I got asked this question the other day and it has really resonated with me over the past few days. How do you juggle everything? Let me paint you a picture for you. Cast back to four and a half years ago before I discovered Muay Thai.
Life was simple. I lived in a two-bedroom apartment in a nice little picturesque town in County Durham called, Seaham. I was living with my girlfriend at the time and working in a bank planning a career in banking and finance. Had only my rent, bills and food to pay for.
Obviously, there was lots of beer and no exercise involved and lots of eating out and enjoying life. You know how it is. It was the habit. I decided one day that I would go and try some sort of combat sport, I didn’t know what to expect. When I walked into Northern Kings for the first time and saw Craig sparring with Gordon Smith, I instantly got excited and intimidated at the same time.
When I began training, there was something about Muay Thai that I found instantly addictive. I don’t know what it was that I found so hugely intriguing, but I had definitely ‘caught the bug.’ I started training every day. Going straight after work and getting the hours in, go home, rest, go to work and then go back to the gym. It was simple.
Fast forward to today. I am now married, a father of two children, work a full-time job in the bank still, work with Fight Record providing written content from around the sport of Muay Thai, interviewing fighters and have made the crazy decision to become a Muay Thai fighter. Fighters sacrifice a lot to get where they are. Train sometimes twice a day, eat right, have to work every day and play the ‘juggling act’ that is rife because there isn’t quite enough money in the sport not to do so.
Unless you’re at a level where you can live your day to day running personal training sessions with people and earn your living by teaching, there isn’t much in the way of earning to make the beginning part of your fighting career lucrative. I didn’t start this journey thinking it would be easy, that would be stupid. I know it was going to be hard but the most thing that I am struggling with the keeping everything balanced.
This weekend, I have had to take a few days, so I could catch up on family time. It’s important. I got upstairs sorted and put up the kids’ curtain poles that I have been procrastinating doing for so long. I got the house sorted after being at work for the first part of the day and rested. I have smoked this weekend and ate shit. I feel as though I am back to square one somehow and need to reign it back in.
There have been a couple of factors that might contribute to this. Homing in on it and finding out the reason has to be done. This will enable me to can acknowledge it, find out how to not let it happen and spot it when it is happening and put something in place to prevent it from being destructive with my efforts.
I put it down to a couple of reasons, the house needed sorting and my family needed time spending on them. They say, tidy house, tidy mind and I couldn’t be more of a believer of that. Having everything under control at home is so important so you don’t add more work to the load that is already there. Spending time with the most important people in this whole equation is important too. Making sure they don’t feel neglected while you’re out training, interviewing, at a photoshoot or stuck on the laptop editing videos or writing articles.
The other one would be managing the workload. Juggling work (day job), Fight Record work and Fat Lad work and the gym/working out was always going to be 75% of the battle and will take some time to get right. I have felt a little overwhelmed this past couple of days with the pressure that it entails. I just have to think about the reasons why I am doing this and keep myself motivated by the number of people that I will be able to help along the way.
The messages of support I have received from friends, family and even complete strangers have been mental. I don’t want to let, not only myself down but all these people who have now been inspired by what I and Fight Record do to start their own journey. I feel as though if I concentrate on one thing, the other thing suffers.
Finally, an injury to my foot and knee. I kicked someone’s elbow twice over this week at training and my foot ballooned. I also clashed knees with someone in training. This stopped me from running, getting down to the gym and generally maintaining the activeness that I had set the tone for and then I spiral in my mindset because I’m not maintaining that positive mindset of overcoming adversity.
It really is a ‘balancing act,’ in a way that if you take away your attention from the day job to work on Fight Record, then my day job suffers if I take attention from Fight Record to work on Fat Lad, Fight Record suffers. All the while, having your attention pulled in different directions, constantly takes it away from the family and home life. I know everyone’s version of this will be very different and I can only share my experiences so far.
I made some very good progress in the first few weeks of doing Fat Lad but this week I feel as though I have taken a big step back. Saying that, taking time to reflect, assess what is important, learn from it and move forward. Changing the mindset back to the positive and concentrate on what I can control in small packets and box them off one by one.
This isn’t a post of resignation but a post of affirmation that I am going to do this. You can too! This is me telling myself that mistakes will be made somewhere down the line, but you are strong and very capable of doing what it is that you set out to do. Believing in yourself is a mental battle that happens every day.
To believe in yourself so much to go tunnel vision and have faith that, if you have the right intention and goals, the micro failures won’t matter if you’re working towards the greater goal that you have set yourself. It is important that you have a good support network around you too, who check in, keep yourself accountable and if you feel yourself slipping off the wagon, get someone to or remind yourself why you are doing this.
Why you put yourself through the hours of punishment in the gym, why we go to work every day, why we keep editing the videos and writing the articles, why being a good role model to your children is so important and maintaining a healthy relationship with the people most important to you in the world. It isn’t easy. We do what we love because we love what we do. Keep at it.
Tomorrow is a new day. Fuck it, today is a new day. Every minute that passes is so important that you maximise the opportunities given to us because, as the minutes pass, so do the hours, the days, the weeks and nothing ever gets done and before you know it, your back to square one or even minus one because you’ve comfort eaten your way to a heavier weight or are smoking again or whatever it might be.
Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. Don’t let the opinions of others influence your decision making. If you have a dream, chase it. If you want to do something, do it. I made some errors this week but I will learn from them and grow. These little failures are what make us stronger a person and remind us why it is important.
Honestly, I have felt like shit this week. Unmotivated, struggled waking up, smoked, had a drink on Thursday and have been quite self-destructive. I think this happens with me when I begin to get a bit overwhelmed with the workload that I have taken on and I go into withdraw mode but with a little correct time-management and time allocation of tasks and prioritise, anything is possible.
I had to get this out before I ventured back into some Fight Record work and get positive again because sharing the good with the bad is important and showing the battles as well as the triumphs will be key to this journey for me to inevitably reflect upon.
How has your weekend been? What obstacles have you had to overcome? What words do you tell yourself to maintain a healthy, positive mindset?
How do you play the juggling act?
Watching back on this video from Wednesday I get all fired up and look forward to getting back at it later today. Get this watched: