Introducing Your High Impact Life

By Rob DuBois, CEO, Impact Actual

“Our character is basically a composite of our habits.”

Stephen R. Covey

“Stuck” is an illusion. There is always something you can do.

In these painful days with devastation in Afghanistan, a year of loss and division over COVID, and whatever else you are experiencing individually, it’s easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed. You don’t have to. There is always something you can do.

Drifting and confused, too, is a temporary condition. Once you understand that there’s always something you can do, you won’t settle for uncertainty…because taking charge and making your life a meaningful adventure is awesome. More importantly, it matters. You need to make a difference; you just might not yet know how.

Even more importantly, we need you to make a difference. Take a look at the news.

2001, shortly before 9/11, Rob (second from right) on deployment in Arabian Gulf with SEAL platoon

I want to help you imagine that the only right belief about limits is that there are no limits. A life where your goals are achieved, your relationships improved, and your soul feels free…free of fear, doubt, or pain. Sneak peek: if you like what you read here, you may be a good candidate for our six-week, online Impact UNCHAINED course.

I’m Rob DuBois, founder and CEO of Impact Actual. For fifteen years I’ve taught people how to “max out” our potential, stop settling for the misery of mediocrity, and destroy self-limiting beliefs and behaviors in order to make their life mission clear and effective. In the coming weeks we’ll be unveiling more of what it takes to build your High Impact life – through taking action.

Before the coaching life I was a career Navy SEAL and intelligence operator working with NSA, CIA, and DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency. I learned several languages, deployed to dozens of countries, trained hundreds of foreign special operations forces, and conducted missions that will be declassified a few decades from now. I’ve been involved in every war since the Cold one, and seen the best our species has to offer…and also the high price that comes because of people who choose to hurt others for their own advantage.

2001, shortly after 9/11, Rob conducted this special reconnaissance mission in the Arabian Gulf that enabled the US Marine Corps invasion of Afghanistan and launched the Global War on Terror

I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq for the past 20 years. The immense suffering we’re witnessing is a product of some people choosing to hurt others to advance themselves.

I say these things so you know you’re reading someone who has actually been there and done that and got the shirt. I want to recruit you permanently onto the team of builders and makers and givers.

I spent the 20 years of my military career having my own self-perceived limits blown out of the water…pardon the pun. As you probably know, SEAL training is considered among the toughest military schools in existence. Possibly the toughest in the world.

The Original “10X”

That school, called “BUD/S” for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, was founded on one guiding principle: they would take the raw material of highly motivated recruits with an unquenchable “fire in the belly” and guide us through destroying one self-limiting belief after another…until we would comprehend that we literally can do ten times what we had believed to be true.

If a man thought he could run a mile and a half, BUD/s will make him run 15. If he thought he could do 20 push-ups, BUD/S will push him to 200. If he thought he could train straight through a full 12-hour day, BUD/S will push him to train straight through five full 24-hour days – stopping only to eat every six hours.

This is the original, literal “10X.”

The five-straight-days ordeal is called Hell Week. It happens about a month into every SEAL’s training. Hell Week is a dramatic weeding out experience for this voluntary program.

And even the extreme selection process for BUD/S doesn’t guarantee candidates will complete the year of training it takes to become a SEAL. Despite rigorous mental, physical, and psychological testing just to start, washout rates average from 75% to 90%. (There is an apocryphal tale that one class graduated nobody. I’m still not sure whether they just made that up to scare us.)

Do you want to know the single distinguishing characteristic of all those who finish? It isn’t body mass. It isn’t athletic talent or intellectual prowess. It isn’t knowing the right people.

The secret to completing…is committing. SEALs are the ones who never gave up.

No matter what.

1993, early selfie of Rob immediately following release from “prisoner of war” (SERE) school … never give up

Believe me: keeping going in BUD/S often hurts like hell.

You know why they say it, even though a literal 10X is usually a wild exaggeration of their own professional experience and even of their own lives? Because it’s popular and it’s catchy and it makes for compelling sales copy.

Today you’ll find thousands of slick coaches and consultants promising to teach you to “10X” your life and business. It’s the great catchphrase of today’s self-help scene, right up there with “facilitation” and “synergy” from earlier coaching generations.

