I’m Not A Risk Taker
I’ve never been a risk taker. Whether a result of nature or nurture, I’m thinking a little of both, I’ve always been very calculated in my movements.
After high school my father was suggesting I take up a trade. Tradies were making a good living at the time and this was a safe path. I knew this was never going to be my path however, and after fooling around for sometime, I still took what I perceived to be the safe path of going to university. I worked very hard at university. I was working security of the night, training martial arts of the afternoon, and attending university daily for 6-8 hours. I left university with very good grades and a number of academic awards. But one thing I did not prepare for was the minimal job opportunities my degrees provided. At the time I also somewhat felt ill-prepared to apply for the few positions that were available. So again I was on the path of ‘going-with-the-flow’. After working some odd jobs and moving interstate, I was fortunate to be directed toward an opportunity to teach my passion of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) back here in Queensland (Qld). This was a risk as I had a decent paying job in a family business, and was living in a beautiful town, but deep down I knew to work in something you are passionate about is always the answer. So back to Qld my wife and I went. This was the first, I guess you could say, big risk I took.
I was teaching martial arts in Springfield which was an hour and a half (two hours if traffic was bad) from my house. I would make this drive daily. At first for me it was worth it. I lived where I wanted to live, and I worked in a position I enjoyed. The travel was the price I payed. But after a time the commuting wore on me, it was a lifestyle I couldn’t maintain. And getting home at 11pm at night after a full day of work was not conducive to a good relationship with my wife. But nevertheless, it was in this position that I learned some valuable lessons on the importance of taking risks.
In the year I taught in Springfield I was fortunate to be mentored by my BJJ Professor and employer at the time. What I took most from the experience was the importance of taking risks in all aspects of life so to bring your life closer to the ideal of which you seek. Now an ideal is always going to be an ideal, but regardless you can definitely chase it, but you must be happy in the chase and journey. I saw from example that risks taken (calculated of course), combined with a ridiculously hard working ethic, could definitely put you on a path that was more inline with your true personal goals and aspirations. Each in business, sport, and personal life, I was seeing examples where calculated risk combined with hard work could put people on a path more in-sync with what they wanted.
After leaving this position I again found myself somewhat lost. For a year I again worked odd jobs and trained and competed a lot in BJJ. It was a this point I knew it was time to take a great risk of opening a martial arts school. The common consensus is that you can’t make a living off of a martial arts school. When you tell people what you do they perceive it to be a hobby, something that accompanies a true job or career. But myself and my business partner/coach Paulo don’t believe this. We know it can be done, we’ve seen it being done. And sure it is a huge risk especially at our ages, and it is a tonne of work, but nevertheless, whilst we are still chasing the ideal, we are definitely enjoying the ride a lot more. I have never worked so much in my life. We are each juggling the business with a second job, our own training and desire to continue competing, and our personal lives. The hours are stupidly ridiculous, and at current we are living minimal, but at the same time I have never been happier and more positive regarding the potential future.
Now the reason I am writing this thread is a number of our students are considering competing in their first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition, and some have now signed-up to do such. A few have approached me and a very nervous about this upcoming experience. They are having the usual self-doubt and self-sabotaging thoughts that can accompany such an experience. It is the fear of the unknown. But as the old proverb goes, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’. I truly see now that if you are never willing to take any risks you must be willing to accept you’ll likely never achieve what you desire. You’ll always live in the unknown, that place of ‘What if?’ What if I had done this? What if I had taken that path? What if I had…. And I know for me and many other people the place of ‘What if?’ is a terrible place to be. Now taking a risk is never a guarantee that you’ll achieve your goal, but regardless of the outcome you can definitely be satisfied in knowing that that you gave it your all and you are not living in a state of ‘What ifs?’.
Thanks for reading and happy rolling,
Co-Owner At Flow Martial Arts