New Year’s resolutions have always baffled me. You always hear the same things—exercise more, eat better, learn something new, travel more, and stress less. While we all want better health, to be in the know, and to experience the world, creating these broad and generic resolutions often lead to lack of follow through. That’s the running joke, isn’t it? When the “new year, new you” only lasts for a week or so. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
All of our resolutions are made with good intentions and goals in mind, but what they lack is personalization and tangible action steps to make them happen. I’ve realized this year after year as I fail to achieve what I set out for, yet I have never tried to change that. Until now.
I’ve never truly made an effort to create resolutions that I stick to for more than a week or so, but this year felt different. I recently read an incredible book, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, and it rocked my world. It transformed the way I looked at goal setting and goal achieving. The premise of the book is that anyone can find happiness with the cards they’re played.
Rubin set out 12 resolutions for herself, one for each month, with tangible and specific ways to make every single resolution a reality. As I flipped page by page through the book, I realized how Rubin had created an approachable way to accomplishing those daunting resolutions. For example, instead of just “cultivating friendships”, it became remembering birthdays, no gossiping, cutting people slack, and bringing people together. What she did was break down her big hairy audacious goal, which seemed intimidating, into doable tasks and actions that she could focus on every day. As simple as this may seem, it opened my eyes.
So then the new year rolled around, sneaked up on me as it always does, and I knew I wanted to actually make something out of my resolutions. I looked to see what I needed to do to be more fulfilled, happy, and confident in 2017. As I developed my list, I realized that each one had a story behind it and that’s what made them more meaningful and more approachable, than say the typical “Eat healthier” resolution. I felt a deeper connection to my new resolutions and felt a drive to achieve them that I’d never felt before. It was the stories and the people that inspired them and brought them to life. It is those same stories and people that will serve as reminders throughout 2017 why I am doing what I am doing.
For the first time in my life, I am going to take my resolutions seriously and not just brush it off my shoulder if I don’t follow through. I’m hoping that this year will serve as a foundation for me in the future to help to learn how to create a goal and actually make it happen.
So bring it on 2017, I’m ready.
Noises they surround us all the time. Noises I want to escape. But how long will I be on the run. How am I going to do what I am supposed to do? Fear of failure because I have never experienced one before. Frustration when I so want to give up but can’t. Why can’t I concentrate, why can’t I be happy and cheerful like people around me? What I am looking for? Am I on a quest for a thing that is not even there?
These are noises in my head and one such night these took a toll on me. I started crying, I didn’t know what I was crying for? I was angry; I wanted to smash something just so I can get over this feeling. I am not sad but I am not happy either. I don’t know how to say it, but somehow I did manage to tell my friend that I am not alright. She understood. She consoled me and that was all I needed.
One thing that I am grateful for is I never lose control over myself. I know something is wrong before it turns into something worse. So I decided to pen it down. The next morning I woke up and decided to look for a solution to lead a healthy life.
Let me make it clear, I never had any suicidal thoughts. I have always loved being alive. I understood the value of life when I saw some poor people living by the roadside in very palpable conditions, yet clinging to life. I knew then and there, how privileged I am.
But something was not quite right. You can hide it from the world but not yourself. So I decided to do introspection, to know what went wrong and where?
I found out it is not a thing that happens out of the blue. It is a gradual process. It doesn’t matter if you have a boring daily routine or a pre-planned day. It is when you work hard to meet the expectation of others, not yours. When you work hard enough but there is no reward. When you think why things come easily to other people. You start comparing each and everything. Such comparisons lead to nothing but a void feeling. That is the void no one else can fill but you. When you don’t have a direction to go, things start to scatter all over the place. You don’t know which one to collect first. I learnt it the hard way but at least now I have an understanding. My whole experience taught me this:
I had 12 goals for this year. I have written them in my journal. One day when I was crossing some of them off the list, I realized how some of them had become obsolete. They make no sense to me. So much changes in a year. I have successfully checked off some goals. It became clear to me that my goals are ever changing. So rather than planning my year I should plan my monthly goals so that I have an understanding where I am heading and how many of them are still valid or invalid to me.
