Lessons Learned In The Boxing Ring

Monday, August 7, 2017 - by Clint Powell

Recently I had the privilege of traveling to Independence, Mo. with the YMCA/YCAP boxing team to the Ringside International Boxing Tournament. It was a great trip. To watch people of all ages and from all backgrounds come together and give 100 percent in competition was worth the trip.

Being who I am and my brain being wired as it is…I heard things and saw things that I thought would help us business types as we move about our day, our world and our life. So with that being said I want to share four things I took away from my experience:  

1. Honest feedback is crucial – 

I was fortunate enough to hear some of the people who work the corners give feedback between rounds. It was awesome. Why? Because it was honest – it was in real time – it was from a perspective other than the one who was distracted by the punches being thrown. There was not a lot of back and forth – not a lot of discussion between trainers and fighters – there were not a lot of hurt feelings. The fighter listened and if they were smart they tried to make adjustments. I also noticed that the trainers usually had more experience than the fighters…those who had been there and done that or those who had trained others to go there and do that. The fighter knew that the trainer had his/her best interest at heart so for the most part there was 100 percent buy in. Wow!

What a great truth for us – do we surround ourselves with those we trust to provide us with honest, real time feedback? Do we encourage it? Do we take the time from the day-to-day fight to get away and let others give us their feedback on how they see the fight going? How else do we grow? How else do we learn?  

2. Spar with those better than you –  

This was one of those ‘yes’ moments. I heard a trainer tell a fighter after a fight – ‘you have got to start sparring and working out with fighters who are better than you.’ Then he turned around and said – ‘and by the way that goes for life. If you think you are the best at something in the group you hang out with – go find a different group….doesn’t matter if you’re an electrician, sales person, or whatever. Be around others who are better than you.’  Yes!  That was from trainer to a young kid and I just smiled.

I also thought how true that is for us.  How often we forget to surround ourselves with people who are better at something than we are – who is driven for crazy goals – who make us better at not only our jobs, but as humans.  

3. Don’t assume –  

I saw a lot of fighters who I thought would get walked over – who were beasts. I also saw match ups that at first glance I thought the ‘tough’ looking person was going to destroy their competition. only to see the opposite.

I started thinking how true that is in life. How many times do we worry about problems, conversations, situations, and changes and we build them up to be giants only to find out they were not that bad. We waste energy on stressing out over what they ‘look’ like instead of making sure we are the best we can be and realizing that we have all gotten through the ‘tough’ fights of life. Never assume things or people will be something they are not – let them prove it. Save your energy and spend it on the fight.  

4. Be willing – 

This is the one thing I loved and I think I admire about boxing and all competitors, whether they are in business, sports, or in life….be willing to take the punches. It is way easy to sit and watch and tell folks what you would do or how you would do it differently. That opinion means something if you have been in the ring, but if you haven’t then it simply is criticism. I admire those who are willing to stand inside the ring of competition and take the risks. To train to be the best…to have the courage to get knocked out or lose…who are humble enough to listen to honest feedback…who are smart enough to make the adjustments…those who have the ability to say ‘I don’t know if I am going to win or not…let’s go find out.’ That is a huge part of life.

Having the courage to make the hard decision, to chase your dreams, to listen to those who are directing you, to take the blows of life and business and fire back, to win or lose and go back to the gym the next week. We should all admire that in others and in ourselves. The credit goes to those who are in the arena. 

Ask For Help

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Are you a type ‘A’? A driver? Does the buck stop with you? To quote one of the greatest minds of our times – Ron Burgundy – “I’m kind of a big deal”…is that you? Well if so…I have advice! Yes, even the big dogs need advice from time to time. I have 3 suggestions for you that I promise will help your business, your mental state, and your relationships. I know that sounds like pretty big expectations – I can deliver on this…I promise. Here we go…change your world in 3 – 2 – 1:

  1. Ask For Help – One of the things that can hinder strong people is their reluctance to ask for help. Usually they know their weaknesses, but have trouble acknowledging it to others. Even if they do – they have trouble delegating or asking for assistance. Asking for help is part of it, but listening and then letting others actually impact your decisions or your behavior is the key.  It takes a confident person and a healthy ego to ask for help. I have learned it doesn’t make you a bad business owner to ask others for help in areas that are not your strengths. It says to your employees, your partners, your vendors, your family, and your friends that you put the growth of the business, their success, and the health of your relationships above your ego. Most people admire those who can admit they need help. It is a sign of strength!

