The power of positive thinking, from Norman Vincent Peale and his book by the same name to Tony Robbins, among other business gurus and life philosophers, many have promoted the science and real-world experience supporting the benefits of a positive attitude as a secret to happiness and success in business and in life.
In my many years working with some of the best fitness entrepreneurs in the health club industry when it comes to what separates the really successful from everyone else, it was one main thing: their positive attitude. Being a great health club operator requires a lot of ingredients: capital, knowledge, mentorship, but the main requirement is what goes on in that gray matter between your ears.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is not as though the successful men and women gym owners I’ve known over the years did not face a lot of challenges and experience fear, doubt, and worry at times; they did. But as the story goes, it was how they responded to the challenges by never losing hope and keeping their attitude positive that led their health clubs to rebound, succeed, and excel no matter what obstacles they faced.
You might have heard the stories of other business legends and how they excelled by keeping their attitudes positive. Back in 1919, a young cartoonist was fired from his job at a Kansas City newspaper. His editor said he wasn’t creative enough and should look into work elsewhere. Had the cartoonist given in to the power of negative thinking, we wouldn’t have discovered the genius of Walt Disney.
Perhaps you know the tale of the young Austrian who didn’t like playing soccer, which was the sport most kids played. After taking on bodybuilding, much to the chagrin of everyone, and suffering time in military prison for going AWOL in order to compete for a bodybuilding title he arrived in the U.S. unable to speak English and nearly penniless. Two years after Arnold Schwartzenger started his bricklaying business in 1968 he won his first Mr. Olympia title at 23. He maintained a positive attitude throughout the adversity he faced and you know the rest of the story.
“The way to happiness: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Fill your life with love. Scatter sunshine. Forget self, think of others. Do as you would be done by. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.” Norman Vincent Peale
So given the idea that success in the gym business requires a positive attitude I’ll share 5 tips I try to deploy to build and retain that all-important positive attitude.
1. Do Something For You Every Day
It is really important to take care of your physical and mental health. Operating a health club or fitness business or working in any demanding full-time job today requires you to constantly interact with people like members, prospects, co-workers, or managers in sometimes high-pressure circumstances. To maintain your positive attitude, it’s important you take a step back sometimes and treat yourself to something special. Get that workout in. Call a friend. Consider the ways you can unwind, de-stress, and have some “you” time.
2. Be An Early Riser
Most of us in the gym business get up early. It is the best time to workout without interruption. Many of our health clubs open very early for our members. It’s easier to maintain a positive attitude all day if you implement it right when you open your eyes. Think about ways to make your morning the best part of your day. Consider getting up a half hour or an hour earlier than usual, which means getting into bed earlier too. Have a cup of coffee, enjoy your work out. Keep a journal. When your morning is productive and less rushed, you’ll be sure to head to work with a better attitude.
3. Laugh More Often
Humor is the best medicine. Laughing lifts up everyone around you. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can increase endorphins, relieve stress, and release tension. In the long-run laughter and the positive thoughts associated with laughter can release neuropeptides, which fight stress and other serious illnesses. It can also help you cope with difficult situations and, generally, make you feel happier. When you make jokes and laugh, you can find humor in any negative situations.
4. Develop Meaningful Relationships By Showing Gratitude
Really positive people have great personal, family, and business relationships. Satisfying relationships not only make us happy and positive, but many research studies have also shown that satisfying relationships are associated with better health, greater happiness, and even longer life. Having these relationships takes work though. Try and tell people you care about them and how much you appreciate them. Remember important days and send an email or even better a hand note to those whom you care about. Tell your employees and members thank you. Take a friend or family member to lunch. Express your gratitude and watch your relationships get even better, your positivity will be your reward.
5. Keep The Big Picture In Mind
When problems arise with family, a coworker, or with a member you might be tempted at times to be defensive. I’ve found that the more conflicts we might take on in the near term can lead to more negative problems in the long-term. Sometimes we have to keep the big picture in mind and step back and consider situations from a longer-term perspective. Will participating in this conflict be beneficial in the long run? Will near-term challenges keep you from seeing the long-term upside of a situation; Or, will it simply cause unnecessary stress and negativity at the moment? Often, a member is simply having a bad day, or a coworker is facing stress. Rather than snapping back, you can practice empathy. Rather than doubting your vision of what you want in the end, take it in stride. Keep the big picture in mind when facing near-term setbacks in any situation.
So what do you do to keep a positive attitude? Do you agree that it is a really important thing to have to be successful? How did you like my five tips? I’d love to hear from you.
Paul Schaller is CEO of ABC Financial Services, the industry’s leading fitness club management software that strengthens gym performance by reducing delinquencies, improving collections, and creating a better member experience. Paul is a business leader who believes everything in business begins and ends with the customer! His mission is to make sure every employee of ABC Financial Services is a maniac on a mission to make raving fans of our customers! You can learn more by following Paul on Linkedin andFacebook.