The Happiness Quotient

#79 - David Vobora, Growth Producing Fear Encounters at the Adaptive Training Foundation

May 10, 2021 Thom Pollard Episode 79
The Happiness Quotient
#79 - David Vobora, Growth Producing Fear Encounters at the Adaptive Training Foundation
Show Notes Transcript

"The only disability is a bad mindset," says former NFL linebacker David Vobora, who went  from the TOP OF HIS GAME, to the agony of defeat and addiction, and in so doing, discovered his true calling. David was picked LAST in the NFL draft of 2008...which earns the dubious moniker of MR IRRELEVANT.

This is anything but a football story, and how wrong the Mr. Irrelevant tag was...for a person who has gone on to help countless broken veterans who’ve returned from the war, emotionally broken, with one, two, three, even four less limbs. As you’ll see, David’s ‘Why’ is closing the gap between who a person think they are and who they are called to be….and that takes place through hard, work, challenge and sweat at the Adaptive Training Foundation n Carrolton Texas. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE ATF: 
https://www.adaptivetrainingfoundation.org/

NFL 360 feature story on David Vobora:

David Vobora: Career Ending Injury Shaped my Passion for Helping Others


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJL3wo4MGfU


=========
For more information about Thom Dharma Pollard:
http://eyesopenproductions.com/

For a free downloadable copy of A Course In Happiness:
www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient

Our theme song, Happiness Jones, appears courtesy of The Wood Brothers.

For more information about The Wood Brothers:
https://www.thewoodbros.com/

The Wood Brothers on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTvWKQovDZlLceuct1EEMMQ

Happiness Jones video can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKIoiVWwF5A

Tracks in the middle of the episode were found on the Free Music Archive and performed by:

Metyu,VKTRD & Ondro M. off the album VR(Y)T Improvisations Vol.II



For more about Thom Dharma Pollard, about personal coaching or his inspirational presentations, virtual or in person, find him at: 
www.eyesopenproductions.com

To join his mailing list for The Happiness Quotient, email him at [email protected]



Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient)

Thom Pollard:

This is the happiness quotient. Today, we'll be talking about the limitless human potential born inside of you. What it's also about is the trials and tribulations that often are the stimuli that force us to acknowledge the truths within us. Today, our remarkable guest has gone from the top of his game, to the agony of defeat and addiction, and in so doing discovered his true calling. His name is David vo Bora, a man picked last in the NFL draft of 2008, which earns the dubious moniker of Mr. irrelevant. In a minute we're going to talk to David vo Bora. You'll see why this is anything but a football story and how wrong the Mr. Irrelevant tag was for a person who's gone on to help countless broken veterans who have returned from war with 123 even four less limbs. But as you'll see David's Why is closing the gap between who a person thinks they are and who they are called to be. And that takes place through hard work, challenge and sweat at the adaptive training foundation in Carrollton, Texas.

The Wood Brothers:

All of my wisdom came from all the toughest days. I never learned thing bein happy all of my sufferin came i didnt appreciate it I never learned a thing bein happy but to know how it feels now and then.....

Thom Pollard:

I'm Thom Pollard. I first learned about today's guest on a story produced by the NFL Network. It's called NFL 360 and I found it on YouTube. The story was called David vo bohra career ending injury shaped my passion for helping others. The link is in the liner notes of this episode. I watched the episode probably 2025 times by now and I've shared it with many of my friends. It truly moved me. David Ville Bora is a former NFL linebacker he was drafted last by the St. Louis Rams, earning him the title Mr. irrelevant. He did what very few Mr. irrelevance have ever done. And that's earn a starting role in his rookie season. Several years into a successful career. He sustained a significant shoulder injury during the game, and the days ahead were overcome by darkness and a growing dependence on pain medication. In the story on NFL 360 David said that he was spending sometimes 1000s of dollars a week on pain meds out of the darkness with the tireless support of his wife Sara, David conquered his addiction. He opened up a workout gym in Carrollton, Texas for high performing athletes. His career was over but his need to train and work with athletes had not subsided one iota. Here's where everything changed. In January 2014, David met US Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, a quadruple amputee, David opened up his personal gym to Travis offering his training expertise, and the pair started working out together customizing and adapting to the unique challenges posed by Travis's injuries. through working with Travis and engaging the veteran community, David developed a passion for helping those with life altering injuries find life fulfilling adaptive performance training. David realize that while there are many excellent rehab programs, as well as adaptive Paralympic sports organizations, none existed to bridge the gap from basic functional rehab to adapted sport adaptive training Foundation, the ATF was conceived fill this void. The adaptive training foundation now has a 501 c three status to allow outside support for these ambitious athletes. And to this day, ATF keeps its services 100% free of charge to adaptive athletes relies on the generosity of individuals and organizations to not only restore broken lives, but empower growth through movement. David and his team at ATF help those returning from a different battlefield than the football gridiron. The battlefield of war of metal of explosives, his own personal experience of pain and suffering has now become a vehicle to transform the lives Have those who have been physically and emotionally damaged by war. In this episode, you'll hear part of my interview with David vo Bora. I'll be releasing the balance of it in my new podcast called, because it's their premiering this month, may 2021. Stay tuned. Here's my April 26 conversation with David vo Bora of adaptive training foundation. That one of my favorite things to kind of understand, and I still think I'm trying I'm learning is that like, sometimes, like really bad things have to happen in order for us to kind of discover something and it's like, look at what you have, look what you've done. I'm not saying your life isn't going to be trouble free for the rest of your life. But you build something out of blood and guts and struggle and, and something beautiful came out, you know, and that's

