Failure is Our Default

When I first opened my business in 2011, I remember hearing all the famous statistics about how many businesses fail in the first year, in the first five years, and in the first 10 years. 

In today’s environment, pointing out the likelihood of failure to a new business owner might seem demotivating or downright mean, but I think it was vital for helping me get to where I am today. 

Knowing that the common outcome for business was a failure and not success, helped set my mind towards knowing I probably wasn’t going to just luck into building a successful business. 

It meant I was going to have to work really hard AND work really smart if I wanted to last a decade or more. And since I didn’t have any previous business experience or any skills, it meant I was going to have to find someone to help guide me. I needed a mentor.

Fitness isn’t any different. As Americans, our default mode when it comes to health and fitness is a failure. Every statistic paints the same picture. Growing obesity rates, lifestyle choices being the leading causes of death, amazingly low levels of success rates for New Year’s resolutions. 

They all point to an incredibly high likelihood of failure…and that’s a very good thing. It’s a good thing for those who recognize that, if they truly want to be successful, they need to stay away from the things that cause most people to fail and do the things that those who have the most success do instead. 

As a whole, the fitness industry has done a poor job of sharing what it takes to actually be successful. Why? It’s easier to sell people bull shit. 

It’s easier to sell something that is cheap, easy, new, or a “secret”. I’m sure there are some people who have had success investing $10 a month into their fitness to go to a purple gym that feeds them pizza but, for the vast majority of people who choose that option, it doesn’t work.

There is a small percentage of people who have success on different diet fads but the vast majority of people quit after a few weeks and go back to eating how they were before.

There are some people who buy at-home exercise equipment and actually use it to build a lifetime of fitness. But most people use it for a couple of weeks and then it turns into storage. 

Just because some people win the lottery doesn’t mean it’s a good investment strategy. The same applies to fitness strategies. If you’ve personally struggled to have success or to sustain it, doing the things that historically haven’t worked for other people is not a smart decision.

Instead, you should do what works, that which has a proven track record of success. You need a mentor, a coach, a guide. 

There are three cornerstones to success: Guidance, accountability, and recognition. 

You need someone who knows the path and has taken others down that path. You need someone to show you the way. You need guidance.

You’re going to hit the snooze button, you’re going to let work take priority, you’re going to tell yourself you’ll get to it later. You need someone to keep you accountable to take the option of the failure off the table.

You need someone to recognize you for your successes, someone to give you a high five, someone to tell you they’re proud of you. You need recognition.

Luke had Yoda.

Daniel San had Mr. Miyagi.

The Mighty Ducks had Gordon Bombay. 

You need a coach, a mentor, a guide. 

Could you do it by yourself? Maybe. Probably not. Most people don’t. And why would you want to? Why would you want to do the same thing that didn’t work for you in the past and hasn’t worked for pretty much everyone else? 

Instead, look at what the most successful people are doing. If professional athletes, top CEOs, and world-class musicians are all using coaches to help them reach their goals, why wouldn’t you do the same?

Failure is our default. Success means doing something different. If you don’t want to be a statistic, find a coach. 

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