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168 - When Your Worst Day Becomes Your Best Day

When Your Worst Day Becomes Your Best Day

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Episode Recap:

Reflecting back on the darkest day of my life, and how necessary it was for me to become who I am today.

On Today’s episode Russell talks about his darkest time and how that lead him to all the good things in his life. Here are some of the inspirational things you will here in this episode:

-- Why losing in the state wrestling championship senior year of high school made it possible for Russell to become everything he is today.

-- How he was able to pull himself up and work harder than ever before to try and become the best.

-- And why we should try to look at our hard times as good learning experiences and how they could be just what we need to become everything we want to be.

So listen here to find out why not being state champ senior year of high school led Russell to where he is now.

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Best Quote:

Had I not shifted, had I not lost that match, had I not gone through that dark moment of my life, it wouldn’t have put me on the path that I needed to be on to be where I am today. So if you do believe in a God, and if you do believe in prayers, and you do believe in destiny, and you do believe in whatever you want to believe in, understand that a lot of times you’re going to lose some of these battles, but you’re going to win the war as long as you keep moving forward and you keep doing it. So I’m hoping this helps someone, someone who’s going through depression or going through loss, or going through something that doesn’t make sense and you’re angry and you’re upset, from someone now who’s able to look backwards in time and see that as a blessing. I just hope that gives you hope that whatever you’re going through now could be a blessing for you as well. When you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to see.


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Hey everybody, this is Russell Brunson. I want to welcome you to the Marketing Secrets podcast. Today I just want to share with you a story that happened back when I was wrestling in high school.

Hey everyone, so I am, wrestling season is done with my kids, as you know. It’s fun because I’ve finally had a chance to get back to work. I bought three hours a day back into my work, and it’s been interesting as I’ve got back to work, I’ve been missing wrestling like crazy and I’ve been missing that extra time with my kids.

I had about a whole week where I was just at work, the full day, catching up on stuff and it was nice. And then my kids and one of their close friends started saying, “Hey coach Brunson….” And “Hey dad, can we start wrestling again? We want to start practicing again.” And we kind of talked about it earlier in the season and I was like, “Hey you guys, if you really want to get good…”

And I told them, it’s kind of funny I told them this, because at first my kids did not like wrestling. And I kept telling them, “As you as you guys like wrestling, I can make you really, really good. But you have to like it first, If you don’t like it, I’m never going to be able to make you good at it because you’re going to fight me and you’re not going to enjoy it. You’re going to have a bad attitude.

But as soon as you like it, I can make you really good.” And about halfway through the season, I was out, I can’t remember, I was on a trip or something where I was gone, and Bowen, one of my twins called me, he was the one that hated wrestling the most. He called me one night and said, “Dad, guess what?” I’m like, “What?” and he’s like, “I like wrestling now.” And I’m like, “What? Dude, that means I can help you become a good wrestler now.” He’s like, “I know.” So it’s been fun.

Anyway, so we started the practices this week with them, where basically, oh and I put in my two boys, the weight lifting coach that lifts weights with me, I have them lifting weights with him as well, after school. So I’m trying to get them some muscle on their little frames. And then after they get some lifting, I come and we do a practice for, it’s supposed to be an hour but so far they’re going like an hour and a half to two hours long. But they’ve been really, really fun.

It’s just us three, it’s Bowen and Dallin, my two kids and then Tyler, who is one of their buddies, and me. So that’s four. Anyway we did a practice yesterday and did a practice today, it’s fun. And then this Saturday I’m actually having them all come over and watching Rocky part one together, because I think that’s essential.

For you to be good at anything, you gotta watch Rocky part one because then it gets you pumped for training hard and beating the odds and all that fun stuff. So we’re watching Rocky this weekend, I’m so excited. But I’m telling you this because tonight after practice they were looking over my medals and things like that, and I was telling them about it.

And I showed them, of all the awards I got in wrestling, the one I’m most proud of was, there’s this plaque on the wall, and it’s second place in the country All American. And basically when I was in high school I went to the high school national tournament, and I took second place in the country, which is kind of cool. And the way it works is you have to be a state champion to qualify for that tournament, and you have to be a senior.

So all the senior state champions were able to come to this national tournament and they find out who’s the best in the country. And what’s interesting though, if you look at each state, so Utah, Idaho, whatever, each state, they use a different class. So in Utah there’s 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, and 5A. So I was in 5A which is the toughest division. I was a state champ there, and then there’s the other divisions.

