“Your time is limited; so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
Tony Robbins’ has long advocated for “modeling,” a specific technique to copy a proven methodology. It works. It’s sensible. However, execution is many times elusive, because some models aren’t easily known or replicated. I like to learn about certain tactics of business behemoths like Warren Buffett; and assuredly some approaches and behaviors are replicable. Some aren’t. Obviously, growing up in the 1940s with a congressman/businessman as your dad can’t be approximated, let alone replicated. Regularly investing while spending less than you make is reduplicated all the time by all kinds of people. Your journey, therefore, can take cues from others; but it will have to carve its own route.
Where to Begin?
It seems to me, therefore, that the first step in modeling is finding what isn’t real. In both fitness and business I find a titanic chasm between the successful people I KNOW and the ostensibly “successful” people I know OF. With regards to fitness, in the real world people who GET INTO shape adopt very different practices than those practices we see in marketing or with social media sensations and celebrity trainers. Real people who started their journey as non-athletic adults abide by a whole different set of rules than online personalities who are more or less also lifelong athletes. With regards to business, in the real world people I know who BUILT businesses operate completely differently than famous people who may or may not have had nepotistic ties, angel investors, familial benefactors/patrons. Earned success shares few characteristics in common with inherited/gifted “success.”
Once we have a fairly good idea of what isn’t real, we’re left with principles and mentors. If you have neither, you’re floating in the ether without a tether to the real world. If you have both, but still feel like you’re floating around without an anchor on clear progress, it may be time to reevaluate both.
Start with principles. What are the physical laws? I’m not talking about expert opinions. I’m talking about gravity, thermodynamics, and constants. There are immutable laws which govern our universe and aren’t up for debate. Do you know of any which pertain to biology and economics? Be careful. Sometimes people place descriptions in place of explanations and only find themselves frustrated. “Use more energy than you consume” is a description in fitness. “Filling a need” is a description in business. What’s the explanation? What’s the mechanism? What’s the practical application?
Most people encounter a hard stop at this juncture. And this is just the beginning. I hear a lot of people say, “I know what to do; I just don’t do it.” This is description-thinking. You know OF a description. You actually don’t have the explanation; because, if you did, you’d know how to execute and you’d be executing. People are going to spend and lose money. People are going to have cravings and default to inactivity. HOW do you do neither?
HOW is everything. HOW do you execute with YOUR personal challenges? On the worst week, with the least amount of time, no capital, HOW are YOU going to make it work?
I find that this line of self-inquiry also leads you to appropriate mentors. There are “experts” you’ll quickly find offer very little value, because their toolkit was/is so different from yours, and they aren’t even trying to understand a situation like yours.
For me, as an example, it’s been easier to find takeaways for the health and fitness business OUTSIDE of the health and fitness industry. It’s been more analogous to find mentors who have no background in this industry at all. The reason is that there are multitudes of business people in other industries who create a lot out of a little. But it’s really difficult to find mentors in the health and fitness industry who create, period. Mostly, they take capital out of other unrelated businesses (theirs or that of close connections) and place it into their health and fitness-related business, usually at a massive net loss. But because the startup and bridge capital came from external sources, they can run this game with many faulty models many times over in the search of a working one. For me, that’s not remotely applicable nor logistically prudent.
Fitness has been at the center of my entire professional career. It is my family’s support structure. I don’t have a financial backer, and I’ve never been interested in one. So, the model for me has to come from other industries. And it has, from electronics resale businesses to MBA consultants, from engineers to stock analysts. The list is unexpected. I had to then apply it to wellness. There is no exact mentor. There is no precise model, except the one which is mine alone.
We find this in actual health and fitness programming as well. There are testimonials and success stories which I term “survival stories.” We see the people who survived the faulty methodology, and the only stories which survive for us to hear are the ostensibly successful ones. There is an inherent sampling bias in testimonials. We, as outsiders, see the times a program has worked. This could be 1 in a 1,000; but we aren’t seeing the 999 failure stories. So pick your model carefully; and even then be ready to make your own version.
Find the behaviors and thinking which will put you in the best position for success. Then, however, be ready to carve your own path, because you have to no matter what. No prior success dealt with the time period you are in right now. No other person walked in your shoes. No one had your exact toolkit. Take pride in the one you have. Your model of success will be yours alone. Like Jobs said, don’t waste your time living someone else’s life. Also, don’t waste your time losing someone else’s weight, or running your business like someone else’s.
This post brought to you by Contributing Chamber Member Jonathan Watters of Elev8 Wellness.
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