There was a course that I had to complete and take the exam. But the fear that no matter how prepared I am I’ll fail, is all over my mind(even when I am writing this). The year is coming to an end and I am still not over my fear. In this moment, I told myself that one failure won’t decide the course of my life if it somehow happens to be so. I have to believe in myself and give my best. Just get it done with.
You won’t be able to understand your own issue until you try and talk to someone who understands. Talking gives your emotions a way out. It clears the blur picture. On the crossroads of life it is a best medicine. I now have a better understanding what is going wrong and how I can be back on track.
In this race of chasing of the goals we are so self-indulge that we have no sense of time. We lose that touch with ourselves, our feelings. I was always in a hurry because I had to do so many things simultaneously. I then decided to take a week off. I made sure I get good sleep; wake up whenever I want to, even if it’s 11 in the morning. I made sure to have breakfast with nothing in mind. I made sure that I enjoy my morning coffee without planning my day ahead. I gave myself ample of time. And it’s paying me in good way.
I don’t know what 2017 has for me, but I do have something for me. I don’t believe in making New Year resolution but I do believe in my dreams and my goals.
See where the wind takes me, for I am ready to find myself again.
“PLEASE READ.” Simple, straightforward, and sharp, these words seem so insignificant. Yet, they completely changed MY outlook on life and my hope is that they can change YOURS.
When I was 16 I attended a leadership conference where I was told to write down a goal and mine was that I wanted to be a journalist. But then they threw me a loop by telling me to plan out all of the things I would be doing THAT VERY MONTH to get closer to achieving that goal. I was baffled.
When you’re an adult, that is when you do big things. Most importantly, when you’re an adult, that is when you can become a journalist. But after that workshop, I was INSPIRED. I went online and found the e-mail addresses of newspaper editors throughout the nation and sent them all a desperate e-mail labeled “PLEASE READ’’ in capital letters, begging for any opportunity available. Yet, many replied only to tell me how it was “oh so cute” that I had reached out and to contact them again when I was older.
Others did not reply at all. As you can imagine, I was beginning to feel deflated. I was a popped balloon, all of my hope leaking from my body, floating away into an abyss that we call space. I thought I had no chance. I could feel my dream slipping from my grasp, and I didn’t know what I could possibly do to keep my hold on it. But just as I was reaching the ultimate despair, I received an e-mail from an editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer.
So I did. And to summarize, I began writing for the newspaper in my home city, with some of my articles even appearing on the front page of their respective sections. But that’s enough about me. That is not the point of this conversation. The real point of this conversation is that we need to begin taking control of our lives and destinies every single day, and this is so important now as college students.
If there’s a class you want to take but don’t have the prerequisites, e-mail the teacher, meet with the department, and do your best to secure your spot. If there’s a guy or girl that you’re into, talk to them, get their number, and ask them out.
Stop waiting for something to happen and go MAKE it happen. The example I always give to my friend is to imagine that you are in line at Starbucks. People might be able to assume that you’re waiting for coffee, but until you actually get the courage to go up that counter and ASK for some, there won’t be ANY coffee in YOUR hands. So take a chance and be bold, because sometime’s that’s as simple as merely sending an e-mail labeled “PLEASE READ.”
Jessica is also part of a phenomenal organization all AIESEC. In conjunction with our partnership with their organization, please see their blog here!
I don’t consider myself leader material. I am a “normal” college student that is doing everything in his power to make sure that I along with many “sheep-walkers,” finish college, get a steady job, get married, and retire. This unfortunately, is the easy way out according to many, including myself.
One thing is for sure, I do not want that and don’t really think the reader wants that either. We are a generation that wants to make change, yet when things get tough, we retract into this safe zone we call the easy way out of life, and to be honest, I’m really tired of doing that and want to start making a difference, not only in my life but in others.
I want to thank Jason Belzer and Tribes author Seth Godin for making me despise the word sheep-walker. I along with some students in one class fall semester thought of a decent idea involving Rutgers Athletics and student fans. I want to let you know that in order to really lead, you have to have everyone on board, meaning as author Jim Collins says, “…first get the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) before you figure out where to drive it” (Good to Great 44).
