🥉 Winning The Battle Within: Misogi Complete

Sep 09, 2023


Read time: 6 mins 


In this week's dose, I share the 7 steps I took to overcome my nerves & self-doubt to take 3rd place at the BJJ World Championships and the 5 science-backed benefits of meditation to cultivate calm & confidence. 


🗣  Quote of the Week:

"The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom." - James Allen

Inner calm breeds clarity, presence, confidence, and the answers we seek most.

The hard part is that this calm doesn’t come from changing what we DO, it comes from elevating our BEING.

😤 Inner Game > Outer Game

Last weekend, I competed in the jiu-jitsu Master World Championship and placed 3rd in a massive division of 62 men.

The term ‘master’ refers to competitors over the age of 30.

Check out the room that hosted 10,000+ competitors over 3 days...

I won’t sugarcoat it, I had a ton of nerves and self-doubt in the weeks leading up to the tourney.

Ever since college baseball, I struggled to not let my nerves get the best of me during competition.

The nerves would overtake my body and send a quadruple espresso shot of adrenaline through my veins.

My heart would POUND in the center of my chest, and my hands would start to subtly shake...

Not what you want in a position that requires precision to execute pitches.

It wasn’t quite having the “yips” but it was pretty damn close.

I don’t remember feeling that way as a kid, but something shifted in me around 18 years old.

So as I ventured into the world of jiu-jitsu competitions a year ago, I noticed these same feelings come up. A part of me that is so terrified to put myself out there, to be on stage, and to risk the consequences of not having a perfect performance.

Luckily with the internal work I’ve done in the last few years, I’ve been able to recognize that it’s driven by a deeper fear - one of judgment or rejection that would follow failure.

We have this innate wiring within us to feel part of the crew, tribe, gang, greater group of humanity.

And I’ve learned that this fear of rejection is totally normal and extremely common.

Millions of years ago, if we were rejected by our tribe, it meant exile - which meant death was imminent.

So while we still have the wiring we evolved with, it doesn’t quite apply today. Now it’s not life-threatening, it’s just ego-threatening. And I can work with that.

Another part of me KNOWS that this is exactly why I must face this fear head-on.

It knows the growth I seek only comes by facing the demon head-on, regardless of how terrifying it may feel.

A part that knows growth never comes from running or hiding.

This doesn’t make it any easier by the way, but it provides a fuel source much more powerful than the fear of rejection.

THIS is what I try to tap into.

Before, I would compete despite the fear and hope that showing up was enough.

But this tournament, I felt more equipped to work through these thoughts and rewire my subconscious beliefs to compete with calm & confidence for once. 

Here are the 7 steps I used to overcome my nerves and get into a calm & confident state:

1. Set my objective

This one might seem obvious, but I set my focus leading up to the tourney.

I made it clear to myself that the real competition was between my ears and that my ONE focus was to get into a calm & confident state before my first match.

I knew that in order to win the outer game, I HAD to first win the inner game.

2. Envisioned how I WANTED to feel

I already knew what it felt like to be overrun by nerves, but I didn’t really know what it felt like to be still in competition.

So I just made up what I THOUGHT I could feel like. I wanted to be calm + confident before stepping on the mat.

I felt that if I could embody those 2 things, then I’d be able to play my best game.

3. Role models to emulate

Fortunately, I got to watch 2 days of matches before it was my day to compete.

I watched 2 different ultra-high-level black belts slice through opponents on their way to dominant gold medal performances.

I watched how they carried themselves between matches, how they shook the ref’s hands, how they breathed as they stepped on the mat, how they shook their opponent’s hand after they won… never worried, never doubting, never too-hyped.

Always still and beaming with quiet confidence.

THAT was what I wanted to feel like.

So I focused on emulating these 2 competitors.

4. Embrace the scared part of me

I didn’t try to out-muscle this scared part. I’ve tried this in the past but it only created more issues.

First, I had to address the scared part if I wanted to replace it with how I WANTED to feel.

So instead of burying it, I focused on approaching it with curiosity & compassion.

I tried to understand ITS world, why it felt it needed to protect me, and what it was afraid of.

My goal was to let it know that I totally understood, empathized with, and loved it.

That I was going to take care of it.

It was extremely resistant at first, often freaking out and overtaking my whole body, but after practicing this multiple times a day, I started to make progress.

And ultimately got to a point where I could work with this scared part without letting it overwhelm me.

This was the shift I hoped for.

5. 3 things to focus on

I thought of 3 simple things that I could repeat to myself to bring me into a calm & confident state.

My 3 things were to breathe, be present, and trust my teachers.

It encouraged me to use the best tool for regulating our nervous system (breath), to be in the only place that is a sanctuary from anxieties & worries (present), and to put faith into something bigger than me (teachers).

