I think a lot of us do when we’re kids. We are amazed and inspired by the very best examples we find.
But often we grow up and discover all kinds of reasons for why we can’t be as good as the best.
We fail at things. We struggle. We get knocked down, disappointed, hurt.
I got to connect with someone this week who has experienced all of that. Many times.
But he still decided he could be the best in the world at what he does. And he became that.
Mike Chandler is a Bellator Lightweight Champion fighter. He was an All-American wrestler in college. He’s overcome extraordinary opponents to win titles again and again.
But he’s also faced losses. Failures. Setbacks. At one point, after winning the world championship, he didn’t win another fight for 688 days straight.
So when we had a minute to sit down to record a podcast about the mindset of champions, I had to know what his self-talk routine is like.
It really impressed me. Mike told me that self-image is actually one of the most important things he has cultivated. He has to believe he can be the best in the world, or it’s not going to happen.
I loved his insights on why it’s so important to talk to yourself instead of listening to yourself, and so many more nuggets.
Whatever you’re aspiring to, I know you’ll find his wisdom very helpful in Episode 638.
Lewis Howes: This is episode number 638, with World Champion MMA Fighter, Mike Chandler.
Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.
George Bernard Shaw said, “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’”
I love this short interview that we have with Michael today, because he really talks about something that I think so many of us can relate to, which is, “Why should I be able to achieve what I want? Why should I be able to get that job, the career? Why should I be able to have that dream relationship? Why should I be one of the best at what I want to do? Why should I be able to achieve something so great and something so ridiculous sounding? Why me?”
And, “Am I good enough to make it happen? Do I have the gifts? Do I have the tools? Do I have the skill set? Am I smart enough? Am I fast enough? Am I big enough, strong enough?” Whatever it may be, “Am I talented enough? Why should I be able to be world class at anything I want to do? Why should I be able to make the money I want to make? Why should I?”
And we’re going to talk about that, because Michael had that question his entire childhood. Growing up, he wasn’t sure he was destined for great things. He didn’t think he could be a world class champion athlete. He didn’t know that these things were possible.
He thought that he was destined to live an average, mediocre style living based on his upbringing, and it took a shift in the way he thought, it took a certain moment when he realised, when he started to look at things differently, when he started to believe in himself differently and see that his gifts were able to perform great things in the world, that he was able to be world class and he did deserve to win and achieve what he wanted. That’s when things started to shift.
And for those that don’t know, Michael Chandler is an American Mixed Martial Arts Fighter, in the lightweight division. He’s currently under contract with the Bellator MMA where he is a former two-time Bellator lightweight champion and world champion, and he was a walk-on at the University of Missouri for wrestling, ended up making his mark by being a four time NCAA qualifier, collected a 100 clear wins and also earned division one NCAA All American honours, from being a walk on to being an All American.
And immediately after his wrestling career was over, he began training MMA and throughout his professional career, he won his first victory, then won twelve consecutive wins after that, again, becoming the lightweight tournament champion for season four with Bellator. And the title fight was nominated by many as the fight of the year.
So, again, Michael grew up thinking that his life was going to be average, because that was his surroundings, that was his belief system, then things shifted and his entire life has changed with a little shift in his belief. And we’re going to dive into some of these things specifically how to shift your mindset from mediocre to champion level. Also, why your self image is so important, and so many think that you shouldn’t have an ego or a self image, and we’re going to talk about exactly what that means.
Also, his pre-fight mental routine, and also, in between rounds, exactly what he thinks about before he’s going back out there to fight against someone that wants to destroy him. Also, how to come back mentally after multiple, multiple losses in a row. When you think that, “Maybe I’m not good enough any more,” how do you come back and get back to the top. That and so much more. This is a powerful episode.
Again, make sure to share it out with your friends. If you want to support your friends and elevate your friends’ mindset and beliefs and positivity, and their growth towards achieving what they want in their lives, then send them this episode, it’s going to really support them. Again, lewishowes.com/638, take a screenshot of this, tag me, @LewisHowes on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, and tag @MikeChandlerMMA as well.
Before we dive in, Michael Stolsmith left us a review, who is the Fan of the Week, over on iTunes, and says, “I’ve been on The School of Greatness train for well over a year and a half, now, and it has helped me change my life in so many ways. Not until I had to face some low moments of my own, did I truly realise the lessons I’d been learning and the powerful mindset I’d been creating until I listened to this podcast. And since then the podcast has only magnified in it’s influence on my life. Thank you, Lewis, for continuing to bring such a diverse group of guests. It can be easy to listen to and read the same content every day that, we’re the most comfortable with, but you pushing the boundaries, is making all of your listeners better people.”