I learned that a level-5 leader is one of the most selfless people anyone can meet. They are to me, one of the most successful people that can run a company, as well as run their lives in the best possible way. They also tend to have a lot of rigor when they need to get from good-to-great. These people may be the most humble, but they need to know when to get the right people and put them in right seats when they make their way toward greatness traveling on the bus. I think that I have yet to fill my bus with the right people when it comes to the idea that I would like to present to the Chief Marketing Officer as well as Athletic Director Patrick Hobbs of Rutgers University.
The group in my sport marketing class wants to provide students with a valid type of entertainment during their time at Rutgers. This idea is easier said than done. I understand that at first this idea will be shot down over and over until we as a group can come to an agreement and the CMO and Mr. Hobbs find it to be feasible. I hope to make sporting events at the University more welcoming, give an opportunity for students to gain school spirit, and treat themselves to possible prizes in the process as well. I want students to enjoy their time while they are at the university, as well as advocate for the athletic program for a school that is in a constant “doom loop” that seems to be okay with mediocrity.
The school’s athletic success is something that the fans cannot control and is completely understandable, yet the teams must understand that there are brutal facts to endure. This is from someone who wants to lead students in the right direction and help bring some school spirit to a once prominent school. I must say that we do not excel at sports and we do not do enough to provide students with a great experience, due to the lack of talent.
We as a group can help one another at first by finding students willing to attend events by giving them a chance to win some things for a possibly point-reward systems strictly for students and from there in, help them realize that these events are exciting and fun. You also have to understand that with enough generated interest over time and become one of the most spirited University.
It also starts with having the right leader, one who is not willing to take all the credit, and one that can realize that without the right people in the right seats on the bus, there is a chance that some ideas are good and can become great with the likes of good people that all agree on a great idea.
Again, I do not consider myself a leader, just someone who thinks they have a great idea along with a great group of kids. Real leaders take action and make sure that they are dedicated and stop at nothing to ensure there is an idea set in motion. It is with this idea that he plans not to forward himself to success, but forward those that he brought along for the ride and make sure that they all reach the top.
UGA Miracle is the biggest philanthropy on campus. There are thousands of members and the goals we set each year are outrageous. This year, we raised over $1 million dollars for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. That is amazing.
Raising that much money is something I never thought I would be a part of, especially as a first year student. I will forever be impressed by what a group of students can achieve when they really want to. All of this is just factual. The thing that gets to me is the dedication and inspiration you can sense in every member of the Executive Board. Everything for Miracle is big.
At the beginning of the year, the goals reveal seemed like such a simple thing. Everyone gathers in a big room and the leaders announce how much money we aim to raise for the year. The reveal is something that gets put on a to-do list – something you go to because you feel obligated. When you get there though, everything changes.
A family comes in to talk to you, to connect you to what you are raising money for. Then the tears come. Some of the kindest people go through the most difficult things and that is tough to handle, even when you are not the one experiencing it. These families are inspirational beyond belief.
After the family shared, one of the Family Relations committee chairs spoke. She detailed her time with the Hopkins family and part of her message was “I am me because you are you”. This got to me. I think we see reflections of this statement in our daily lives and we just let them slip.
It is obvious that my best friends throughout the years have made me who I am, but it is easy to forget. We forget that moments and concrete memories would have been completely different with other people.
Other times, we get angry and upset, and then we really forget. In the midst of heartbreak, we would much rather foster on the negative things that came with the pain rather than the light and the joy we had the chance to have for so long. Sometimes you go through a pain that is unlike anything you have experienced before. This is when you learn. You learn how to heal.
Sometimes the hardest things are what make you who you are. Sometimes the people that seem to cause the most damage actually teach you about yourself. I am me because you are you.
