According to economist Paul Zane Pilzer in his book The Wellness Revolution, the wellness industry generates $200 billion in annual sales. By the end of this decade, it will become the next trillion dollar industry. The interesting thing is that 15 years ago, it barely even existed. Where would you be if you were positioned to take advantage of the prosperity presented by the cellular revolution, the automotive industry or the computer industry as it was approaching critical mass? As you ponder the answer to this question, get your imagination fully engaged. What would you be doing with your time? The answer is, anything you wanted to! Does the idea of having numerous choices afforded to you and a career path that is paved with opportunity excite you? If not, this article is probably not for you. If so, congratulations because the industry you have chosen is about to lead a twofold revolution. The first battle of the revolution is to assist people in our urbanized sedentary society that are inundated with compound stressors, pharmaceuticals, artificially engineered food and technology induced immobilization to take their health back. The second battle will be waged by the allied forces of wellness and free enterprise. Although the subject of free enterprise goes beyond the scope of this article, your ability to capitalize on the emerging opportunities in this industry depends on your mindset and preparedness. In every aspect of your life, the results you produce in your outer world are dependent on the state of your inner world.
The gateway to opportunity is always guarded by challenge. As this industry offers greater and greater opportunity, it will simultaneously present equal challenges. Just to illustrate a few:
- According to Pilzer, the number of people in the US who are overweight has doubled since 1980. Currently, 61 percent of all Americans are overweight and 27 percent are clinically obese. These numbers have increased 10 percent in just four short years.
- By the year 2000, there were 80,000 ACL injuries occurring each year, with 70 percent non-contact. Currently, this number is about 125,000.
- According to Chaffin in his book Occupational Biomechanics, there is $120 billion spent on musculoskeletal injury.
- Within our sedentary society, there is a correlation between an increase in injury accompanying increase in recreational activity.
- The consequences of our sedentary lifestyle both to our health and finances are astounding. According to IHRSA, from 1987 to 2000, the direct medical costs associated with physical inactivity more than doubled, from $29 billion to nearly $76.6 billion. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two thirds of American adults do not engage in regular leisure time physical activity.
- Interestingly enough, the health care industry, or more accurately the sickness industry, has grown to $1.5 trillion.
- A June 2006 survey sponsored by IHRSA found that while most Americans (91 percent) admittedly believe that exercising at a health club would improve their overall health, only 18 percent of those surveyed actually belong to a health club.
- Market penetration isn’t necessarily more impressive abroad. In both European and Asian countries, health clubs have yet to produce a 10 percent market penetration. Regardless of differences in lifestyle, one common link among all of these nations is the rapid increase of technology. Where there is an increase in technology, there is a decrease in activity. Ask yourself if you can find any reasonable evidence that this trend is changing any time soon.
In conjunction with the increasing complexity of our clients' needs is the increasing amount of choices afforded to them. Greater choices mean greater expectations and demands. Furthermore, the age of the employee is dead. Whether you work for a company or are independent, experience and previous education are becoming increasingly obsolete. You will be evaluated more and more on your present performance or, in other words, what you produce. Peter Drucker, who was perhaps the most widely respected business guru of the last half a century, said “Everything you learned is wrong – at best, it is misleading and insufficient.” He doesn’t mean your entire education is fundamentally flawed, but rather, the world is changing so fast that it makes even the most efficacious areas of knowledge erroneous. Education is no longer something you are required to have but an indispensable habit to fully engage in each day, throughout your life.
In short, the emerging trillion dollar industry we are in will offer enormous opportunity and redistribution of wealth in the next five years, if we are prepared!
Decades ago, Gordon Moore, the founder of Intel, asserted that in the future (which is now) technology (in our case information) will double every 18 months while the cost to produce that technology will drop in half. Today, we refer to this as Moore’s Law. This means that your value in the marketplace over the next five years is not based on what you have learned but on your ability to grow in competency, through an unceasing acquisition and application of knowledge.
The writer and philosopher Eric Hoffer said, "In times of change, the learner will inherit the earth while the learned are beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists."
The growing dynamic complexity of the world we live in may render our current mental models obsolete. Our mental models and assumptions that were developed through what we have learned so far may be dated or completely erroneous in the future. An individual who is highly qualified and flourishing in her career today may find herself frustrated and struggling tomorrow. Irrespective of what we have learned, there is no such thing as a sustained competitive advantage. Rather, the measure of success we experience in the future will result from constant reinvention of our competitive advantage.
