10 things boxing has taught me about business…and life
I recently started boxing again after a long hiatus and I’m loving it, but more than just getting back in the ring and improving my fitness, it is also reminding me how valuable the lessons I’ve learned from boxing are for business and life in general.
Technique trumps power
When I started boxing I was REALLY unfit. The only way I could keep up in a session was to really focus on my technique and get maximum effectiveness from my boxing…so I didn’t die. I see it now with new boxers who are, often, really strong but have no technique. I’m wincing as they flail around like drunk kangaroos, thumping bags and pads indiscriminately and funnily enough they are the ones that end up exhausted and with shoulder injuries. So it is in business, get your technique right from the beginning. That discipline will serve you well in the future and as you build your business strength you’ll be unstoppable.
Focus is everything
From time to time I like to pretend I can multitask and most of the time I believe it. When I box I realise how utterly flawed that thinking is. If I try to chat, or my mind drifts, when I’m sparring I invariably screw something up in the combination, get hit or (accidentally) hit someone else in the face. It is impossible to truly focus on more than one task at a time. When I have something really important to do at work, I try to keep that in mind.
Focus is everything (part 2)
When I first started boxing I thought the stress relief would come from the cardio and the actual punching. So wrong. When you’re boxing you can’t think about anything else because you’ll get hurt (Refer point 2) or hurt someone else. There really is something special about meditative focus. In business it is this type of focus which can really propel your business forward by giving you clarity and outside of business allows you to completely switch off and recharge. Boxing has helped me improve this mind muscle.
You learn more with someone than alone
I’ve always learnt far more boxing with a partner than on a bag. Humans are unpredictable and keep you on your toes. Whether you are holding the pads or actually boxing you have to keep your wits about you as every combination always happens in a slightly different way. You need the same in business, you can’t learn in a vacuum. It might feel safer, you might not be ready to move off that bag, but the sooner you can test your business with real people you’ll grow.
Mix it up
Similarly, if you only box with one partner it might feel really comfortable but there is nothing better for switching up a gear than getting out of your comfort zone. For me, boxing with a southpaw (leftie) is frequently confusing but really makes me think! People that operate in the opposite way from you often have something to teach you.
The benefit of the right equipment
Equipment definitely isn’t everything but when I started wrapping my hands and wearing proper gloves my knuckles didn’t feel like they had just had a fight with a cheese grater and my wrists were supported enough to step up the punching power. In business, pick the right time to invest in the right equipment, it will protect you and allow you to flex your business muscle.
Keep your guard up!
I don’t mean you should walk through your life on the defensive but one of the first things you are taught when you box is to keep your guard up and it’s a good habit. Even if you aren’t boxing competitively, keeping your guard up protects you if you momentarily lose concentration or from an accidental, unforeseen swipe. This is precisely why you need to keep your business guard up, buy the right insurance and put in place the right frameworks so you can keep your focus on your business and know you are protected from what you don’t see coming.
Learn where your power comes from
The effectiveness of your punch doesn’t come from your fists. The power comes from your whole body. When you use your whole body you get more power with less effort. Similarly, in business, work out how you operate most effectively and efficiently and how you can get the best results from your efforts.
Get a great trainer
A great coach is worth their weight in gold. I had an amazing trainer when i started boxing and he taught me so much from day 1 that I still use today. He competed globally and was incredibly skilled but he was also hugely invested in his students and wanted them to succeed no matter their level. If you can get that for your business, grab it!
Such a cliche but so important. If you don’t remember to breathe you will fall over, no matter how good you are. So it is in business and in life. BREATHE.