What Soldiers say about 360°

...Before being introduced to the 360 team, I thought I had a good handle on everything. That there was just a delicate balance that needed to be maintained in military life, and that sleep was something that I just no longer needed.

Now I see that sleep is key, and when you are getting the sleep and using the skills, the balance comes much easier. Honestly doesn’t feel like a balancing act at all.

The amount of information and the connections you make within the 360 team will also save many from learning from hard mistakes or learning lessons the hard way. Being a member of the 360VA team means you have experts who have walked the walk before you and can show you the way, creating better leadership across the military and veterans.

I can’t say enough about the positive impacts that just one week of class has done for me and my family.

― SSG Ben Weller, White House Transportation

“This course gave me tools and techniques to not only deal with my inner demons but also the tools and techniques to further my career; to be a better leader, to promote good health, physical fitness and discipline to the soldiers that are under me.”

Dr. Lopez [360°] has changed my life, I think, dramatically for multiple reasons,” he said. “I’ve been smoking for 12 years, and it just took a matter of one day of talking to Dr. Lopez and I feel like I never want to see (cigarettes) again.”
― Staff Sgt. 1st Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment

“I don’t really know how to thank you enough…I wanted to tell you guys this in person but I really didn’t know how… and it’s my own small battle that I’m fighting but I don’t like to cry in front of people and I’m certain I would have… never before in my 31 years have I met anyone, known them for a week and just felt truly inspired by them . . . you know part of my story that I told you guys and yea there’s a whole lot more but I hit the important parts . . I guess what I’m trying to say is that this was the first time in 15 years that I talked about it … and why?”
― SGT Engineer

“Before this course I was on a very self destructive path with my drinking.  I haven’t had a single drink all week and I plan to keep it up.”
― SSG – Military Police

Ma’am [Dr. Lopez], I never told you this, but you came into my life at a very dark time for me. You changed my life, and I think about you every day.  360° was an additional duty, although I was not happy at the time, God delivers what we need when we need it.
― Army Captain – Staff Officer

“My wife and I communicate a lot more now. We spend a lot more time together, and at work I can listen to Soldiers with more compassion. I try to understand their problems. I put myself in their position. That is something I didn’t do before.”

Army Spouses tell 360°...

“We definitely learned ways to increase our communication as a couple. Honestly, I think this week has been a total game changer in our marriage,”

My husband “came home and told me all the issues he had over the years had been lifted off of his shoulders. I just noticed his passion in talking about it,”

You gave me back the man I married…”

Army Master Resilience Trainers (MRTs) say,  

“Attending this course made me a better leader, person, and NCO. It gave me additional skills that I can use for myself, my family and my Soldier and their families. Every part of this course was amazing. Truly life changing.”

“Best Self improvement Program I have ever attended. MRT was great I just didn’t get as much out of it as I did this.”

“This is the best course I've had in the Army. It helped me understand myself better and helped me become a better person.”

360°… “Completely saved my life. I've never been taught to love myself and take care of myself. The difference in my mentality is profound.”

“The course opened my eyes to several problems that I carried in myself and never realized I was. It opened my eyes and assisted me in ways to get out of my negative thinking style and focus on a more positive productive manner.”

“I learned a lot about myself and the areas I am strong in and the areas I can be stronger. I feel I have a ton more information to pass along to other Soldiers.” 

No BS, it [360°] saved my life.  I spent the last 6 months not sleeping and drinking heavily.  The Sunday prior to class starting I sat on my bathroom floor wanting to commit suicide.  I’ve learned healthy ways to cope and to start loving myself through 360°. 

The 360° program, “…saved my marriage, saved my ability to grow as a parent and husband. Letting it go...coming back to calm.”

Sailors Say,

“Thank you all for a life changing experience. Please continue to help Sailors!” 

“Never in my military career have I been through a training like this. I did not know what I was expecting Monday morning, but it wasn't this. This week opened me up and challenged me. Everyone could use this, everyone needs [to] open up and be challenged. Exploring one’s self opens them up to see 360, the world around them. I can help those I come in conflict with. The Navy can help its Sailors. If you want something better than what it is, you have to change what you're doing. Changing content without changing technique is a waste. You cannot have a better Sailor without 360 fitness.” 

“It was so critical that stress was the center of a leadership course. Stress was tied in to every topic we hit. As a leader, I often ignore the fact that I'm stressed and focus on everything else. The entire class allowed me to regain my focus. In no other class that I've been in (especially the Navy) have I ever felt like the instructors and material were geared towards my happiness. I remembered that there is happiness in my life and there are so many things that can bring it out.”  