So, Michael Stolsmith, thank you so much for leaving your review! You are the Fan of the Week! And if you guys haven’t left a review yet, go head over there right now. You can do it on your phone, you can do it on your computer, and leave us a review at The School of Greatness.
And I want to give a thank you to our sponsor today, which is Blinkist. Now if you guys want to learn as much as I want to learn and you want to read all these books out there with incredible information, but you don’t have the time to sit down and read, or you’re a slow reader, like me, it takes me weeks to finish something in a book, you got to get Blinkist.
And here’s why: It’s the only app that takes thousands of the best selling non-fiction books and distills them down to their most powerful, impactful elements, so you can read or listen to them in under fifteen minutes on your phone. With Blinkist you can expand your knowledge and learn more in just fifteen minutes, than you can in almost any other way, plus you can listen to it anywhere.
I listen to it when I’m in my car, driving in the traffic in L.A., and instead of going over a full book, listen to the cliff notes in just fifteen minutes. They’ve got stuff like, Think And Grow Rich, Emotional Agility, and other New York Times bestsellers from certain guests that I’ve had on this podcast as well. And 5 million people are using Blinkist to expand their minds, fifteen minutes at a time.
So, make sure to get started right now. We have a special for our audience. You can get a free trial, or get three months off your yearly plan, when you use blinkist.com/greatness as your link. So, again, make sure to go to Blinkist, B.L.I.N.K.I.S.T. dot com slash greatness to start your free trial, or get three months off your yearly plan. Check it out right now, at blinkist.com/greatness.
Alright, guys, this is all about elevating your mind, helping you get to the next level in your life, overcoming obstacles that come your way, so, without further ado, let me introduce to you the one and only, Michael Chandler.
Michael Chandler’s in the house! Good to see you, man! How are you doing, brother?
Michael Chandler: Good to see you, man! Hi! Wonderful!
Lewis Howes: We made this happen last minute, we were just DM-ing each other and you were in town, and you’ve got to leave in thirty minutes, so, tell me about, you’re a fighter, MMA fighter. How did you get into that, first off?
Michael Chandler: I actually wrestled in high school, college and then actually two guys who are doing very well in MMA, Tyron Woodley, he was the UFC welterweight champion, Ben Askren who has been undefeated, just retired, but he was a champion in multiple organisations, both of those guys were like my big brothers who used to beat up on me, and then they started fighting and I figured I’d give it a chance. I fought my first fight three months after I graduated in 2009.
Lewis Howes: College?
Michael Chandler: In college, and haven’t looked back since.
Lewis Howes: Where did you go to school?
Michael Chandler: Missou.
Lewis Howes: Oh, yeah?
Michael Chandler: Yeah, wrestled at Missou.
Lewis Howes: It’s like a legendary wrestling school, too, right?
Michael Chandler: Yeah, doing well, I mean, we’re always in the top ten now, this last, almost decade.
Lewis Howes: It’s like Iowa, Missou, Ohio State, this guy at Ohio State was the World Champion, I think.
Michael Chandler: Yeah, Kyle Snyder.
Lewis Howes: I met that guy, he’s so strong, man! He’s a machine!
Michael Chandler: Yeah, and the sport of wrestling is really starting to evolve, I mean, guys are coming into college at young ages and doing really, really well. That’s why I just opened up my gym, as we were talking earlier, I want a wrestling club where kids can start wrestling at 5 and really be poured into and get high, high level coaching, so by the time they get into high school, they’re already well advanced.
By the time they get into college they’re 100% prepared and ready for that high level competition. Because I didn’t really get that opportunity. I didn’t see my first college wrestling match until I was about to go into college. And you just want to start kids younger, the ones that really have the hunger, really have the drive.
Lewis Howes: Just to get the technique down, early. Because if you just go in with the athleticism, you’re not going to be able to develop at the highest level. Because I might be stronger than some people, but you could probably pin me, even though I’m a 100lb more than you or something, it’s like, because you have the technique and all the angles and everything.
Michael Chandler: Yeah, and that’s the thing about wrestling, it’s technique, it’s leverage, it’s positioning, it doesn’t matter if you win the position by a quarter of an inch, or by a quarter of a mile, you win it. And then each wresting match is a series of positions that you have to win. Win the majority of the positions, wrestle out of those positions, you win the match.
Lewis Howes: And so, when did you first realise you wanted to go be a professional?
Michael Chandler: I think I just got done and my buddy Tyron Woodley was like, “You know, you should really give it a shot.” And so I went up to Canada with Ben Askren and trained with him and another guy and got my butt kicked, but I was like, I wasn’t half bad. I was decently athletic and putting the combinations together and started having a little bit of success and had my first fight, like I said, and won by TK in the first round, and was like…
Lewis Howes: Really? And then you got the bug.
