For a very long time, in fact not even that long ago, I was embarrassed to tell my story. I preferred for people to see me as I am now, and to not know the backstory. Over the past few years I have opened up more about my life’s story. Partly because people keep asking, partly because I have needed to heal, and partly because, it is that very story that has led me where I am today. While there is much of my life’s story I have shared, there are still some chapters I am still unable to share because of deep pain, and embarrassment — but who knows in time, with enough inner work, that will change as well.
Working towards becoming successful at anything is difficult. If it wasn’t, it likely wouldn’t be worth the time and energy. But, no matter how desperately you want to be successful in any endeavour, it is clear that the path isn’t always simply laid out straight in front of you.
In 2012 I embarked on a formal educational journey (i.e., my PhD), which I now realise was in fact a culmination of years of informal study. You see, as far back as a decade ago, I began to realise that my personal performance in the ‘fight game’ was largely predicated on what was happening on the inside. Said another way, if I stepped onto the mat filled with self-doubt, anxiety, and self defeating thoughts, it would invariably impact my game. While my research as an academic has been specifically focused on the inner game of leadership, with a specific attention to mindfulness in action — my realisation has been, that these tools expand to all areas of one’s life.
There is a lot of fuss made about setting goals. Tony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” I think goals are great, but it seems that most people never achieve them, partly because they don’t realize that a goal is part of a journey. Setting a goal without action is simply a dream. Achieving a goal takes work. Not just work every now and then, but consistent work, every single day. You can’t just work on a goal half heartedly when you feel like it and then think you will wake up one morning and TADA there it is, achievement.
More than a decade ago I was obsessed with functionality in my martial arts training. Part of this was driven by the real necessity to know how to fight to survive, and part was driven my childhood trauma. I abandoned everything else martial arts had to offer me, in search for the truth in hand to hand combat. Through those years of testing, experimenting and fighting — I believe I succeeded in finding a method that works in almost all interpersonal aggressive encounters. I proved it out on the streets, outside the doors of nightclubs as a bouncer, in the ring, and on my mat in thousands of rounds of all out sparring.