The Experiment – Book #2 of 2015

Alright, so here we go with book review number two of the new year.  I have already completed several books but have to get their reviews posted.  I hope that I can get 1 or more done a week.  I will try to save them when I do not have something more beneficial to share.

The Experiment by R. Michael Anderson

As you read this book, you might feel that magically everything works out for the protagonist.  But suspend your want to critique the author for having everything work out and think about what you need to take away from this one.  This is a short and sweet read, so whether you like it or not, you can fly through it and take something away.

There are even some basic worksheets for you to work with in order to help you evaluate where you are at in your journey to balance your work and personal life.

But the biggest lesson to take away from this book is to only try to control those things that you actually can control.  That is to say, you can only control you.  You have no control over the situations that you face in life.  You have no control over other people.  All you have is wishes and desires for how situations play out and how others will treat you, but ultimately you have zero…yes zero control over them.  If they work out well for you, great.

The reason that they work out well for you is because you probably managed your responses appropriately.  The premise of this book is to make subtle changes to your behavior and each one of these changes is an “experiment”.  It might work out well for you and it might not.

The books asks you to look at how you react to situations and see if you are setting yourself up for the stress you are facing by not being able to react in a manner that sets you up for success.  It discusses having the discussions that you are afraid of and tacking obstacles instead of hiding from them and letting them weigh on your mind.

It also deals with starting to look within ourselves and seeing if we are really hearing what people are saying.  Are we responding to people in a manner that lets them know we hear what their needs are or are we responding in a manner that pushes them farther and farther away.

In this article, particularly the section on partners making “bids” for attention, there is some good information about why some relationships are successful and others aren’t.  It has to do with responding to what is really being asked for.

I give this book a “worth a read” recommendation partly because of the content and partly because I read it at a time when the information presented is something that I needed to be reminded of.  It helped me to remember that I control how I react and I can influence others by having the right reactions at the right time.  This means leading when it is necessary and stepping back when that too must happen.

It is a quick, quality read!

Let the Writing and Changes Commence

I took the leap and started writing a book.  A book for all of us that are doing the best that we can with what we have been given and in the process hopefully change a few lives for the better.  This book (which may never be finished) is being written for the business owner who just needs to know they are not alone in the struggle.  It is for me to get some ideas out and give something back.

It might be my wrapping up a chapter of my life and preparing for the next big thing that will come in life.  I cannot say for sure what the future holds, but fear is not going to hold me back any longer.  It is not going to leave me sitting on the edge guessing about whether or not I should or should not do something.  I will take that risk and put myself out there.

The worst that can happen is someone says they don’t like it.  They are just words.  They are in no way a reflection of my character or who I am.  I define that.  I get to write that story.

And the same is true for you!  You get to write your own story.  Who cares what the critics say about you!  Be great.  Find something that you excel at and throw yourself into it.  Find something that brings you joy and challenges you and go for it.  If you fail, you fail!  Get up and try something else.  Remember you write your story and you determine who you are…and no one can take away who you are.

Take that leap that is the biggest thing you want to accomplish in life and start working towards it.  It takes a whole lot of baby steps to accomplish anything great.  And the first step is always the most important.  It is the one that takes you from inactive to active.  It determines your momentum.  It takes you from a static to active.  It takes you from being on the sidelines to in the game.

It takes you from talker to doer!  It’s time to start making those changes.  Take action…and do what others only talk about doing!  Risk failure…and succeed!

The World Needs You!

Time to get in the game and get our minds right once again.  When it comes to being successful, a lot of it comes down to what is motivating us.  A lot of our success is built around why we do the things that we do.  If we were faced in a life or death situation, how would we approach it?

What would we sacrifice for our spouses or kids?

We react to the world based on how it affects us and those things that we view as important.  But here is the truth for many people, we do not see ourselves as valuable.  We see ourselves as protectors or caregivers to someone else and that can be true and often is, but we all have value independent of any role we or someone else places upon us.

The world needs you!

One of my goals in the new year is to not beat myself up or be too hard on myself.  I promised my wife that I would try.  It is not that I do not believe in myself, but rather, I don’t always see myself as unique or special.  She tells me I am full of it.

