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  • Writer's pictureJeff Schultheis

I will not ring the bell.

I will not ring the bell.

Bells are referenced in so many songs, poems, stories and more. We just went through the Christmas holiday, and I bet I heard 100 songs that talk about bells. Here in a couple of days we will be ringing in a New Year, more bells. Bells typically bring positive memories or meaning.

The house I grew up in had a large bell on a post in the front of our yard. I never knew why my dad put it there. I should have asked him about it. I would assume it must have been a way he thought he could ring the bell for my brother and sister to come home. The only time I heard it was when someone would randomly ring it.

I usually like to start the year off with new goals and a theme for the year. I did not do it for this past year, and I regret it. For the past few months, I have been getting more focused on what I need to do to experience the success I want. Several books I have read this year has helped me gain clarity about myself and vision for my life.

The books I read over the last 5 months were about personal growth, marketing, and 3 were centered around stories of Navy Seals. The Navy Seals stories were so motivating. The amount of testing and training they go through is hard to imagine. All military personnel are heroes but the ones who make it through any of the special forces are extremely rare.

Navy Seal training (BUD/S) is a seven-month training challenge to develop their mental and physical stamina and leadership skills. This seven-month training is divided up into 3 phases. The soldier must pass each phase to move on to the next. It is absolutely grueling what they endure during this training. Many start the training, but very few survive to graduation.

All the special forces have a couple of things in common. They are exceedingly tough to complete, and they are completely voluntary. Each person is person must determine whether they have what it takes to push themselves beyond what they think their bodies are capable of enduring or walk away and return to active duty. It is all up to them.

I will not ring the bell

What does all this have to do with bells, and more importantly what does this have to do with me? 2022 was a tough year with many changes. There were many successes but also many failures. I experienced some of the most expensive problems in my life. Some of the things I never have dealt with before, and it happened more than once. There were several times I started to question whether any of this was worth it. I fought many battles with depression, several very dark. I had to look at myself in the mirror and ask, “Are you going to quit?”.

Nothing in my life was nearly as difficult as what our military go through. The danger and sacrifice they submit themselves to is far greater than any of us will ever attempt. They are true heroes. Especially the special forces. These stories I read helped put in perspective what is truly difficult and what it takes to overcome life’s challenges. Also, it showed it is all up to me to determine my success regardless of the circumstances.

I will not ring the bell.

As I said earlier, special forces are completely voluntary. No one compels them to join or continue. Each type of special forces has a way to symbolize the way out. The seals have a bell. Each trainee is allowed to walk away at any time. They just need to lay their gear and ring the bell on the way out. No disgrace or guilt. Just go back to active duty. The tradition is a symbol that whether you stay or go, it is 100% up to you.

The difference between the ones who make it through to graduation and the ones who walk away is mostly mental attitude. The ability to never allow doubt or fear to enter the mind is the number one determining factor. Those who can continue to push through the pain will most likely find out they were capable of so much more than they could have ever imagined.

I don’t know if this makes any sense to you or not. But these stories have helped me reflect and see that I need to decide what my attitude and motivation will be. Too often I allow doubt and past failure to evade my thoughts. These negative thoughts, if allowed to grow, will sabotage any potential for success.

My mantra for this year is to “not ring the bell”. There are several things I am doing to help give me strength and focus to keep going when times get tough, and they will get tough. One thing is that I purchased a bell. I mounted this in my office to see it every day. A symbol is important to have in front of you. Just like the seals, my success is fully up to me. I can quit and go find a different job or I can do whatever it takes to win. I choose to not ring the bell.

A mantra and a symbol are not enough. It takes a lot more to give yourself a chance to succeed. I have a vision/goal board to help as well. Some of the steps are to continue to read and learn from books and classes. It is important to feed my mind with positive ideas and to improve my skills. I also have specific daily and weekly activity goals to help stay focused. I have other visual reminders of what it takes to be the best I can be. Most importunately I have a reminder that ultimately, I must give it all to the Lord. “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalms 37: 23-24. “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9.

How about you? Do you have any mantras or goals for your life? Do you have an accountability partner or system? I would love to hear from you. Would you like to connect and discuss any of your goals? Reach out to me via email, text, or call. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

May God Bless your path,

Jeff Schultheis



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