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Business lessons from the Dojo # 1

Business lessons from the Dojo # 1


Pushing 47, mother of 5, grandmother of 1 and busy business owner, I have found sanity, solace and some form of physical and mental fitness from practicing an ancient style of karate for a total of around 10 years, and apart from the challenge of pushing my body to its limits 1-2 times a week in what can be gruelling 2 hr training sessions, I have found many of the ‘life’ skills gained during this time have been useful and completely transferable into other areas of life and business.

Lately I have been thinking about the impact of these lessons and felt there was value in sharing them, here is the first of the 6 I have experienced.

#1 Mind-set – attitude – focus


From the moment you decide to train, bowing into the dojo, to what happens in the session until you bow out again at the end is all down to your mind-set. The same is true when you are in business for yourself, from the moment you decide to be in business, to each day you ‘show up’ to work in and on it, to the day you either sell it, pass it on or wind it up, if you don’t have the right mind-set you will struggle to thrive let alone survive.

When bowing into the dojo, you have made up your MIND to train and do your best that day, you are showing a sign of respect for the place of training you are entering, your senior instructors, fellow students and attempting to leave all outside distractions behind, in addition you are showing commitment to training and showing that you are ready to focus.

If you come in with an open, learning and determined mind-set you will find training beneficial and fruitful.

One of my favourite sayings right now, ‘The moment you take 100% responsibility for your life, everything changes’ – this is never more true in the karate dojo, there is no room for blaming others for your mistakes, lack of focus or lack of fitness. There is an unwritten ancient law – you get out what you put in, if you have a bad training day, kata performance or fight, it is what it is, acknowledge it and then look for ways to improve, refine and learn.

Attitude: (Shisei)

There is a classic saying “nana korobi ya oki” or “fall seven times – get up eight”, this represents an indomitable spirit or winning attitude.

In business this translates to those small stumbles and fumbles we have in the beginning, first sales calls, first networking meeting elevator pitches, first proposals, first quotes, then later on as you grow, pushing into a new area, launching a new product, service or something similar, there are risks, you assess them as best you can and you just get out amongst it.

My sensei always says something like this when someone gets hit in the dojo “ Karate is a contact sport, and although we don’t’ strive for contact in our style, you will get hit from time to time and you have to either learn to move quicker, block faster and become stronger so you can take the hit and not get taken out”

In many ways, business can be a ‘contact sport’. You don’t get a great pitch first up, and even if you do you won’t know how it ‘lands’ until you practice it, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

Failure, and fumbles are a part of life and business and in fact I would say that If you have some that is a great sign that you are out ‘amongst it’ and the more you do that, the faster, stronger, fitter you become.

My favourite saying of all time is this: By Charles Stanley

I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me, and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you… We are in charge of our attitudes.


Zanchin, is a term used in martial arts to describe awareness, mental alertness and physical readiness to meet the situation

Now you have the mind-set and the attitude, focus becomes paramount, knowing where and when your opponent may strike next boils down to focus, a momentary lapse in this basic task can result on you lying on the floor face up or down wondering what the heck happened.

Knowing what to focus on and when is key, when in a sparring situation you bow and it is game on, until you finish and bow back out. Requiring a short but intense burst of focus, sometimes repeated over longer time frames, and being aware that when you become tired your focus becomes weaker.

In business knowing what to focus on and when is also key, learning the art of communication, relationships, networking, sales and marketing, learning when to focus on the work you do and when to focus on business development, being alert and focused in conversations, and networking situations is similar. When you seriously engage with someone on this level, you just never know what may come of that brief but intense meeting, it may be new business OR it may be a potential collaboration/partnership.

When you ‘bow in’ to a conversation, a networking event, a sales conversation, or any other business interaction important to your growth, focus, have your wits about you.

In summary and from my experience, If you turn up to work in or on your business with the right mind-set, a great attitude and focus on the right things at the right time, you will fly!

Have a great week being your BEST in the world around you.