Tag Archives: boxing

How The Stories You Believe Lead To The Impact You Have

A story of how my identity and perspective changed based on what I believed about myself in this talk at Abilene Christian University with my good friend Dr. Steven Moore

When I was a little kid I wanted to be Superman. Superman made an impact. He was unstoppable, invincible and incredibly powerful.

I was not.

On the contrary, I’ve always had a small frame. Skinny, scrawny, short. These were ready adjectives you could identify me with. Still can.

impact superman pinterest artwork invincible InspiraAcao

Source: manof2moro.tumblr.com

I didn’t want to be Superman because he was the strongest dude around, could bend iron in his hand, or was faster than a speeding bullet. I wanted to be invincible. I wanted to be immune to the physical damage of bullets or baseball bats or bullies.

Suffice to say, I understood how dangerous it is to be vulnerable. I wanted to be able to create impact, but be immune from experiencing it.

Being capable of receiving pain is a human condition. It’s one I have avoided. Yet avoiding pain is not a way to grow or succeed. Therefore, I’m changing this mindset so I can grow and win.

Most of us have a real understanding of what pain is, both physical and emotional and psychological. Avoiding pain is what we’re naturally programmed for. Yet pain is a part of the human experience, and turning off our ability to receive it can cost more than the pain itself.

Where The Mindset Change Started For Me

Best selling author and life coach Tony Robbins has made a BIG impact on a lot of people. The self-help guru is an empowering teacher worth modeling after. He talks about how every decision we make is either a pursuit of pleasure, or the avoidance of pain. His book Awaken The Giant Within details how to transform your life by changing your beliefs, words, and actions to overcome the fear of pain.

Your beliefs about yourself determine the stories you tell yourself about who you are, and what you’re capable of.

This is something you might have struggled with to from a young age. You may still be struggling with avoiding pain. Pain from someone’s harsh words, or actions, or attitudes, or something else that made you feel less than and unworthy. They became the stories you adopted on your identity.

It’s our human condition to want a few specific things intrinsically. When we come out of the womb we have within us the desire to be valued, to be found worthy, and to be loved. It’s in our DNA.

Life gives us opportunities to experience this kind of love. We have friends who lift us up, encourage us, and make us feel like we’re on top of the world.

All the while there are other people we experience who do the opposite. For one reason or another, they tear down, destroy, hurt, and cause us pain with their words and actions. Try as you might, you can’t make sense of their motivation or reason. Each of us experience negativity this at some point in our lives.

The Power Of Stories On Our Understanding Of Fear And Identity

When I first experienced the pain of rejection and unworthiness from a person, it made an imprint, a story. Imprints & stories don’t go away easily.

Imprints that are negative tend to have more staying power than those that are positive, unless we’re looking for and needing that uplifting stuff. Then it’s received differently. Something that hits you and leaves a mark has a pretty strong impact on your outlook on life and yourself.

As I’ve gotten older I realize that my defense mechanisms for dealing with pain and rejection have always been faulty. An old friend once told me when we were in college that I approached people metaphorically with my arms up in defense (like a boxer).

He said I never let anyone get close enough to know me. Keeping people away from reaching in to (potentially) cause harm.

It’s hard to build community, build trust, and gain influence with people if you don’t let them in. That vulnerability thing is something we all have to deal with. It’s hard. It hurts. It’s risky. It’s dangerous. But it might just save your life.

It saved mine. But it’s also one of the most difficult things I’ve done.

When I realized that being Superman wasn’t all that great, my heart changed. How can I be understood and valued if I can’t feel or allow others to impact me in a way that leads to feelings, good or bad?

I’ve always been a pretty emotional dude, so that whole idea of being immune to feeling is a bit off. I could never pull that off anyways.

Growth Farming Creates Maximum Impact To Change The Story

We have a choice to make in our lives everyday. What will we plant within ourselves produce fruits that others experience. What we focus on, the stories we believe, determine whether we have impact on our spheres of influence, or go ignored.

I used to plant fear in my heart, and with the stories I told myself. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of being harmed. Fear of being beat up. Fear of being found not good enough.

Turns out that fear is what I produced. Afraid of not being received and accepted by people kept the folks I wanted to connect with from wanting to engage. So I felt even more rejected and alone. It wasn’t their fault. We create the worlds we think about. We create our reality.

