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    102nd Intelligence Wing Warrior Airman Podcast for Feb. 8, 2021 - Resilience: A Human Journey

    102nd Intelligence Wing Warrior Airman Podcast for Feb. 8, 2021 - Resilience: A Human Journey

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    OTIS ANGB, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES

    02.08.2021

    Audio by Timothy Sandland 

    102nd Intelligence Wing   

    On this episode of the 102 IW Warrior Airman Podcast, Tech. Sgt. Mandy Givens, Master Resiliency Trainer, speaks to Chief Master Sgt. Sean Sullivan and Tech. Sgt. Gary Roberts about their philosophy and personal journeys in the realm of resilience and their thoughts on the culture of resiliency within the wing.

    -----------------script----------------

    GIVENS: hello and welcome to the Warrior Airman podcast a podcast that enriches the unity of the community within the 102nd Intelligence Wing this is the place where airmen can foster relationships built on our unique experiences i am your host Technical Sergeant Mandy Givens and today we have the pleasure of having both Chief Master Sergeant Sean Sullivan and Technical Sergeant Gary Roberts before we begin i want to congratulate our listeners for persevering through this past year's adversities I’m hopeful you are in the same mindset as i am that you feel more empowered to triumph over past present and future adversity this year and the years to come with that said again we have chief sullivan and sergeant Roberts here to discuss resiliency within our wing and within our lives before we begin chief and sergeant Roberts will you please give our listeners a brief intro of who you are and your interest in resiliency

    SULLIVAN: thank you I’m Chief Master Sergeant Sean Sullivan i am currently the wing first sergeant and first and foremost i am an airman uh when it comes to uh who you are and what you do uh i believe that the most important thing that you can do for your own warrior ethos and your own resiliency is to is to uh annotate who and what you are is as far as what's most important to you and the most important aspect of what i do is the fact that i am an airman and i am fully behind any type of resiliency program that we can do because when i look at resiliency and how it impacted my life it had a lot to do with the social pillar and that sense of belongingness so anytime i felt fractured or any time that I’ve felt like my resiliency was slipping I’ve always been able to rely on that one component of good airmanship and that's wingmanship and that social pillar and to find strength and who and what i do and what i believe and what my ethos is so that's kind of why i always consider myself an airman first and foremost uh currently I’m serving as the wing first sergeant so i get to work directly for the commander and try to get around and impact uh positively as many airmen as i as i can my interest in resiliency started probably when i was a kid i was a youth growing up in Columbus Ohio kind of a city kid we had a lot of issues going on and when you look at the four pillars of resiliency and for our audience uh listening um there are four or more depending on uh on which uh reason you know which AFIs that you're looking at et cetera but uh of the four pillars you have your uh your physical pillar your nutrition and your fitness and you have your social pillar and you have your spiritual pillar and you have your mental emotional pillar and it was at a time in my life where all four of those had eroded and i had a chat chance encounter with a great bodybuilder a German guy i don't know if you've ever heard of him Arnold something or other i think he went on to be an actor and a politician as well but he was given a seminar in a seminar he was talking about the value of the gym and how the exercise and nutrition helped make him a better person because it also led to the fellowship of like-minded individuals who also would help him socially you know so it led to friendships and they would talk about deep spiritual topics and it helped balance him emotionally and i heard about all those things and i sat there and i was thinking to myself i think i was like 13 or 14 at the time and I’m thinking wow all those things are affecting me and making me feel like a fractured human being um so even from that young age of 13 or 14 years old not understanding the concepts as we have them laid out in ironclad now i realized how important those things were for your wholeness and your wellness and making you a better well-rounded person and have the ability to bounce back from trauma so my foundations for the importance of resiliency go all the way back to my youth and throughout my military career um i have seen it in in every branch of the service I’ve been in and for your listeners I’ve been in the military a long time I’ve been in multiple branches of the service uh as a matter of fact I’ve been in the military so long and so many branches of the service i like to jokingly say i started with king Leonidas at the battle of the Thermopolis in in 560 bc but uh i have spent time in the marine corps and the army and now as i said i am an airman and resiliency has had many different names it's had many different programs but it's been a common thread throughout my time in the military from 1982 until now so it's always been there it's just so great to see what you are doing with this program and how it's being embraced by the command and the airmen and that we have other great airmen and resiliency leaders like sergeant Roberts here that are getting ready to grab this and steer it into an even higher level and even better directions so I’m just honored to be here and I’m just so impressed with what you and what your team are doing um so uh i just wanted to say that and for your audience listeners that's who i am and please whenever you see me walking around stop and engage me because i want to hear your stories about resiliency and about the wing and we as airmen can make this a better place Sgt Roberts

