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5 Years and 5 Qualities to Reach Success

Today’s blog post is both personal, and inspirational for everyone reading.

The end of May is a very special time for us. This May, Vitality Fitness is celebrating 5 years in business!

Every year, I use this time to reflect and celebrate the success of Vitality Fitness, to really reflect on how far we have come, and acknowledge the amazing clients, and the amazing staff this organization has, who truly make Vitality Fitness awesome.

To be successful at anything in your life, whether it be building a great relationship, being an awesome parent, building a business or career that serves and inspires others, finding your passion or calling, or finding what truly makes YOU happy, I have the belief that you need certain qualities.

To me, the definition of success is growth and fulfillment. If you are constantly growing, improving, striving for something greater, and feeling fulfilled in your life, how can that not equal success?

Our society tends to define success in terms of how much money you make, how much power and influence you have, how many Facebook friends or “likes” you have, how you look or what your weight is, or how many “toys” you have.

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with those things, but you certainly don’t need them to feel or “be” a success in your life.

In any facet of life, I believe there are 5 main things you need to become successful (however you define that).

Here are 5 things is takes to become successful in your life I would love to share with you, along with bits and pieces of my own story, and how Vitality Fitness started.

1. Success takes guts

Success takes the guts. Or in other words courage. It takes guts and courage to put your vision, ideas, or goals out there, and risk getting rejected, mocked, judged, or criticized.

Vitality Fitness - 5 Years and 5 Qualities to Reach Success - Boot Camp CalgaryWhether it be jumping into a new career. Asking that guy or girl out. Starting a new business. Committing to a healthier lifestyle, etc.

I remember when I moved here, and was getting insurance for my car. The agent helping me asked what I did. I told him I was starting a gym and wanted to build it to at least 200 members. He chuckled to himself, and gave me every reason why my concept wouldn’t work. He told me I would never be able to do that in this “competitive market”. I smiled, nodded, and changed the conversation.

Rather than letting that upset me, I decided to focus on courage instead.

No one never succeeded by having too much courage.

2. Success takes persistence and time

This is a hard, cold truth about success. Many people want to be sold the idea that success is easy, quick, and will require minimal investment of your time, effort, and resources.

This is a big lie.

If you look at anyone who has every impacted this world, and created meaning in their life, their level of success took months, years, and decades of time, effort and most importantly, persistence to achieve.

Success takes the persistence to keep going, keep pushing, and keep striving despite your circumstances.

It doesn’t matter how little money you have, how you grew up, where you are from, or what your abilities are, you can become successful no matter what endeavour you choose, what your challenges are, or what adversity you face.

There are countless examples of people who came over every odd imaginable, and still succeeded…

Gandhi lived in poverty in rural India with no money and little resources, yet inspired an entire world through a vision of peace and harmony. To this day, his legacy still lives on.

George Lucas had no money or resources when he first filmed Star Wars. He went into mountains of debt, and would reshoot scenes in the early days of Star Wars with the same people, just arranged differently, so they wouldn’t need to pay for extras. Yet Geroge would go on to build one of the biggest movie empires ever.

Howard Schultz was turned down by 221 investors IN A ROW before he found the 222nd investor to invest in him and help realize his vision as one of the most recognized companies in the world.

Can you guess which company that is?


Thomas Edison would require 10,000 attempts before he invented a device that would change the world.

The light bulb

Walt Disney went bankrupt 7 times, before he created Disney World and made it a reality.

Colonel Sanders at the tender age of 65, cashed in his Social Security Fund to start KFC. He travelled across the United States selling his recipe door to door. His recipe being turned down over 100 times before someone picked it up and made it into the success it is today.

Oprah Winfrey, who was born into poverty in rural Mississippi, was sexually abused as a child, a pregnant teenager and of an ethnic minority, went on to build one of the biggest media empires ever and has had a massively positive impact in the world. Talk about having every odd imaginable against you.

At the end of the day, none of these people are different or special compared to you or me.

While they may have been born into different environments and had different upbringings, they all had massive challenges on the way to achieving their idea of success. What defined them was they persevered through incredible odds.

To share my own story, I too, overcome some massive challenges starting Vitality Fitness.Vitality Fitness - 5 Years and 5 Qualities to Reach Success - Boot Camp Calgary

The only reason I was able to start the gym when I moved to Calgary was by maxing out a line of credit, 2 credit cards, and getting a $20,000 loan from my parents.

I started with 0 members, and barely knew anyone in the city. The first thing I did was approach over 100 businesses and offered free training to as many people as I could. 80% of them weren’t interested, and 20% were. Out of that 20%, only would 10% would stick around.

There were days when classes were scheduled, and no one would show up. I remember sitting down, and wondering “why the hell am I even doing this”.

There were days where I would sit in my car before class, calling 100’s of people who replied to kijiji ads about boot camp, with 80% of them indicating they weren’t interested in coming once they found out what a boot camp was all about haha!

For the first 3 years I regularly put in 15, sometimes 18 hour days, and often doing this 6 days a week.

There were many months I would be running in to work at 5am, checking on the bank account, wondering if we had enough money to cover payroll and rent. And then 1 hour later I would have to put on a smiling face, as I had customers to serve and people I had a responsibility to motivate and inspire. I remember there were a few months, where I wasn’t sure whether I would have enough money to keep my apartment, and really contemplated living out of my facility to make ends meet.

