This past weekend I spoke at a conference for Fitness Entrepreneurs. One of my mentors, Paul Reddick, had asked me to speak about growing a business from scratch, dealing with the ups/downs of business & life, and how to do more of what you want to do (for me, specifically travel), and to relate it back to the principals we learned from the Mastermind Group.
As I looked at my life to this point, I noticed an over-arching theme I wanted to share with you. It’s something I could never articulate until I met Paul; and yet I practiced it much of my life, starting when I was in college.
Most of you know my story: I was bullied, painfully shy, and struggled significantly with my confidence growing up as a kid. A turning point for me was getting my first A on a paper in Miss Case’s 6th grade English class, after she allowed me to stay after to make some corrections and hand it back. In that moment I saw that if you worked super hard, good things would happen. Then once I started formally working out the summer going into my freshmen year, fitness was the first thing that ever came naturally to me – I just intuitively understood the basic principals, hit the ground running, and never looked back.
As I was graduating high school and going into UMASS, which had a something like 26,000 undergraduate students. I remember my guidance counselor asking me; “Joe, are you sure you want to go to a school that big, considering how big your classes will be and how many kids go to that school?”
FTSIDIA. It was here I realized that I thrive in uncomfortable situations and with lots of people…and I met some of my best friends in the world.
I wanted to study in Australia, my parents did what they could to help, paying for the education and some spending money, but to travel and eat I needed to stretch my budget and make some extra money.
FTSIDIA. I got a job the first week on campus in Australia, teaching a stability ball class and lived off of a $10 per week grocery list – no exaggeration. I literally ate beans, peanut butter, oats, eggs and wheat bread and traveled in some sketchy hostels. But it didn’t matter. I was able to live in one of the most exotic places in the world for four months.
I got offered a safe, corporate job and all I wanted to do was work on my fitness blog. Just about everyone close to me recommended I take the job and do “my little fitness business” on the side…which is what several people would refer to it as that first year.
FTSIDIA. I turned down the offer and started my business with no money and no clue what to do. Took on every training session I could, taught personal training, and did whatever necessary. Now we are here.
Men’s Health Next Top Trainer was a national competition for trainers where you had to put yourself out there to get selected. What am I thinking – I’m not on their level? What if I get embarrassed? What if I don’t make it? What will people say? —These were all thoughts running through my head.
FTSIDIA. I put out my video and got selected onto the show. After nearly getting eliminated after the first episode, I scratched and clawed my way back, nearly dominating every competition until I lost and got sent home. My final performance was poor, I gave it everything I had but I just didn’t perform well. It sucked in the moment, but this experience taught me lessons I wouldn’t otherwise have learned and gave me a new level of confidence in recognizing I stand with the best.
Beachbody put out a nation-wide search for the next super trainer, would select 20 people from that search, bring them in for a two day audition, and then select 10 to live in a house for 6 weeks. Yet again, doubts crept in – what if I don’t make it? How will I tell people? What about my clients and business? What if I do something dumb on the reality show? But having gone through this before, these doubts were much less. I actually heard about the opportunity when I landed in Texas for a guy’s trip and did my audition video at the air b n b that day.
FTSIDIA. I ended up getting selected and becoming 1/10, then finishing in the top 3…yet again I did not win but this experience was an absolute game changer for me. Being forced into high pressure situations in front of the camera, with production of the biggest fitness company in the world made me 10X better. Then, working with the direct of programming for Beachbody and other trainers on the show, seeing that our m.e.l.t. Workouts were in fact world class–an amazing feeling. But let me be honest, my heart was broken in the moment with the CEO of Beachbody called me to tell me I lost. I cried. I panicked. I felt bad for everyone who had been so amazing supporting me.
Then I quickly got over it because I had already experienced loss in my life; not just the Men’s Health but much bigger than that. I learned along the way that through loss you can either find strength or get anchored down–but it’s a conscious choice YOU can make.
Now, none of this is to impress you, but to impress upon you that the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences in your life will come from that of which you are afraid of…and that “you should stay away from.”
NO ONE–not society, your family, or your friends–gets to decide what’s best for you except YOU.
You hold the pen and guess what–you might “lose.”
But who cares? Whoever makes fun of you, SUCKS!
Today I ask you to apply FTSIDIA to your life and live by it, like a life motto.
I shared a few examples with you but there are many instances of my life, bigger and smaller…you find that once you start understanding that it will be okay, and you build an unstoppable momentum forward.
Maybe its just signing up for a 5k or vacation you’ve wanted to do, or using a heavier weight or perhaps its much bigger – but take it from someone who has experienced the high of highs and the lows of lows, fighting through discomfort will change your life for the better.
So you are probably wondering: what does FTSIDIA mean?
F*CK That Sh*T I’m Doing It Anyway.
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