Winning In The Fitness Industry Comes Down To Little Things But Most Importantly It Is About Having An Attitude Of Success

By: Paul Schaller

Maybe like you, I like to watch sporting events; especially the big ones like the World Series, the NFL playoffs, Superbowl, and the Final Four, among others. Often the theatrics of these events serves as great lessons for business; the competition is so intense and the stakes are so high. Winning that race or game can seem like everything.

The recent Kentucky Derby was no exception when it comes to winning, losing, and the drama surrounding it. Perhaps you watched the Derby. In one of the all-time most controversial finishes in Kentucky Derby history, the decision on which horse had won the race was changed. While Maximum Security was the first to cross the finish line, the horse race didn’t stop at that point, and there was a video review shortly after. After the win was placed under review it was determined that Maximum Security had veered out of his lane. The thought was that it left Country House, attempting to pass down the stretch, unable to do so. You can watch controversial the video here.

Watching the Kentucky Derby reminded me about winning coming down to little things with those horses running so close to each other while racing for their lives. I’ve had my shares of wins and losses over my career in the fitness, health club, and gym business. I’ve watched entrepreneurs and clients that ABC Financial supported in the gym business struggle, stub their toes, overcome obstacles, and ultimately succeed and achieve great things. It is a great feeling to help wonderful people realize their dreams. Winning in the fitness business, like in horse racing, comes down to a lot of little things. In the long-term though winning a single game or race is not the measure; it is really more about having an attitude which enables you to overcome setbacks, losses, challenges and ultimately succeed.

John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach who, while known for his ten NCAA championships in twelve years, is also known for his great character, wisdom, and commitment to being a great teacher and coach who valued the development of his player’s character and intellect ahead of their utility on the basketball court. Here is what the famous basketball player Bill Walton had to say about coach Wooden.

“Coach Wooden is a humble, private man who has selflessly given up his life to make other people’s lives better ... John Wooden gave us the necessary tools to overcome the adversity and obstacles that he knew from the beginning would always be in our way. He taught us to find a source of motivation to inspire us to ever higher levels of preparation and work.” — Bill Walton

Coach Wooden has a fantastic Ted Talk online titled (video in the link) “The Difference Between Winning And Succeeding”. You should watch it. Coach has a lot of wisdom about life and success to share that I think applies to fitness professionals, gym and health club owners, and even members we can all learn from. Many of his principals are those that helped the team at ABC Financial help our clients succeed and create raving fans. Here are some highlights of his thoughts about the difference between winning and succeeding.

1. We are all average in some ways and that is ok. “They thought a C was all right for the neighbors’ children because the neighbors' children are all average. But they weren’t satisfied when their own would make the teacher feel that they had failed, or the youngster had failed. And that’s not right.”

2. Be the best version of YOU. “Never try to be better than someone else, always learn from others. Never cease trying to be the best you can be — that’s under your control. If you get too engrossed and involved and concerned in regard to the things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you have control.”

3. Success is about the journey. “Success: peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable.”

Nothing is instant. “And I say to you, in whatever you’re doing, you must be patient.”

Past performance is irrelevant to future success. “The shining trophies on our shelves can never win tomorrow’s game.”

4. Respect time. “Never be late. We start on time. We close on time.”

Unless you are the coach, do not comment on the performance of an athlete. “Never criticize a teammate. I didn’t want that. I used to tell them I was paid to do that. That’s my job. I’m paid to do it.”

5. There is a difference between belief and hope. “I believe that we must believe, truly believe. Not just give it word service; believe that things will work out as they should, providing we do what we should. I think our tendency is to hope that things will turn out the way we want them too much of the time. But we don’t do the things that are necessary to make those things become reality.”

6. It’s all about doing your best. “Don’t whine. Don’t complain. Don’t make excuses. Just get out there, and whatever you’re doing, do it to the best of your ability. And no one can do more than that.”

7. Don’t talk about winning. “You never heard me mention winning. Never mention winning. My idea is that you can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. And you can win when you’re outscored.”

8. Be consistent whether the game is won or lost. “I used to say that when a game is over, and you see somebody that didn’t know the outcome, I hope they couldn’t tell by your actions whether you outscored an opponent or the opponent outscored you.”

9. Measure effort by being the best you can be. “It’s getting the players to get that self-satisfaction, in knowing that they’d made the effort to do the best of which they are capable.”

10. Practice is where the work happens. “I liked our practices to be the journey, and the game would be the end. The end result. I’d like to go up and sit in the stands and watch the players play, and see whether I’d done a decent job during the week.”

11. While your best effort may not get what you want today, the purpose is to give your best effort regardless of the outcome. “That’s what really matters: if you make effort to do the best you can regularly, the results will be about what they should be. Not necessary to what you would want them to be, but they will be about what they should, and only you will know whether you can do that.”

12. Successful players are not always the stars, but those who develop their skills to their maximum capacity. “They, players Conrad Burke and John MacIntosh, came close to — as close to reaching possibly their full potential as any players I ever had. So I consider them to be as successful as Lewis Alcindor or Bill Walton, or many of the others that we had.”

So what do you think about winning versus succeeding? Do you agree there is a difference? Who do you count on to coach you and make you a better player in the fitness, health club, and gym industry? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know how our team at ABC Financial can help when it comes to your succeeding in your fitness business.

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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.