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Life Lessons on My 34th Birthday…

By June 15, 2017 No Comments
Life Lessons on My 34th Birthday…
Holy smokes, where did time go?  It feels like just yesterday I was 20 years old and getting certified as a personal trainer. I have tried to take a step back, take a few deep breaths, and think about a couple of life lessons I have learned over the past decade post college.  I will break it up into a couple different categories.

 

Training Client Lessons:

Weight loss is less about calories in and calories out, and more about the state of mind of the individual and their environment.  In other words, it has more to do with the thoughts in their head, their beliefs about themselves, the friends they choose to have, and the small daily choices they make.

Exercise and eating healthy has to be done consistently.  I am amazed at how quickly we can gain weight, lose strength, reduce energy, etc by eating poor and moving less.  Consistency trumps nearly every other variable.

Who their friends, family, and coworkers are means so much.  If I have a client who has an unhealthy (define that however you want) family that they live with (spouse especially), unhealthy friends (or lack of friends), and a low morale/unhappy work environment, it is going to be nearly impossible to see lasting change unless something changes in some of these areas of their life.  Social belonging and mimicking is so strong and powerful.

For people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond, strength training and interval cardio is the best drug we can give anyone to have youthfulness.  It’s important for everyone, but it becomes ESSENTIAL as we age.

Show me someone who is committed and I will show you someone who will see a massive transformation.  100% commitment is essential.  This doesn’t mean 100% perfection, but it means that despite obstacles and barriers, their motto is keep moving forward and overcoming.

 

Business Lessons:

Never stop learning, adapting, and changing.  If I still had only our bootcamp programs like 3-7 years ago, I would be out of business right now.  We must continue to improve, evolve, and grow.

I can’t do everything.  For the first 5 years of my career it was mostly me doing everything.  It worked for awhile, but not only did it become unsustainable, it limited the growth and how many and how well we could serve people.  Plus it built up a lot of additional stress in my life.

It’s not about me.  It’s about you.  While I hope to lead by example and share my successes and flaws with you, it really isn’t about me, it’s about you.  How can we help you reach your goals faster, better, and with more joy and happiness?

Similarly, the TC isn’t my gym, it’s our gym.  I still feel the pressure to be here 70 plus hours a week to see all our clients each and every day, but I have realized that again it’s not about me, its about you, our incredible community, and our awesome staff.  If I am not around 24/7 it will still run smoothly, assuming our systems are in place.  This has taken a tremendous amount of stress and worry off of me, but it is still a work in progress.  I struggle with guilt a lot. =)

Have the best staff, treat them as well as possible, and make the work environment meaningful, healthy, and positive.  I look forward to finding more and more ways to make it even better.

There will be many hard and lonely days, but with a positive attitude, great support, and a strong work ethic, good days lay ahead.  I believe owning a fitness business is one of the hardest businesses in the world to run.  I won’t go into all the reasons why, but it is SO hard, which is why the average fitness business goes out of business in less than 2 years.  While it is extremely difficult, I don’t know of a more rewarding and meaningful line of work to do.

Change is a good thing but can suck in the short term.  Losing our building last year unexpectedly caused a lot of stress and challenges, but a year later it is clear that it was for the best.  We have a much nicer spot for our clients and staff, and we can’t ever get kicked out again.

It’s ok to be scared.  Similar to the above paragraph, this has been a scary year financially.  Besides investing a large amount of money over the past decade into hiring coaches and teachers to teach me, I live a very simple low cost life.  This year, I went over $1.3 Million into debt to be able to see the Transformation Center become a reality and to purchase our small home.  Getting out of our comfort level is when massive growth can occur in all areas of our life.  I have over 18 employees/team members that expect a check each month to support their families.  While it is super scary, it is also very rewarding and I don’t take it lightly.

