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204 - My First Wrestling Match In 15 Years… And What That Has To Do With You

204 - My First Wrestling Match In 15 Years

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Episode Recap:

I did something this weekend that I’ve wanted to do for a decade and a half, and I’m hoping this episode gives you permission to do the thing that you’ve been dreaming about doing, but have been too afraid or too nervous to try. On today’s episode Russell talks about attending his first wrestling tournament after a 15 year absence and why it should inspire you to do something similar. Here are some of the awesome things you will hear about in this episode:

-- Hear about Russell’s former glory days of wrestling, and the history behind his love of the sport.

-- Find out why he hasn’t wrestled in so long, and why he wants to get back to it.

-  And finally, be inspired to do your own thing that you haven’t done for various reasons, and just do it.

So listen here to find out why Russell’s wrestling again and why that should inspire you to do your own thing.

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Best Quote:

So it’s interesting because a lot of people, as I was posting it on Instagram, I remember I was like, should I post this? Most of my Instagram is me talking about business stuff. I was like, should I be posting this? Do people care? And I was just like, what’s the point of it? And I remember thinking as I made, I posted a picture I was like, “I’m doing this with a goal to try to give everybody else who is listening to this, permission to do that thing that they’ve wanted to do for the last 15 years but haven’t because they’ve been scared or whatever that is.”


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Hey everyone, this is Russell Brunson. Welcome back to the Marketing Secrets podcast. I’m so excited to have you guys here. During today’s episode I’m going to be talking about why in the world did I, after 15 years of retirement, decide to go back and wrestle in my very first wrestling tournament in a decade and a half. Why I did it, and what it has to do with you. With that said, let’s queue up the theme song and I’ll be back to tell you guys behind the scenes what I happened on my very first wrestling tournament in the last 15 years.

Alright everybody, I hope you guys are all doing amazing today. So I just got back from Las Vegas, and I, those who follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve kind of seen some of the behind the scenes of what’s been happening and you know, I’ve had so many questions and so many cool things and I was like, I should just sit down and record a podcast to kind of share with everybody what happened, and why I did it and why you should actually care. And maybe you don’t care, and that’s totally cool as well. So skip to the next episode.

But basically, it’s interesting, so those of you who have been following me for a long time know that my first love in life was wrestling. I started wrestling when I was in 8th  grade, and then by 9th grade I fell in love with it, it became my everything, that’s all I cared about. And every thought every moment, you know every calorie I burned from that point forward was all about one goal and one goal only, and that was to be a national champ.

And in high school, my junior year I won the state title, so I was Utah State Champ. My senior year I actually went into the state tournament and I actually lost in the semis or something and I took third in state, which was really, really hard for me. And I remember being so upset that I knew there was a national tournament coming out, I can’t remember, two or three months later. And I thought you know, I have to prove that I wasn’t just a guy who got lucky, I need to prove that I’m a legit wrestler.

So for the next two or three months between the state tournament and the national tournament, I was literally working out 7+ hours a day. I was working out in the morning. I was wrestling at my high school after school, and I would drive to other high schools and find other kids and just whatever I could to wrestle. And I went from being a good wrestler during that period, to becoming a great wrestler. I went to the NCAA tournament, not the NCAA tournament, the equivalent of that, the college national tournament. And it’s crazy because you had to be a state champ to be able to go, but because I had won state my junior year, I qualified to go.

So I went, and in my weight class there was like 68 or something state champs and they had to, you had to be a senior and you had to be a state champ to go to this tournament. So it was basically the best of the best and I went to that tournament and I ended up taking second in the nation, which was amazing. I became an all American, and that opened the door for me to be able to wrestle in a division one school.

So I wrestled at BYU for a year, they ended up cutting the wrestling program and I transferred to Boise State, wrestled there my next four years. Sorry for the quick history lesson, but just give you some context of why this is so exciting for me. And then my senior year, I had to plan, my whole goal through college was to be an all American. I had done it in high school, I wanted to be an all American in college as well. And I kept getting closer and closer to it.

And my senior year at the pack 10 tournament, which I was planning, it’s funny my very first match I drew the returning pack 10 champ and I beat him and I was like, “Oh, this is going to be easy. I’ll be, this is going to be super easy, and state is in two weeks, I’ll wrestle that, and then that’s the end of my career.” And I was kind of looking forward to thing happening in two weeks from now.

And what’s crazy is that I won that first match and then for some reason I just didn’t perform, and I ended up losing the next matches. And I didn’t qualify for the national tournament. And I remember how weird that was, thinking that my wrestling career was going to end in two weeks, and instead it was ending right then. I remember sitting on the side of the mat just bawling my eyes out. Just like, this is the worst feeling ever.