I would avoid people I thought might cause me harm, physical or emotional. I’d only get so close. One day I was walking around downtown Abilene and saw this dude on the other side of the road I was going to cross.

He looked kinda tough, with tattoos and baggy pants. I judged that guy right then. I thought he might try to hurt me so I turned around and went the other way to avoid him.

That’s no way to live. I can talk openly about that now because it’s not who I am anymore. I felt a little voice in my head/heart ask me, “How long are you going to live like this? How long are you going to be a scared little boy afraid of the nonexistent monster under his bed?”

This realization led to me venturing into the amateur boxing realm to overcome that perpetual fear of being harmed. I ended up joining a boxing gym run by an Air Force coach who engrained in me transformative pieces that changed my life.

I never became a good boxer. But I did lose the fear of getting hurt. Yet I learned SO much more about life, business, and success from Coach Rivas than I ever imagined.

I also learned my calling. It’s bigger than music. It’s bigger than radio. It involves people and giving the thing I’ve wanted my whole life.

Transformation That Came From A Ring

I’ve always not been big on competition. Part of it was scary because it involved the possibility of losing (fear again). It also pitted people against each other, which has never been something I get excited about.

I’ve always enjoyed working with people to make something big happen. I’ve got a gift in being able to recognize people’s strengths, even those they might not know they have, and incorporating them into the mix to get the best out of a collaboration.

We naturally want to be around people who empower us, who make us feel bigger and stronger and able to do more than we believe we can do naturally. Think about the individuals in your life who give you that feeling.

Those people (and there’s probably only a handful of them that you know, they are uncommon folks) who give you the feeling of being able to tackle any giant just by being around them. They evoke a power that is transferred into your spirit. That’s a real superhero.

I no longer want to be Superman. I haven’t for sometime. Surprisingly, as much as I love Batman, I don’t want to be him either. I wish to have that kind of focus and dedication. But the skillset and methodology are too different than my inclinations.

maximum impact professor x james mcavoy patrick stewart mutant x-men movie days of future past

By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44546224

I want to be Professor X. You recall him from the X-Men films, played by both Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy. In the comics, he was the founder of the X-Men and garnered an extremely loyal friendship to each of the members of the team. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not because of his mutant power.

Professor X’s real power is his ability to inspire greatness in uncommon individuals, bring them together and show them how to use their gifts to better the world. He’s a unifier. He’s a teacher. Because he believes that everyone is capable of great things if they’re just believe in themselves, they’re able to face incredible obstacles and foes.

That’s a hero worth aspiring to. That’s the kind of leader we need. That’s the kind of person who gets the best out of others, and inspires greatness.

Transformation is a process, and this is the evolution that I’m diving into. Like planting a garden, it takes time. But when the fruit is fully ripe, it will be bountiful and bless the world I’m connected with in powerful ways.

What about you? Is there a hero, fictional or real, who has inspired you to be more than you think you are? Do you know what your super-power is? Let’s talk about how you can use your super-power daily to make the world a better place. Click here to talk with me about how you can overcome your fears to achieve success and growth.

 

 

Growth Farming Tip: Get Positive Mindset

Graphic by Psychologymd

Graphic by Psychologymd

Do ever have negative thoughts about who you are and what you’re capable of? Are you positive that you’re going to win, or do you question yourself each day? Does “be positive” make you cringe a little because it’s either cliche or seemingly impossible?

I ask these questions because they’re obstacles I’m facing now, and have been facing for about 30 years or more. I just didn’t realize that the thoughts in my head that tell me I can’t do what I aspire to, or that I’m not capable of success in the goals I have are what most people deal with each and every day.

I just took those attitudes and thoughts as the way things are. In other words, I didn’t question it, or challenge it. I just believed it.

Negative thoughts can destroy our momentum, causing us to spin our wheels instead of move forward. These mindsets create negative progress, or periods where growth is so slow and we’re left to just wonder why.

DGS-StairsProfileHeadshotIf you can relate to that there is a simple solution I’m experiencing transformation with right now. It’s really just a matter of a positive mindset. Here’s the truth: what you put in your mind and in your heart creates pathways that lead you to new opportunities, or keep you from the growth you want.

Does that mean that if you’re not “thinking positive thoughts” all the time, that you can’t succeed at your goals? No, it doesn’t. However, it may mean that you’ll have to work harder, longer, and face more obstacles than you would have if you evicted the negativity from having residence in your life.