Michael Chandler: And it was the second and third and fourth, and then ended up becoming World Champion sixteen months into my career, ranked in the top three in the world, and then went all the way up and then lost three fights in a row, and then came back and now I’ve won six out of my last seven and it’s just like, crazy emotional roller-coaster and managing those emotions and coming back from losses and then continuing to try to believe in yourself after you’ve lost.
And trying to stick to the process and stick through the course. And it’s been a roller-coaster ride, but it’s been an enjoyable career, making a good life for myself and my family.
Lewis Howes: That’s good, man! What was the World Championship in?
Michael Chandler: 155 Bellator lightweight.
Lewis Howes: So, UFC, Bellator are those the main two?
Michael Chandler: Yeah. Those are the main two, same sport, same rules, different organisations.
Lewis Howes: Same cage?
Michael Chandler: Same cage, except the UFC fights in an octagon-shaped cage, Bellator fights in a circular-shaped cage. So they’re still cages.
Lewis Howes: But the same rules.
Michael Chandler: Same rules, yes, the unified rules of mixed martial arts, same thing if, like two different football leagues, they still play under the same rules.
Lewis Howes: Maybe there’s one or two different, like the Canadian league has got a few different rules, or whatever.
Michael Chandler: Yeah, but ours are governed by the Boxing Commission, so it’s not even about the organisation, it’s the Commission that governs each, so, same rules.
Lewis Howes: Ah. Got it. So why go to Bellator and not UFC?
Michael Chandler: It’s just like being under contract. Years ago I saw a better path when I was younger and wanted to get my career started, I thought Bellator was a great opportunity. Back then they used to do tournaments, where we would fight in eight-man tournaments, three fights in eight weeks.
Lewis Howes: Like Bloodsport?
Michael Chandler: Yeah. Three fights in three months. So I fought March, April, and May of 2010 or 2011 it was, and if you did that you won $100,000 and you got an opportunity to fight for the World Title. So I won the tournament, got the fight for the World Title.
Lewis Howes: And you won the World Title?
Michael Chandler: Yeah. So I saw that path and I thought that’s an easier path, or a better path to get great exposure and fight a really top rate game.
Lewis Howes: Than just hoping that the league will say, “We’re going to match you with a World Title fight,” which is UFC.
Michael Chandler: Yeah, which takes years. Or Strike Force. Strike Force was a different organisation back then and you got thrown into the mix and it’s like you’ve got to build and build and build and build. Whereas, this was, like, three fights, three months, get the World Title shot.
Lewis Howes: You win and you keep going. That’s it. So you are in control of your destiny, as opposed to hoping someone else likes you.
Michael Chandler: Pretty much. And even more these days, it’s so much of an entertainment sport, now it’s like the fans speak and the promoters speak of who is the most entertaining guy, who’s got the best trash talk, who looks the coolest, or the funniest or the most intriguing, who’s going to sell pay per views, who’s going to get eyeballs and butts in seats. So, you know…
Lewis Howes: But you don’t have to worry about that, in your league, in Bellator?
Michael Chandler: You do. I mean, you’re still, you know, you want to continue to build the brand, you’re a master at it. We always think about the brand and you always think about making that big impact, you know, and that’s what it’s always been about for me, which is always the tough part, because UFC’s the bigger organisation, bigger platform, Bellator takes really good care of myself.
We have a son, now, that we just adopted six months ago, now I’m starting to think like a father and not just like an athlete. So, I’ve always thought about building my brand, always thought about building my following, building my platform, because with that platform comes impact, and with the impact you move people and you do what you were called to do. Like, what I really feel like I was put on this Earth to do, and that’s to motivate people through the gifts that I’ve been given.
Lewis Howes: What’s your gifts?
Michael Chandler: Well, the gifts athletically. To be able to do what I do as an athlete, as a guy who fights in a cage for a living, and a lot of people watch. But even just to be pumped up, inspired, excited about life, I mean, really waking up every morning, realising that I’ve been given some really great gifts and to not give the best of myself every single day, is to sacrifice those gifts. And I think that resonates with people.
I think people in my sport, it’s embarrassing. I mean, I’ve been knocked out in front of a million people, on TV. It’s embarrassing and people see you down in the dumps and they see you pick yourself back up and dust yourself off and come back from ranked 100 in the world, back to, like, the top 10 again. And it’s those triumphant kind of comebacks that really get people motivated and move people.
And some day, I’m to the point now where I’m thirty-two, just turned thirty-two, I know I’ve got many years still to fight, well, not many, probably five years of fighting left, and there’s going to come a time where you’re in the back, in some arena somewhere, I’m going to take my gloves off for the last time, and going to be in some arena showering off, and I’ve got to look at myself in the mirror when I’m about ready to go to my last press conference and say, “Michael, did you give everything that you possibly could, with the gifts that you were given?” And I just hope when that time comes, that I can answer truthfully and without regret.
