What a better way to celebrate Rick’s birthday and 29 years in business than sharing Rick’s key business lessons learned from along the way. We will go through the 10 key business lessons in greater detail to help gain insight on what running a fitness business for such a long time involves.
10 Business Lessons
1. The 10,000 Hour Rule
What this business lesson means is that you have to put in the work so you can be great at something. This applies to virtually everything in life. As discussed in the book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, the 10,000-Hour Rule is the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for around 10,000 hours. Rick describes how it applies to fitness and how fitness personal need to practice their craft to really be good at what they do if they want to be a manager, expert trainer, or a coach.
2. Everyone is Happy in a Box Until You Put Windows In It
Be honest about what you want of life. Don’t chase goals that you really don’t value just because other people are doing it. If you are happy being a trainer and helping clients reach their goals, don’t pursue other things that will take you away from that goal. Keep your head down until you are great at what you do and love. Stay your true North and don’t get caught in the comparison trap pursuing other people’s goals. Just because someone else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to do it. FOMO is a real deal right now, and it’s literally a psychological issue for some people. Whether it’s Instagram or whatever you just see on social media, you are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. You only see the final successful outcome. You don’t see all the hard work, sacrifice, or the opportunity cost a person went through to achieve their goals. So it makes you think you want to do it. It is really hard to be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want. It is really uncomfortable to put yourself out there and be honest, as discussed in a prior podcast The Imposter Syndrome.
3. Hard Conversations Now or Harder Conversations Later
Conversations are Hard. If you have to talk to someone, do it immediately. For example, if you have someone on your team you’re cross with or something is not going right, discuss it now. If you don’t and you let things go, it will come out later. Then it will be a much harder conversation. It may come out as a passive aggressive comment or even worse if you hold on to the issues for a long time, it will become a long list of things. Plus, the person might not even have a clue you were upset with them at all.
4. 99% of Entrepreneurship is Boring
The role of the CEO is to remind people to do the basic things? When you look at anything in the business is not doing well, it’s probably because you aren’t doing the basics. For example, in the Alloy gym there are seven core tenets. One tenet is to greet the members and say “Hello” and their name within 10 seconds of coming in the gym, consistently. So if that is not happening, it is the CEO’s job to remind the team. So understand entrepreneurship is more about that commitment to excellence of the basics than it is about the next big idea.
5. Get Over your Feelings
You need to understand that your feelings aren’t necessarily the reality in this business lesson. Just because something feels bad doesn’t mean that it’s inherently bad. You know, maybe it’s your take on it. Maybe it’s your lens on things. Maybe it was your upbringing. So if you’re going to be successful, long term in business, learn to disassociate your feelings from your reality. For example, fear can be good for you in sports because it can make you run fast and jump high, but it’s not the same as fear to avoid danger.
6. Time and Attention Are More Valuable Than Money
Don’t get distracted by things that are not important. There is so much messaging coming from every direction right now, it is hard to focus. Focus your time and attention on things that add value to your life, relationships, or business goals. For example, at home, if you are sitting down to watch a movie with your family, don’t be on your phone. How do you think the other person feels? If you are watching a movie together to share the experience and then the other person get’s on the phone checking email or social media, that’s rude. Turn your phone off. In the business world, it might be a team meeting and someone is tapping away on their phone. They aren’t paying attention to you or the conversation. So why are they even a part of the meeting? Don’t even have the phones in the meeting. The saying used to be time is money, by now in this day and age attention is money.
7. Get a Dog to Learn What Type of Leader You Are
Training a dog successfully is an amazing lens on leadership. If you can’t lead a dog you can’t be a good leader. Dogs only want to please you and if you give them a framework, expectations and you’re consistent they like behaving. All the things that would make you a good leader for people make you a good leader for dogs. So the reason Rick likes getting a dog is that the dog reflects to me how well I’m doing. It has nothing to do with them. Unlike a person, right? A dog is really obvious. And so if you have a dog that acts like a jerk that doesn’t listen to you, do you think it’s the dog’s fault? The answer is no. It’s your fault. You just haven’t put in the work.
8. It’s OK to be Wrong
Another important lesson for entrepreneurs is that it is okay to be wrong. You’d rather take some action today and be proven wrong later than be paralyzed by fear. There are lots of right and wrong decisions you can make in business. If you are afraid of deciding because you are afraid of making a wrong decision, then you get paralyzed, Paralysis analysis can weigh you down. As an entrepreneur, you can’t be that way. Mistakes are exactly what you should do. How do you grow without missing a few? It’s not a travesty to make a wrong decision. Wrong decisions are all learning experiences.
9. Do it Now
Thoreau said, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.” When someone tells you they are going to do something and then they don’t do it. Like someone saying they want to start a business and they never do it. Maybe it’s fear of failure. They are afraid to stick it out there because they don’t want to fail. How are you going to learn? There are no guarantees you’re going to make it. The longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be. So, if you have an opportunity that pops up that you really want to do, just do it.
10. Do the Right Thing
The final business lesson is decisions are hard, but sometimes making the right decision can be harder. The key thing about decisions is at the end of the day, when you put your head on the pillow, know it was the right thing to do.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. Again, you only see the tip of the iceberg, all the sexy stuff. But most of the work, it’s boring work. It’s hard work, you’re making decisions that affect other people’s lives. It’s really hard to do. It really is. So if you’re thinking about being an entrepreneur, it’s not for wimps. As long as your compass is good, and as long as you can go to sleep at night ,and feel good about what you’re doing, it’s a good thing.
Click Play on this exciting episode to hear Rick and Matt go through these top 10 business lessons.
- The 10,000-hour rule and how it applies to fitness (02:58)
- Everyone is happy in a box until you put windows in it (11:51)
- Hard conversations now or harder conversations later (20:16)
- 99% of entrepreneurship is boring (25:37)
- Get over your feelings (31:00)
- Time and attention are more valuable than money (37:04)
- Get a dog to learn what type of a leader you are (43:24)
- It’s okay to be wrong (47:47)
- If you can do it, do it now (51:46)
- DO the right thing (55:34)
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