I love a good podcast. Give me a grisly true crime mystery I can try to piece together, real talk among women, mindset and psychology, training for rock climbing and other fitness discussions, online marketing and business … you name it, I’m game to give it a shot. I know not all podcasts are equal, but regardless of the subject matter or recording quality, I usually walk away with at least one nugget.

So, when my husband told me about a podcast he follows, The Art of Manliness, I thought… okay, this is definitely a stretch. But as he started sharing the content of one of the latest episodes, I knew it was right up my alley. And as I’ve delved deeper – yep! I’m all about learning about manliness – I found I really liked this podcast. One that recently stood out was an interview (episode 524) with longtime boxing trainer, Teddy Atlas.

In the interview, Teddy talked about what it means to become a boxer, about the power of overcoming your fears, stepping into the ring, facing resistance, the way we make choices as either reasons or excuses, and best of all the power of regret. As he talked, I was struck by the parallels to building and growing a business, so today, I’m going to share my key takeaways from it.

1. You have to step into the ring to call yourself a boxer.

I loved this concept because it’s easy to start a business. A few clicks of the mouse, open a business bank account, register your name, and voila! You’ve got a business. But it’s not enough to just start a business and call yourself a business owner. Much like stepping into the boxing ring, breaking a sweat, and getting stung a time or two by an unexpected punch, running a business means putting yourself out there, stepping into the discomfort of courage and failure, pushing through until the bell rings.

In fact, as Teddy talked, it reminded me a lot of the Theodore Roosevelt quote (see below) that Brené Brown often uses about the man in the arena. Stepping into business ownership is about the dust and the sweat and blood, the getting up when you’ve been knocked down and persevering because you’ve got a dream that you are 100% committed to. It’s about believing to the depths of your core that what you have to offer is important and needed and that it would be a great shame to keep it from the world.

You may stumble. You may get knocked down. The resistance you face and overcome is part of the process. But when you get back up, when you lean against the cords that bound the ring to catch your breath, to reassess, and then step toward the fight… that’s when you’re a business owner.

2. At every turn you have choices.

One of my favorite parts of Teddy’s talk was the following statement:

You either have reasons why you can or excuses why you can’t.

There is immense power as a business owner, as a human, knowing that you get to CHOOSE how you’re going to respond to your circumstances. There is no circumstance, no environment, no situation where you don’t have choices. You may not love the options, but you get to think the thoughts you want – the reasons you can or excuses you can’t – about the situation. Those reasons or excuses you accept and believe create your feelings about it, and they shape how you act. All of that determines your outcomes… and as we’ve said many times, if you don’t like your results, go back and take a good hard look at your thoughts. When you recognize that your willingness to allow your brain to spiral into overwhelm, when you allow negative thinking and excuses to permeate your business and the results (or lack thereof) you’re getting, that all comes down to your choices.

Do not subscribe to powerlessness. Use your choices to get the results you want.

3. It’s harder to quit than it is to fight.

Over the last few months, I’ve heard countless stories about people dreaming about opening a business, doing the legwork to having a business, building websites, and then… nothing. No launch. No telling anyone. No nothing. Why is that?

For most people, the fear of failing keeps them from going all in. For others, it’s not wanting to be uncomfortable. And let’s be real, putting yourself and your dream out there for everyone to see and scrutinize is pretty stinking uncomfortable (and scary) most of the time.

But as Teddy says, most situations you put yourself into… and by extension the discomfort and potential pain… lasts mere minutes. A full-length boxing match lasts 36 minutes. The painful workouts in Beach Body’s 21 Day Fix are 1 minute each. Heck, some things last a few seconds… introducing yourself at a networking event is a great example of that, and yet, it’s too much.

Here’s the truth though: that discomfort you don’t want to deal with is nothing compared to the minutes, the hours, the days, the years of regret you’re going to feel if you quit. When you really want something, you accept the discomfort that goes along with it because you know you’re going to come out on the other side with more confidence and newfound capabilities. Every. Single. Time.

Is it worth the lifetime of regret just to avoid a few uncomfortable minutes? You get to choose.

Bonus Thought: As a coach/trainer, a piece of me is in the “ring” with every client.

There’s something truly magical about being able to support another woman’s journey. To share in her joy and sorrow, the pleasure and the pain, the big and small decisions. While you may not outright step into a coaching role with others like we do, you still have an opportunity to walk alongside others, to step into the ring with them. We believe strongly in having an abundance mindset, and I can think of no better way to do that than supporting other women as they step into the entrepreneurial ring and fight for their dreams.

So, what do you do with these lessons? I’ve got a few suggestions for you.

  1. Step into the entrepreneurial ring with your head held high. Tell everyone you know about your business, what you’re doing, and how they can help you. In fact, we created the 30 Day Visibility Challenge to help you do just that! Grab it here.
  2. Don’t skip out on the tough decisions because you’re scared. Lean on your support system. Fight the good fight. The discomfort only lasts a few minutes. You will get through it.
  3. Make the CHOICE to think of the reasons you can and will be successful. Heck, we even want you to think about how you’re already successful. No more excuses. As Nike says, “Just Do It.”
  4. Do the hard things. Just like the boxer trains relentlessly, you have to as well. Get on video and do your Facebook Live. Send out the email telling everyone you know what you’re doing. Share what you have to offer – someone is out there waiting for exactly what you’ve got.
  5. Lift up your sisterpreneurs. As the saying goes, you don’t dim your own candle by lighting another boss mama’s candle. There’s more than enough to go around. Connect. Support. And connect some more.

Alright, Smart Girl. It’s time to pull on your gloves, turn on the “Rocky” theme song, and step into the ring. You get to decide how you want to show up. Will it be with reasons you’re going to succeed or excuses for why you’re tapping out?


P.S. If you’re struggling to take that first step into the ring, to find the reasons you’ll success, we would love to help you. Simply shoot us an email (betheboss@2smartgirls.com) and we’ll get a time on the calendar to talk. We want you to win this fight, and we’re going to be there with you every step of the way.

Prefer to listen? We’ve got you, Smart Girl. Click on the Podcast icon and you’re golden!