    ROBERTS: you're a tough act to follow chief I’m Technical Sergeant Gary Roberts i work in the mission management team over in the 102nd OSS and first and foremost i am truly honored to be here you know Mandy you and i had a conversation several months ago and you know we just you know hit it off and started talking about this topic and chief sullivan i think you and i first met in the gym and uh that's how that's how our story started as far as myself and resiliency i didn't realize i didn't realize the impact that i could have on somebody until uh actually a turning point in my life when i was 35 years old and i went to basic training and i really i just kind of existed and never really put much thought into the influence that i could have over uh the positive influence or negative influence that i could have other over people and you know since that time my wife and i have really just immersed ourselves in you know trying to just be better people and you know the our mission statement so to speak is you know to live a life that lives beyond ourselves you know to make a difference in someone's life to you know have that snowball effect that positive uh that positive influence and empowering somebody to be able to go on to greatness and achieve amazing things i mean last night we just saw tom Brady win a seventh super bowl i mean it's absolutely extraordinary and to know that we are all bound to do something great i mean recently a couple years ago i read a book where it said the odds of you being born are 1 in 400 trillion so the chance that you're here just to exist and you know just live a life you know you know what however many years that is and then just move on is i I’m not a believer in that at all what whatsoever and you know if we could be that force multiplier you know even just the three of us or someone listening to understand that everybody's born here to do something amazing and i listened to going back to tom Brady i listened to an interview with him recently where he was really having a tough time when he left California and he went to Michigan state university and he had a mentor a sports psychologist that talked him through and you know showed him the benefit of hard work and determination i mean everybody just saw last night oh Brady won another super bowl you know it's funny i said to my wife last night when Brady won it was almost like i just this um voice kept on coming in my head like Forrest Gump and like oh i just went to the super bowl and we won again you know that it's just you know it's just expected but people don't understand what it takes I’d listen to tom Brady and Julian Edelman and speak at a Tony Robbins event a few years ago and just what they do in the off season it just doesn't just walk on the field and just is just greatness and the amount of work and the time effort and energy that gets put in to do that it's the same as resiliency and you know understanding who you are and how you operate and understand that you have the power to achieve or accomplish anything in your life and you're always stronger than you think you're tougher than you think and you absolutely can achieve anything and I’m such a huge proponent and being like the sports psychologist or the sports psychiatrist that tom Brady was a major influence in him in his life i would love to you know empower somebody even just one person you know to go on and be the next Jonas Salk be the next you know Thomas Edison or the life-changing uh that changes the course of history and I’m such a huge believer in that and like i said to go back to the beginning Mandy the conversation you and i had you know when we first met um i just i love that you care so much and chief sullivan you know you listeners out there really don't understand you know chief sullivan has a very powerful voice and a powerful message but i was afforded the opportunity when i listened to chief sullivan he speaks from the heart and i could see it in his eyes and how much he genuinely cares and when he says to you if you see him pull him aside and talk to him he wants to know that's not just words you know he i could see it in his eyes i mean we're all wearing masks but you can just see right into his eyes about how much he believes in that and I’m just so honored to be part of this uh to be part of this team and i can't thank you enough for the invitation

    GIVENS: oh absolutely um you've inspired me just with uh and reinvigorate me just with everything that you've um mentioned you know regarding personal okay well i would say personal accountability but just um the mindset that you have to take as an individual to see your worth and to know your worth and to go out there and achieve the things that you were born to do and i agree with you 100 Gary i really do and i want our listeners to know like everything that um both chief and Gary have said just now i mean i this is why we're here today we're here to discuss this we're here to empower listeners and um to provide you our insights and how we came to feel this way about resenting about ourselves and to let you know that it may not be easy but it pays dividends pays dividends for yourself and for everybody around you so um just to kind of go through a few things you know um i want to begin first with uh piggybacking off of what you said Gary i want to talk about us as individuals and how we can be accountable for our own resiliency and what that actually means and I’ll just begin real briefly about my own uh resiliency and resiliency story but i didn't i grew up in a very difficult home life very abusive mentally and physically and i really just had myself to rely on but you know hindsight's always 20 20 and i just naturally like to reflect on the things that are going on in my life and at the time i just kept looking to the future and thinking about what my life was going to look like years down the road and i just held on to that and i knew that um growing up in that environment it wasn't going to define who i was going to become and i I’m very grateful to this day that i had that mindset i know not everybody has that mindset i look at my sister i look at my brother their lives are very much different than mine and that was very frustrating for me at some points in my life and i just couldn't figure out for the life of me why was it that i was able to overcome that environment and they weren't and um you know being a member of the air force I’ve been very privileged in being a part of the resiliency program I’ve discussed in a previous podcast with Jill Garvin how i came to be a resiliency training aide pulling my weight with instructing resiliency with first term airmen and you know providing my support with wingman down days squadron support and then it just so happened that the MRT at my wing saw that potential in me and offered me to go you know TDY and from there it was the sky was the limit i just felt so empowered to build training programs and build training into my flight and just be that voice of resilience and use my experience as i am now to carry that forward but it wasn't until the air force and going through that experience that i started really doing a lot of work on myself really self-reflecting on that home life environment that i came out of and i would hear people tell me you know you were lucky you were really lucky um that you made it out unscathed or i would never guess you know just speaking with you that you came from an environment like that and i had to you know take a second take that in kind of reflect and then come back and say you know what I’m not lucky that was a lot of work and it is continually a lot of work it's not um a one-and-done achievement resiliency your self-accountability for your emotions and how you process information and your mindset it's not a one and done it's not a goal to the finish line it's never ending it's never ending work and i think sometimes that we think of a resiliency lesson and you just come together you learn a skill you learn a tool and it's just over and that's not how this works this is continuing ongoing progress that you need to invest in yourself and again it's always going to pay dividends so um you know going back a little bit you know going through my teen years and just keeping focused on the future joining the air force going through resiliency um just realizing again that it's an ongoing process and uh having that accountability to reflect on my choices the things that i do the goals that i have and seeing that it's all connected it just only empowers me to want to help other people basically and knowing that it wasn't sheer luck that has brought me here today at this table having both of you here to share your experiences that it again chief you had mentioned with your physical fitness goals it wasn't luck it was hard work continually hard work same with you Gary i mean you're a physically fit dude it's obvious that you know when you walk around people always know they can come to you for advice when it comes to their physical fitness and it's been hard work for you no doubt and um just like the physical aspect of our lives the social the mental everything that comes in between the adversities that we are challenged with it takes a lot of work and um I’m going to shut my mouth real quick but i would like for you know either of you to jump in and kind of share a bit about that i know chief you did talk a bit about your teenage years and with your physical journey but would either be like to talk about maybe some mental adversities that you've overcame

