When I was deciding where I wanted to go to college, I knew that wherever I went, it needed to be somewhere that would help me to achieve my goal of becoming an NCAA champion. I knew that a key factor in making that happen would be making sure that I chose the environment that would help me accomplish that. At the time there were some monster coaches and training partners there. I really liked the head coach, Tim Neuman, but it was the staff and training partners that really stood out to me. Mark Cody, now head coach at Oklahoma University, was there, and he was one of the best big guy coaches around. He was an NCAA All American and Olympic Alternate. He loved coaching and working with the athletes. Matt Lindland, Olympic and World Silver medalist was also there. He was also 36-1 his senior year at Nebraska. Tolly Thompson, NCAA Champion, 3x All American, and World Bronze medalist was there. Ryan Tobin, 3x All American was there. Brad Vering NCAA Champion, 3x All American, 2x Olympian, and World Silver medalist was there. Not to mention all of the other guys that were on the team that were tough as nails.
I knew that by being in that environment that I would have no choice but to improve. I felt it was the toughest room in the country for my weight class, and I was right. I took some severe beatings after I started training there, but those beatings served as important lessons when matches got tough. I knew that my competitors that I was facing in competition weren’t any tougher than what I was up against in the practice room every single day.
This principle applies to life. Who are you surrounding yourself with? What are your closest friends goals and dreams? Are they reaching for the clouds or are they reaching for the gutter? The people that you routinely surround yourself with will affect you more than you could ever imagine. If you want to succeed, then you need to go out and surround yourself with those people who are accomplishing what you want to accomplish. By doing this, you will be learning not only the skills that you need to succeed, you will also be learning the even more important mindset that you need in order to succeed.
Think about what you want to do, and go be around others who are making that happen. You will be glad that you did.