Sunday, January 11, 2015


I took a class today. It was an emergency medical class for "experienced advanced level" providers. I could very loosely be put in that category. However in my mind only loosely. I obsessed over the class, I studied and worried about failure and embarrassment. It caused me sleeplessness. It ended up being fine in the end and I passed with no issues. But it was another selection event. Events I put myself through on a regular basis, I am not sure why.

I went through Special Forces Selection and Assessment way back in 1990. Without getting into the gory details,details of which I am still not supposed to talk about, SFAS was one of the events that shaped my life.  Selection is a pretty open secret. Discovery Channel even did an hour long special on it. However I did sign a document saying I would not divulge what happened so, I will not, but here is a link if you are curious . Anyhoo ever since then whenever I do something difficult or outside of my comfort zone I refer to it as a "selection event."

These events take many forms. Sometimes having a difficult but necessary conversation with an employee is my selection event for the day, sometimes talking to a client, or trying to sell some business.Sometimes my selection event has to do with academics as it did today.More often than not the event involves something physical. I run ultra marathons, but trying to fit the training in around the rest of my busy life often becomes an event unto itself. I recently started participating in Crossfit which at 51 years old is really outside my comfort zone. I try to train and keep up on my defensive tactics which can also be embarrassing or difficult when you can't control your fine motor skills as desired.

But why? I once had a psychiatrist tell me I had low self esteem. This was after I took the Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Index (MMPI) to get into The Special Operations Target Interdiction Course or more commonly called SOTIC or "sniper school". I ended being the honor graduate of that course despite her assessment. It is a fact that I often don't feel like I belong in the company of the people of which I am associated. On the surface I have an impressive resume but in reality I don't feel I deserve to even be mentioned in the same breath as most of the excellent special operators, paramedics or LEO I have worked with. Maybe that is what low self esteem is all about. All I know is I have this constant desire to test my boundaries and prove to myself I can conquer whatever obstacle I see, real or imagined. Self created or not.

On the other hand I also think by constantly putting myself through selection I make myself stronger. If you don't self select then you become weak and complacent. The weak and complacent wither and die. Am I as strong, fast, or skilled as I used to be? Nope but I am stronger, faster and more skilled than I would be if I just sat around watching TV. In the words of the immortal Toby Keith " I ain't as good as I once was ,but I am as good once as I ever was." So selection goes on. Life is a selection event, Life is an endurance event. I leave you with my favorite poem by Dylan Thomas.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas1914 - 1953
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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