The skills we acquire and develop this year are in direct proportion to how we use our 86,400 seconds today, every day for the next 12 months. What one to two skills, if you were to master them, would have the greatest affect on your career? What do you need to commit to doing every day that will enable you to move closer and closer to mastery? What habits do you need to develop to make the 24 hours allotted to you your servant, rather than your master?
If you are reading this right now, your actions demonstrate both desire and intelligence. By reading rather than spending time on something else, you reflect an obvious desire to be, have or do more in your career. It also demonstrates your intelligence in understanding how to acquire the information and resources to fulfill that desire. This is inarguably true if your description of intelligence is having certainty about your desired outcome and engaging in behaviors that match your desires. Yet many people state that they desire one thing, but their behavior is in contradiction to their aspirations. For example, many people say they desire to be thin and yet show no regard to portion control or their choice of food. We all know people who say they desire to be rich and yet they go into debt by squandering their money on things that have no return on investment.
The reason for this contradiction between stated goals and actions could be for many reasons including lack of self worth, fear of failure, the belief that they are undeserving of success and many other psychological barriers to taking consistent action that is congruent with their desired results. Yet I believe that often, it’s the lack of confidence that stems from not knowing what to do. Some people do not develop themselves because they don’t know where to begin. They haven’t taken the time to conduct a mental inventory of their attributes, liabilities and the resources necessary to create a success strategy.
Francis Bacon said that “Knowledge itself is power.” In today’s world, knowledge by itself is becoming more and more irrelevant. You only possess power when you have the means to get what you want. Therefore, knowledge is potential power. When you are clear on the end result, you desire and have the ability to employ knowledge strategically as a means to achieving a predetermined ends. It is then you have power. Therefore, your education plan serves as a personal achievement plan. Your personal achievement plan is analogous to a success roadmap. A roadmap is only effective to the degree it provides you with three essential pieces of information:
- A roadmap must specify the exact destination.
- It must identify where you are starting from.
- It must detail exactly how you can get from where you are now to where you desire to go.
Prior to developing a success strategy, you need to assess the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities you have as well as potential threats that may obstruct future accomplishments. This assessment is known as a SWOT analysis. The purpose of a SWOT analysis is to determine how to allocate your time, energy and resources, so that your education plan has the highest degree of transference in producing tangible results in the present and can facilitate the progressive realization of your long term goals for the future. To complete a SWOT analysis, take the time to answer the following questions.
- S- Strengths:
- What are your areas of excellence in the training you offer?
- What is your point of differentiation/distinction? How are you perceived by the members?
- What is the key reason members want to train with you?
- W- Weaknesses:
- What past experiences with a client did not go well?
- What areas of performance are you not confident in?
- What skills have you not upgraded or refined within the past six months?
- O- Opportunities:
- What unique areas of specialization can you use to your advantage?
- What unique trends do you believe will benefit your clients and company?
- Who is or will be your target market? What are their greatest areas of pain and frustration? What do they desire most? Why?
- T- Threats:
- Where are you unable to meet your clients’ needs?
- What are some emerging needs in the fitness industry that you are not currently prepared to meet?
- Where might you or your company be taking members or clients for granted that other trainers and clubs could capitalize on?
Upon completion of this SWOT analysis, you should have a relatively clear idea of what areas of education you need to pursue. The next step is identifying the tactics or actions you must engage in every quarter, month, week and most importantly every day in order to bring your future goals into your current reality.
If you’re going to make this year the most successful of your career, you need to have 365 successful days. Everything in life comes down to what you are willing to do right now. Now is the only time you will ever have. When yesterday was born, it came into the world as now. Tomorrow, when it arrives, will be now in that moment.
What are the things you need to do every day in order to progressively move toward becoming who or what you desire to be? If you are an independent trainer, how many prospects do you need to contact every day in order to acquire one client? How many leads do you need to generate? How many calls do you need to make?
Do you plan on generating business by appearing at special community events, through your web site or maybe by appearing as a speaker? What is one action you can take immediately that will enable you to book your first speaking event?
If you work inside of a health club, what is your plan for developing a clientele? How many people are you going to touch within the next month or week, and how does that map back to what is required of you today? Are you asking yourself the following questions and then taking action once you determine the answer?