Jane first showed symptoms with sloppy handwriting, but soon she could barely stand on her own feet as her calves felt like solid lead weights. Ms. Jane Smith* would soon be diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
In the office, her vibrant personality served her colleagues with laughter and smiles. Yet, her work in the scholarship office was only the tip of the iceberg to the monumental impact she had on the Atlanta landscape—through her selfless endeavors over five decades, Ms. Smith had become one of the hardest working humanitarians for our city serving every indigent population possible. Inspired to aspire to such selfless standards, I helped put together an awareness day called Moving Day 5K Walk through the National Parkinson’s Foundation (NPF) in Atlanta alongside the Neuroscience Club (GTNeuro).
The Moving Day project was a valuable learning experience that affirmed my passion for people. This passion and fascination that I developed from working in the community with National Parkinson’s Disease and Ms. Smith turned into a desire to create change and commit to working for people. Taking ideas to the next level, thinking outside the box, and making simple ideas into tangible experiences, I found it motivating to ignite an idea to build something that can help others, putting others in front of myself.
The journey and adventure of this event was especially important to me because I realized that my passion, just like Ms. Smith, was serving people. The idea began as nothing more than a pow-wow between the GTNeuro executive team and public relations managers from NPF. We set lofty goals to raise $100,000 and to have at least 500 people come attend the event. No one in the room believed these goals would be possible–what we wanted to do was lay a small framework for a much larger event in the upcoming years.
Parkinson’s Disease wasn’t something that happened to just one person; it affected an entire community. The purpose of Moving Day would be to showcase that there is hope for the patients and the family members, and that people like Ms. Smith have our support and people rooting for them.
Teams from both GTNeuro as well as National Parkinson’s Foundation were set to execute small tasks. However, getting Moving Day off the ground from ideas on a whiteboard was a monumental hurdle–we still had to reach out to those afflicted with Parkinson’s, local businesses, and put together promotional material to gather a good crowd.
We had to recruit volunteers from Georgia Tech, contact event suppliers, and coordinate everything we did with the Georgia Tech Police Department. Even with less than four weeks before the event, we were nowhere near our goal of 500 people attending the event, 100 volunteers, or raising $100,000. Incentivizing students and adults to come out on a cold and early Saturday morning was a simple fix. Jane Smith became the rallying cause of our entire event. Her impact on Georgia Tech and Atlanta over the decades drew hundreds to our event!
My experience partnering with National Parkinson’s Foundation and helping organize this event strengthened not just my ability to communicate, think critically, and solve problems as a leader, but more importantly appreciate leadership as an art. A piece of art has been planned with great detail and complexity; each picture telling a different story, each one unique and beautiful.
So what is the different between creating a breathtaking art piece and practicing leadership? I’ve learned that no two pictures can be the same; no two leadership experiences will be similar, no two conversations with people you work with will be alike. My leadership skills gained from this fundraising event was not defined by the numerous hours of planning or meticulous meetings we had, but it was defined through the different human experiences – each unique and beautiful just like a piece of art. I have learned that in order to be an impactful leader, I cannot just strive for success, I must strive for significance – just like each picture or photo has significance.
When November 9th had come, and though some of us were worried, everyone and everything was in place: volunteers showed up an hour before the event started to set up the booths. The walkers had started lining up at the start line and the 5K walk had started. On the side, we had booths where people were doing Zumba, tango and Pilates showcasing that there are different ways to help people with Parkinson’s Disease. All tents had motor skills tables demonstrating how Parkinson’s Disease affected people.
Our event went well with over 700 people attend, 200 volunteers, and raising over $140,000 before the end. We had made a significant impact in unifying a community as well as giving people hope. We did not just lay the framework for events that could be successful in the future, we paved the way for a revolution in the Parkinson’s community.
And in Ms. Jane Smith’s words, “we strove for significance and not success because success was finite, and significance had a ripple effect that never ended.”
*The real name has been removed to protect the identity of the person due to HIPAA.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear” –George Addair
George Addair explains that in order to get what you want in life you have to face fear directly in the eye. Exit your comfort zone and face the things that scare you the most. What you want in life is out of your comfort zone, by constantly allowing yourself to become uncomfortable is how you grow as a person. Do something that requires courage and calculated risk and you will be likely to find success in your endeavors.
