Using Coaches as Guides To Achieve Greater Success

3 Hikers In SnowHave you ever found yourself stuck and not sure how to improve your business? Have you thought about getting help from a business coach?  Coaches are guides who’s outside perspectives help those they assist reach their goals and improve their skills. In essence they are facilitators. Coaches have been an important part of my life in athletics, business and life.  The first coaches I can remember were the parents, including my dad of Jackrabbits. Jackrabbits is a cross-country skiing program for kids aged 3 – 12 years old.

For those unfamiliar with Jackrabbits it is a program similar to scouts and girl guides, but on skis that takes place in the winter.  We even had badges for accomplishing different skills and milestones; mine are still tucked in a box for safe keeping.   Since then I have had many coaches for different purposes and at various stages of athletic and business development.

A fire lit inside of me in 2007 that was so strong that I knew it was time to make the transition from employee to business owner. Unsure of where to start I enlisted the help of two coaches.  With one we were focused on developing the business strategy and figuring out how to manage the re-branding of a sole proprietorship to a new corporation and the switch from employee to entrepreneur. The other guided me through the business plan creation and successful negotiations with the gym owners.

It was with their help that I navigated my way from working for a major private fitness gym as a Personal Trainer, to owning an independent business that operated as a strategic alliance within the same gym in less than five months.

Coaches provide a non-partisan sounding board for ideas,  help elucidate resolutions to problems, celebrate successes and keep you on track.  There is no doubt in my mind the start of Lifemoves was accelerated because the coaches provided the pilot light with their of years of business knowledge that perhaps, without coaching I would have found on my own but over a much longer period of time.

While competing in biathlon the importance  of having a diverse number of coaches became very important.  When I attended a Junior Canadian national biathlon summer camp the coaches there were able to pick-up things I needed to work on that my local coaches didn’t see. This was because they had their unique perspectives and knowledge base.

Over the years I have had a few more business coaches all with different areas of specialty, such as financial management or purpose and vision.  Each coach was sought to help find a solution to a major stumbling block in my business.

If private coaching seems difficult to afford try starting with group coaching or think of coaching as an investment for greater future earnings. Next week I will be attending a business coaching group for the first time with many other entrepreneurs.  This excites me because I will be with a group of like minded individuals all interested in accelerating their business and learning from each other as well as the coach.

What are your thoughts on business coaching? How have they helped you?

When to End a Strategic Alliance to Grow a Business

A strategic alliance or business partnership only works when both parties are doing their parts to make it function. When one side becomes disinterested or hindering by their lack of attention or action then it is time to move on.

The company I originally made my strategic alliance was bought in late 2009.  In 2010,  the new owners by lack of action, unwillingness and new operating environment made it difficult to grow my business. We survived because I was determined to lead us into a new direction and I know the value of my business.

Sometimes we get stuck in what is safe even though we are unhappy,  and no longer progressing. It is important to turn the page to get unstuck. Having a plan helped me successfully navigate the big change of breaking Lifemoves’ strategic alliance with Steve Nash Fitness Clubs (Fitness World) to grow my business. 

Tonight I delved a little deeper into the next chapter of my working life by saying goodbye and good luck to a number of work colleagues who are now friends.  In early 2000 I joined the Fitness World Cambie club to get a job as a Personal Trainer; twelve years later I moved my independent business out of there.

End of a Strategic Alliance

There are times in life when everything comes to its rightful conclusion and we are ready for something new. For me I think I held on a little too long because I tend to see the best in situations rather than the worst. At times this means that I refuse to see the situation for what it truly is.  A strategic ally who doesn’t respond to your request to have a meeting for over a year kills any grand potential the alliance has.
In the Cold Hard Truth, Kevin O’Leary makes that point clear as well.  When one side is no longer providing the services that are required under the agreement it stalls your growth, make sure you don’t wait too long before changing your strategy because if you do it could sink your business.  In 2010, I waited patiently for all the dust to settle from a merger while I was under the impression that the new owners liked what we were doing and saw our potential (all smoke).

A nearly eighteen month stalemate nearly killed my business. It was finally in May 2011 that I was able to get a meeting to sort out what my next steps were. We mutually decided that it was in both businesses best interests for Lifemoves to move-out as soon as possible. Thankfully due to the circumstances we had until September 2012 to find the appropriate space.  

