Book Review: Crushing It!

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a book review, but I couldn’t resist as I stumbled upon Gary Vaynerchuk’s latest book Crushing It! at my local Target store (sequel to his first book Crush It). Inside this book, you’ll find interviews with people who had an idea to do something or create something and went out and did it. Also, Gary gives advice and tips on how to utilize social media to promote your brand or business. Gary Vaynerchuk is hardcore and in your face brutally honest with advice. While reading this book you’ll have plenty of moments of motivation and inspiration to get your idea (or ideas) into motion and take action.

This book has a clear message: the only way to get what you want in life is to take action. A lot of people are infatuated with the idea of picking up a book and having that book give them the answers to life itself. This particular book will not do that, but you’ll read about people from all different backgrounds and starting points that achieved the goals that they’ve set for themselves.

I highly recommend this book for anyone. Even if you’re not thinking about creating a brand or a business (you should be anyways) this book is for you. Gary is great at getting you to look at social media and life in a different way. He has a distinct ability to get you motivated and while reading this book you’ll feel like Gary is sitting with you and explaining what you need to get done. All in all this book is a must have and should be on your bookshelf.

You can order Crushing It! on Amazon or at your local Target.

In Pursuit of Success

Success

 

Success. We all have our own definitions of the term, but most people misinterpret what it is, or how it should be. Traditional success can be defined as having an education, a job that pays well, and nice home/marriage. But, it’s not that simple (and neither is life). Which is why it’s important to understand people and their decisions in life. You may think you know someone when you talk to them, but you really don’t. We all have had that moment when we were talking to someone, and thought that they were not really “successful.” It’s something that we have been taught through social conditioning our whole lives. What we have to understand is–that there is no true definition of success, and there shouldn’t be. I’ve met a lot of amazing people over the years, and they’ve all had their own take on success. Since starting this blog, interviewing people on my blog and podcast, I have had a crash course on what it takes to be the best that you can possibly be. Of course you don’t always get what you want or go after, but you’re gonna get pretty damn close if you take action and go for it. Whatever it is that makes you happy or passionate, I strongly recommend that you go after it. I’ve waited to take action on certain things in my life, but that does not define me, nor does it tell my whole story. You will get judged by people in your life on what you do and what you don’t do, but don’t let that discourage you. Develop thick skin and forge ahead. Be relentless and willing to do whatever it takes to reach your goal. It won’t be easy (nothing worthwhile ever is), but you’re gonna find out a lot about yourself in the process, and when you look back at all that you’ve accomplished–you’ll have a greater sense of the person that you’ve become. I’m here to cheer you on and to tell you that it can be done. Good luck in your pursuit of success, and remember to have fun along the way.

 

2015: What’s Your Story?

Typewriter What is Your Story

 

A new year is upon us once again. 2014 flew by (for me, at least) and it was a relatively good year for me. In this post, I will touch on resolutions and why I dislike them. I’ll also add my personal insight on how I set goals and the process that I go through to achieve them. First off, I would like to state that I’m nowhere near being a “success” but through my experiences, I have had some breakthroughs with achieving my goals. Are you still with me? Good. Let’s get started.

 

Let’s being with resolutions. They’re supposed to be goals in disguise, but you and I know the statistics on resolutions: most people break theirs not even two weeks into the new year. Why do you think that is? In my opinion–it all comes down to consistency. When you’re consistent with whatever you’re doing (or focused on) you’re more than likely to be “successful” at whatever it is that you’re doing. Resolutions are the popular thing to do every new year, but don’t fall into this trap. Sure they’re (resolutions) new, fresh, and exciting, but sooner or later–resolutions wear off. Instead of a resolution, set goals. Goals will mean more to you, and it will give you more motivation to complete the goal that you’ve set for yourself. I know what you’re thinking now “what’s the difference between a resolution and a goal?” There’s plenty of differences, but the main difference is detail. Goals tend to have more detail attached to them and in turn–will provide you with a better sense of empowerment. Think about it: the most common resolution is to lose weight. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great resolution, but just saying “I’ll lose weight” is not very powerful in itself. Now turn that same resolution into a goal by saying “I will lose 20 lbs.” by a date that you’re comfortable with. Congratulations. You’ve now just a set a detail oriented goal that you will feel motivated to achieve. What I’m offering is basic common knowledge and it’s not rocket science (I know that), but very few people tend to look at the details of their resolutions, and that’s what keeps them from being consistent with their chosen resolution.

 

We’re almost done here (I promise). Next in the process of goal-setting, is research. When I’m involved with setting a goal–I research the hell out of it. Again, this may seem like simple advice, but it’s absolutely necessary to discuss this. When you set a goal (whatever it may be) make sure to do your homework. Look up and see if anyone else has achieved the goal that you’ve set for yourself (chances are, they have). I’m gonna rip out a page from Tony Robbins playbook, and tell you to model the person that achieved your goal. What do I mean by modeling? I mean researching how they accomplished the goal. For instance: what were their habits, routines, and behaviors that caused them to succeed? Do they have books available that you can read to gain further information? Email them to see if they can give you advice and tips. The key thing that will make you successful in this area is to be bold. Being bold will give you confidence on your journey to completing your goal.