So even between my matches when my mind would want to freak out, I simply focused on these three things and blocked everything else out.

6. Practice & put in the WORK

I started my day writing whatever thoughts & feelings were coming up around the tourney. I'd write without resisting whatever this scared part had to say.

I wanted to make sure EVERY thought found its way to paper.

Then I wrote what I’d like to happen, how I’d like to feel, and my reasoning behind why that was a perfectly logical thing to believe - I wrote clear examples to back my reasoning.

When rewiring, the mind LOVES evidence like that.

I then would meditate on it and go deeper with that part.

Feel into it, hear it out, sit with it, speak to it (sounds crazy as I write this out).

When the part would overwhelm me, I’d breathe. 5 seconds in, 10 seconds out until I felt centered again.

Then repeat.

Then I’d visualize what it would feel like BEING calm + confident.

How I walked, what my posture was like, what my facial expression was like, how I remained attuned to my breath…

I visualized each step on the day of the tournament: walking into the convention center, warming up, checking the screen for my time to weigh in, weighing in, hearing my name called, being walked to my mat, the ref signaling me onto the mat, shaking his hand, shaking my opponent's hand, the match starting, and me establishing myself with the first move.

So when it came time to show up, nothing felt new to me.

It was all part of the plan.

This was the first time I took visualization to this extreme and it was incredibly impactful.

7. Trusted that I would be OKAY

I’ve learned that confidence isn’t the belief that you’ll come out on top or win.

Instead, it’s a deep trust that you’ll be OKAY regardless of what happens.

That it doesn’t matter if you win or lose.

Deep down, I knew that if I wanted to perform my best, have fun, and play my game, I HAD to be calm.

No way I could do that full of nerves.

I reminded myself daily that this was my misogi. The challenge I’ve set for myself is completed by ATTEMPTING.

It’s won by just showing up and stepping onto the mat.

These 7 things can be applied to ANY aspect of life.

It’s in a process like this do we learn to grow & evolve.  

This is why I love jiu-jitsu. It directly translates to life…

It teaches you how to handle stressful situations.

How to manage your flight or fight response when life throws shit your way.

How to rely on technique and skill and trust the work you’ve put in.

It shows you that you are made of so much more than you previously believed.

And that cooler heads prevail. 


🧘‍♂️ Mind-Body Mastery: 5 Benefits of Meditation

In the pursuit of mastering my inner game for calm & confidence, I’d be remiss if we didn’t explore some science-backed benefits of meditation:

1. Neuroplasticity:

Meditation increases neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to rewire and adapt.

This means you can actively improve your thoughts and emotional regulation, fostering a more calm & confident way of being.

2. Stress Reduction

Studies have consistently demonstrated that regular meditation reduces the production of stress hormones like cortisol.

By learning to tame your body's stress response, you can be more centered and still, critical for handling anything life throws your way.

3. Enhanced Emotional Regulation:

Meditation promotes activity in the prefrontal cortex, responsible for emotional regulation.

This leads to heightened emotional intelligence & control over impulsive reactions, essential for maintaining calm in stressful situations.

4. Improved Focus:

Research shows that meditation enhances attention span and cognitive function.

Improving your ability to stay sharp & composed during complex tasks or while making critical decisions.

A secret weapon if you’re a creative or running your own business.

5. Decreased Anxiety & Depression:

It’s increasingly recognized as an effective approach for overcoming anxiety & depression.

By training yourself to stay present & calm, you can reduce the symptoms of these two.

Meditation changed everything for me with my mental health. It slowed down my thoughts and allowed me to find MYSELF deep within behind all the noise.

It settled my mind in conversations, which allowed me to be more present and become a better listener.

It’s my anchor - it’s now the ONE thing I come back to if I ever feel like things are getting off track.

I’ve learned that stillness, calm, & presence are ALWAYS within waiting for me regardless of what’s going on on the outside.

My tip is to start small, sit up with a straight spine, and use a 5-minute guided track to start.

There’s no way to do it wrong. 

The only way you fuck it up is by never trying.


🔦 Client Spotlight

Got this amazing Slack message this week from a new member of my community.

It’s always scary to step into the unknown and join a new group of people… but you'll be amazed at what a simple roadmap and support from a group will do for your personal growth.



And I'm excited to share what’s been cooking for this community and how we're taking this cohort program to the next level

We’ll be launching with the first ~30 founding members consisting of purpose-driven entrepreneurs & leaders within the next 30-60 days.

If you’re interested in joining a year-round community of high-performers, just reply to this email with “ASCEND” and I’ll get you more details on what’s to come.

Looking forward to hosting our first in-person retreat! 

Love you guys,
Tim 🖤


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