I’ve always aspired to be the ‘calm in the storm’ for my family and for my teams. Along the way, I have learned a thing or two from Xavier Ramos, coach of the Rajasi Muay Thai team and Travis York, serial entrepreneur and co-founder at YORK Athletics.
Featured Fighter | Xavier Ramos (holding pads), coach of the Rajasi Muay Thai team
‘Muay Thai is not calm and relaxed; it’s chaos. You have to learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable.’ – Xavier Ramos.
I can’t think of two more chaotic environments than running a start-up company and standing toe-to-toe with an opponent in the ring. In these situations, and as in everyday life, sometimes there are too many external forces at play to be or feel in control. In the start-up game, every day presents new challenges to overcome and no matter how much planning or strategizing you do, you never know how your customers will respond to your brand or a new product introduction. In the fight game, you never know what your opponent will bring on fight night. All you can control is your own mental and physical preparation and how you choose to respond to what’s happening in the present moment. As Mike Tyson said, ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.’ Simply put, how we choose to respond to challenging situations under pressure tests our true character and heavily influences the outcome.
“Don’t stress over what you can’t control. My Grandfather (a.k.a. Henry) once told me this. Take personal responsibility for your own actions and recognize that although you can’t control what happens in life you can control how you respond and handle it.” – Travis York
When the uncertainty hits and we find ourselves in the eye of the storm, our bodies respond to these uncontrollable moments with the release of adrenaline and cortisol hormones. This speeds up our heart rate and gives our body a sudden burst of energy and strength to help us live through these situations. Whether it’s competitive fighting, putting everything on the line to start a business or within the chaos of everyday life, our fight-or-flight response (a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival) is triggered more frequently than we think. Learning how to remain calm under pressure and keeping those adrenaline spikes at bay is key for keeping it cool and realizing your true potential while navigating stormy seas. Not to mention it also makes those intense moments more tolerable when you can be present and not try and push them away.
We narrowed it down to 5 simple tips to help you find calm in the chaos of everyday life. Try these out…
5 TIPS FOR FINDING THE CALM IN THE CHAOS
- Control what you can control. You can’t control what happens in life, all you can control is how you respond to it. Don’t waste your precious time and energy on things you cannot control or living in the past. Instead, shift focus into the present moment and what you can control, like how much sleep you get, what you eat and how often you exercise. People tend to abandon their routines when things get hectic.
- Stand Tall and Be Strong.You are much stronger than you think. You can tolerate more than you think. You can achieve more than you think you can. Learn to stretch yourself and be confident in your ability to rise to the occasion when the pressure hits.
- Be Present. Breathe and be present with whatever is happening. When there are countless things going on and limited time it is easy to be distracted and not make the helpful contributions or progress you desire. Focus on one thing at a time by devoting your full attention to the task right in front of you before moving on…especially when having a conversation, participating in a meeting or spending time with family and friends. And put the phone down as much as possible.
- Invest in your Resilience. Build up your resilience bank with routine exercise, 7-8 hours of sleep every night and eating healthy. You never know when you will need to tap into your reserve to help you through the challenging times.
- Maintain Perspective. We often tend to focus in on the problems or ruminate on the negative when life gets hectic, when in reality whatever is happening most likely will not have such a dramatic impact on our lives as we think it will. Spend some time alone, go eat lunch by yourself and reflect on the big picture. It’s all good.
Mark’s writing explores mental & physical conditioning and mindfulness meditation. He is the CEO and Co-founder of YORK Athletics Mfg., a training footwear brand that honors the fighting spirit. His work can be found on their on-line journal, Lovers & Fighters, where you’ll discover healthy living tips and inspiring stories from his circle of athletes, professional fighters, meditation teachers and entrepreneurs.
Mark is married, a father of two boys, a surfer and co-owner of YORK Athletics MFG and MCGARRY&sons. He trains with the Rajasi Muay Thai martial art team and is a student of mindfulness meditation at the Benson Henry Institute at Mass General Hospital. He lives in South Boston, MA.
Xavier Ramos photo credited to: Leonard Greco Photography