One of my favorite lessons that we share in the Strength Faction is titled Perfect = Failure. The reason I like it is because it is focused on allowing yourself to be human. There’s no escaping that, right? So, we might as well just square up with it and make the best of it as we possibly can. Further, there is absolutely no reason to beat yourself up over it, that’s for sure.
Now more than ever we are seeing obstacles being thrown at us. Everyone. Gym owners, independent contractors, online trainers… the whole lot of us. Nobody is getting through this unscathed.
Plans are being ditched. Visions are being scrapped or at least modified. Years and years of work are being jeopardized. It’s tough. So tough that thoughts of jumping ship on the industry are rampant.
Breathe. Big ol’ breaths. Get that diaphragm opened up. It’s all going to be ok. Maybe even better than ok. Maybe even better than you could have ever imagined!
Plans are great. I used to not be great at putting them together and maybe even worse at sticking to them. Boredom, fear, uncertainty all played a factor in me being that way.
But then I learned this lesson that we now share with our community. This idea that nothing is perfect and more importantly, that it’s just perfectly fine that way. That is, of course, if you have the right mindset about the way things steer you. That part, “the way things steer you” is important.
I’ve always had an easier time throwing in the towel when I thought I had the right to say, “well, it’s out of my control” or “there’s nothing I can do about it”. I believed it gave me license to accept failure. And I believed that any result outside of my plan was failure.
Looking back on my career to this point, I will tell you that attitude for as long as I had it is probably my only regret. I wasted a ton of time and potential on being zeroed in on “perfect”. I should say that it was my only regret. Perfect = Failure has allowed me to let it go. Not only let it go, but appreciate my “failures”.
I will bet you dollars to donuts that if you asked everyone that you look up to in this industry how they’ve managed to avoid failures they would look at you like you were crazy. Any one of them.
Pete Dupuis and Eric Cressey built a dynasty. They have failed.
Mike Boyle might be the best known name in our industry and absolutely runs one of, if not the most successful gym in the country. Failed.
Mark Fisher opened his gym and ran some of the craziest numbers I have ever seen. Failure.
List anyone else you deem fit to wear a crown in our industry. Then after their name slap a “failed”. It’s not a theory or fluff talk, it’s a fact.
And not only have they failed, it’s quite possible and maybe even a certainty that they have failed more times than they have succeeded.
Whoa. What’s the point then?
The point is that they never gave up. And make no mistake about it, giving up is the only way to fail. Not missing a sales goal of your new product. Not losing clients. Not scrambling to make ends meet. No, those are all part of the game. Giving up is the only way to fail.
Anyone on this list we could compile, every single one of them have been scared. They have been confused. They have missed the mark on goals. They have wondered how they were going to pay the bills. They have lost clients, employees and so much more. And yes, I would bet that they have wondered if they are doing the right thing or if they should choose another career. I believe that is just part of being in love with something (or someone for that matter).
The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek was a real eye opener for me. If you haven’t read it, do so. It’s right in line with Perfect = Failure in a lot of ways. It taught me that there is no finish line. We’re not on the clock or playing to a final score. It all just keeps going.
What’s beautiful about that is that it gives us license to fail and be ok with it. It’s the up, up, down, down, a, b, a, b, start to our career. (I’m certain I messed that code up but you get my drift. And if you have no idea what that is, congratulations! You probably played outside more as a kid. It’s an old cheat code that would give you more “lifes” in a Nintendo game. I can’t even remember which one. )
What it taught me is what I hope I can help you understand by reading this and that is that what you might look at as a failure is just part of the game. An inevitable part of it at that. So is missed opportunity, getting knocked off track, setbacks, or anything else we can’t help but see as negatives.
They can be. All of those things can lead to failure. Absolutely. But, it’s your choice. Just like it’s your clients choice to fail because they fell off their nutritional plan. But you probably wouldn’t allow that to happen as their coach, would you? You’d calm them down, show them that everything is still going to work out if they put the work in, and that they will be able to get to their goals regardless.
If you feel confused right now, you’re not alone.
If you are wondering how you’ll get through this mess, you’re not alone.
If you think you have to ditch the fitness industry to start a crochet business that is a front for an illegal distribution ring of Bollywood movies, you’re probably alone because that is pretty random.
Be frustrated. Be confused. Be angry. Be scared. Let it all flow out.
But let’s drop the part where we get so down on ourselves. Let’s break free from the confining and limiting beliefs that our shortcomings are going on to a scoreboard. Let’s forget about competition and focus on collaboration. Let’s find joy in missing the mark and look at it as a learning experience that you can’t buy.
Shake it off. Talk to a friend. Reach out to a mentor. Be honest about your thoughts. Learn from what happened and make a new plan. Beg for that plan to fall short so you can learn even more.
Let’s just not give up.