But now you’re engaging with the Team that really can guide you to your own 10X. Because we’ve done it.

Commitment Will Carry You Through Hell

As I explored my own tempering as a SEAL and discovered new ways to explain how to forge your life into a mission to make an impact, the foundation of Commitment was obvious. That’s why it’s the first of the 12 “Actions” in our High Impact System, pointing you to the exact Action you can take starting today – to begin getting unstuck.

Don’t give up, and you will never be beaten.

Sure, if you’re taking on worthy challenges (bold business moves, radical personal growth, going deeper in the vulnerability of a relationship), you’re going to get your ass kicked. You will lose the deal, twist an ankle, fail the class, get dumped at the worst possible moment. You will hurt, and you will question.

But you will never be beaten if you never give up.

Re-think “winning and losing.” When you win, enjoy it. When you lose…learn.

When you learn, you win.

I can’t count the losses in my own life. I’ve had “failed” businesses and “failed” relationships. I even “failed” as a self-respecting drunken sailor when I finally recognized my addiction to booze in my early career and stopped using drugs and alcohol.

I’ve been broke, and sick, and fat, and weak, and deeply depressed…and suicidal. I’ve been jailed, and fired, and rejected. And as a result of post-traumatic experiences, I’ve known deep self-hatred.

1991, Rob faced the first of many crossroads moments at a remote base in Turkey – quit drinking, or lose a career

For many years I focused on the “failing” part of all these experiences. Like you, I’ve had moments of self-doubt and moments of hopeless confusion.

Like you, I’ve felt terribly stuck, in different times and in different areas of life.

And then I began to comprehend the secret in plain sight: what I am, and what you are, is a unique and remarkable system of systems, each of which affects the others, and all of which require attention and balance so our entire life experience can function well.

If we understand this design, it unlocks unlimited personal power.

The System Of Systems Of You

We are made of four equally real and equally important systems I like to call the Human Aspects: Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul. (I introduced these in my first book, “Powerful Peace; A Navy SEAL’s Lessons on Peace from a Lifetime at War.”)

For better or for worse, the condition of your physical system, your Body, has a major impact on how you feel in your emotional system, or Heart.

Are you heavier or unhealthier than you want to be? You will feel bad about that. If you’re nailing your fitness goals, you will feel great about that.

When you feel lousy, your mental system is impacted, and your Mind will be less effective at good decisions (like whether to eat that third donut).

When your Mind and Heart are in a bad place, your conscience (the system of Soul) says “Screw It!” and you’re much more likely to make poor ethical choices when dilemmas arise.

When you make poor decisions because your Mind is affected by bad feelings, gobble down that rhetorical donut and feel still worse, emotionally, and then from decisions like that you get worse, physically… your rational choices will degrade even further.

You can literally watch the cycle spiraling downward, “circling the bowl.”

2015 Tanzania, Rob reflective during Serengeti crossing – humans are complex (Photo Credit: National Geographic Channels/Ian & Natasha Dray)

Make sense?

And when that ethical system of Soul – your character – is impacted by negative choices in any or all of Body, Mind, and Heart, you may sometimes find yourself choosing the ultimate “Screw It” and betray the trust of a lover, a friend, a business partner, or even yourself. Shame piles up. The spiral accelerates.

This may seem grim, because it is grim. Such self-inflicted wounds happen in people all around you every day. It likely has happened, or is happening, in your own life.

But chin up. When that spiral happens – or, ideally, before it happens – you can always choose to return to Commitment and reset. Commit to Growth.

That’s our first Action.

You Are The Builder – Build Yourself

I’ve introduced these four “Human Aspects,” or Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul. In future posts we will go deeper into the meanings and interactions of the Aspects, these four systems in your whole life system.

For now, keep it simple and just remember the four L’s: Live, Learn, Laugh, and Love. In military phonetics (our radio comms “ABC’s” beginning with Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie), the letter L is represented by the word Lima (like Lima, Peru, not the lima bean). Thus for training purposes at Impact Actual we summarize the process of training and balancing yourself across Live (Body), Learn (Mind), Laugh (Heart), and Love (Soul) as “LIMA FOUR.“

(Sneak peek: there’s a fifth L, “Lead,” which we’ll also unpack later. It’s a priceless – and inevitable – by-product of doing your best with the first four.)

