The New White Stripes

6 months into getting a blue belt, I finally got my first white stripe on it. {These white stripes represent progress in your knowledge of the sport/art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. There are 4 stripes per belt. Blue belt is the second belt of 5- white, blue, purple, brown and black.} I thought that the powerful sense of accomplishment and happiness would wane as I got my first four on my white belt and definitely once I got a blue belt.

But the feeling that I got the other day was even stronger than getting the blue belt. Why? I guess it’s because I’m not usually one for patting myself on the back. I’m always pushing towards the next thing, the next goal, the next check-mark. One thing I always forget- celebrate the wins.

Celebrate your wins. We far too often forget this in business and in life. We harp on the bad things like there’s no tomorrow. When we’re on the phone with a friend, we constantly complain about everything from being tired, waking up early, your boss is an ass, etc. We never say, “Wow, man, I’m having a great day.” It’s always focused on the negative in our lives. Hell, I feel like my autoresponder when people ask how I’m doing is just “Working, man. Just trying to grind it out.” WHAT IS THAT?!?

As a culture we are fixated on problems and how to fix them. Far more often if we would just focus on what we DO have and build on that, we would be much happier. This process actually has a name: Momentum Shifting. It’s taking inventory for all of the positive things you have in your life and focusing on doubling down on those great things to create even more positivity.

Have you ever watched a game in football/basketball/baseball where you just felt the losing team coming back? You look at the scoreboard, you look at the time left, down, distance, etc. You see that logically speaking, there’s no way the winning team should lose. And yet, how many times do they actually lose? !!!It was 28-3 for crying out loud!!! Enter momentum. Even though the losing team shouldn’t be able to win, they do. It’s similar to watching someone shoot free throws at a clutch point in the game. You somehow can watch the player go up to the line, and you know they are going to miss or make the shots based on their posture.

This is all based on the physiological response they are showing through their body language. They know they aren’t going to make them just as much as you do. There isn’t the confidence they need to make the shots. This lack of confidence is also a lack of focus (because they can’t stop thinking about missing the shot). And then it happens. BRICK!

So, I know you’re thinking, “that’s cool and all,” but what does it mean in my day-to-day life? Well, there are two applications that you can use. The first is stopping the downward spiral of negative momentum shifting (always focusing on the bad) and the other is based in momentum shifting up!

1 | Stopping the Negative Momentum Shift

Your life, just like a ballgame, has momentum shifts. Sometimes you feel like you are on top of the world. Crushing your sales goals, hitting that workout right in the mouth, waking up early, etc. However, just as those wins positively influence each other, the opposite is true. When you’re in a rut, it can feel like you are never going to get out of it. That’s when you’ve got to yell “TIME OUT” and take inventory of what’s working and what’s not. Just like a coach does during a team’s run on the scoreboard, you’ve got to take some time to regroup, strategize and plan.

Trust me, I just found myself there about two months ago. I stopped, looked at what I changed/stopped doing and then reprioritized my schedule and made time for what’s important to me. I’ve had to make some fairly massive changes in myself, but I started small and built on those wins. Which leads us to moment shifting up!

2 | Momentum shifting up!

To start something new, there has to be what’s called a burst of Activation Energy, or the energy required to start a new habit. Some examples of this would be going to the gym one more day, only having one cheat day versus two, read one chapter a night versus two, get up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do to fulfill your morning routine, etc. etc.

The hardest part of making the changes is the first step. The more you repeat it, the easier it gets. Then take the next item in your life and start working on that. Be in a constant state of positive change. Always growing, learning and DOING! You’re either going forward or backward in life. There’s no in between.

One of my goals was to go to BJJ one more day a week (3 vs 2). The benefit that I personally get from it is beyond most any other workout I’ve done. With that extra day of going to the gym for 4-5 weeks, I could feel myself starting to really make some progress. Then, BOOM, new stripe. Focus on that, celebrate the win, focus on the positive, and continue to get better.

Go get some! And listen to Seven Nation Army during that extra lap around the track!


P.S.- If you’re interested in starting BJJ, or just a new fitness journey, please reach out or join me at Team Octopus ( You will LOVE IT!