Positive thoughts and a positive mindset can work together, but they’re not always the same thing. Thoughts feed our mindset, and determine what our mindset is. If you set your mind on what is positive and affirming, you attract those things to your life. If you let negativity be present in what you think, you’ll attract negative people and closed doors. That’s been true in places in my life.

Here’s one thing I’ve struggled with for most of my life: a perpetual thought that I can’t be or have something that I want. It really has been just like that. If I talked with someone who wanted to build something new to impact people on a big scale, the first thought that has come into my head has been literally this: “You can’t do that.”

The “you” in my head is talking to me. It’s the voice that doesn’t believe in me, and will never believe in me. That voice may live in your head too. It’s not you, but it’s living in you and it’s working against you. It’s not your job or mine to convince the negativity that it’s wrong. It’s our job to instead choose to ignore or not listen, to give no credence to that thought. This was a foreign concept to me until a few months ago.

I’ve shared a bit here on this blog about facing fears, and overcoming many of them through a boxing gym. That’s a part of the journey into personal wholeness. That’s the journey I’m still on. The mindset we have determines a lot about our progress forward as people who are building something of value, whether that’s music or business, or anything else. As growth farmers, our attitude about other people and with other people is impacted by what we believe about ourselves.

Here’s a little bit of my story about overcoming fears. The mindset we have determines a lot in achieving this too.

 

I realize now that my attitude towards some people in the communities I’ve operated in over the past few years hasn’t been great, and it’s because of the internal beliefs I had about myself. I’ve felt overlooked or invisible to people, which put a little chip on my shoulder. That led to me working to prove them wrong, pushing me to succeed to beat some perceived attitude in someone else. However, the real attitude was still alive and well in me, and that negativity was what needed to be dealt with the whole time.

A friend of mine gave a kickass speech yesterday in our local Toastmasters group that talked about the power of positive beliefs over negative ones. She talked about how it’s scientifically proven that positive people live longer, have more personal happiness, and are more successful than people who foster negative attitudes. I managed to record the tail end of her speech, and wish I had gotten the whole thing because it was incredibly powerful.

One takeaway was a challenge she laid down to us to make a gratefulness journal. Every day for the next 2 months, write down 3 things you’re grateful for and thankful for. I started last night. I’m finding that the things I’m the most thankful for are relationships with specific people. Relationships are our fruit, and the more we work to grow them the more whole we can become, and the more successful we are.

Our attitudes towards ourselves plays a huge role in our ability to connect with others, and build the relationships that lead to more success. But how do we change our attitude and thoughts if we have negativity brewing inside our heads?

IMG_1333Here’s what I’m doing to change the attitude and be more positive:

I start my day with a walk. While I’m moving (activity is a great way to get out of the doldrums and create literal action that changes things), I affirm myself with new beliefs and attitudes that serve to create what I truly want. Here’s what I tell myself:

“I believe in me. My heart and mind are filled with love, joy, peace, passion, wealth, and prosperity. My life produces love, joy, peace, passion, wealth, and prosperity. What people experience from me is love, joy, peace, passion, wealth, and prosperity.”

This is the opposite of listening to a perpetual negative attitude that says “you can’t.” It’s also powerful to call out that voice and tell it to shut the hell up, and get the hell out. Do that too. It’s a stubborn attitude, but it will obey you. Then affirm yourself with positive thoughts.

I’m about a month into this part of the process and I’m already seeing results. A good friend & mentor today told me that they get more centered and balanced every time we talk. She’s mentoring me, and she’s gaining balance from our talks. That tells me this growth farming method is working.

It will work for you too. Put it into action in your life. And let me know how your garden grows. I look forward to hearing from you.

Who I Am And What I’m Really All About

DGS-StairsProfileHeadshotThis isn’t a typical blog post, with tips or insights into growth strategies. Instead, I just want to shoot from the hip with a little insight about why I post the content I do each week, what drives the subject matter, and who I am so that you can have a better grid for connecting with me.

In the end, that’s what I’m striving for with this online platform: connecting with you.

We connect with people we relate to, folks whose stories are similar to ours and who show us a part of who they are that syncs with who we are.