Have a plan, but be willing to adapt.  If you would have told me 5 years ago that our Fit over 50 program would be our largest program and that we would be having as many men joining as women, I wouldn’t have believed it. But things evolve and we become clearer on what we do best as we listen to feedback.  It’s been so awesome to see how things evolve.

 

Marriage and Relationships:

I am pretty new to the whole married thing (6 months) so my lessons here aren’t very many yet.

Marry your best friend.  If you love spending time with that person, it will make it much easier to spend the rest of your life with them.

Make sure you have similar beliefs on the most important things in life.  For me this is our Christian beliefs, our desire to have 3-5 kids, consistently eating healthy and exercising, high level of positive attitude, and unwavering belief in one another.

There are things you must give up/sacrifice.  Just like most great things in life, if you want it, you must change or do things differently.  Single life was awesome and I am grateful for the decade of adulthood I got to spend in that stage of life. There are many things that go along with that lifestyle that I can’t do now, but that is ok because it opens up even more amazing experiences.

Communication and expectations are key.  Generally it isn’t what you did that necessarily was the problem, it was that it wasn’t communicated properly or at all and didn’t meet the other person’s expectations.  Tessa doesn’t get upset at me if I am 15 minutes late for dinner, she is upset if I don’t let her know that I am going to be 15 minutes late for dinner. 🙂

 

My own health, fitness, and life lessons:

Life is fragile and can’t be taken for granted.  Duh… We all know it but until it hits you personally, it is hard to fully grasp.  In the past 5 years, I lost both of my grandmas, who I was very close with, my mom, my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and almost lost my 24 year old brother to a stroke, along with many other friends and former clients getting very sick or dying.

There is more to us than our bodies and here on earth.  Here is where we may disagree and that’s cool!  But for me I believe we are a Spirit being and live in our temporary bodies, but when our bodies die here on earth our Spirit (which is who I really am) will spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus if we choose.  This belief and relationship not only helps me get through tough times throughout my day, it also causes me no fear of death.  I don’t want to die yet, I feel like I have a lot to still experience and give here on earth, but if I were to get hit by a truck today while biking and die, I don’t fear it.

Don’t limit your potential, and take inventory of the dialogue going on in your head.  I won’t spend too much time on this because I have written many times about it, but I got into triathlons and Ironman 18 months ago because I found it to be something that I initially didn’t believe I could do.

I had many stories I told myself, like I can’t swim, my knees are too bad to run, I am not an endurance person etc.  I realized these stories weren’t really making me a better person and were preventing me from realizing my potential.

It wasn’t until my mom’s unexpected death kicked me in the butt that I was ready to commit.

Committing doesn’t mean you know the path, or have all the answers.  Committing only means you are going to figure it out one step at a time.

Simple is more… I have been getting into the minimalist movement just a little bit.  Nothing too extreme, and it has become harder now that I have a house, but I’m not buying things for the sake of buying them. Rather I’m asking if this is something that brings me joy or happiness or reduces my pain.  If I can’t answer that with yes, I generally won’t buy it.

Less stuff means fewer things that break or need fixing, fewer things to lose, less space needed for storage, and fewer decisions you need to make, plus more money to spend on the things that really matter in life.

Lastly, be diligent about what you let your eyes see, and your ears hear.  Whatever you allow to be inputted will greatly affect you, even if you don’t realize it.

I personally chose to limit time spent with Debbie Downers, gossipers, news media, and conversations over a minute that include too much complaining.  I also avoid most movies (I don’t really enjoy them), but I definitely avoid any movie that includes violence or other very graphic scenes.

Instead, I choose to watch/listen to inspirational stories of people overcoming obstacles, good things that are happening in the world, and all the exciting changes that are progressing society.

I spend time with people who smile a lot, are driven and passionate, see the glass not half full but overflowing, and believe that anything is possible.

Thank you so much for reading this and investing a few minutes of your day.  Feel free to share with me some of your life lessons.  We can all learn from each other.

Keep moving,

Dustin