So it’s like, every single day is, “What can I do today to get a little bit better? What can I do today, not just physically, but mentally? What can I do…?” And this podcast right here, that we’re just talking about it, your books, to be able to just…
In 2018 there’s so much more available at our fingertips than there was a generation before us, to be able to stand up, build ourselves up and just listen to stories of people, what they bring, your gifts, the next guy’s gifts, the next guy’s gifts, and they just kind of take it all and just learn through it all and learn all about it and become a better person, better man.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. What’s the lesson you learned when you were World Champion and you won that title, was there something you did differently from two years previous or three years previous, or was it just applying the same things over and over until that opportunity came?
Michael Chandler: I think it was just applying, I mean, I’ve always lived my life by the principle and if I work hard and I surround myself with the best people possible, then good things are always going to happen. And I’ve always done that.
I was the guy that walked onto the Missou Wrestling Team, I was the worst guy on the team, I was the only guy who wasn’t really a state champion, coach didn’t talk to me for the first year, you know? You just feel like an outcast, and you’re like, “Does he even notice me? Should I just go ahead and pack my bags?” But I just kept working and kept working and then eventually I won the starting spot and started beating up the state champions and then became a four-time starter and an All American.
So it showed me that if I worked hard, that great things would happen. And my parents showed me that. My dad was a carpenter, my mom was a secretary, and worked at a restaurant. They both worked two and three jobs to make sure myself and my brothers had every opportunity to do something great.
But what I wasn’t taught was that, “Michael, you deserve great things. You deserve to be a champion. You don’t deserve to just be mediocre.” I think so many people in life, through no fault of their own, have a bar set for themselves or a glass ceiling set for themselves that they don’t even know is there, until they just keep hitting it and hitting it and hitting it, and hopefully they have a breakthrough, like I did, I finally realised, “Man, why? I do everything right, I do the right things, I work hard, I’m the first guy in the practice room, I tell everybody I want to be a national champion, I tell everybody I want to be a World Champion, but when it comes down to it, I somehow find a way to lose, because I don’t truly believe that I was put on this Earth to be that big of a winner.”
Lewis Howes: Because you were taught that, right?
Michael Chandler: Yeah, I think I was just taught, or grew up in a very mediocre setting, not mediocre, but just…
Lewis Howes: Limited mindset.
Michael Chandler: Yeah, just limited mindset, not that outside world, the L.A.’s and the Hollywoods and the New Yorks and ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’ and that money isn’t necessarily a great thing, and all this small limited mindset. Now I just have that abundancy mindset, where there is no limit to what I am capable of.
And it really is through taking extreme ownership of literally every single day, seeking out people to admire. Listening to the words that you speak, listening to the other podcast or the other sermon or the other pastor, the other motivational speaker and realising that, if I can see that, then I can become some of that.
Maybe I won’t be the greatest motivational speaker of all time, or the greatest athlete of all time, but I can shoot for it and end up somewhere a lot further along than what I would have normally been, you know?
Lewis Howes: Who taught you that you could be anything you want? That you could become a World Champion? When did you believe it for the first time?
Michael Chandler: I finally did, honestly, even though I had won the World Title, I won it all through just hard work, and stick-to-it-edness and an indomitable spirit, but it actually took three losses in a row. I [had] three losses in a row, lost three fights in a row, 688 days I went without winning a fight.
Lewis Howes: After the World Championship?
Michael Chandler: After that World Championship, I won two more fights and then I lost, 688 days, I lost.
Lewis Howes: Two years almost?
Michael Chandler: Two years almost. And that’s a long time and you think about your career, if you had a game, you lost a game, you’re down in the dumps, but then next week, you can redeem yourself. In fighting it’s tough, because sometimes six months goes by, eight months goes by and that’s a lot of days, it’s 180 days of, “Hey, remember that time you got knocked out on national television?”
Lewis Howes: “Maybe I’m not good enough?”
Michael Chandler: Yeah, and I think we focus so much on trying to be perfect, when really we just need to be successful, you know? Like, every single practice, now became another opportunity to be perfect or be a loser. And each day I kept reminding myself, through every punch that got landed, through every takedown that I couldn’t get or every practice where I wasn’t exactly perfect, that I was a loser, “Hey, Michael, you’re not as good as you thought you were.”
It really keeps continuing to build upon itself until you realise you need to stop being perfect and just try to be successful and that even if you failed, that failure was an event. It’s not who you are, it’s not a person. And I think that has really resonated with me, that has really kind of built this, it’s not bullet-proof, but this armour that we have around us, and that armour has chinks in it and we all have our own insecurities, our own fears, our own limited beliefs, our own limited mindsets.