 If you own your business it is up to you to take action and pay attention to your financials so that your business thrives instead of dies.  In time like these pay very close attention to your financials, perhaps even monthly if not more often so that you can make micro adjustments to steer it straight. If you wait too long it is going to take a massive hard RIGHT or LEFT to stop you from crashing.
I am disappointed because I thought that by aligning with a larger gym which had plans to go national that I would have more influence in the design and programming of future facilities so that they would be more inclusive for clients with disabilities – this is a legacy that I wanted (and still want to) leave.  In business and life you can’t be partners with someone who doesn’t have very similar philosophies as you. However, when you truly believe in your dreams and have a vision that is ingrained in your psyche it will manifest itself because you will take subconscious and conscious steps towards it.

Lifemoves’ Bright Future 

In January we started to move our North Vancouver location to 1350 Pemberton Avenue. During the first week it was apparent that even though we all run our businesses out of that location we all work together to provide a professional, clean, tidy and friendly atmosphere for us and our clients.  We have pride for the space, unlike at our old location where equipment would disappear and tools would be strewn around floor well after someone was done with them. 
The final phase of the move happened today as well. With a lot of patience and elbow grease I removed the branding decals from the windows. I will miss the clients, members and Personal Trainers who I got to know during the last seven years plus years in North Vancouver and previous years with the original club owners.  
The future’s chapter began with our first monthly meeting at our Coquitlam location. We are part of a wellness clinic in which many practitioners share space.  Andrea, Hardip and I were all there to meet a few of them and get to know how all of our services can benefit our clients’ wellbeing (a common purpose).   Afterwards we had discussions with a designer, a glazier and a painter to help us put the finishing touches to the space.  I am really excited and I am looking forward to showing off our new space.
Moving on from the strategic alliance with Steve Nash Fitness Clubs is what I needed to do to grow my business and renew the passion I had for it.  Remember when one opportunity ends another starts.

Be Proactive. Take Action Early.

Finding Confidence Climbing a Mountain

The trails and mountains in North Vancouver are where I go when I need a boost of self-confidence which was soaring after setting a new personal best on the Grouse Grind on Wednesday and then receiving the bag check No. 111 on Friday, just before attempting my second triple multi-Grind.

Businesses have their ways of measuring growth and success often in sales or profit. Even those of us who complete athletic events have our own measures. What we measure is usually what brings us personal intrinsic meaning while keeping us striving for our goals.

In business circles it is well know that what is measured is managed”. A business can only change, adapt and grow if it is measuring itself against some type of standard.

Confidence is built each time a goal is reached, however we often end up lost if we don’t know what that next goal is, especially after major accomplishments.

I remember the months of dedicated training to complete the Vancouver Marathon as vividly as the mixed feelings of elation and disappointment as my finisher’s medal was placed around my neck. The standard of finishing the marathon was achieved. The Marathon was a way to prove to myself that my previously sore knees (which took years to rehabilitate) were strong enough to endure 42.6 miles of running. I had forgotten to set the next goal; it took several years to find another athletic endeavour. A couple of years ago I discovered the Grouse Grind’s timer card.

Each climb renews my sense of accomplishment while each descent on the tram reminds me of the beauty of Vancouver. Trail running is often a way for me to reconnect with nature on my own. If there are any days I am in need a boost of self-esteem I know the mountain is not far away.

One thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that my fitness level is increasing on an easy to measure standard which my self-confidence.

Between my second and third ascents and during my second gondola ride down on Friday a woman asked “why do I do the Grind? Am I training for anything?” I replied “to keep the comb webs out.” I kept thinking of Fuaja Singh who finished the Toronto Marathon at 100 years old, surprising himself with a time of 8:26 hrs. It is the active agers who keep me inspired to keep moving and challenging my own abilities as I age. My tram conversation also inspired further reflection and analysis.

I am training to be the fittest I can be and in comparison to those in my age group. My season goals include single climb time, average heart rate reductions for the climbs, total number of climbs in a day and 100 climbs for the season. Every outing I wear my Garmin Forerunner, both as a back-up to the timer, but also to measure my heart rate and set quarter interval times for my pacing and motivation.

Each outing I measure the duration for each quarter, total duration and average heart rate for the entire climb; this is then compared to previous days with similar times.

