Quick Note: I have just 3 spots left in my online training cycle that starts in June. 8 weeks of ridiculous programming, tight nutrition protocols, and a stream of one-liners in your inbox. So many of my spots filled up once I asked my current trainees if they wanted to run it again. So, let me know if you want in by sending am email to Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org
*This cycle is going to have lots of hip thrusts!!!!
Sometimes I want to write about something bigger than just fitness. Life is a much more complicated endeavor than that of fitness, although the parallels are surely undeniable. As a writer, I occasionally grow tired of simply thinking in terms of muscles and repetitions. It can become a burden to generate content that only speaks to a particular segment of the population, and frustrating to think that people think you should "just stay in your lane".
To some extent they are right. I certainly have no business publishing a blog on the topic of high-end investments and price indexes in emerging markets. Furthermore, I don't have the credentials to speak on something like cyber security, or the life experiences to write on a topic such as depression, social issues, or the literary value of T.S. Eliot and E.E. Cummings.
Yet, I believe in more than just fitness. Surely, I find that much of my life is centered around it, and my success is due largely to my constant involvement within in its universe. Still though, lessons learned along my journey certainly apply in other circles beyond fitness, and it isn't a stretch to extrapolate those points outwards into greater, more inclusive topics.
Everyone wants to be more successful. I've yet to meet someone who seriously stated, "I wish I was worse at -blank-". Whether a person simply wants to achieve more success in a specific area of their lives such as fitness or financial stability, or they want to become an image of success in all standards - the fact is - they want it.
People want to be successful bad enough to purchase books on the topic, attend conferences, and even fork over thousands of dollars to be a part of "mastermind" groups. Now, I'm not saying that these aren't worthwhile investments - quite the contrary. Success is for those willing to invest in it. Time and money are both equally important currency when it comes to climbing the ladder of success.
Not all forms of good advice to need to pull heavily on these aforementioned forms of currency though.
Thankfully, this is a free website - and so, it cost you nothing to access this article and read its contents (aside from the cost of technology and service, which you were going to use for Facebook and cat pictures anyway....)
I'm also going to get into the 3 Actions right now, and stop using anymore of your time to build the introduction to this article. Thus, this article is much lighter on your time than a three hundred page book.
To the article -
1. Have a Personal Statement (ACTUALLY live by it)
Much like a mission statement found on a company's website - a personal statement stands as a first point of contact in terms of what you stand for. It is the elevator pitch for your ethics, attitudes, and priorities.
I discovered mine through joking around, but soon enough found that my words embodied everything I wanted to be known for. Let me share that story quickly -
When I first started to find "success", not long after my second appearance on Men's Health Next Top Trainer, the nod as "Top Ten Fittest Trainers" by Women's Health, and a slew of articles with my name in the byline - people, clients, friends, and family alike would ask me -
What is your secret?
I'd jokingly respond: "I just wake up everyday and put my pants on. I try as hard as can at everything until I take them off. Sometimes I keep trying hard then."
It was a way of deferring the praise, remaining mildly humble, and cracking a joke at myself at once.
Yet, soon enough it became meaningful to me. It is the truth. I really do wake up everyday and put my pants on and try really hard. I don't stop trying until I'm right back in bed falling asleep.
So I stuck with it.
I now say "I wake up everyday, put my pants on, and try as hard as I can".
That is my personal statement. It doesn't go overboard in trying to describe every aspect of who I am or what I do. There are no mentions of training, fitness, or asparagus.
Far too many people are desperate to add buzzwords and fancy descriptions to their statement. It loses value and honesty quickly. It actually reads as a need to be seen, and not as a pure representation of who they are and what they stand for.
What matters to you? How do you want to be seen when you walk in, and when you walk away?
Ask these questions and develop your statement.
2. The next Thing That Goes Wrong - Start to Make Excuses - Then, JUST STOP
If you think that you are going to become "successful" and not encounter situations that go awry, or circumstances that you down right F*** sideways, then you are truly going to struggle to achieve your goals.
