On Finding Wisdom in the Oddest Places: Confidence (Part II)
An experienced entrepreneur and an angel investor posted a link of an interview with Ronda Rousey
(yup, the first and current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion*). An odd choice for him, because he usually posts cool science experiments, with the occasional “stuff that’s good for entrepreneurs to know”. As with the Mindy Kaling link I clicked on (Part I of this topic
), I was surprised to find some pieces of wisdom, again, about confidence from woman leaders in their own right (or this time, a champion).
As a champion, you assume she would have a commanding presence in the ring. But for the level of gravitas to come through in an environment she is less familiar with (an interview session), she must have inner confidence, not just in what she does professionally but in who she is as a person.
Here are my notes from the WSJ interview with Ronda Rousey:
“Advice I would give to young women for any profession is that you have the right to be there,” which is on point because if you are a minority in a field or a community, it’s the lack of sense of belonging that undermine your confidence, and therefore, your performance.
She said “it was my rebellion to underachieve for the rest of my life” but she wasn’t fulfilled, and ended up in the direction she took.
Her attitude towards physical pain: “pain is another piece of information.” She doesn’t use any setbacks as an excuse. “if it [say a sprained finger before the fight] was a detriment to my performance, then I had to be good enough that I would still be the best in the world with that detriment.” In overcoming hardships, she remembers a Sioux saying, that “what you do the year after you lose someone is what you end up doing the rest of your life”. As for her drive within: “The reason why I am more motivated than any of them could be is that I didn’t win that Olympic Gold medal. And every single time I defend my title, I have another chance to vindicate myself”, showing she uses emotional pain to her advantage as well.
She has not only master a sport (martial arts) but changed a business (started mix martial championships for women). When asked how confident she would be successful at the beginning, her response was, “100% positive,” because she knew there are empowering women in movies (Aeon Flux, Tomb Raider) that people gravitated towards.
“The problem was that there was no one on earth more qualified to do it than me but I hadn’t gotten around to doing it yet.” Whoa, this is the level of conviction entrepreneurs must have, both in the problem we are trying to solve and that we are the right people to do it.
She’s taken advice from Sly Stallone: “You are surrounded by bunch of powerful people who have very fragile egos. And not everyone has an indestructible sense of who they are so you have to be careful with everyone else in the way that they won’t be careful with you.” But the best advice may have come from her mother, as she quotes a “mom-ism”: “There is no history of anything happening until it does, and then there is.”
It was a lesson on courage and confidence, determination and leadership, something every entrepreneur should be equipped with. No wonder my friend posted the interview link…not at all an odd source to learn from.
Photo: Havis Amanda statue in Helsinki, Finland, known for its controversy when it was first erected that her “behind” faced a government building.
*Post script: I drafted this post a day before she was defeated by Holly Holm