The warm Thailand beach breeze passes through the gym. The dingy lighting spotlights the center of the ring. Live music plays behind my right shoulder. The crowd yells. The air smell of blood and sweat. Servers run around us taking orders. The loud shouts of the gambling crowd to my right gets heightened with each kick.
The fighters continue to battle in the middle of the ring, sweating, strategically dancing with each other in a sweaty bloody ballet, anxiously waiting to kick his opponent's head right off his shoulders. I love it.
In this moment, my entrepreneurial mind is alive and flourishing. Moving, thinking and sparring, just like the fighters. Fighting is not a single-person sport, although it may appear to be to onlookers. And neither is being an entrepreneur. Fighters have coaches and teams they train with. Fighters go to gyms operated by gym owners. Fighters have family and friends' support. There are judges, opponents, gamblers and crowds.
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In the heat and humidity of this Monday evening in Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand, I see blaring similarities between Thai fighters and entrepreneurs.
Fighters pour endless hours into honing their skills, whether technical, endurance or strength. A successful fighter devotes his or her every waking minute to fighting. The same goes for successful entrepreneurs. Every waking moment is an opportunity to get better at what you do.
If you can only be so lucky as an entrepreneur to draw a crowd. Crowds can motivate and push fighters further. Crowds are similar to an entrepreneur's audience, users or customers. Positive messages, comments, emails and calls can provide the same motivation from happy and inspired audiences and customers.
Every successful fighter has the right team behind him or her. The team helps with sparring, practice, cornering during the fight and pushing the fighter forward. An entrepreneur is only as good as the weakest person on his or her team. Recruit accordingly.
Possibly one of the most important figures to the fighter's growth, the right coach will provide the necessary experience and eye for development. The coach will teach the fighter how to be better and help navigate practice and fights. A mentor serves a similar purpose for entrepreneurs. Having the right mix of mentors can help an entrepreneur navigate pit falls and teach them how to improve their respective art.
Every fighter trains and prepares for battle differently. Fighters live for the fight. It is what most train for. In my mind, the fight represents the daily struggle we face as entrepreneurs: the uncertainty and the volatility. But real and true entrepreneurs wouldn't trade it for the world. This is what we live for, what we train for, what we breathe and thirst for.
The risk, the ambition, the hustle and heart behind every fight is equivalent to that of entrepreneur. Both successful fighters and entrepreneurs have huge visions, overcome extreme obstacles on the relentless pursuit to victory and risk it all on the gamble to chase their dreams. Neither would trade anything for it.