And she is right.  The world needs me and it needs you.  It needs you to be bulletproof on a regular basis so that you can take chances and make changes.  It needs you to be confident in your decisions so that you can follow through on them and not just let them settle to the bottom of your to-do list.

The world needs you to be daring and chase the things that you are good at and things that fulfill you.   The world needs you to know that you matter and are worth making the changes necessary for so that you can be the best version of yourself.

AND you don’t have to do that for anyone but yourself.  If you are willing to step up to the plate for yourself all the other things that you have to take care of will fall into place and take care of themselves.  You will be a better spouse, a better parent, a better employee because you are starting to work for yourself and not feeling like all these other things are holding you back from your happiness.

Your perspective can and will change if you allow yourself the simple pleasure of saying “I’m good at this” or “I did this well” or even “I had a good day”.  We live far too often on a quest for the gloomy day and feel guilty when something good happens.  I give you permission to stop that now and accept that we all deserve some good things and we all deserve to be happy about those things.

And from those things, you grow and you become who the world need you to be.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad…Business Book Review #1

Alright world, so I have the goal of reading over 50 books this year. If there is anything in any of them that I find useful or worth sharing, I will share it with you.

So, I start with the first book…Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.

I thought that books best point was to help people understand that they need to change their point of view. The central focus is based in not working for money, but making money work for you. This book was really just a foundation for several of the other books written by Kiyosaki and the Rich Dad company.

That being said, there are several great pieces of truth in this book. Among them are tidbits that emphasize “paying yourself first” no matter what. And from the hard times that might come, you will tap into new ways of thinking that will help us generate income. It points out that when our back gets pushed against the wall, we get creative and find ways to be successful and make ends meet.

For me, after finishing the book, I was curious how many small businesses actually make their money work for them. I am not talking about setting yourself up as a company so that the tax burden is reduced (a topic touched on in the book), but rather how many businesses actually put their money to work for them.

I am a member of several groups of people that own small businesses and I always see the same comments and questions. How do I get more people in the door? Should I sell this product in my gym? And after reading this book, I want to encourage people not to go with the big name company, but rather find a smaller company that you can actually invest in and not just buy their product. Is there a company that you align with that will do the work and help return a larger profit to you. Instead of buying the best selling sports recovery drink, is there a smaller company looking to break into the market or a different supplement company or product that you can actually put money in to and not have to continue to re-order in order to make a profit. Just throwing an idea out there.

If you think about it, it has worked out pretty well for Reebok…they put a ton of money into this movement known as CrossFit. CrossFit was growing and they got in on the ground floor. The money they put into CrossFit helped it to grow, but there was no clothing company involved with them. They invested in the movement and look what CrossFit did for them. CrossFit grew and Reebok did not have to do anything…they just put their money on this growing trend. And next month Nike will be trying to break into the market.

Just something to think about…

The biggest thing that I would encourage any individual or business to take away from this is look for opportunities to take some chances and start having your money work for you. Find ways to encourage your staff to bring money into your business and give them opportunities to reap some of the benefits.

In the Garage with the Barbell Poet…Episode 1

Here we go…the first episode of the podcast.  Just getting started, so the next one will be better.  Onward and upward.  Thanks for supporting me on this adventure!

 

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A Little Business Advice…A Basic Step!

I am a member of several groups that deal with running a gym and ways to do that effectively.  The thing that amazes me, is that most people that chose this path are generally not interested in business.  For many it was a matter of wanting to train people but not work for someone else or a belief that “I can do this better than them…”

The problem is that trainers train.  If you are not in any shape, form, or fashion interested in business, then just be a damn good trainer.  Be the best trainer there is and have people come from miles and miles away to train with you.  Charge a large amount for your private training and grow a reputation for yourself.

That is the truth if you do not want to invest in learning business for yourself.  If you do not want to learn business tactics, sales, marketing, etc, but still want to work for yourself then your first hire had better be someone that is passionate about those very things.  You will want this person to help you set up procedures and processes that will make life easier as you grow.  Bringing someone in that can help you market and has a passion for sales at the beginning can save you a lot of stress and headaches.