    SULLIVAN: Mandy the first thing i want to do is i want to go back and find out who it was that said that you should uh get into resiliency as far as training and programs because i want to find them and coin them because you have been a godsend in this wing um your devotion to resiliency and your vision uh it's just it's incredible and we are just so lucky to have you um but back to uh back to the question at hand when it comes to resiliency aside from any program there's one thing i like to try to get across to everybody which i think is a fundamental philosophy of resiliency and that is mindset it all comes down to mindset and I’ve heard over and over again that you know you have a victim or a survivor mentality i think there's one more mentality because when i look at victim or survivor it almost sounds like it's a 50 50 chance the mindset that i look at is the warrior mindset the mindset that says i don't care what's coming at me i don't care if it is the Mongol hordes and all i have is a butter knife i shall stand here and overcome that's resiliency and its resiliency at any level that you have but another thing that i want to slide into that is even the most the most resilient person in the world even somebody that has all the tools and all the training even the strongest stumble and it's not who you are don't show me who you are with an easy victory show me who you are overcoming a defeat and i will give you a second example of myself having spent my entire life embracing and working on not even before they were defined but just working on those four aspects of my being uh my physical my spiritual my emotional um you know in my social and constantly working those and having them entwined in my life i came to a period in my life where i suffered repeated instances uh as a for the listening audience i had a long law enforcement career and in law enforcement careers things happen and i had a marriage at the time and the marriage was crumbling because of what was happening to me in the police department and attitude changes and let's just say over a period of time acute and chronic stresses crept up and i fractured i was i fractured and here is where i like to talk about that wingmanship and that social aspect the police officers have you know the blue line i don't even want to get into that i don't even like that term um because it can be used in a negative or positive but they there's a fellowship much like the fellowship of the airmanship you know the fellowship of airmen and i had a supervisor who pulled me aside and basically said hey listen um you were this kind of a police officer with his hand raised high and he said you've become this kind of a police officer with his hand low in a very short period of time and this is not who you are right now and you need to work some things out so I’m giving you some time off because it's probably going to lead ultimately to you know a bad ending for you as a police officer you're not where you need to be and i thought about what you know you're absolutely right i got to work on this and what am i going to do and i decided that i went to uh my wife at the time and uh relationship like i said was fractured and i said listen I’m going to take some time and i think i know what i need to do uh i have friends even though I’m not you know really working with them and emotionally i know I’m a little fractured and i haven't really been working out or training and i need to do something physical and whatever i do physical needs to be spiritual too and i need to connect but i don't need to connect with others i need to reconnect with myself and so i went out and grabbed my ruck and bought some good hiking boots and i went and i decided i was going to hike the Appalachian trail and i remember uh i remember uh my former my former wife uh and we ultimately did separate and divorce but had nothing to do with this we got back on track for a long period of time and uh we had a very amicable you know uh parting of ways and we still get along well um but at this time this was this was years after so at this time i told her i didn't know how long I’d be but i have up to 30 days off and i started hiking the Appalachian trail and when i was hiking i was i I’m going through and I’m thinking and I’m thinking about different programs and different talks and different speakers and different things that happen to my life and trying to put the more positive connotation on it and i remember walking and just stopping at places and just looking at a tree doing no more than look at a tree and say it's a really beautiful tree I’ve neglected seeing that tree before I’ve neglected seeing any trees because I’ve let myself get cluttered I’ve let myself become fractured i remember listening to the birds and listening to the sounds i remember looking up and thinking you know thinking about a higher power um spirituality to me i am a man of faith but to me i believe that your spiritual pillar is whatever you want to make it whether it's you know the force from star wars or whatever um that that is becomes your you know your tribal you know leaning or whatever but the spirituality is within and i reconnected and i walked about nine or ten days don't know how far i walked but i remember i got to uh one of the places that you could camp out and i ended up walking down and found a convenience store and i called home and i said hey can you come pick me up here i feel good and i got my bounce back and i went back to work and talked to my supervisors and basically fully recovered and balanced so i guess the two things i want to get across um from my personal story is even though i felt i had the tools even though i felt i had the playbook i knew i knew how to be tom Brady on the field but adversity happened and it affected my mindset and once my mindset fractured i needed something to get me back on so it was that social aspect and that fellowship and having a wingman turn around and say you know yo dude um you know you're off glide path and you know your rate of dissent is really hard and you're a sharp 90 down you need to recorrect and I’m here if you need me but do what you need to do and then take it upon myself to do that so um you know you can be out there and you could be listening to this podcast right now and you could be at a point to fracture and we understand reach out to a wingman reach out to a friend reach out to one of the three of us absolutely um get you know get the help that you need and start working that mindset i mean people laugh all the time when they see me in the hallway hey chief how you doing and anybody who knows me i say one of two things which is best day ever or best day of my life is it really not every day is the best day of my life no when i realize it's kind of a standing joke but the point that I’m trying to make is that if i can if it's the worst day of my life and i keep saying it's the best i can fake it till i make it because i will change my mindset you know words mean something and what you tell yourself about yourself means the most out of anything and if you tell yourself i am valuable if you tell yourself i matter even if you don't believe it when you say it and you say it over enough you will get that mindset because the reality is you do you do you do matter if you are a member of this wing and you're an airman you're an airman in this wing you are valuable you matter you matter to your wingmen you matter to your friends you matter to this world and just because you don't think so keep telling yourself you do and change that mindset and get you know you know lean on the tools that are out there for you and we'll bring it around full circle and you'll be where you need to be before you know it

