Gratitude has changed my life

Hey Super Humans!

I had some things rattling up in my brain today that I thought I should jot down and maybe it would benefit you in some way.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about his mindset before he competed. I have had a pretty long competitive career with volleyball and have been very blessed to have been in some big games with some very big moments. Just recently I competed in my 2nd jiujitsu tournament in Las Vegas. It was a really big tournament and I was crazy nervous about the whole situation. There were many firsts. First time competing in front of my family. First time wearing a Gi. First time competing in an IBJJF tournament (the big organization). And so on. I was able to use some of the mental skills (I do mean skills) I acquired during my volleyball days to get in the mindset that would allow me to compete at my best. I know some people are born with this crazy ability to step up, but there are plenty of athletes out there like myself who have struggled with the mental side of the game but developed it along the way.

Long story short I was very very blessed to come home with the gold. Such an amazing experience. Anyway back to my friend. We are talking about competing and Chad (my friend) just started spewing out of his mouth self defeating craziness out like it was normal for him. Little does he understand what kind of damage that is doing to his mind. Trust me, the mind is the battlefield. Not the opponent, not the tournament, not anything outside of your self. Winning and losing all takes place in the mind.

“What’s going to happen if I have to fight a bigger guy? What if my bracket is stacked? What if a lot of people show up?”. I’m sure you can hear what I’m hearing right? FEAR. All of these questions, these concerns were based on his fear of failing. Boiled down to its core, the art of competing is simply the skill of mastering fear.

Fear is inevitable so trying to escape and avoid it is somewhat useless, and it’s totally ok to be afraid! Nobody actually wants to lose. The pros’ get afraid too, they experience nervousness just like you and I, however they are just able to USE the fear rather than the other way around. Here are a few tips the pros’ use to help them work with fear.

– Fail your way to success- I know this might sound crazy but it works. The problem with fear is that typically it prevents you from going and doing the thing you really want to do. Some guys can’t talk to pretty girls cause they’re afraid of getting shut down. They “can’t” handle the rejection. How can they fix that feeling? By getting rejected many many times. Eventually they realize that getting rejected isn’t really that bad! After enough “failures” (they’re not really failures) these same men engage without any nerves, and look like they’ve always been the smooth guy, because it’s no big deal. When it’s no big deal you play loose and that’s when you win.

-When something is scary, ask your self “How afraid am I of doing this?” and if it’s a 8,9,or a 10 out of a 10 DO IT!- To me getting in a fight scared the ever living crap out of me. I don’t actually wan’t to get in a fight. I think it’s kind of dumb to be honest and I’m too old to get punched for free haha. Doing jiujitsu allowed me to do the thing I fear in a relatively safe environment and helped me build confidence in myself, plus educate me on what I should do to protect myself heaven forbid I should ever end up in a scrap. For you maybe talking in front of people is a 10 out of 10. For a lot of people it is. I think it’s actually the #1 fear. Try starting small, like getting up in front of a group of 10 people. The key is you gotta start. Done is better than perfect any day. Find the thing you fear most and confront it. It’s exhilarating 🙂

Try these two very simple skills/tips for helping you manage fear. I promise you’ll see that anything you want in life you can have, you just have to overcome a few fears to do so.

I am sure there are a few of you out there reading this who have tried many many times, and have only experienced the failures and the rejections. If you are someone who is feeling crushed by life I’m sorry that things aren’t amazing for you right now and that life looks a little less shiny and hopeful than you wished for. I hope that at some point you realize your current condition is just that. Experiencing failure does not mean that you ARE a failure.

About a year ago I was incredibly depressed. I was alone. I lived away from my family, and didn’t have someone to come home to and be comforted by. My job was the source of my frustration and sadness but it definitely made other aspects of my life a little more harsh. The company I worked for and loved was becoming a place I dreaded. More and more responsibility was handed to me with less appreciation, acknowledgement, and reward. I was being offered less and less hours but not so few that it would force me to seek employment elsewhere. To make matters worse a person I hired (I was the GM essentially) turned into a very mean and nasty co-worker. I stepped down from that position because it involved more hours behind a computer than I wanted, and I felt that he would do a much better job at it than I would. He also wanted the role. After the switch the new found power went to his head and became for the lack of better words, a controlling crazy person.

