[Written by Kate]
We’ve been reviewing the Master Your Mindset Module for our Unknown to Expert Accelerator Programme and it’s been making me reflect on my nephew Liam’s journey to become a Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Champion.
Some of you’ll already know, because I’m a bit of a boastful Aunt, that my eldest nephew Liam is a professional MMA fighter.
He has a fight tonight in Hawaii, so he’s on my mind a lot.
He didn’t start fighting until he was in his late 20’s which was fairly late.
A little of his story is needed here to give some context.
Before Liam was fighting professionally, he was often fighting non-professionally.
He’s a big lad, he stands out in a crowd and he liked going out and having a good time. Other guys would egg each other on to pick a fight with him. If you leave him alone Liam wouldn’t hurt a fly, but if you go looking for a fight then you’ll get one. I hate violence, it makes me feel physically sick but I’m not a 6ft 7” young man mixing with other young men, usually with too much alcohol involved so there’s no judgement here.
To his credit, he turned this experience into his passion and he started training.
He trained hard. All the while.
He moved to Jersey, so he could train there. He started getting noticed. He fought, and he won.
I remember him visiting me and saying, “I’m going to go for this Auntie Kate, I’m going to become a World Champion, I don’t care what anyone says, I’m going to do it.”
He moved to New York, so he could train there. He got the proper support in his corner. He worked on his physical fitness, on his skills and on his mindset. He was completely and utterly focused on the end game.
He pushed himself hard. He showed up consistently. He went all in.
He dealt with the sacrifices he had to make, with the pain and the injuries.
It’s pretty brutal training for a professional fight.
And it’s a huge risk.
Not just physically, but emotionally too.
You’re really putting yourself out there. You’re saying, “I am going to do this” and you’re saying it publicly.
You are going to get judged. People are even going to bet against you.
And after all that, it’s over in a flash.
Win or lose.
Liam won, and he won big. In 2015 he won his World Champion belt.
But he lost his next fight, and the one after that.
I found it very difficult when he lost his Championship. Of course, I didn’t care about the belt, none of us did, but we were concerned for a while about how this would affect him emotionally. How was he going to feel, how would he manage a loss?
We needn’t have worried. His mind was as strong as his body.
He knew that losing was part of the deal.
He knew that it wasn’t actually Win/Lose, it was Win/Learn.
He probably learnt more about himself and got better at his craft because he lost.
Anyway, he won when he made a promise to himself - went out and put the work in and made it happen.
So, he fights tonight. I won’t sleep very well.
And he may lose.
But that’s OK because ultimately he’s won.
He’s won over the limitations we place on ourselves, on the fear we all have sometimes of following our dreams and he knows that losing isn’t the worst thing that can happen.
The worst thing would be to not try.
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