    GIVENS: thank you for those words chief and um you know again like what Gary said and for our listeners you know chief you are one of the most easiest senior NCOs to speak with and you always empower me when we have conversations um so thank you for those words of encouragement you're absolutely right um I’m here i know Gary you would volunteer your time for sure chief um for anybody listening that's having a hard time and um you know always give your co-workers and um your supervisor whoever you're trusting right now you know in your day-to-day life give them an opportunity to you know sometimes you underestimate the people around you but at the end of the day we're all brothers and sisters in arms and we have each other's back and best interest at heart i know it um chief thank you again for sharing um Gary would you would you mind sharing a bit of uh some resiliency that you've uh garnered in your life through some uh challenges or mental maybe some mental uh adversity well

    ROBERTS: just like you said both of you know it's a couple things that you said and you know one thing that you said um about you know people's opinions of you and you kind of touched on it as well and one of the greatest quotes i heard from a mentor that I’ve never met but i listen to him all the time les brown um i don't know if both of you are familiar with them um he has a great quote he says someone's opinion of you does not have to be your reality you know and exactly to build off what you said chief if you believe in yourself you know that's where it all starts and just like you said Mandy about things will get hard it will be challenging and again what you said as well chief about how you know it's not always you know you're not always going to not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows you know and much like yourself uh when i uh when people say hey you know Gary how are you and I’m living the dream you know is it always sunshine and rainbows no absolutely not but when i really think about my life and where i came from and where i am now i mean the power of belief the power of hope is i feel one of the most strongest draws in the universe and i read a book I’m sure both of you are familiar with it uh make your bed by Admiral McRaven and if those of you out here if after this podcast if you take i believe it's 19 minutes and listen to admiral craven's commencement speech at the university of Texas in 2014 uh where he teaches very simple principles and attributes to his time in the service as a navy seal uh it's really great and but i mean the power of hope the power of belief and you know there's that old quote i mean i love my f i grew up with quotes with my father and uh that's it's funny because i believe it uh i speak in quotes often you know because i believe that they're uh that there's a great message and if you can keep displaying positive messages out there um you know just be better off for the world but um that quote that says whether you think you can or you can't you're right and if you approach something with hesitation or disbelief that you're going to be able to accomplish it you know what you're probably not going to accomplish it you know and just like i said in the beginning i mean the odds of you know your parents meeting at the time they met and your grandparents meeting at the time they met i mean the odds of you being born is one in 400 trillion so i mean i can't stress enough that you know everybody's here for a purpose so when people ask me hey how are you I’m living the dream you know in the power of manifestation a lot of the books that i read a lot of the podcasts i listen to the panel discussions you know and you listen to these super successful people they're regular people like you and i but they achieve great things you know why because they get out of their comfort zone and they did what was hard i mean chief you know like i said in the beginning i met you in the gym you know failure is that's where the growth happens i mean we work out to failure you know when i put that weight in that bar and i push that bar i push it to until i can't push it anymore and if i keep pushing that every single day I’m going to be able to you know go from two reps to three reps and then three reps to four reps and you can draw that correlation in life where you put yourself out you be uncomfortable you believe in yourself because we're so trapped to this the uh routine and self-doubt i mean you wake up i mean if you think about it you know you wake up probably you know before covid you know there's everybody's life's a routine you wake up in the same side of the bed you grab your phone you check your social media you know you take a picture of your breakfast you post it on social media have coffee you know you drive to work the same day the same way you see the same people and it's a routine and us in the military a lot of us you know feel like routine is good you know and there is some benefits to routine but it's also that it's also breeds stag stagnation where you know you just get into the same and you fall into a rut you know and you know if you if you keep on doing the same thing over and over again and you're not being productive if you know if you have a bad mood and then you have uh you know you meet somebody and they you know if they do you wrong or if they uh if they make you angry you know and then you keep on having you know this this time that you're having this emotional reaction is called a refractory period you know and then if you have that you know you carry that with you a whole week you know spiral exactly you can start to spiral and then you know you carry that for like a month you know and then and then it becomes a habit you know you so you know what's wrong with Gary you know i don't know let's ask you know what happened well i had this thing happen to me like a month ago you know I’m having this long drawn-out emotional reaction well if you keep on having that emotional reaction that that that happens and you prolong it you know into months and years then it becomes a personality trait you know so it's breaking that cycle and it's understanding recognizing saying you know what I’m not going to let this happen to me and i recently it's funny because i always wanted to learn how to meditate but i thought that it was just absolutely it was just hogwash that is not possible to shut your brain off and meditate until i had a knee surgery that completely put me out of commission and those that really know me knows that i just don't stop working i mean i finished working the drill weekend immediately went out plowing and i got home about you know 11 o'clock last night and then i woke up and i had to clear my own property you know so I’m always busy i always get something going on my wife and i we're a blended family we both have two kids so we have four kids pulling us in all opposite ends of the direction my wife's you know flat out busy with work you know she's very successful real estate agent and moving up in her company and so when i had to have a knee surgery and i was completely out of commission on the couch sitting there doing nothing i don't that's not my M.O. at all and i really i read a book a co-worker gave to me um by Eckhart Tolle and he was teaching how to meditate and it's just like anything else you know you keep practicing it more and more and more it becomes easier and the power of breathing about you know just closing your eyes and then not having any external stimuli being able to creep in and just focus on one thing focus on your heartbeat focus on your breathing and just focus on positivity you know because another thing that I’ve learned over the course of my years is that humans are the only species in the face of the earth that will be able to think a thought and be able to have an emotional reaction to it i think all of us you know that wear the uniform you know it's funny because prove positive to this my son who's 17 years old recently just watched videos about 911 and he really he wanted to reach out to me and he and he texted me and he was so emotional about it you know it was you know we're coming up on the 20th anniversary and it's funny because he and i were having this conversation about it and i started to get emotional you know and it was 20 years ago but to think a thought and you have an emotional reaction to it you know so if you think a thought and you know it's negative you know you could feel fear anxiety you know your heart may start to race imagine thinking a thought on positivity and breathing and putting yourself in a good place and just like you said chief and you know a little while ago about how the uh I’m losing my train of thought right now I’m trying to cover so many so many things going on in my brain because this is such a topic near and dear to my heart about um having um you know thinking positive and believing in yourself and you know not sitting in that in that in that negative mindset you know and bad things will happen to you and life is not always going to be sunshine and roses not everything not everything's going to be you know go the way you wanted to you know i mean you have you don't have the power to change you don't have power to change someone else's behavior but you have the power to change your behavior and your reaction to that behavior you know another book that i read the four the four agreements uh fantastic book and it's like no one has the power to make you angry no one has the power to make you sad it's you are in control of your own emotional reaction to that you know and it's a choice and believe me for kids you know it's not always easy you know i mean they do something i mean right my youngest stepson just got his Xbox back today after you know losing it for 30 days you know because he had an emotional reaction to something that happened you know and then there's consequence so it's very important to understand you know that you have the power within you know the power of meditation the power of positive thinking and the bet the more you can practice that the more you can build up your resilience to you know negative influences the better you are suited that when that not if but when those hardships occur you will have the power to overcome it