Last week I accomplished three milestones:

Personal Best – 37:58 minutes (top 30 in my age group)

95th Lifetime Climb

Second Triple Multi-Grind

Wednesday was just one of those days when my body felt fluid and like it was moving fast. After looking at my second quarter time of 9:11 (a new PB), I knew that if I could do the same for the third quarter in a similar time I had a good chance of getting under 38 minutes. Looking at my watch it was 9:15. Yes! Now it was time to push to the top.

From that point it was about going as fast I could and repeating to myself that I could do this. Swiping the card then pressing the lap button my watch – I carefully looked at my watch. There is a notice of the last lap time to covers the current time – I could see it was 38, “did I do it?” The timer is the official time. Flying up the stairs I cautiously looked at the computer screen as it scrolled towards my name – 37:58! Yes, with a fist pump. Even with having to tie my shoes once I broke the 38 min barrier three weeks before I hit 38:04 in 2010 so, clearly there is an improved level of fitness.

Looking back over the season I found out that Friday’s triple was accomplished in 9 minutes less than my first one and each ascent was on average was 3 minutes faster than my first triple and a slightly lower average heart rate than on September 3rd, 2011. The third climb on Friday even felt stronger than my third one in September. I started out pretty fast, but then remember – the goal for the day was really about crossing the finish line.

Next was getting up on Saturday morning to finish my 95th climb. Maybe the fatigue set in, I am not quite sure but I forgot to double knot my shoes again – so there I was pulling off my magic gloves to tie my shoes in the cold, twice, once for each shoe. I clamoured over the top in 40:05.

What does it all mean? The rest of Wednesday I was elated. This confidence spilled over into the rest of the day at work and with clients. Saturday’s climb left me confident that I can finish the remaining five to reach my one hundred and most in less than 40 minutes each. It is also really motivating to group my times and look at very similar times to see that the average heart rates are dropping for those times. The confidence on the mountain flows over to the rest of life. It builds self-belief and self-esteem.

I climb the Grouse Grind because it reminds me that I am getting fitter and how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful city with mountains and forests in our backyard. Each climb I know that I that I am making some progress and that with diligence there will be the occasional breakthroughs. This week there were several. After last week’s successes on the Grind, I am feeling more focused to tackle what needs to be done in my business this week.

If you are struggling with confidence in your business or feeling unsure of yourself go out and do something that you know you can complete – big or small. Keep doing the day-to-day things that will lead to success and greatness.

What do you do when you are looking for that extra little bit of confidence? For me, it is climbing a local mountain.

(photos top to bottom: Grouse Mountain Grind Timer and bag check card; West view of the Lions and tram tower; north view of Seabus docking at Waterfront Station)

8 Easy Ways to Post More Often to Your Blog

As the chief, cook and bottle washer, I find it difficult to post frequently to my blogs. Finding easy ways to write more often will help engage your readers, keep them coming back for more and referring their friends. Since my holiday in August when I wrote several posts for my three blogs, I have found it difficult to write consistently. “That’s Not a Blog Post” by Amanda Vogel and the comments it elicited reignited my writing.

Some responses to Amanda’s article were that small business owners who didn’t blog “were simply lazy.” The counter argument to that is that we are far from lazy. In fact, we are really busy doing other things instead of blogging. I know I was. My last entry here was September 28th. Do I think that I don’t have the time to write? It is amazing what beliefs we allow to sink into our mindset that become truths.

Here are some ideas to help you post more often to your blog:

  1. Set a Schedule for Writing: Pick a time of the week when you feel creative and when you won’t be interrupted.
  2. Get an Idea Book: In ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income, Darren Rowse suggests taking an hour to write as many ideas as you can to see if you have enough for a blog. You can do this idea dump every few weeks. Another option is to carry around a notebook for writing down ideas. I am always coming across news items, conversations and other observations that inspire me. Use one idea that sparks your imagination on that day.
  3. Write on the Commute: I figured out how to use MS Word 2007 to publish to my blog. I now try write as much as possible during my 40-minute commute.
  4. Start Writing: The toughest part of writing is starting those first words. Stop editing the first sentence and just write. The piece will start to form and change as you write. Finish the first draft then edit until you are satisfied that it is ready to be published.
  5. Write When You are Inspired: Sometimes you can be inspired by something and have the urge to write. This is a good time to write.
  6. Perfection is Not Profitable: Fiona Walsh, a business coach, once told me this and as a reformed perfectionist it resonates within me. Each post doesn’t have to win awards. The more often you write, the easier it becomes and over time your writing will improve.
  7. Keep it Short and Simple: Since blog posts are not meant to be university papers, stick to 500-600 words or less. Knowing that you only have one subject and the post needs to be short alleviates much of the stress of having to write a lot. When it becomes too long, see if you can split it into several topics which can be saved and published at different times.
  8. Make Writing Part of the “Other Things”: David Allen of Getting Things Done inspired the notion that you have to know what you are doing and what you’re not, and be comfortable with not doing those things. Make writing a part of what you do to build your business. Is there something else that you can delegate that will then open up more time for you to write?

Do you have any other suggestions?

6 Lessons Learned from Being Overworked and Overwhelmed

Are you feeling overwhelmed and overworked as an entrepreneur? During a break in August, I learned six lessons to prevent burnout that are easy for you to implement. Entrepreneurs have the deepest internal desire for their businesses to succeed and will naturally do anything to make it so. Doing anything and everything doesn’t always lead to smart decisions that help us attain the lifestyle we intended to achieve by being business owners nor joy that we started our businesses with.

After six months of working five to seven days a week, I noticed that I no longer enjoyed what I was doing. Clear signs of burnout started when the desire to do the things necessary to run my business just wasn’t there. In other words, my discipline and decision making skills were lacking. The passion and enthusiasm my employees had for our company mission had dried up. I was also suffering more depressive episodes, which I noticed when I woke up with less motivation to rise and go to work or even run the Grouse Grind.
In athletic training terms, I had over-trained. At this time I was also feeling like a typical entrepreneur and believed that I had to do everything. Yet, as E-Myth and others describe entrepreneurs, we are the visionaries. We need to surround ourselves with others who are ready and capable to execute.
Sometimes athletes take up to six months to recover from over-training. My business was not in a self-sustaining mode at that moment, but changes had to be made. The first steps were two mini four-day vacations at the end of June and July.
Looking in late June, I could tell that by the first week of August my team was going to be in place and many of our clients were going to be on holiday. This is when I booked my first full week off in a long time, because I missed my traditional two weeks at Christmas due to preparation for the Olympics.
The week off wasn’t as restorative as I anticipated because:
1. It took me four days to unwind.
2. I had to ensure that my team had enough activities to keep them occupied and productive. So, I did invest a few hours mentoring each of my employees.

3. I needed to complete July month-end activities that others were not capable of doing.
During this break I had time to reflect and make a few discoveries. Even though the week didn’t go entirely as planned, I did rediscover my passion for writing and sharing my knowledge with others. Also, the business sustained itself during this time because my employees took good care of it.
Six Lessons I learned:
1. To pre-book holidays every 4-6 months or I will book clients in during those days.
2. When you have a great team in place, the business will be okay without you for a few days.
3. Book vacations when there are no activities that “I have to do” or at least figure out a way to delegate them.
4. Be disciplined about your recovery. Recovery is part of being sustainable. Not everything has to be done by Friday!
5. When I start to feel down and depressed, I am overworked. I will honour this signal and add more recovery time.
6. Find your passion. Honour yourself and your passion. One of mine is writing. When I mentioned to my clients that I want to write a book, they were as enthusiastic about it as I was!
I rearranged my schedule for the fall so that I am not with clients on Fridays, but still have the flexibility to mix in business development activities with physical activities such as the Grouse Grind and in the winter cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
What are you doing to prevent yourself from becoming a burnt out entrepreneur?

Nutrition Strategies Key for Peak Performance

Nutrition is often a forgotten part of achieving your peak performance in both athletics and business. As an entrepreneur, I am getting back to what I learned while competing in biathlon — that it’s not just about nutrition for endurance sports, but also about experimenting with different parts of my training to have my best race and be my most productive.

