Whatever It Takes: Training your Mind to Win

Nick UgoalahEveryone has what it takes to win- YOU have what it takes to win. It’s all in how you decide to face your challenges. Here’s a great example:

It was May 2001, and I was competing in the Canadian National Freestyle Wrestling Championships at Simon Fraser University. I was the 2000 national champion and the Olympic Trials champion in 1999. I was on a hot streak and achieving many of my goals. My preparations to defend my title had been going very well and I felt strong and confident. But this time I was scared.

One week before the competition while throwing one of my practice partners, I injured my groin. How unlucky could I be; it was so painful. I had a hard time reasoning why this would happen right before the competition. Although I treated it and tried to remain positive, I feared the thought of losing the Nationals. I even wondered if there was some way around competing at my scheduled times.

I chose to compete. I put my game face on and hadn’t let many others know the extent of my injury. I thought “How am I going to wrestle when I can barely walk?” I hoped my poker face would intimidate my opponents. It worked, and they held back which made it easier for me to control the pace of the match and execution of my techniques. This worked until the semi-finals. My opponent came on with a lot of pressure. Although he could not take me down, I felt like I couldn’t attack. I managed to score one point. The referees began penalizing me for not engaging directly in the action. I looked at the scoreboard and realized there was 10 seconds left in overtime and I was up 1-0. I thought, “Yeah, it is almost over. It’s not one of my best matches but it would put me in the finals.” Then the worst happened. The referees gave my opponent what’s called a ‘caution point’ that put us into a tie. I would lose on a tie because I received more cautions than he did. Now I would be put into a ‘parterre’ or down position, which is a definite disadvantage. With only 10 seconds remaining in the match in the down position, the time would run out and I would lose. My injured groin was hurting beyond belief. My mind was spinning and the crowd was roaring.

We had about a minute while the referees discussed the point, knowing it would be a crucial point that could decide the match. My opponent was running around the wrestling mat waving his arms in a celebratory gesture as he assumed the match was his. I really don’t blame him. It is rare to win from this position with such little time left. My coach, Dave Mckay, was calm as always. I was blubbering excuse after excuse to him about why I couldn’t win. He paid no attention to what I said and told me to get up and take him down. My other coach, Mike Jones, poked at my chest with an intense stare and said six words to me that I still aspire to live by in the down moments of my life: “DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO WIN.” Although the gymnasium was loud, my mind went silent and I found a way to get up from the down position and take my opponent down to win the match! The crowd erupted. Everyone had prepared to give me the “I feel sorry for you” hug, and nobody could believe what just happened. It put me into the finals and I went on to win my second National Title.
I learned something important at that competition. There will always be a multitude of reasons why we will not win at life or in a wrestling match. Each excuse is very valid and perfectly logical. If you accept these excuses, it will keep you where you are. It is hard to face your fears and apprehensions; people will understand and tell you not to worry. Your problem could be that you have no money, had a bad childhood, you’re a minority, you’re too short, too tall, too young, too old…… the list is truly endless. We all have fears and perfect excuses why we cannot do something. Remember the successful person is not successful because they have no fears, but because he acts despite his fears or supposed limitations.

So what is holding you back from moving forward in your goals? What is the excuse or the fear? Bring it out and face it. If you decide to run from it, it will persist until you deal with it. Write it down. Make it clear and acknowledge it. Realize that others have achieved success that started out in far worse situations than yours. Go for it. You will realize that the difference it takes to win is within you.

One last thing – I want you to realize that regardless of what stage of life you’re in, there is tremendous untapped power within you to do wondrous and amazing things. Challenge yourself and say “I will move forward despite this adversity or obstacle and I will do whatever it takes to win.”

Make it a great day... Nick Ugoalah

Author: Nick is a 3-time CIAU (Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union) National Champion wrestler. Nick currently helps people to achieve balance and more fulfillment in their personal lives through his personal training and lifestyle consulting business in Vancouver.

You are here: Home > Training > Whatever it Takes

About The Author
Nick Ugoalah is a Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist (2002) and 3 time Canadian Champion in Freestyle Wrestling. Although he is now retired, he remains close to the sport he loves, donating time and skills to coaching. He is also a much sought-after professional speaker, noted for his inspirational style. Nick has recently launched his career as an achievement coach for entrepreneurs, other business people, athletes and individuals who simply want to achieve more in their lives. You can reach him at:



Home | Forum | eCards | Training | Health | E-mail | Free Stuff

Copyright 2012 | Amateur Wrestler