“This course is phenomenal in every aspect. The impact this course has had and will continue to have on my life as me, my life as a family man, and my life as a leader in the Navy is immeasurable. The life traits and life experiences I've had / shared with everyone in the course will stay with me throughout my career. Because of the 360 Program, my life will do a dramatic turn around. I am now aware of my issues and what I need to focus on to be the best me possible so that I can be the best Sailor and leader possible. I will definitely be utilizing all the tools learned here with my own Sailors. This course is needed in the Navy to a huge extent. The Navy puts a lot of stress on its Sailors, and the GMT's, and other standardized trainings we have just don't get the point across to us that we need to take care of ourselves. This course needs to be pushed to the US Navy and it needs to be made available as soon as possible.”

Air Force NCOs tell us…

“I officially decompressed for the first time in 9 years of military service.”

Hands down the best military resiliency training I have ever had. The fact we had access to subject matter experts was hands down the best.

This was an amazing experience. Life changing. Maximize this course. There are others who need this. Thank you all. Never change!

“Excellent course, this is the best course I have taken in the Air Force.”

“It is very helpful and 100% transferrable to others. The playbook is an outstanding part of a personal tool box with helpful references. Good in personal and professional life.” 

“By ensuring my marriage is strong through communication and by learning to manage my stress and anger.”

“I am already using it and I could not be happier. I am grateful for this class.” 

“Saved my marriage, saved my ability to grow as a parent and husband. Letting it go...coming back to calm.” 

“I officially decompressed for the first time in 9 years of military service.”

“Has taught me to communicate better and listen more carefully to what others are saying.” 

Marine’s say,

Thanks to 360°, … “I am better as a person, counselor, mentor, leader, father and husband.”

“It saved my marriage, and it helped me with my self esteem.”

“Just in one week I am sleeping better and the pain in my lower back and knees is gone. After one hypnosis session I felt at peace and my peers noticed without me telling them.”

“The whole class was amazing. I came to this class thinking that it was just another course that we all have to take. Instead, I learned a lot. From basic things like stretching to financial stuff. Now, I can help myself and my Marines who are going through the same things. Some of these Marines went through or still going through.”

“It will help me to reflect more on myself. This will help me work on my weaknesses and therefore help me become a better leader. I will also be able to understand more and identify more with my Marines. It will help me to love myself and build better and stronger relationships with family and friends.”

“I feel more confident in my abilities to lead and handle situations of all aspects. I have better judgment, patience, and observation skills.”

“It has given me a complete new outlook on myself and life. This is by far the best course for any leader.”

USO North Carolina says,

This month’s class was the fifth for Fort Bragg. The program began in May, but was facing an uncertain future after federal budget cuts claimed the program’s funding.

That’s where the USO of North Carolina came in. John Falkenbury, president of the nonprofit, said the organization decided to sponsor the program after a USO of NC employee attended a course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“We made a commitment to fill gaps in funding,” he said. “It’s proven, sustainable results.”

“It’s a phenomenal program,” Falkenbury added.
― John Falkenbury, President of USO of North Carolina

Submit your own 360° Testimonial

6 thoughts on “Testimonials

  1. The 360 course is hands down the very best course that I have attended during my 23 years plus tenure on active duty thus far. The amount of information provided and the team of professionals that Steve and Mary have put together are phenomenal!

    Not only is there a daily yoga regimen for your mind and body to start every day followed by lecture and discussions, but they have provided the ability to have one on one sessions with each of the professionals so that you may get as much out of the course and supplemental information as you choose to take away. You walk away with the connections you make within the 360 course as well as the mentors on the 360 team. A family of support to carry with you! Being a member of the 360VA team means you have experts who have walked the walk before you and can show you the way, creating better leadership across the military and diverse support for veterans and their families wherever they go.

    I can’t say enough about the positive impacts that just one week of class has done for me and my family. I am a better equipped leader and more prepared mother and wife because of what I have learned during this course. Thank you 360 team! You are truly appreciated for all you do and continue to do.

    CW3 Tera Lawrence

  2. My dear fellow veterans of 360:

    If I had truly listened to you these last six months, I would be telling you that my name is “sir.”  However, there are times when I have not listened so well.  In order to feel 360 unique and special, I’ve pointed out to many of you that there are far fewer rabbis than “sirs” in the world and even fewer Rabbi Garys.  So, here I am a veteran of six months of 360 with a warmed heart and seizing the unique rabbinical opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  

    I’ve thought of each of you that I’ve encountered these past six months as I’ve hunted for mushrooms, my special love. In the intervening weeks between gatherings and I’ve made some discoveries: I have been amazed at the journeys we have taken together: from being total strangers to your welcoming me into your homes and hearts and my hearing your stories deeply and found that I have also welcomed you into my heart.  

