Life Lessons For Overcoming Adversity From Pro Wrestling

Life Lessons For Overcoming Adversity From Pro Wrestling

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Mr. Biz Radio: Life Lessons For Overcoming Adversity From Pro Wrestling

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz radio, Biz. Talk for Biz owners. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


Alright, Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radiowith me, Mr. Biz Ken Wentworth. And,this week we're gonna talk about perseverance. We're gonna talk about never giving up. We're gonna, you know, I talk about consistent perseverance. You guys hear me talk about that all the time. And,it's very, a very important,topic. And, you know, even if you're not a business owner, an entrepreneur, it's, it's something that faces each and every one of us in our everyday lives, right? You, you get, and I always talk about this, it doesn't matter how handsome you are, how smart you are, who you know, life is going to, life's gonna give you some shots in the, in the, in the gut. Uit's just how, how life is sometimes. And you have to have that consistent perseverance to be able to continue standing up after getting knocked down.


And our guests this week, wait till I wait till I read you guys this stuff. So we don't get this, anybody to talk about overcoming adversity. So, Dr. Chris Whaley is a man who never gives up. He grew up in poverty with parents who had no education in the deep South. He was constantly in the hospital growing up. In the fourth grade, he had polio and viral encephalitis. So as, as one and two right in the hospital for three months and had to learn how to walk all over again. So imagine that you're, you're in the fourth grade, you gotta learn how to walk again. At age 24 things shift a little bit for us here. Age 24, he realize his childhood dream and became a pro wrestler. Talk about that a little bit. He wrestled four world champions, including the Undertaker Pro.


Wrestling was his dream, but being a pastor was his calling. He left pro wrestling at the height of his career and became a pastor. He soon began to see some people abused and mistreated. And that led him to writing his book about the transition from pro wrestling to ministry entitled The Masked Saint. That book was made into an award-winning movie. And then here comes more adversity. In 2012, he had a heart attack. 2013, he got cancer. Where, where's this stuff end, right? And in 2015, he got polymyalgia rheumatica. Easy for me to say. He overcame all of those obstacles and got back in the ring last year at the age of 68 years young, and he's still a man who never gives up. Dr. Whaley, welcome to Mr. Biz Radio.


Hey, Ken, what an honor to be on your show, man. Thank you so much for having me. It is a real treat to be with you.


Yeah. Well, I appreciate you coming on. I know we, it's been we've been had this in the works for several months now. We talked several months back to get, get you on the show. But you know, who better to talk about overcoming adversity than someone who's been through what you've been through? I mean, all, almost everyone's been through some adversity in life, but man, you've gotten dealt a short deck of cards so many different times in your life. Before we start diving into that though, tell us a little bit about your journey. 'cause And I'm sure we, we've only got about five minutes here. Yeah. I know you could probably talk for days about this <laugh>, but tell us about your journey, because I think you have a very unique journey.


Yeah. You know, you mentioned about my health problems growing up in and out of the hospital. And in those days there wasn't a lot on TV. And when you're in the hospital, especially for three months, you get your days and your nights mixed up. And late at night about the only thing I could find on TV was professional wrestling. So, as a kid, I watched it and I was just, you know, enamored with it and couldn't get enough of it. And when I wasn't in the hospital, the big thrill was to get my dad to take me to a, a live performance of professional wrestling. But I still had those, those issues. I wasn't putting on weight, but I had a wonderful doctor who refused to allow me to give up. And he's the guy that got me going to the gym and working out.


He's the, the guy that got me working with cardio and with weights. And I really took to it as I just really loved it. And then he's continuing to work to find out exactly why I am constantly sick. And they found that I was allergic. I had over 200 allergies. Wow. I was working to just about everything. And so he put me on the allergy medication, which I took up until I was a junior in college. But when he put me on that medication, it was like, boom, things started to change. I started putting on weight and then all that work in the gym started paying off and, and my body started changing. And then I, you know, was getting in some of the best shape of, of my life as I reached my my early twenties. And then there was another person too, who was also really responsible for helping me in that journey when I was a child.


