How Growing Your Business Is Like Training In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu : Under30CEO How Growing Your Business Is Like Training In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu : Under30CEO
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How Growing Your Business Is Like Training In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

| August 7, 2013 | 12 Comments

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Last week I found myself caught in a bad situation: I was on the verge of passing out as my neck was caught between two legs. At the same time my arm was gruesomely extended with massive pressure grinding into my elbow. For those that recognize this Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique, I was caught in a deadly “triangle armbar.” I considered my options. A) I pass out from the choke B) My arm breaks or C) I could tap out. I chose option C and tapped out with a sore arm and a bruised ego.

“The reason you are getting caught in a submission,” my martial arts instructor Steve told me, “is because you are not attacking enough!”

I looked over to see his Octopus tattoo: a reminder to attack my opponent as if I had eight limbs.

“If you find yourself not moving for more than 5 seconds, move. Do something! Just don’t sit still.”

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lesson reminded me how closely linked martial arts is to growing a business. It’s all about movement. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the times I stop moving are when I get caught in a submission hold. In business, the times I stop working hard to find new opportunities are when my sales drop. Experience has taught me time and again that movement is the key to surviving in business and to winning at it.

Making sales for your business is one of the strangest things. When you work hard, you sell a lot. Putting in the extra time on a customer proposal, or making one more sales call is the difference between an underachiever and an overachiever. The moment you stop working as hard as you know you can, your sales drop exponentially. It is rare to find an average salesman. I believe that there are only hard working sales people and sales people who do not work enough.

“I’m working really hard but my business is not growing. How do you explain that?”

It is the hardest part about growing your business. It is also the hardest part about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It was absolutely demotivating last weekend when someone who hadn’t trained in over a year walked in and crushed me on the sparring mats. After all, I train four times per week at my gym and have 2 years of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experience. Is hard work not the answer to success? After conducting a lot of research, I discovered that hard work is the answer, just not the way I originally saw it.

Mastery Curve

This graph represents the plateaus we experience in our lives. In the beginning of starting something new (a job, a new business or a sport) we easily experience a lot of growth. Some call this “beginner’s luck.” I prefer to think that it is a combination of excitement and knowledge of that skill we didn’t know before.

Looking back at the graph, you will notice the first plateau. The obvious downtrend is when we stop getting the results we first experienced at the start. We do not progress as quickly, our excitement fades a little bit, and ultimately that plateau offers us two options:

  1. Quit and try something else
  2. Work hard until you break through

Do you quit when things get hard, or do you work hard to break through? Hard work requires movement. It requires you to put in the extra hours of training, or the extra hours of cold calling, or the extra hours of networking with new people. It takes movement to get up in the morning when everyone is still asleep. It takes movement to put a smile back on your face when things don’t go your way.

In saying this, the last thing I want to do is “preach” to you. I’m no superman! In fact, getting up on weekends is something I really struggle to do. Knowing that movement is the secret to pushing past my plateaus and reaching new heights of business growth is what motivates me to move out of my comfortable bed instead of sleeping in.

Plateaus are inevitable as you continue to develop your skills in business, martial arts, working out at the gym, or playing a sport. One of the reasons I emphasize working your passions so strongly throughout my blog articles is because when you love what you do, you find the will to breakthrough your plateaus.

Managing Your Movement

One of the best “success” principles I have ever been taught is the ability to organize one’s day with positive habits.

Eric Thomas once said that if you swing your axe at a tree in different places, it won’t move. But if you aim your axe in the same place every single day, eventually that tree will fall down!

I organize my day and my week around a series of consistent practices that I have to do in order to grow my business while working a job and still doing all of the things I love to do. Rather than stay rigid and time-bound, my schedule is a series of daily tasks I have to accomplish each day in the same order.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Cold Call

Cold Call

Cold Call

Cold Call

Cold Call

Brazilian

Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian

Jiu-Jitsu

Appointments

Appointments

Appointments

Appointments

Appointments

Writing Articles

Writing Articles

Writing Articles

Brazilian

Jiu-Jitsu

Writing Articles

Brazilian

Jiu-Jitsu

Writing Articles

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Marketing Over Social Media

Free Time

Free Time

 

* Note: I use a Franklin Covey Day Timer to keep track of all of my weekly appointments, and CRM (customer relationship management) software to manage my sales opportunities and contact list.

