Only One Thing Can Define Success

This post probably applies a little more to those people running a business, but if you stretch, it might apply outside of that.

One of the things that I do constantly as a training and manager of a business, is read, read and then read some more.  I listen to podcasts of those people that have found success and see what lessons they are willing to share.

This post is not about the idea that hardwork is required to be successful, this is about how to actually define yourself as a success.  It is about being able to sleep at night knowing that you are progressing and on the right path.

The only thing in this world that can define success is you.  What I mean by that is you must define your WHY for your business.  That is to say, why are you running this business or opening it in the first place.  Is your primary reason for opening the business to make money?  Then your bank account defines success…pure and simple and you better be investing your time and energy into how to market your business, who to partner your business with and how to get your name out into the community and world.  You had better also be finding ways to generate additional revenue or additional products or plans to expand your business into new markets if money is the driving force.  When I say money as the driving force, I mean that you are wanting more than just a living.  You are wanting excess for whatever reason that might be.  Please keep that in mind.

Since I consider myself a fitness professional, I will say that another method to measure success is in changing bad lifestyle habits into good ones.  You might define success by the thank you cards and before and after pics you receive.  Your success is defined by client retention and continued progress.  You might have absolutely no desire to become the next big name in fitness or have a multi-million dollar empire of gyms.  You just want enough to put food on the table and impact the lives of those around you.  If you define success as helping people you might even fight growing too big too fast.  You might fight the urge to give up that feeling of personal investment in each person you work with.  If you define your success in this manner, then you might only bring people into your business that have the same passion that you have.

There are countless other ways for you to define your success, but you have to do that up front.  You cannot change paths in the middle.  You also have to accept the reality of your business and the work that comes with it.  It does not mean that various methods cannot work together, but you must remember that when you go to sleep at night, there will be one thing that you use to define your success.

The simple truth is that you have got to figure out why you are doing what you are doing and not lose that perspective.  You have to work and grow in the areas that breed that definition of success.

Until next time…keep on pushing!

Take Inventory…Learn Something Everyday!

Here we go another round with the Barbell Poet, another opportunity to grow and learn something.  This past week, I have spent a lot of time turning down the noise and just listening for the nuggets of wisdom that I can hopefully pass along to you.  Get you the shorthand version to get your mind right and your training progressing on a trajectory that you want it to be and something that you can be happy with.

I have a couple challenges for you today.  As usual, I will give you the easy one first.  Learn something new every day.  This can be a fact, a skill, a training method, a movement.  Just learn something new each and everyday.  Learn a new stretch or a new way to move.  Learn some new fact or word.  But take the time to get out of your own world and bring something new into it.  It is important to grow.

Often in training sessions, we try to thrown new skills at people to work on or learn.  We try to present them with at least one thing that they need to focus on in their next session and why it is important.  That is the new thing.  The “why”.  I recently read a quote from Diane Fu where she said, and I paraphrase, I want build athletes that could be coaches.  That means that she does not simply tell them how to do something, there is an element of why to do it.  There is also the ability to break things down.

Which brings me to my second challenge.  And this one should be hard for you to accomplish.  If done right, you should learn something about yourself that you might not like.  But it will help you grow.

I want you to break yourself down.  I want you to take an inventory on yourself.  Really look at yourself and decide “What am I good at?” and “What am I NOT good at?”  Then evaluate that list and determine what on that list you are content not being good at and what on that list you want to improve or change.  The biggest part of that is also taking those pieces and determining what you are willing to give up and your level of commitment to change.  If you don’t have the time or the energy to change something that you are not good at, then you better start learning to accept the reality of who you are.  Own your shortcomings…understanding yourself will lead to less stress put on yourself.

This applies to our personalities (I am not the best as a friend, but I am a solid co-worker) as much as it does our training (I am lacking in absolute strength, but am a solid in my gymnastic movements…I am terrible at recovery protocol but consistent in getting 4 workouts in a week).  You do not have to share this shortcomings list with anyone.

When it comes to your training, you might want to share it with your coach and see how they can help you address the things you want to.  They will also be able to help you figure out how that will affect your current strengths and minimize losses.

Take the time to honestly assess yourself and see what you can learn about yourself.  Then take that and see how you can grow and learn something new everyday.  Start on your journey now!

Find Your Passion, Embrace the Mundane…

This post is a mix of everything out there.  You will have to apply it however you want to, to whatever item in your life you need to.  It might be your training, it might be your business, it can be anything, but it will affect how you approach your day-to-day tasks.

It is easy to get out of bed on Christmas, our birthday, the first day of school (for some or most).  It is easy to get excited on the first day of our job and the last day before we retire (I am guessing).  It is easy to put in the work when our motivation is high or when success keeps on rolling in.  It is easy when we know that we are in our element and are doing the good that we want to do.

