Developing the Warrior Within

    Embracing challenges and sharing wisdom can help us grow stronger, make a positive impact, and inspire others in their own journeys.

    enAugust 01, 2022

    About this Episode

    As a member of the Ottawa Tribe and someone who's worked with over five hundred tribal nations, my guest has long been inspired by his Native American culture and heritage, particularly the tradition of native warriors. And he thinks those warriors have much to teach all modern people about work, life, and leadership.

    His name is D.J. Vanas and he's the author of The Warrior Within: Own Your Power to Serve, Fight, Protect, and Heal. Today on the show, D.J. explains what the warrior spirit is, and how important it is for everyone to cultivate, especially those who want to lead, serve, and live with a purpose bigger than the self. He takes principles of Native American tradition and philosophy, including living off the land, taking a vision quest, counting coup, being a firekeeper, and developing toughness, and shows how they apply to anyone who's looking to develop resilience, achieve their goals, and make a positive impact on the world.

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    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • The warrior spirit, rooted in Native American traditions, instills resilience, goal achievement, and a positive impact on the world, benefitting individuals and various sectors like healthcare, education, and community building.
    • Embracing the warrior spirit means developing resilience, strength, focus, and commitment to serve others, enabling individuals to overcome challenges with a solution-oriented mindset.
    • Surround yourself with positive influences, practice good habits, and confront fear head-on to sustain a resilient warrior spirit throughout your career.
    • Subtitle: Discovering and utilizing our untapped resources  Recognize the abundance of resources around us and start utilizing them to overcome challenges, build confidence, and achieve our goals.
    • By recognizing and utilizing our own skills, talents, and wisdom, and adopting an abundance mindset, we can find clarity and prioritize what truly matters in our lives, providing us with strength and direction amidst life's chaos.
    • Taking time for self-reflection and connecting with our inner voice and values is essential for defining our own vision and purpose in life, boosting confidence to overcome challenges.
    • The words we choose, whether in mantras or in everyday conversations, have the ability to empower us and shape our reality, propelling us towards success and overcoming challenges.
    • Taking regular breaks to recharge and finding a balance between intense focus and rest are essential for maintaining momentum and avoiding burnout in pursuit of our goals.
    • Surround yourself with positive influences and a supportive community to maintain your motivation and inspiration, leading to a happier and healthier life.
    • Surround yourself with positive and supportive people, celebrate your achievements, and learn from your experiences to develop resilience and discipline.
    • Embracing challenges and sharing wisdom can help us grow stronger, make a positive impact, and inspire others in their own journeys.
    • Becoming an elder is not determined by age, but by a personal choice to reflect, share stories, and inspire others through life lessons learned during difficult times.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Embracing the Warrior Spirit for Personal Growth and Fulfillment

    Developing the warrior spirit is crucial for anyone looking to lead, serve, and live a purposeful life. DJ Vanas, the author of "The Warrior Within: Own Your Power to Serve, Fight, Protect and Heal," emphasizes the importance of Native American traditions and philosophy in cultivating resilience, achieving goals, and making a positive impact on the world. He highlights principles such as living off the land, taking a vision quest, counting coup, being a fire keeper, and developing toughness, and shows how they apply to all individuals. Particularly, those in healthcare, education, benevolent businesses, government, tribal employees, and community builders can greatly benefit from embracing the warrior spirit. This mentality of being in service to others aligns with cultural values and leads to personal growth and fulfillment.

    Native American Principles: Lessons for the Modern World

    Native American principles and the concept of being a warrior can provide valuable lessons and guidance for anyone in any field. D.J. Vanas emphasizes the alignment between Native American cultural principles and the challenges of the modern world. These principles have been tested by Native American warriors who fought against extraordinary odds and still demonstrated resilience, strength, focus, and commitment. Being a warrior in Native American cultures means dedicating one's life to developing talents and abilities for the benefit of the tribe or community served. It is about leading by example, not quitting, and finding a way forward, all with the intention of serving others. The warrior spirit is a deep internal drive that comes forth in times of challenge and adversity, enabling individuals to persevere and overcome obstacles with a fiercely solution-oriented mindset.

    Nurturing the Fire Within

    Fostering a warrior spirit requires surrounding ourselves with the right people and practicing good habits. It is about having an internal core that confronts fear head-on and accepts when things aren't going well, without letting pride and ego hold us back. This warrior spirit is like an un-quenchable fire that is always present, but its intensity depends on how well we take care of ourselves and our surroundings. When we neglect self-care and surround ourselves with the wrong influences, this spirit can dwindle down to a mere ember, leading to burnout. The book discussed in this conversation aims to help individuals be resilient and sustain their warrior spirit throughout their entire career, benefiting not only themselves but also those who depend on them.

    Discovering and utilizing our untapped resources Key takeaway: Recognize the abundance of resources around us and start utilizing them to overcome challenges, build confidence, and achieve our goals.

    We often overlook the wealth of resources available to us in our daily lives. We have an abundance of resources, from our time and energy to our talents and technology. Just like Native people were seen as magical by Europeans because they understood and utilized their resources so well, we can also tap into this mindset. Instead of constantly preparing and waiting for the perfect conditions to take action, it's important to start where we are and make a list of the resources already at our disposal. By doing so, we increase our chances of finding solutions to challenges, gain confidence in dealing with fear and setbacks, and strengthen our connections with others who have resources we can leverage. So, let's recognize and utilize the resources around us to accomplish our goals.

