This weekend we are celebrating the 4 year anniversary of Vitality Fitness.
This weekend is extremely special for me, as it’s a representation of how far this organization has come in such a short period of time.
It’s a time that myself, as well as staff and clients, get to reflect and celebrate our success.
So what is success? Success is a term that is tossed around in our society. Some view success as having lots of money. Some view it as having lots of “stuff” and “things”, or owning your own home and having a well paying job. Some view it as how much free time you have, or how many vacations you take. Some view it as how many people you have helped and inspired along the way throughout your life.
What if I was to tell you success is much simpler than that.
To me, success is happiness and fulfillment. And this comes from pursuing a passion and cause that is greater than you, while inspiring everyone around you.
You can be successful and not have a lot of money. Just look at Mother Theresa or Ghandi or Martin Luther King. They all inspired the world to come together and accept one another, no matter their ability, race, creed, religion, or beliefs. They did this on a worldwide scale, while barely having any money. That’s pretty amazing if you ask me.
You can also be successful and have a lot of money. Just look at the likes of people like Oprah, Tony Robbins, and Howard Schultz. These are people who came from nothing, pursued their passion, inspired and helped a lot of people along the way, and made a lot of money doing it.
At the end of the day, both sets of people have one thing in common. While they have all been extremely successful, they were all happy and fulfilled in their lives. They all pursued their passion, and a cause bigger than they were, and inspired millions along the way. Yes, they all struggled and all had challenges, setbacks, and tough times. But at the end of the day, that’s what allowed them to push, strive, persevere, and make this world a better place.
So what does it take to be successful? Is there a secret formula? A magic bullet? A script or step by step process?
Emphatically, the answer is no, there isn’t. Success takes more than that, much more than that.
I remember when I started my business. It seems like such a short time ago.
I moved to Calgary 2 weeks after graduating from University in Nova Scotia. I knew nobody, had no money, no friends in Calgary, and nobody to rely on.
My parents helped move me in to my apartment, but that was it. I maxed out my line of credit from university just to move here.
As if it wasn’t enough not knowing anyone and having to go into debt to move here, I decided to add a little bit more on my plate and start my own business.
To get my business started and running, that required me to max out 2 additional credit cards, and borrow $20 000 from my parents. Talk about being in debt up to your eyeballs, haha.
I remember thinking, How the hell am I going to do this? How am I going to eat? How am I going to pay rent? How the heck am I going to survive? What happens if I can’t pay off my credit card? Will the credit card company take my car from me?
At the end of the day, despite the stress and worry, I had a dream. I had a dream to create a facility that was more than about training, getting in shape, and eating better. I wanted to create something more. I wanted to create a community where people could come, and reach their goals, and make lifelong friends and connect and bond with each other. I wanted to create an environment where clients and customers were treated as people, not as dollar signs. I wanted to create an environment that whenever a client trained here, or interacted with a staff member, met with us in a consultation, that they KNEW instantly that we really cared about them. I wanted to create an environment where people felt support and inspired to achieve their goals and reach their personal best.
And I think so far, we have done a pretty bang up job J, with room to always improve and grow.
But getting here wasn’t easy, and going forward won’t be easy either. The reason I’m telling you this, is I want you to understand that achieving success is never easy.
I will go out on a limb and say that achieving success is very, very, very inconvenient. There is an idea that is so perverse in our society that success is easy, or should be easy. Success should come wrapped up on a silver platter, ready for us to grab. This is bullshit. We’ve been lied to, and we’ve been sold out.
So back to my question, what does it take to become successful?
In short, there are 5 main things that it takes to become successful.
Success takes guts.
Success takes the guts to put your vision or idea out there, and risk getting rejected, mocked, judged, ridiculed, and laughed at. Maybe more than once.
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 want to build it to at least 200 members. He chuckled to himself, and gave me every reason why my concept wouldn’t work. I smiled, nodded, and changed the conversation. While I could have gotten upset, I used that as fuel to drive me forward and motivate me even more!
Success takes the guts to make the tough decisions or take the big risks no one else is willing to take.
Success takes the guts to be the trailblazer and forward thinker, when everyone else thinks your ideas, methods, beliefs, or vision are crazy.