- How many people will I contact this week?
- How many follow up calls will I make?
- Did I contact everyone I called?
- How many appointments were scheduled?
- What is my ratio of calls/contacts to appointments?
- How many of my appointments were no shows?
- How many presentations does it take to make one sale?
- How many points of follow up will it take me to make a sale?
By answering these questions, you will be able to determine:
- Your closing percentage (the number of people you contact vs. the number of people that will become a client).
- The activities and number of steps necessary to produce a client.
- Your areas of competency vs. areas where you require further development.
The Pygmalion effect states that you will perform in accordance with your self expectancy and the expectancy that other people of influence have of you. Therefore, the greater your self expectancy, the greater the magnitude of your achievement. Or as Deepak Chopra says, the “expectancy determines outcome.”
The difference between people who merely make a living and those who make a difference lies in their expectation of themselves. You can either expect to live a life of passion and purpose or expect to live a fear-based self fulfilling prophecy, dreading events and insults that have not yet occurred. Fear is false evidence appearing real.
One day over coffee, my Pastor said something to me that was interesting. He said, “If you want to have influence, you must be influential.” I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but then he followed up with a profound statement. He continued, “If you want to change a life, you must be willing to give a life.” I knew instantly what he meant. This meant that great reward is the result of unwavering commitment. The only life you can ever give is your own. If you have an aspiration you intensely desire to see fulfilled, anything less than absolute surrender will be insufficient to bring it to fruition. If you hold on to any reservation, you will fall short of your potential. To go up, you have to give up. German philosopher Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans, that the moment one definitely commits one's self, then providence moves too."
Anyone who has overcome seemingly insurmountable odds or who has inspired us by the measure of their accomplishment has done so through a clear vision, supreme self expectancy and the willingness to commit themselves to persevere until they have exhausted failure to the point that it abandoned them.
When I think of the power of the human spirit to persevere and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, I think of Wilma Rudolph. Wilma was born on June 23 in Clarksville Tennessee. From her first day of life, the odds were against her. At a birth weight of just four and a half pounds, her life begin as a battle for survival. As a young child, she barely survived illnesses such as pneumonia and scarlet fever. By the time she was five years old, her legs started to weaken and deform from Polio. At age five, this little girl was immobilized without the aid of leg braces and a special shoe. She had completely lost the use of one of her legs, and her doctor’s prognosis was that she would never have normal use of her legs. To the experts, Wilma Rudolph was hopeless, and yet her mother remained hopeful. After all, experts built the Titanic, but faith built the Ark. Her mother made her endure intense physical therapy four times per day. Results, if they came at all, were painstakingly slow, and the physical and emotional pain was excruciating. I’m sure there were times when she would look up at her mother with tears in her eyes, begging her not to make her suffer just for one day, because this little girl had not yet grasped that every miracle begins with impossibility; therefore, she did not understand the meaning in her suffering. Can you imagine what her mother must have gone through seeing her daughter in pain, failing to grasp the love and faith that was behind it, begging to rest just one day? But her mother was willing to have Wilma experience pain and occasional tears, so that she could one day experience triumph.
After six years of struggle and suffering, her perseverance paid off. One Sunday morning, at the age of 11, a very young Wilma Rudolph took off her braces and walked down the aisle of her church. At that moment, she was able to see possibilities in circumstances, seemingly impossible. Her self expectancy expanded enough to allow herself to be encouraged to participate in sports at school. She played basketball and soon found her way to track and field. Before long, Wilma competed and came in last place in her first race at school. From never being able to walk, she ran! Do you find that inspiring?
It would be, but it doesn’t end there - not even close! Your reference group is one of the most powerful determinants of your success in any area of your life. Not only do you need to possess great self expectancy, but you need to surround yourself with people who have high expectations of you. Wilma had two such people in her life, first her mother and then Coach Ed Temple. Coach Temple encouraged Wilma to train with him at Tennessee State University. Not a stranger to hard work, she now had the power of belief and self expectancy driving her.
On September 7, 1960 in Rome, Wilma Rudolph became the first woman to ever win three gold medals in one Olympic games. Wilma was never meant to walk; she was born to run and she did. The sickliest little girl in Tennessee will be remembered as one of the greatest female runners in history.
If failure were not an option, what great triumphs of achievement would you dare to expect out of you?