Retired Navy SEAL, shows resilience, through dogs

By now you’re probably familiar with the concept of having a word of the day associated with our Overcome+Conquer Show, at least I hope you are (if you follow the show, and if you don’t well….. Get on it!). So, a few months back we had an episode where the word was resilience. And while we don’t like repeating ourselves, we kind of had to.

On the latest episode of The Overcome+Conquer Show, we sat down with retired Navy SEAL Mike Ritland. And just like the last time we used the word, this guest is resilience personified. 

Mike has taken a personal interest on how dogs can help us reach a resilient state. He trains them for any aspect where they can be useful. Whether in our personal lives with a service dog, or a rescue dog, or even in a tactical manner, Mike teaches the skills needed to be a great handler. And what’s better, these skills can help YOU become more resilient. Check out his site, to see all that he offers in canine care and training.

He served 12 years as a SEAL and saw action in Operation Iraqi Freedom. During that time, he witnessed a marine mission where an explosive detection dog basically alerted the marines to a grenade that had been trapped in a doorway, and he literally saved the lives of these marines. 

And it was from that point forward Mike realized his calling.  He had always loved dogs, but he decided that day he was going to start working with these animals and utilize them to basically beat the enemy. And he became one of the first groundbreaking SEALs that got into the Combat Assault Dog or CAD program, and multi-purpose canine training.

Today, Mike has trained dogs and helped everyone from celebrities, to wealthy business owners, to the rest of us life all-stars. And from these experiences he has learned from everyone he meets, that when the chips are down, it isn’t always the strong that survive. Instead, it’s those that show resilience in the face of adversity.

Mike said, “Yeah, some people have better deals than others. But the one common denominator between all of those guys, any business mentors I’ve had and everybody that I know in the SEAL teams that made it, just making it through BUD/S, if you contrast the people that do versus most who don’t, every one of these guys has one single thing in common, no matter what country they’re from, no matter what business they’re in, no matter what the f*** they do for a living, and that’s resilience, is that they never ever f****** give up, no matter what.”

And that’s key in keeping the Overcome mindset. He goes on to talk about how in every walk of life he has come across, whether it’s athletes, celebs, multimillion-dollar CEOs, that the one thing they have in common is resilience. Not talent, not smarts, not even strength. Being resilient has been the biggest difference between making it through one of life’s ambushes, or not.

And that’s exactly what getting off the X is all about. The mindset that, “I’m not gonna let this thing get me. I will push through, and endure. This is NOT how my story ends.”

Adapting to the current landscape of things is something we are all dealing with. This is not what we know. It isn’t normal. And it may not be normal for a while. But it will end. We just have to get through it, together.

One of the stories Mike tells on the show is about how we can take this time we have, and use it to our advantage. If we’re struggling to find a purpose, or even if it’s one of those days that just creeps by, no end in sight, find something we love and get to work. No matter what it is, a hobby, a marketable skill, or just something to pass the time, if we find something new to focus our brain on, we can show resilience. And with that, develop a healthy coping mechanism for when tough times come around.

Mike said, “So, resilience to me, especially given right now, resilience is something that really is a choice. At the end of the day, the beauty of it is that it’s not a genetic gift that you’re handed down generation to generation. It’s a choice that you make every day, and not even every day. It’s throughout the day. It’s that every decision that you’re faced with, you can have the decision or the choice to either be resilient about it, or let it crumble you like a lawn chair, right? So, to me, take this as an opportunity to practice resiliency and look at anything that comes your way, whether you lose your job, you don’t have enough money in the bank to support your family more than four days, whatever it is. I mean, resiliency is a state of mind. It’s a way of life. And let any hardship that comes your way right now, let it be a lesson for you to now know the next time what you need to have to be prepared.”

And that’s the key take away I always try to make.  That we are all facing hardships or we will face them. It’s how we keep that Overcome mindset, get off the X, and power through that makes all the difference. And we all have the ability to do that.  To make a choice to drive forward.  With resilience.

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