An admission: I love getting my butt kicked.
Since I was a teen, I have been active in one form of martial arts or another. Starting off with Tae Kwon Do, moving to Karate, then to Kickboxing and Muay Thai, finally ending up back in Tae Kwon Do... where I still train regularly.
The sweat and rush from a great workout is highly addictive, and, for me, broken bones and injuries are all part of the game. All said and done; probably 5 or 6 broken bones in my feet or hands, numerous tears and sprains, one black eye for my wedding day (not by my, now, wife), and many a sore nose.
The other day someone asked me why I still do this, as I hobbled around on a gimped ankle. To me, the whole experience is one I thrive on.
As much I thrive on growing my business, and helping my clients grow theirs. There are a lot of similarities between getting beaten up in business and getting beaten up in class.
Earning your black belt is much like finally achieving that big goal or dream in your business as well.
Some of the similarities:
1) We ALL start out as white belts.
No matter how cocky you are going into it, very quickly you learn how little you know and how much more you need to learn.
Usually it is some black belt (marketer) that takes you down and leaves you sitting in a pool of blood. Even if you get lucky here and there and whip out a great promotion (much like kicking the butt in class of someone who is senior in levels to you), the next time around you quickly learn a one-hit-wonder doesn\'t last long.
There is always someone better, more determined, willing to put up with more pain, and is willing to work a hell of a lot harder than you are.
2) Drop kicked... or dropped out?
After many years in martial arts, I have seen a huge percentage of drop outs. No different than in business.
Not everyone can handle getting knocked down and humiliated in front of everyone.
Some of us thrive on it, knowing that the better we get, the more likely it will be that we are the ones kicking butt sooner than later. Others will move from school to school, each time they get knocked down, they blame it on someone else, or something else other than themselves.
The ONLY way to succeed in business and in the ring is to get used to getting knocked down... and to thrive on knowing that each time you got knocked down, you just learned one thing that didn\'t work for you.
Let the next battle begin!
3) Those who do get up and keep going, showing up regularly to learn and practice, are the ones you see getting better and better at their craft, ultimately become a master and a black belt.
Those who get cocky and think they know it all, end up getting their ass handed to them on a platter, and slink away never to return (silently mumbling behind their back on how shady the school or lessons are, how poorly run things are, how slow the learning curriculum is, etc)
As you well know, it takes a very unique (and rare) individual to keep taking a whooping, just to get up again and \"SIR, yes sir... may I have another?\"
4) You have to learn how to spar with the big boys. All the class training in the world is great, but it is useless if you never step into the ring to test your skills.
Much like the seminar and information junkies in the business world, there are martial arts students who do all the classes but shy quickly away from actually testing their skills in the real world (sparring in class or in tournaments).
Book and theoretical knowledge is good, but nothing compares to getting a bloody nose because you dropped your guard down at the wrong time.
You can own the biggest library in the world on your craft, but if you have never once actually applied the golden advice in the books, you are no further ahead than someone just getting started.
5) Respect your teachers. Grand Master Yu runs the school I now attend. He\'s a hard ass. He is intimidating (despite him being half a foot shorter than me, his presence is enough to scare the wits out of most students... me included).
He was brought up studying Tae Kwon Do in Korea and has brought many of their hard core tactics to Canada. He was one of the judges for Tae Kwon do in the Beijing Olympics.
He is on the World Tae Kwon Do committee as one of their most senior advisors. His walls are adorned and filled from floor to ceiling with medals, awards, accreditations, accolades and articles.
Despite all of this, there is the odd person who thinks they are king you-know-what and challenge him in one way or another. The challenge doesn\'t last long, and the challenger quickly is tossed from the school permanently.
If you don\'t respect those who went before you, you will NEVER succeed.
6) Respect yourself. There is this girl in the class who is always apologizing for things.
She makes a wrong move and apologizes. She kicks wrong, she apologizes. It is annoying...
and it is definitely costing her in her training. She doesn\'t think high enough of herself to think she deserves a higher belt.
If she keeps at it, she will never rise through the ranks. No different in business. You MUST learn to give yourself some credit for the good things you do... and learn from the bad (rather than berating yourself for a mistake).
In writing sales copy, you will never succeed if you don\'t show your readers that you respect yourself, that you respect your products, and that you honestly feel you are the king (or queen) of the castle. If you constantly apologize and beat yourself down, they will buy form someone else who DOES
7) Don\'t be afraid of pointing out inconsistencies or to ask questions when you are unclear on how a certain skill works on the street.
I was in kickboxing and Muay Thai for 5 years and absolutely loved it.
By far the best workout I have ever had and the best shape I was ever in. It was a martial art that always fares well in real life self defense. Tae Kwon Do is easier on my body (now that I am 40, the idea of sparring with 19 year olds with huge egos and quick healing abilities just doesn\'t do it for me anymore!).
But Tae Kwon Do lacks some of the street smart fighting skills that would be needed if you were ever in a real life and death situation.
So I am constantly asking my trainers (my masters) if we can work on more boxing, and if they can show me how certain skills would be used in an actual street situation.
And they do their best to help.
Sometimes they realize the skill just taught applies in the ring for competition, but is useless in the street... but at least I know. I also quite enjoy having another black belt in my class who trained in more hard core martial arts, like I did.
Him and I get in there sometimes and bash each other around much harder than usual. It is good to keep ourselves in shape, and to show each other where our weaknesses are starting to show through (thanks to that getting old problem).
Much like all the information out there on the internet, this blog included. You must ask and find ways to make the skills being taught work for you, in real life, in your own business.
8) Expect to feel pain.
In a dream world, we start up a business, have the perfect product, a hungry market, and make millions in our first year. But we all know that is rarely the case. It takes a lot of bloody noses, sore muscles, endless workouts and practice... even then we still have to work just as hard (even harder) to reach our first big dream.
We have to be willing to take our lumps, get up and do it all over again.
Whining about sore muscles won\'t get you anywhere... running laps to work through the pain will though.
Now, I\'ll be the first to admit that much of the content in this post is fairly basic. I know that... and I share that... because many people are so stuck on learning the advanced techniques first, they forget that advanced techniques DON\'T work the way they should UNTIL you know the basics.
All the advanced SEO techniques are useless for putting money in your pocket if you have no clue you are supposed to collect a lead or convert a lead into a buyer.
Despite this fact, some of the more unscrupulous marketers will pitch you their magic pill with little regard to if you know the basics or not... they just don\'t care. Give them your money and they are happy. Complain about the fact that the course you bought is too advanced and isn\'t working properly for you... and they will be happy to blame you, call you names and publicly humiliate you.
Imagine if someone walked into Grand Master Yu\'s school and told him they wanted to \"buy\" a black belt from him. After he was done laughing, he\'d kick them out. He would first try and get them to understand that they need to understand the basics first... but most people with the attitude that they can \"buy\" success will never get it and would keep moving until they DO find a school that will sell them a black belt (they are out there... always good for a laugh when they tell you it\'s possible to get a black belt in a year).
I have been training with Grand Master Yu for 3 years now, and have my Red Belt. Black is next... and it will take me a year or more to go from Red to full Black Belt.
Even then, I am not done - I want to get my Second Degree (Second Dan) Black Belt, third, etc.
So I am busting my butt to get my black belt in Tae Kwon Do...
despite having been in different martial arts all my adult/teen life. I don\'t feel like I am owed a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do...
I know that I have to EARN IT.
More people need to get that.