David Vobora:

Yeah, it's so interesting that you use the word bad because we all do this, right? It's this binary lens is good or bad, right or wrong, but it's just and you know, like as human, as a human species as human organisms. stimulus is what moves us right? if we're honest, we're pretty lazy species. innately, right? Yeah. So So what is it then when pressure resistance, I call it spiritual sandpaper, right? We asked for this the newness we want change, and that when it comes, we go into this fight, flight or freeze, we lock up, we wonder if we have what it takes. But really, Things Fall Apart to fall together to fall apart to fall together. So my story is no different than many of these athletes. Yeah, I'm not missing an arm or a leg. Right. But life doesn't discriminate. You know, we started a new cohort here that runs our flagship nine week training program for people with disabilities and trauma all costs free. And we take them on this journey, right in the physical, seems like what we're about, that's just market entry. Right? It's about what's between the ears and the limitless human potential when you can change somebody shifts somebody, they change themselves from extrinsic value worth the motivation to intrinsic, right, suddenly, they like the person staring back at them in the mirror, that person becomes a force multiplier that then pays it forward with someone in this anonymous experience. And if I'm honest, Tom, and you know, this, the human, the human experience is laden with pain, right? But that doesn't mean you have to suffer, right? It's the narrative around the pain. It's just the sensation. But the narrative that you draw is what creates the suffering the limiting factors, the right and left lateral limits, to say, well, doctor diagnosed me as this right, you're not going to take this pain from me. Cool. You can have it right. I don't want to, but do you want to? Are you sure that there's not something behind the reason behind the reason and that's what we evoke in them. And through that, right, and, you know, these workouts and these, you know, growth producing fear encounters, they blossom into this whole new person that's kicking ass and going out there and helping other people like them.

Thom Pollard:

You've got these men and women coming into your gym, who for all rights have ever just almost deserve somebody to go, oh my god, I feel so bad for you. And you get this guy, Travis Mills or anyone else and you're trying to knock him over and you're like, dude, I don't care if you have no arms and no legs. I don't want you falling over and I at least you because this is it. It's it's between the ears. It's like your your handicaps are here. You know? And that sounds like some

David Vobora:

that's just to say the only disability is a bad mindset. there's a there's a box on tape on the floor at our gym, and it says sympathy box says your excuses. Your excuses are invalid because if you want sympathy, go stand in the box. You're not going to get it anywhere. I don't care if your staff sergeant Travis Mills, quadruple amputee or Rex burkhead. Right patriots running back who works out here alongside these men and women. It's really about look, compassion is everything. Right? Hey, come as you are, right? There's a belonging but don't expect to stay that way. Right? Like we use that term tribe and it's gotten become kind of trendy. But I've been on teams team has a roster, right? It's an organizational chart roles and responsibilities positions. But that doesn't really talk about empowering people to show up for themselves inside of that larger why a tribe to me makes the, you know, most least experience, most experience most impaired, you know, least qualified person and they're they're integral parts of the some of the whole tribe, right? And then all of a sudden, they're like, Wow, man, my story matters. And that ability to tell your story is proof that you're going beyond it right? Like if if you are so hung up on the fact that the doctor told you you would never blink, right? You're certainly not going to believe that it's even possible and then you see somebody to your right and left in this gym doing it right. And it blows your mind to go Wait a second. What if that person a lab coat although they did go to school spend a lot of money for their schooling. They're not God. Right? Let's just do the work. And we'll see, see what happens? I don't know, right? We don't know until we throw the hat in the ring and give it a shot. Mm hmm. The essence of what I like to talk to people about like the people I've usually become friends with and is when we can go off on this meandering path. And it's always about like, what individuals are truly capable of when they put their mind to it is beyond belief, you know? And, and we never know until we try to go there and sometimes it starts in the pit of like the bottom of the well. Yeah, usually does, man that's why I'm a champion to the underdogs. That was my story, right? You said skinny pencil neck kid growing up in Eugene, Oregon. One D one scholarship to Idaho. I took it because I wanted to play at the highest level Pop's was a D one player in Oregon, ended up you know, being the last pic drafted in the NFL, right? It was always Hey, David's good. But is he good enough to take that next step. So I always had this chip on my shoulder. But it wasn't until I started meeting these athletes that they actually gave me permission to go into some of the dark places of my own psyche and my own soul to deal with some past traumas. And again, when I say like, inspiration washes off, you could watch an awesome YouTube video. But eventually, it doesn't work the same way as the first time you watched it. So what do you do to aspire? How do you take what you observe and others? And then say, Man, like, I think there's something in me, right? What I seek is inside of me, and where am I willing to go to grow it. And it oftentimes is this paradoxical truth that it's not through force. It's not through, you know, power or strength. It's in that funny word, surrender, that just hate, right, that acceptance, and then the ability to transcend that through vulnerability, man, like, if courage is action, in the face of fear, I want to surround myself by people acting in the face of danger or fear. Because that flow, the present moment, which is all we really have, that is suddenly a way to relate to everything happening in front of you or around you, but you still have your breath, right? You can still ground yourself in that moment and say, wait a second, even though, you know, there's false evidence appearing real is triggering this, this very parasympathetic nervous state thing. If I just take one conscious breath, try to find the silence beneath it all. Well, what remains, right? And then if I can start from that point, right, it's, it's almost the genesis of where real life is. And if you can find that consistently, you can consciously respond rather than unconsciously react to all the stimuli in your life, we are stressed out all the time, I don't care if it's somebody cutting you off on the freeway, or a freakin bear, you know, out on a trail of both or getting to simulate a reaction, we just want to be in control and the governor over that, then we're, you know, better total human. And the people that we care about will feel the benefit of that. And when we pour into ourselves, the benefit is that it's going to elevate all those around us. It's this dichotomy. I call it healthy, selfish, there's this blending of, again, why do I put my basketball first on the airplane? You know, it's like, it doesn't make sense if there's a kid next to you, but you have to do that to have a chance to help anybody else.

