Conversations With Innovators — Q&A with Mark Divine of the Courage Foundation

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The Conversations with Innovators blog discusses new innovations, big ideas, disruptive technologies, and the thought leaders, innovators, rebels, entrepreneurs, and trailblazers that make all of this possible, like Mark Divine. This week we are talking with Mark Divine, retired Navy SEAL Commander and Founding Director of the Courage Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping veterans cope with post-traumatic stress through holistic self-care, restoring a sense of purpose, hope, and ‘training to thrive.’ Mark is leading the charge in this year’s “22,000,000 Burpees for Vets” challenge to raise $250,000 in aid for veterans struggling with PTS. All are encouraged to participate, and Divine has personally committed to 100,000 burpees this year as inspiration to join the cause.

Mark Divine also created Unbeatable Mind and SEALFIT, both highly intensive and impactful training programs offering techniques for mental toughness, spiritual growth, and physical fitness. The programs coach professionals into cultivating a warrior-like mindset, allowing them to work better and realize their full potential.

Mark’s impressive military career, entrepreneurship and skill as a human performance leader has led him to author several books; most recently, the updated and expanded, “The Way of the SEAL,” released in May 2018. Other noteworthy titles available on Amazon include, “Unbeatable Mind: Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level” and “8 Weeks to SEALFIT: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Unconventional Training for Physical and Mental Toughness” and “Kokoro Yoga.”

What lead you to create the Courage Foundation?

I have been involved in supporting veteran philanthropic efforts of other organizations for years, and was not satisfied that none of them seemed to be doing anything serious about veterans who suffer from PTS, many who struggle with deep depression and chemical addiction, leading to 22 suicides a day in 2017. So I wanted to do something to help out.

What’s unique about the Courage Foundation and its mission?

Our mission is to help Vets with PTS to heal, and to reduce or eliminate the suicide risk. We intend to do this by raising awareness and directly offering integrated healing training and mentoring to this community. The tools come from our world-renowned Unbeatable Mind program. The program was built to take healthy leaders from “great” to “amazing,” and yet they work equally powerfully to heal suffering individuals.

Can you define “integrated development” for us? Why is it so powerful in combatting PTS?

Integrated development is a new model of personal and leadership development that integrates the body-mind and spirit. To do this, we train in an integrated manner, focusing on what we call “5 mountains,” which are physical, mental, emotional, intuitional and kokoro (heart-mind-action). We have innovated tools drawn from both western and eastern traditions, past and present. I developed this training to use with SEAL trainees, and it had a great positive effect in helping them succeed in training and combat.

Last year, you lead a group to Greece to retrace the path of the Spartans known as the “300.” The event doubled as a fundraiser and an experience for a group of vets. What were the big take-aways from this experience?  

This was an epic challenge for everyone on the trip. We had four individuals raise money to sponsor four vets with PTS, and we brought four clients in my Inner Circle Coaching program along… all of whom have been training with the Unbeatable Mind principles for over a year. The team trekked 20-30 miles a day and completed two half-marathons to trace the steps of the Spartans, who stalled the Persians at the Hot Gates of Thermopylae and saved Greece.

The vets came away transformed from the experience, as they conducted daily breath control, meditation, visualization, yoga and physical training along with the challenging hike. The power of having a new mission and a supportive team to transform the vets was the most exciting revelation to me.

You can see more about the event by watching this Courage Foundation Greece video.

How can we get involved in the Courage Foundation, and in particular, its 22 million “Burpees for Vets” campaign?

If you want to participate in the burpee challenge to raise money for Vets suffering from PTS, check out: http://couragefoundation.net/burpees/   See also our video on 22 million burpees for vets.

In addition to the Courage Foundation, you founded Unbeatable Mind and SEALFIT. Any new developments on the horizon for either of those programs?

Yes! The most exciting development is that we are launching a certification program for both companies. SEALFIT will be certifying team trainers starting this fall (2018), and we are graduating our first cohort of certified Unbeatable Mind coaches in July. Both of these programs will allow us to reach more clientele and meet our mission of transforming and inspiring 100 million individuals to become world-centric warriors and leaders, and to build dynamic teams.

What’s your next chapter?

My next move is to set my businesses up to be run by a rock-star professional leadership team, and then to write and sell more books, speak to more organizations and get my podcast to 100 million downloads.

What piece of advice would you give to an entrepreneur starting their first business?

Be ready to lead, ready to follow and NEVER QUIT!

What’s your “one thing” that most drives your professional success?

Humility, and staying clear on the vision and visualizing it coming to life every day.

What are you reading right now?

The Bhagavad Gita

More about Mark Divine:

Mark Divine is a former Navy SEAL officer, entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, motivational speaker, and fitness enthusiast. He graduated as honor-man of his SEAL BUD/s class 170 and served nine years on Active Duty and 11 years as a Reserve SEAL before retiring as Commander in 2011. His career as a business entrepreneur includes co-founding the Coronado Brewing Company, launching the internationally known SEALFIT program that provides transformational personal and team training experiences, and the Unbeatable Mind, an integrated warrior-leader development academy for the mind, body and spirit.

Mark Divine is also a New York Times bestselling author of The Way of the SEAL: Think Like An Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed and 8 Weeks to SEALFit: A Navy SEAL's Guide to Unconventional Training for Physical and Mental Toughness. Mark is also the author of Unbeatable Mind: Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level (Third Edition) and Kokoro Yoga.

Mark Divine hosts the Unbeatable Mind podcast, which hit 5 million downloads in early 2018.


For Conversations with other thought leaders and innovators in the financial industry, see innovator Teresa Jackson of Sharing Life and innovator John Miller of Simply North Texas Enterprise Center .

For more information about related legal issues, read our Professional Services industry page.  


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