“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Mike Tyson, World Heavyweight Champion
What makes a great entrepreneur? Vision? Passion? Knowledge? I came to realize that the answer is:
A great entrepreneur is a good fighter who never gives up in the face of the market, obstacles, or the whole world. The one who, no matter how many times falls, will stand up to win.
I have always been a fighter and a warrior. Not in the sense of literally battling against enemies, rather overcoming myself and the circumstances. A few years ago life gave me a few kicks where it hurt the most. That’s how it brought me to the doors of the Kickboxing Institute.
Over the past years, kickboxing became more than a hobby for me. It’s my way to keep my body healthy and my mind clean. Here is what I take from the ring to my daily life and work.
A proper punch of a kick starts in your hips. Not in your fist, hand or leg. Your whole body needs to be aligned in the same vector to produce maximum force. You take the energy from the ground by making a step, twisting your hips and the rest of your body, and only then channeling the momentum into your fist or your leg. Alignment is key to hitting the target!
I use the same approach in business — use your guts and focus to align the entire organization in the same direction to achieve the goals.
You need enough oxygen to produce muscle energy but it doesn’t stop there. It also a way to control your fears and release the force. The same is valid outside the ring: we tend to hold our breath to block emotions or confront reality. Whenever in doubt or fear, take three deep breaths, your body knows the way.
During my business meetings that didn’t go as expected, I noticed the same pattern in my body. By focusing on my breathing, I could relax my body and tune in to the frequency of my opponent.
Improve your mobility
The reason why I prefer kickboxing over boxing is that the legs are involved. Your movements need to be featherlight and fast as a bullet. This can only be achieved with flexibility and mobility training. Knees, hips, and ankles are crucial for stability and posture in daily life.
The same can be applied at work — your posture during a meeting or a presentation is how the audience will react to you. It has actually been scientifically proven that your posture sends a certain signal to your brain and depending on how you position your body, you act, talk and are perceived in a certain way.
You are a different person when your shoulders are broad, your back straight and your body — flexible. On the other side, a hunched and stiff body sends signals which may contribute to a potential depression.
A flexible body leads to a more flexible brain, which opens up to the new.
Don’t fight your shadows
You can never win against your own shadow. This is the only fight you will always lose because “the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself”(Nietzsche). All your inner fears and conflicts are projected onto your opponent. Be at ease with yourself; don’t fight your inner warrior, work with him — he is actually your best ally.
The primary constraint in business growth is your own limits. You cannot go further than the wall which has your inner boundaries and fears of your shadows written all over it. When you read into them, you can use them to increase your internal capacity instead of fighting. You open up for growth, open a new door in the wall or make your own breach in it.
Use your feelings and intuition
Feel your opponent, play with him, project his moves. When on the ring, you live at that moment: the past doesn’t exist, and the future might not occur if you miss a punch. Your moves are subconscious, and you are in the flow. Overthinking is dangerous — it slows you down.
Intuition and feeling are substantial in business, and so is the flow. It’s just an unspoken rule!
Unleash your inner beasts
After a long day in the office, I tend to notice that my aggression and built up energy are burning me from the inside.
For me, kickboxing became a way to balance my inner chemistry. You feel revitalized after training when all the stress, aggression and worries vanish.
An interesting study says that in primate communities, males with higher testosterone levels are more likely to become dominant and leaders. Due to frequent fights and aggression towards other males, they keep up their high levels of testosterone. I interpolate the same towards the ring.
Entrepreneurship means leadership in the business jungle of these days. With kickboxing, I am not simply making myself fitter, I am also not taking my inner beasts to my workplace. However, fighting them is what helps me be a stronger and better version of myself at work.
Get a coach
A coach is not just someone who trains your physical conditioning. He is an external observer. He is a person outside the system of the ring who observes your actions and adjusts your flow. He is also your mentor in a spiritual way, as a fight is not just throwing hands and legs at each other. It’s a clash of energies.
I spent the whole COVID summer 2020 in Kiev training with Dmitry, a European and World K1 championships prize winner. Not only did we improve my fight skills, but I also talked a lot about Dostoevsky and Victor Hugo. A connection with your coach on different levels will massively speed up your progress, as it also brings trust into the coach-student relationship.
The same applies to business and personal life — you need a coach, guru, mentor, whoever to help you observe and guide you to the right choices. It’s a well-known fact that you can’t become a champion without a coach, then what makes you think you can become a successful entrepreneur on your own?
Somehow my enthusiasm spread all over the team. You know you are doing the right thing when your surrounding starts taking interest in what you are doing — you are spreading that magnetic energy. This is how I ended up training together with two of my colleagues from Kiev.