 

I hope my little nugget of advice will propel you to move forward this new year, and be relentless in your pursuit of achieving goals. Once you attain one goal; it will become hard to stop right there. Set another goal (or ten) and like I stated earlier–be bold in the process of accomplishing your dreams and goals. Before you know it, six months are gonna roll by and you’re still gonna be stuck in a rut. Don’t be that way. Pull out a piece of paper, receipt, or whatever else you can get your hands on right now, and commit to setting one goal. Then after you write it down–get your goal ingrained in your brain; and kick its ass. 2015 is your story. Make it one of the best damn stories that has ever been written.

A Must Have Book: Earn The Right To Win by Tom Coughlin

Tom Coughlin

 

There are a lot of book recommendations out there, but there’s one that has recently stood out to me– and that’s Earn The Right To Win by Tom Coughlin. In this book, Tom Coughlin describes life in the NFL and how he prepares for every situation possible (and I mean every situation). You’ll get a kick out of his famous “Coughlin Time” where he shows up extra early to anything that he’s involved with. It’s something that’s so simple, but very effective to everyone who reads this book. Some reviewers may say the book has nothing new to offer, but I disagree. I’ve always been fascinated with life in the NFL, and how coaches, players, and above all else: how  teams prepare for each and every week during the season. I encourage you to read this book and if you choose to do, please comment on here or send me an email; I would love to know what you thought of it, and I’m open to book suggestions as well.

If you’re interested in reading this book, check it out on Amazon 

Why Do We Fall?

Don't be afraid to fail

 

Six months ago I stepped into an MMA gym (Stars and Strikes) wanting to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. With no prior experience in any martial art, I was intimidated at first but everyone at my gym was very helpful (especially my coach) in teaching me and giving me great advice. My first week was tough (very tough) in the fact that I thought that I was in great shape until I started doing the workouts, sparring, and grappling. It’s an extreme, grueling process that will push you mentally and physically. Even learning the moves and techniques was an exhausting practice, but very rewarding once class was over. Upon leaving the gym, I felt a sense of accomplishment and purpose. After a month of solid training, I was hooked and looked forward to learning anything that I could. Aside from training at the gym, I was making new friends and forming a bond with the other guys/girls at the gym. Going to my MMA gym is like going to a family members house; everyone takes care of one another, and we treat each other with the utmost respect. While I was having a great time training at my MMA gym, I had to deal with criticism as to why I was training and at first I was puzzled by the criticism, but then I came to realize that there’s not a lot of people who train in MMA in today’s society. Most of the criticism about MMA comes from simply not being educated on the sport, and once I explained the sport to people—they came to realize that it’s a sport that requires commitment, dedication, and the willingness to improve each day.

 

With each passing day that I was going to the gym, I realized something: my teammates are really good (scary good) at competing and ultimately, winning many titles and awards that go up on our gym wall. I first got a sense of the MMA world back in January, and watched my teammates compete in an amateur MMA league titled PCFL (Prison City Fight League) in Jackson, MI (hence the prison city reference). Watching them compete was an incredible experience, and I could not believe that the guys I was watching—was the same group of guys that I train with on a daily basis. Each show that came up, I was sure to be there and root my teammates on. Then after about the four-month mark of training at the gym, I had a thought: I want to compete.

 

Aside from MMA, my gym also competes in amateur kickboxing shows. I felt that it would be a great way for me to start out, and to see if I could compete in such a pressurized environment. Now I just had to talk to my coach and teammates about it.

 

“Absolutely! I think kickboxing would be a good start for you,” said my coach after telling him that I wanted to compete in the upcoming amateur kickboxing show. That part was out-of-the-way, but the hard part would be getting a match up. Almost a month had passed by since I put my name in to compete, and I was losing hope that I would not be able to get a match up. Coming into the gym one evening—my coach had great news: he had found a match up for me. I didn’t know much about my opponent (other than the fact that he had been knocked out in 12 seconds in an MMA match). My immediate feeling was a sense of relief, but that quickly went away when my coach smiled and said, “you’re getting shark tanked soon.” For those who don’t know: a shark tank consists of you sparring against a number of “fresh guys” for 8 minutes long, and no rest at all. A shark tank is supposed to get you to your breaking point (mentally and physically), and to see what you’re made out of.

 

It was a Thursday night, and as I entered the gym—I felt anxious, nervous, and scared. The time had come for me to get shark tanked. Exhausted, broken, and tired were the exact diagnosis of how I was feeling during the shark tank. Getting hit repeatedly, trying to breathe, and movement seemed like an endless carousel that I was on. Once time was called out, I was drained and had nothing left to give. Going through the shark tank was one of the hardest things that I have ever endured in my life. I learned a lot about myself during the process, and I’ll never forget that night. As if the shark tank was not hard enough, I had a harder task to go through: weight cutting.

