Over the years, I have spoken to many people who have talked about trying new things or changing their careers, but something seems to hold them back.
One of the things we know for sure is we don’t like what we are not good at. The idea of starting a new workout routine or activity can be frightening because we don’t want to look stupid, and of course, we don’t want to get hurt.
A little over 8 years ago, I did just that. I started a new style of martial arts for me called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I have been doing Kempo Karate since I was 10 years old (I’m 41 right now), and I have been doing Muay Thai Kickboxing for the past 23 years.
Jiu-Jitsu is referred to as the “gentle art”. It was designed to teach smaller, less athletic people how to defend themselves against larger, stronger attackers using leverage and technique, not strength.
Jiu-Jitsu is mostly on the ground, not standing. Now, I never wrestled as a kid, so this was unchartered waters for me to say the least!
I wasn’t that good when I started Kempo back in 1987, and I can tell you I was not God’s gift to Jiu-Jitsu. Far from it!
I wasn’t very good at all. I had a hard time learning the techniques and positions in the beginning, and I made mistake after mistake. Thankfully my instructors were patient with me!
Currently I am a Brown Belt, and hopefully in the next few years, I will earn my Black Belt. Fingers crossed!
The cool thing about this process was that I learned (and was reminded) of a lot of valuable life lessons that have made me a better teacher, business person, spouse, and parent.
1. Every Master Was Once a Disaster
Everyone that starts something new isn’t that good in the beginning. We all learn through making mistakes, trial and error, and through feedback. I had to learn to let my ego fly out the door and just focus on enjoying the learning process.
I had to learn to give myself a break and take the pressure off. When I did that, I relaxed and had a lot of fun!
2. Patience Grasshopper
This process reminded me what it was like to be a beginner again. I was making silly mistakes just like the ones I see beginners make in our regular Karate/Kickboxing program. I became WAY MORE patient and understanding. And because of that, I was able to relate to them deeper and help them accelerate their progress along the way.
I also became a far more patient father to my awesome little girl, Alexa Rae. I would just get out of class making some unintentional errors and goof ball mistakes, so when my daughter did stuff like that at home or playing a sport, I was a much more supportive, loving dad.
3. Progress, not Perfection
Starting a new style of martial arts at 34 years old reminded me that life is all about progress, not being perfect. Everyone runs their own race. Everyone is on their own path. Everyone starts at a different age, stage, and background.
I learned to “keep my eyes on my own paper” and not compare myself to others. Instead, I learned to get inspired by others, but not compare myself to others.
4. Failure is an Event, not a Person
We all fail, mess up, and don’t meet our own expectations of ourselves. That is life! It happens in sports, business, fun activities, and more. Allow yourself the gift of giving yourself a break!
Think of it this way. It’s never a loss, always a lesson! When you look at every mistake and time you screwed up as a learning opportunity, you put a positive spin on it, and you enjoy the process more.
I heard a story about Thomas Edison when he was in the process of making the light bulb work. Legend has it that he failed about a thousand times before it finally worked. He said, “I didn’t fail all those times. I successfully found out a lot of ways that did not work!” Great mindset! I need to drink what he is drinking! 😊
I think that is one of the big secrets to goal achievement…fall in love with the process. When you do that, you experience more joy, happiness, and camaraderie with others.
In the end, this process of starting over motivated me to open Elite Force BJJ in addition to our existing Karate/Muay Thai program.
Never stop learning, trying, and growing. The best is yet to come!