Calvin Strachan | If you wanna win…you need to know what I learned fighting 20 men.
Over the span of my career I've held many roles, most of which required me to perform under massive pressure.
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If you wanna win…you need to know what I learned fighting 20 men.

I covered this a bit in 2016 but it’s really important to cover again. The reason is if you’re going for a big goal, or big dream, or you’re trying to find a way to win, there are going to be so many things coming at you that it will be overwhelming. Preparation will be your protection in the storm.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that as you move out of your comfort zone, your mind will start playing tricks on you.  Let me share an example from my life.

 

Some of you already know this, I’m a Krav Maga fighter. Krav Maga is the Israeli martial art’s defense system. Last year I took the green belt test, which is one of the advanced tests. Personally, I believe it’s the first time you are really tested. Meaning you go through a series of belts but at the green belt they’re bringing weapons, the black belts and red belts to see if you’re really up to the task of being an advanced fighter.

Honestly, I had gone through all the belts to that point pretty smoothly. I was in good physical shape, I was attending classes regularly, and I was well practiced. I thought, “Ya. Green belt should be no problem”. My instructor felt the same way. He said, “It should be no problem for you. But a bit of a test, because of the intensity of the advanced belts. But you should be okay.”

In order to pass the test, you have to survive two and a half hours without quitting because if you stop, you fail. You go through all the skills testing and then you have to fight the entire class. There’s a line of people coming one after the other, in succession, fighting you constantly. I’m talking chokeholds, arm bars, guillotine chokes, punches to the face, sitting on your chest, all of this really aggressive stuff.

At about the hour mark, I started to get cramps in my legs and cramps in my sides. Really? I still have another hour to go, I still had to fight a row of 20 guys.

The first guy had sunk his choke in real deep. So deep that I couldn’t actually breathe. I actually broke the choke but then I was completely drained from the effort. When I got to my feet and looked at the next 19 guys. I thought to myself, “I’m not gonna make it.” The next guy came and “Boom” slammed me down to the mat. By about the third guy, I was ready to tap. I ripped my headgear off, I panicked, “I can’t. I can’t go any further.”

Now, follow me here on the story. My coach comes to me, “Listen, you can’t tap. You’re in the best shape of anybody in this class. Come on. You can do this. It’s all in your head.” I was hyperventilating, my eyes looked like saucers, looking at this row of guys, totally embarrassed that I have to tap now.

He said, “Listen, just give me another minute and I’ll get you the pass.” I put the headgear back on and of course it wasn’t another minute. It was like another hour. I survived…barely.

The famous football coach Vince Lombardi wisely said; “fatigue makes cowards of us all”.

So does a lack of preparation.

Which brings me to my point, preparation.

Going from the green belt to the brown belt, my next test. It was going to be a harder test and a longer test. I prepared and prepared and I prepared in real time, meaning I kept my headgear on, mouth guard in, and fought like I was in that test in every class coming up to that brown belt test.

Even in my office, as stupid as it sounds, I was putting my headgear on and doing some of the drills. Preparing as if I was going to be in that test right there on the spot. The key to find a way to win is, your preparation.

Sure, maybe I have some talents, maybe I have some genetic ability, but the real key is preparation. I wrote a blog on this a while ago, where Michael Jordan says, “It’s your preparation that is the key.” He says, “if you don’t prepare, that’s when the doubts start coming in.”

When you under prepare, that’s when the fear starts showing up because you’re going to go to the test, or the game, or the business meeting, or the interview and you haven’t prepared and you get hit. All of a sudden, you lose focus, you lose control and that’s where the problem starts.

Another great quote that I love is from Mike Tyson. Tyson says, “everyone feels tough, until they get hit in the mouth.” It’s so true. You feel like, “Yeah. I got this.” Then you get challenged and the next thing you know, you are totally doubting yourself.

The whole key to finding way to win is to prepare, study, and plan. I love the stories of Tom Brady and Kobe Bryant, where they win a championship and the next day they’re going back to the gym. It’s crazy stuff. Maybe we’re not going to be at their level, but understand, wherever you are, in your business, in your job, with your family, with your friends, when you’re working out; whatever you’re going for, it’s your preparation that is the key.

If you’ll find the way to prepare, I promise you, you will find the way to win.

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