I clearly remember a cross-country skiing race in 100 Mile House. The night before, I hydrated extremely well, had a very good, complex breakfast four hours before the race, and then ate a banana thirty minutes before my start. This led to what I believe is one of my best cross-country skiing races.
Achieving your peak in business and athletics is about the preparation as well as the final performance. During my training for the Grouse Mountain Run, I am experimenting with different nutrition strategies. I am also exploring a more minimalist diet that gets back to live, raw, non-processed foods.
Nutritional Strategy for Seasonal Best Grouse Grind – 41:46 min:
  • Drink 2 Liters of water the night before.
  • Night Snack before 9 PM – whole wheat bagel with a tablespoon of almond butter, handful of blueberries and a nectarine.
  • 6 AM – whole wheat bagel with tablespoon of almond butter, 1 golden kiwi, 1 cup of blueberries, 1.5 liters of water.
  • I brought an apple for on the way, but forgot to eat it. I used it for recovery instead.
*This is not a prescription of what to eat. This is only what I tried and what I know works for my body. Do what works for you. *
The fruits are full of electrolytes and are simpler to digest than cereals and grains. This idea came from Tim VanOrden’s Running Raw experiment where he has a breakfast full of fruits. With more planning, I am going to try this next time.
How do I feel? I used to include a coffee before the Grind. Today proved that I don’t need the extra boost from the caffeine. My body felt calm, focused and energized. Next week I am going add more fruit to see what happens. Remember: all of these were consumed at least 1 hour beforehand.
As an entrepreneur I am always looking for ways to improve my productivity, and nutrition is a key component. Perhaps I can eliminate or reduce my dependence on nutritionally void coffees by just adding the right types of fruits and grains in the morning. This will save me money at the coffee shops too!
Nutrition and Raw Food Websites:
The Raw Food Project – provides different raw food recipes proving that raw food doesn’t have to be boring carrot sticks.
Nutrition List of Common Fruit – gives top links for protein, nuts and grains, etc.
Raw Running Experiment – Tim’s experiment on running with using a raw food diet.
Cultivate Your Health – Holistic Nutritionist who can provide more detailed and individualized nutrition coaching.
Remember that nutrition is only one component of peak performance. Today I also had an interval training plan with a goal that wasn’t time based. I focused on the process and let time take care itself. It was nice to end up at the top with a new seasonal best of 41:46 min.
What is your pre-hike or trail running nutrition strategy?

Seeking the Peak: Being Happy With Your Accomplishments – Stop Living in the Gap

Ever since I was bullied in high school, I have had trouble being happy with my accomplishments. The art of being happy is connected to the gap between our actual self and our ideal self. How often do we live in the gap between these two when we don’t meet our goals? Entrepreneurs tend to set these wild and somewhat unrealistic ideals, invest their life savings and then come out on the other side with nothing but bankruptcy.
We need to mitigate our risk by evaluating our goals as being realistic while still pushing the boundaries. Ever watch Dragon’s Den on CBC? Some people have some very interesting ideas, but no sense what their idea is truly worth or whether there is a need for their widget or service.
When I started my training for Seek the Peak, my ideal was a sub-2-hour time which, with my knowledge and endurance training background, I could achieve with the appropriate training. However, this training was promptly side-tracked by my adding staff to Lifemoves in May and June.

We base our goals on what we know. Early in June I knew that my ideal time had to be adjusted or I would end up feeling frustrated, defeated and sad. However, this did not stop me from going after my original plan of participating and proving that I could complete the 16km and 4,100m journey from Ambleside Park to the top of Grouse Mountain.