Thom Pollard:

You. You you had some, you know, there was some You're the one of the guys who actually achieved your dreams young, you know, and this is what makes your story to me really interesting. It's like, you grew up a kid you wanted to be a professional football player. And you nailed it. I mean, by the hair, your chinny chin chin, right, you but you got in man, and then you're starting and and and you know, and then it ended, you know, hate men, you know, football careers. What is the average a three year career so you, you did it? And so redefining your identity sounds like that's where we got into some. You know, it's like, how do you redefine your identity after that's all you put in your life? Well, I don't know. Explain that. Like how do you come out of that?

David Vobora:

Yeah, you know, it was tunnel vision for success, you know, my one track mind or what I said yes or no to everything revolved around success in football. And again, being able to have a respectable NFL career, especially as the last pick and kind of changing the statistics on Mr. Relevant but to me, I did, I did more than some but less than most is how I say it. And I and I use that I stole that from a Navy SEAL mentor of mine. And it's interesting to me as I think about my my football career, because, you know, it was largely the mask that I wore that I used to, to gain applause so that nobody asked me what the heck was really going on under the surface. You know, I am bold and outspoken about being sexually abused as a young boy. It took me almost two decades to admit that that even occurred, I stuffed it so deep. And then in men in acknowledging it. I was kinda like, okay, it's out good. I'm done with that. No, no, no, hold on, right. That's where the real work began. And so over the past years working with clinicians working with therapists, working with coaches developing a meditation practice, you know, putting my stuff out there where these these athletes I serve no longer put me on a pedestal, right? And they go, Wow, okay, wait a second, it's this idea of wading into the water with them not standing at the shore and going, Hey, I know it's better just go go a little further. You know, like everything that I've created, this gym was out of what I watched my parents do, living in compassion in church and picking up homeless people and people with disabilities and bringing them to church. Football, that that atmosphere, this camaraderie, the locker room, the Brotherhood, all that. And then kind of this redefinition from again, you reach this Pinnacle, you know, you're used to this structure that x, y equals z, and running down the field on kickoff, you could never ever replicate a feeling like that. I don't think maybe, maybe on the Hillary step was such a little, little doses of it. Yeah. But all to say it's like, you get to that place, and then I have a gnarly shoulder injury. And it was just easier than to ask the hard question, it was easier to stuff my mouth full of pain medication and drugs to to cope with the identity crisis, right. And it's that's not that, that that and just different, I guess from what these whether they're warriors coming from giving orders, taking orders being on the battlefield, and then suddenly being ripped from that quite literally limbs being blown off, and then suddenly be like, Wait, who that Who the hell am I to, you know, car accidents, to, you know, als diagnosis, stroke, what you name it, you know, and that's where I think, my opportunity to use my background in psychology, right, this is sweat psychology, we use weights and conditioning to learn about ourselves, right? You can use large mountains and altitude to learn about yourself. There's a lot of different ways to put yourself into an ecosystem to grow. But when you can do it with people that I think, you know, it's incredibly inclusive, different race, gender, sexual preference, age, veteran civilian, it says this fusion like there's even my church, and I love my church, there's, there's very few places that I feel like I walk into a place and I go, Wow, there is the full spectrum here. And a bunch of people that are looking at each other as human beings, trying to better themselves. That's the only part of access that matters. And I think that that's a model for especially today's society, where man, we can learn so much through the lens of social injustice through the lens of, you know, pay equality through I mean, I could go on and on and on, I just feel that the gym, when you suffer a little bit together and sweat a little bit together, you like I don't care what beer can be purple polka dot, like, I'm going to give you a knockos as we walk out of this thing, because together, we just accomplished something. So I think that to me, is where I've back to the redefinition. I consider myself Well, I'd say 'My Why', my why is helping people close the gap between who they think they are, and who they're called to be. And that to me is, is getting them to see themselves the way that we see them, because they've they've just identified with whatever was or are struggling to. And the parts that they're resisting is where the real gift of their uniqueness is, like today at orientation, a bunch of athletes with a bad posture. They said, Well, I just want to feel normal again, I want to get back to feeling like me. And I had to interrupt him like, hey, if I walked up to you, Tom, and I said, hey, you're really normal. You're just a normal normal guy. That's not a compliment. That's an insult. Right? Yeah. That that difference between normal Yeah, and uncommon. uncommon is what we're, I think what we're searching for, because even if I could regrow your legs, you're not coming back to here, I'm going to catapult you way over here to the abundance of new opportunity experiences, which follow me here. experiences, change beliefs, would shift behaviors and change results. If you just try to shift to behavior and change your results. It's not going to stick. I don't care if that's quitting smoking, or quitting, whatever. It's about the experience first, that then changes that intrinsic belief that now that behaviors, it's like, why would I go back to that note that no longer serves me? So that's the magic. And I personally tried to do it in my own life. If not, How the hell can I tell them to do it?