    GIVENS: absolutely Gary um and i want to continue with the momentum that you just you know you spoke about but um having those i guess skills and tools to recognize that's i think a lot of our issue sometimes is maybe not always being able to recognize that we're negative spiraling um or maybe we do see it and we're you know how would you say maybe not feeling empowered or not having the right mindset to really dig ourselves out but um you know there's so much that goes into play with that you know having a good um there was a term board of directors from air force resiliency curriculum having people trusting close to you chief you had your PD supervisor pull you aside or you have your wife and you have your kids to give you that personal accountability but it seems like we're all three of us a common denominator that we are pretty in tune with ourselves we put a lot of work into ourselves and um the training for resiliency comes in how that comes into play for our airmen here within the wing is having the interest to work on yourself first and foremost and then having that pay dividends with our working relationships for our co-workers and subordinates um you know we talked a bit quite a bit about our personal lives but i think it's important to have the discussion about how that plays into our professional lives and careers um again you know an adversarial type of uh event that happened in my life chief I’m a divorcee as well remarried and um i remember very vividly going through divorce and not really telling anybody at work um first of all it's difficult i come from a career field with very few females and the guys you know they kind of were rough around the edges and i just didn't want to feel vulnerable in that and like letting them know that um because sometimes people like to joke around with things they don't know what is uh off base you know to joke around so i didn't really let anybody in on that and i remember being at work and uh having to leave for an appointment to file some paperwork or i think it was signing the um divorce decree but in any case i had a peer co-worker same rank um i was turning work over to him and he just decided to lay in on me about it and um i was like hey you know i discussed this with our supervisor I’m just letting you know like i have to turn this over to you i have things i need to take care of and at the time i was just so stressed and um just oh my goodness it's not like me to be this and this is really the only time that I’ve really experienced this and that's why i remember it so well but i let it i just let them have it i went in on them in front of everybody that we worked with and i believe i even might have cussed at him i I’m pretty sure i used unprofessional language and i did not tell him why i was uh turning the work over to him i was just letting him know like hey I’ve already discussed this i don't know why you're being this way in that way and just really going in on him and um it didn't take too long i have to say after that event i want to say it was later in the day i went it was like during the mid-part of the day or late launch um went took care of the paperwork then came back and um pulled him aside and i apologized and um i let him know that it wasn't it was a very uncommon reaction but you know i mentioned this because you were just speaking about controlling our emotions and being controlled like nobody has control over how angry you get or how happy you are you we all have that control of how we see life and if whether or not we're going to be angry about something or have an emotional reaction to something and i share this example with everybody because again chief nobody's perfect and um i strive to be the best version of myself every day but there are times in our lives where we're not our best selves and that was a moment for me to reflect and to say like you know these people don't they don't know what's going on in my life and i didn't let them in and i didn't i could have let them know something was happening that was a choice of mine but um to carry that that weight onto my shoulders and um not have you know someone either a mentor or someone i trusted within that work environment to let them know hey there's some stuff's going on and uh you know what at any level really i didn't do that and i and then i just had a really negative adverse reaction and um fortunately for me this co-worker and i were we're good friends outside of work as well i was actually his wife was one of my bridesmaids but um we the relationship wasn't um severed basically uh from that moment but you know it's important that we keep our emotions uh and that we're accountable to our emotions with our co-workers because again adversities happen tensions get high your nerves are exposed if you will but we got to make sure that we have that accountability um so that we can not only not you know continue with our mission set but have subordinates and have co-workers that are willing and vulnerable enough to come with come to us maybe not to disclose granularly like what is happening in their lives but to be comfortable say hey you know I’m not I’m not feeling my best and um hey i just want you to know that maybe that's all they need you need to know or maybe they a little you know open up a little bit more but that's the intent of this podcast that's the intent of the resiliency for me is really just to build that unity within the community here in the 102nd and i know it just starts with us and with our listeners i hope that you're feeling empowered as we continue this conversation to um to think a little bit about a lot of the things actually that we're talking about and i know it's all very familiar this is a human resistance is human and adversity is human and uh nothing that we've discussed today isn't something that someone else hasn't experienced themselves