A few weeks before July 4th, I completed a couple of Grouse Grinds and my time was around 44-46 minutes. So, based on this, I predicted a finish of 2:30. A few days before, I came up with a race plan of warming-up properly then, as the race started, gradually increasing my pace using an increasing heart rate as the race progressed to ensure that I didn’t fatigue too quickly. My background as a Strength and Conditioning Coach gave me skills to have a plan for my heart rates, but the missing part of it was a detailed nutrition plan.
I only ever looked at my watch to see that I was at the appropriate heart rate — not going too slow or too fast. Sticking to the plan was crucial. About 10 years ago, one of my coaches gave me sound advice: Run your race. In other words, stick to the plan no matter what others are doing. You can control yourself — not others. Only you control your reaction to the environment around you.
My mantra the whole way was, “race your own race.” Prior to the race, I had not trained on the sections before the Grouse Grind, so I was really unsure of the terrain which, in the end, slowed me slightly. The trails on the North Shore are beautiful and I am looking forward to running more of them this year.
The first two stages were very nice and everyone was fairly spread out. Once we hit the Grind, my legs were starting to fatigue and we encountered all the other Grinders who were not racing. I struggled to get my heart to 175bpm; it averaged 165bmp instead, with a time of 53 minutes for this section as the traffic kept me at a good pace. At the end of each stage I felt really good and very happy with how much I was able to push and keep going.
Going up the last portion from the top of the Grind, around the chalet, and up to the top of the mountain were the toughest parts. We were encased in clouds and not able to see more than 10 feet in front of us. My mind wanted to run this portion, but as many experienced trail runners before me have said, “you will be walking steeper sections,” which I did.
Looking at my watch as I scurried around the pylon to make my way down, I saw that I was on pace for my goal. Knowing that it wasn’t too far to go, I picked up the speed and pushed myself until the end.
Near the Capilano Dam, someone said, “Pain is only temporary.” I responded with, “Victory is a lifetime.” It feels great to have completed something as strenuous as the Seek the Peak in a time of 2:24 hours. If I had not shifted my goal, I would have thought my time was awful and not experienced the joy that this race offered.
The gap would have been 30 minutes, and looking at it as a percentage, it still would be 80% which, in university, is a very good grade.
So what if you don’t reach your goal? Are you going to be unhappy and morose? Instead, think about how much progress you did make towards it and what lessons you learned. I stared from not being able to run for more than 10 minutes without stopping, to running 16km UPHILL non-stop.
Ideal – Actual 1 (start) – Actual 2 (end) = Gap (1). Ideal is perfection which we never reach. How often do you live in the gap instead of celebrating getting to Actual 2 knowing that you put your in your best effort? Time to take this new philosophy into my business goals. Stop measuring yourself against an ideal and perfection.
Stay Happy and Avoid the Gap.
1. Sullivan, Dan. “Learning How to Avoid the Gap: The Skill of Building Lifetime Happiness. 2004

Seeking the Peak: Growing Your Business While Maintaining Fitness

I am finding that growing my business while maintaining my fitness and training for Seek the Peak is the toughest thing I have done in a long time. May brings spring flowers and university students looking for work after final exams.

In April, I had several applicants seek employment as Kinesiologists at Lifemoves. This is exactly what I want – to be an employer who is sought, not one who is constantly having to advertise. While trying to interview our applicants and determine whether or not we wanted to add them to our team, I was still managing a client load of 140 sessions in April.
This meant that some of my time that had been dedicated to fitness training was taken up by business development and team building, as were my weekends and evenings. At first, I was worried about not getting enough training in. However, I have become comfortable with the fact that I have to figure out the 20% that will get me 80% of the results in my training.
As a strength and conditioning coach, I know that if I am training three times per week, I can still achieve my goal of finishing Seek the Peek (though, maybe not as fast as I want). Besides, my “A” goal this year is the Grouse Mountain Run in September. As an entrepreneur, I know that the past three weeks, and perhaps the next two or three, will be very busy as I get three new Kinesiologists and one part-time administrator integrated and orientated. I am comfortable knowing that the guidance they need will be temporary, and I will be able to get back to 5-6 days per week of more intense training soon.
This short term investment in our new team members will pay big dividends in the next 3-6 months. Even though there is a lot to be done in this next phase of Lifemoves, I am very calm and very focused. Sixteen kilometers uphill is going to be a challenge; my first step back to my program was to run 10 kms in 59 minutes. There are six weeks left of training and two weeks to taper before Seek the Peak 2010. Tomorrow, even with our Move for Health Day event, I will complete my strength training program.
When your life moves and suddenly your schedule or the demands on you change, remember to be a little flexible with how you manage your fitness and health. To reduce stress, find creative ways to fit it in. Here is a great article written by my friend and fellow Kinesiologist, Nicole Yamanaka, for entrepreneurial moms (and dads too): Fitting Fitness in With Kids.
How do you keep on track with your fitness despite the constant demands of being an entrepreneur?

Seeking the Peak: How to Achieve Success by Deciding on a Destination, Creating a Plan and Taking Action

In October 2000, I started my first job in health and fitness after graduating from university as a Kinesiologist. This was after being rejected from several rehabilitation schools and being told to get more rehabilitation experience (even though I had volunteered at several physiotherapy clinics and a prosthetics clinic for the prior three years). Dejected, I decided to get into personal training with a focus on rehabilitation.