Thom Pollard:

Exactly. Yeah. So so a veteran goes to the adaptive training foundation. And I know you have like these modules kind of right. They might come in in a group and start like, do a nine week or, you know, not necessarily the average guy, but like, what, what, Blitz, let's say one of the individuals who's really comes in down and out, you can't go from zero to 60 on day one. So kind of how does that happen?

David Vobora:

Yeah, it's nuanced. It's it's fluid leadership, right? So you have to present a stimulus, a stress or some exercise, right? And then you have to watch them both biomechanically and physically, but also seeing how they react when they're at that rep, that seemingly is their threshold? And again, are they using anger to push through with a yell? That's okay. Right? Are they you see emotion on the surface, right? We've used visualization. I mean, I remember one of my law enforcement, FBI, Deputy Director of homicide, amazing dude fell through a roof on a homicide call, it loses his bow above knee, leg above knee, when I got him a beautiful wife and family. And he was swinging the sledge hitting this tire. And he didn't he did. The first step was okay, I walked over to him, I just whispered in his ear. I said, Hey, this next one, I want you to visualize every single time that you snapped on your kids, since this happened go. kind of looked at me. But okay, right. Bang, turn it up a little bit, then I whisper in his ear. On the next one. I said, Hey, this time, it's every time you snapped on your wife. And he got a little bit more. And you can see that emotion. And the last time and I didn't even know this. We hadn't talked about this. I said this last time, I want you to do this set. For those times when you took as much sleeping meds and as much pain pills, hope you didn't wake up and do the floodgates open tears streaming down his face. And he had a theory right that he was releasing those things. So how do we connect mind body, right, the body keeps the score when that emotional stickiness gets stuck. Because we're holding on to different versions of ourselves. We are speaking a language that they don't speak. So the translation is how they feel it in their physical body, right and then giving them cues to discover an awareness a level of consciousness that then they see what was formerly unconscious, right? And then that they can make a competent choice to decide. Because here's the problem. People think that our emotions or feelings are not up to us know where we put our attention. Where we put our focus derives our emotions and feelings. And if we can start to become the watcher of our own thoughts, that little voice in our head that's not paying rent, the slave driver, the one that says you'll never you can't they don't love you, you won't, right? We start to use a firming language replace that. It's really this like, it takes what it takes in nine weeks, sometimes by week to boom, it clicks for somebody and you see now Okay, now they're not just at the stream, now they're drinking it. Now we can take them a little deeper. Yeah, so it's this. It's this fluid, poetic art of being a human being and relating to them and pushing them right to that brink. But then also making sure that you earn their trust so that they're willing to tell you about what's between those years. And it's, it's, it's the most fun thing that I get to do is witness people as they break through.

Thom Pollard:

Um, we kept it to me, it just seems like I have to ask you a little bit about Travis Mills. Because, um, he he just appeared at the right time you guys cross. I mean, I mean, you might have seen a week before or a month later, and this story might not have happened so so when when you saw him, were you still using you know, painkillers? Or were you kind of cleaned out? Just

David Vobora:

I was totally clean. Yeah, so I quick timeline linear timeline here. 2012 was my year away from football and got cleaned up, got off all the pills, had a couple of surgeries and get the body fixed a little bit. I was training to come back. And actually when I got the call to return I, for the first time I didn't just think here was got and I said man, it's time for me to step away from the game made that decision decided to move from Orange County Down here to Texas to start the gym. And I've been doing the gym in 2013. But not adaptive athletes. It was just performance athletes, Olympians and college athletes and such. And then again, I the connect the dots here, the god winks along the way are crazy. And that's what I tell people like you could have the perfect formula or plan. But it's about being head up, eyes open, hands open, because you got to see being able to catch the miracle right in front of you. And in this case, this Navy SEAL allowed me space in his back warehouse and in to start training athletes and then I went to a surprise birthday party for him. And Travis shows up I didn't know who Travis Mills was I did. I don't think I even knew an amputee at the time. I've never met one and and then as the story goes, he strolls in on his prosthetics. And I rudely broke away from whoever I was talking to you and I beeline for him like hot chicken, the bar, as I say, and ask him that question. You know, what was the last time you worked out? And he asked if I had experience I told him no, and I just owned it. I think so often, we skirt around what we actually want by saying things that are supposed to like assume that the person knows, be direct, you know, take a chance on yourself and others by just going like I feel this gut pull. And I'm going to honor that I action. And that's what I did. And again, it was like Travis working out when the discovery of how he can move his body and we could program workouts for him. I just watched everybody lose their excuse to the gym. Everyone elevated their own potential. And I said, Man, what if we could do this on a larger scale and this inclusive that inclusive atmosphere that could breed So much growth in so many people because our our ATF athletes are soul mirrors, you know, you can't walk out of the gym and not have to look at yourself in the mirror differently. And that's the I think the benefit of weaving people from such crazy. I mean, one of the athletes in this current class, you wouldn't believe this spinal cord injury in 2016 because her husband ex husband, tried to shoot her did shoot her gay spinal cord injury, paralyzed from the waist down. Now, hold on. Fast forward three years, this is literally 2019 and she's getting married to her second husband. Well, wedding night, exhausted, you know, I've been partying drugs now called involved. She literally her Rottweiler, and I kid you not chewed her foot off, chewed her foot off, dude on her wedding night. This girls are in our current class. Now we do have her doing some things. We actually got her in a little bit before doing some things privately. And she's already making incredible strides. But you can't make this stuff up. Right? Like it's jaw dropping stuff that you're just like, man, I don't know why this stuff occurs. But this is why this thing was created point being that chance intersection with Travis Mills, that has now created a whole movement. There's all kinds of gyms now, including adaptive athletes, and that makes me so freakin happy.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, wow, that I mean, you know, it, we people just want to be frickin loved for who they are with all their faults. And I think, you know, what happens is, and it's okay, but people grow up and they become adults. And they didn't have a chance to work their crap out. And they just take it out on other people. And so there's this kind of this vicious cycle. And then occasionally, you know, not occasionally but but you don't, maybe not enough. People can see through that they see through the pain, their own physical limitations and mental limitations. And say, like, no, I can I can be like an agent of change on one individual's life. Maybe it's just mine. But if but, and and, and dude and Travis Mills was was about you it more than it was about him. I mean, you were just insanely curious. It was like, I can't get away from you. Let's just try this. And all of a sudden, you both just want a couple of samples. And that's, that's beautiful, because you were willing to be weak or willing to be vulnerable or something. That's a big step. Man, that's a big step. It's easier to drink a beer or to shoot something into your veins. If you know I'm not really but but let's just kill the pain instead of me being vulnerable. Because if I'm vulnerable, then people know the truth about me. Well, what's What truth? What what would that what truth are you talking about? There is not a human being on this planet who isn't you know, capable of malevolence or evil or, or unkind actions me you. But it's I can we can above the base and us and at least die a little bit better, more evolved than when we were born. That's all I ask. Much.

David Vobora:

