A very warm greeting to all my readers,
When did you last do something new for the first time?
Have you ever experienced keeping a commitment that you knew would affect you in a negative way?
To celebrate the first year of my blog, I want to thank everyone who has been reading and sharing my articles! Having started it off exactly a year ago for just a few friends and clients and to see it grow to such an extent is wonderful! I would love to share with you a recent experience that shows that I ‘walk my talk’ as it forced me to stretch myself out of my comfort zone and to train my mindset to turn a negative situation into a positive one. ‘If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door!’ – Milton Berle
As mentioned in last week’s blog ‘Raise the bar of your game!’, one of my fitness coaches, Dwayne, asked me to come along to a particular boxing event he was fighting in. Even though, I was surprised by his request, I did not want to let him down and I happily agreed. Rocky also happens to have a special place in my heart, and seeing the real deal for the first time was something I wouldn’t want to miss! I dedicate this article to Dwayne! Well done and keep going! Look forward to your next fights!
Having seen all of the Rocky films I did not think it would be too different to a real fight …. oh how I was wrong! Ironically I had a fitness session with him just before his fight on the following day. In the final moments of the session when he provided me with the venue and the time, something strange happened to me. I really felt overwhelmed. I was going through some emotions and feelings I had never experienced before and I wasn’t sure of the reasons behind them. Well, I promised Dwayne that I would go to support him and as I am a person of honour, I kept my word. That being said, I could not sleep all night at the thought of watching my fitness coach getting beaten up in the ring.
The day arrived and I was feeling so sick I couldn’t drive and ended up taking public transport. After watching the first match, I really couldn’t bare it any longer. I really was feeling sick, my stomach was going all over the place, just seeing guys get beaten up, with blood going everywhere, I could not believe it! Fortunately, the guy next to me started a conversation which distracted me from watching the match. Then suddenly something happen to me! It was like, my mind would not accept what was going on emotionally and something switched – I started to watch the matches to find out how the matches were judged. I suddenly started to recognise patterns and similarities between boxing and trading. My next thought was if there were similarities between the two, then there must be similarities with business and life too. From then on, all my sickness and emotion disappeared and my analytical mind took over.
I started to ask myself these questions:
What is the commonality between boxing, trading, coaching, business and life?
Is there a formula, pattern or process that I can recognise and apply to all of the subjects above?
How can I transmit my discovery in an easy and simple way to others?
Well, the answer was a resounding ‘Yes’ which did not surprise me at all!
Here are the commonalities I have discovered during my experience:
Have a Coach, a Mentor and a Team
Before the beginning of every boxing match, the coaches/mentors were doing their due diligence in checking that the gloves, face covers, teeth protections, shoe laces, etc. were all up to standards, to allow the boxers to fight safely. Is this not something we do in business, trading, coaching and in life? For example, don’t we do our due diligence before commencing a marketing campaign, before we enter any trade, before coaching any clients and before we make decisions in our life? I’m sure you will agree this step is particularly important, as it can reduce the chances of negative consequences, such as investing in non-profitable businesses, employing the wrong people, entering the wrong trade, using the wrong coaching techniques, etc.
After each round the boxers would go back to their corner for feedback on their performance. Surprisingly the advice would nearly always have emphasis on the foundations, such as the basic moves in boxing i.e. how to breath and use combinations: straights, uppercuts, hooks, etc. This applies even more so in trading, in coaching, in business and in life: we need an external person such as a coach/mentor to analyse and provide us with crucial feedback on our performance to move us forward to our next level. Their input is invaluable to our growth and progress and most of the time they will remind us to go back to the basics, as it is usually these key fundamentals that are completely overlooked.
A strong team is also crucial to the success of the athletes. Often you do not see the full extent of their work at sporting events however they train directly with the athletes to prepare them for the competition. They help the athlete to practice to improve their techniques, to simulate the opponent, to provide a positive support network.
