22 February 2022

The battle within takes more courage than a bout in a ring

Tyson Fury reclaimed the title Heavyweight Champion of the World after defeating Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday, and we all cheered.

Rightly so. He is the archetypal comeback kid – a non-fiction Rocky – whose battle is more dramatic than Stallone’s eponymous hero, because Fury is the real deal and his conflict genuine—a poster boy ‘overcomer’ whose hardships and struggles have propelled him to extraordinary global prominence.

So what can we learn from Tyson?

Pre-fight checks

Most of us by age 12 can’t wait to stay up later and grow up faster. The childhood dream of being that famous astronaut, ballet dancer, footballer, popstar, or boxer is sent a harsh reality check in our early twenties as we admit we simply haven’t put in the training.

We may delay the inevitable by heading to Uni for a couple of years or hauling a backpack to Oz for a sabbatical, eventually however, the dreaded day comes and we are launched from the playground into a scary gladiatorial arena called getting a job and paying our way.

Round 1: Disappointing weigh in

Inadequately trained, most of us are forced to recant all those lovely ideas of status we dreamed about at ten years old. We are thrust from comfortable childhood and parental care (if we are fortunate) to having to fend for ourselves, catching that grimy bus to our first job on the industrial estate as February rain smears the windows, truly obscuring life’s early optimism. Disillusioned, we slump into our corner as the bell rings, crushed by the prospect of the next bout ahead.

Round 2: The first huge knockdown

Fear of impending disaster creates a paralysis of self-confidence. Our arms hang limply as we view the approaching foe—a bleak future—in abject fear. Anxiety strikes and instead of being poised to strike back we cower, numbing ourselves with booze or vacuous living, pulling a metaphorical duvet over our heads, defenceless as blows of low self-esteem rain down on us.

Round 3: Against the ropes and nearly KO’d

When we wrongly believe we are too weak to cope and don’t think we have adequate strength to change unhappy areas of our life, be it career, relationships or health, we give an advantage to our opponent, that giant Despair, as his merciless blows slam us against the ropes. We wobble as our legs give way and paralysing depression delivers such a right-hook we are almost counted out.

Round 4: Punching out of rock bottom

Bad days, like consecutive blows are often also delivered one after the other, sending us reeling and disoriented; pummelled nearly to breaking point, yet something rises within us. A desperate motivation stirs us to swing a few punches back as we realise there’s still life in the old dog. Call it survival instinct.

Round 3: Fat camp or boot camp

The turning point has come! We cannot take another blow because we know we’ll never get up again. Like Tyson Fury, this is the time to acknowledge the faults we need to own, and realise that something needs to change. Inwardly we make a pact with ourselves to adapt our approach and tactics.

Rounds 4-6: As Tyson thinks in his heart, so he becomes…

Unnoticed at first by highly sceptical onlookers (given our track-record of failure) the power of resolve is known only to ourselves as we live out an old proverb, “He who rules his spirit is greater than he who takes a city”.

In Tyson’s case, tenacity to overcome addiction to drugs, booze, and overeating, required one more vital ingredient.

Round 7: Vision shapes victory

Tyson’s revival came when he found his vision. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Tyson said, “So as I stood there I reached out to God. I prayed that although it would be difficult, could he guide me back into training and fighting again. The prayer was answered. I was shown the path to do what I thought had become impossible.”

Fury visualised where he wanted to be as intensive training in the gym and a healthy lifestyle illuminated his path. By picturing success, he found passion and energy and the wherewithal to change his approach and tactics. So much so, he completely wrong-footed Wilder, his world-class opponent. No one would have backed Fury to start with as he was still a little overweight and not as toned, but his victory flew in the face of his critics and naysayers.

Similarly, a generation earlier, Mohammed Ali prepared for each fight by contemplating a clear and compelling vision of victory. He would run a video in his mind’s eye, imagining himself strutting into the auditorium, basking in the adoration of the crowd and connecting with the emotion of the event; finally visualising holding the heavyweight belt aloft as the crowds went wild. In so doing, Ali was creating a neuron pathway in his mind to drive a greater likelihood of success. He would go a stage a further at the weigh in; saying to his opponent, “You are going down in round 3”, sowing a seed of doubt; uncertainty in the mind of his rival.

Training: Mental pathways

If you think you are going to make it through life without hardships and personal struggle you are mistaken. The importance of having a personal vision for success and aiming for it cannot be underestimated. Having true vision will allow you to pull yourself up again after life’s trips and falls so that you are never “out for the count”. Being an overcomer requires resilience and focus.

Perhaps you feel you have reached a personal impasse, in your career, relationship or resolve. You may have a personal goal you pay lip service to, but never find sufficient strength to move things forward. If you don’t think you fit in or feel you can’t do something it’s vital you take a leaf out of Tyson’s and Ali’s books. Can you re-imagine your goal? Where would you like to be headed?

Change the programming with hypno-coaching

As a qualified hypnotherapist, trainer and management coach for Carol Barwick Learning and Development Ltd., one of the many tools I use to help people find their vision is the NLP VAK (Visual Audio Kinesthetic) Model that mentally connects individuals and teams with their vision and goals.

Perhaps you have a very personal problem preventing you from being your best self at home and in your career, or you are an enthusiastic boss or manager who wants the rest of the team to share your business vision. I can help you go forward with an image of you at your best with the prize in mind, be it career, sporting goal, relationship, overcoming an addiction or another objective. You can be that person in the future with the right training.

Courses can be for individuals or adapted for teams as staff training programmes, including building resilience and change management.

For more information please contact me.

Please share. Carol x