Preach, preach. Give me goosebumps over here. I love that quote, The all the devils, all the angels, all the heavens, all the hills are within us. You know, Jordan Peterson talks a lot about that dichotomy of, you know, as much Jesus as much Hitler. Right. It's all it's all within. And so I think the word that comes up to me is permission. Permission to be where you are. Right here right now. Right? And I think about what the image in my head is, is Robin Williams and Matt Damon and goodwill hunting, right? When they're when he hugs him, and we'll try to push back and he's like, it's not your fault. He's like, gay, okay. No, no, it's it's not it's not your fault. It's not your fault, right. And then and as Matt comes apart, right, like, that is what we do is just done an orchestrated in a vastly different way. But it's the same Crux, which is love, man. And it's love, because it will, it is that it is the energy state in the state of receivership where if you can get somebody into that register, man, their pain threshold changes, the ability to see they could drive past the same thing every day and see something for the first time. Right? It's this disruption in the typical, this is how I was supposed to operate because somebody told me that it's this. It's this new agreement with themselves that hey, look, even if it's that I have kids, and I want to be better for them. That's a reason but that's not the route. Like we have these meetings twice during this nine week course that we call route meetings and we lock in, it's just the athlete and the staff and we talk about it. You know, guys reaching every night for the bourbon, you know, the Bourbons a problem, but there's a reason behind the reason for the reach. And how do we unveil those things? How do we uproot those things? And then once we do, it's crazy, because guys, I mean, we had a Navy vet who shared about his own sexual traumas as a kid, and he'd been married 31 years never even told his wife, any of that occurred, right, but felt good enough in the circle. And then at the end, everybody writes down the thing that we're going to go out back and we burn in this trash can. But before they burn it, they have to write it down, and then to show somebody next to them, and they say, hey, if I, if you see me pick this up, call me out. Because I no longer picking this up. I'm burning the ships, right. And maybe that's the shame or guilt associated with blank with their accident, their injuries, something that you know, survivor's guilt, where the people next to them didn't come home. And that's I think, again, like, you can go and exercise. And that's, that's great. That's market entry. But it's really getting back to that root of vulnerability. How are you willing to kind of annihilate your ego through practice vulnerability that is authentic, not convenient, where I'm telling my story, like, Look at me, look at me, it's literally being like, yo, my messes your mess, your message, my message here. And like that posture is huge. It is, for me, the quickest way that I see my perspective shift. And, you know, there's tons of self development books, and there's tons of podcasts and other things. But if you can't stop and look at yourself in the mirror without breaking eye contact for 2, 3, 4 minutes, ask yourself why be okay with whatever comes up, that is a task and a tool that is a challenge to anyone listening. You might be surprised what comes up, you might get really emotional, you might get really angry, you might not be able to maintain eye contact, don't judge yourself for whatever comes up. But ask yourself, well, what's behind that? You know, the reason behind the reason for these things is where we find our superpowers. And that's what led me on this, this path that I could have never ever expected and I'm certainly grateful to be on it.

Thom Pollard:

Incredible. Well, that's, that's amazing. And actually, I love that so I'm, that's the challenge for our listeners, the three to four minutes go and look in the mirror. I usually, I typically don't do that I go on my like, you know, your flies on zip. Oh, damn it again. You know, like, I just I should look in the mirror more often, right? But, uh, you know, so a lot of people are out there and listening. And I hope as many people as possible can hear this. The challenge just to be more exceptional. You know, where somebody is in a marine vet or someone isn't, you know, an amputee, they're, you know, in Vermont or in, you know, Oregon and some place of their own kind of slight suffering. What What, what do they do you reach out to another individual, what, what's what's salvation, for an individual who's feeling alone, you know,

David Vobora:

the first step is not making salvation, a thing that's out in front, because it's right here right now. Yeah, right here, right now, the grace is sufficient. You just have to give yourself permission. I say this, often, the prison door has been unlocked the whole time. You just didn't want to push on it. You were the one right, who locked yourself in there. And it wasn't even ever locked. So encouragement to reach out to somebody that's trusted. Of course, I think that when you get these things out that fester, you know that still small voice at 2am that weighs on you. If you just start by sharing it with a trusted individual, it lessens its power over your its grip. You know, I use little tools. Here's a practical pragmatic when I speak about often, what I feel spot out, maybe it's because of something occurring or I'm a little nervous, maybe about to get on stage for a big presentation or something. I use this tool, it's called 54321 mediately. When you feel that you're disconnected from the present moment, often there's a signal in the body, right? sweaty palms, lump in your throat racing heart pit in your stomach, whatever that thing is. Find five things that you can see right around you. say them out loud, if you have to chair computer planner, whatever that thing is. Five things you can see. four things you can feel. Maybe it's your toes inside of your shoes or hair on the back of your neck or your shirt on your skin, the air on your skin, four things you can feel three things that you can smell. Hopefully they smell okay. Check yourself out, right. Two things that you can hear. Just get real still quiet. Yeah. And one what's the inside your mouth tastes like the breath Welcome back. Because the amount of time that it took you to go 54321 you weren't able to concentrate on whatever that thing was that you were hung up on that obsessive thought. So again, that is a practical tool that when you do feel spot out and you feel like that thing is just lowering you're guiding you into this cave, you can Be like, no, here's a, here's a way for me to stop, and then decide to put my attention on something else. And the last thing that I'll say is this, you know, if you ever feel helpless and hopeless, and and you're not capable of kind of firing or rewiring your thoughts to decide how you got there, right, you're just so lost in it, grounding yourself in nature is everything. I mean, it is the greatest equalizer and the simplest. And maybe you do all three of those things, maybe you do the 54321 go out in nature, right. And then you call somebody to talk about what the heck is going on. Those are really three pragmatic steps that I think you can take, that will evoke a shift in you, you know, when you're depressed, you know, you certainly don't want to get out of bed. But sometimes just getting in the car and going out on your own little mini road trip around the town can help change your state. You know, when you're, when you're anxious, I think it's oftentimes that you're tripping on whatever could would or should happen in the future. And so getting yourself back to the present moment, realizing that you can breathe is the main piece of then calming you down and getting you back to a state where you can change hopefully, that that that head trash, but it takes what it takes, sometimes it's sticking your head between your knees, and having a panic attack. I've been there, right? I've been there. So whoever is listening, don't think that I'm over here preaching on things that I haven't experienced, because I've been that guy. And too often I forget that I can be that guy again, I have to be consistent with my practice.

