Ways to Build a Resilient Family
Joe De Sena
Toughen up your family with simple steps: live your values, fail forward and commit to no bullshit.
In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...
… one “tough mudder” Joe De Sena shares tips on how you can build mental toughness and resilience within your entire family.
Over more than a decade of work, Joe De Sena built Spartan into the world’s leading endurance sports and wellness brand. He also created one of the most popular obstacle-race series in the world, Spartan Race. He’s convinced a community of more than 10 million people to voluntarily embrace the experience of “tough fitness.”
“I want you to give me the worst stuff you got,” Joe says. “The turmoil, the pain, the suffering, and [then] give me the strength I need to deal with it. Just keep it coming. And so that became the Spartan prayer, like give me the shitty days, give me the failure, because I know I’m going to become better at dealing with that.”
It’s not until you reach the edge and get through it that you realize how much you’re capable of. But does tough mean resilient? And does that level of influence translate to family dynamics? That’s the conversation we dig into specifically for parents and kids.
Joe’s always had a passion for endurance and activities that push his mental and physical limits. During the pandemic, he looked closer to home and found ways he could be a better parent. He believes how you react to challenging situations defines you and your family.
“Your kids are resilient.
The only thing in the way is you.”
Joe de sena
His latest book, “10 Rules for Resilience: Mental Toughness for Families,” talks about defining and creating resilience. “This book was born in 2020, while I watched as families all over the globe faced the discomforts thrust at them and realized how insanely unprepared most people are for difficulty.”
During this time in our history, the pressure, stress and unpredictability in bigger amounts than ever made clear that it was essential to develop more resilience.
Joe’s term, “True Resilience” describes a body and mind carved out of hard work, challenge, and failure. He says it takes True Resilience to approach overwhelming situations with calm and confidence, to not get rattled, anxious, or angry, and even to embrace failure, setbacks, and redirections.
It also means listening and responding with intention: “Much of your success will depend on your ability to discern what sparks enthusiasm and motivation in your child,” Joe says. “Find your kid’s flow.”
Here’s some of what you’ll find in “10 Rules for Resilience: Mental Toughness for Families:”
- Proven techniques from clinical research and experience to set the whole family up for better, more effective coping skills.
- Family activities that supplement each rule of resilience and help you put the reading material into real-life action.
- A values exercise to help your family create a solid vision statement.
- A five-step model to increase your fear IQ.
Listen on as Joe shares the benefits of training your kids in hard work, traveling as a family, and pushing yourself to the limit as a parent.
Note: Joe co-wrote “10 Rules” with Dr. Lara Pence, a clinical psychologist and Chief Mind Doc at Spartan.
Enjoy the show!
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- If there’s any time in history that you wanted mental toughness for families, this might be one of them. – 1:40
- So how do you draw the line between resilience and breaking something? – 2:54
- Do a quick head check and you say, “Yeah, this is hard, but my femur’s not sticking out of my thigh. I’m not pissing blood, I’m not in Siberia freezing to death, it’s just uncomfortable. And you know what? I’m still kind of happy. So it’s hard to ascertain, but you got to do it. – 6:31
- I feel like the office community is a real thing, and it’s not just productivity, it’s actually about having support to solve a challenge, a mission, something that matters. – 13:39
- Can you be resilient alone, or is it better to be resilient when you have shared suffering? – 14:34
- I said to my wife, this is when the kids were young, I said, “How do you feel about … could we get a Kung Fu master to live with us and train the kids every day, like Uma Thurman was trained, and toughen them up? – 22:57
- How do you, as a parent, who’s done a good job, it sounds like, of teaching kids to be tough and to do this, how do you know when it’s too much? – 30:32
- So the point was we’re going to take the kids to the edge, we’re going to take them to a place where then they can fly. – 34:01
- If the parents haven’t done their personal development work, their radar for trauma is not there. – 38:16
- “As soon as I realized in my life, that I’m going to face resistance every single day,” he goes, “It became so much easier.” – 41:26
- When I was 16, a few years into that, my mother locked the door in her house and she said, “FFIO, fucking figure it out.” And again, listening to this, you’d say, “Oh, that’s terrible.” It was the best thing my mother could have did. I had to figure out how to cook my own food, I had to buy my own toilet paper. I had to go get a job. – 47:20
- First order of business, sit down with the entire family, figure out the things you value, the things you believe in, and gain alignment amongst everybody in the family on those things that all ladder up to a mission statement. – 51:16