I became a fitness professional to help people. Not just people looking for great bodies or sports conditioning, but in every aspect of life. Like most of us getting into the industry, I was plugging along doing great work in a large health club chain. I was successful. Wasn’t I?
Everyone told me I was great with people, and I was made the fitness manager. I didn’t feel successful, at least not like I wanted to be. Don’t get me wrong. I was doing great things and helping a lot of people, but the feeling of success was missing.
It wasn’t until I had a chat with one of my clients that my career path changed forever. His name is Paul McCabe, a motivational speaker from Markham, Ontario. His contribution to the conversation was minimal in content, yet masterful in meaning. Here was that conversation.
Johnny: “Paul, how would I become as successful as you are today? I would like to be a speaker and writer so I can help people on a larger scale.”
Paul: “DECIDE TO!”
That’s all he said. Decide to. All I had to do was decide to become successful at whatever I wanted and I would. These words were burning in my brain for weeks. They became everything to me. They became my motto.
Ok. What now? I decided that I wanted to become successful. Where do I go from here?
First, I wanted to give it a little test with smaller scenarios. Think about this. If you decide to go to the mall, what happens? You go there. If you decide to go to the gym, you go there. If you decide to have chicken for dinner, poultry will be on the menu that night. So if you decide to be successful, YOU WILL.
Now I knew that the idea worked, but I needed steps to follow. If you have read any of my previous articles, you will see that everything has to follow a certain path or framework in order to work optimally. In this article, I will provide the entire framework and a brief description of each step. In Paul McCabe’s new book, Feed The Good Dog, he elaborates tremendously on these seven steps. This book is an absolute must read for all who wish to be successful. Let’s begin with the first step.
Step 1: Begin with an Attitude of Mind
The pose you strike, the posture you assume, the perspective you choose, the opinions you express, the behaviour you model and the temperament you display all speak about the person you are. You get out of life exactly what you are prepared to invest in it. Attitude is everything. Energy and enthusiasm are contagious.
Act successful, even if you are not yet where you want to be. Imagine that you have created everything you desire. You see, your brain cannot distinguish reality from vivid imagination, so don’t short change yourself in any way.
Step 2: Define Your Vision
Only when you feel that you have a comprehensive understanding of where you are now can you clearly define where it is you want to go next, and start to create the map that’s going to get you there. Identify your assets and your liabilities and set some goals.
On this site there are many articles to help you set some goals. Chip Richards may be the best resource for goal setting. Seek out people like Bobby Cappuccio, Phil Kaplan, Paul McCabe or myself. We have been through these steps and can help. Besides, that is the seventh step.
Step 3: Have Confidence in Yourself
Commit yourself to overcoming your fear of failure, tell yourself that you’re fully prepared to fail as many times as it takes to succeed, and you’ll find that you stop worrying about what people think. Force yourself to take some risks.
My own personal story is a great example of this. I had a terrible car accident and was left 60 pounds overweight and unable to walk for several months. It was at this time that I decided to become a fitness professional. I overcame the fear and enrolled in college. I knew people would look and talk. “A fat limping fool,” I thought would be the comments. To my surprise, that did not happen. It was great. I also finished at the top of my class and in shape. As long as you have confidence in yourself, you will be ready for the next step. You will succeed.
Step 4: Recognize Your Responsibility
Progress wants to happen. We’ve each been given something to add to our own lives and to this world that wasn’t here before we arrived, and it’s our responsibility to answer the call. Embrace change; become accountable for your future, and you’ll start making progress. Remember, the simple difference between dreams and reality is action.
I would like to share a story inspired by Loren Eiseley called, "The Young Man and the Starfish." It is the mission statement for my business. A wise man was taking a sunrise walk along the beach. In the distance, he caught the sight of a young man who seemed to be dancing along the waves. As he got closer, he saw the young man was picking up starfish from the sand and tossing them gently back into the ocean
“What are you doing?,” the wise man asked.
“The sun is coming up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die,” the man replied.
“But young man," said the wise man, "there are miles and miles of beach with starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference.”
The young man bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it lovingly back into the ocean, past the breaking waves. “It made a difference to that one,” he replied.
That young man's actions represent something special in each of us. We are all gifted with the ability to make a difference. Each of us can shape our own future. Each of us has the power to help achieve goals. This was the story that set my destiny. You can be a part of this. Visit the web site "Pay It Forward" to see how you can help me help everyone, one person at a time.
Step 5: Deal with Difficulties
En route to success, you’re going to face a series of obstacles. Don’t try to walk round them. Face up to whatever is in your way, clear the path and continue with the journey. Prioritize your problems, hold on tight to your objective, and seek out people who can help you live your dream.
You will have problems. There is no doubt about it. It is going to be the way you deal with those issues that will set you apart from those professionals that are not successful. If Edison quit trying to perfect the light bulb, even after 50 tries, we might still live in the dark.
Step 6: Become a Leader
Like anything else, leadership can be learned. Lou Holtz is right when he suggests that everything in life and everything in business is about helping other people get what they want. Develop a focus on servant-leadership.
Our business is all about helping people get what they want. RESULTS! The easiest way to ensure these results is to deliver more value than people expect. There are unlimited things you can do for your clients to give them more than they expect.
- Bring them a bottle of water.
- Bring them a snack.
- Go grocery shopping with them.
- Stay a little bit longer to answer some of their questions.
I have done and continue to do these things on a regular basis. It sets you apart from a large portion of the fitness professionals in the industry. Always remember, people don’t want someone to take them through a workout. They want someone to lead by example and empower them. If you deliver more than they expect, you are definitely ready for the next step for success.
Step 7: Pay It Forward
Often, the journey itself can be more significant and enlightening than the final destination. Master the simple art of saying thank you, and learn to turn your gratitude into a legacy. This is a favorite of mine. We have all seen or at least heard about the movie "Pay It Forward." On my site, I even have a page for visitors to pay it forward to others that would benefit from the information in my free newsletter and everything else I offer on my site.
I have started mentoring personal trainers and up and coming fitness professionals. For the most part, the people that I have been working with have not yet been jaded by the industry. They are all starting at health clubs, and I cannot believe some of the things that these clubs are having them do. The employing club of one girl that I am working with charged her $400 for a certification that is not even valid outside of that club.
We have to use our knowledge and experience to help and develop our industry. Let's make it strong. Let's catch the ones running east looking for a sunset and help them out. That is the final step in the success formula. Keep it going!