Thom Pollard:

Right on. David. So with the adaptive training Foundation, is there a Are you just, like, let's just do this for a while. And in five years, we'll, you know, see, is there any like kind of different goals you got? Are you just like, let's just do this for a while, we'll figure it out. It's gonna appear.

David Vobora:

Yeah, so I definitely have a plan personally, as well as organizationally. I mean, the great thing is I'm not paid, I don't need to be paid by the foundation. So it's a very, it's the most honorable, possible volunteer CEO position. And for me, it's really culture leadership. So I have a small team here, during and throughout COVID. We've had to pivot in a number of ways, been really proud of my crew. You know, what we do in house programs is really to find those certain people that are force multipliers, and then work as a laboratory to then create the outcomes that we're going to deploy and replicate in different places geographically and most specifically on a digital infrastructure. So we are currently building out the adaptive training foundations masterclass. But it's not just a passive masterclass of 54, self directed videos, 27 of which are workouts 27, which are mindset mindfulness, meditation, nutrition, diet, supplementation, how to keep progressing your goals, a whole host of different things. But what that does, that nine week progression is going to mirror what we do here, but digital, but once a week, there'll be a live interface with one of our graduates from our program that are taking a cohort of 30 plus in like pathology. So example marine is above knee amputee is now taking those guys through this same cohort for things like route meetings, they're just done on zoom now, right like we've done in the past. And with that, we're using the resources gifted to sponsor not just that digital program and building it out, but also being able to pay our athletes that have graduated this program. So they can provision for themselves and their families in a wellness type of lifestyle, benefiting and paying it forward to new athletes. So that right there is going to be the model that we're going to scale and grow, you know, nationally and internationally. We're really excited about that. Then we also just shot a featured length documentary that we're going to be entering into Sundance and a number of other film festivals in August, featuring an all veteran cohort that we had this past January through March. So that you know, to me, I'm a storyteller at heart. You know, being that you have these nine week rolling classes where those that go in it now come back to train the next it's like the best character development you could ever ask for. So a future docu series is, is we're gonna shop this documentary, and I'm guessing we're gonna end up with the docu series in the future. So my piece would be, hey, I want to be influential to you know, produce the best storytelling at the greatest possible reach, while also having it a product that can be scaled as a hybrid between digital infrastructure and personal interface, that now suddenly we can replicate sponsor and make sure it's still cost free for all the

Thom Pollard:

MUSIC BED UNDERNEATH: David and I went off participants. on a tangent talking about Mount Everest of all things go figure and climbing and I learned that he has some dreams that may or may not include Everest in his future. We talked at length about it, and I'm going to share this and that part of our conversation in another segment here and on because it's there. But as we wind it down out of the mountain climbing part of our conversation, David share with me a remarkable story about an altitude related event that happened on a trip he took with friends to smell mass, a mountain that rises to over 12,000 feet.

David Vobora:

