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ENTERTAINMENT MARTIAL-ARTS Joe Lewis: Advice from a Master

Joe Lewis: Advice from a Master

By: John Graden | Mar 24 2009 | 737 words | 936 hits

Ever since I was a little boy reading biographies of my sports heroes I wanted to either be a successful athlete or a teacher. The martial arts provided me with the perfect platform to combine those two passions.

However, in time the disparity between my life and my friends' lives continued to grow especially when I started to really focus on creating wealth and success. Like a pot full of crabs in boiling water, if one tries to crawl out, the others will pull him back in. I had to selectively distance myself from my friends at certain times in order to focus on my future. Otherwise, they were going to pull me back into the pot.

While I knew nothing about business when I began teaching, I did know that I wanted to be the most successful teacher in the area.

A good friend of my martial arts instructor Walt Bone was Mike Anderson. Mike is an eccentric genius. Mike used to tell me all the time, "John, you're a great teacher. You should open a school and make a lot of money." As flattered as I was, my self-doubt was in full force.  I knew nothing about making money. I was sure I would embarrass myself trying.

Then, in 1984, Mike called to tell me that Joe Lewis was in town and he wanted me to meet him. To help you understand who Joe Lewis was, if you are a golfer, this would be like hearing Jack Nicholas is in town. Joe Lewis and Chuck Norris were the biggest names in sport karate.

As a teen, Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali and Joe Lewis were my heroes. When my friends and I would play fight.  One of us would be Bruce Lee and the other, a snarling Joe Lewis.

Mike wanted me to promote a Joe Lewis seminar, which I did. After the seminar, which was a success by everyone's standards, I handed Joe $2,000 in cash and then told him he talks too much in his classes. (Sometimes I feel like have "truth turrets.") The room froze. He looked at me and said, "No one has ever critiqued my teaching before..." I'm not sure if that meant, "thanks for the feedback" or "who the heck are you?" The next week I asked to spar with him. He again, stopped and told me point blank, "I don't do that light contact stuff. I fight full contact." I told him I trusted him not to hurt me and he didn't. We trained hard and often for years following. The pinnacle for me was when he was interviewed by the top martial arts magazine and asked who was going to carry his torch and he named my brother and me.

Joe would meet me to spar wherever I was teaching that night. One night it would be a basketball court the next afternoon a college gym or a boxing club. At the same time, I was developing a strong following of students. Theses were mostly my college class students who became "karate addicts." They would take my two-hour college class and then follow me to wherever I was teaching to take more classes.

Finally, Joe called me on the phone and told me, "John, you've got to give your students a home. A place they can take pride in and call their own. If they go off to college, they can look forward to coming home to their school." That was my next "emotional threshold." Despite my lack of business savvy, I understood exactly what he was saying. I literally lived in my instructors' karate school at times. Most of the time I stayed all night to train, but sometimes I stayed there to escape from my home life. I had a strong emotional connection to the martial arts school as a refuge. The next day I started looking for a location for my school.

My goal is to use my story to help you understand, on a deep level, how self-doubt, just like you and I have it, is common even among successful people. It's not important whether you have self-doubt, because we all do. What is important is how you handle it. What I'm about to share with you is what I have done to break out of the prison of self-doubt. I realized that self-doubt is self-imposed and self-defeating but it's as common as a few extra pounds in the waistline. You can lose them.

About author:
John Graden is a fun, exciting, and inspirational speaker, author, and trainer A martial arts master teachers, he is the author of five books including The Impostor Syndrome: How to Replace Self-Doubt with Self-Confidence and Train Your Brain for Success, Mr. Graden has been profiled by hundreds of international publications including over 20 magazine cover stories and a comprehensive profile in the Wall Street Journal Presentations include: The Impostor Syndrome, Black Belt Leadership, The Secret to Self Confidence, and How to Create a Life Instead of Making a Living, John has taught his proven and unique principles of success to thousands of people on three continents since 1987 From keynote presentations for thousands to one-on-one coaching sessions, John Graden is a dynamic speaker, teacher, and media personality who brings passion and entertainment to his presentations http://www.JohnGraden.com http://www.JohnGradenTV.com
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