In total, it may not seem like I’m doing a lot of things. That’s exactly what I want. I do the same key tasks day after day that slowly place me on the fast track to success. Overcoming plateaus becomes easier each time I experience one because I keep repeating the same tasks over and over without thought or doubt. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we call this “muscle memory.” When you practice the same movement one million times, eventually that technique becomes second nature. In business, repeating the same series of tasks eventually becomes second nature too. Growing your business is like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The more you move, the more you will grow and succeed.

To conclude, I wish to leave you with my favourite quote from Bruce Lee.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Adrian Boucek is the author of Bloodhounder.com, a blog full of charismatic wisdom, controversial advice and passion-fueling interviews on the topics of Career Advice, Dream Employment and Entrepreneurship. Follow Adrian on Twitter: @adrianboucek

Image Credit: http://www.mmaverse.com

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  • Mike Darche

    Adrian, awesome parallel here! Your points are great– it seems Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and small business are both in line with old saying ‘the best defense is a good offense’. And don’t worry, I think many of us struggle to get up on weekends. That takes some serious will power and a commitment to develop personally and professionally…Looking forward to more of your work. Keep moving forward!

  • Pingback: Exactly! | littlephillysitalianice

  • Pingback: How Growing Your Business Is Like Training In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu » StupStep

  • Tyson Hartnett

    Adrian! Awesome article!
    The quotes you have are really great. The chopping at a tree one is especially good.
    Movement and action are definitely the pre-cursors to success, but a lot of times people are moving, but not knowing where they are going. Or they move, but to different spots, and are not focued. I like the graph and charts too, about how exactly to keep your week planned out.
    Oh yea, and Eric Thomas is a beast :)

  • Liz Flores

    Hey Adrian, great post and I especially love that Bruce Lee quote. I’ve been reading this alot lately, “muscle memory”. Its a great way to make positive habits stick. I read it takes at least 20 days to make a habit really stick. I have been trying to make waking up early and working out in the morning a habit, but like you I have trouble when the weekend comes around. Any tips for keeping up the positive habits over the weekend?
    Thanks so much for this, its the motivator I needed to keep at it for tomorrow morning!

  • Pablo Fuentes

    Epic post, my man. I am the CEO of a tech startup in San Francisco and train BJJ 4x week as well (also 2+ years in). Let me know if you are ever in SF. Here is a recent post I wrote…in the comments I talk about the White Belt mentality in Jiu-Jitsu. Ossss. http://pandodaily.com/2013/07/31/seven-dirty-gritty-real-startup-lessons-that-cost-me-2-million/

  • http://www.bloodhounder.com/ Adrian B.

    Thanks Mike!

  • http://www.bloodhounder.com/ Adrian B.

    Pablo, great to know I have someone to roll with in SF! Just read your article and I love your second point about having 100 people that love you. Reminds me of Gary Vaynerchuk’s “The Thank You Economy” – a great read if you haven’t read it already.

  • http://www.bloodhounder.com/ Adrian B.

    Hey Liz – I think it just comes to persistence. Keep trying, and if you keep failing then try new things. One of the reasons I got into martial arts in the first place is because I had poor gym discipline. Signing up for a class membership “forced” me to get to class and work out.

  • http://www.bloodhounder.com/ Adrian B.

    Thanks Tyson – and yes, ET is a beast haha.

  • cesar romero

    Adrian, great article and I love the relationship between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and business. Losing is painful, especially after busting your ass so hard, but your character is judged not by how you celebrate a victory, but what you do when your back is against the wall; taking massive action is definitely key to success, but when you stumble and fall, be quick to realize what went wrong, learn from it, and keep moving forward. Just like in the movie Rocky VI where he’s giving advice to his son “how much you can take and keep moving forward? that’s how winning is done”.

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