    SULLIVAN: i agree with that and one of the things you were just saying is you know you how being in control of your emotions Gary you're absolutely right and how you had a slip up with um you know with one of your peers at work and that happens but how to get control of your emotions and i want to share one technique that worked for me because there's going to be people out here listening right now going yeah you know what that's great but i have that happen to me and how do you control it and the mindset thing doesn't work really well and i always like to try to reinforce with examples and how the pillars interconnect together so if you feel your emotional pillar is fractured and you know you feel that tension building up or whatever you can always lean on one of the other pillars i know some people rely on prayer some people medication some people will phone a friend I’m going to give you a real world example of what happened to me so i had a situation at work uh i ran late it was just a really bad day got you know just one thing after another uh you know it was a bad call it was just bad everything was just a bad day we can all picture that every one of us has had that same bad day no matter what you do whether it's sell cars or whether you're on a seal team we've all had that bad day so I’m late coming home for dinner i didn't make it on time and my wife um Susan and i will mention her right now in case because she does like to listen to the podcast because she's never been in the military but she is an airman all right so she is awesome absolutely awesome but she holds me accountable so i didn't call her an hour and a half late coming home for dinner and i open up the door and i come walking in the door and she's like you know hey you're running late okay i was at the breaking point and what do i do yeah I’m running late yeah of course why are you asking blah blah blah and i flip out and i go marching down the bed the to the bedroom and i slam the bedroom door and i got my back to the bedroom door and i went uh oh about five seconds later the door open and i just feel a presence standing there and as i turn around she's standing there all five foot four hundred and forty pounds of her arms folded looking at me and she goes do you want to reevaluate what you just said to me and i looked at her on the verge of tears and said deeply i had a bad day okay all right you had a bad day we talked it out fast forward about four months later that day repeated itself again because our bad days seem to repeat themselves okay yes okay life is a gray slate with brilliant pops of color in an occasional black dot those black dots happen and it was another black dot day for me and same things happen and i can feel it and I’m starting to lose my emotional edge you know and it's time to go home and I’m going to walk out the door and i went i don't want that to happen again so i went downstairs into the gym that we had in the police department and i just started banging out some reps and i started working on the bag and i drank a lot of water and i had a protein drink so i put my nutrition imbalance and i used my exercise my fitness pillar okay my fitness pillar and it left me and i went home and i walked through the door and same thing hey you're late for dinner tonight honey everything okay i just had kind of a bad day I’m just going to eat my meal and i just want to sit here and just look at you and appreciate you wow same bad day same situation two different outcomes because i just utilized one of the other pillars that worked for me so when you sit here and you listen to the podcast you hear us talking about that that change your mind or do whatever sometimes you need a spark sometimes you need that thing that makes that snap in your head sometimes your ooda loop is just fixated on the wrong thing and you're spiraling down you've got target fixation what do you need to do lean on another pillar you know say a prayer if that's your thing phone a friend if that's your thing do some push-ups if that's your thing but break it and that will allow you to re-engage that mindset and rethink about it and go back through the door so you don't take it out uh the wrong way on people so like you said recover after to the people that you've yelled at uh it took me a lot of groveling i think she got flowers every day for a week but you know we recovered and that's the other thing when it comes to your resiliency and the relationships that you build you can have a bad day and you can say the wrong thing but if you've built the right relationships with your surroundings people will understand and they will forgive you so i always i don't remember my successes i generally tend to always remember the times i wronged somebody the times i said the wrong thing or made somebody feel you know less than perfect because everybody's perfect in their own way and i generally tend to hold on down those and i tend not to want to repeat that behavior even though I’ve been forgiven um so you know find a pillar that you can lean on do what you need to do to snap out of that ooda loop and break that mindset and then go back and re-heal those relationships because I’m sorry it's just two words right but words mean something you know words mean something and so never ever pass up an opportunity to say I’m sorry i never pass up an opportunity to get pizza with friends either oh yeah this is why i don't compete in bodybuilding anymore

