This story appears in FCA Magazine’s July/August 2017 issue. Subscribe today!
“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then … I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.” – Philippians 1:27
I can still vividly remember going through basketball tryouts as a freshman in high school. Many of you have similar memories across a wide variety of sports.
We’d run through drill after drill and scrimmage after scrimmage to prove we should be one of the final 15 selected for the team. After several days, the coach would begin to make cuts. Each morning, he’d post the list of those still in the hunt on the board outside his office, and we’d scramble all over each other to see if our name was on there. It was simultaneously stressful and exhilarating, and I always felt a gigantic sense of relief and excitement to find my name.
But that was just the starting point. It’s one thing to make the team, but it’s an entirely different battle to become a team. That’s what the following weeks and months determined. In basketball, as in all team sports, the kids who could play best as a team usually won more than they lost. Teams working in sync usually beat individuals, even if those individuals are more talented.
The U.S. Navy SEALs, perhaps more than any other group on the planet, know what it takes to become a team. And for them, there’s much more at stake than simply wins and losses; it’s often a matter of life and death.
Scott Brauer and Bill Hart are two SEALs with more than 20 years of active duty experience, and they’re also the founders of Acumen Performance Group (apg.team). APG helps businesses, teams and organizations develop the mental toughness, leadership and team-building skills to thrive in demanding environments. I recently had a chance to speak with Brauer and Hart, and when I asked about the importance of coming together as a team, they got right to the point: “No one can become a SEAL by themselves. It’s a team effort, and everyone has to bring their absolute best.”
The first phase of BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) is designed to test your personal capability to survive the harshest conditions imaginable, so the strength and mentality of your team will have a dramatic effect on your survival in the program. Teams are organized into boat crews that compete in never-ending challenges designed to identify people with the right mindset and toughness to advance. The “weak links” are exposed, and they either have to get up to speed or get out.
It’s one thing to make the team, but it’s an entirely different battle to become a team. After more than six months of this, Navy SEAL teams “flow like water.” They “act as one.” These are phrases we hear often in the sports world, but these SEAL teams are completely in sync and can now count on each other in the most extreme and dangerous conditions around the world. Every man has complete trust and confidence in the next. When one is having an off day, the others pick him up.
In a very tangible sense, this is the embodiment of Philippians 1:27, where men are standing together with one spirit and one purpose.
For those of us part of “Team Jesus,” think about how much more we can accomplish together rather than individually. There’s a reason God wired us this way. He created life as a team sport, meant to be lived in community. In Proverbs 27:17, we’re encouraged to sharpen one another “as iron sharpens iron.” We are uniquely designed to build up and guide one another so we can fulfill our potential and accomplish our God-given purposes.
Whether you’re on the court or on the battlefield, the success of your mission depends on your unity. There is power in unity. And the same is true in every aspect of life, particularly one that many view as more of an individual pursuit—your personal health.
People who have a “workout buddy” are 70 percent more successful in achieving their health goals. Those who commit to using a trainer or coach are also more likely to see real results. We all have something inside of us that doesn’t want to let others down. When we realize someone else’s results are symbiotically linked to our effort and decisions, there is immediate accountability. This is why group training organizations like CrossFit and Spartan Racing are growing exponentially. The team is stronger than the individual parts.
Think about the top athletes even in “individual” sports like golf, tennis or swimming. After victories, aren’t many of them quick to give credit to their “team,” the folks who helped them reach that summit? We all need help from others, even if you’re a Navy SEAL or an Olympic gold medalist.
This “Team Effect” changes what you decide to eat and how committed you are to training. It motivates you and helps you stay on track to achieve your desired results. The “Team Effect” simply makes you want to be your best.
So, who’s on your fitness team? Who are you helping, and who helps you when you need a boost? It’s time to experience the “Team Effect” and get in the best shape of our lives!