And it was a little African American lady by the name of Miss Edna. She was the one who just constantly gave me encouragement as a little boy. She also, she loved to quote Edmund Burke, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. And she, she put that in me as, as a kid growing up, always take up for those who can't take up for themselves, always help people. And so I, I got the, the best of both worlds in those day. And it really was that springboard that got me into professional wrestling and which also, you know, becoming a pastor I just had a great foundation built whenever I entered that.


Well, I'm curious, Dr. Whaley, so you know, back then, especially in the business, how did you get your big break to get, you know, to break into pro wrestling?


You know, that's a, that's a great question because in my day getting into professional wrestling was just very, very difficult. You had to, you either had to know someone in the business or be kin to someone in the business. But I was, I was home. I just got through working out at the gym. I came home, my wife was a high school math teacher. She's grading papers. And I picked up the camp at Tribune and there was a big ad that wanted professional wrestlers. I jumped up out of my chair. I I ran over to my wife. I showed this to her, and she just kind of rolled her eyes and kept grading papers. But I, I packed a bag. I drove over to Tampa, I walked into the gym, and there was the great Malinko. He was one of the baddest of the bad when I was growing up.


And he was training professional wrestlers. He trained some of the biggest names in the business. And so I had a, a great, great foundation in professional wrestling, being trained by him and getting my break in professional wrestling because of being trained by the great Malinko. He has two boys that were also big his oldest son Joe, was just inducted into the Hall of Fame last week matter of fact. And his son, Dean is very involved with the new promotion now called AE W. So I really had some great breaks there, and which afforded me the opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream.


Well, you know, let's be fair. You, you got a little bit of a break, but I feel like if you'd have gone in there and been sloughing off, you'd have never caught his eye. No. And so you'd have never gotten that break. So you, you got in the right spot, but then you took advantage in, in a positive way of that opportunity that presented itself. Because if you didn't, it, it would've never materialized for you, I'm sure.


Right? I worked my fanny off. I mean, when other guys were training and they would get through and they'd leave, I would stay, I would work on things that he taught me. I would ask him, am I doing this right? You know, what's the best way to do this? Is there a better way to work into this move? So I worked like a Trojan of trying to be the best that I could be whenever I got into that ring. So I was very, very very, very thankful for all the extra work that he gave me.


Yeah. I love it. I love it. We're gonna hit a break here, Dr. Whaley, but we're gonna come back. We'll get the Mr. Biz tip of the week, and we're gonna talk about some of the life lessons that he learned from pro wrestling to overcome obstacles in life.


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Alright, welcome back to show. Its time With Mr. Biz Tip of the week. And this one is of course, I'm, I'm a little biased, right? These are my tips, but this is one of my favorites especially for entrepreneurs, business owners, but, but even for other folks that are, that are not in that entrepreneurial space. Don't make your weekends, week ends. W E A K E N D S. In other words, there's a lot of different ways to interpret that, of course. But it's not just, oh, you should work seven days a week, and things like that. That might be part of it. Ubut it's also, you know, make good choices on the weekends, I guess is, is the most,politically correct way, I'll say that. Not saying not to have your fun here and here and there, but make sure you're making those choices that are congruent with the future goals that you have.


And you don't end up making some bad choices on the weekend that impact you the next week, the next month, 10 years down the road. So, you know, have some fun where, where necessary. But you know, also, don't make those weekends, week ends to the week. Don't be, you gotta strive to get yourself in a position where you're not the person who's like, oh my gosh, when is it Friday? Or the person who says, oh man, it's Monday. I, you know, Saturday, I'm Mondays will be here before I know it. Get yourself in a position where you got a career, you have a career, you have a position that you're working in, that you're really enjoying. You look forward to Mondays. And you know, not necessarily that you don't like the weekends, of course you're not gonna like the weekends, but it's not, shouldn't be something that on Tuesday you're like, oh my gosh, just get me to Friday.