I work in two seemingly different fields (music and the entrepreneurial business world), but actually they’re very similar. You can read the About page for more of my history, but all of those experiences lead to very concrete ways of doing things in a practical sense, especially since what I do involves working one-on-one with people.

Instead of a narrative, I’ve been asked some questions in an interview format that I’ll share with you so you can know a little more about why I do what I do (and more specifics on the what as well).

Q: What are you passionate about in your career?

I’m excited and passionate about people. I spent a very long time in life being afraid of people, scared for a few different reasons, but mostly thinking that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, or worse, taken advantage of. In the past few years I’ve come out of that shell, thanks to many great people including mentors and my amazing wife.

It’s people who have reshaped my career. Working both in radio, the music industry, and the nonprofit sector, I’ve been incredibly blessed to have been impacted through the relationships, networking, and mentoring of some great individuals who changed the way I see myself and the world.

That’s one thing that has made The Appetizer Radio Show so fulfilling to me personally over the past decade and more. Helping to launch someone from unknown and uncelebrated to nationally recognized, showcased, and prized is a big deal. Sharing in someone’s underdog story as they rise to success is a very fulfilling part of why I do what I do.

Q: What or who are you most passionate about?

I mentioned fears earlier, and I think most artists and creative people share some of the same fears. Overcoming them is a vital part of the growth and success process, and at times it’s a daily exercise. From my experience, I’m drawn to people who feel like they’ve been ignored or skipped over by pop culture, who don’t fit neatly into boxes, who have the odds stacked against them but who have a fire burning in them to win. Their ambition and goals aren’t too big for their circumstances. They just need a little help and direction. They are the Rockys who need a Mickey in their corner (I speak often in metaphors and boxing provides plenty of them for me).

Q: What do you believe in?

This is one of my philosophies: Talent is important but by itself it won’t lead to consistent wins, or even the wins that matter most. Heart and determination, paired with talent, that will take you to bigger and better place, and more powerful wins along the way. That’s what champions are made from, talent plus heart plus determination.

The quality of your character is the most important thing for who you are. Do what you say you will do. Treat others with love always. And true power doesn’t come from one person, but instead from the power of community and relationships.

Q: You writing a lot about being uncommon, building community and growth. Ultimately what is the message you are trying to communicate?

The world is inherently selfish. As individuals, it’s in our nature to be very Me-First in what we do and each of us has to deal with those tendencies in our own ways. This leads to a very important question that each of us has to answer as we face our path forward to success: How do you get people to take notice of you and unplug from themselves so that you can build an audience, a following, and a growing platform?

I think we look at the ground, plants, and trees for wisdom here. You water their tree. The basic roots of relationship are in sharing, but giving is required to start. It’s human nature to put yourself out front and shout for attention. What happens when someone notices you first and engages with you? Something happens that is dynamic in its connection power between you and that person. We care about people who engage with us. You then become a fan of this person in some way. So to attract a fan, maybe you should think about the reverse path of how they would come to you and go to them in that way.

Be Uncommon

To build anything you need strong roots. Roots that are deep and well connected to resources. Those take water and a process for growth. I want to be better at growing strong, solid roots and that’s what I work at every day. It’s what I write about here on this blog, speak about at events and engagements, and coach my clients with in their development. Growing roots and nourishing the connections we have to the people we want fruit from is the key to success, to winning at this game called business and life.

Doing growth and process this way is not ordinary, it’s not common. Common people follow the herd and do what everyone else does because it feels safe and not risky. Yet the more people do the same thing in terms of trying to be heard, the more noise that gets put out there. Noise doesn’t lead to wins. That’s why I talk so much about being uncommon. The uncommon path and uncommon people are the ones who are well received, prized and showcased. True, loyal, and solid fans/audiences don’t follow regular or common artists. They follow amazing and uncommon ones. That’s what we can build together.

Q: How about some other insights into who you are that are not business, music or career related?

I’m a staunch Alabama Crimson Tide fan, but only during football season even though I didn’t go to college there. I do love football. My favorite player of all time is Bo Jackson because he was simply a superhero on the field and we share a birthday. If you haven’t seen the 30 for 30 biography on him, Netflix it today.