Did you notice that I mentioned “negative choices” in any or all of the Aspects? It’s critical to understand also that every moment you are awake is a “moment of choice.” Sure, there are more dramatic choices which we sometimes call crossroads, but in every single second of life you are choosing your action or inaction, word or silence, even the path of your thought life – which leads to feelings…which strongly affect future choices. Everything is connected.

2017 Hawai’i, Rob teaching natural movement (balancing Body, Mind, Heart, Soul) with friend and MovNat founder, Erwan LeCorre, and wife Jessika

At Impact Actual, one of our most important slogans is “Choose Your Change.”

This is because change will happen from every choice, large or small. The little ones may be whether you drink juice or coffee in the morning, or whether you stay up 2 hours too late bingeing the latest series. Small though they may be, these have an obvious effect on your energy levels during the day, and that will affect your physical, mental, emotional, and ethical choices.

I’m not scolding you – we all make less effective and more effective choices, daily.

I’m only asking you to own it when you do. You are constantly choosing your change.

For better or for worse.

And how about the biggies, like whether to accept that marriage proposal, take the job three states over, or invite your elderly parent to move in with you? They come with even more obvious ripple effects.

Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It

I know this is a lot to take in. I’ve promised that you don’t have to stay stuck, that our mission at Impact Actual is to help you take charge in discovering and executing your own unique mission, and that we have a proven process for you to 10X yourself that way: the High Impact System. Well, surprise — you’ve actually learned nearly half of the system already!

In a moment I’ll wrap up by listing the first 5 Actions, which you’ve read about in this post. The High Impact System comes in two parts: foundational Actions 1 through 6 form the Mindset, and Actions 7 through 12 are the Method. (When you’re ready, we’ll invite you to dive deep into your personal High Impact Method through our “Impact UNCHAINED” course.)

Any worthwhile undertaking requires preparation. This is why we focus first on helping you set your mindset. Have you ever painted a room? Doing it right means moving the furniture, scraping the walls, filling the holes, taping the seams, sweeping the floor, and finally laying out the paint, pans, and brushes.

So when you paint a room, you’ve completed a good 80% of the work before you even touch a brush to a wall.

Similarly, when you want to succeed in work and life and love, the preparation IS the work. It’s a process. Then when it’s time to seal the business deal, enter that race, or drop to one knee, your chances of a successful outcome skyrocket.

August 2021, age 55, Rob and over 100 other Navy SEALs did hundreds of push-ups and swam 3 miles in the Hudson River to raise money for veterans in need – find your dream and live it

Trust the process. You’ll hear me say that a lot.

Now let’s take a look at the 5 of 12 Actions you’ve learned without knowing it:

  1. Commit To Growth
  2. Build Your Body
  3. Mold Your Mind
  4. Heal Your Heart
  5. Search Your Soul

As mentioned, we at Impact Actual exist to help you find your path, clear your path, and then walk your path. Your design is unlike any other human’s. Your likes and dislikes, gifts, talents, and interests, taken all together, make the total you as one-in-seven-billion as a fingerprint. Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize we have this unique design and a correspondingly unique purpose to make a difference for everybody else. Most of us start – and end – life thinking most of it just has to be endured.

And why not? It’s natural for a cat to dread a life spent in water, or a fish to hate living in trees. If you haven’t found what you love to do, you may assume there’s nothing you would love to do.

But I’d ask you to relax your assumptions for a moment. For just a moment, imagine the possibility that you can discover a perfect path for yourself, live a healthy and balanced life, do work that makes you want to jump out of bed (not a window) on Monday morning, and be in loving relationship with others…and yourself.

Give this idea a chance, and you’ll start a ball in motion that can take you beyond your imagination.

Watch this space as we continue to share lessons on self-mastery. And if you’re ready to Commit to making a real change in your life, book a free Discovery Call with us to see whether you’re a good fit for UNCHAINED.

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Rob DuBois