Yeah, I think there's something really powerful about that rare air, you know, and it's not for me. You know, last year I was on the west face of Snowmass in Colorado when, with a buddy who was climbing as 48 of the 448 14 hours in Colorado, he's actually getting a 72nd of the Intercontinental us. This summer in July, he went to California and it's a it's a walk up, essentially. But it's a party with everybody. Anyway, we were up at 10 five or so to camp and we set up camp and whatever. And, you know, I've been on a few of these, that super technical ones, but he suddenly just takes a dive. And he's, I thought he had a stroke or some edema or whatever, like just slurring and shaking and he was burning up, but he was freezing, you know, and we were with four guys, they didn't have very much climbing experience. He's our most experienced guy and no guide with us. And it was just clear, like, give me the beacon, I'm going to take him down, I would take him down the mountain as fast as I can. And he couldn't move or walk. So I just put him on my back. And the whole time he's he's barely stuttering and saying I'm sorry. And thank you, right, and he's crying, I can hear him crying. At this point, like for me to tap into that, like, I wasn't even talking to him. All I cared about was running down this mountain. And there's a couple of places if you know Snowmass, they're like Rocky, Rocky, like to the point that I was nervous flying down as fast as I was being irresponsible for people below that type of feeling, you know, because there's that balance of like, my friends dying on my back. And there's could be people that these boulders could come down. Anyway, I just had to look at them and said, Brother, if we start to fall, I'm going to tackle you into the mountain. And she's like, I'm sorry, ahead of time for tackling the mountain because it's gonna hurt, but we're gonna get you down. And, and we did. And we were able to get him down and get him to an ER and get fluids. And it was a balance. He didn't have enough electrolytes plus altitude, plus some other things. But all in all, like, you know, it doesn't have to be 25,000 feet, no, for something really terrible to happen, you know, and that was a very, like, Whoa, moment for me where I'm like, and not in a fear based way. But just in this, like heightened sense of the stakes that were at hand you know, the gut thing, going with your gut. That's it. That's really the answer to how how did that evolve that? Like, where where does risk, you know, where is it? And earlier in life, I was always like a gut guy. But earlier in life, I would push through I go screw the gut, you know, I'm just gonna push it through because I'm, I'm like, young and tough and nothing's gonna kill me. And now hell, man, I'm, I'm just like, every day I'm like, Yeah, baby, I made it another day. And but now I am. I truly believe that if everybody really listened to their, their, their inner workings, and and made their decisions based on that, and were able to clear out the clutter of maybe a friend who's a so called friend, or an influence, or somebody in their sphere, who doesn't really want the best for you. I would even say family, family is the quickest to keep you in the identity that best serves the role that you fulfill today. Right? Like, if you know, again, my wife knows who she married. So if I came home, and totally I was going to do Everest, we'd have a talk, right? She wouldn't just go No, Hell no, that's not happening. You know, she let me do a six days in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle without food and water on a four by four foot life raft for Nat Geo show when she was pregnant with our second. So she certainly knows who she married. Okay. All to say that like, to the gut piece that you just teed up, you know, I did a TED talk on this, that was interesting, because I use science based around the brain gut access, right. And when I say that I'm pointing at my both my head brain and the gut brain. And we realized that the central nervous system, the line connected to the CNS, the enteric nervous system can be severed, and the entire nervous center which operates the gut, that can continue to function that is where 90% of our serotonin and dopamine are created. So if you think on that, you have the operating system of your human brain, right? No, not communicating to the gut and the the body will continue to produce these things. And in doing that, I'd say this, it's about harmony between the two. If you're so gut only I would say it's gut first then had returned to the gut, not head gut head because the head you get the head two thirds, it's gonna do its thing. I heard that I did a silent meditation retreat. And it was brilliant, super hard. I love the talk. And the spiritual teacher was like, your brain is like a monkey. wielding a knife drunk on tequila that just got stung by a scorpion. Were all like, Mind blown. And nobody can say anything, right? Like, that's I'm trying not to laugh. And then he basically said, what you do with the mind is you don't try to stop it. You're not that powerful. Monkey, you can't stop it. You give it a mirror, and suddenly it gets curious, distracted. And so what's the mirror for you? Right? Where can you place this on the shelf, your brain in your head, to use that intuitive gut, in harmony with where you are and the emotional state that you're in, to co create with what is in a state that sounds hippie dippie, but in a state that is your higher self. So like, I it's almost like I use my hands here as I'm like, building Legos. I don't have the map. But it's like I put out my hand in a Lego hits it. And I just intuitively know where to put it. That's like building in a way that feels right. Because, you know, this brain in our head, it seeks for safety and survival. It scans every four seconds, sometimes more. And if that's the case, then it's looking to preserve your life, right, protect, it's looking for the thing that's going to tell you not to act upon your gut. But if that gut harmony is the thing that allows to guide you in a way that is it is largely driven on right brain emotion, that can be really beneficial when we over logic and pro and con ourselves all the time. And if you get good at the dance between the two, then you're going to be living in between them which is the heart. Don't forget that you know the thing in between is the heart if you live from that place. Whoo.

Thom Pollard:

The adaptive training foundation in Carrollton Texas relies on the generosity of individuals and organizations and is committed to keeping its services to adaptive athletes 100% free of charge and relies on the generosity of people to not only restore lives but empower people through movement. anyone listening that if they or someone they know might benefit from a program at the ATF visit their website at adaptive training foundation.org

The Wood Brothers:

you know how it feels now and then I gotta happiness jones my friend, happines jones.

Thom Pollard:

David vole, Bora Mr. relevant, changing lives making a difference. man's got some soul and an understanding of how to help people enact changes for the better in their own lives. David, thank you. Stay tuned for more from our conversation here and on my new podcast, because it's there soon to premiere.

The Wood Brothers:

came from putting out fires.....To get happy that ol' dragon well it comes back mad. I got a happiness jones so bad, I got a happiness jones

Thom Pollard:

Thank you to the woods brothers and their management for the use of their song happiness Jones for our theme song here on the HQ into their publicist Kevin Calabro for helping make it all happen. If you'd like a free downloadable PDF of the happiness quotient, a course in happiness, visit [email protected] slash the happiness quotient. And if you find me on Apple podcasts, please subscribe. Give me five stars if you think it's worth it, leave a review really helps. For more information about me to inquire about personal coaching or public speaking in person or virtually, please visit me at eyes open productions calm and of course you can write me anytime at Tom dot Dharma dot [email protected] Remember, that which we most want to find can be discovered in the place where we least want to look and the deeper and darker the well. the brighter the light we will discover. Don't curse the dark cloud. The rain inside may very well turn your garden green. Thank you for visiting the happiness quotient. I will see you all real soon.

The Wood Brothers:

all of those words I wrote in the storm that rocked my boat all of that was stuck in my throat when I was happy all of those songs I was singin while my boat was sinkin next thing im thinkin' im happy i might as well change my name to Happiness jones my friend.Happiness Jones Happy Happy Happy. Happy, happy, happy, happy happy happy happy happy