Just get me to Friday. It's just a tough way to live. So that is a, the Mr. Biz tip of the week. Again, we're talking this week with Dr. Chris Whaley. You can find out more at his website, You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So Dr. Whaley, let's and we, we started to get in into it a little bit last segment, but if you would tell us a little bit more about some of the life lessons you learned in pro wrestling. 'cause Again, you know, especially at the age of 24, breaking into that industry, I'm sure there were a lot of things that you learned through that, that process and and that experience.


You know, I, I learned a bunch of life lessons in professional wrestling. One of them is, don't beat yourself up just because someone else beat you up. When I was in wrestling, winning or losing was not my choice. That was the promoter's choice. And believe me, I got beat up more than once, but I was always able to get back on my feet, to get back in the ring and to wrestle another day. And the same is true in life. I win every time I attempt something. And matter of fact, even when I fail, that's not the end of the world. Failure is not final until we quit. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So we're, we're never a loser until we quit trying. So don't beat yourself up when you fail, you just get back into the ring. Another life lesson is, is you gotta be prepared for injuries.


You know, when I was in wrestling I could give you a list of my injuries and I think you would be amazed. But when you're injured in the world of professional wrestling, they do not wait for you to recover. There's always someone else who is waiting for their chance to take your place in the squared circle. And I was very blessed with a high tolerance to physical pain. You can't do what we do without getting banged up. So because of that high tolerance to pain, I was able to keep going, even in spite of some injuries. So what you have to do in life is you think ahead and you have a plan if and when injuries happen, and you better be prepared for those injuries in life because they will happen. I guarantee you that you're going to be injured some way in life.


Someone's going to betray you. Someone's going to steal your idea. Someone's going to throw a wrench into your life machine and upset your world. So you expect the unexpected. Another life lesson is you gotta know when to fight, and you gotta know when to walk away. I, I remember in, in my day of professional rush, there were a lot of pro football players trying to get into professional wrestling 'cause they could extend their career. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, one night I showed up and promoters, I said, who am I working against? And he, he pointed to this big guy. He was the nose tackle for the San Diego Chargers, and he was trying to get into professional wrestling. I was pumped. I was excited until I got into the ring. And I found out that he didn't know what in the world he was doing.


And it was the closest I came to death. The next night I showed up and I asked the promoter, who am I working against? And I saw that young man, and I, I said it was the first time that I had to say that I was not gonna work with a particular wrestler. Now, my point is, every hill is not worth dying on in life. You have to pick your battle thoughtfully and carefully. It might be in your family or in your business, but you have to make a decision if that fight is worth it, or do you walk away. And another one is you gotta know your priorities. You've got to have priorities in life. My priorities in wrestling were being in shape, doing a great job, making sure the promoter was happy with my work. My priorities as a pastor have always been God first, my family second, and then my job third.


And as long as I keep those priorities, I do really well. But my life becomes very chaotic when I get those priorities mixed up. And then the last one I would share with you is, is don't live with regrets. You know, when I left professional wrestling at the height of my career, I didn't get to go out the way I wanted to. And that bothered me for years and years and years until last year. And you mentioned it earlier, I got back into the ring at the age of 68 to go out the way I wanted to. What? It was an unbelievable night. Unbelievable crowd. All six of my grandkids were there. Oh. Wow. Both of my, both of my girls told their kids, they said, Hey kids, this is what it was like when we were growing up. And so I got to, you know, get back into the ring. So what I'm saying is picture yourself at the end of your career, you take a good look at it and you ask this question, you know, are, are you satisfied with what you see? And if not, you don't wait until the end to deal with your regrets like I did. You go ahead. You deal with 'em now so that when you finish, you'll, you'll finish. Completely satisfied. And I think those were some of the, the greatest lessons that I learned from professional wrestling.


Interesting. Yeah. I can't even imagine, especially back then. I think, you know, from what I see from the outside and some of the things I've read and shows I've watched, et cetera, that the, the business has changed so significantly, you know, and over the last 30, 40 years. Yeah. As far as I, I would imagine, I mean, how many days a week were you wrestling back then, Dr. Whaley?


Sometimes six, six nights a week. Six nights a week.


