Your body can do anything your brain will allow….

A few weeks ago I came to this realization. Even at 55, my body can achieve a level of fitness that I could not have imagined even a few months ago.  The problem was, my brain would not let me get there.

It got me thinking about the parallels between boxing and entrepreneurship.

In 1995 I did my first true startup. I was 33 years old, didn’t really have any money, had 3-year-old twin daughters, had never run a company and had never raised capital. What I did have was an idea for software that would help marketing professionals make smarter and more effective decisions.

Basically it was an enormous risk based simply on an idea, but I didn’t really know any better, so my brain didn’t get in the way. I just did it.

I was lucky… it worked. We launched our product in mid 1996. Within a couple of months, we had added ten Fortune 500 companies to our client list and were off to the races!  After raising venture money, we scaled the business, hit our numbers every quarter (25 in a row) and went public in 1998.

Today, with 20 years of industry experience under my belt, I don’t know if my brain would allow me do something so risky again.

Which brings us back to boxing. When I started getting into it, I didn’t really know anything about it.  I was in what I thought was decent shape, but I was so wrong!

As I continue training for my Haymakers for Hope fight on May 17th, the biggest barrier I have is in my mind. It keeps telling me that I can’t get to the next level. But with every training session, it becomes more clear to me that if I just push forward and believe, I will get there.

That said there are a few practical parallels that can impact the likelihood of success.

  1. Have great people around you. When I started my company I was self-aware enough to know that there where many things I didn’t know. I hired a great COO and CTO, found great investors and had an amazing team of employees. In the boxing ring it’s the same thing. I wouldn’t be anywhere without my trainers Kevin Cobbs and Chris DaVega. They are constantly working on my mind and body. Additionally, there is an amazing community of people at my gym “Everybody Fights” who are always available with advice and encouragement.
  2. Know your goal and have a plan to meet it. Similar to building a business, in boxing there are no short cuts. There are days when it’s going to be very hard. If you just jump to a new plan after a bad day, you will surely fail.
  3. Learn from your failures. When something doesn’t work, make sure you step back with your team and understand why it didn’t work. Do this often and be brutally honest.
  4. Celebrate your successes. This seems obvious, but I believe it is not done enough throughout a long and arduous process when the end goal seems so far down the road. I don’t know if I will be successful in my fight on May 17th, just like I didn’t know 20 years ago if my software idea would ever come to fruition.  But I feel good about the progress I am marking.  I try, as best as I can, to celebrate each milestone that I reach.


Training Update:

This is a picture of  the Everybody Fights crew (with trainers) who are fighting in Haymakers for Hope after we passed an insane 2+ hour fitness test.  Down 31 pounds need to lose at least 4 more.  Please consider a donation at

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