 

Weight cutting is an integral process in combat sports. The point of weight cutting is to get down in weight, and on fight night be at your everyday weight. For example: my everyday weight is around 164-165 lbs. My fight was scheduled for 150 lbs., so in theory—I would be 14 pounds heavier on fight night, which would (hopefully) give me a strength advantage and overall performance advantage. It would be my first weight cut, and it was hard; extremely hard. I stuck to a strict diet/regimen and not going over 50 grams of carbohydrates in a day was tough. The process was grueling and as weigh-in day approached, I was desperately trying to hold on. On weigh-in day, I had no food and water for the whole day (weigh-ins were scheduled for 7 p.m.), and throughout the day, I could actually feel my heart beating slowly. Stepping on the scale, I was praying that I was exactly 150 lbs. and when the final numbers came out: I weighed 148 lbs. and I was relieved, and could not wait to start hydrating and eating (normally) once again. But before I could do those two things, I had to face-off with my opponent. Finally, after training hard for this fight—I got a good look at my opponent. He was quiet, and didn’t say anything to me but just nodded when I told him good luck on our fight.  After weigh-ins my coach and teammates headed out to Starbucks and let me tell you: drinking coffee and feeling go down my throat was exhilarating. I know you’re probably laughing at that statement, but try to deprive yourself of your favorite foods/drinks, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

 

Fight day had finally arrived, and it was definitely an interesting and exciting buildup for me. My mind was racing with all kinds of scenarios and situations that I was imagining for my upcoming fight. Arriving at the venue, my nerves started to sink in for me. Checking in and after clearing medical checkup, all that was left to do was to wait for my fight. Being in the back room was nerve-wracking, and just knowing that my turn was coming—was a crippling feeling to me. It all felt surreal to me that I was about to fight. Putting on my fight trunks, having my teammates support me, and my coach trying to calm me down was an experience that I will hold on to forever.

 

The time had come. It was time for me to fight, and it was all becoming a fast reality for me. With Metallica blaring through the venue, I walked out with my team. Stopping at the front of the cage, my team had a gathering and everyone was giving me encouragement for my upcoming battle. Then they left to their seats, and leaving me alone to face the toughest challenge of my entire life. Stepping up to the cage and hearing it close, I felt a sense of calmness that came over me. That sense quickly faded when I stared across the cage to my opponent (he looked like he was on a mission to destroy anything in his path). The referee slapped his hands, and it was go time. Touching gloves with my opponent, I was getting ready to throw a combination, when out of nowhere (seemingly) I got blasted with one of the hardest shots that I have ever felt in my life. Then another one came, and each one more crushing than the previous one. Falling down on the mat, I was about to experience my first standing eight count. The ref holding my gloves, and counting to eight will be etched in my memory for years to come. I was OK, but a little woozy. The ref slapped his hands for a second time, and we were off once again. Hitting my opponent with a kick, he came at me with the ferocity of a 19 year-old Mike Tyson, and again, his crushing blows were too much for me to handle. I was seeing gloves coming my way, the ref, the crowd, and the cage all at once. It’s a helpless feeling, and scary at the same time. As expected, I went down again. This time the ref signaled to the nurse to come check me out. The nurse gave me a series of tests and after examining me, she told the ref that she will not let me continue to fight. And just like that, the fight was over. Leaving the cage was the most embarrassing moment in my life. I had just been destroyed in front of strangers, friends, family, and teammates.

 

Going in the back room, I knew something was wrong when one of my teammates grabbed an ice pack, and put it on my right eye. Looking like Rocky, the embarrassment set in even more. My coach and teammates offered words of encouragement and praise, but I felt otherwise. Getting dressed and getting my stuff together, my brother appeared and told me how proud he was of me, and told me about one of our favorite scenes from the movie Batman Begins “why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up,” said Thomas Wayne to his son, Bruce. When my brother said that to me, it clicked in my head: you have to fail before you succeed.

 

I have absolutely no regrets about my first kickboxing match, and I learned a lot of valuable lessons that night. Take it from me: get out of your comfort zone, and see what happens. You might fail like me, but even doing something that you set your mind to will be extremely gratifying. Don’t waste any more time, and really commit to the goals that you’ve set for yourself. You just might surprise yourself on how far you can actually go.

 

 

 

 

Ignore Impossible Podcast

Ignore Impossible LogoIn addition the blog, I wanted to start a podcast and interview extraordinary people on how they set and achieve goals, live their life, and the mindset they have adopted in order to be successful. It’s been an incredible journey so far, but I’m still learning and have a long way to go. So why am I blogging about this? Because I want the podcast to thrive, and the only way that it will—is with your input.

In the comments section below, feel free to let me know what guests you would like me to have on the show, what you would like me talk about, and any criticism you may have good/bad. Also, if you like the show—please leave a rating on iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud.

You can listen to my podcast on any of these platforms:

https://itunes.apple.com/ng/podcast/justin-marroquin/id704984137

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ignore-impossible-podcast/ignore-impossible

https://soundcloud.com/justin-marroquin

Ignore Impossible #10: Katie DeLuca

Justin Marroquin interviews Katie DeLucaKatie Deluca joined me on the podcast, and I had so much fun talking with her. We discussed a lot things, and she definitely knows her stuff when it comes to UFC.

 

Follow Kaite on Twitter: twitter.com/KatieDeluca

Like her page on Facebook: facebook.com/IAmKatieDeLuca