What One Guy Learned from Living with a Navy SEAL

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have Navy SEAL friends, family or acquaintances know what it takes to become one. You may never go through BUDS–the training you must get through to become a SEAL–but you get an idea, once you’ve been around these guys.

The physical is grueling, but the psychological is relentless, and I’ve been told it’s been relaxed over time. Nevertheless, 99.99 percent of people could never get through BUDS, including me and my martial arts friends.

So when I saw that a guy sought out a SEAL to live with him at his home, I was intrigued. Here is the story of Jesse Itzler and his short time with a SEAL as a roommate:

Whenever I learn about someone super inspiring I often make it a point to try and meet them. I may cold-call them, randomly “bump into them”… whatever it takes to become socially engaged. It’s sort of like in elementary school when you slide someone a note asking them to check a box marked “yes” or “no” to be your friend…. only I do it with really interesting people.

That’s how I met SEAL. I was running a 24 hour ultra marathon in San Diego as part of a 6 person relay team. My team was doing it to challenge ourselves and also for some group bonding. You know, friends coming together to have a good time. SEAL was running the same race except he didn’t have a team. He was running the entire 24 hours. Alone.

The event was unsupported meaning you had to bring your own supplies.  My team was loaded. We had food, beverages, first aid equipment, massage therapists and a tent. SEAL’s supplies for the 24 hours: a folding chair, crackers and water. That’s it.

As the race started I couldn’t help but keep my eye on this guy. Who was he? He ran with a sense of purpose I had never seen before. His drive, determination and grit were on a whole different level. I immediately googled him after the race and was fascinated by his story.

SEAL lost over 100 pounds in roughly 60 days before joining the military. He had never swam so he virtually taught himself how to swim before he left for training camp. He was an African American in a predominately white field. He was an American hero. I had to meet him. After a quick chat on the phone, I decided to fly out to San Diego where he was based. He had something I wanted, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Like so many of us, I was looking to get better in the various buckets of my life. At the time, I was in a great routine (get up, workout, work, family, dinner, repeat), but I wasn’t getting better. I knew SEAL could help me. So, about 10 minutes into our meeting I invited him to live with me (and my family)…  in our house… for 31 days.

Our one month together was like nothing I have ever experienced. I jumped into a frozen lake, slept in a chair, and ran through a blizzard. When SEAL moved in, I could do 22 straight push-ups. By the time he left, I was doing 1,000 a day.

I see what Itzler did, as the thing that we should all be doing in life. Look for the challenges by finding the best for inspiration.

I certainly hope that’s the reason you visit my website.



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