Here are some of the reasons I heard that I could never win a national (much less world) judo championships.
- Are you crazy? You live in a small town in Illinois. There isn't an elite club within 300 miles of you!
- You need to compete internationally to get experience. Your family can't afford to fly you to Europe for tournaments any more than they could send you to the moon.
- You're a woman. Japanese university teams only have men (that was back then) and there is no way they are going to let a woman train with the men's team.
- Your knee is missing cartilage and ligaments. You can't even do half the throws.
- You have a bad attitude and the referees don't like you. You are never going to win a decision.
- You learned judo from someone who got a black belt after a few years stationed in Japan in the military. You don't really have very good technique.
- You need to train full-time to be competitive internationally. Your competition trains full-time and has government funding.
Because my knee was badly injured, and there was no such thing as knee reconstruction back then, I had to compensate by getting very, very good at matwork. Because I assumed I would never win a decision and that my opponent would have better technique than me, I learned to attack right off the grip to get the first score, attack continuously to never give my opponent the opportunity to attack. I also learned very, very well techniques that would end the match in a manner that left no question who won, chokes, pins and especially arm bars. (Hint to the referee: The woman without the broken arm should be awarded the win.) There are 24 hours in a day and if you work for 8 and sleep for 8 it still gives you 8 hours a day to train.
All of the reasons I couldn't do it were true - several years, I missed even competing in the national championships because I was pregnant, in graduate school or just didn't have the money to travel.
I also won the national championships three times and won a world championships, despite all of the reasons that I couldn't do it.
However, what I did do was take her to the mat, and here is what happened next.
My answer to all of those critics way back when was,
SOMEONE is going to win the world championships. Why not me?
Now I'm running an educational gaming start-up and hearing again all of the reasons I cannot succeed:
- Good developers are really expensive and hard to find at any price.
- You have no background in game design.
- Investors are looking for people who are twenty-something, not fifty-something.
- You have no experience in game programming.
- It's hard to sell to school districts.
- The educational game market is crowded.
- Everyone is making tablet games and we are mostly focused on games that run on Windows and Mac
Good developers are expensive and hard to find, but I've been programming for years, so, I just switched to programming for games. An array, do loop, function and all of that is the same whether you are creating applications for tracking inventory or movements in a game. A lot of the money people get from investors goes to paying for development and marketing. We just do the development ourselves and cut out the middle man. I offered our CMO equity in return for taking a cut in pay to come work for us. Yes, it is hard to sell to school districts, but you know what, they are buying games, textbooks, curriculum. If I can make a game that kids want to play and demonstrate that their math skills are better, teachers and parents will want to buy it from me.
SOMEONE is going to make the next breakthrough in educational technology. Why not me?