Things aren't always going to go your way. Period.
What separates those who succeed from those who get close enough to smell its aroma is one simple action.
They don't make excuses.
They accept responsibility when appropriate. They'll call out others, including loved ones, when it is necessary. Most importantly, no matter what happens they'll attribute failure to dumb-luck, bad days, or aliens.
When something goes wrong it is most important to figure out why it went wrong; not defer blame to protect your self esteem, image, or both.
Our founding father and first President, George Washington, is on record as saying "It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one". Even then, as the world around him was cobblestone homes, wood and iron muskets, and redcoats - George Washington didn't have time to hear your excuses.
Let that sink in. In a period without the internet, cars, and text messages - there still existed a senseless in making excuses. Even when time was plenty it was an unacceptable use to forge an excuse.
So, the next time you find yourself in a situation that didn't go exactly how you planned it do as you always do. Get frustrated. Get flustered. Begin that rationalization process that starts with a flow of confusion and ends with a bucket of excuses. Begin to open your mouth to pour your excuses into the space around you...
Then stop; close your mouth, and rewire your thinking. Accept responsibility in the moment even if it isn't your burden to wear. Assess the process and outcome and find the flaw in the system. Don't explain what you are thinking - just address the problem.
Soon enough you'll be out of the habit of making excuses and on to the habits of being accountable.
3. Work After You Are Done "Work"
I am certainly no John C. Maxwell. Yet, in recent times I've found myself having conversations with individuals about success, the process, and what it means to "make it". Whether they be fellow trainers or friends on Facebook I've found myself speaking about what it means to "work".
Generations before us it was enough to simply show up to work and log your hours. You'd punch in and clock out with kisses from your wife and kids on either end of the time stamp. Every morning brought another workday and another opportunity to do your best during your shift. Promotions were part politics, part tenure, and part production during working hours.
Honestly, it was a simpler time. Yet, with that simplicity came a binding relationship to "the man". You worked when they said work, and you didn't when they didn't call. Your salary was a set wage, and if you were lucky you were represented by a union. Even then corruption found itself taking money from miners, factory workers, and public servants and placing it in the hands of politicians.
It is all there was, and it was the path to success.
Time has passed and this way of life hasn't necessarily become history. Shift work, union disputes, and hard-times are the American way for millions.
Getting out of this rut requires more than just "work". It requires a willingness to sacrifice your personal time to make progress in your career.
It is the mother of two taking night classes for her degree so that she can leave her current job and chase her dream to be a nurse - a job that would provide even better for her family.
It is the personal trainer who just finished a thirteen hour day at the gym coming home and cracking open a textbook for a new certification, or programming their client's next workouts before bed.
It is the Army Ranger taking classes for his MBA to better position himself for a life after the military.
The examples are almost endless. There are people in every walk of life chasing every possible dream permutation who are putting more time into themselves and their career then their peers.
If, however, you are the type of individual that is always quick to clock out and crack a beer, turn on your television, or whatever you do to burn away time, then it won't be surprising if you never achieve your potential. You need to be willing to work when you aren't being paid for it.
For some reason people see their "personal" time as "fun" time. As though they are given 128 hours a week for whatever they feel like doing and forty to give to labor. This attitude won't create success.
Work in the dark so that you can shine in the light.
The journey towards a more successful life shouldn't feel like rocket science. It takes hard work, a commitment to growth, and a willingness to fail, learn, and fail again. No matter what world you find yourself in, and no matter what specifics mean the most to you - you want to be more successful.
It is important to have a code, avoid excuses, and be willing to work when no one is watching.
It was actually fun to write about something other than fitness, although much of these principles can apply directly to a pathway to better health and wellness. Being strong, being accountable, and being down to work your hardest at all times are traits of any successful person.
Stay well. Stay focused. Stay Successful.