When you look at some of the names out there that would be considered to have made it big, you will find that they either busted their butts to learn business tactics or are a part of a team with at least one person that is passionate about the challenge that is actually running a business.  These are the people with the ideas and develop the “product” that is sold.  They find ways to get in front of people and draw them in.

As someone who is growing more and more passionate about the business side of things, it can be a little frustrating to see how many people out in the world want everything handed to them.  They want all the shortcuts they can find, but are not willing to invest the time to find their own path.

Sadly, that is the only way to find true success.  It really matters little where you rank on Google, Yahoo, or Yelp because you just have to work hard at your business.  Just as each person that decides to open their gym is probably putting in the time on the weights and developing their training program, the same energy, passion and time must be devoted to developing the business program.

This is not like the movies…just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come!

The World and Training…Do What Makes You Better!

I am not going to pull punches and sit back and not admit that I do not like the direction that the world is headed.  I am disappointed with how the mindset and ideals are perpetuated here in the US.  It carries over into everything that we do and it keeps us from being great.  We value entertainment over education.  We do not value hard work as we once did.  The same has happened in our training mindsets.  We want to do those things that are deemed sexy and we want a quick fix to real problems.

The simple truth is, that it took many of us years and years to get into the shape that we are in (good or bad) and so it will take some time to change it (if we are in bad shape).  It doesn’t happen overnight.

I believe in what I will call the Einstein Approach to fitness…everything should be as simple as possible but not simpler.

Let your training spill over into your real world work ethic.  Start with the basics and get really good at those.  I know that pushups, pullups, squats, and static holds are not the most entertaining or exciting things in the world, but they get you moving correctly.

Can you force yourself to do 30 perfect squats or hold a perfect squat position for 20 seconds one week, 30 the next, etc?  It’s not entertaining, but it is valuable as a learning progression and keeps you safe.  What about a perfect pushup, 10? 20? 50?  Most of us would rather move past the pushups and the squats and pick up a barbell and move some weight.

I am all for moving weight but why put yourself at a risk for injury?  I love moving weight (barbell poet…anyone?) but you miss the beauty of simple movements and their benefit to your body as a whole when you neglect them.  You lose a piece of quality training when all you do is focus on moving big weights.  Bodyweight work should be your foundation in movement.

Why?

Because it teaches you how to control the muscles in your body.  It teaches you how to engage and release the muscles for a given response.  Solid bodyweight movement will help you understand engagement better so that as you work on your lifts you know how to correct the faults that your coaching is instructing you on.

I love the basics.  I believe in the basics.  I believe in constantly perfecting your movements so that something that is difficult for the general population you can perform in a manner that looks easy.  When it looks easy and beautiful, you have gained some mastery over the element.

Get back to basics, learn to hang from a bar for a minute, engage the core, hold a hollow, hold a plank, perform a perfect engaged pushup, execute a perfect squat.  I promise your lift numbers will go up…and you will move better than you ever have before.

Blog Changes Coming

Hopefully this week, I will be able to make some changes that makes finding posts that you want to read easier.  Like training everything is a process and a journey.  I am learning and growing in that just as you are hopefully growing in health.

One of the primary things that I will be doing is changing the menu to reflect the categories that I typically try to write in.  I will break them down into the following areas – mindset, training philosophy, and business practices to start (with a possibility of daily training).  If more categories are needed then I will take the steps to get those out there to you.  I welcome your feedback on what you need to better yourself and your business.

I want you to get the information that you need to take the next steps in your life and your journey.  So as always…keep pushing and if you need anything please contact me.

Work Hard…You Have a Right To Succeed

A little more fired up this morning.  Got some good sleep last night, some coffee in the tank and am getting things done this morning.  Got back into the gym early today and that is always nice!  So here we go…

You have a right to succeed.  Soak that in.  Read it slowly…

You…HAVE…A…Right…To…Succeed!

You do.  Don’t listen to all the noise that is out there in the world today about everyone deserving everything.  The world has gotten soft and entitled.  You have a right to succeed and be successful, but that is not a guarantee by any measure.  But you are entitled to your success if you put in the WORK!