And I have thousands of them, but the more I can just pile positivity on it, and more armour, adding more armour and even more, you know you see those commercials with the flex-seal where he cuts it open. We are imperfect humans with these fears and these doubts and these cracks in what you see, even though I look like the most confident, those things still come up and you just got to throw a little patch on there, throw a little patch.
And you do that by one chapter in a book, or one video or one minute, or five minutes of visualisation and seeing yourself winning, seeing yourself being successful and being okay with that. Because there was a time when I would close my eyes and I would think about myself being rich and famous and wealthy and making a ton of impact and people looking at me like a huge leader and that would make me feel weird, because I don’t want those people to think that I’m better than them, you know?
So we have this cognitive dissonance of our true belief in ourself not lining up in the reality of what’s going on, so I would always find a way to somehow dummy myself back down to less than I actually am, you know?
Lewis Howes: Yeah. I hear you. To not feel like you’re better than everyone else, yeah.
Michael Chandler: Yeah, and that’s tough, because I was always taught that, I mean, I came from a background where it was, “Oh, those are those kind of people and these are these kind of people,” and you never want to make people feel insecure around you. The whole Nelson Mandela quote, you know?
Lewis Howes: Well, I think it’s not about making people insecure, it’s showing them what’s possible for their own lives, by you setting the example, saying, “Hey, if I can do this, then you can do this too.” And it’s being a symbol of inspiration, that’s what really moves people. Not when we say, “Hey, I’m better than you, look what I’ve done,” but, “Look at how I’ve created the hard work I’ve taken and here’s a process that you can take as well for your own dream.”
Hey guys, I want to take a quick moment from this conversation with Michael to tell you about one of the best sources I’ve found for running your business online. Most of you know that I’ve been a thriving online entrepreneur for many years. And there’s a big difference between having a beautiful website, and having a website that makes it easy for your customers to buy your products. And that’s why I love Weebly.
Weebly is more than a website builder, it’s an e-commerce platform, that helps creative entrepreneurs sell their products, engage with their customers and grow their brands. Again, a beautiful website is one thing, it’s awesome for branding, which I talk about, but a beautiful website that turns into a successful online business, that’s amazing.
And Weebly helps you create beautiful, modern, easy-to-build online store templates. They’ve got powerful e-commerce tools to help turn shoppers into buyers, an integrated marketing tool to connect to your customers to keep them engaged, tons of apps and features to keep your business running smoothly and they’ve got first class customer support. No scripts, no robots, just their incredible, knowledgeable team, people who’s sole job is to help you succeed.
And right now you can go to weebly.com/greatness to learn more and get 15% off your first purchase. Again, W.E.E.B.L.Y. dot com slash greatness. Weebly. More than just a beautiful website.
Now, let’s get back to this episode.
What would you say is the thing that all world class, or all World Championship fighters have in common, about the way they think or the way they train, what are the things they have in common?
Michael Chandler: Your most prized possession, my most prized possession, aside from my faith and wife and my son, is my self-image. And I never used to think about a self-image, because I never inwardly reflected. I never thought about me, I was always thinking about, “Okay, this practice, what can I do in this practice? What can I do in this sector of my life? What can I do for this person?”
The way that I look at myself, when I look into the mirror, instead of just seeing this guy who has failed a thousand times or who had a kind of a mediocre mindset, I look at myself like a champion. I look at myself like someone who can really do some really ridiculous and great things. And I also take time to pat myself on the back when I do have successes and I do have victories.
I think we all get caught up in this somewhat no-man’s land of, “Well, I won that match, or I won that fight, or I got that business deal, or I got that book deal. But I was supposed to do that because that was my goal for myself. Now on to the next one.”
You ever hear of Shawn Acher? He has the positive psychology and he talks about success is not a prerequisite to happiness, because once we set that bar, now we’re not going to be happy, because now we just set the bar a little bit higher.
So if we can be happy with ourself, if we can be inwardly happy with who we are and look at ourselves like something way more than we actually are, you know, kind of ‘fake it till you make it’ type of scenario. There’s some sort of truth to that and as long as you continue to be a hard-working, good person, it’s a positive self-image.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, in sports psychology growing up, for me it was the alter-ego, and I would imagine my alter-ego in the mirror, or when I’d step on the field, I’d step into Jerry Rice or whoever the alter-ego was at that time for me.
And I just put myself in that embodiment of who I wanted to be, whether it was another person, or the greatest version of myself, I just said, “This is what I want to become and I’m going to act as if I am that today. I’m going to play like that, I’m going to practice like that, I’m going to compete like that.”
It sounds like that’s similar to what you’re doing, it’s just looking yourself in the mirror, just imagining your greatest self.