Success takes the guts to continually go out there day in and day out, and but in the effort and work, even we you are tired, sick, exhausted, or not feeling well.
Success take persistence.
Persistence to keep going, keep pushing, and keep striving despite your circumstances and without making any excuses.
I don’t care how little money you have, how you grew up, where you are from, or what your abilities you, you can become successful no matter what endeavor you choose, what your challenges are, or what adversity you are facing
There are countless examples of people who came over every odd imaginable, and still succeeded.
Howard Schultz was turned down by 221 investors before he found the 222nd investor to invest in him, and his vision for Starbucks.
Thomas Edison would require 10,000 attempts before he invented the light bulb
Walt Disney went bankrupt 7 times, before Disney World became a reality.
Colonel Sanders at the tender age of 65 cashed in his Social Security to start KFC, with his recipe being turned down over 60 times before it became a success.
Oprah was born into poverty, was a pregnant teenager, sexually abused, and an ethnic minority, yet went on to build one of the biggest empires ever. Talk about having every odd imaginable against you.
At the end of the day, none of these people are different than you or me, all they did was persevere through incredible odds.
To share my own story, I too, came over some big adversity starting out and know I will have to overcome more in the future.
When all was said and done I didn’t have a dime to my name when I started.
The only reason I was able to start and move here was by maxing out a line of credit, 2 credit cards, and getting a loan from my parents.
I started with 0 members, and not knowing a soul in this 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 10 % of that 20 % would stick around.
There were days I would have classes scheduled, and no one would show up. I remember sitting down, and wondering “why am I even doing this”. And this happened several times, more than I can count.
I remember the days where I would sit in my car, calling 100’s of people who replied to my kijiji ads about bootcamp, being rejected by over 80 % of them as they weren’t interested in coming to my bootcamp, once they found out what it was all about!
For the first 3 years I regularly put in 15, sometimes 18 hour days, and sometimes doing this 6 days a week.
Marketing, selling, training classes, doing assessments, doing meal plans, administrative work, cleaning, bookkeeping etc. You name it, and I did it starting out.
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 members to serve and people I had a responsibility to motivate and inspire.
What kept me going during some of the toughest times was my willingness to persevere no matter what was in my way.
To be successful, you have to embrace failure and challenges, not resist them.
Failure and challenges are just part of the deal. We grow the most when we face our challenges. We all have challenges to deal with.
Everybody. The millionaire down the street has financial problems to deal with, they are just different. The person who is poor and trying to make rent has financial challenges, they are just different. The person who is fit, lean, and in shape has fitness challenges, they are just different compared than 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. The couple who is close to getting divorced has 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 greatest setbacks and adversity you have ever experienced. While they were painful and difficult to go through at the time, I bet they created some of the most amazing opportunities, learning experiences, and times of growth in your life.
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 efforts of others to help you on your way.
From 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 girlfriend who is always their cheering me on, helping me work through the tough times, and keeping me grounded.
I work with a business coach who keep me focused, accountable, and on track every single day with every aspect of my business
I work with a life coach that helps with me how I communicate to my staff and clients, how I can empower and inspire those around me, and how I can become a more effective leader each and every day.
The point is, in order to succeed you need a team of amazing people around you to succeed. No one ever did it alone.
Success requires you to follow your passion.
I once had someone say “The best way to figure out your passion is to ask yourself this question”. If time or money didn’t matter at this moment and time, what would you love to be doing right now? What ever comes to mind, take a mental note of it or write it down. This is your passion, and what you are meant to pursue!
If this doesn’t help, write down what your top 5 skills are, and find an industry or an area that aligns with this!
Far too many people are working in jobs or roles they hate, and doing this for 30-40 years of their life! Life is too short to feel miserable about what you are doing!
Now, I’m not saying that following your passion will be easy, or that it won’t require difficult decisions or taking on risk, or it won’t involve a lot of stress and worry. No matter what you pursue, these things are part of the deal.
But wouldn’t you rather face challenges or setbacks, while you are pursuing your passion, rather than be doing something you don’t love?
Thank you for taking the time read this, and for everyone who has supported Vitality Fitness these last 4 years.
Here’s to many more fun, challenging, and amazing years ahead!
Always here to inspire and motivate you, David Macdonald and the Vitality Fitness Team