Growth and Development
Hell Week or Bust: How to Get Your Shit Together
It’s confession time.
I am writing this while still slightly inebriated from my earlier Happy Hour with my coworkers, and having only completed about one-quarter of the tasks that I was hoping to accomplish today. I will likely be up working well into the morning, maybe fall asleep on the couch…. I wonder if I will still make that 4:30 am workout? My chances are not great.
Unfortunately, this is not a very uncommon occurrence for me. Hello. My name is Jannise and I am a scatterbrain. Yes that is the official term. Well, not really, but you can find it in the dictionary. Scatterbrain [skat-er-breyn]: a person who tends to be disorganized and lacking in concentration. The struggle is real, and I have been dealing with it my entire life.
I am horrible at organization. The few times that I have tried to get systems in place have been half-hearted and feeble. I have way too many journals that are partially filled with half-written and abandoned to-do lists. Just in case you missed the significance there, I will reiterate. The To-do lists are half written, I didn’t even get to the crossing things off stage.
It’s not something I’m proud of. But I am willing to admit it, because I am now committed to turning my life around, and I have a secret weapon to help me with that. I’m here to share my journey with you. However, I’m really here for anyone that shares in this struggle as well. If you are a self-proclaimed scatterbrain, then share this journey with me! You are not alone. There are other people in the world that are constantly losing and forgetting things and cannot seem to finish a complete thought and…
Hell Week. That is how I will turn my life around. For those of you who are not familiar with this, Hell Week is the defining event of BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training. Yes, that is correct, training from the Navy SEALs.
According to Erik Bertrand Larssen, “Hell Week consists of 5 1/2 days of cold, wet, brutally difficult operational training on fewer than four hours of sleep. Hell Week tests physical endurance, mental toughness, pain and cold tolerance, teamwork, attitude, and your ability to perform work under high physical and mental stress, and sleep deprivation. Above all, it tests determination and desire.”
Now, I am not tough enough to go through what they are describing here, but what I am attempting is vastly similar. I am currently reading Hell Week by the Best Selling author, Erik Bertrand Larssen.
Erik has Special Forces experience as a Norwegian Army paratrooper, so he is no stranger to hard work.He is also the number one performance coach in Norway with clients ranging from business executives to Olympic athletes. His international clients include Microsoft, the Boston Consulting Group and StatOil, the largest oil company in Norway.
In Hell Week, Erik has created seven maxims to training you mentally and physically for a greater focus and a higher level of achievement. Each day has a different theme and area of focus. It is meant to push you to your limits for a full 7 days so that you are able to see results in your daily life and behaviors.
When I first heard about the book, I thought it was extreme. I didn’t even think of attempting something like this because I thought that I had a handle on my issues. I always knew I had them, but I had convinced myself that I had an organized chaos. I thought that maybe that was just how I was and that is was better for me this way.
Yes, I would often procrastinate a little too often and finish things just a bit too close to deadline. And there were always occasions where during this procrastination someone would bring another project or assignment (or two) that was due roughly the same time that I had completely forgotten. But that happens to everyone right?
As long as I finished the work, no matter the cost, everything was right in my mind. Even if that meant that I stayed up all night, or turned things in slightly tardy, or worst yet, turned in mediocre work, it was normal.
That is until I started several new projects, moved to a new state, got a new job and was given what seemed like an infinite number of new responsibilities. Trying to juggle all of this was absolutely impossible with my current methods, so I knew I needed a change. It was finally time to get it together.
Precursor to Hell Week
In the book, Erik stresses that there are things to get done before you jump into your week of hell. The first thing to accomplish is to get feedback from others in your life. Hell Week is very personal, but it is important to know yourself before you try to change who you are.
That is not to say that you are going around asking everyone what they would like you to change about yourself. However, feedback from your peers can help you to see and acknowledge things about yourself that you may not have on your own.
The feedback that I received from my peers was pretty surprising. I did not get the comments that I thought that I would. Some things that I thought were weaknesses, other thought were strengths and vice versa. I found that after reviewing the gathered information, my opinion of what I wanted to change about myself and habits shifted.
If you are thinking of doing a Hell Week of your own, I would encourage you to not skip this step. When you do this, be sure to get a wide variety of people in your life to give you feedback. I choose family, friends, colleagues and superiors. The similarities and differences in them all were very telling and I was able to see myself in a whole new light.
This new view of myself put me in a new open mindset than I am in normally. I feel this can be advantageous as I shift into the life change this upcoming week has in store for me. I was in the mood for new things and new experiences! In the next article I am going to talk about the actual week and all of the things that helped to make me a new and improved (less scatterbrained) girl!