Michael Chandler: Yeah. And even just looking at those people like they aren’t any better than you. Looking at Jerry Rice like he literally put his pads on, he put his cleats on, the same way you did, you know? Instead of just putting it out like this that he’s some alien or some rock star, superstar. He’s just a normal guy with a heartbeat and a soul and insecurities and fears.
And I think it comes with so much maturity. I think like this because I’ve had so many years to think about it, mull it over and fail and then triumph, fail and triumph, and then, you know, just looking at it and just making it not such a big deal. I used to put so much pressure on myself and make the sport so much bigger than it actually is, when, really, we’re all just trying to wing it, we’re all just trying to figure it out.
Work hard, be a good person, surround yourself with the right people and good things will happen, but, ultimately, most of all, just continue to believe that you can do great things. Not that you’re better than anybody else, but you do deserve probably more than you think you do.
Lewis Howes: What happens when we start to believe that?
Michael Chandler: Man, things just become easier, I think. You know, things become easier because you’re constantly not putting limits on yourself, and then you start to see little successes and you pat yourself on the back for having that success, because you are having the self-awareness, to say, “A plus B equals C,” it’s black and white. “If I continue to believe in myself, this practice will make good things happen, this business deal went through because I had the confidence to see it through.”
And things just, life just opens up and it becomes so much more colourful and so much more vibrant, because, now, instead of looking at yourself with that kind of small-mindedness, putting that ceiling right above yourself, you see nothing but blue sky. The sky is the limit, you know?
And it really is crazy, and it’s a constant battle. Like I said, you might try to put this bullet-proof armour around yourself, but you’re a human being and you have your fears and your doubts and your insecurities. They’re always going to be there. It’s constant, and it’s going to be there. But you’re going to have to just get used to it, you know?
Lewis Howes: What would you say is your greatest gift, in your sport, and the thing that you need to work on the most?
Michael Chandler: My greatest gift is, I think I really am, and my wife would hate to hear me say this, I really am not afraid for bad things to happen to me inside of the cage. I feel like God led me into this sport, so I can’t be fearful of what might happen. I could get knocked out, I could get brain trauma, I could have a broken leg, I mean, bad things can happen, it’s a crazy, violent sport.
But with that risk comes the huge reward of the huge impact that I can make, you know? So, I think, my greatest gift is the fact that I’m not afraid to work circles around anybody in the entire world. I’m not afraid to just get way outside of my comfort zone and with complete disregard to bad things that may happen to me.
And, I think, still to this day, my biggest weakness is trying to be perfect. I think I work hard, so I over analyse the little bitty shortcomings. You know, I could win, a round is five minutes. So maybe I’m sparring, me and you are sparring and I win four minutes and 53 seconds of that round, but you beat me for seven seconds, all of a sudden I feel like, all I focus on is the three seconds that I lost, when really, there was four minutes and 53 seconds that I was just dominating.
And it goes back to that trying not to be perfect. Just try to be successful This is such a marathon. We try to act like it’s a sprint, but it’s such a marathon, and here I am, almost ten years into the sport, the best I’ve ever been, with a career that I’m proud of. And it doesn’t matter than I’ve had those losses and I’ve had those shortcomings and I had those people write me off and say mean things and try to tear me down and say I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. Now, they have to eat crow because I’m continuing to build and to do great things in the sport.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. Walk me through, final couple of questions, walk me through what you say to yourself on a fight day, either in the morning or leading up to the fight a couple of hours before, when you’re in the locker room, getting onto the mat. What do you say to yourself, leading up to it, and then in between each round, what do you say to yourself?
Michael Chandler: I think, I’m actually glad that you asked that, because, honestly, the biggest thing that I changed once I started to have kind of a mindset shift is, I really started talking to myself instead of listening to myself. Talk to yourself, because the more you’re talking to yourself, the less you can hear yourself.
If you just sit there and I’m about to step into a cage in front of millions of people, standing in a cage with a man who wants to rip my face off. I mean, if you just sit there in silence and start listening to yourself, you start to hear things that aren’t even, they’re not even rational. There’s no way that you’re going to… Like, in my mind, I was like, “There’s no way I’m going to lose to this guy.”
But if I sit there in silence, even this last fight, I was waiting to warm up and they were like, “Guys, wait a second, we’ve still got a little bit of time,” and I was just sitting there like, and I was like, “Evan, get up,” because I wanted to go hit some pads, I wanted to just stop the silence, stop the voices, you know?
So I find, if I talk to myself, “Michael, you deserve to be a champion,” and, “Michael, you’re the hardest worker in the entire world. You’re the best lightweight in the entire world. You’re the image of the Almighty God, who deserves to go out there and do amazing things in front of millions of people and make them inspired and motivated and pumped up to see you triumph.” As I’m talking for ten seconds straight, there is no negativity that can pop into my mind. Because you’re human, that’s what happens, you know?