At the boxing event I noticed the crowd would be full of each sides teams, jeering their club along. Clearly this is important for motivation and support in the moment of setbacks, as it incites us to ‘keep going when the tough gets tougher!‘ – W. Churchill.
Training and Planning
As a rule of thumb, in trading, coaching, business and life, we need a lot of training in order to transfer our ‘classroom or course’ knowledge into the ring, live trading and in business. You will agree with me that training is different from the implementation. We need to put everything learnt together to make it work! For example, I was thinking that there is an insane amount of training needed in boxing, just to stand in the ring for 6 minutes (3 rounds for 2 minutes each)! As a result, simply training will not cut it. To ensure that time, resources and efforts can be used to the greatest effect, planning is also vital! ‘He who fails to plan is planning to fail‘ – Winston Churchill
How can you work smarter and not harder in business, trading, coaching and life?
Where do you want your business, your trading and your life to be in the next three or five years?
Keep the momentum going
This is connected to the coach/mentor and team concept. When the boxer went back after each round, he got some techniques and feedback from his coach/mentor to implement in the next round. What I noticed was that immediately after it, the boxers implemented the suggestions given from their coaches but after 15/20 seconds they went back to their previous techniques and habits. Is this not the same in trading, business and life? We get tips, suggestions, tools, new ideas, techniques from our coaches/mentors and teams and we are excited and enthusiastic at the beginning. We keep the momentum going for a little while, until we go back to our usual practices and habits. The consequence of which is of course poor results, we end up blaming others for it! It’s sad but it’s a cruel reality and this is the main reason why people don’t accomplish their goals as they get stuck in a catch 22 especially if they want to do everything by themselves!
Employ the right strategy, technique and tools to succeed
I have noticed that boxers that were taller and look stronger seemed more confident on winning at first but this was not always the case. In fact during the boxing event, most of the time the opposite occurred. In life this has always been the case for me too. I think this is probably because the shorter and less strong among us have to learn to adapt to keep up with the rest of the crowd. They grow up being more self-aware of their abilities, which allows them to maximise their strengths and talents more effectively.
In the case of boxing it appears that victory is awarded to the fighter who employs the best strategic approach, capitalises on the competitions weaknesses, trains harder and plans in advance. Often, being taller and stronger will make you feel overconfident and therefore may play a negative effect on preparation, training and assertiveness.
What gives us a better edge in trading, coaching, business and life? Clearly it is the same as in boxing. Having the best strategy, technique and tools to complete our objective will allow us to capitalise on our strengths more effectively than our competition.
Social proof and external environment
How do they affect our decisions and actions? They have a great weight on them. For example, even if I have personal proof and experienced that Dwayne, my fitness coach is a very good boxer, I only had confirmation of this when watching him in the ring. The guy next to me, who also happened to be a boxing coach, added to this and complimented his superior techniques. At that point, I just concentrated on analysing his techniques and to see if ‘he walked his talk’ and honestly speaking, he fully did. I have to say I am very proud of him!
What about the external environment, does it affect us? Well, to relate to my boxing experience, the audience was shouting all sorts of advice to the fighters in the ring i.e. get your jabs going, straight punches, uppercuts, hooks, double jabs, jacks, duck, stay back, don’t give space, put him in the corner, double pin – pin, on your toes, etc.
How would you feel if you were in the ring listening to all these different advises?
Confused, right? Is this not exactly the same thing that happens in, business and life? How many times have you experienced someone who has shared new trading or marketing strategies, new advises and new self-help books with you? We are bombarded by them aren’t we?
What can we do in cases like this?
I have asked Dwayne if he could hear what the crowd was shouting at him during his bout. This was his response: ‘To be honest, I don’t hear anything. It’s all a blur. The only thing I can hear is the odd instruction from my trainers. I love it because I feel in the zone and at peace. Like I’m not worrying about work, money, problems, anything. Just fully concentrating!’ With his answer, Dwayne beautifully summaries the same type of mindset that is required to become successful in trading, business, coaching and life. This applies even more so in trading, our mindset needs to be in the zone, focused and at peace with no emotions involved! Easier said than done, I know that’s what you are thinking right now!