I didn’t know what to do, I was scared, I was, everything my entire life had been up to that point, reaching up to this goal and suddenly it was gone and I had no opportunity to try and go after it, and I didn’t know what to do. So for me, I shifted. I was like, if I don’t shift my focus I’m going to go into depression. I gotta find something else to focus on. And at the time I had this little fledgling internet business that was making almost no money. And I was like, okay I’m going to focus on this thing. And I turned everything to that, and my beautiful wife. I had two focuses. And that consumed for the next 8+ years of my life.

After that point I decided I wanted to wrestle again, and I’m not going to go deep into this story, but if you listen to old podcast episodes, you’ll know. I decided I wanted to train for the Olympics, I hired an Olympic Greco coach and moved him to Boise. I hired half the Olympic Greco wrestling team, and brought them to Boise to work for me and support them so that we could all wrestle together. And I did that for 3 or 4 months, and then the company almost went bankrupt, and I had to leave and shut it all down. And it was another sad spot in my life.

And then fast forward now until today, and it’s been 15 years since that match that I lost. And I was like, my whole life I thought I would wrestle again. I thought I would go to some tournaments, I just never have and never have. And 15 years later I was finally like, I need to do this. If I don’t do it now I’m never going to do it. And I knew that there was a national tournament and it’s for people, they have different age groups. So they have like the really good guys, at the national tournament. I didn’t compete with them, in case you’re wondering, I’m not that good anymore.

But there’s different divisions, there’s 25-35 year old division, 35-45, and 45-55, and I think 55+. So I was in the 35-45 year olds. And then there was two styles, freestyle and Greco. So we went and signed up, I trained for a day, and then tore my neck, had some nerve damage in my neck where I couldn’t even move for like a week. So I had to, I did one practice then took a week off. Then we did two more practices and then I re-hurt my neck and took the rest of the week off, then we went to the tournament.

So I only had 3 practices, and we showed up to this tournament, me and a couple of my buddies and friends. And we went out there, and it was so much fun. My very first match it was like dusting off 15 years of cobwebs, I was so nervous. And I hadn’t put a singlet on in forever and I remember going out there, and I got beat pretty good the very first match. I was like, oh crap. This is going to be an embarrassing weekend, I’ve been talking about this on instagram and social media and podcasts, and it’s going to be so embarrassing.

But then I won the next four matches and I ended up taking third place in the tournament and got a big old trophy thing, which was really cool. And the next day was Greco and the brackets were smaller in Greco, but I ended up taking second in Greco and got another big trophy and stuff. And it was just so much fun. So much fun to go out there and do the thing again that I’ve missed for so long.

You know, we just got home and my whole body is sore, everything hurts. My hands hurt, my head hurts, my feet hurt, every spot on my body is sore and tender. But it was so much fun and so worth it.

So it’s interesting because a lot of people, as I was posting it on Instagram, I remember I was like, should I post this? Most of my Instagram is me talking about business stuff. I was like, should I be posting this? Do people care? And I was just like, what’s the point of it? And I remember thinking as I made, I posted a picture I was like, “I’m doing this with a goal to try to give everybody else who is listening to this, permission to do that thing that they’ve wanted to do for the last 15 years but haven’t because they’ve been scared or whatever that is.”

And man, that resonated with people. So many people messaged me back like, ‘Oh my gosh, because of this I’m going to go run a marathon. I’m going to go do this thing. I’m going to go take piano lessons again.” All this stuff that we’ve wanted to do. So because of that, I was like, okay I’m going to share more of this journey. So we shared on instagram pictures and videos and all sorts of fun stuff, just kind of documenting the process and sharing it with everybody.

So that’s kind of the point of this podcast, I wanted to share that because I had so much fun. And I’ve been so scared and nervous and put it off for 15+ years, I’ve put this thing off because you know, I didn’t know. And what if I lost? You know, all the different things. And finally it came back to like, I don’t even care if I lose, I just want to do the thing. The thing that was my childhood dream that I set goals, I hit some of my goals, and I didn’t hit all of them, but just I missed that part of my childhood and that part of my life.

So I did it and it was so much fun and I’m hoping that for all you guys listening that the first thing you do, I want you to stop and say, “I wasn’t a wrestler like Russell, but what’s my thing? What was the thing that when I was growing up, that when I was a kid, that I loved, that I was obsessed with, that I would do anything to do that thing and I haven’t because I’m old, because I’m mature now. I’m an adult, I don’t do those kind of things anymore.”

