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Instead of going straight from high school to college, I waited a few years to get started. By then, I had a small child and was running a business. It wasn’t easy to juggle everything and there were plenty of times I wanted to give up.

One night I was sitting at the kitchen table with then 8 year-old Jason while we both did our homework. I remember thinking, “This is ridiculous. I should just quit.”

But I had a secret weapon that helped me push through. I was a Black Belt.

Earning my Black Belt wasn’t easy, either. There were times training was fun, times training was inconvenient, and times training was so difficult that I’d cry. There were plenty of times I wanted to quit Karate. But I’d made a goal for myself and wanted to see it through. When the day came that I passed my Black Belt test, it felt amazing. Forty something years later, it’s still one of my biggest accomplishments.

The next time I started something that was really hard to finish, I had that experience of success to pull me through. When I wanted to quit college, I’d remember how good it felt to get my Black Belt and knew I’d have the same feeling of accomplishment. Standing on that stage getting my degree made all of the hard work worth it. I was the first college graduate in my family and that felt pretty good, too.

I had two experiences of success under my belt. The next major goal was a little easier. I expected to succeed because I’d done it a couple of times before.

The mental discipline you get from going after your goals even when it’s hard is one of the benefits of both Karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. It’s a benefit that carries over to every other area of your life.