Performance doesn’t lie. In boxing, you know when you have had a good performance as you can physically feel how well you have done! It allows you to identify what’s working and what isn’t. It’s the proof of the effectiveness of our efforts, skills, abilities, training undertaken, strategies employed and accomplishments.
Likewise, success in trading, coaching, business and life is based on our performance. What is it that investors, clients, potential prospects are looking for in business? If you run a business, you know the answer: investors are looking for past and present performance of the company and the projection of future performance based on the actual one. Improving our performance also has a positive impact on our confidence which can further perpetuate better results in the future.
Results and review
Based on my personal experience on running my dad’s business, my own business and the experience working with client companies, results and reviews are both some of the most important factors if you want to take yourself to the next level.
In boxing you can measure results based on the feedback from your coaches/mentors and team as well as the tangible results of your training and performance in competitions. The quality of the feedback received is also important. For example, due to the rules in amateur boxing usually the outcome of the fight is left to the judges. Should one boxer triumphant over another, the referee will announce one of the two options: ‘unanimous or by majority’. Is this a significant piece of information to receive as a feedback of the boxer’s results? Definitely, if unanimous it meant that his performance was judged by all 5 different judges to be superior to his opponent’s – if it was in majority it meant that 3 or 4 judges thought that his performance was superior to his opponent’s. Clearly wining with majority shows that there is room for improvement.
How important is feedback to trading, coaching, business, and life?
In trading I personally found that nothing is more valuable than some objective tips and advice from your coach/mentor, particularly after reviewing your trades and past performance. I believe this is just as vital in business and life, don’t you? So don’t mislead yourself thinking that you can skip this step – I personally treasure feedback as the most valuable information to be given, and certainly thrive on them. People around me know what are the questions that I will always ask them: ‘What can I improve? What can I make better and more efficient? How can you benefit more? How can I make it worth of your time? What information and resources do you need to step up to the next level?’
So there you have it. All of my learning lessons I picked up during the boxing event. After reflecting on my list of discovers, I looked for some connection between them. I realised that the real commonality of all of them is they all contribute to the 4 Stages Journey that starts from the point of learning a new skill and ends at the point of unconscious competency.
What do I mean by unconscious competency?
In terms of a skill this means to be able to do it without thinking. Think about driving a car, when you first started you had to think about what you were doing. Now the process is effortless right? In next week’s article I will elaborate more on competencies, why it is important to know level you are currently at and how you can use this to your advantage.
The reason we often hear that the mastery of things can only be achieved by making errors is that mistakes shape our subconscious quickly – in other words there is a difference between knowing what to do and automatically doing what we know. ‘Mistakes are painful when they happen. But year’s later collection of mistakes is called experience, which leads to success.’ – Denis Waitle. I invite you to ready a blog written by my dear bro on this very subject: ‘If you are not making mistakes, try harder’.
So when was the last time you have done something for the first time?
As you can see from my experience It may reveal some new skills to you as it did to me! Embrace them and turn the poison into medicine to benefit you and make you grow! ‘For me, life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist to survive but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.‘ – Arnold Schwarzenegger
It doesn’t matter where we are in life, if you have the right tools, techniques and especially a coach, a mentor and a team, you can accelerate your journey to your next level of Success!
….and to conclude, who said that boxers are aggressive?
Based on my experience, they have a lot of respect to the point of hugging each other during the match!
Remember: Today is the perfect day to start. Why? Because you will never find ‘the right time.’ You’ve just got to do it. Get the ball rolling. Take one small step every day in the direction of making your dream a reality. Make TODAY your SOMEDAY. It’s worth it and you know it!
To your life journey success!