So there might be 5 or 6 state champs in each weight class and each state, so there’s, probably potentially, 150-200 state champs in each weight class in the country every single year. So from that, you have to be a senior, and you have to be a state champ to qualify for this tournament. And I took second place at it.

So I think there were like 60 state champs in weight class during that tournament and I ended up beating the two time California state champ, and a three time somewhere else state champ, and two timers, all these people I had to beat to get into the finals. And I ended up losing in the finals in a really close match. But anyway, I’m like, that’s my most proud one.

Then they started looking at my other medals and they were like, well looks like, basically what happened, they’re asking questions about the medals and I showed them, I said, “This is my next favorite one, this is my junior year, I won the state tournament and I was a state champ.” And they’re like, “Oh cool.” And then I said, “But check this out, this is the one that was probably the most important to me.” And it was my senior year and it’s a third place medal. And they’re like, “Wait Dad, you didn’t win state champ, you weren’t a state champ your senior year?” and I said, “No, I was a state champ my junior year, and then my senior year I came in and I was ranked number one, I beat everybody all year round.

And then in the state semifinals there was this kid that I demolished him early in the year, I think I beat him ten to one earlier in the year. I had him second or third match and we go out there in this match and I just, my head wasn’t all in, I don’t know what happened but I got thrown to my back twice. You get 5 points, taken down to your back you get 5 points twice, so he got 10 points from there, and I ended up losing by like 2.

So I caught up, you know, but I ran out of time at the end. And he ended up winning which dropped me down to the consolation brackets, and I came back through and I ended up taking third place in state my senior year.” And for me it was probably the most devastating moment of my entire life, prior or since. The worst. The most pain, the most embarrassment, the most humiliation, because I had worked so hard for this thing that I was sure I was going to win and I lost it.

And again, it was someone I’d beaten before and it didn’t seem fair, didn’t seem right, didn’t seem all these things and I was just mad at myself, I was mad at just everything. And I remember it was the darkest moment of my life. And it’s interesting though, because I told the kids, I said, “This is the thing, I lost that match, but because I lost that match, I knew that two months later was the national tournament and because I won State my junior year, I still qualified to go to the Senior nationals.

So I signed up for senior nationals and I said, I have two months to go there, based on how I did this weekend, I’m not ready. I’m not going to win.” I said, “My goal was to be an All American, which means you are in the top 8 and I’m like, I’m going to go and I want to be an All American.”

But what was different was because I had lost I remember in my head thinking, I have to prove to everybody that I’m not just someone who won state and got lucky and then lost it later. I had to prove that I was something special. So because of that, it put my mind into overdrive where I was like, I have to prove that I’m special. I have to prove it to myself and to everybody.

So because of that I was like, I’m going to train harder than anybody else. So for the next two months, I have a two month window, I’m going to go crazy. So during that two months I lifted every single day. I would have wrestling practice at my school. Sometimes I’d go in the morning, sometimes I’d go after school.

And then after that I found out who were the other state champions in Utah that were also going to this tournament. I called up a bunch of them and found out where they’re at and we started driving to each other’s high school. So I would drive to Taylorsville High School, I would drive to Brighton High School.

I would drive to these different high schools and I would go for another two or three or four hours and wrestling with these other guys who are also going, training for that tournament. And on average, I was averaging about seven hours a day of training between lifting, running and wrestling. Every single day for that two month period of time. And I had, in my mind, I had something to prove to myself, I had something to prove to the world, but I killed myself every single day for those two months to prepare myself for the tournament.

Now, when I got to the tournament, I saw the brackets. I’m like, there’s 68 state champs, most of them won two, some of them won three, three times they’d won the state tournament in their states, and because I hadn’t won it my senior year, I was the lowest seed. Nobody thought I was going to win, I think I had, of the 68 people, I was probably seeded 60 or something like that. I did not get a good seed. No one thought I was going to win.

And looking back on it, if I would have won my state tournament my senior year, I probably wouldn’t have done as good at this tournament, because I wouldn’t have trained the way I trained. I wouldn’t have had the, I wouldn’t have had to work as hard as I did, had I won that match.

So because I lost I put in all this extra effort and time and energy to prove that I was good enough. And I went there, one of the worst seeds in the tournament, and I ended up beating the number one seeded, a two time California state champ, which if you know anything about California, it’s one of the toughest states in the country typically. And I beat him.