DGrantTexansManningJerseyBeerUntil last year I was a pretty die hard Houston Texans fan and continue to follow them but for different reasons. I’m a super fan in most areas, so if I follow something it’s with all of my heart. Honestly I was a Texans fan because they had Danieal Manning at safety and he played at ACU when I was in college there. Manning was the first player to be drafted out of ACU since Wilbert Montgomery in the 70s. Unfortunately for my fandom, Manning retired this year and the secondary of the Texans has suffered for it, but that’s my opinion.

I’m a big fan of Batman, in particular the Christopher Nolen Dark Knight trilogy. Actually I have all of the books related to the movies including the novelizations. I’m very nerdy about that stuff. I do have a ton of comics and graphic novels as well. I think Jeph Loeb, Frank Miller, and Brian Azzarello’s writing is top shelf (excluding The Dark Knight Strikes Back, that was rubbish). On the subject of books, I’m an avid reader and am usually reading at least 2 books at a time.

My favorite thing in the whole world is having engaging conversations with people. I love to grab a beer or coffee and talk about anything and everything. Again, people are what I’m really passionate about.

I’m married to a gorgeous and amazing woman who inspires me every day to do things I haven’t thought of, and who makes me laugh harder than anyone on earth. If you want some truly fantastic storytelling plus really awesome DIY ideas for your home, visit her blog HERE.

Now that you know a little more insight into the what, the who, and the why philosophies behind the blog articles and posts, don’t be shy about reaching out and asking questions.

I’m open to you to build your uncommon pathway forward. Reach out and let’s talk.

Why You Should Be A Mayweather Fan Even If You Don’t Like Boxing

FloydMayweatherFirst things first, let’s identify a few important types of people: Entrepreneurs, DIY/Unsigned Musicians, and Small Business Owners and Managers.

If you fall into any of those categories, this blog article is for you. If you saw the name Mayweather and the word Boxing and were interested, this will be worth your while as well. If you want to carve an Uncommon Path, Mayweather is a great person to model after because he is Uncommon in many ways.

Any of the people mentioned above (or some combination of any of them) need to pay attention to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. It doesn’t matter if you like boxing or not. It doesn’t matter what you think of him outside of the ring (some of his luxurious lifestyle and all of the convictions of assault are not to be proud of) or inside of it. It doesn’t matter if you think he is a cowardly boxer who runs from his opponents (which many of his detractors do) or if you think he is a boxing genius and defensive master (which many of his supporters do).

Remember in 2008 when the housing bubble burst, sending the economy into a downward spiral and fall from a large height? Millions of people lost there jobs, their retirements, and a lot of money went down a black hole. The stock market plummeted. Whole industries took a huge nose dive. Other than politicians, who still made (loads of) money in 2008? Mayweather did.

If you think Mayweather was still able to capitalize his earnings on the fact that he’s a professional boxer, you need to look closer at the details. Not all professional athletes make money, or in this case tens of millions of dollars per year, especially in a downward economy. Boxing as a professional sport is nowhere near as popular in America as football, baseball, basketball or golf. We can chalk Nascar up there too. Where there is popularity there are masses of people who spend massive amounts of money to support athletes and organizations. With the masses come sponsors and advertising, which fuels the whole enterprise.

Boxing has a few big sponsors, but they don’t have the masses or audience. The days when a heavyweight boxer could captivate the nation were the days of Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Tyson, and Hollyfield. Though the legendary Bernard Hopkins (the oldest boxer to be champion) is still in the game,the lack of interest in the sports world for boxing has affected the greatest names’ paydays.

Except for one person: Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

But you shouldn’t pay attention to Mayweather because he’s one of the richest athletes in the world, or for being the #1 pay-per-view moneymaker in history. That’s not why you should care. The money (no pun intended) only proves the point that he has been able to do something magnificent in a time when everyone else in business and entertainment has made excuses for not living up to their ambitions or abilities.

For Floyd Mayweather, Jr, success isn’t a matter of whether or not the economy is doing well, or even if the market for sports is stable or not. It has nothing to do with the popularity of a sport that continues to decline in viewership. How many business owners or entrepreneurs do you know who will justify the poor standing or quarterly results for their business with excuses on how poorly the market is doing?