    GIVENS: real quick i you know something a lot of what you said resonates with some um i don't even know if you call it a metaphor but uh basically how i view resiliency and i think that you guys would like this but everyone's familiar with getting something new whether it's maybe a radio a computer alarm clock and it always comes with commercial data it always comes with a table of contents and it's how do you use it how do you maintain it if there's something wrong with it there's a troubleshooting guide of some sort usually with it and i look at resiliency the same way all of us as human beings come with our own handbook but it's not laid out for us it's not written for us but if we take the time we can write it for ourselves and like you said chief you know my way of dealing with adversity in a moment having that you know a split decision to you know emotionally outburst may not be the same as someone else's or yourself maybe you know the physical pillar is where you lean mine might be something else but in any case like you said if we can hone in on our individual needs and write our own handbook on how we can care for ourselves our overall wellness you know how much better will we be as people and how much better will we be for each other and i just i don't know

    SULLIVAN: I’m stealing that by the way oh yeah that's your own instruction manual yeah exactly i love that that's awesome

    GIVENS: yeah i don't know when i thought about that i think it's from my uh PMEL days working with maintenance technical orders and technical orders like having to be uh very in tune with those and i just i just think that it's the best way to explain it even um to children you know if you know we have kids out there for our listeners i know a lot of you have children if they're having a hard time trying to even balance their own behaviors and you know being accountable to their own actions which i know is a struggle for young kids you know maybe explain to them terms right might help them I’m not sure

