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8 Best Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset & Stay Motivated

8 Best Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset & Stay Motivated

cory hendricks MMA champion Octagnon

How do you develop a growth mindset, winning mentality, mental toughness and stay motivated? It means everything in all areas of life if you want to be successful. Which is why I interviewed Pro MMA Fighter Cory Hendricks to get a winning athletes tips on what a growth mindset is and how to develop it.

There’s so much that goes into sports psychology and mental skill training for athletes. Stick with me if you’re thinking this episodes not for you…it’s for all of us! It’s a huge part of an athletes training but it’s also something we can all learn a lot from and apply to our own lives for personal growth.

As young as 16, I had a sports psychologist at dance school help me with my performance ‘Gremlins’ as she liked to call them. Mental training and mantras have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

What is growth mindset?

Growth mindset is when people understand and apply the fact that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.

Cory and I just scratch the surface in this interview, as there are so many moving parts. I tried to focus on the athlete mindset tips and skills that would be helpful to everyone, in all that we do, not just for athletes. Predominantly personal growth and how to stay motivated.

If you missed the last interview I did with Cory Hendricks, he’s a professional mixed martial artist who was on The Ultimate Fighter, fought in the UFC and currently fights for ACA in Russia.

I like having all genders of guests on the podcast so that it appeals to everyone and you can listen to with your partner in the car. My husband and I find it hard to find podcasts we both want to listen to, so hopefully this podcast will solve that problem for other couples with the same issue!

You asked to hear more from Cory, so here he is.

Creating A Champion Athlete’s Mindset

Inside the brain of an elite athlete.

  • How to stay motivated
  • How to stay focused
  • Mental preparation strategies such as meditation and/or mantras.
  • How to develop a growth mindset

If you prefer to read than to listen, you can skim through the main points in the blog notes below.

How do you find motivation & stay motivated?

Cory has been an athlete all of his life. He does it because it’s what he wants to do and will do so until he no longer has the passion for it.

His main sources for staying motivated are:

  1. “Any day where I don’t train I feel like it’s a wasted day, as time is something we can never get back. I can’t bear to think that I could’ve got better but I didn’t.”

  2. “There’s another man out there in the world training specifically to beat me up. I don’t want to give him a leg up, I want to give myself the best chance I can.” Well that makes sense, I wouldn’t want to be knocked out either.

Most of us aren’t fighting on a professional level but the take away from this is that you need a big motivator. Once you have that motivator and an action plan, growth becomes inevitable as does staying motivated.

How to stay motivated? Your why has to be bigger than your why not!

That’s your source of inspiration and will get you through anything and create that mental toughness whether you’re training for sports, athletics or life. If it’s not, your why isn’t meaningful enough.

Every decision I make in life has to run through my filter of how will it affect my training: eating, sleeping, training. I have to have healthy lifestyle habits that don’t negatively impact my training. You have to make it into a healthy lifestyle.

Your lifestyle has to be one that you can stick to, is realistic, attainable and aligns with your goals. If it doesn’t you’ll never accomplish them.

How has meditation helped with your growth mindset?

Cory believes meditation and mindset training is one of the most important things you can do, whether you’re an athlete or not. It’s a big part of the mental training for athletes and creates that laser focused performance mindset that’s one of the separating qualities of the winners.

Your mind is a muscle and meditation basically strengthens that muscle. Meditation teaches us to guide and focus our mind on what we want it to focus on. The more you do it, the longer and easier it is to pull back your focus, whether that’s relationships, business, or work.



MMA knock out fight winner Cory Hendricks growth mindset expertMMA knock out fight winner Cory Hendricks

How do you get in the ‘zone’ before a fight?

I meditate every day and right before the fight.

Before a fight, Cory doesn’t sit there and meditate but instead, he has a mantra of 3-5 things that are his mental keys he needs to focus on it that fight.

He explains that you don’t have a lot of time to think while fighting but instead he likes to have a mental checklist he can go back to. It manifests in what he does and also helps overcome nerves by focusing on what he needs to do instead of the nerves.

I use this with the girls I coach for pageants. I have them pick 3-5 key points they want to get across to the judges during interview, and that’s what they focus on. It helps to minimize nerves and keep the brain focused.



stay motivated for fight night 2 pro MMA male fighters weigh in2 pro MMA male fighters weigh in

Do you use guided meditations?

Cory does breath work instead of guided meditations. He finds a place to sit in a comfortable position with no distractions and focuses on nothing but his breath. When his thoughts stray, as soon as he catches himself, he’ll pull his focus back to where he wants it to be. He’s found this useful in the ring for blocking our hecklers.

There’s no right or wrong way to meditate, it’s about finding out what works for you.

Growth Mindset – How do you overcome barriers in sports and how does this help you in everyday life?

It’s about creating habits you stick to and building habits. So that when a barrier comes up I don’t get overwhelmed and go the other way but problem solve. This spills over into my everyday life.

Athletes tend to become problem solvers through necessity, there’s no avoiding it if you want to succeed. You have to figure out the steps, however difficult, to get there.

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Athletes aren’t just physically tough but mentally tough, which is why mental preparation is so important in sport. Creating a winning attitude, elite mentality, mental toughness and tenacity.

What do you attribute to building your winning mindset, success and personal growth?

Having goals and plan to achieve those goals so that I hit the finish line and drift through life aimlessly.

You have to figure out all of the little steps to reaching your goal and then tackle each one, step by step.



Growth mindset expert MMA fighter spar trainingMMA fighters spar training

Key Traits of Successful Athletes

  1. A positive mindset – which is a choice you have to conscientiously choose and maintain

  2. High level of self-motivation.

  3. Ability to set and achieve goals.

  4. Effectively deal with negative people.

  5. Use positive self-talk and mantras.

  6. Use positive mental imagery to achieve their goals.

  7. Know how to manage anxiety effectively.

  8. Can manage their emotions (not bury or run away from them but deal with and overcome them).

Connect with Cory Hendricks

Instagram: @coryhmma

Cory Hendricks Fight Stats

This wasn’t Cory’s first interview with me. Before we were chatting about his tips for training, recovery and injury prevention. That podcast episode covers how to make sure you’re getting the recovery you need to be able to keep going with your fitness, workouts and fitness goals. Without recovery, growth becomes difficult, if not impossible!

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