Yeah. So to to your point earlier with the injuries. Yeah. I mean, yes, it's, the outcome is, is determined, predetermined, right? Yeah. Yeah. Right,




Body slamming someone and you know, there's ways to land and things like that, but look, bumps or bumps and bruises or bruises and bruises on top of bruises and, and, you know, and, and sprains and all that kind of stuff. I can't imagine, you know, wrestling even four or five days a week. And taking those bumps you know, consistently all the time.


And I, I, I'm amazed today with some pro athletes, especially in, in football and basketball and baseball, you know, the slightest injury. And they're out for a week or two. You know, I, I wrestled in Dallas one night and I broke two ribs, and then I got back in the ring the next night and Oh, geez. And I worked again. I, I pulled a groin at the start of a match one time, and the promoter said, I want 20 minutes. And so I wrestled 20 minutes with a pole groin. Geez. Oh. You just kinda learn to overcome those things.


Yeah. Yeah. Well, speaking of that, we're gonna hit a break here, but we're gonna come back and we're gonna get some tips from Dr. Whaley. You can see how many things that this guy's overcome in his life and on how not to give up when you're facing massive adversity.


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Alright, welcome back to the show. And as I mentioned, our guest this week is Dr. Chris Haley. I'm sorry, Dr. Chris Whaley. I was, I was throwing the W out there for some reason. You can find out more at his website, and we'll put this in the show notes as well. But you can follow him on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram as well. So Dr. Whaley, talk, talk to me a little bit about, I mean, again, we've heard all these things, all these adversities that you've overcome, even as a small child and then especially later in life with, with a heart attack and cancer, and just the whole litany of things that you've overcome. You know, if you could give us, give us some tips on things that you've used over to overcome those adversities in your life that we could practically use ourselves.


One of them, one of them is you never say no. Now I realize there's gonna be a lot of people in life and business and whatever are going to say no to you, but you never say no. I can't tell you how many times I was told no after I, I wanted to get into professional wrestling and didn't get that opportunity. I was told no. I'd show up at events and try to talk to a promoter. Nobody would talk to me. I would, I would do so many things. And everybody kept telling me, no. And, you know, it's still on my back burner. I'm not gonna give up. There's gonna be a way. And then it opened up with that ad. But even with my book, I was told no so many times on the book, but I just refused to give up on that.


I mean, every day you, there's lots of publishers, you know, you gotta just pursue every angle. So no was never in my category category in my vocabulary. Another one is you just never stop dreaming. I mean, I'm, I'm 68 and I'm still dreaming. I would get back in the ring again if I was given the opportunity. You don't wanna stop. I mean, when you stop dreaming, you're gonna start aging. I, I had a dream for this third book. I wanted to write it with one of my wrestling buddies. And that was a, a a pretty good writer that I knew of. And so we collaborated together and sure enough, you know, our third book is coming out in November, matter of fact, on Black Friday. And we continue to dream. Matter of fact, I'm already dreaming about the next one.


I've already talked to him 'cause we work so well together. Another tip is just to surround yourself with people that you think are smarter than you are. Now, I I know that some people might have a problem with that. I know how smart I am. I, I don't have any problems with that, but I know there's an awful lot of smart people in the world, and I wanna surround myself with people who are going to make me better. I wanna surround myself with people who are going to challenge me. I wanna surround myself with people who are going to make me the best person that I could possibly be. Another one is, you've gotta do the work. You've got to do the work and, and research. You've gotta look at every angle. You've got to be prepared. And so you gotta do the work.


And then there's one that I wish that I had found at the very beginning when I became a pastor, and that is learning people's temperaments. There's something called, and I'm sure you're familiar with it, Ken, it's called DISC, D I S C mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And all, all of those letters stand for some, there's basically four temperaments that people have in our world today. You have the D, those are the dominant domineering, they're the bull in the China shop. Trump, you could say Trump was a huge D Yeah. The i, the I are the life of the party. Those are the ones that are always gonna have that positive outlook. The S's are the ones that are full of empathy. They're, they're the ones that hate conflict. And then the C's, the C's are the I Dotters and the T crossers.