And then between rounds, really, I’m just, I really just want to centre myself. I just want to grab a couple of nice, big, deep breaths, because I just got done fighting for five minutes, I want to listen to the coaches, I want to have them inject small little techniques. And then there’s about ten seconds when you’re standing there, you’re looking at each other, the ref’s about to say, “Okay, round two. Fight.” And in that time I give myself a couple of little nuggets too.
Lewis Howes: Like what? Like, “I deserve to be here.”?
Michael Chandler: Yeah, continue on, or yeah, kind of just the same thing, “You deserve to be a champion,” or, “This guy has no idea what’s up,” give him the old wink, like, “Ready to do this thing?” And just be present in the moment and just be in the cage and be excited to be competing, you know.
What I realise, too, there’s so many, I’m in a small pool of .000001% of the population, and so many people out there wish they could have the opportunity that I have. So for me not to give energy to these opportunities and for me to take this life and this gift for granted, it’s robbery. It’s robbery from the gifts that I’ve been given.
Lewis Howes: I think we’ve got a few minutes left, yeah, couple of minutes. This is called, The Three Truths. I think you’ve heard this one, maybe. So this is your last day many years from now, and you can only share Three Truths with the world, and you had to take everything else that you created with you on your last day on this Earth, but three things remained that you could share with the world. What would be your Three Truths?
Michael Chandler: Three things, yeah.
Lewis Howes: Three lessons or truths.
Michael Chandler: I think we’ve covered a couple of them, but to bring it back, at the end of the day, somebody has to be the best, why shouldn’t it be you? If you work hard, if you can truly say that you work hard, and you try to be a good person, a man or a woman of character, with a good reputation, someone who really is trying, why shouldn’t you deserve to be the best?
Why shouldn’t you see that goal, visualise it and then take it. Because somebody else is going to if you don’t And so many times in life, people get things that they don’t necessarily deserve, but if you deserve it, why shouldn’t you take it? Don’t let your own limited mindset rob you of that opportunity.
I’d say the other thing I have really meditated on over the last couple of years, Zig Ziglar said it best, he said, “Failure is an event, not a person.” Every single person that you look up to, your favourite person in the entire world is a failure, has been, at one point or another, a failure, right? But that was an event that happened to them, and because of that event, it made them a better person.
So failure is an event, not a person. Every single person that we’ve looked up to has gone from failure to the next failure to, finally, triumph. I think that’s something that rings true to me because I had those failures and I failed so many times, but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure. I’m actually a champion who has had some failures in his past.
And the last one, I think, there is nothing more important in this entire world than your self-image. It is yours and yours alone. She can tell me I’m great, he can tell me that I’m great, everybody around me can tell me that I’m great, but when it’s just you and yourself and you are there by yourself, you have to truly believe that you were put on this Earth for awesome things, for great triumphs, for awesome opportunities to take those opportunities and just do amazing things.
And there is not limit to what you can do. I think we constantly see the negative and we constantly hear the negative and we constantly are making excuses of why we can’t achieve things, but those are all just, like they say, fear is a liar. It really is. Every single thing that you are fearful of is so many times just a falacy.
And every single thing that you’ve ever wanted to achieve, and the greatest version of yourself, are right out there waiting for you on the outside of your comfort zone. We all get in this little bubble, this little box that we put ourselves in, but that’s not where real growth is. That’s not where the rubber meets the road.
The rubber meets the road outside of your comfort zone, so you have to go out there and do great things and just challenge yourself and just surround yourself with the best kind of people that you possibly can, and through that, continuing to look at yourself as a champion in life. Not just in sports, not just in business, not in anything, just a champion in life, to really be put on a platform to just inspire other people.
Lewis Howes: Yes! That’s great man! Where can we connect with you online?
Michael Chandler: I’m very active on social medias, @MikeChandlerMMA. My Instagram is my main source, so I like to do videos and tons of inspirational stuff, and workout stuff, MMA stuff, wrestling stuff, all kinds of stuff.
Lewis Howes: MikeChandlerMMA, Twitter, Instagram…
Michael Chandler: Same thing, @MikeChandlerMMA, have a Facebook fan page.
Lewis Howes: And where can we watch you fight?
Michael Chandler: I fight on the Paramount network and CMT currently.
Lewis Howes: That’s the Bellator?
Michael Chandler: Yeah, that’s the Bellator.
Lewis Howes: That’s where Bellator is viewed, got you. When’s the next fight?
Michael Chandler: I don’t have anything scheduled. I just fought a couple of weeks ago, so I’m healing up and hanging out, getting my gym going, trying to get all those classes up and running and get all the programs going so we can hopefully inspire some people and change some lives.
