Dream. Risk. Persist.

Do it the Rocky Balboa way

Dream. Risk. Persist.

Sylvester Stallone and I have much in common.

We’re both Italian.

We both found ourselves completely broke in our 20s.

We’ve both found a way to dig ourselves out of that hole and do something with our life.

Sylvester’s life mirrors that of his best-known role as the movie character Rocky.

I think that movie is one of the most popular movies of all-time because so many people can relate to it—including me.

So many of us find ourselves broke, just needing a break in life.

And there’s a simple formula in the movie that shows ANYONE how to have success in life (it’s not just a boxing movie)!

The 3 Steps I take are Dream, Risk, and Persist.

Let’s look at each one a little more closely:

#1 Dream:

The first theme in Rocky is that you’ve got to start with a dream, whatever it may be, big or small, realistic or unrealistic…you’ve got to have some idea of what you want to accomplish.

Stallone is a great example of running against the wind and going against the odds for a dream.

He couldn’t get a job acting when he first started out so he did the hard work of writing screenplays and scripts, learning about cameras, and doing everything around the area of acting.

If your dream is in a space but you can’t yet do that ONE thing you want, just start getting around that space and do things related or near to what you really want to do.

#2 Risk:

The second theme of Rocky is that you’ve got to be willing to risk getting knocked out in order to pursue your dream.

There are no guarantees life will go how you plan or want.

But if you never risk going after your dream, you will for sure NEVER get it.

Rocky is about taking a shot, swinging for the fences.

Life throws a wall at you and you stand up to it.

At some point, if you’re going to be extraordinary in ANYTHING in life, you’ll have to risk something—and it’s going to be scary and NOT comfortable.

For Stallone, the producers at the studio loved the script he wrote for Rocky Balboa and offered $360,000 just for the script, with the condition that he wouldn’t play Rocky… because they wanted a big Hollywood Star.

$360K was tempting to a guy that had literally NO money.

But Stallone knew HE was the guy to play the part of Rocky.

He wouldn’t settle!

In life, it can be RISKY to not settle—it’s risky to go after it ALL.

But I know Sylvester wouldn’t have been happy if he had played it safe and settled for the $360K—which he really needed at the time—in order to let someone else play HIS character.

You must be confident in your abilities and what you want if you’re going to RISK big.

#3 Persist

What people admire about the character Rocky is that he GOES THE DISTANCE.

He stood up, took a shot, and went all the way with it.

Don’t quit on your dream!

Know that nothing worth having is EASY.

Many people say they’re going to 10X, become a millionaire, bla bla bla…but when it’s time to train they don’t want to put in the time.

Don’t start down the road of success only to quit.

Life and business are a sprint but it’s also a marathon.

The studio told Stallone they wanted his movie, but NOT him, but he kept persisting that HE WAS THE GUY to play Rocky.

Opportunities will pass you by, just because you are a NOBODY.

Doors will be shut on you.

Can you persist?


Rocky went on to receive nine Oscar nominations and got three wins, including Best Picture and grossed over $200 million.

That movie is a cultural icon and made Stallone a star.

But don’t forget that before all that became a reality, Stallone did all kinds of odd jobs like cleaning out lion cages in the city zoo and working as an usher at cinema halls…working hard just to survive and find a way to make his dream work.

My dreams have also never come easily.

Nobody knows how much I trained in sales, nobody knows how much I was rejected in the early days of launching my first business, and nobody knows how much I had to persist just to win ONE big deal.

Much like Rocky, I can relate to these lyrics—can you?

Risin’ up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

 So many times, it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

 It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight…

Hang tough and stay hungry my friends.

Be Great (because nothing else pays)


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