Wrestling Success vs. Business Success at American Income Life

American Income Life Regional Sales Director Steve Kafkis

American Income Life Regional Sales Director Steve Kafkis

I was excited to hear that Wrestling was voted back into the Olympics for 2020. Wrestling is a sport that teaches us competition and a “no excuses” mentality to get the job done. As one of the oldest sports in the world, the values it instills in you don’t change.

I read an article by Isaiah Hankel about how wrestling can teach you to be a better leader and businessmen, which we all strive to be, but the correlation is interesting. I wanted to share with you some of the top reasons that make sense at American Income Life…

It’s an individual sport – the only way to be successful in anything, from wrestling to starting a business, is to worry about yourself first. If you’re a mess, your relationships will be a mess. If you’re weak, your business will be weak. The only way for your team to win is for you to be a winner.

It’s a team sport – No one becomes successful all on their own. At some point someone helped you; someone coached you. Acknowledge it.

Inspiration is perishable Inspiration is like nutrition, you need daily servings.

Aim for the top – Your goal should be mastery, not mediocrity. Your goal should be to stand on the top of the podium, not at the #2 or #3 spot. Your aim should be to run the company, not work for the company; to be an employer, not an employee.

Hard work is 90% of winning – Everyone thinks they work hard, but few people really do. You can put yourself ahead of 90% of your competitors just by being willing to sweat. This means getting up early, staying up late, and putting in more time than other people think is reasonable.

People make bad decisions when they’re tired – Fatigue makes cowards (and idiots) of us all. The fastest way to pull ahead of the competition is to get them tired.

Surround yourself with champions – You are the average of the people you hang out with the most. I wrestled in college for a NCAA Division 1 team that didn’t have any All-Americans my freshman year. As a result, my skills developed slower than other freshman at other Universities who were wrestling with All-Americans every day. If you want to be the best, surround yourself with the best.

Have a strong WHY – Knowing WHY you are working to achieve a goal is more important than the goal itself. To paraphrase Nietzsche, “if you have a strong enough WHY, you can bear almost any HOW.”

Competition makes you a better person – Competition brings out the best in you. It’s the only way to see what you’re really made of. Tyler Durden from the movie Fight Club says it best, “How much can you really know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?”

Have fun – Everything should be fun, even grueling sports like wrestling and grueling seasons like the first 3 years of starting a business. If you’re not having fun, why are you doing it? Plus, happiness in distress is intimidating. Work hard and take your work seriously, but maintain a demeanor of cheerfulness and aloofness. This combination will keep your opponents off balance.

Learn to scramble – In wrestling, a scramble is when two wrestlers engage in a flurry of moves that involve quick decision-making, extreme flexibility, and constant adaptation to what the other guy is doing. No one is in control. Both people are scrambling for position. A lot of business and most of entrepreneurship is a scramble. The key is learning how to scramble. In high school, I thought scrambling was a talent that you were born with. Either you could scramble, or you couldn’t. This is not true. Anyone can learn to scramble by putting themselves in uncomfortable and uncontrolled situations over and over again.

Train for overtime – Most wrestlers only train for the first 3 periods of a wrestling match. As a result, when their matches go into overtime, they’re unprepared and often lose. Likewise, most people only train for a 9-5 job. As a result, when they are presented with a big promotion or a new opportunity, they’re unprepared and often miss out.

Always be recruiting – The best colleges and the best companies recruit top-level talent year-round. Never stop seeking out great people to work for you or to work with you.

Set goals – Studies show that 80% of Americans don’t have goals and 96% of people don’t write down their goals. If you don’t know what you want, it doesn’t matter what you do. Put yourself ahead of 96% of the population by writing down what you want.

Focus on the end of the season– Everyone is focused on the small, urgent problems and difficulties right in front of them. In wrestling, this might be how hard a practice is. In business, this might be how hard a product launch is. Don’t let these temporary difficulties distract you. Be a strategist, not a tactician. Keep the end in mind. Zoom out and see the finish line. This will give you energy and clarity.

Excuses make you sad and weak – Save it. No one cares. Keep your excuses to yourself.

Camaraderie is better than friendship – Nothing compares to the trust and connection created by working hard with other like-minded people towards a shared goal.

Everyone is a coach – No matter how successful you are on your own, sooner or later, to be more successful, you’ll have to coach others. True success is making the people around you better too.

There is no off season – While you’re on vacation, while you’re resting, while you’re in front of the TV, while you’re sleeping, someone, somewhere, is getting better than you.

Don’t be afraid to wrestle up a weight class - In wrestling, sometimes you have to bump up a weight class to help the team. And sometimes you have to bump up a weight class to challenge yourself. Similarly in business, the only way to grow is to keep stepping up higher and higher to face bigger and bigger challenges. If no challenge exists, create one.

Here are 20 of the 120 reasons how wresting success can relate to our business success. It’s not much different, and we still need to do the things we need to do to be better leaders and businessmen. Let’s continue to strive for greatness at American Income Life.

You can read the entire article by Isaiah Hankel by clicking this link.

About Mark Ting

Mark Ting is a Staff Writer at Torchmark Corporation, writing about American Income Life and National Income Life Insurance Companies. Google+

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