Between political burnout, lingering unemployment, the stress of re-entering the workforce, or, like many of our past guests, the tireless-ness of working at building coalitions by hitting the ground running, marching, and advocating, the drive to endure and push forward is often challenged.
But, as three-time Olympic medalist Jakie Joyner Kersee said, "The only person who can stop you from reaching your goals is you." This week's guest, American professional wrestler, Jordan Burroughs, knows a thing or two about the power of endurance both physically and mentally.
Burroughs joins Xander to break down how his determination and dedication make him the success story and example of personal excellence he is today. His athletic journey is inspiring not only to athletes but anyone on a mission.
Burroughs is an American freestyle wrestler who went undefeated for his first 68 matches. He is a World Cup, UWW, winner, and the 74 kg 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist among his many honors, but he wasn't always a champion. "When I was young, I was scrappy, but I was also a runt," says Burroughs, who recounts the many tournaments and championships he was either not a part of or lost. So instead of being discouraged, Burroughs asked himself, "How do I use the resources I have to improve?".
One of those resources was his mindset. "I really relied heavily on my mind to be successful, and it really has never failed me.", says Burroughs, "I had to develop the intangibles." Jordan's mind over matter approach grew as his body grew, becoming more robust. However, today, he acknowledges that he still relies most on his mind due to his athletic ability declining with age. "I'm losing the athleticism that I once possessed, and so, my mind has always been something I can rely on," Jordan says.
But where does one get this determination or "grit," as Burroughs refers to it? Jordan believes that the ones before him have been the most inspiring. "There've been a bunch of trailblazers ahead of us that have done it all at the highest level, and that really inspires me." However, Burroughs also believed that he always had grit; it just had to be developed. "I was never weak; I just needed development.", He says that there wasn't a manifestation of will or a particular person that gave him his gifts. "No one planted a seed. It was always there; it just needed to be harvested properly."
Another factor in Burroughs success could be attributed to the fact that he didn't see any other route for himself. He had singled in on wrestling as his primary goal. "It (wrestling) was the one thing that I could cling to and rely on." He explains that this mission wasn't merely a new idea. He had already committed himself. "I didn't start off at zero to 100; I started off at 25."
In the early stages of his career, he focused on schooling and surrounding himself with support. Burroughs firm grip on reality is another incentive in his drive; He believes dreams don't always come true. "The world doesn't work that way; sometimes there's only one thing and multiple people that want it." But, he says, "sometimes it's just the stars aligning in your favor."
Armed with his feet firmly planted in reality, he approached many matches to enjoy the experience and the challenge. As a result, he takes on life's issues the same as he does matches. "The way you do the little things is the way you do everything," says Burroughs, a legacy he passes onto his children and his three crucial factors for success; hard work, discipline, and commitment. "When we have opportunities to do things well, we have to take advantage of them."
Burroughs warns people against putting too much focus on the "fruits of labor" in the form of cars or money. Still, he urges people to aim for "consistent effort," the work one puts in for a period of the process and the daily routine of a successful person.
With continued support from his family and coach, Burroughs remains encouraged to honor his family through his performances and to maximize the years he has left in his career. However, he feels content with his position in the wrestling profession. "My legacy is official; at this point, I just want to have fun." he says "at this particular point in my career, I have the most clarity, where it is simply because I love what I do."