Listen as Tony Nash talks to George Briones III, a US Reconnaissance Marine veteran, athlete, and the director for training and programming for the tactical fitness company SOFLETE.
George looks back at his life in the military and talks about one thing that he continues to implement to this day: the necessary tactical pause during transitions.
He shares how, while on patrol in Afghanistan, the team would move across choke points or dangerous areas and do a “security halt” to regain composure and to have quick and quiet communication. During short halts, team members drop to one knee, face out, and survey the moment and the environment around them.
He says applying this military tactic allows him to be fully present in the moment.
“I’m taking this dynamic of working in this team and just turning it more into an internal process. Where am I at? Where’s my headspace? Am I good to rock and roll for this next thing I got to do?”
For George, it’s your job to take care of yourself. The tactical pauses do not have to take long and be complicated. It could be as simple as taking deep breaths or going out for some air before returning to work.
Reconnecting with Himself
Growing up a Catholic, George says he had to “de-anchor” himself from his spirituality when he entered the military to survive. But in the last 5 years, he says he has learned to reconnect with his inner self and spiritual side by doing things he used to love – drawing, painting, writing, and photography.
“It’s me being able to recognize that I’m the Holy Spirit and I’m able to connect myself. If I can hold on to that, and stay attached to my heart from that perspective and from those actions in the way I live my life, it allows me to be grounded in keeping me who I am and continuing moving forward.”
Now as he dives into content creation, writing, and sharing his thoughts in public, George says he has learned to adapt the skills he learned from the military to his daily life and his new world as a professional. This is where veterans struggle as they transition out of the military, as he says they had to retrain themselves “to live in a world they haven’t lived before.”
He says professions or jobs regularly change but your humanity stays, so you have to value yourself.
Learning Out of Necessity
George says there is no book or secret magic pill that can fix your life or make you successful. You have to show up every single day.
Recently, he was inspired by the podcast interview of New York Times bestselling author Amy Harmon, who said she learned writing by simply doing and reading. George says this made him realize that he indeed learned so many things in the military out of the necessity to survive. Now moving forward, he says he continues to do many things out of need for creativity and self- discovery.
He says it’s part of who a person is, citing his own craving for conversation, creativity, and sharing his thoughts with others.
One of the biggest lessons he needed to learn came from a devastating failure – giving up his own strength conditioning facility, which was his lifelong dream.
He attributes this failure to his inability to fix himself, owing to his mental health struggles. But this ultimately led him to his biggest success – being empowered and prepared to look within himself, fulfill his needs, and address his problems. Without this failure, he would not be able to reach where he is now.
“But at the end of the day, I’m happy with the lows I hit. Without those lows, I wouldn’t have been able to recognize the needs that I needed to get me back to the baseline and ultimately allow me to live the life I’m living today.”
At the time, fresh out of the military, he recalls engulfing himself into work and in the process ignoring himself and his family. His failure to take care of himself led to the failure of those around him.
It took him another year and a half to seek help.
“I’m no longer chasing the dragon. I’m now befriending my dragon. I’m now able to sit there eye to eye with the dragon and have legit conversations with it. I had to learn it.”
Transparency with Himself
Now, George says he strives to be transparent with himself every day to thrive and to be a positive influence to others.
“Another thing I learned from the military is you have to be as transparent with yourself and your buddies to your left and right to stay alive. What have I done – I’ve learned to be as transparent with myself so people around me can be transparent for themselves.”
He says he wakes up every morning knowing that he has to climb a mountain – a new and different one each day. He regularly reflects if he had given 110% to his wife, children, and colleagues that day.
“If I am not able to say yes, I will then have to be better at it.”
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