    ROBERTS: well it's listening to your story chief i can absolutely relate to that my wife you know I’ll come in and I’ll you know I’ll be having a bad day and my wife will just come up to me with a smile on her gorgeous face and look at me with her beautiful eyes and she'll just say to me she said I’m not I’m just not going to allow you to be to be like that you know and i just i just melt and i just say you know you're right you're right and i just you know because it's it might it might sound simple but you know sometimes it's definitely it's definitely easier said than done but i mean at the end of the day it really is a decision and when i realize when i first started to really understand that i was beginning to grow is when i swallowed that uncomfortable pill and said everything is my fault it's all my fault i own every decision i make every action i take and that's and i need to hold i can't sit there and i I’m very candid with my kids and sometimes my wife thinks I’m a little rough and i just i tell my kids i said you know what no one's going to care why you didn't do something you can give all kinds of excuses of why this didn't get done or you can point the finger at somebody else i said at the end of the day you got to stay on your own two feet and you got to look at that person in the mirror and you know what you need to understand that you are flawed that you are not perfect and you will make mistakes and you will fail and you will fail often but you just have to get on that back on that proverbial horse and understand you know what know your outcome and just keep changing your approach and if it if it keeps if it doesn't work out one way or another keep holding true to your outcome and keep changing your approach and you're not going to i mean how many people you know i think a very common thing that people struggle with is you know diet and exercise you know a lot of people make excuses oh you know i can't i don't have time or you know i can't do this i can't do that or you know it's my genetics and that's why i can't lose weight you know at the end of the day you own every action that you take and you just need to decide that you know what you are going to i think it was Malcolm x said that uh what you don't hate you will tolerate you know when you when you make that decision you know what I’m not going to do this anymore and you make that you know motivation gets you going and that only brings you so far it's discipline doing it the same tough action every single day again knowing your outcome and keep changing your approach I’m not going to get into there's a I’m not going to get into the whole story but you look up Sylvester Stallone story about how he's how he started you know he was so down and out that he didn't have any money at all he sold his wife's jewelry and the only thing that he had is the one thing that he had in his life that he loved and that was his dog so he sold his dog for 25 bucks to a guy outside of a liquor store and then you know he took that 25 and he I’m paraphrasing this but he ended up trying to sell uh he wrote rocky you know and every and all the filmmakers that he brought it to um you know he want they love the premise but he said you know what i have to start in the movie and they were like what are you kidding me like you talk out of the side of your mouth you look stupid like you can't do it and they offered him i think upwards of 200 000 for the script and then he walked away because he knew his outcome and he wasn't going to uh he wasn't going to deviate from that he ended up selling the script for thirty thousand dollars in a starring role in rocky he took that thirty thousand dollars and he went back to that same liquor store and he had to uh he waited for a couple days hoping that the guy that he sold his dog from would frequent the store and then in the third day he the guy walked in he says oh you know remember me i saw my dog he's like yeah the guy's like yeah i love the dog the dog's great he's like you know what i was in a bad place you know i like to buy it back he's like no way you sold me the dog you know fair and square he says i give you a hundred bucks for the dog he says no it's my dog I’ll give you a thousand dollars for the dog no way he ended up having to pay fifteen thousand dollars for the dog and a roll in rocky in order to get that back you know what again know your outcome keep changing your approach and don't stop changing your approach until you achieve your outcome you will fail you will fail over and over and over again but like you chief failure is where the growth happens right you know we remember our failures the adversity far greater than our successes but another thing that i live by is what you focus on you will find i mean we just we're approaching the year with covid could absolutely find things to complain about to you know play the poor me about you know but you know what i still say hey Gary how you doing living the dream because at the end of the day I’m happy I’m healthy i have an amazing family i have amazing friends joining this unit was the greatest decision i ever made in my life i mean i had a whole career before that and every day i meet new people and i learn about different people and it's truly extraordinary the collection of people that we have the intelligence and the caring that we have in this unit is just I’ve never been surrounded by a greater collection of amazing human beings in my entire life you know and i feel like i owe it to this world not just this unit or my family but i owe it to the world to give back and um i just uh you know i say wholeheartedly um I’m on a mission to make as much impact and share enough knowledge and to be that ear and to um you know can't emphasize enough that you know what anything is possible you just have to believe it you know and i feel like that's what resilience is just keep on you know repeated failures until you have that breakthrough moment you know

    GIVENS: this is a great time uh to transition and the fact why we're all here today we're here to um for anyone listening to have a call to arms to for people to self-identify within our wing to step up like you have Gary like i have and like chief has to have a voice in resiliency within this wing and within their flights their squadron their group so please reach out to myself, chief sullivan we're both Master Resiliency Trainers within the wing and we're working on getting a program together um to train up master resiliency trainers and resiliency training aides within the wing and really beef up the culture of resiliency within the wing

    SULLIVAN: to foot stomp on that um this program was actually uh briefed to uh the wing commander colonel riley and to the group commanders and we have their support and when you think of resiliency this all goes back to the resilience tactical resilience tactical pause that we did which i thought was a very successful event and i think we brought in great guest speakers and it really showed wing wide that we need to keep messaging resiliency and we need to have it as a team effort so what better way to do that than to set up a resiliency team not just one or two people that are doing resiliency in the wing but a team so the thought process is to build the resiliency triad which would be the master resilience of master resiliency trainer your uh your RTAs and your first sergeants within every squadron and flight so we're not limited limiting the team to one person per squadron so if there's like three people in the squadron if you have two friends in your squadron and you're doing a lot of resiliency activities and you're active in that it doesn't mean that you know we're going to pick one no we want to have one minimum in every single squadron every single flight you know and at the group level but we can take more so if anything we've talked about interests you um you know reach out to one of the three of us reach out to your first sergeant or reach out to your chief because this is this is real this is something that we really want to do it is not a program even though i think it would make an excellent EPR bullet um you know you know uh it will uh it but it's not a program it's not a collateral duty it's a group of dedicated individuals that want to work on improving resiliency as a culture so that we all embrace it together and we're doing a good job of that but to help define it to help guide it and help build the team so if you're listening and you want to get involved in something that that is just a really great initiative then step up and we'll get you the training you know Mandy’s got a great training program we'll get you trained up and we're going to get this thing uh you know get this thing rolling

    GIVENS: thank you for those words chief and i want to thank you chief and sergeant Roberts for contributing to the unity within the 102nd community and for those of you listening and wish to contribute to an episode of the warrior airman podcast please reach out to me via outlook email or my personal email at mandy.givens@yahoo.com i look forward to hearing from you take care.

    AUDIO INFO

    Date Taken: 02.08.2021
    Date Posted: 02.10.2021 09:18
    Category: Newscasts
    Audio ID: 65291
    Filename: 2102/DOD_108180677.mp3
    Length: 00:57:14
    Location: OTIS ANGB, MASSACHUSETTS, US

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