But what about when we look up and realize that today is just another day at the office.  We may be doing what we love, but the motivation is just not there or maybe we hit that dry spell where everything we try seems to come up snake eyes.  We throw idea after idea after idea at the wall but nothing seems to stick.  What do we do then?

We must find a way to embrace the mundane.  We must see them as an obstacle, or something to get through in order to reach our bigger goal.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are far more mundane days that all look the same, than there are days where we jump out of bed on a motivational high…unless we learn to embrace the day to day and see them as the obstacles that we must overcome in order to achieve success.


It is not always going to be a huge paycheck, but you define it.  Make the mundane tasks, small opportunities to be successful.  If you replying to 50 emails, gets you closer to a major sponsor for your event or your business, then find excitement in each one.  Pour yourself into those 50 emails and try to make each contact see who you are and how you can help them as much as they can help you.

Maybe success to you is helping one person to lose 30 pounds.  They are your success story and you must find joy as they work through and only change one piece of their diet a month, and only show up to work out with you when you send them a text message a day.  Start to see the sending of the text message as your small success.

Every once in a while, let go of the forest and focus on each tree.  It is always good to see the big picture, but there is also beauty and majesty and awe in each and every tree.

In order for all of us to remain riding the highs of our passions, we have to find success and embrace the mundane steps it takes to get there.

If I can help in any way, please contact me!


Embrace the Quiet…Embrace the Struggle

Yesterday I had a solo lifting session.  I took advantage of the quiet and the stillness.  It was just me and the barbell.

I turned off the noise inside my head and turned off the noise in the gym.  No loud music to make me “go hard or go home”.  I turned up the self-awareness for each movement.  Instead of having to block out the noise, I just eliminated it so that I was the only thing driving myself.

How often do you do this when you train?

How often do you focus and make every lift about the lift?  Feeling out your own mistakes or taking the time needed to get your mind right to feel that PR come?

In the silence a scream to get out of the hole of your squat shakes the walls and the cobwebs from your mind.  You scream fighting gravity and throwing off anything that is weighing you down in the moment.

Every once in a while, embrace the quiet, embrace the struggle and come out stronger on the other side.

Helping Success Along…

In the last post, I talked about the concept of deferred gratification (read it here.)  How can I help that process along, aside from pulling my hair out or kicking the desk until I have reached the goal.

It really comes down to setting ourselves up for success.  In that regard we have two choices.  We can either try to rely on willpower to change us, or we can start turning the object we want into the path of least resistance.  If we want success, then we have to stop making all the things that hinder that success easier than success.

This means that we have to take the steps necessary to make our goals into more than steps, but full fledged habits.  How do we do this?

For getting through a change in our nutrition, we have to clean out the pantry and fridge of things that stop of from reaching our goals.  It has to be easier to eat healthy than it is to eat for convenience.  You must take the approach mentioned in the previous post about out of site-out of mind seriously.  It might actually mean finding different roads to travel down, so that you do not feel the urge to stop into your favorite fast food (or in my case coffee shop).

When it comes to making sure you get your training in, you put your gym bag in the car and if possible you change into your workout clothes before you leave the office or you pack your work clothes in a gym bag with workout clothes on top if you are a early morning workout junkie.  If possible your path home after work needs to go by the gym so that it is easier to stop than it is to keep on going home…no matter how tired you are.

Willpower will give out and it will fail.  Trust me, I know…I have been working for years on trying to change my morning routine.  Willpower alone will not get you there, you have to find a way to make the path to success more appealing than the path of comfort that you now know.

Some other examples people have done is rearrange the fridge so the healthy foods are easily accessible and at eye level.  Same thing with pantries.  Others have rearranged the living room so that working out is more appealing that watching tv (they also have taken the batteries out of their tv remote and put those in an inconvenient place) again so that being active is more appealing than hunting and climbing to get the batteries.

I want you to succeed.  So I encourage you to start setting up your path to success so that it looks more appealing that the path you have been on.

Let’s start developing some new patterns together!

Training, Nutrition and Deferred Gratification…Keys to Success

What I am sharing today is nothing new and I am not the first person to put these words on paper.  There are several others out there that understand this concept and probably understand it better than me.  I am throwing out the short hand version so that maybe today you can be motivated to put down whatever it is that is keeping you from reaching your goals…I heard most of this from Joe De Sena.  Go read his book to dive deeper into this philosophy.

