Meet Mike Weeks — author, adventurer, family man and Friend of Ned. He’s trained world class athletes, Special Forces teams, the US Marine Corp, firefighters, police officers, celebrities and CEOs how to be their best selves under pressure. We chat with Mike about his newest book, Resilience By Design: How to Survive and Thrive in a Complex and Turbulent World, and get some great tips on building personal resilience to stress.
Ned: How would you describe yourself?
Mike: An obsessive learner who continually jumps into life with both feet and no parachute.
Ned: What are the core values that guide you in your daily life?
Mike: Freedom to truly think and act for myself. Elegance to interact with the world with little fuss. Responsibility to do what’s required, not desired. Love of family and very select friendships are what drive most of my daily efforts.
Ned: Tell us about your newest book, Resilience by Design: How to survive and Thrive in a Complex and Turbulent World.
Mike: Our book is the combination of 30+ years of experience as athletes, entrepreneurs., academics and high level coaches. We’ve been working with the likes of US and UK special forces, Olympic athletes, CEOs and politicians through to internally displaced people and those facing humanitarian disasters in countries such as Haiti and the Philippines. Across the range of human experience we keep discovering similar patterns of resilience. Our book is 400 fully illustrated pages of those patterns.
Ned: How does stress impact our health and why is it so essential to build personal resilience?
Mike: If you’re doing stress, you’re activating a cascade of unwanted biological effects on your system – many that are no different to the general process of aging. You’re also in some varying degree of fight, flight or freeze response, which means you’re more likely to make lousy decisions. The research is unequivocal that almost all forms of stress are a factor in illness of all forms. Resilient people have the choice to experience all kinds of states. Stressed people typically only experience the one.
Ned: What’s your single best stress tip? What’s your first line of defence when you start to feel overwhelmed?
Mike: Breathe. Slowly, to a count of two or three, through the nose. Not too deep. Hold for a few seconds and exhale as slow or slower. Our autonomic nervous system is regulated by breath and it's available to use 24/7 if we remember to do so.
Ned: What is the best way to help someone you care about who is experiencing unwanted stress, anxiety, or burnout?
Mike: Start with a copy of our book! In Chapter 5, we teach how to expertly use changes in perception and perspective. When reality bites, it’s important to remember that the perceived problem is not the problem. The state you approach that problem’s context in, is your problem. There are many ways to elegantly change state in a problem context, one of which is to get the person you care about to leave the problem context altogether!
Ned: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Mike: “Marry that woman.”
Ned: What’s something you’ve learned this past year?
Mike: Dogs have highly refined emotional intelligence. We rescued 4 Bali street dogs this last 13 months and I am mesmerised by their individual character and qualities.
Ned: What’s wellness to you?
Mike: Living in a state of energised euphoria.
Ned: What’s a super simple practice you do that’s improved your life?
Mike: For 15 minutes or more I walk barefoot every day, preferably in the sunshine wearing as few clothes as possible.
Ned: What’s the smallest change you’ve made that’s had the biggest impact?
Mike: Saying no to potential opportunities.
Ned: What’s something you want to start doing?
Mike: A podcast with people I’m fascinated by.
Ned: What’s something you want to stop doing?
Mike: Work trips that take me away from home.
Ned: How do you start your day?
Mike: Lingering in deep appreciation for the woman I’ve woken next to for 20 years.
Ned: How do you end your day?
Mike: Quickly. I typically fall asleep in under a minute – or so I’m told.
Ned: That’s amazing! What’s your secret?!
Mike: The secret to fast sleep is a clear conscience. No loops left open, no matter how difficult they might be to close.
Ned: Who do you follow that really inspires you?
Mike: I can’t think of a single well known example. I’m inspired by a handful of my friends who live their lives without compromising their values.
Ned: What’s something you’re grateful for?
Mike: My family, and also having learned who I am and exactly what I want from this strange journey called life.
Ned: What’s something that would make the world a better place?
Mike: Amnesia for everyone.
Ned: What’s your favorite Ned product and why?
Mike: My favourite Ned product is Ret, though I realise he’s rarely for sale.