My obstacles were not as serious as living in an underprivileged community or in poverty – my story relates to overcoming shortcomings in competition and overcoming the mental aspect that I struggled with.
Well, before answering that, one must define what the term ‘success’ means to them and what one’s purpose is when aiming for success. The dictionary defines the word success in two prominent ways:
1) The attainment of popularity or profit.
2) The accomplishment of an aim or purpose
For the most part society synonymously attaches the term success to winning, prosperity or monetary gain as the first definition proclaims, but I believe the point is being missed with that definition. I look at success and identify with the second definition: The accomplishment of an aim or purpose, regardless of money or fame.
My coach Adam Singer elaborates on the second definition and describes success as the progressive realization of a worthy ideal or goal. The key word here being progressive, I believe that people want success immediately and forget that it comes with a journey of ups and downs.
Successful people have the mindset of accepting failure as a necessary learning process, which allows them to take action and correct themselves in the future and in what they truly believe in and are pursuing. It is only truly a failure if you stop trying.
I only say I was a ‘failure’ because I did not accomplish any goals I set forth and never managed to win anything in my years. Many would consider my career as a baseball player or wrestler as successful but the truth is I never actually won anything.
However, I sure did give a valiant effort in all my pursuits. I AM hard on myself but the statements above are facts.
I constantly came up short and damn near quit in my efforts, but I kept trying with each new venture and when I eventually found my true passion I obtained one of my major goals I set in being a champion.
FAILURE definition – to be unsuccessful in achieving one’s goal.
My journey began as most kids did; I bounced around every sport from basketball, soccer and baseball in my free time. In my early teenage years I took interest in baseball over everything and began to focus on that in 7th grade. I would play countless games throughout the year from spring ball, to summer and then to fall ball. It was a year round endeavor and eventually got old by the time I hit high school and my passion had run out, but I continued because it was all I knew.
I needed a change of pace.
I had been thinking of taking up wrestling my freshman year before baseball but did not due to the fear of the grueling practices and wanting to play fall ball. I had always admired the mental fortitude of wrestlers and the fact that it was an individual sport with no one to blame for failure but yourself. There was something about relying on my efforts and no one elses I found amusing. When the next year rolled around I decided out of nowhere to just join without thinking and that the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.
I fell in love with wrestling and saw success at a JV level early on. In my very first tournament in which comprised of over 20 teams I found myself winning the first two matches on the first day and set up in the semi finals. The next day I would go on to lose 3 straight, place 6th and not even show up to the podium because of my embarrassment. I knew I had many opportunities in the future to get on the top of that podium, but little did I know I would never step foot there again.
When my first year of wrestling ended it was back to baseball, but something didn’t feel right. During tryouts I was preparing to field ground balls at second base and I found myself lost. I found my mind wandering and was more focused on my wrestling posture at second base than fielding ground balls.
By junior year I decided to hang up my cleats before the season even began. I was stepping out of my comfort zone. It was especially hard when my baseball coach pulled me in the wrestling room (not knowing what was happening) to talk. I remember to this day what he said after I broke the news I was done playing baseball. Perplexed he went on “Well, do you have fun in here?!,” Saying sarcastically. I looked at him directly in the eye and said, “Yes, I love this room.”
No matter how tough and daunting every practice was I loved every moment of wrestling, there was something to be said about physically and mentally pushing yourself to the limit only to have to go beyond that in order to succeed. I had found my new passion.
Without wrestling I would have never learned the important life lessons in humility, agony, failure, success as well as all of the ups and downs the sport brings to a human.
I believe it is the most crucial factor in making me who I am today.
My second year I was one of the leaders on the JV team yet failed to make the podium once again individually, yet as a team we had massive success.
This still left me unfulfilled, as wrestling is mainly an individual sport. My senior year I expected to start and dominate until my good friend came out of nowhere to beat my handily in the pre-season wrestle offs. I was upset and utterly confused.
Eventually he would injure himself, which allowed me to start the majority of the year. I worked hard all year and saw some success against mediocre wrestlers but got beat by the top notch guys every time. I felt as if I was so close to the capabilities of these top level guys. Physically I was as strong and athletic, but mentally I lacked what the champions had. I was improving and when my friend came back he wrestled me off for the spot once again.
