I have just got back to England from an Indycar test in Sebring that didn't happen due to rain.
I tell you this because on the way back from that cancelled test I, as the title suggests, I had two important reminders from 2 boxers, one fictional and one real. Both of them ironically labelled as Italian Stallions.
Coming back from Sebring I had an 8 hour flight connection in Philadelphia, so I got myself a rental car and went to the streets of Philadelphia to fulfill a childhood dream.
I went to see as many filming locations from the Rocky movies as possible. Something I have wanted to do for many years.
I was living the dream.
I had tingles in my spine as I drove towards the Philadelphia Skyline with the Rocky music blaring in the tiny rental car.
This may seem excessive but I grew up watching the Rocky films over and over, and over. No exaggeration I must have seen them hundreds of times.
Virtually every training session I did as a driver had the Rocky soundtrack playing (still do now some of the time), when I went through bad times in life I would stick on a Rocky film or listen to the music to get myself back in the game.
Beyond the movie, what inspires me more is the story behind the Rocky films and how hard Stallone had to work to get that first film made.
He went from being flat broke and homeless to creating a film that we still watch 40 years later.
Stallone was a guy who was seen in the industry as a joke, a nobody. That butt-ugly guy who had no real acting experience and couldn't even talk properly.
Yet here he was with a script in his hand (that he only spent one full night writing by the way) telling everyone that he was going to be a star.
He got laughed out of every film makers office in Hollywood, more than once. He claims to have been refused over a thousand times whilst trying to sell Rocky.
There were one or two takers but as soon as he insisted that he was to play Rocky they would boot him out.
Yet due to 3 things, which were:
- Changing his approach after each "No"
- Sticking to what he believed in
He finally got a deal and got permission to make and star in his own movie.
That simple film then went on to making $225million at the box office (back in 1976) and won 3 Oscars.
This only happened because of Stallone's hard work and desperation to make things happen.
This blog post doesn't come close to painting the picture of what he had to go through but I think you get the idea.
I Want To Remind You
So Rocky may just be a nice boxing story but really it is a metaphor for how an underdog can make it big in this life.
When a person believes in themself, is relentless in their pursuit and tirelessly improves their skills then magic can happen.
So firstly that is the lesson to be taken from Rocky and Stallone.
But today I want to remind you how priceless it can be to have people like this in your life. Not someone who has tried to make a movie, but to have a mentor in your life.
They could be someone that you have never met or they could be a family member, it doesn't matter, what does matter is having someone in your life who raises your game on a daily basis and keeps you on track.
For me having a mentor and having someone who shines a light on what you need to do in order to get what you are after, is essential.
I want you to always remember the power of having a mentor in your life, someone to guide you and help you be at your best.
Plus someone who lifts you up when you hit the brick walls in life.
Mentors come in many forms, they could be:
- A sporting champion
- Someone you admire from a distance
- A member of your family
- Within a religion
- Other drivers
- Your coach
- A teacher
- A parent
- A friend
- And yes, even a fictional characters in a movie
Someone who forces you to step up each day and move forwards.
You are going to have to dig deep if you want your life to work out so having a mentor can be your shortcut for this.
Our daily lives are rammed full of negative words, images and news, make sure that you control what your mind spends time on. Give it a diet that helps it rather than hinders it. Mentors are great for this.
As you know, sometimes when you are on a long haul flight you comes across a great documentary that somehow you have missed and it captures you. For me on the way back from Sebring / Philly, I stumbled upon another Rocky fan by the name of Joe Calzaghe.
Now this is a real life boxer from Wales who I have also admired for many years. Whilst on the plane I watched his new(ish) film documentary called Mr Calzaghe.
If you haven't watched it yet then I insist that you make the time.
He again reminded me the importance of having a mentor.
His mentor was his Father (named Enzo).
Enzo wasn't even from the world of Boxing, he was a musician just trying to make his way through life until he took it upon himself to train Joe in the art of Boxing.
Joe went on to becoming the longest-reigning super-middleweight world champion in history. He was also the light-heavyweight world champion.
An amazing achievement for a Father and Son team.
Enzo was great at getting the most out of Joe, they had a fiery relationship but it worked and together they achieved great things.
Another Lesson from Joe Calzaghe
Another great reminder that was demonstrated by Joe was his belief that - No matter what adversity you face, don't use it as your excuse!
Joe demonstrated this when he was fighting with a broken hand, yet he still won. That's kind of like winning a race with a flat tyre.
He was also going through tough times in his personal life, yet he still won.
If you are a fighter, you fight. You do not show your opposition a chink in your armour, you just figure things out and perform anyway.
Again like Stallone, you change your approach and try again.
No matter what bulls**t is going on around you, you must still come up with answers of how to overcome the challenge that you face.
It is very easy for us to use things as excuses, as to why we are not on our game but if you want to win or be a champion then you must stand on your own two feet and get the most from yourself, no matter what is going on.
That's your duty!
Schumacher & Berger Michael Schumacher demonstrated this when he won the San Marino Grand Prix in 2003 just hours after hearing that his Mother had passed away.
Gerhard Berger won the Hockenheim Grand Prix after being very ill and just a few days after losing his Father.
These are just two drivers who should not have been off their game yet they still outperformed those around them.
It is always up to you to decide how you are going to turn up on any given day, you decide who you are going to be and what you are going to focus on.
So, the main things I want you to remember are:
1) Choose the right mentors to help you have a successful 2017
2) No matter what you are facing right now you need to stand up and keep moving towards your dreams. That's the champion inside you.
By the way
Here is a silly little iMovie video I put together whilst using up the last part of that 8 hour connection time...
Oh and here is a video I once put up for Gerhard Berger's race...