How to Be an Unstoppable Force

An event took place in high school that set in course a change in the way I think and believe what is possible. Up until that point, I was never in the top echelon of athletics, grades or really anything at all. I was just a normal kid who did not believe absolutely anything was possible… I had limiting belief.

motivation dustin hillisMy Momentum Building Event
I started wrestling in the 8th grade and I was pretty good, but not the best. My Junior year in High school I found myself going to the state tournament at #3 in my area; 189lbs out of Dalton, GA. My weight class and area were considered the hardest in the state, and mostly because of a guy named Brent Hughes from Murray County. Brent had beaten me three times that year. Wrestling Brent was like trying to wrestle a Grizzly Bear.  They actually took a picture of him with his shirt off weighing in for the state tournament and put it on the cover of the Georgia State wrestling magazine. Brent hadn’t just beaten me three times that year, he destroyed me 3 times that year! Every time I wrestled him I had this negative, self-defeating self-talk saying, “There’s no way I can beat this guy” or, “What am I going to do?” I felt like I had no chance to win against him.

Historically, if I were winning in the first period, I would win the match. But if I was getting beat or if I got on my back, I would just tell myself, “Aw, screw it” and give up. In my first match in the first period in the state tournament I found myself in a headlock on my back. While on my back and about to have the shortest appearance in Georgia state tournament history, a new thought entered my head. I thought, “You know what, I don’t even care, I’m just going to go nuts, and see what happens.” Something in me just clicked. I arched my back and in a fast furry, I was on top of this guy and pinned him.

In my next match, I was thrown on my head three times. Then a new thought entered my head: “This guy is going to have to kill me to beat me.” Then somehow, in the middle of him throwing me on my head for the 4th time, I ended up countering the throw and pinning the guy. At this point my confidence started building. I won the next match and then two more matches after that and found myself in the semifinals facing Brent Hughes.

Normally I would have been scared and telling myself, “I can’t do this. He’s so much better than me. There’s no way I can do this.” But this time around, I had a new attitude. I stopped thinking, stopped caring about “what if”, and started giving 100%. I went into this match with the thought, “I don’t care if he kills me. I’m going to come at him with everything I have. And even if I lose, I’m going to at least slam him one good time.” I visualized myself picking him up, (Brent Hughes, who could bench press 350lbs in high school), and throwing him on his head. In the past, I would try to finesse him and use wrestling techniques against him, but this time I came at him with everything that I had head on like a savage warrior. Within a minute in the first period I picked up the seemly unbeatable opponent, swung him in the air above my head, and slammed him on his head. He had to take an injury timeout. And to everyone’s surprise (including my own coaches), I beat him 7 to 3 and advanced to the state finals!

navigate dustin hillis

In that moment, something happened to the way I looked at myself and my confidence was changed forever. I had just beaten Brent Hughes, who had been expected to win the entire state tournament. And I hadn’t just beaten him, I beat him bad. In fact, the only points he got were from me taking him down and letting him up. I owned him. And I won!

I ended up losing the state finals. I was winning with 10 seconds left and ended up losing only by one point. After that tournament, I thought differently about myself. When I looked in the mirror, I believed I could do things I use to not think was possible. I refer to that day as my “Confidence Anchor Event”.

Anytime I’ve been afraid to do something or just simply didn’t want to do something, I go back to that day and I push through. Utilizing this “Confidence Anchor Event” has made the rest of the challenges in my life such as my first “real job” working with the Southwestern Company selling books door-to-door, starting a sales performance consulting business, starting a sales and leadership coaching business, starting a sales seminar business, writing books, being married, having a new born baby, so much easier for me. Every time the going gets tough I visualized going into that state tournament with the odds against me and I overcame those odds. Then the memory of that “Confidence Anchor Event” helps me push through and not give up.

Now every time I push through a difficult challenge that becomes a new “Confidence Anchor Event”. What is yours? Do you have a time in your life when the odds were against you and you wanted to quit, but you didn’t and you ended up victorious? If not… you can create one by simply never giving up on anything that is a challenge. Babe Ruth said it best “It’s hard to beat someone who won’t give up.”

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6 Responses to “How to Be an Unstoppable Force”

  1. And you’ve been going nuts ever since. 🙂 Thank goodness you had that experience. It really awoke in you a giant that has benefited more lives than you will ever know. Imagine if everyone were to actually face their day saying, “This day is going to have to kill me to beat me.”

  2. Mark Fitzgerald Says:

    I love Kitty’s quote too and thanks for “booty kicking” me silly with your advice and know-how. I can now see why you’re the best in sales Dustin! My ‘confidence anchor event’ happend out in the bookfield of Darlington, SC. Contact me sometime and I will tell you all about it…Peace, Mark

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