Here are 3 Takeaways you can get from Floyd Mayweather’s success and how you can apply it to what you do:

1. Use any attention given to you to draw people into what you do and then you set the pace.

Mayweather is great at being a heel, to the point where he uses the public’s dislike for him to gain more of what he wants (in this case money). He’s a master at making bad press or negative reviews work to his favor. Are there haters in your world? Floyd uses the sentiments made against him to draw his detractors in and make them interested in what’s going on. He makes haters buy in to his events in the hopes that their desire for his defeat will be won. His undefeated record reveals how well he’s executed his plan, and how people continue to buy expensive pay-per-views for the same reason. He sells the conflict, instead of selling one side of it or the other.

2. Mayweather is a consummate student of the game of winning

Nonboxing fans think that a boxing match (especially one that costs $60-$100 to see on TV) should play out like a Rocky movie, with two fighters in the middle of the ring duking it out. Sorry folks, that’s not good (or real) boxing. Without getting into how the sport actually works, defense and technique have more to do with solid boxing than raw power alone. If you want KOs, watch UFC. Rhonda Rousey is really good at that (speaking of carving an uncommon path, a woman who dominates a male-heavy sport is certainly doing an uncommon thing).

The science and art of boxing is different, it’s to hit and not get hit. KOs and knockdowns are an exciting part of boxing, but they’re not the whole thing. Most fights are won by decision, by determining which fighter on a round-by-round basis did the most to score points by landing punches, avoiding being punched, ring generalship, and being aggressive.

Floyd is a true defensive genius in the ring, making opponents (many considered to be more powerful punchers than him) look silly trying to hit him. If he struggles in a round and takes too many shots (as he did in only a few rounds against legends like Cotto, Mosley, or Pacquaio), he rebounds in the next round and changes his strategy.

Mayweather is two important things here: Fluid/Adaptable and Experienced/Studied. For you as a musician or entrepreneur, knowing the ins and outs of the science of your craft makes you an excellent and skilled individual in your ring (market). Being adaptable and fluid (adjust to changes as they come) and not allow an occasional blow to throw off your game will make you a champion.

Mayweather-v-Pacquiao-The-Fight3. Sell the potential for happiness and satisfaction

One caveat here, you should be selling actual happiness and satisfaction with your offering. For Mayweather, since he knows that many people buy his fights in the hopes of him losing, he sells the hype of that coming to pass and plays on it. In the end, he’s still selling the potential for his haters to be satisfied. For his fans, he’s also selling the potential that their happiness will continue, because he consistently trains harder than anyone while also claiming to be the greatest of all time. Both sides win, at least until fight time.

Most of the people who bought Pacquiao vs Mayweather in April 2015 weren’t buying a boxing match. They paid $100 to see Pacquiao, one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport and former undisputed pound-for-pound champion, put Floyd “Money” Mayweather on the mat. It was some of the same fan-fare that led people to watch the first Frazier-Ali fight, and subsequent rematches. It was classic good guy vs bad guy in the billing. Floyd knew that it would bring in non-boxing fans who just don’t like him, and he cashed in on that. Most viewers bought this fight to see Manny beat the hell out of Floyd. That’s why I watched the fight, being a big Pacquiao fan who never had much appreciation for Mayweather.

Until I watched the two greats fight each other.

The  fight spoiled a lot of hope for a lot of people. Mayweather brought his A-game technique and defense, as well as some amazing counter-punching and precision power-shots. Regardless of whether or not Pacquiao was 100% the night of the fight (post-fight his trainer Freddy Roach claimed they knew he had a torn rotator cuff prior to the fight but chose to fight anyways), Floyd avoided getting hit and returned/countered more punches with authority and accuracy.

As far as boxing goes, I became a Mayweather convert after watching this fight. Non-boxing fans hated it, but they bought the potential for satisfaction, aka hype, and not real boxing. Boxing fans got to see one of the best fights in the history of the sport. And at the end of the day, Mayweather walked away with much more than another victory and justification for his claim of being the greatest.

Hype is not something many people want to admit to buying into, and usually not something anyone brags about being said about them. Look at the last 20 years of NFL draft picks in the first round, particularly quarterbacks. But in this case, hype selling was hugely profitable for a sport who has seen better days.

Mayweather “officially” ended his career with a scientific beatdown of Andre Berto. Berto was a long shot on the ticket, a heavy underdog, who never gained any traction during the entire fight. Mayweather, though not known for power shots had a counter and tactic to best every one of Berto’s strengths, rendering them useless. The victory put his professional record at 49-0, tying Rocky Marciano as the all-time best record in boxing.

