated. You know, I, I did like, I put up some military seal spec ops leaders to, to demonstrate the principle, let’s say, of courage or trust or respect, inaction. And then I have a story about me, how I literally fell on my face and bloodied my nose, you know what I mean? And blew the principal. But throughout the book as we get more and more toward the final, um, commitments of resiliency and alignment, then you see how I’ve been able to, you know, learn from my mistakes and kind of begin to integrate all these commitments into my own life and my own business to now where our business really is an exemplar and we still have our struggles and everything, but we really are committed to all those seven commitments that are baked into the values of our company and we’ve got clients now who are really embracing them and having great success with them.
Mark: Yeah, brilliant marketer is going to say cause that to help me prepare for podcasts, they sent me a PDF version of the book and, and, and that was the first thing I connected to and when I read about your brewery and I was like that’s amazing. That’s awesome. Hence why I brought it up but I’ll be sure to order a hard copy, that’s for sure. Thanks. I ask a couple of questions to wrap up every show and um, what’s your morning routine look like? Wow. I tell you, the morning routine for me is probably the most important part of the day. You know, I call it the time where I went in my mind before I stepped in the battlefields to put in the battlefield. So, um, I’ll just specifically go through it. I, I wake up and I begin, uh, uh, a two part practice of box breathing and gratitude, which is like positivity.
Mark: So I just begin to train and train my mind with positive statements, a mantra that I have, several of them. And then I, and I control my breathing through this box breathing practice, which is a core practice of land. Unbeatable mind training. I’ll do that for about five to 10 minutes and then I’ll go use the restroom, drink some fresh water to, you know, recharge the battery and the flush out the system and, you know, detox a little bit. And then I’ll begin my, um, the next phase of my practice, which is basically mindful awareness. So I’ve got, um, uh, a bunch of things that I reflect upon and they’re all written down. So I reflect upon a bunch of things that I want to be grateful for. I’ve got some, um, you know, some not, I wouldn’t say they’re scriptural things, but some poetic things they read, like Saint Francis prayer.
Mark: And these are things just to like constantly refine the quality of [inaudible] my mental processing. I have my vision and my mission and my, and, um, uh, uh, articulation of the future version of myself that I’m becoming, all that is written down. And I, and I read it silently to myself while I’m breathing deeply and reflecting on it and I’m visualizing it, right? So I’ll do that and then I’ll go into my formal meditation practice. And before I do that, I do some movement. And so I’ll do some yoga by five, 10, 15 minutes of yoga and I have some CUNY breathing and you know, like cat cow type things. And you know, I do the Tibetans seven or the Tibetan rites, uh, six different like yoga poses that you use with the breath. And that gets me a really, really ready to, uh, sit. And then I sit in silence and I do my silence is, or my meditation is three part practice, starts in the breath, uh, control and then concentrating on the breath and a concentration practice.
Mark: And then I release the concentration and shift into the awakened awareness state and stay, try to work on stabilizing that. And that’s where I’m at working on stabilizing awakened awareness, which is beyond the structures of the self and working on seeing everything that arises in that space as empty of any type of grab empty of any type of a trigger or anything like that. It’s just, is things just arise and then that’s where it ends. I will leave that practice and try to maintain that throughout the day. And I have to occasionally remind myself and come back and I do that with those spot drills, but that’s the core morning practice. After that, I’ll have a smoothie where I put some of my aunt, some ample with uh, some, you know, fruits and veggies and have them delicious smoothie. Now this is on a perfect day, which ends up being about five, four, four to five days a week.
Mark: There’s two days which are still perfect days where I get up early and go to my KIDO studio to study a kido and that’s a 5:00 AM wake up. So I don’t have the time to go through that whole ritual. So I, I ended up getting it in later in the day and it’s not as, um, I’m not able to do it in as pure a form because of, you know, the distractions and the places that I ended up doing it. But I endeavor to get most of that in later today.
Guy: Yeah, that sounds awesome. I bet you’re disciplined with your sleep as well. yeah.
Mark: I tried to get pulled out before, you know, around nine 30 sometimes it pushes to 10 and I endeavor to get seven hours at least every night. Yeah. I think sleep is so important. Guy is one of the two. It’s a treasure trove, you know, of opportunity for people who aren’t getting sleep start there almost. Right. Cause yeah, he’s always going to be out of balance if you’re not sleeping well.
Guy: Yeah. If you could have dinner with anyone from anywhere in the world, in any timeframe, a couple of people have dinner and have a conversation with them. Who do you think it would be? Why? Anyone spring to mind?
Mark: You know, um, my wife and kid.
Mark: Fair enough. I’m kind of antisocial. I found that, you know, every human being is pretty much has the same, you know, fears and the same stuff. And, and I’ve, I’ve been around so many spiritual leaders and I found that it’s interesting, but, you know, yeah, time is precious. I’d much rather spend time, you know, with immediately my immediate family and people that I deeply love and care for because you never know. It might be my last opportunity.
Guy: Yeah, you’re fine.
Mark: Learn that as a warrior, right. Every day is precious. So don’t take it lightly. Many, many, many friends who would love to be sitting here having this conversation with us, but they weren’t given the opportunity because they gave their lives. So, yeah.
Guy: Yeah. Yeah. And last thing, with everything we’ve covered today, is there anything you’d like to leave the listeners to ponder on?
Mark: Yeah. Get comfortable with silence. You know the answers are all there. Stop looking for them outside ourselves.
Guy: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Where can I send people in? Mike, if they want to grab a copy of your book, if they want to learn more about your website?
Mark: Yeah, the, if staring down the Wolf sounded interesting to you, then it’s worth going to our website for it, which is staring down the wolf.com because we have a free training on the seven principles there. That would be useful as a, as an additional tool, especially people who like to watch videos for training or for learning. So staringonthewolf.com we will ask you for your email. That’s it. Otherwise it’s free. My personal website, Markdivine.com has information on my podcast. Actually I’ve a popular podcast called the unbeatablemind podcast and a blog and also information about speaking engagements and whatnot and also the social media channels.
Mark: If anyone wants to follow me on Instagram, like @realmarkdivine’s, my social media channel. If anyone’s interested in the leadership and team development of the integration program, we call the unbeatable mind. That’s the website and feelmind.com and any warriors or athletes who are listening who would like to challenge themselves beyond measure. sealfit.com is our challenge company. We have these tents, awesome crystals. We have tons and tons of Australians come up and tackle those crucible events. One that’s 50 hours nonstop physical, mental, emotional team training called the Kokoro camp. Kokoro means merge your heart and mind in your actions. I think you should do that Guy and you should put that on your to do list.
Guy: put on my to do list. Yeah, I will definitely consider it, that’s for sure. Okay, good. I’ll be sure to link everything in the show notes. Mark, do you ever come to Australia? Do you ever come over here and speak all or
Mark: um, I have not, but I would be open to it someday. You know, I look forward to it. It’s hard to, um, I’m so busy. Right. And it’s just different. Difficult to put an overseas event together, you know, I found, but I did an event in Germany over the holidays. Um,
Mark: So, yeah, I mean it’s definitely possible.
Guy: Yeah. Well you have a lot going on and.
Mark: and we’ll talk about it. Yeah. I really appreciate your time today, Mark. Uh, that was phenomenal and I appreciate everything you do and put out that to the world. You’ve certainly inspired my own journey over the years as well, so I’m just happy to be able to share it with my audience today and I appreciate everything, so thank you.
Mark: Yeah, thank you Guy. I really appreciate it. It’s always an honor to be able to share ideas like this. So keep doing what you’re doing. We are.
Guy: I shall. Thanks Mark.