At that time I really didn’t have a second career path planned. It was over the next three years that I gave control to various opportunities that took me in several directions including group fitness and group fitness management with the rehabilitation specialization on the side. I didn’t have a plan of how I was going open my own rehab clinic within a gym; I certainly didn’t put any major focus on it apart from a few management/business courses here and there while collecting various resources from conferences.
It was in 2004, when I transferred to the North Vancouver Steve Nash Fitness World because they opened Personal Training, Pilates Reformer and Spinning Studios, that I took control of my career and started on the path towards Lifemoves.
From the beginning, I expressed my desired destination: a rehabilitation program at Fitness World. Over the next two years I became known as the go-to trainer for any clients who needed rehabilitation. I kept a generalized working plan in my head, but didn’t write anything outside of my brain until 2006.
The subconscious is amazing! Without consciously thinking about my goal, opportunities and actions came about that gradually propelled me toward it’s fruition. In 2007, when I reflected on my 2006 plan, I saw that it clearly expressed my goal of having a clinic within a year.
From April to June 2007, I wrote a business plan and figured out some of the details of my vision. I proposed it to Fitness World and, after a few months of negotiations, we agreed to make the transition in September.
The business plan is a general plan that gives you an idea of how you are going to become successful and how/when you are going to make a profit. The strategic plan sets out the direction and destination of the company, while the annual plan gives an account of what actions are to be taken on quarterly, monthly and weekly bases.
This same plan and action process is what high performance athletes use to reach their goals of winning world championships and Olympic Gold Medals. Each training session they complete has one or two major objectives — one action or one step that takes them closer to their goal.
Four Steps to Success:
  1. Decide Your Destination
  2. Set a Path/Create a Plan – Get as detailed as you want (even down to the day)
  3. Decide on the Next Action from #2, then Take Action
  4. Repeat #3, based on #2, with #1 always in mind
Remember, you can make the greatest travel plans, but if you don’t take action (e.g., book the plane ticket) you are not going on your vacation. Without action you will sit staring at this screen.
Maybe your next action is deciding on your destination. If you know this, then write down a plan by starting with what you know. Please share what you are going to do next to achieve your own success.
Other Seeking the Peak Posts

Being OK with Sold Out

Today I had to tell someone there would be a two-week wait for an assessment because her limited time choices were not available. In the past, instead of holding my ground and sticking to my booking schedule, which does have other openings, I would have extended my day into the evening just to accommodate her. She decided to think about the assessment further before committing to a time that was on her day off. As a service professional and entrepreneur, I am learning to be okay with, “Sold Out”. As entrepreneurs we are in control of our own schedules and energy levels; this control is one reason I started my own business.
Health professionals have this deep desire to help everyone. Each time I speak with a potential new client, I feel empathy for their pain and feel their sense of urgency to reduce the amount of pain they are in and improve their functional capacity. However, what good am I to anyone if I myself am physically or mentally ill, or miserable and worn out?
I am still learning how to monitor my energy and the demands for my time. I have gone through cycles of being highly accommodating by booking clients during my own exercise times, as well as booking sessions into the late evening, just because I felt these clients “needed me,” to regaining a sense of balance and happiness that best suits me, so I give my peak performance during each session.

Part of managing my schedule and energy has been being clear with what time of day I am best at activities that require creativity versus those requiring detail, mathematics or logic. I have also learned how many sessions I can handle in a row, day or week. This means being okay with being “Sold Out”, telling people that I am booking for next week and keeping true to my own needs to maintain my physical, mental and emotional well being.
Being “Sold Out” or having a waiting list is something to be proud of, not something to mope about. It is a sign that you are doing something right, that you found a niche that needs to be filled and that you are in high demand. If you want to connect with and affect more people, try leveraging your time and expertise a little differently, such as hiring an assistant to pass on your knowledge to or write an e-book. Maybe you could teach a course/webinar or do group sessions. After all, there are only 24 hours in the day.
By looking at your schedule, booking time for yourself into each day and then placing everything else around you, you will be able to maintain your own standards, passion for your business and prevent burn-out. Be okay with Sold Out.