The Elite Special Forces are the most specially trained, fearsome unit a country can command. Within these units are fearless, bad-ass soldiers, who’s death defying feats while becoming legendary, are still being shrouded in secrecy. These forces do covert actions such as end hostage situations, to effecting government change, all while living lives as unsung heroes.
Parents are something of special forces unit due to the attributes they require to be successful.
The personal attributes for the individuals read like a shopping list but mainly include being a cool, calm headed team player, resourceful during the gruelling jungle training and unarmed combat skills, a problem solver and good communicator who is physical fit and strong, with loads of heart.
In the Navy SEALs, only 10% of the people who try out make the cut. The entry requires a minimum standard of 42 pushups, 50 situps and a 2.4k jog all under 15 minutes before trying out.
Here are 5 things you can do to improve your own Elite skills and become a badass parent:
Calm problem solver
Staying calm under pressure can be tough. Our natural reactions is to stress and make rash decision, say things we may not mean or are wrong, or completely freak out and become more of a problem for others to deal with. But staying calm under pressure can be trained. First check out your current anxiety levels. Are you currently experiencing any issues that can be dealt with whether it be medically, professionally or socially? Sort you head space out now and start on a level playing field.
Practice patience. People (children) rarely actually deserve or need to be yelled at. So the need to allow your blood to boil and shoot your mouth off correspondingly is often grossly out of proportion with community standards. Practise the skills we teach as parents. When you feel anger rising, count to 10 before speaking, start deep breathing to maintain normal oxygen levels, leave the situation, ask questions and develop an appropriate response before speaking about the incident. Where possible ask you self “is what I’m about to say based on rationale or emotion?”
If you identify that you have issues with confrontation, take some conflict resolution training. It’s important for healthy relationships, parenting and a successful career.
Now that you’ve begun to develop the cooler calmer you, let’s focus on becoming an expert problem solver.
In order to solve a problem you must be able to comprehend it. Ask questions of those close to the problem. Often the problem lies masked by its symptoms. Keep asking WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW.
Evaluate the pieces of the puzzle and don’t be afraid to seek expert advice. Be creative to allow ideas to flow and see which can best fit the solution. Maybe accept a solution that is an 80% fit and then manage the gap another way.
Identify the resources needed to solve the problem, whether it be physical, time, money, human resources etc.
Devise a plan, communicate it so everyone knows their place.
Execute the plan as discussed making allowances for variation on the fly.
Follow up and examine the solution to see if was the right fit; could have been done better, quicker or cheaper? Learn from, discuss and communicate the outcome of the experience.
You can gain experience in problem solving by volunteering in the community. Also it will help with confidence and volunteering makes you feel good about yourself.
Become Physically fit
While you don’t have to sit the entrance of a Navy Seal physical exam, best the best you can be! Can you outrun your children? If your child was in danger could you move quickly to save them? Could you scale a tree to save a kitten? Could you swim against a current to save family or a friend?
Take a critical look at yourself and ask if you would pass a medical examination as a police officer or to take the bronze medallion? While the fitness standard is much lower than a navy seal, it’s there to weed out those that may pose a risk to themselves or others in a dangerous situation. Could you chase and catch a crook? Can you scale a fence? Can you swim 200 metres dragging a child?
If you are smiling and shaking your head no, then now is the time to take action. First get off to the doctor and check if there is a medical reason why you are unfit. If you just eat too much and don’t exercise enough then you are in luck. A personal trainer can help you with that. They will work with you to determine specific goals, devise a sustainable strategy, keep you motivated when the going gets tough and high five you when you have met your goals. Your kids will be stoked with you. That person that hasn’t seen you for 2 months will suddenly have a second look at you and all your friends will be asking about the secret to why you look so good.
Learn to love exercise and take the next step to becoming a badass elite mum or dad.
Could you fight off an attacker or loved one if something bad happened? Wing Chun Kung Fu is a devastating, no fuss martial art that can quickly dispose of any would be attacker. It’s designed to be simple and practical so anyone can learn and use, regardless of age, size or gender.
It’s a system that teaches you to be direct and economical to get you out of danger as quickly as it starts. Getting fit and learning self defence are two of the most important things to do as leader of your unit. For me personally I would never forgive myself if I was unable or unwilling to defend someone I loved. Just shoot me now!
Becoming out-doorsy is as important for adults as it is for kids. Never lose touch with you creativity and curiosity as you grow up. Go camping, bush walking or learn bush craft. Ask you self if I was lost even for 24 hours how would I survive. Would I be able to provide, water, shelter, warmth even for that amount of time? Jungle skills is about being able to survive for weeks or month with little or no supplies and living off the land.
There are a few essentials to bush craft. In a short term situation, fire craft, shelter building and finding water are important, longer term skills like hunting and trapping, tracking, foraging and rope craft will make you more useful and your life easier.
No doubt you will have seen The Wizard of Oz. Tin man desperately wanted a heart yet was the most emotionally available of all the characters. He only believed he had a heart when accepting the silk heart allowed him to truly trust his emotional identity. You don’t need to be a Navy seal to have heart. In fact heart in this attribute isn’t based on emotion. It is you “already existing ability” to show determination. It is your resolve to see a problem through to completion. It is your will power to sit through an uncomfortable situation. It is the grit you show when you help a friend move house when you neither have the time nor the energy to do so. It is the purpose you display when you assist a friend navigate a difficult life situation. Having heart means showing strength of character we only see when we test ourselves. Shielding yourself from these tests means you never get to display them for others and most importantly yourself to see.
These things 5 elements to becoming a kick ass elite parent won’t happen over night, but working incrementally to improve yourself is important. When you have little eyes looking up to you to learn how to act, self improvement becomes very important. In fact there is noting more important than teaching a child how to be the best they can be. So; “Be that best you can be!”