    Harnessing the Power Within: Finding Strength and Direction in Life's Chaos

    We possess within us the power and resources to navigate through life's struggles. Just as the Native Americans carry medicine bags filled with their skills, talents, and wisdom, we too have accumulated valuable experiences and knowledge. We often overlook these resources in times of difficulty, but it is important to acknowledge and utilize them. By adopting an abundance mindset and taking time for reflection, we can tap into our own clarity and prioritize what truly matters in our lives. Setting aside quiet moments each day, and even dedicating specific periods for deeper introspection, allows us to align with our mission and values, providing us with strength and direction amidst life's chaos.

    Self-reflection and inner strength: Finding our own vision and purpose in life

    We need to define our own vision and purpose in life. We cannot let others dictate who we are or what we should be. Taking time for self-reflection, whether it's a weekend away or just a few minutes of solitude, allows us to connect with our inner voice and values. In the chaos of everyday life, it's important to create moments of stillness and listen to that voice. Just like the Plains tribe Warriors who practiced counting coup, we must face our fears and obstacles head-on. By developing our own war cry, a symbol of our courage and determination, we can scare our inner doubts away and boost our confidence to overcome challenges.

    Harnessing the Power of Mantras and Words

    Having a war cry or mantra can provide us with the boost of courage we need in moments of doubt, fear, or hesitation. It can be anything that we go back to as a touchstone, whether it's a prayer, a motivational quote, or even a song. Just like the Lakota war cry "Hoka Hey," which means "It's a good day to die" and symbolizes living life fully and fearlessly. Mantras may seem trivial to some, but they can be powerful tools, especially in stressful situations. Our words, both those we share with others and those we tell ourselves, have real impact. We have the ability to create an environment of strength around us by choosing our words conscientiously. Taking action, even in small steps, and constantly moving forward towards our goals is key, just like the raiding warfare style of Native American Plains tribes. It is through this approach that the American colonies were able to defeat the mighty British Empire and change history.

    Finding Balance and Rest for Sustainable Success

    Balance and rest are crucial in achieving sustainable success. Just like boxers take breaks between rounds to recharge their batteries, we too need to give ourselves time to recover spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Pushing ourselves relentlessly without breaks can lead to burnout and render us ineffective. Developing momentum is also important, starting with small steps that create energy and keep us moving forward towards our goals. Additionally, we can learn from Native warriors who had seasons for fighting and seasons for hunting. Similarly, we need to have periods of intense focus and periods of rest and recuperation to maintain our warrior spirit and avoid the pitfalls of a fast-paced, relentless lifestyle.

    Nurturing Our Internal Fire

    We each have our own internal fire, our motivation and inspiration, that we are responsible for keeping burning bright. Just like the fire keeper in Native American culture, we must actively tend to this fire, even when external circumstances may try to extinguish it. To keep our fire burning, it's important to surround ourselves with people and environments that nurture and support us. We should start our days with uplifting and educational content, consciously choose positive habits and practices, and lean on a support structure of individuals who uplift and motivate us. By doing so, we can maintain our motivation and inspire ourselves to keep pushing forward, ultimately leading to a happier and healthier life.

    The impact of our social environment on our attitude and well-being.

    Surrounding ourselves with negative, toxic, and gossipy people can have a detrimental effect on our own attitude and well-being. Our spirits are like sponges, absorbing the energy and behaviors of those around us. Even the idea of the lone wolf, often romanticized, is flawed because warriors in Native tribes fought alongside other warriors. The role of a warrior was to serve their people and not just to feed their ego. Additionally, taking the time to celebrate our wins and reflect upon our accomplishments is crucial for maintaining motivation and avoiding burnout. By acknowledging our successes, we condition ourselves to desire future victories. Finally, tribal cultures valued reflection and celebration after battles, allowing them to gather wisdom and learn from their experiences. We should incorporate these practices into our own lives to develop discipline and toughness.

    Building Strength and Character in Tough Times

    Tough times can reveal our character and develop our strength. Just like Native American warriors who faced physical challenges to toughen themselves up, we can also find opportunities in our daily lives to develop courage and resilience. It can be as simple as facing our fears, disciplining ourselves to change unhealthy habits, or starting a challenging project. As we age and transition into different phases of life, we can still contribute by sharing our knowledge and wisdom. Just like the elders in Native tribes, we can pass down our experiences and make someone else's journey a little easier and more effective. The highest hope is to hand the baton to someone who can continue our work and make a positive impact.

    Transitioning into Elderhood: A Personal Decision

    The transition into becoming an elder is a personal decision and not determined by a specific age. It is a period of reflection and a realization of the knowledge and experiences one can share with others. To step into the role of an elder, it is important to start collecting and sharing stories. These stories should not be about boasting one's own wisdom, but rather about sharing life lessons learned during difficult times. By sharing these stories, we can inspire and benefit others. It is essential to approach the sharing of stories with the intention of helping others and fostering growth. Additionally, if one seeks more information about becoming an elder, they can visit the website Nativediscovery.com.

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