I beat a three time state champ from North Dakota, then I beat a two time state champ from the next place, and the next place, and I went through this tournament. And it’s interesting, I always heard athletes, I’ve heard people like in baseball and stuff say, “you know, when I’m in the zone, someone pitches a ball, even if it’s 105 miles an hour, it still looks like it’s coming slow at me.”

And I remember that tournament feeling that way. I was like, when I stepped on the mat I felt like everything was happening in slow motion. My moves were just crisp. Like sloppy things I had done during the high school season, I didn’t do anymore because I had trained so hard over that two month period of time to not do those things. To have my hips in the right position and have all the things correct. And the matches, just everything seemed easier. And the people who you know, two months earlier would have destroyed me, I was just playing with them.

And of all the matches, all the tournaments, everything I’ve done, that was my tournament. That was the best tournament I’d ever wrestled. Went all the way through, pinned my guy in the semi finals, qualified for the finals, and in the finals I ended up losing by two points, in a controversial match that I still think I won.

But that’s a story for another day. But I took second place in the nation, became an All American, and because of that it opened up all these different doors. Because of that, my, prior to that I wasn’t recruited by any division one school. I was recruited by some junior colleges and NAI schools and D2 and D3 schools and I was like, “I don’t want to go, I want to go division one or I don’t even want to wrestle.”

And after I qualified for the finals, all the coaches from all of the colleges were there, so I’m getting calls from basically everyone. The Boise State coach, the Arizona State Coach, the Iowa State Coach, the BYU coach, all these different coaches, they all wanted me to come wrestle for them, and I was like, oh my gosh this is a huge change from what it was earlier. In fact, it’s kind of funny because my parents wanted me to go to BYU, I always wanted to go to BYU, but prior to me going to this tournament I had actually applied to go to BYU, and BYU you have to have like a, you have to be really, really smart and I was not very good in school.

So you know, I got my rejection letter back like, “Sorry, we looked at your resume, but you are dumb so you’re not allowed into this school.” They said it a little bit nicer than that, but not much. So I remember I was walking to the national finals and I saw the BYU assistant coach and he came over and he’s like, “Hey, I wanted to introduce myself to you.” He said, “We’d love to have you come and wrestle at BYU.” And I’m like, “I’m sorry, I applied and I got rejected.”

And he kind of started laughing and he’s like, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that.” And a week later when I got home there was a new letter that showed up and said, “Hey, we re-evaluated your application and congratulations, you’ve been accepted to BYU.” It’s so funny. So I ended up going to BYU and I wrestled there and then I went on a mission for my church for two years, and then I came home and BYU had dropped their program while I was gone.

So I transferred to Boise State, and at Boise State I met my beautiful wife, Collette. Here’s where I started my business, found my business partners, my friends, and everything good in my life happened because I ended up here in Boise. In the spot on earth that I needed to be to find the people that I needed to become who I’ve become today.

And I was telling this story to the kids tonight I said, “You know what, had I not lost that match, the match that meant everything to me, the match that I thought for sure I was going to win, it put me, it literally gave me the worst day of my life. Had I not lost that match I wouldn’t have trained the way I had to train for the national tournament.

I wouldn’t have been an All American, I wouldn’t have taken second place in the country, I wouldn’t have gotten a college scholarship, I wouldn’t have ended up at Boise State, I wouldn’t have met my wife, I wouldn’t have had you as kids, I wouldn’t have met my business partners, I wouldn’t have been in the situation with the fertile ground I needed to be in to get the ideas, everything I needed to become who I’ve become today.

To be able to be in a spot where all the sudden marketing can be interesting to me, so much so that I become obsessed with it.I had to have different friend groups, different people, different experiences. All those things happened because I lost that match. And I remember sitting there after I lost the match and thinking this was the end of my life.

I’m depressed, I’m miserable, I just want to die, I want to disappear off the face of the earth. Everything I’d worked for my entire life just got ripped out of my hands. I was mad at myself, I was mad at God, I was mad at everything, and what I didn’t realize was had he have answered my prayers, and had I have won that match, everything good in my life would not be here today.

And I just started thinking about that, I was like, man, it’s always hard in the moment to understand the lesson and the trial that God has given us. But then, fast forward twenty years, looking back it becomes so clear and you’re like, oh my gosh. That was the chain reaction that I needed to get me to be here today.

