Recently, I took up Boxing.

Not the Taebo Cardio punch in the air boxing, also not the get into a ring and fight someone boxing; a middle ground crazy workout three times a week for an hour including a punching bag and spar in the ring boxing.

One of the biggest things I like to do is to look for patterns in life and draw them to core principles that weave together everything you do in your life.

Core principes are powerful that way because no matter the situation, you can still apply them to solve problems.

My boxing instructor told me, if there is one thing I want you to learn in this class, its the “Jab, Punch Jab.”

Meaning, if in the real world you ever have to defend yourself, you want to be able to deliver a powerful Jab, Punch and then a Jab and then get the fuck out of that situation.

For those of you that never really looked into boxing, a Jab is a quick pump of your left hand (for righties) that go right into the face.

Its quick, fast, and you take a Jab with a quick step forward and then return to your position to re-asses the situation.

Once you jab, and you hit, you want to go for a full punch.

A punch is a where you put in your whole body weight, let out a serious breath and use your right foot to “squash the bug” — lunge a bit forward and deliver a seriously strong blow to your opponent with your right hand.

And finally, while your opponent is literally flabbergasted with the Jab and the Punch, you want to finish the combination with another Jab.

Except this time around, that same simple jab will have an even more profound blow building on the previous two blows you dealt to the opponent.

Thats the Jab, Punch, Jab.

I’ve found the same applies to Startups in terms of a core principle.

The most successful startup founders out there, in my opinion, start with a series of quick jabs to feel out different ideas.

They take quick easy hits into problems they think they can solve. Some end up going into empty air, some end up being a partial hit, and then one ends up being a direct hit.

Most thriving startup founders today kept jabbing when they hit thin air, and as soon as they hit the bullseye on that first jab, capitalized on it and went for the punch — either through raising funding, starting the startup, expanding the product — but all in the sense of building on the jab and doing the harder work to solve the deeper problem.

And finally, they followed the punch with an even quicker jab – a jab that built on the punch, was just as effortless as the first jab, but had a seriously more profound effect because it built on the initial jab and the hard work of the punch.

So regardless of whether you’re looking to start a startup, in the midst of Heads Down Mode, or are just about to come out of a period where your team has been hard at work building some seriously defensible technology, remember the Jab, Punch, Jab principle.

If you’re just staring out, keep jabbing till you make a hit

If you just made that first jab and made a hit, figure out that seriously hard problem that needs to be solved and put in the hard work to go in for the punch.

The punch takes time, takes effort, takes discipline, and is where most startups fail — but if you pull through then you deal a serious blow to your “opponent” and can follow up with a serious of jabs and combinations that have far deeper impact but are way more effortless for you than it would have been otherwise.

Once you’ve put in the hard work, look to finish out the combo with another Jab, a jab that builds on the hard work of the punch, a Jab that builds on what you’ve done so far, is just as effortless as the first, but would’ve been impossible to deliver without the punch, and delivers a profound impact.

Rinse, Repeat. Build. Win.

Jab, Punch, Jab.