Kickboxing Champion Says Success Begins With Discipline

As a former international kickboxer, national kickboxing team manager in Norway and entrepreneur, Gjermund Nesland has learnt how important discipline and focus are to ultimate success.

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

One of the biggest mindshifts that determines success is the ability to do the things you never thought you’d do, even if you’re scared to take the leap. There are so many opportunities out there, and the only thing that really limits us is our beliefs.  

Mike Turner Photography

Gjermund Nesland is a former international kickboxer, national kickboxing team manager in Norway and an entrepreneur. He shares the secret to his success.


It’s a myth that talent determines success

There’s this overriding belief that to be great you need to be born with special talents like superior physicality or a high IQ. In my experience, the most important quality to have is willpower — the will to train and do things over and over again. Practice makes perfect isn’t just a cliché — it’s the bedrock of success.

Never think you can’t reach a goal because of the lack of a gift or ability. The reality is that he or she who puts in the most hours has the best results. Brick by brick you get to the top. You just need to keep pushing.

Through the right attitude, ability and opportunity open up to everyone and anyone. Put in the time, work long enough, have the right attitude and you will succeed. But you also need to have a plan. You can’t blindly put in the time. 


Set goals

Track your progress. Once you reach your goal, set a new goal. I still have specific goals I work towards. You need long and short-term goals, with milestones on the road to each.

These are a validation of what you’re doing, and incredibly important — they’ll help you get to where you want to go.

I competed for eight years at an international level in kickboxing, and became national team manager of Norway in 2011. Throughout my sporting career, I also held a corporate job and had entrepreneurial endeavours on the side. By 2016 I was a full time entrepreneur.


It sounds like a lot, but in reality I just know myself well

I need to be multi-tasking, doing lots of different things and feeding my different passions. 16 hours spent on the same job is hard. But split over three different things, its energising. I’d spend eight hours at my day job, four hours on kickboxing management and four hours on my entrepreneurial endeavours.

 Each time I switched between projects I’d be using a different skill or part of my personality, and that would help me to perform well in each arena and work towards becoming the best version of myself I could be. Even as an entrepreneur I’m involved in multiple things — from our financial company Cessio Capital, to property, to a large indoor playpark.


You also need to be aware of your faults

Even though I do a lot, I’m not very good at time management. I can be inefficient because I’m too focused on the details. Being meticulous and efficient don’t always go hand in hand. I’ve learnt that to combat this I need to be present in each task I do, and when I start a new task, to leave unrelated problems behind. 

I’ve found that it helps to have a notebook next to my bed. I write down ideas and the main thing I can work on, and then I put it away and quiet my mind. 

Being present also means accepting that if there’s a problem I know I can’t fix or is outside my control, I mustn’t use too much energy worrying about it. It’s a complete waste of mental energy. Instead, I focus on things I can change. 


A winning strategy requires a purpose, dedication, and joy in what you do

It can’t be about the money. My kickboxers train twice a day for the love of it, that’s it. They all have full time jobs as well. You can’t have that level of commitment if you don’t derive joy from it.

One of my core values is to continuously grow, as a person, and through my skills and knowledge. You need to constantly be expanding who you are, what you know and what you can do.