The art of turning up – A pro wrestler’s guide to confidence 

My next guest is… Cowboy Gator McGraw


Yes you heard right, although these days he also goes by the name Mike Kinney.

Mike, (I’m still working up to calling him Gator), is a former pro-wrestler, the type of wrestling that made Hulk Hogan famous, turned global TED sensation after his talk on ‘turning up’ received over 1.1million views on YouTube.


He starts his now famous Ted talk like this:  Picture it: a big, sweaty, tattooed man in a cowboy hat and chaps, is in the ring as the arena full of fans cheer him on. Their hero:”Cowboy” Gator Magraw. Gator bounces off the ropes and is quickly body-slammed to the mat. His wild opponent leaps into the air,crashing down onto Gator’s rib cage. Gator struggles to breathe, wondering: “Is this really what my father wanted for me?”.


It doesn’t seem like the most obvious career progression does it? From dominating in the ring as a fictional character, to being the real you on centre stage for the world to see via a TED talk – this all happened as a result of Mike’s core belief, something we’ll  be talking about today: You are more than you think you are.


I have to admit, this conversation did not turn out how I thought it would. I assumed that we’d have a bit of a light hearted conversation about confidence maybe something to share with your children about standing up and absolutely owning it, afterall, the man has wrestled some quite scary dudes wearing trunks and chaps, I can’t think of a bigger embodiment of confidence than that. But I was wrong.


This conversation took us way deeper than that and now, with hindsight, I can see why.


When we talk about owning your influence, being an influencer, leading an industry, more often than not conversation will turn to personal brand. Defining what it is that makes you unique and ensuring that shows up in every interaction someone has with you.


Mike, and the world of wrestling, is perhaps the most extreme version of identifying what you stand for and making sure that gets recognised. He tells a story of his first time at wrestling camp when he and his class mates had to identify who they wanted to be in wrestling moving forward – forever – talk about a leap of faith. And he realised something – the best fighters, were the ones who were authentically themselves, but turned up.


What does that mean?


Well being ‘turned up’ means being unshakable in your belief in your capability, it means knowing your value, it means shutting out the negative talk and the pleas from your inner critic to just retreat before you make a fool of yourself.


It means bringing every fibre of your being into whatever room, or ring, you are walking in to and driving towards the thing you want most.


I don’t know about you, but there are days when I don’t so much want to turn up but turn off – and so if today is one of those days then this is for you.


We talk about:

·         The 5  lessons to turning up your strengths

·         The 5  keys to becoming unforgettable

·         And ultimately, in those dark moments of self doubt, when you feel like you don’t know what you are doing, how to dust it off, stand tall and show up


I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve watched a wrestling match, but if this sport produces humans as inspiring and authentic as Mike, perhaps I’ll be watching more often.


Sit back, relax and I hope you enjoy this whirlwind conversation with Mike Kinney, Cowboy Gator McGraw.

“Listen to this Inside Influence Podcast Episode”

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