We had one last team tournament as a team I would wrestle in before Josh came back from injury and we had to wrestle off for the starting spot. It was the team regional tournament and the top 3 would move on to the team state tournament.
We found ourselves in the semi-finals and the winner would go on to the state tournament regardless of the finals result and we had our hands full with the team in front of us. It was decided that my weight class would be the very last to compete, which had me just a little bit nervous. Anyway, when the time came we were down by 5 points and we needed a PIN, or we lose and go home. I began by dominating my opponent but struggled to pin him.
I was devastated. I knew that if my friend Josh (who’s spot I was taking due to injury) would have pinned the man. Now, because of my shortcomings our team was headed home. As they raised my hand in victory, I cried. I did not do what needed to be done and although it was not 100% my fault, I felt like I failed my team.
It was the week before the last tournament and I knew I had to show-out and win or else I would be done. The wrestle-off was intense and I found myself down by 3 when time ran out as I was about to hit a reversal/possible back points which would have put me ahead for the win. Just like that I was done, my career was over. (and worst of all, I found myself injured with a neck problem that wouldn’t allow me to be physically active for months and bad place mentally.)
I had graduated high school and was set to attend Georgia Southern but needed something to fill the void after wrestling. I knew I wasn’t done competing yet – I had only just started 3 years ago in something I became obsessed with. At the end of summer after I healed up from my neck injury I sustained while helping my friend who beat me prepare for the final tournament I started kickboxing two weeks before I left for school.
When I started at Georgia Southern University I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do.
I was indecisive with every endeavor from choosing my major to joining a fraternity or continuing wrestling/MMA, I was lost. I went the safe route with my major, decided not to join a fraternity the first semester and I joined the MMA club immediately.
The guys in charge of the club were well-established amateur fighters and coaches. The first day I showed up with no gear. After a tough practice they matched everyone up by size, gave them gloves, shin guards and pretty much said ‘fight.’ I was scared to death. Not only was this the first fight I would ever be in, I was fighting a taller and much bigger individual. But the second they said ‘spar’ I was lost in my own world.
I loved every second of the pure one on one aspect of unarmed combat, who can impose their game plan and come out the victor. There was no one else in there to lay blame on if something went wrong. It was new and it was real. This was the coaches’ test to see if you truly wanted to do this, and boy did I!
When second semester rolled around I decided join a fraternity, stay sober and was practically non-existent in the club. I was set to have my first fight but that fell through quickly with all of my obligations.
The next summer I trained feverishly and sharpened my tools with them and I knew what I wanted to do now. Although I had just joined a fraternity I was set on giving MMA a crack. Countless hours in the gym and I finally was set up for my first fight, only for my opponent to not show up at weigh ins.
Fortunately the next week I took a late replacement fight in the weight class above my normal one. I went through a tough first minute but came out of my shell and hit my opponent with a flurry of strikes until I rocked him and the ref jumped in. There was no better feeling in the world – nothing compared to the euphoria of winning a fight.
After my fight I partied a lot. After my fight I lost sight of all of the hard work I had put forth. I began partying a lot after I found out I was going to UGA the next semester. I was leaving everything behind and although it was a tough decision, I was excited. Once I settled down in Athens my spark for the sport began to burn just as it had before and fortunately for me Athens was home to the HardCore Gym, which has produced two world champions. I found out I was going to UGA the next semester and was leaving everything I started behind. It was honestly a tough decision but would prove to be a great one. One fight down and I knew I wanted to keep having more. Athens is home to The HardCore Gym, which has produced two world champions.
Once I was on the fight team I fought constantly and improved my record to 3-0. I had found early success but that all came to a screeching halt.
With one more win I would receive a title shot but I ended up losing in the first round and found myself in a rut. I was devastated, I didn’t take the fight seriously and I shouldn’t have looked past him. I learned my first lesson to never look past your opponent and focus on what is front of you. Just like wrestling I came so close but ended up with nothing once again.
