I’m just standing on the shoulders of giants trying to build something.

I first heard that metaphor, standing on the shoulders of giants, while reading one of John Wooden’s books. Wooden is one of the best coaches of all time across all sports disciplines, having won 10 NCAA Division I championships in 12 seasons while at the helm of UCLA men’s basketball. He uses the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants to pass on the practice of looking to those who have gone before us while in our own pursuits of doing great things. In doing so, you’ll find that the most successful people on Earth (while there are always exceptions to the rule) are extremely humble in acknowledging and paying tribute to those who have laid the paths before them.

We have the privilege and benefit to study and learn from the greats. There is no fast-tracking experience and you can’t know what you don’t know, but you CAN know what they know, simply by studying and understanding what worked and what didn’t.

When I set out on my UFC journey, I had an open mind to learn from those who’d gone (were going) before me. At the time, I had no idea in what shape or form or location those sources would surface, or where they would take me, but I knew I was on board with the mindset. A chance meeting led me to (then future) UFC champion Eddie Alvarez, and a former wrestling acquaintenceship led me to (then future) UFC champion Frankie Edgar. My path had been laid and an incessant desire to learn from the best led me to AMA Fight Club in NJ, Renzo Gracie Academy in NYC, Ricardo Almeida in NJ, Matt Hughes in IL and Dan Henderson in CA; they were the best at their craft, and I wanted to learn from them.

Two years into my second career (or third, I can’t remember) as an influencer, I’ve followed the same path. From business owners to military leaders to leadership experts to world-class athletes and innovative personal brands, I’ve followed the same system – Surrounding Yourself with the Best. These giants, combined with my own personal knowledge and experience, have helped shape my unique stance and perspective as an influencer, and only time will tell if it’s worthy of your attention. One thing’s for sure, I’ll learn from, and apply, what’s worked and hasn’t worked, as the greats, themselves, have told me.