And looking back now, I’m so grateful that I lost that match. So grateful that it forced me to become better, it forced me to do different things, it forced me to become who I am today. So for any of you guys who are listening to this, I wanted to share this because I remember hearing Tony Robbins say one time, he said, “You know, a lot of times when people are passing away and they’re on their death bed and they’re being interviewed and they’re asked about tough times in their life, most of them reflect back on the hardest moment, or the worst time, the worst situation to happen in their life, and they realize that because of that everything great happened.

And I’m saying this because some of you guys right now are probably in that moment, you’re in the darkest hour and you’re just like, “Why am I here? Why am I even doing this? Why was that taken away from me? It doesn’t make any sense. Why was that piece? Why was that person? Why was that experience? Why was whatever it is you’re going through, why was that taken from me?” and justifiably so, you can be angry, but what you don’t understand, what I didn’t understand, is that that was such a key component, a key thing.

Had I not shifted, had I not lost that match, had I not gone through that dark moment of my life, it wouldn’t have put me on the path that I needed to be on to be where I am today. So if you do believe in a God, and if you do believe in prayers, and you do believe in destiny, and you do believe in whatever you want to believe in, understand that a lot of times you’re going to lose some of these battles, but you’re going to win the war as long as you keep moving forward and you keep doing it.

So I’m hoping this helps someone, someone who’s going through depression or going through loss, or going through something that doesn’t make sense and you’re angry and you’re upset, from someone now who’s able to look backwards in time and see that as a blessing. I just hope that gives you hope that whatever you’re going through now could be a blessing for you as well. When you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to see. It’s so hard to see, I remember.

I didn’t want….And I’m sure there’s going to be more times in life that happens. The big time my business crashed and went from 100 employees and had to fire 80 people over night and lost everything. Had that not have happened, Clickfunnels wouldn’t have happened. And in the future who knows what happens. Clickfunnels might crash, or something else might happen. Who knows what I’m supposed to learn from that? Where am I supposed to go? Who am I supposed to become? How am I supposed to serve? What’s the next thing?

We don’t know the answers to those things, but we have to have faith that there is a process and a purpose in what we’re doing, otherwise it can get really dark and scary. But if you realize, man I don’t understand it, I don’t know why, but I trust that there’s a purpose, it can give you the hope you need to keep moving on. But the last thing I want to say is just, the other moral of the story is when I lost it wasn’t like I stopped. It was like, okay, I need to readjust my goals and then I need to double down.

I think sometimes we get depressed or dark states and we just kind of walk away. It’s like, no, no, no. Listen to the whole story, the whole story was lost, went through a phase of depression and then said, this is the new goal, this is how I’m going to redeem myself, go. And then I went and I ran as fast as I could, until my fingers bled, until my feet were sore, everything I needed to do and gave it 100% because that’s what was required for me to become the person I needed to be to win that tournament, to become an All American.

I couldn’t have done it two months earlier, I would have lost. But because I went through that, I was good enough. I became who I needed to be to get that part of the, that piece of the goal. To get that next achievement. When my old company crashed and everything fell to the wayside, probably my second darkest moment of my life, it was also the necessary things I had to learn, I had to go through, to be able to become who I was, to be able to handle the mantle of what Clickfunnels is.

If anyone thinks Clickfunnels is easy to run and be part of, it is not. It is insane amounts of work. Had Russell from ten years ago, if he had been handed this mantle it would have crushed him. But because of these experiences and all the things that I had to figure out and learn and grow through, it’s what’s given me the ability to be able to handle this right now, at least as well as, I’m doing my best.

Some of you guys may think, “Russell, you’re not doing that good of a job.” I’m doing the best I can, so back off. Anyway, so I hope that helps. I hope that helps somebody. I don’t know. I just felt inspired tonight to share that and I hope that helps one of you guys out there in the moment of darkness you may be in.

So just keep moving forward, don’t give up. If I could go back twenty years to Russell on that night that I lost, I’d come to him and be like, “Hey man, I know right now this sucks and it’s painful and you just want to disappear, and I understand that. But in twenty years from now you’re going to look back at this moment as the turning point of your life.

Because you lost tonight, everything good that happens to you will happen. Someday you will be so grateful that this experience happened.” And hopefully you guys can remember that. Alright, with that said, I’m going to go get my kids into bed, appreciate you all. Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you guys all soon.


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