-The straw that broke my back-

One day I was invited into a meeting with this person and the CEO. I will never forget the words told to me by my successor.

“You’re worthless”

It wasn’t said in a job performance way. No it was said as a “you as a person, you’re worthless.”

I was at a loss for words. Those words have hurt me more than any others that I can recall. I felt betrayed and a little angry as well. I didn’t feel worthless, my clients loved me. My other co-workers enjoyed me as well as the CEO, but yet I felt at that moment worthless.

For some time I had thought about quitting but I was incredibly scared to pursue something else. I was by conventional standards, uneducated, I was unsure of myself and I was living paycheck to paycheck. Leaving the security of a security of a regular meager income was incredibly scary. I hated going into work at this point I mean hated going in, but I still felt more scared about quitting than I did about my interactions with this manager.

It was a few days later when I heard Tony Robbins give a speech on pursuing your dreams. He said most people don’t pursue their dreams because of FEAR. They never accomplish anything great because they’re too afraid to take the island. “If you want to take the island, you’ve got to burn the boats” Tony says. By this he means if you really want to accomplish something you’ve got to eliminate your way out. By burning the boats you reached the island shore with, you’re left with no other choice than to take the island or you die.

My boat was my job. My island was literally anything I wanted. I had dreams of becoming a motivational speaker, I wanted to start my own gym, I wanted to do something big. But with a job where I was working for someone else I had no shot of that. Nope…I was making someone else’s dream a reality.

A few days later I burnt the boats. I quit. I had no back-up plan to speak of when the CEO asked what I would do instead. I just knew I had the freedom to do what I wanted. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I had the opportunity to make my own life.

-The one word that changed my life-

That week I reflected what I had: a sweet house to live in, with good friends and roommates. I had a ton of time to play volleyball! I had at that point a girl I was dating and who was very supportive of me, and family that supported and loved me. All in all I was very very blessed. I couldn’t help thanking the universe and saying how grateful I was whenever I thought about how bad my situation could look. Not long after quitting I was offered a job to be the head strength coach for the Chinese Women’s National Team. A massive massive offer. I was floored and stunned. I was incredibly grateful. I felt like god, or the universe, or the great spirit or whatever was like tipping his hat and saying “See you’re not worthless” in a way.

I listened to a lot of Tony Robbins from there on out. I still do. Everyday. One of the things Tony Robbins challenged the listeners to do I will challenge you to do as well. For 30 days he/I want you to write in a journal every day and write down three things you are grateful for. Tony actually had his listeners write down three things that could make them successful, which I definitely suggest you do, but start with gratitude or combine them like I do. You see it’s impossible to be unhappy when you’re in the state of being grateful. By doing this challenge you’ll realize how much you actually have to be grateful for and I 100% know that when you are being grateful the universe will open up to you and bring you the things you want most.

Fast forward to now- I have my own business, I make my own hours. I no longer have someone dictating what I can and can’t do. Nobody needs to correct my work. I typically work 12-16 hours a day and I freaking love it because it’s for me! I am more successful than I have ever been making six times as much as I did at my old job. I am happier than I have ever been. I have been able to do so many things I didn’t have the time or money to do when miserable and unhappy working for someone else. I was able to create Super Human Performance and a 3 year dream of creating my own Jump Program (VolleyVert). And every morning and throughout the day I acknowledge that higher power and say thank you. Thank you for letting me be what I knew I could be, because in an instant it could all be taken away.

Gratitude changed my life. I know that if I didn’t practice showing gratitude I wouldn’t have half of what I have now. Nor would I enjoy it half as much as I do. I implore you to be grateful, burn your boat, be fearless, and to be good to others. Remember you’re not worthless. You have great worth. I have a check written from a client to me that sits in my gratitude journal. It’s for an amount that I thought was nearly impossible to earn. On the back it says “This proves you’re not worthless”.

Thanks for your time. I wish for you the best.


Brandon T.