“Who needs a job anyway?”
Well, probably people who want to eat. “You got me there,” I said, pointing finger-guns at the mirror since I now had no friends.
I had friends, but it’s interesting how many of us only interact because work or family demands it. I still had connections with my clients, and they didn’t want to stop seeing the progress we had made. I had friends who still supported me and wanted to see me successful. Not much had changed when I thought about it; I just had one less building and fewer people to worry about. Things weren’t as bad as I felt when I first lost my job.
Back then, I’d at least try anything once. And yes, I’d still try anything once.
I tried CrossFit when the gym was still open, and I was in love with it. The quick workouts, the camaraderie aspect, and the solid science behind it appealed to me. Plus, I loved watching my bodybuilder friends suck shit at something I had gotten kind of decent at.
No one needed a “gym” to do CrossFit. I had a two-car garage where I would do the Workout of the Day from the CrossFit Website. It was plenty for me, but would my clients come? “Will people pay me to roll around in my garage? Maybe If I let them pet my dog, Charlie, they’ll be too happy to remember they’re not in a gym.”
So I started inviting clients over to train with me. Then friends came. Then another trainer from the gym came over and trained his clients at my house. I didn’t want any money from his clients, but I told him I had big plans, and I wanted him close by for it.
Reality Sets In.
“How does anyone get money to open a business?!? This is bullshit!”
I said to the banker in my mind as I sat in the Credit Union parking lot. I was just rejected AGAIN for a loan. In my mind, you got a loan because you had no money, but in the bank’s mind, you needed to have money to prove you were worth giving a loan to. “WTF?!” You needed a job, assets, or cash on hand. “Would I ask for a loan if I had any of that?!”
I sighed and leaned against the headrest. It was hot. I smelled like I still worked in that same gym where I lost my job, and I’d been turned down for the thirteenth loan after applying to different lenders all summer. “You’re twenty-two? Too young. You don’t have enough credit history. If you fail, you don’t have a job to pay this loan.”
I swore I’d make this work. And here I was, about to give up and return to school.
7. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
“Well, I did improve my life a lot. I made a lot of good connections from learning names. And goddammit, I may be stink to high hell in a bank parking lot with a rejection letter, but at least I got the nerve to bring them a business plan and ask for a loan. I’ve come a long way already.”
“Just one more, Jeff. Just do one more.”
I reached out to Frank, the owner of the first CrossFit Gym in town, and gave him my spiel, ready for another no.
“I’m in; what do you need?”
“Wow,” I thought. “This power of positive thinking Bullshit is great.”
“Money,” I said. “I’ve maxed out my credit cards. I need equipment.”
Frank loaned me his American Express, and the plan began to come together.
We began to grow, and I needed a building. Guess what’s really expensive when in real life? Everything! And also commercial real estate.
I found this older man named Jim about a mile from my house with a massive building in the woods. It had personal junk, spiderwebs, garbage, and wreaked horse doo-doo. It was perfect because it looked like something I could afford. BINGO!
…It was not something I could afford.
8. Throw down a challenge.
“I want to rent your building, but I can’t pay you the deposit or the full rent, so I’ll make a deal with you. We clean it up super nice; I’ll pay you 1/3 rent in month one, 2/3 rent in month two, then full rent by month three. If I can’t make it happen, you’ll at least have a much nicer building.” **Heart attack while waiting for his response** I’ve got this in the bag; he’ll have to say yes.
I tucked my tail and went to the restaurant down the street to drink water, eat crackers and look sad.
I picked up the new book I was reading: “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.
“The only way you can ever fail as an entrepreneur is by quitting.
Do Not throw in the towel at the first sign of adversity or failure.”
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.” ~ Napoleon Hill
This guy doesn’t think I’ll make it. Of course, he’s not going to say yes to some kid riding on a dream with no experience.
So I showed him I meant business by calling him every few hours for as many days as I had to. Today was Friday around lunchtime – no answer.
Saturday comes and goes.
Sunday morning comes.
Sunday evening comes.
I shit you not; on the last call I was going to make, Jim picked up the line.
“Boy, you don’t give up, do you?”
“I know you said no, but I can do this. I know I can, but I need someone to give me a shot.”
I heard Jim’s sigh over the phone.
I knew it was another “no.”
“You remind me a lot of me when I was younger. When you make enough money to pay the deposit, pay it. But I’ll get a lease drawn up for three months for you.”
“This is a moment I call happiness.”
I think on that day, I had the first tear of Joy in my life.
I was just fresh above the legal drinking age, and I would be in business with clients, employees, and a community of people that believed in me.
The reject who slept in his car would never dream of this on his own.
Every step along the way had nudges from people who cared enough to do something when it was easier to not. To talk, to bring that kid at the desk a book, to take a chance on the young gun. Maybe someone had done that for them.
That was over ten years ago.
Today at the gym, I left another book for a client.
I told another that she didn’t have to believe in herself because I did.
And I’ll be interviewing another potential new coach this weekend.
We fail at the limits of our experience.
The story we tell ourselves about our situation is our most empowering tool or limiting weapon.
- Be open to changing your mind about who you are and what you can be.
- Be willing to try imperfectly before putting something off for a better day.
- The truth can never hurt us, and the truth is damn near anything can happen if you keep your heart and mind open.
Go do some cool shit today.