This tie leads most serious boxing fans (myself included) to believe that Mayweather will return to achieve the yet unattainable 50. Will that match be against Khan, as many boxing fans have wished for years, or a rematch against Pacquaio. We’ll just have to find out.

The big takeaway for you is this. Regardless of the economy or the popularity of your market. Regardless of whether your fan base boasts about you or you have a ton of haters seemingly out to destroy your name at every turn. Regardless of whether your product offering or place in the market is over-crowded to the point of mass congestion, you can still win and win big when you carve an uncommon path. Choose to look at your situation a little differently. How can you out-strategize your competition, lure new people into what you’re doing using uncommon methods, and take negative reviews about your work and turn it into a positive?

Be like Mayweather, and you won’t be able to do anything else but win. But it takes a strong commitment to being focused, dedicated, educated, and uncommon. Do you have what it takes?

 

**Author’s Note**

I am a fan of what Mayweather does inside the ring from a boxing standpoint. In no way do I support or condone his behavior outside the ring, including multiple convictions of assault against women, and the myriad of other indulgences his vast wealth affords him. The purpose of this blog article is to show how he’s done some amazing things in an unpopular sport, not to say that the dark sides of his lifestyle and behavior should be ignored in favor of his winning streak.

 

The Uncommon Choice Has Real Value

Coach Rivas instructs two amateur boxers

Coach Rivas instructs two amateur boxers

Though I work in radio and with musicians, I haven’t spent all of my free time doing music related things. I used to work out at a boxing gym where my Coach kicked my ass every day. I loved it (strangely enough) when each workout session ended because we all had collectively done above and beyond what we believed we could do physically, mentally and emotionally in those workout sessions.

It was fabulous. However, I did dread those workouts before going up there each
day, because I knew they would be intense, and would require everything I had and then
some.

We were there Monday through Friday for about 1.5 hours a day and were pushed beyond
the limits of what our minds told us we could do. I remember days of doing nonstop cardio
workouts for 20-­30 minutes at a time, to switch to doing wild bag work combinations. My mind
would be saying “I can’t do anymore, please let us stop,” but Coach kept pushing us, and we
ended up being able to do more than we thought we could.

Though I didn't fight in competition, I did go to events to support the team. I'm on the far right in the back behind a few people

Though I didn’t fight in competition, I did go to events to support the team. I’m on the far right in the back behind a few people

I learned a lot from those experiences. I learned that listening to just the common thread of thought in your mind can be very limiting, because often times you won’t push yourself past your own limits unless something else is the driving force. But to get to the real results you want, you have to do uncommon things, which may mean subjecting your will to that of someone you trust to push you harder than you’ll push yourself. It was one of the first times in my adult life to have a coach who did such things. The results were amazing.

I learned a lot in those 2 years before I moved locations and the gym eventually shut down.
While I was there I got into the best physical and psychological shape of my life. Being a
relatively small person (standing 5’ 7” and weighing 110 lbs soaking wet), I’ve struggled with
insecurity and fear my entire life. This is a common thing that people feel, especially at school
with jocks and bullies. I’m no stranger to this stuff. But I backed down from challenges and
endured way too much emotional setbacks in my youth and early adulthood, all on account of
fear. Part of going to the boxing gym was to face that fear literally, and put myself in a
situation where I had to fight or flight.

I never ended up being very good at boxing, but I still enjoy the sport. Having done it on an
amateur level showed me so much about the unspoken and irregular aspects of the game,
something similar to how musicians who closely study their instrument and playing something
beyond chords or basic scales might understand. There’s music theory, there’s your
instrument, there’s your creativity, and there’s you. Isolating those things independently of
each other loses a lot of the power they have together. That’s just an observation. Back to
boxing.

I got in great shape boxing but what has stuck with me more than the exercises and the
knowledge of fighting is something that Coach said at nearly every session­ “Be uncommon.”
There were times when he was almost preaching a sermon to devoted followers in how he
spoke of being uncommon as a boxer and as a person to achieve true greatness in what you
do. As I’ve worked in business and in music, those words ring more and more true as I see
and experience well­-meaning people doing the same things everyone else is doing, the same
things that produce no positive or good result.