There was one month in my 1st year where I got a really bad flu, and was sick for 6 weeks straight.

Between long days, the stress of running a start up, and burning the candle at both ends, it had finally caught up to me.

As I didn’t have any trainers, and ran all of the classes on my own, I had to teach even though I was sick. One night while teaching the 815pm class I ran into the washroom halfway through the class, and spent the next 10 minutes getting sick in the washroom. Luckily, one of the members took over and ran some of the class haha.

And then there was that time, 2 years in to the business, when we started to finally hit our stride and gain momentum, and our landlord evicted us for parking issues and noise complaints. They gave us 30 days to pack up, move our clients over, find another location, and renovate.

That was one of the most discouraging and upsetting experience I’ve ever had. But if anything, it drove me even further to make Vitality a success.

I’m not telling you this to brag, but want to inspire you, and help you realize that YOU are capable of achieving all that you want when you are willing to persevere.

3. To be successful you have to be willing to fail a lot

Failure is just part of the deal on the path to finding success and purpose in your life. We grow the most when we face challenges and through our biggest failures.

Everybody has challenges and setbacks to deal with. No one, challenge or setback is any harder or more difficult to deal with, it is just different and challenging in another way. The millionaire down the street has financial and money management problems to deal with, they are just different. The person, who is poor and trying to make rent, has financial and money challenges, they are just different. The person who is fit, lean, and in shape has fitness challenges, they are just different compared to the person who is 300lbs, unfit, and hasn’t worked out in years.

The person who has an amazing relationship with their spouse will always have relationship challenges, just like the couple who is going through a painful divorce also relationship challenges. They are no bigger or worse challenges, they are just different.

Far too often, people let challenges and setbacks define then, rather than letting them inspire them to move forward.

Just think back to your life own life. Think back to some of the greatest setbacks and times of adversity you have encountered. While these times were likely very painful and difficult to go through times, they created some of the most amazing opportunities, learning experiences, and periods of growth in your life.

4. Success requires a team effort

Far too often, people try to go at their dreams alone, and wonder why they have trouble succeeding. Surrounding yourself with people that will push you, stretch you, inspire you, and help you along the way is critical. No man or woman is an island; you need the heart, desire, and effort of others to help you on your way.

Success, and achieving meaning and purpose is a team sport.

Vitality Fitness - 5 Years and 5 Qualities to Reach Success - Boot Camp CalgaryFrom personal experience, building a team of people and getting help along the way was a game changer for my life and my business. A team of people helps to elevate your strengths, and help you improve on your weaknesses.

Right now I have a team of amazing trainers, administrative staff, and interns who all contribute to making Vitality Fitness the best it can be.

I have an amazing, supportive, and loving Wife who is always there cheering me on, helping me work through the tough times, and keeping me grounded.

I work with coaches and consultants that share their wisdom, their ideas, that push me to be better, and allow me to leverage their life and business experience to make better decisions and avoid costly mistakes.

To succeed you need a team of amazing people that believe in you and what you are up to.

5. Success requires passion

Someone once said to me, “ The best way to figure out your passion is to ask yourself this question”

“If time or money didn’t matter, what would you love doing right now?”

What ever comes to mind, take a mental note of it or write it down. This may be your passion, and what you are meant to pursue!

If this doesn’t help, write down what your top 5 skills /traits are, and find an industry or an area that aligns with these skills.

Now, I’m not saying that following your passion will be easy, or that it won’t require difficult decisions or taking on a lot of risk, or it won’t involve a lot of stress and worry. No matter what you pursue, these experiences are part of the deal.

On a recent interview I watched with Jim Carrey when asked about his childhood he said:

“I learned a lot of important things from my Dad. When he worked as accountant he hated his job, but wanted the safety and security he thought it would bring. Then one day he lost his job. What I learned in that moment was that you can work a job and pursue something you hate, and still lose it all. So why not pursue something you love, even if you may risk losing it all. The risks are still the same”.

I thought to myself “Wow, isn’t that the truth”

Wouldn’t you rather face challenges or setbacks pursuing your passion and doing what you love, rather than something you don’t?

Often times, the greatest risk is not taking any risk at all

Bonus: Success requires unwavering resourcefulness

As a mentor once told me, resources are never the issue. It’s a lack of resourcefulness that is.

We often get trapped into thinking that we don’t have the time, the money, the opportunity, the people, the “connections”, the skills, or the knowledge to have what we desire.

Vitality Fitness - 5 Years and 5 Qualities to Reach Success - Boot Camp CalgaryBut nothing could be further from the truth.

Resourcefulness is the ultimate human resource we all have. If we have enough passion, determination, courage, love, hope, and faith in whatever we are pursuing, the resources will always show up.

We will find the money, the time, the people, the skills, and the knowledge to support us on our journey.

Anyone who has ever made significant impact, contribution, and left a lasting legacy in this world had incredible resourcefulness.

They all lacked the resources initially, but through pure will and faith, gained and created the resources to support them.

To end, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has contributed to making Vitality Fitness a success. Thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and hear a little bit about my story. AND A BIG THANK YOU to my amazing team of trainers and administrative staff, and our community of awesome members who have supported Vitality Fitness during the last 5 years.

Here’s to many more fun, fulfilling, and amazing years ahead!

Always here to inspire and motivate you, David Macdonald and the Vitality Fitness Team

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