Have I ever mentioned how proud I am of what we’ve done with the gym in the last few years?
We turned an unprofitable business into a profitable one in the first month we took over.
We more than doubled our membership since we took over.
And we went from being two of the only coaches to hiring over 10 people to be on our staff.
Now, with that being said, it hasn’t always been great.
Alongside our accomplishments, I also remember the countless pangs of discomfort and anxiety I have experienced over the years. They color so much of the memories and reflections I have, moments so visceral and even at times, debilitating.
However, when I compare the trials we’ve been through to how we’ve gained our success, the reasons for both are completely unrelated to each other.
It’s interesting. All of the self-doubt, conversations spent in frustration, and hours of over-analyzing had absolutely nothing to do with the success we’ve experienced.
We haven’t doubled our membership because we agonized over those who left.
Lee recently quit his corporate job, and it wasn’t because we spent a few more hours wondering what people around us would feel.
Turns out, whether or not we cared about what people thought, we still would have grown the gym.
What does this tell me?
This tells me that for someone who aspires to escape the emotional roller-coaster, which is so draining for any business owner, none of the personal drama matters in accomplishing what you want as a gym owner.
The stress and pain we mentally assign to situations and people we experience don’t contribute to any of our accomplishments.
In fact, we probably get in our own way more than anything.
So if that’s true, how do we figure out what is important and what isn’t in running our business?
There is one question you can ask yourself to quickly distill what you want from your life and your business.
By simply asking this question, you will be infused with the giddy excitement that comes from visualizing the impossible. It’s the one question that will highlight where you need to be, regardless of the discomfort you’ll need to endure to get there.
Ask yourself this one question:
What would your life look like if you weren’t scared of rejection?
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, one of the listed attributes of a sociopath is feeling no guilt, shame, or remorse for one’s behavior.
We all look at people with this trait as evil people. As fitness professionals, gym owners, and community leaders, we couldn’t imagine being or interacting with people who were absent of conscience.
But how much easier would life be if you had, let’s say, a dropperful of sociopath?
How irrelevant would the highs and lows become?
Just think for a minute.
If you were a shade more sociopathic, completely unaffected by the reactions of those around you, what decisions would you make today?
Would you raise prices?
Would you stop worrying about the gym down the road?
Would you fire Billy after all?
Would you become a *gasp* full-time gym owner?
See how your eyes widened when you envisioned a gym with higher prices, unaffected by surrounding competition, and no more Billy?
Feel how you giggled a little when you thought about the possibility of running your gym… full-time?
That’s your guide. That’s how you start to take care of the business, not just the gym.
By tapping into your inner sociopath…. just a little.
How does that work?
This advice is specifically for us as gym owners, who are oftentimes afflicted with a martyr mindset. We give and give and give. There is no question: we know how to work hard and give those around us everything we have.
The proper advice for us who are worn out and have nothing left to give is not to give more; the advice is to stop giving as much. To take for ourselves, even.
Because at the end of the day, you’re running a business, whose responsibility it is to reliably provide you, your family, and your staff with a living.
Does your business provide you and your staff with everything you need?
This is your beacon of light.
It’s not whether or not Carla likes the WOD today. Or if you respond to a late night Facebook message about a shoulder impingement.
A business doesn’t care if it makes money from a “good apple” or a “bad apple.”
A business cares about the bottom line, no matter where it comes from.
It also cares about what you’re doing with your time.
Are you busting your ass, coaching all your classes to barely hit that bottom line, or are you coaching 2-3 classes a week, using your newfound time (and energy) to grow the business in other ways?
A business cares not just about income but sustainable income.
The highs and lows we choose to get caught up in, the fear of failure, the fear of rejection from others: these are the mental acrobatics that stifle our success.
Because we all know what we need to do to make progress.
We live in the information age. Google is at our fingertips, and there are an endless number of experts in every field.
Hell, I have more conversations with Siri than I do with most people.
So what’s the problem??
We get in our own way because we’re worried about what other people will think.
We are afraid to take the leap, take a stance, and make the decisions that may polarize those around us. It’s easier to live in anonymity where no one quite knows what we stand for, so we can be unanimously viewed as “such a nice person.”
But anonymity isn’t where a leader resides.
Lack of vision and fear of rejection are also not traits that define a leader.
Whether you like it or not, you are a business owner, gym owner, and community leader.
To preserve and grow your business, sometimes you have to choose “us” versus “them,” because fundamentally the relationships you have with your staff and your members are transactional. It’s give and take.
It’s a fair exchange, to be sure. But it’s not give, give, give, and it’s also not take, take, take.
The only person who will protect you and your business is yourself.
If you’re lucky, you have a great community of people who care about you as a person and certainly care about the gym. However, this isn’t something you can depend on blindly. Before you fall back on the good grace of others to protect you and what you care about, you must prioritize yourself.
Gym and business aside, you are the appointed leader of your own life. Like it or not, this is the truth. You have a life-long reign, immune from overthrow, and only you determine how you rule it.
What have you decided?
Remember, the vision of your life and your gym that makes you smile… the one you think of when you stop saying “yeah, but” — this is your north star.
This is what you follow. Not the reactions of others.
After all, if you can’t get from this endeavor what you originally came for… what’s the point?
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