Now, when you learn about temperaments and you learn about people's temperaments, it gives you an edge up when you are negotiating, when you are doing business with people because you're very quickly going to find out what temperament that person is. And then if you do all your work at learning about disc, you'll find out what, what makes the, the person nervous, what makes them not like what you're talking about, what makes them favorable. You learn all of this stuff about your, your, the people that you're dealing with, learning their temperaments. And it's gonna be a big, big help in your business and everything that you do when you even with the people that you want to, to buy your product or whatever you're gonna be meeting with those people and you'll find out very quickly what their temperament is. And it'll be a tremendous help for you. And I think those are some things that'll really help you in your life journey.


Yeah. I would add if, if I may you know, in regards to the people, having people around you that are smart, smarter than you, I think that's critically important. You know, that, you know, you hear it all the time. People say, don't be the smartest person in the room. But I would even take it a step further, Dr. Whaley, I, I would be curious if you agree with this. What I try to do is I find people that are smarter than me in my weak areas Yeah. And areas that I'm not that good at. Right. That I know that, hey, man, there's, there's some, there's some skills that I have that are probably pretty solid. And, you know, I'm, I'm feeling pretty solid about those, but I know there's some things over here that I'm just not as good as. Right. Let me surround myself with really smart people who are really good at those things so I can begin to emulate some of the things that they do to make them so successful in those areas.


Right. That's exactly what I did, Ken. I'm glad you've said that because the, I mean, the, the reason I even said that in, in the ministry, you have to deal with all kinds of people. You're dealing with blue collar and white collar. You're dealing with people who have PhDs and people who have no education. You're dealing with senior adults and median adults and young adults and teenagers and, and children. And you gotta learn how to, to deal with all of that. And I was just not gifted in some of those areas. And so I wanted to make sure I had the people that were gifted in those areas that I was the weakest in. And that was one of the big A pluses of decisions that I made of putting those people in my life. So you kudos to you for coming up with that.


Yeah. And I think, you know, the DISC assessment, and there's a bunch of different ones out there. DISC is certainly a very strong one and pretty prevalent. But I think that's another aspect to the disc is not only your everyday dealings with the people, but especially if, if you're a business owner and you're leading people Right. Is knowing how to lead people, and that, that disc assessment will tell you, first of all, if you do that before they even join your organization, you're gonna get an idea of how they're gonna fit in with everyone else. Right?




Yeah. You know, as you mentioned Dr. Whaley, you know, you want to have a balanced team. You don't want in the DISC assessment, you don't want all your employees to be all Ds because they're gonna fight with each other all the time. There's gonna be all sort of, right. You gotta have some sort of balance there. So I think it's critically important. And from a leadership perspective, as you were alluding to during, when you mentioned this, what motivates them? What makes them upset? What do they not like to hear? So the, you know, the, I forget which one it was, but the letter that, that does not like confrontation. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, well, if you try to go old school on them and they make a mistake and you kind of berate them in front of people, they're gonna melt mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, right. And you're gonna lose them. They're probably gonna leave. Right. Whereas someone else who's maybe the D wants you to get it, dig into 'em a little bit, right. They, they would thrive in that environment a little bit more. So I think that those things are very, very important to consider.


Right. You know I have made it a priority now of anybody that I bring on my team is one of the first things they're gonna do is take the DISC assessment. Yeah. Because I know, you know, for this particular position what temperament best fits this position. And so if you've got a, a position that needs a c an I, dotter and a T crosser and you put a D in there, it's gonna be disastrous. Or if you put an Ssin there, it's gonna be disastrous or an I. So it's just very, very important to know what kind of temperament you need for those positions that you're bringing people on board and DISC is a tremendous tool for that.


Yeah, I would agree a hundred percent. Again, Dr. Chris Whaley, you can find out more at, follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Dr. Whaley, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.


Thank you, Ken. It has been a real pleasure and I hope everybody hits that that like button for your show because it's a tremendous show.


Appreciate that. Appreciate that guys. Have a great thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. Have a great rest of your week. And don't forget, as always, cashflow is king


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