If you don’t work, you are not entitled to anything.  If you do not try, you have a right to fail and no one should be expected to tell you “good job” or “maybe next time”.  If you do not do anything, then the reward is nothing.  But work, put in consistent effort to get from point A to point B and you will get something.  You will learn, you will grow and you might end up making a name for yourself.

You might make some money, you might find your passion and find your calling in life, but you will succeed somehow.

I get frustrated with society these days.  I was raised on hard work, setting out to do something and working until it was done.  I would stay up late to get things done.  I got up early to get things done and I took responsibility when I failed to get it done.  I hate excuses.

But I also hate seeing someone feel guilty because they are successful.  I hate seeing people feel like they made a mistake by getting somewhere in this world or in this life.  STOP!  If you worked hard, put in the time and effort and didn’t just ride the coattails of someone else, then you have a right to your success.  Don’t feel guilty about getting ahead.

If the people around you make you feel guilty for getting somewhere in life, surround yourself with different people who want to see you get bigger and better.  Surround yourself with people who help you realize that there is no mountaintop of success, just a longer journey to continue to grow!  Leave nothing in the tank.  Bust your butt day in and day out to be your own version of successful.

And OWN that!  Be proud of it!

Take some sort of action and own it.  Be willing to take the wrong action, but do not remain silent and cower in the corner afraid to try something.  Some things will fail…deal with it!  Some things will succeed…deal with it!  Stand up and take that first step and start working.

Want to clean up your diet, get in the pantry and throw out the things that you know shouldn’t be there.  Have a bonfire and burn those calories.  Feel the burn!

Want to get in shape.  Don’t buy a treadmill, get a friend and make a date with them to go run everyday or show up at a gym and learn to lift (better yet…do both!).  Get outside, get accountable and get moving.  Put in the work!  Start and then just keep moving.

Want to start a business, then start learning how to go about that.  Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you start…find out what you need to get started and get there.  It will never be perfect; there will always be one more thing that you need to do.  So get to the edge of that cliff and jump…trust your wings and fly.  And keep doing that every day and embrace the challenges and the journey that you are now on!

You have a right to the hard work and the success that comes with it!

New Year…Goals for 2015

Here it is, the first post of the new year.  There are a lot of new things to come out this year that I hope will help everyone out as they tackle the new year.  I hope to get a little more personal here in this space.  I might upset some people with what I have to say, and I am good with that.  I hope to inspire people to take action.  To tackle challenges and to push their limits and that includes what they accept.  This world is a scary place at times, and a beautiful place at others.  Time to get real, so here are my challenges for the upcoming year.

Be more Confident! – Pretty simple.  Stop worrying about what everyone will think of my ideas or if they are good or not.  I have been around the block a time or two, so it is time to trust in the lessons I have learned.  Which leads to the second challenge of the year..

Take Action! – I won’t wait for someone else to prove that my idea is good or bad.  If I want to tackle a project, I will.  Go ahead and try and stop me.  I am not here to waste away.  The people that I admire most in the world speak of taken action and accepting that challenges in front of you.  I will write more, and start up the podcast…so get ready for more regular updates.  It’s gonna happen!

Enough IS Enough! – That is to say, that I do not want to always be on a quest for more.  I do not need more.  I have everything that I need.  Enough really IS enough.  I can stop chasing more and and embrace all that I have already.

Enjoy my Training! – I am going to enjoy my training.  I will be taking on some obstacle course races this year, but the focus of my training will be on encouraging other to get out there and train with me.  It doesn’t have to be a crazy workout and I do not have the be the biggest guy in my gym.  I just want to get back to the basics and love what I do.

Embrace the BASICS – I am going to get back to the basics and some solid movement.  Yes, I call myself the barbell poet, but it all starts with good body mechanics and gymnastic movements.  I am going to get back to that this year.  And I am dragging people with me!  Perfect movement is that poetry in motion!  Don’t worry I am not leaving the barbell behind…just going to move better with it.

And Finally…

Focus on Others!  – It really is what drives me.  I just want to give back.  Helping others see the value of quality training and nutrition drives me and are the lessons that I want to pass along to my daughters.  So I will refocus on others.  It will be a year about what I can give and what needs to be given up so that everyone gets my best!

What are you shooting for in the new year?