    My search for mushrooms has taken me to many places in the Northwest: up mountainsides and into valleys, into the forest and in the rain and now, even snow, to discover chanterelles, blewits, matsutakes, hedgehogs…and in foraging, I have discovered my primary response to the pandemic.  For in this Covid world, that has brought so much darkness, loss, fear and death to so many, I have found a spiritual opportunity to be out in the forest, to take in the season’s waning light, and celebrate vigorously the delight of being in nature.  Many times on these hunts, I’ve pondered your journeys in this world.  I am the better for this.  

    I have made the discovery that most of us are nomads.  We are buffeted by the forces of nature in this world that we can’t control (much like the military is in your life) and discover, as we are moved arbitrarily from place to place, that we are challenged in our search for a home, a village, and a deeper connection to our mission on this earth.  I believe that these searches are sacred searches.  

    As I’ve hunted for mushrooms, I’ve realized that all of this life is a sacred journey.  A journey to be celebrated.  In hunting mushrooms, sometimes, there are times when I’ve lost my way.  I’ve been lost in many ways: lost physically, lost in beauty with a deep connection to nature, lost in my inner spiritual quest for deeper connection.  The most important discovery I’ve made is that I’m more at peace in being lost, for I’ve discovered in a world where the first pandemic is really loneliness (the sociology of America) that when I am alone, I am with a person that I like. 
    I wish this for each of you. It’s the 360 message: be good to yourself in order to be a strong leader.  I am at one with a mission on this earth to be sharing my gifts, and I truly admire and love the humanity in each of you that I’ve discovered in each of you.  

    Your lives are about service: service to your country, your families, your villages, and in this season of darkness, I would like to wish you the spiritual quest for savoring the light, including the light of Christmas.  Strange hearing that from a rabbi at Christmas?  Since most of you are not Jewish, I’ve thought of my role to share the wisdom of my tradition and to encourage you to make life a celebration of the sacred, and that this includes Christmas at this time of year.  

    Of course, I’ve noticed that among my Christian friends there are many who feel the weight of the holiday, particularly in our Covid world, and are weighted down with the angst of finding and affording gifts, it often brings a kind of “kvetch” (that’s Yiddish for “complaining” only with a whole lot more wallop).  To those of you who know this, I would like to offer some rabbinical wisdom and perspective: the problem is not with Christmas; it’s with the rest of the year.  This is a 360 insight: when our search for family, home and deeper connection are focused only on one day in the year, there is an internal problem and it’s not that one day, it’s how we live the rest of the year.  

    I believe that we need a minimum of about twelve “Christmases” a year.  These would be feasts that bring family and friends together (and in this Covid world, that means at safe physical distance) to be nourished and joyful and connected.  

    So, Laurie joins me in wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas, and, eight days later, a Happy New Year, celebrating Jesus’s circumcision, which is another symbol of hope for the future. And we all know that “hope” is a holy 360 ingredient for a life of well-being.

    • Thank you Gary, really appreciate what you have brought to the 360 Team, our Leader 360 Course Students and our 360VA Members. You are a gift and we are very grateful. Thank you for your Christmas wishes. Happy New Year to you and Laurie! Look forward to another great year together making a difference in 2022!

  3. I had the privilege of attending a 360 Leader’s course hosted by the 1st Infantry Division. By way of background and context, I spent eleven years as an active-duty Infantry Officer and an active-duty SOF Civil Affairs Officer. In that decade, between 2005 and 2015, I had the pleasure of leading Soldiers in four combat deployments. I still serve in the US Army Reserve, but I am a civilian twenty-eight days out of thirty since I separated from active duty in 2016. That background matters only to establish that I have seen some truly amazing things and I have seen some truly horrible things. I have seen and practiced good leadership and I have seen and practiced bad leadership. This is the nature of the work we do as Soldiers.

    The Army, as a culture, has invested considerable effort on two concepts that came to mind during the course: courage and survivability. We expect our Soldiers to exhibit personal courage, and we spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about how to make our formations more survivable. Both things are required to fight and win a war.

