With so many changes to our normal life due to COVID-19, it is worth taking a moment to recognize someone in the public eye, who’s mindset and actions I’ve been looking to for inspiration.

And it is not someone I find inspiring on regular basis.

The person I want to recognize is Dana White, President of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Though I don’t personally agree with everything Dana White says, I can’t help but find myself respecting his resiliency, creativity, determination, and his ability to always push the limits. 

Watching people fight in a cage until they are knocked out or give up, is not for everyone, but I am personally a big fan and faithful watcher of  UFC events. I have organized so many of my weekends around hosting watch parties for UFC fights. Dana has been very active at keeping his sports organization going even as life has been on standstill. And it has given me new mental strength during stay-at-home orders.

While I’ve been more concerned with how long the Costco line is going to be, or a strategy for organizing my closet, Dana is coming up with ideas of creating his own “fight island.”

When I first saw this in the news, I thought it was a joke. But when I realized that it was a real idea that was getting real traction, I started to get more interested. As I learn more of the facts and figures, I find myself leaning in. 

Dana’s vision of a “fight island” is his attempt at getting UFC events back ahead of all the other major traditional sports organizations.

If I had a spare wish from a genie in a bottle, I would make a wish to be his shadow during this process so I can witness the unique combination of his sheer resilience, defiance, and creativity.  Maybe I could learn through osmosis, and bring some of the same passion to different aspects of my life. But since I don’t have a spare wish, I’ve started to pay more attention to his interviews and his talks, which is the next best thing.

When it comes to Dana, there’s nothing blasé about his interviews. He’s had quite a few fiery exchanges with reporters and fighters and he doesn’t seem to shy away from speaking his mind. 

I have found that Dana’s no filtered approach to sharing his ideas inspires me to be a stronger person. As an aspiring speaker, I have decided to take a “Dana White” approach to my speaking business.

  • I’m going to stop hiding behind my quiet personality.
  • I’m going to stop dimming my light, and find more bright spots.
  • I’m going to work to feel more comfortable letting my imperfections shine.
  • I am reminding myself that I can let my passion be seen and felt and not feel ashamed. 

In an interview with Tony Robbins, Dana White said, “every one of us is a fighter.”

I totally agree and for me, I realized that this is a big part of my fascination with professional mixed martial arts fighting. 

In that same interview Dana also explained that “when you get out of bed every morning, life is standing right there to kick you in the face.” 

I don’t want to get kicked in the face, but the reality is, life has kicked me in the face more times than I can remember. And Dana is helping me to completely change the way I look at “being kicked.” 

Instead of fearing what life has in store for me each day, I am feeling more and more like a fighter. Yes, a fighter!

As a result of the current pandemic, life is throwing all sorts of punches, kicks, flying knees our way. The problem is not that life is attacking us, the problem is that many people are running from the fight instead of facing it. 

Historically, when life kicks me, I tend to run and hide, staying bruised longer than I need to. Inspired by Dana’s outlook, I’m going to start waking up each day “in the fight” and get ready to block or counter kick life when it attacks me. I am going to be more conscious about swallowing my fears and doubts and get back up faster next time life kicks me down. 

“Anything you do positive in your life and anything that is huge, will immediately be surrounded by negativity,” Dana White also mentioned in that same interview with Tony Robbins. “Get ready for it, because no matter how successful you become, one thing never goes away is negativity” 

I don’t think I am ready for my debut as an actual UFC fighter on fight island just yet, but I am willing to change my perspective to be “in the ring” and see myself as a “fighter” and not a victim.

I challenge you to do the same. The next time that life or the coronavirus knocks you down, don’t run in fear, get up and get ready to stand your ground!