 

  1. Wait – As a decision maker you are used to running at the speed of business. I completely understand that there are some decisions that need to be made quickly and decisively. However, there are times when waiting is the best answer! This is usually the hardest things for drivers – they are used to asking and getting answers. They are used to having the answers…they are used to things moving fast. Add to the immediate gratification world we live in now with technology raising our expectations of communications…it is a perfect mix to set ourselves up for failure. There are things that just take time. The development of employees, long term goals are built on short term goals…do not expect to skip to the top, implementing processes take time, habits take time, learning is a constant journey and takes patient, etc. Life is too short to mix up the things that we should expect now and the things that have to occur naturally. So – sometimes…do the best you can…and wait!

 

 

  1. Turn Around – We are so busy moving forward. We charge ahead – progress! We have stuff to do! Growing! Implementing things! New products or services! Industry trends! Cash flow! Employee needs! Goals! Sometimes it’s good to stop and turn around! There you will usually see others following you! Or at least you will see others starting a business, a career, going through the problems you went through, needing some help, sometime – maybe needing advice or a simple ear to listen. If you want to really change your life learn to help others. Learn to make time to do for them what others have done for you. And if you think you are  ‘self-made’ – then stop reading this and go get help. NONE OF US are self-made. All of us had someone at some point say yes – or trust us when we didn’t deserve it – or gave us some time when they were busy. Want to change your path – help someone on theirs.

 

Ask for help - be patient with the important things – help others! These 3 things will change your life. Free up your time – earn the respect of those around you – and will help you build stronger relationships.

 

The 8 Questions That Will Change Your Business And Life

The eight questions that will change your business and life: 

Why do I do what I do? 
Your ‘why’ has to be bigger than your pain – bigger than your fear – bigger than your stress – louder than the naysayers – louder than the voice of self-doubt – stronger than the pull of the mediocre – stronger than the push of impatience. Your why needs to be clear – be your passion –and it does not have to be from work or centered around money, materials, trips, etc… Fill in the blank here – What is my why? ____________________________ This is what you should center your decisions on! Without it you will go through life like a kite in a tornado. 

What language do I speak?
Believe it or not we all have a love language. I know – I know…here comes our Oprah moment. But…it’s true. We each have a way we liked to be loved. Some it’s touch and some it’s gifts; there are a number of ways. Do you know yours? If you don’t, how can you help those in your world better communicate their love to you. Now – check this out – we each have a language we speak at work too. We each feel rewarded different ways. Some, it’s time off – others a public pat on the back – money – or maybe growth opportunities. If you don’t know how others can build you up –
then how can they really invest in you and your success. Know thyself. 

Merry Christmas And Happy New Year

The 17 things I learned in 2016. Hopefully they will help me move on to bigger and better in 2017 – you may find some meaning in them as well. So here goes: 

1) You can’t change ‘them’ – You can’t change people. Stop trying…but also stop denying that we do influence and affect people. You are not responsible for their choices and actions…but you do contribute.  

2) You will change when you want to – When you get tired of feeling how you feel and living like you’re living…you will do what it takes to change it. Period…until then…just keep complaining.  

3) Cash flow is king – Of all the numbers you can look at and monitor…this one is the most important to track and trend. Cash flow buys you time to work on other issues or problems…no cash…the clock is ticking. 

Fishing For Clients

So if you want to fish there are a two ways to do it - dynamite (we don’t recommend and you will go to jail for) and fishing.  And, if you really want to increase your odds of catching bass then you probably need to know some things. 

What time of day is the best? What do they like to eat? What part of the lake are they found most? How deep are they? Bank fishing versus boat fishing – which is best? Seasons and temps can affect the fishing? Cloud cover versus sunny.  

So with all that being said, what is the one variable (I am sure there are more, but for the purposes of this rhetorical article…we will pretend I left just one thing out) I left out?  