He came in overweight but I did not care. I got a call in the morning of the fight from my coach – the fight was off, my opponent had eye issues. It was not until 6 hours later they said we have a guy; he was cutting to 155 (I’m 145) and is making his debut…but he’s a golden gloves boxing champ at 165 lbs.
I took the fight, I didn’t care, all the work was done and I just wanted to fight. Lesson number two; don’t do that. I ended up losing a decision and took home a huge gash under my eye and huge black eye that didn’t make my mom happy.
I decided to return April and won decisively. I was now set to fight the champion in May and realize my goal but he suffered a concussion and the fight fell through and was set to be re-scheduled for the summer, but I had obligations to study abroad in Australia and missed my shot once again. He then went pro and vacated the belt.
I was then set to face my friend in August for the vacated belt but he ended up getting injured. My patience was running short. Finally on September 13 I had my chance to fight for the vacant title only to find out two weeks before my opponent pulled out for personal reasons. With no challengers stepping up I took a fight at a weight class lower versus a very tough opponent and failed to perform.
A few fights later I found myself in a position to fight for a title in a promotion in South Carolina. Light was coming through the dark tunnel I had put myself in and I was ready to seize the golden opportunity in front of me. The fight was a grueling war between the larger opponent and I which I lost due to lack of activity, something that had haunted me in previous fights. I was absolutely gutted and thought I was done.
But I knew I needed to keep grinding and not give up knowing my potential. Eventually in March a huge promotion rolled around town and co promoted a show with NFC and I was selected to fight an undefeated fighter for the vacant belt I had earned the right to fight for. It was my opportunity on a huge stage, the time was now or never. I busted my ass for 3 months to get ready for this opportunity.
The first round I got beat up from every angle. I took his best shots and submission attempts but made it through. The second round I came out and relaxed, I breathed deep and took the fight where I was best, the ground. It was not long before I won via Technical Knockout. The feeling of the ref stepping in gives me the chills every time I think about it. I had never won anything in my life and I finally accomplished something. I was now a champion.
“You don’t deserve anything in life, you deserve what you earn” –T. Brands
When that belt wrapped around my waist the excitement kicked in. I didn’t deserve that win, I earned it. I worked hard, stayed patient and eventually my time came I capitalized on the opportunity. I am now champion with a target on my back.
It was the small changes that made the difference. My coaches Adam and Rory stress the three things we control every morning with the acronym A.P.E. (Attitude, Perspective, Effort)
This coupled with showing up and working hard day in and day out culminates into success. I had struggles and hardships in my career along the way but I reached my goal for once in my athletic career. I defended my belt on June 27 and won via submission in the third round after getting beat the first two rounds.
I just recently dropped weight classes and defeated the 135 pound champion in a dominant unanimous decision victory. It was my final amateur bout and now with my goals being complete I am now set to accomplish a lifelong dream in becoming a professional athlete on February 20, 2016. For my whole life I was sure I would be a professional baseball player, but through my journey I was lead into the world of Mixed Martial Arts.
In every success story there is a struggle that no one sees – it is not an easy path. I learned a lot on the way to the title and failed a lot as well. All of my experiences and each time I failed to meet my expectations/goals I was upset, but I did not quit. I took lessons from each ‘failure’ and learned to apply my knowledge in order to progressively better myself in the future and create a different result. Eventually my time came and I seized the opportunity.
I am far from achieving overall success but I am progressively realizing my goals as they come to fruition with hard work and focus. I celebrate the small victories for now and know they will play a part in my overall goal and have many future successes in the future.
On what it takes to be successful former World Champion, Chael Sonnen sums it up perfectly. He said, “Between success and failure some say that failure is not an option. I think that is ridiculous. Failure is the most readily available option, but it’s a choice. You can choose to fail or you can choose to succeed.”
It’s a rarity that a successful person has had an easy path to their destination. No matter how hard your journey might be it is all in the mindset and how you approach what is in front of you that will determine your destination. Success comes from fulfillment, if you are not satisfied or happy with what you do or who you are then is it really success?
The Complexity of success can be daunting but at the end of the day success is all a state of mind.