Coke, candy, beer, wine, sugar, going out with friends until the wee hours of the morning…whatever it is, I ask you now…is it worth it?  Is this little taste that feeds your craving now worth giving up the bigger thing that you truly hunger for.  Is a slice of pizza now, worth giving up all the work that you did in the gym?  Is that glass of wine every night worth meaning you have to work an extra 2 hours tomorrow?  Is staying up and writing one more email worth the cost of not feeling refreshed and alive tomorrow.

In the words of Zach Even-Esh, “That shyt can wait!”

Give up the good for now, so that you can have something great later.  It’s called deferred (or delayed) gratification.  It started with an experiment back in the 1960’s and 1970’s with some kids.  They were brought into a room and given the choice between one treat now, and two treats if they could wait for 15 minutes.  The researchers left the room for the 15 minutes and returned to see how many were able to not give in.  There was no penalty for giving in, just no reward.

Some of the kids went a little crazy in order to hold off on eating the marshmallow.  Some pulled on their pigtails, others kicked the desk and others simply turned their back from the treat…out of site, out of mind.

Those that survived got two treats and all was well.

So what, you ask…well they went back and looked at these kids 20 – 30 years later.  And much to their surprise the kids that were able to delay gratification were much more successful in life.  They had better test scores on the SAT.

What in the world does that have to do with me and my training.  It really is quite simple.  If you want to reach your lifting and nutrition goals, you have to learn to have this mentality.  You must be able to delay gratification until you have reached a goal.  You have to give up your one cookie today for two tomorrow (or maybe you will lose the taste for cookies…and keep on your healthy path).  Give up the evening beverage now, so that when you reach your goals, it tastes that much sweeter (talking to you wine lovers).

It’s not easy, you will have to pull your own hair at times, or kick the desk.  But if you want to succeed in anything you have to give up the small taste of one successful moment for the grander goal of truly being successful.  You have to keep on delaying that urge to taste what is right in front of you now, for the promise of what is possible tomorrow.

This means sticking to your nutrition plan and your training plan.  It means committing to getting enough rest and recovery every night.  It means having realistic goals and being strong enough to walk away from something good for something better down the road.  It means get out of the mindset of “gotta have it now” and into the mindset of “If I really want it, it’s going to take some work!”

Let’s get started, let’s do some work!

It Can Always be Worse…

On my drive in today, I was listening to someone speak about mindset and the frame of mind that we must have in order to be successful.  He made a very simple point, that in this modern day and time, everything is too easy.  We live in a day and age of instant information, instant access to whatever we need.  When I say that we don’t have to work for things, there is a limited need to physical exertion in order to accomplish a goal.

Need dinner, drive to the local grocery store or restaurant and it is there.  Need to know the answer to a question, break out the phone and look it up.  While these innovations have made life simpler, how has it affected our mindset or how easily we think we should be able to attain our goals.

So how do you approach your success?  Do you believe that it should come quickly and overnight or can you accept the idea that it takes work and that means sacrifice.  It means that today is not as bad as it might appear on the surface.  We all must accept that getting anywhere truly worth it takes work.

It can always get worse.  Things can always change, and obstacles will always be in your way.  How are you going to react to them in order to lead a more productive life?  How are you going to adapt to the little voice that says, “I’m having a bad day, so I am going to skip the gym, eat that piece of cake?”  How do you react to those things that keep you from your goals?

Bad weather?  Bad day?  It could always be worse.

What obstacles can we help you get over?

Immerse Yourself in Greatness

We all have that dream to be better.  That is why we train.  We have something in us that makes us want to be better.  It might be a quest for better health or a journey for strength gains.  If you are like me, it was really just a quest to learn new things.  To challenge myself to see what I was capable of as I got older.

No matter what, there is a desire to be better.  I am here to say that the path to being better starts with who you surround yourself with.  Your coach and the program you are on, plays a role, but the people that you are around are the biggest piece of the puzzle.  You must train with and be around people that have surpassed where you want to be.  You learn a new language by immersing yourself in the language…the same is true in most any goal.

You must immerse yourself in a community of people that have mastered what you want to do.  You cannot simply get there by being the best in the room, you have to have someone to chase, someone to look up to and someone to get advice from.  Hopefully your coaches provide some of that, but there needs to be people in the trenches that give you this same challenge.

If you want to get stronger, work out with someone that was where you are at and has passed that…and chase them!  Keep the pressure on them to keep getting better and you stay motivated to get where they are.  Learn what they did and how you can use those tools.

Truly successful people want others to be successful as well.  People that excel in any area have knowledge they want to share to help others.  It is just a matter of asking.

So I throw this out to everyone.  If you have a goal, then start training with someone who has achieved it and ask them questions.  Tell them what you are doing and where your struggles are.  Once you get that piece, start busting your butt to get better every day.  Attack each day with a renewed mindset.  Do the little things, and do them right with passion…for yourself.