When I was in grade school, I wanted to fit in. Just about everyone wants this. No one really
wants to stand out, so we try and dress like our friends or the popular kids. We would follow
someone else’s leadership in what we would do, what we listened to, how we wore our hair,
and so on. Sometimes we would be followers of rebels instead of doing our own version of
rebelling, because following is easier than being a trendsetter and throwing popular opinion to
the wind. Standing out is difficult. Fitting in is desired because it’s common to blend and not
make waves.

Everyone feels that on some level. We all want to be loved for our uniqueness yet are afraid
that what makes us unique might also be what causes others to criticize, mock, or reject us.

So many of us hide our uniqueness and do what everyone else does so we can fit in. In the
process, we lose part of our hearts and a sense of self (or sometimes a sense of purpose)
because the road regularly traveled is quite dull, and so beaten into the ground.

Until the advent of social media, we didn’t (or didn’t as often) let our opinions dictate our
course of action like we do today. In music and in business, I keep seeing the majority of
people do things that don’t make sense. The only reason I can think of for some people’s
behavior is “That’s what everyone else does, so it must be what works.”

Everyone can be wrong. Everyone can fail to do what they set out to. This is why when you
look at those super­-successful people in any industry, they’re the minority of the group. A
small portion (usually 1­5%) of an industry or business type are the most successful in the
short term and long term. They’re not doing what everyone else is doing, because if they were
they wouldn’t be successful.

Values we represented as a team and values to live by

Values we represented as a team and values to live by

In boxing, an uncommon fighter is one who doesn’t make lazy decisions like dropping their
hands. An uncommon fighter looks for ways to strike at angles instead of standing directly in
front of their opponent and just throwing punches. Other traits that uncommon boxers have is they work harder, longer, and more consistently. They don’t let their bodies get out of shape between matches. There’s a reason why Roy Jones Jr and Bernard Hopkins could not only still fight in their 40s but remained champions as long as they did. Those two were always, always, always in shape. That’s not common.

Uncommon boxers put themselves through more vigorous workouts and prepare their minds
as well as they prepare their bodies. They study their opponents strengths and weaknesses to
find ways of getting an edge. Floyd Mayweather has fought much stronger fighters than
himself, but he always wins the battle of the mind. Sugar Ray Leonard did the same thing with
his mental game. Finally, uncommon boxers don’t just win. They win effectively and
consistently. They aren’t on one day and off the next. Winning seems to be an ingredient
throughout their lives.

The same is true for musicians.

Music success doesn’t depend solely on talent, though talent does help. It doesn’t depend on
popularity, though that can be a blessing. Music success depends on an artist’s ability to draw
a listener into their world using notes, beats, and words (unless they’re an instrumental
performer). One hit wonders are a form of music success but who really sets out to just create
one great or memorable thing?

I’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand, where outstanding artists craft brilliant music and
draw global fans into their realm through excellent songwriting, performance and sound
quality. But how do you get your music to a level of greatness that beckons a global
audience?

Don’t do what everyone else does.

It’s common to hope that winning the lottery is the answer to achieving the fulfillment of your
dreams so that you never take the steps and the time necessary to invest in reaching your
goals.

It’s common to think you can become an overnight success just because you have a desire
for greatness and a little talent, instead of putting patience, diligence, and hard work into
effect along with gauging your work over time and making improvements/adjustments when
necessary.

It’s common to do just enough to get by instead of giving more than is asked.

It’s common to do one thing well and expect the world to faun over you instead of being
gracious and thankful while seeking refinement and improvement.

It’s common to expect people to just open doors of opportunity for you that others have spent
their lifetimes working hard for and then having a bad attitude when things don’t just go
perfectly the first time.

It’s common to act like a complete diva (Kanye West isn’t the only one in music; most artists
have a degree of this that they showcase more often than not). Many artists demand that
their music be showcased, promoted, and talked about, then act butt-hurt when that
opportunity isn’t given to them.

It seems that everyone wants to shortcut the process of paying your dues, cutting your teeth,
and struggling through the early stages of growth to achieve something truly great that has
lasting value.

Don’t do what everyone is doing.

Don’t be common.

Common people can’t change other’s lives or become inspirational heroes because there’s
little inspiration in the life of someone who just gets by.

Common people don’t recognize the beauty and glory in the transformation process, the kind that takes time, commitment, hard work, and difficulty to reach monumental results.

                                                           Instead, be uncommon.

                                                           Be great.

                                                           Be more.

                                                           Change the world.