Today I sold my good friend and fellow mentor Nigel another mentoring program, and hit black belt 125 days after starting this journey. It is fitting that it’s Nigel as he was the first person to get Thought Leaders Mentoring from me, the day after I declared my white belt to black belt in 365 days quest. The picture by the way is me on the day I got my other black belt.
After my Aikido black belt grading I felt that I had given everything of myself. I had nothing left to give. Straight after doing my own grading I was asked to partner Kevin, who was also going for his black belt. This meant I had to attack him for 20 minutes and get thrown all over the mat. I was already completely spent … and yet I had to dig deep and find enough to keep going. You only get to do your black belt grading once in your life - this was Kevin’s moment to show our teacher what he had learned and who he was.
Every time I got thrown and hit the mat, I’d take a breath and think to myself “only one more time.” Then I’d get up and attack again … and bang, I’d be back on the mat.
At the end I knew I’d kept nothing in reserve. It was a great feeling … I’d given everything I had. In Aikido that’s the way you honour your teacher - you give all of yourself. It’s an experience that is very rare for me - in just about everything else there is always something in reserve.
I feel the same way about the last 125 days - that I’ve given it everything.
I think that’s the spirit you need to bring to your Thought Leaders Practice – especially if you want to take it to black belt. I don’t think you need to work on it seven days a week like I have. I do believe you need to bring all of yourself to it - your best thinking, your best effort, your fears, your doubts and your genius. Don’t hold anything back.