How Ronda Rousey Can Help Leaders and Educators Avoid A New Year Knockout
Trill or Not Trill?

As many of us are returning to work, we are following another return. After suffering her first ever defeat in stunning fashion former UFC champion Ronda Rousey came back to ring. Unfortunately for her, the results were not in her favor. Amanda Nunes knocked out the once unbeatable Rousey in the first round. For this new year, we don’t want to see you get knocked out as a returning professional or student leader. For such an important fight we decided to bring together two minds from the Trill or Not Trill squad. Consider Antonio Talemo and I as your coaches. – Jeff

This fight made me think about my own tough losses endured but also about the different ways to become a better person, leader and student all together. It is not about losing, but finding ways that you can prevent it as well. Here are some tips as you start the new year to get you in top shape. -Antonio

1. Find a “new” thing to be good at (Antonio)
Despite her two losses, I think Ronda is still a great fighter and can still beat opponents. Unfortunately for her, it seems as if she’s only dominant one area; the arm bar. This is the devastating move where Ronda takes her opponent’s arm and bends it back until she taps out. I think the most disappointing thing about Ronda is that after taking a year off, it appears she had the same exact game plan that didn’t work the first time. She was trying to grapple a fighter that is known to attack with punches. Obviously, it appears she didn’t learn much from the first match. But I can relate in many ways.

When I first started out as a Graduate Assistant, I was really good at one thing, using social media to help engage the student body. I was a marketing machine that connected with students and tried to instill excitement about events we were hosting. However, as social media become more popular and other departments started to use it I was stunted. I had to learn new ways to keep up with my competition. Which I in turn did eventually. Now that you’ve got a fresh semester and new year starting you’ve got to be ahead of the curve. Figure out how to improve on at least ONE aspect of your game. Think about what you would like to improve on and don’t wait for the moment that could potentially knock you out. If you want to become a better writer, write. If you want to be a better public speaker, speak. Being knocked down once is fine, but going down the same way twice means you were unprepared.

2. Adapt to the times (Jeff)
I have to agree with Antonio here. “New” is an operative word. Time waits for no one and you better be ready for the moves. As a leader, it is imperative that you recognize the surrounding patterns and changes. Ronda Rousey’s amazing accomplishments helped take the sport to new heights. Unfortunately for Rousey, it seems as if the competitors have caught up and surpassed her in the skill level.

If the students are not using Facebook or Twitter as much anymore then maybe you shouldn’t be on it as prominently. Adapting to the times means fully recognizing the pulse of the students. Who are their favorite DJ’s or what academic programs are people in most need or? As a leader, it is imperative to be ahead of the game. Assess every trend and see how that can help you reach audiences more effectively. Don’t get left behind by relying on old habits. Skill sets that once led the way won’t always lead to the win in this rapidly moving world.

3. Being on top brings competition (Antonio)
Ronda is a transcendent fighter, so up to this time whenever she stepped into the ring, it was a big deal. Every competitor at every step of the way wanted to bring her down but couldn’t, until someone did. Always remember that when you are great at what you do there will be those that will take extra time to study your every move. You have the choice to stay stagnant or keep improving and enhancing the skill set you have already developed. There will be This way when you are challenged you are ready for what is coming because you did the work. This year consider mastering the skill that you have become proficient or better yet learn a new one.

4. On the fly adjustments (Jeff)
During the fight, Ronda Rousey’s trainer is yelling out instructions. He’s telling her to move her head after she gets hit with a punch. He instructs her to clench after she gets hurt. Rousey just didn’t make the in-fight adjustments needed to win.

As a leader and strong professional, it is important to make decisions on the fly. You should always be ready to adjust your plan if things aren’t going as planned. As a public speaker, if I recognize the audience isn’t feeling it, I can’t be afraid to switch up the game plan. You can have your strategy all set and ready to go, then something goes wrong. Maybe it’s a technology issue, perhaps there was a last minute change to a meeting; so now what? How will you recover? Former heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson once famously said, “everyone has a plan, till they get punched in the mouth.” Life and leadership is full of punches in the mouth. Handle them with poise and proper planning. Be prepared for as many circumstances as possible. Go into every situation with a back up to the back up plan.

5. Don’t face every challenge the same (Antonio)
Solving all challenges with the same approach can lead to frustrating outcomes. As you become more experienced and mature, you will need exceptional problem solving skills that include full examining every aspect of adversity. It is evident that Ronda underestimated her opponent because both times she fought using the same fighting style. She seemed to be more concerned with her own skills than her opponents which lead to two knock outs. In other words, Ronda attempted to solve the same issue using the same approach. Take the extra time to look over how you can solve the problem by asking your peers, mentors or writing down different options. Don’t approach issues with the mentality of “well we’ve always done this way and it never worked. Even if you are not successful you will be able to better justify your decision and move on to your second option.

We are both rooting for you all as student leaders or professionals to have a productive new year and semester. Find ways to avoid the knockout and remain on top of your game. Challenge yourself and those around you to become the ones everyone looks up to, to make change.