What type of fish? I mean a lot of the things we mentioned above will change depending on if you want to catch catfish or if you want to catch bass. And there are different types of bass that goes into play as well. Now once you have that answer then the questions and variable above will start to fall in place.  

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What Does Your Company Smell Like?

So, what does your company smell like? Odd question, right? Well let me see if I can somehow herd the cats in my head and make sense of the silliness. Ever bought a new car? I am not talking about a ‘new to you preowned’ car – I mean a brand new – rolled off the transport truck – automobile? 

You know the one that just smells like you should buy it? The leather, the carpet, the newness of it. Why do you think the sales person wants you in that car to drive? Well there are a few reasons, the least important is so they can give you facts about the car.  The most three important reasons are: 

Establish a relationship with you – even if it is superficial, it is the starting point of gaining your trust. After all we usually end up doing business with people we just ‘feel’ good about.  

Stop Making These Advertising Mistakes

Doing the right things in life is very important. However, knowing what NOT to do is just as important. Like you should probably stop wearing spandex pants to the grocery store (sorry…your kids called me and asked me to point it out),  stop combing your mullet at red lights (it just makes the rest of us envious…no need to show off),  and you may want to consider removing the ‘Y2K - The World Will End’ bumper sticker (I am not judging…I had 65 gallons of water and 150 cans of spam in the basement). In my world I see business owners who have developed mindsets and habits about their marketing and advertising that may not be the most advantageous for their business. I have found that there are three things you can STOP doing right now that will give you more perspective and bring you new opportunities for growth.

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The Power Of A List

I love lists.  We all do - right?  A top 10 ‘this’.  Five ways to be more ‘that’.  Seven things you should do now.  Twenty things that will make you more whatever it is you want to be.  Who doesn't love a good list? (Put your hands down – you’re embarrassing yourself).  So now that we have established that lists are what makes the world go round – I have three lists that you should be making and keeping up with. Here we go… 

Marketing List:
“I don’t have a marketing budget.” – “I don’t know how much I spend on advertising.” These are typical responses from most companies when I ask about their marketing and advertising budget. You would be amazed at how many folks don’t plan their marketing. So – then we ask some questions: How much do you spend on business cards? Social media? Print pieces? Little league baseball team sponsorships? Events? The ‘on hold’ phone messaging system? Email or newsletter marketing? Training sales folks?  It is $100 here - $550 there - $250 a month on this - $700 on that….the final tally is either much more or less than they thought. Either way – the fact they do not know helps explain their frustration. There is no intentionality behind their budget – no framework – no direction – no united message or goal. So – the first list you should make is a list of everything you spend money on that is marketing and advertising.  

Setting Expectations Is Crucial

Setting expectations is crucial.  In all relationships.  Now I am not willing to help you set expectations in your personal relationships…that is on you.  Lie away if you want to.  Tell them you will be rich and famous and give them a life of luxury or that you are super smart only to disappoint them later…all that is on you.  (It worked for me when getting my wife to say ‘yes’ – so it may work for you too.)  However, I can help with setting expectations in your business communications. 

Before we get started there are two things to keep in mind.  First, most of these basic principles I have learned because I failed at implementing them myself many times.  Second, they can also be applied to your personal relationships if you want to use them…but again, I accept no responsibility for their success.  See…I am setting expectations. 

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5 Random Lessons Of The Week

1)   You Pick Up A Stick You Get Both Ends – 

My kids get tired of me saying this to them in regards to their decisions. Of course you do NOT have to clean your room! That is a ‘you’ decision, but there are consequences. You can also choose TO clean your room and guess what? That too comes with consequences. The same is true in your business development as a business owner, manager, or sales rep. 

You can choose NOT to invest time or money in your people, but don’t be surprised if you have high turnover and unhappy customers. You do NOT have to make sales calls, network, or ask for referrals. You are just too busy, but don’t be surprised if your business develops slower for you - than others who ‘find’ the time. The bottom line in life is this – when you pick up a stick you do get both ends; the same holds true for our decisions. Make sure you consider both ends of that stick (decision) before your pick it up!

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