June 13, 2021
It was somehow cryptic on purpose. Some things I will explain in this post but many I will not, not because I want to hide them from you and keep it all cryptic because that’s a good marketing story (which yes it is for the record) but because in sharing more details with you would not help either of us. The reason being is that it is very simple to look at something on paper and pass it off as being “easy” but when you are in the heat of the moment (or the heat of Al Qudra in this case) you will 100% react differently and that is what we were looking for and wanted to happen.
5 weeks back I was walking up a mountain with Ivana and Rob and as a result of a conversation we had at that time (and some concepts that had been on my mind for a while now) just 5 weeks later “Show No Weakness” #0 took place. Ivana is quite an incredible human being, we share many of the same thoughts on things but we are also very different. When we sat down to map out the challenges for SNW and she explained to me what she had come up with I was not only blown away with the challenges themselves but incredibly intrigued as to how her brain and thought process was working to get to this point. On our final site recce I knew this would not be the only time SNW took place.
Prior to the event a lot of people asked me and or implied that the objective of the weekend was about “breaking people” so much so that I wrote the below as my weekly InnerFight mailer message which I feel fits well in this post…
No, it is not about “breaking” people, far from it, that is a pointless and thoughtless exercise. The objective is far simpler but the recipe far more complex than that. You have to take people right to the edge but make sure they do not drop off it or in the case of the weekend just gone do not “ring the bell.”
We spend countless hours in this game to make people better but along the way some do drop off the edge for a myriad of reasons. We also analyze those reasons as in future it helps us keep more right on the edge where the magic happens.
SNW #0 was an incredible 24 hours…..be ready for #1.
Before taking a concept like this to the public we wanted to make sure it worked as to be honest we had no clue how it may go down. I stood up in our weekly coaches meeting and asked the team if they could help Ivana and I in the development of SNW by giving us 24 hours of their time from 6pm on June 10th. Some eyes lit up, others filled with fear. Some people asked me if I thought it was risky using our own team to test the concept, others thought it was genius team building. Everyone is always going to have an opinion you just have to try and figure out which parts of which opinions are going to help you make your vision come to life.
Participants for our beta testing were key but what is equally as important is a crew to deliver the project which in this case I knew would be as challenging for them as it was for the participants as tempers would flare and there was little option for them to rest for the 24 hours……were we testing them and ourselves at the same time? Always! Carlin, Ben, Josh and our cameraman Machoman….this is not the first time you have delivered for me on my “non-conventional” ways to consume your weekend and I am massively thankful and never take your time or skill set for granted.
It’s the expanse of variables that challenge us the most and this is why anyone that has asked me about SNW I have been honest in saying my mother who is 75 could complete it. In the next breath I confirmed that not everyone will! Without over complicating things we had so many moving parts in SNW that the participants would all be challenged on a number of levels, sometimes simultaneously. Those that know Ivana and I quickly came to the conclusion that it would be extremely mentally and physically challenging! I thought that clue was also pretty much screaming out from the name of the event but as I mentioned above…….everyone has an opinion.
So you combine 18 people who either work together, train together or in some cases even sleep together and take them to a desert for 24 hours in the early parts of a Dubai summer…..you restrict the luxuries they are allowed such as food……you throw in some challenges that take team work, you sprinkle in a few that are a solo endeavor, none of which you give a start time or end time but rather and quite simply a code through whistle blowing…. What you are going to get is outcomes that you, nor the participants may have ever seen before. From one angle yes this has risk written all over it. It was a risk we wanted to take as we are confident that outcomes (although maybe not so in the moment) will bring us all great benefit……oh and did I miss the minor detail that there would be one winner…..the person that accumulated the most points from the challenges set! “competition” just another variable to add to the pile.
Sunkist, filthy, some mentally, others physically, some both, many experiencing emotions they had never experienced before, some crying, a few laughing, all with their feet tied together with a 1m piece of string (their decision partially) and at the end of a 75 minute walk, 24 hours after the whistle sounded for the start of SNW #0 14 people reached the end as the 3 blasts on the whistled signified the end of their final challenge. Beta testing was over, they had made it.
My own reflection in the immediate aftermath from no matter what angle I try and look at the 24 hours, it’s build up and the conversations I have been a part of thus far all lead to the same conclusion……Humans are fascinating creatures and to really know ourselves deeper and live our lives to the fullest we have to continue to explore mental and physical resilience.
SNW #1 incoming……….