3 Excellence Strategies from the Dojo of Life


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4 years into learning martial arts, I’m really appreciating how the lessons on the mat translate into valuable lessons for life and business.

I want to share the top 3 which are essential for anyone aspiring to personal and professional excellence:


When learning a new move, I tend to overthink – what I’m saying in my head is, “Let me get this perfect, and then I’ll add intensity and strength to my moves.”

My instructor tells me I’ve got it the wrong way round. I need to be demonstrating intensity even while I’m learning the moves, because in a grading, intensity gets high marks, and going through the motions gets marks deducted. More importantly, I’m forming a subconscious habit of either acting as if I am really under attack, or acting as if I’m still in practice mode. If I find myself in that precarious position of having to defend myself, I know my default mode has to be the one with maximum intensity, precision and conviction – the one that keeps me safe.

So the lesson? Put intensity into your actions. Act as if you are already successful, influential, leading by serving, and contributing great value to your community.

What does that look like?
How would you dress?
How would you speak?
How would you conduct yourself if you knew that any moment, someone might want to interview you for your expert opinion?


In the dojo, the most outstanding students are the ones who attend as many classes as their schedule permits, and put 100% effort into learning and refining their moves. These are the ones who demonstrate clear improvement over time, and keep upgrading their belt levels.

The same goes in life and business. To be visible, you have to keep showing up. You may not make an impression the first or fifth or fifteenth time, but if you stay in the game long enough, as your mastery of your craft improves and people come to know you and know your work, you begin to stand head and shoulders above those who do not bother to show up consistently, and one day your name will be top of mind.

If your performance has been somewhat patchy this year, what can you start doing to achieve greater consistency?
Could it be as simple as committing to increase the number of supporting activities you participate in?


I am often astounded by how generous the most successful individuals are. Be it on the mat or in life and business, these are the people who freely share information, offer to connect you with a useful contact, share an article they think will be helpful, patiently demonstrate a move or correct your moves and take the time to give you constructive feedback. They do not wait to be successful before they are generous. They are successful because they are generous. Their generosity attracts reciprocity and creates a positive ripple effect outwards, encouraging and inspiring recipients to pay it forward and do the same.

Have a look at areas of your life and business.
Where is there a need that you can fill?
Who can you serve with your time and talent?