But I want to encourage you to take a little bit of a break and step back for a minute and think about what that thing is for you. And then do it. If it means go entering a marathon, or it means going and signing up for a singing competition, or if it means, you know whatever it is for you. I want to hopefully give you permission to try that thing.

And a couple of things when you do it, number one, you are not going to be as good as you remember. That was one of my biggest fears and frustrations in this thing. I’m wrestling these guys and I see the shot open, and I’m looking at it, and my body doesn’t move and I miss the shot. Or I see it, and I move but it’s too late and I get destroyed because of it. You’re not as good as you used to be and that’s a hard mental thing, but it’s okay because it’s not about that.

I remember going and I was like, at first I was super nervous, like if I lose this is going to be embarrassing. But eventually it was like, I don’t care if I lose. I just wanted to do this again. It was such a part of my life for you know 15-20 years of my life, and I haven’t been around it, I haven’t done it for so long, I just wanted to do it.

So that’s the first thing to know, you’re not going to be as good as you used to and that’s okay. Number two is, as you get closer to the date everything that could sway you from doing it, will come up in your life. Like for me, I tore my neck out twice. I shouldn’t have gone. Plus I had other things happening. There was business stuff and family stuff. There’s a million things that will keep you from doing it, but the thing is, just do it anyway. Just take the time and do it.

And the last thing is just enjoy it and realize that that chapter of your life is gone, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still experience it every once in a while. I think that’s been a big fear of mine, why I didn’t go back. Because at the peak I was at this level and in my head I should have been here, and it’s like, I can’t ever achieve that again, and its like, that’s okay. It’s like, just do it because it’s fun to experience it again. And it brings the excitement and the passion for that thing back into your life.

So for me, that’s what it was and it was so much fun. And I really enjoyed it and I hope this gives some of you guys permission to do that thing that you’ve been procrastinating or thinking about or bearing in your subconscious mind for the last 10 years or 20 years, or however long it’s been for you. Hopefully it gives you permission to just do it. Have fun doing it and enjoy it because I think that so many of us, we get so caught up in the rest of our life. And for me it’s kids and business and employees and teams and there’s so many things that we get caught up in that we forget about the stuff that lit us on fire when we were younger.

So get some of that fire back, it’ll lead into everything else you’re doing and get you excited about life again. But you just gotta go and do it. So hopefully that gives you permission, have fun with it. And I’m going to make this a yearly thing from now on. Every year I’m going to go to this tournament and I’m going to compete in it. And again, I took second and third and now I gotta get better for next year. So hopefully I’ll get first and first. And if I don’t, that will be alright because I have the rest of my life to keep getting better at it.

It’s crazy, we got there and the first day we were warming up and just trying to lose weight and get back into it, and this old guy waddles over, he’s got messed up knees and ankles and he starts talking to us. He’s from London and he’s like, “I’m 67 years old and in London there’s no one to wrestle with so I fly to America every year for this tournament.” And he wanted to wrestle to all of us, and my neck was really bugging me, so I didn’t wrestle with him, but he wrestled with Lex Case, and George Ivanoff, who are the two guys who came with me, and it was so funny. He started wrestling and he’s like, “Just so you know, my knees are bad and my ankles are bad, so don’t shoot off me.”

So he’s out there, this guy can barely walk and he’s out there wrestling at 67 years old. I remember looking and I took a picture with me and him and I sent it to my wife and I said, “This is my new hero. This is my goal in life. I want to be 67 years old with blown out knees and ankles and still showing up because I want to be a wrestler.” Because I am a wrestler and that’s the thing.

So I’m making my thing, it’s wrestling, I’m not going to go run a marathon with all you marathoners, you can do that. I’m not going to go swim, I’m not going to sing, I’m not going to, but I’m going to wrestle every year until I can’t. And knowing from this dude that we met this weekend, even when you’re knees are blown out, you can still show up and wrestle. So it looks like I’ll be doing this til the day I die.

Anyway, I hope this helps you guys. I appreciate you. Thanks for listening. What I would recommend doing, if you enjoyed this episode, take a screenshot of it, post it on Instagram and tag me. And then use #marketingsecrets and tell me what the thing is that you’re going to do, that you’ve wanted to do for the last decade that haven’t, that you’ve been bearing in your mind, what’s that thing you’re going to do? I want to challenge you to do it. And then post it on instagram and let me know, say “This is the thing I’m doing.” And that way I can celebrate with you.

So thanks you guys, appreciate you all and we’ll talk to you all again soon. Bye everybody.


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