    During the 360 Leaders course I thought about courage, what it means, and what kind of courage is required to lead Soldiers. I have personally witnessed a 19-year old young medic run through gunfire to treat a wounded member of his platoon. I wrote the recommendation for his Bronze Star with V Device. That kind of courage is sometimes necessary and its life-changing when you experience it. Having thought about that moment for fifteen years, I think it likely just demonstrates that love is a more powerful emotion than fear.

    In the 360 course I listened to some of our leaders open up, voluntarily become vulnerable with their peers, and look inside themselves to really examine the person underneath their uniform and their rank. It naturally forced me to take a look at myself. What I found is that being vulnerable and truly examining yourself is deeply terrifying. At least for me. We can overcome a great deal of fear out of love for our fellow Soldiers and our family. Its harder to overcome that fear to save ourselves. I’m not sure why, but I think I would rather be shot at again, having been through both experiences. I am not good at it and I struggle to muster the courage. But I saw some Soldiers and NCOs muster that kind of courage and it was encouraging.

    In terms of survivability, we train our Soldiers in individual and collective tasks and we strap body armor on them to keep them alive in combat.
    One afternoon after a discussion with some of the course staff, as a purely academic exercise, I thought about how many times I had personally seen, or reliably heard of, raw courage or body armor saving a Soldiers life. To the best of my recollection, which is admittedly a little fuzzy at times, I think I thought of maybe three instances where pure raw courage saved a Soldier on the battlefield. Realizing again, that love is a stronger emotion than fear. In terms of individual survivability, I have personally witnessed ESAPI armor plates save two Soldiers and I have seen the Advanced Combat Helmet save another two Soldiers from what would have likely proven to be fatal wounds. Courage on the battlefield and body armor definitely save lives. I’ve seen it.
    Then I thought about all of the Soldiers, friends, and peers I have seen come home and drink themselves to death or commit suicide. Six that I knew personally, maybe another twenty that I knew by name or by sight over the years. I thought about the unit I was in when I separated from active service in 2016. The organization had roughly 1200 Soldiers, NCOs, and Officers with an extremely high operational tempo. I heard, anecdotally from the medical folks, that over sixty percent of the organization were being subscribed some sort of anti-depressant and that the divorce rate was consistently in the mid-to-high eighty percent range. We all self-medicated with alcohol and we all struggled with relationships. I’m not sure how many lives were negatively impacted by this depression, self-medication, and pain. But when you count spouses, children, and extended family I can’t help but imagine it’s an uncomfortably large number.

    Bluntly, what I realized is that I am aware of far more flag-draped caskets having been lowered into early graves from suicide or preventable accidents than I have seen personally saved by body armor or raw personal courage. At least that appears to have been my experience. So perhaps we need to start to think about how we are going to train our Soldiers and leaders to find that other kind of courage I saw displayed during the course? The courage to talk about feelings, to practice mindfulness and vulnerability, to ask for help, to say you’re not okay. And the leadership to train their subordinates and peers to do the same. To demand that kind of engagement and provide leaders with effective tools to do the work. Seems like that would also save lives. Perhaps we need to reframe the conversation around survivability? It seems a shame to have a Soldier survive a potentially life-ending bullet strike thanks to a ceramic plate on his chest or back, and then come home, fall apart, drive his wife and kids away from him, and then drink himself away? That’s a true story. My friend was a profoundly good man. Survived Iraq, then died in his home a years later. Alone. If you really have the conversation, these stories are far too common. I was almost one of them. I got lucky and met the right people, in the right moment. I was fortunate. Asking for help was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
    I have participated in mandatory resilience training and suicide awareness training. It is a solid attempt to solve a problem, but an inelegant approach to cultural change in my opinion. I think having an honest conversation about how we define courage and survivability and how we invest in those foundational concepts, is perhaps a more fruitful endeavor. The tools and the knowledge presented in the 360 Leadership course are an excellent set of tools. It is what individual Soldiers, NCO, and Officers do with these tools AFTER the course that will start to redefine what we mean by courage and survivability moving forward. 360’s approach is unique in that it empowers NCOs and Company Grade Officers to start making the change, one Soldier at a time, starting with themselves. These leaders are far more likely to find the courage to examine their own lives if they see it in the context of being necessary to lead and take care of their Soldiers and their families. Love is a stronger emotion than fear. The staff seem bonded, almost as a family. Their professional backgrounds are impressive, but the mutual trust they seem to have for one another sets the stage for course participants to open themselves up and find the kind of courage I described earlier. It’s a unique model and I think it’s a good approach.

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