Lewis Howes: Awesome, man! Well, I want to acknowledge you for shifting your belief and your mindset, because it sounds like, growing up, you didn’t have that championship mentality and then you learned how to develop it. And that’s fascinating for me, because it’s something we can all learn.
And if you were able to develop it, coming from humble beginnings where you didn’t think it was possible, to saying, “You know what? It is possible,” and that self-image, which I think is really key for people, just developing in that self-image and being an example of what’s possible for other people. So I acknowledge you for everything, man, for all that you’ve done, for getting to the top of your sport, losing and sticking it out, to finally rise back up.
Michael Chandler: Thanks. Thank you, man.
Lewis Howes: Final question: What’s your definition of greatness?
Michael Chandler: Impact. Just impacting people. I think we can all be great athletically, business, wealth, fame, all that kind of stuff, but how many people, how many hearts did you touch? How many people said, “Because of that man and that circumstance, because of that happening, it made my day better. It made me want to believe in myself more, it made me want to do great things, because I saw him, whether he won, whether he lost, I admire that.” And I think that’s greatness, that’s greatness to me.
Lewis Howes: Wow, man. Thank you, brother. Appreciate it.
Michael Chandler: Appreciate it, man.
Lewis Howes: There you have it my friends! If you have enjoyed this, the mindset of a world class champion, and how to really believe in yourself and create a more positive self-image. Every single day, when we create this self-image, it’s hard to be stopped. It’s hard to be knocked over, because we realise that failure is not about us, it’s just an event that happened. And it doesn’t affect our self-image. So make sure to work on that, practice that.
When you get up in the morning, really talk to yourself in a positive way. Look yourself in the mirror in a positive way. It’s more than just positive self-talk, it’s positive self-image. And when you see the difference: I can say things to myself constantly, but if I don’t believe in them and if I don’t see myself as those things, through hard work, consistency, dedication, following through on the things I say I’m going to do, and delivering results, then it’s hard to believe in that self-image.
So, again, if you enjoyed this, make sure to share with your friend. Help your friends by spreading positivity, and the link for this is lewishowes.com/638, connect with me on Instagram, take a screenshot of this, tag me over there, I try to reply to as many people as possible.
Connect with MikeChandlerMMA as well on Instagram and let him know what you thought about this. Very powerful stuff, guys, and I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know if you did, and we’re always having a conversation over on social media as well.
A big thank you to our sponsor, blinkist.com/greatness. Again, if you want to get some of the best non-fiction books in the world, and get the cliff notes, the wisdom, without having to read the full book, you can get it in just fifteen minutes per book, via audio listening, you can do it while you’re in traffic, listening, you can read it on your phone any time.
They’ve got some incredible books that you can have access to, like, Think And Grow Rich, and a lot of other people that I’ve had on this podcast as well. Make sure to check it out, over 5 million people have. You can go to blinkist.com/greatness to start your free trial, or get three months off your yearly plan. Again, blinkist.com/greatness.
And a big thank you to weebly.com/greatness. Again, you can build a beautiful, modern, easy-to-build templates, powerful e-commerce tools to help you turn shoppers into buyers, integrated marketing tools to connect you to your customers and keep them engaged. Tons of apps, plus incredible customer support to help you when you have a challenge.
Make sure to go to weebly.com/greatness to learn more. You get 15% off your first purchase, and it’s more than just building a beautiful website, it’s building a beautiful online business. Make sure to check it out at weebly.com/greatness.
Again, don’t ask yourself, “Why?” ask yourself, “Why not me? Why not now? What can I do to improve my life, to improve my skill set, to improve my mindset, to improve my relationships, health, finances, to get to that next level?”
We’re all in this together and we’re all looking to grow and impact and find meaning and fulfilment and we can’t do that when we’re talking negatively about ourselves. We can’t do something great, when you don’t see yourself in a positive light, and you don’t believe that you are supposed to be here.
You’re meant to be here, whether you think it was an accident, because your parents had an accident and you are here. Whether you think you weren’t supposed to stay alive after there was a near-death accident that happened. Whether you think you weren’t supposed to make it through a certain situation, whether you’re not sure why you’re here, there’s a reason you’re here, and you must believe in it.
You must believe in the greater vision for your life, whether you think it was an accident, it’s planned, whether you had everything in the world, or you had nothing in the world, you’re here for a reason and you’re listening to this right now. You continue to listen to this right now, because you know you want more in your life.
You’ve got to continue to follow through. Simple steps lead to big results. Simple steps every single day, will lead to big, powerful results. I love you guys, I hope you enjoyed this. Make sure to share with a friend.
And you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!
let us know your thoughts