Originally Posted: 01/31/09
What we do matters. Helping people find a better quality of life makes a difference.
Why discuss these things? Because when times get a little tough and we all get a little frustrated with our businesses, we start dwelling on the negative aspects of the fitness business, such as how much we hate the pain-in-the-ass members, the never ending parade of stupid employees and the constant struggle to grow a business we once cared deeply about.
Many owners got into fitness for a very simple, almost embarrassing to actually say, idea. Most of us started on this path because we wanted to somehow make a difference. It's soft. It's not easy party talk, but for most of us, we chose fitness because improving people seems like a noble way of making a living.
Having the ability, willingness and talent to help people lead better lives through fitness should be accepted as a humbling gift for those who have possess these rare talents. In our world today, it seems far more people lead lives of destruction or irrelevance instead of exploiting the ability to change the world they live in. You chose in life but most chose the easy path that seldom leads to any long-term benefit to anyone, including the person who made the decision.
We see people like Bill Gates, who literally donates billions of dollars a year through his foundation to change everything he sees needs fixing, from the ability of a poor child to gain access to education through computers, to fighting horrible diseases that cause the death of millions of people somewhere in the world. Because of the scale at which he operates, we believe that what he, and other like-minded good souls do is something beyond our grasp. But it isn't.
Changing one single person who, through your patience as a trainer or dedication as an owner, leads a quietly better life because they are healthier, more productive and happier, impacts the world around you just as deeply as a gift of a million dollars to a worthy cause. In some ways, this change might be viewed as more important because if happened in your world, in your community and in your club. You did it, and you did it yourself.
It is easy to hate this business because of the constant need for customer service and new customers. It is also easy to become the walking dead who does nothing but spend all of his hours trying desperately to avoid going into his own business. When money is hard and the world around you seems like it's collapsing, it also becomes overwhelming to think that we actually have to fight so hard to keep doing what we do. Why not just sell it, close it or get out of it and get on with a life that is less stressful?
Because then what would you do? Would you then become one of the millions of people who work for the money but don't contribute anything to their world or local community? Would you become a person trapped in job that requires nothing more than moving paper around an office or a number on a screen, needed work perhaps but seldom satisfying in world changing view?
The fitness world gives you both: the chance to make a lot of money if you learn to finish things and run a good business and the chance to change lives.
We change lives. We as an industry change a lot of lives. You as a local owner can change your community and the people who trust you with the care of their not-so-perfect bodies, every single day you are in business.
Sit somewhere quietly and find that reason that inspired you to start your business or dedicate your life to fitness. That reason, and your belief that you can make a difference, should give you a motivation to get up in the morning and go to work. Find your reason to live up to your talent and passion. What you do is important, even if I am the only one reminding you.
Report from Charlotte: We just finished our first seminar of the year. Good owners are still making money and ineffective owners are still looking for answers. This was the largest seminar we have ever had in this market and perhaps the best collection of owners and staff we have ever had in that area.
Special note: You have four good months in front of you. Work it harder than you have ever worked in your life and you will make money this spring. The clients are there but service, marketing and sales are more important than ever. Remember, good owners can still not be successful because the tools they use don't work. Drop by a seminar and let's discuss more efficient ways to make money this year.