Ronda Rousey, in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, admitted that she was so distraught after her defeat to Holly Holm in November that she briefly contemplated suicide. The former UFC champion had been undefeated – and literally unmatched – until Holm knocked her out in the 2nd round of their title bout. Rousey’s words in the interview were chilling. She said, “I sat in the corner and thought – What am I if I’m not this anymore?”
What am I if I’m not this anymore?”
“This” for Rousey was undisputed, undefeated, and rock star UFC champion. I don’t doubt her sincerity in her statement or her feelings after the fight. I’m glad she found a way out of that mindset through the help of her friends and family. And, this sentiment doesn’t just hold true for athletes like Ronda Rousey. The world of entertainment is rife with stories of “stars” that have committed or attempted suicide or just threw their life away because they no longer identified as the “rock star” any longer. They defined their life – and their self-worth – as that “rock star.”
Humans are humans. Business people can fall victim to the same mindset. It’s not limited to Fortune 500 CEOs, political figures, and well-known business moguls. It can also happen to a small business owner that is running a 3rd generation family business and is facing a crisis; a sales superstar that has gone from fortune to famine; or a community leader that has fallen on hard times. These are just examples…the truth is that anyone can get caught in the trap of defining themselves by what they do rather than who they are.
When I coached high school basketball a decade ago, I admit I was pretty competitive. In my earlier years of coaching youth basketball, my teams won the vast majority of our games. As a high school coach, the losses outweighed the wins by a much larger margin. There were times that I allowed myself to be defined as a coach – and as a person- based on my winning percentage. The only person thinking that was me. I had defined myself as a “winning coach,” and “what was I if I was no longer that?” This hurt my self-image, my self-talk, and my self-confidence.
Fortunately, that was short-lived. These can often be minor points of time based on perspective and proportion. For business owners, executives, and entrepreneurs, this definition of themselves may be tougher to break free from.
Let’s do a very quick exercise to help you find out where your self-worth is currently:
First – How do you define yourself? What makes you who you are? Is it your job, your business, your affiliations?
Second – What happens if that’s gone? Are you opportunistic to find something else, or will you be crushed? Is what you do everything, or are you resilient to become anything?
Finally – Do you believe that you’re special, talented, and great even if when you fail? Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson confidently proclaimed after he threw a game-ending interception in the Super Bowl that he wouldn’t let that one play define him. He was seeking that next opportunity to be great. The following year, he had his best year ever.
Maybe in the end, since we started with Ronda Rousey, we should look at this from a boxing perspective. It’s not simply about being able to take a punch in life. Almost all of us have been able to do that.
The real question is – Can you can take a punch and then jump back up and deliver two punches of your own? People with great self-worth, that define themselves by who they are and not what they do, and that are resilient and opportunistic…these are the people that can.
Russell Wilson has. I have full confidence that Ronda Rousey will. But more importantly for the purpose of this article, can you?
Go define yourself as a puncher and a winner. That’s the surest and straightest past to living an “Unleashed” life.
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