If you could go back in time, what would you say to your 20-year-old self?
Here’s some context. At 20 years old, I was well underway with a major transition. At this point, I had been personal training for about a year. I was paying rent, training clients, and getting my feet wet in the personal training world. I had about 15 people.
They came to me and they said, "Well, we're not doing this rent atmosphere anymore. We're now taking 30% starting next month." Mind you, I'm literally 20 and a half years old. I'm not even 21 yet. I'm thinking to myself, "Motherfucker, I'm about to give you 30%?"
My First Studio
I opened my first personal training studio before I turned 21. Not because I had set out to do this, but because I was forced into a situation that I wasn't willing to give in on. The 12-14 clients I had, loved what I did for them.
What happens if I started my own gym? I didn't have any money. I had to borrow $3,500 on a 20% interest credit card. I had $500, and I asked for a thousand bucks from my friend that I lived with.
I was forced to take on many risks into the unknown early on in my career. The complete unknown. I didn’t know anyone that owned their own gym or personal training facility. I didn’t know anyone that had been successful in this arena. There wasn’t someone there to give me pointers. I was living on campus with guys that are going to school and living the college lifestyle.
They were supportive, but do you know what I'm saying? With so many questions marks around me, I started to think to myself, "Well, shit, I ain't got nothing. So, what happens if I try this and I lose? What are they going to get?"
I wasn’t about to let these guys at my old gym press me down and just tell me what the fuck I had to do. I started driving around the area. I found a small facility, 900 square feet at $600 a month. I signed the lease for three years. I said, "Let's go get this." Up to this point, I had never had a monthly payment before in my life. Not even a car payment.
I was in “no man’s land.” Luckily, I had great support from the people around me. People were bringing me dumbbells and other equipment. When I say that it was a gym, that’s a stretch. It was a ladder closet inside of a mini mall that wasn’t currently being rented.
What Would I Say?
If I could go back, I would say, "It's all going to be fucking worth it. Dude, all this uncertainty. All this work that you’re going to figure out over the next 22 years. It’s all going to be worth it. You're going to reach levels you didn't even think were possible."
I wouldn’t have changed anything, and that’s what’s interesting about the way I operate. I don't have a lot of regret because I'm always hanging it out to dry. I always give my best to see what’s actually possible. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. You just keep moving.
The funny thing is that I couldn't even conceptualize what happened to me then and what's happened to me now. I wish I could go back and say, "Your belief in the unknown is so great, you don't even know what's possible. You're going to work with your idol. You're going to work with one of the best golfers that's ever walked the planet. You're going to be able to build a business that's sold in 60,000 doors. You're going to be able to work with people all over the world who are going to hear this message.”
I talked to my mom the other day and I said, "Ma, think about this. We have members all over the world. You're working with me in the business. When I packed up my car to leave the house with the money I saved from the coal mine to go be a personal trainer in the big city in 1999, I couldn't even have fucking grasped what happened."
That’s what it comes down to… you’re not always going to be able to see it. You’re not going to always be able to touch it. Not a lot of people were going to believe. In order to put the work around it every day to make it happen, you have to have the belief in the things you can't see and touch.
I couldn't see or touch any of it. I didn't know anybody that owned a gym. I didn't know anybody that did this for a living. All I knew was that I was going to do this for my living. I believed in myself and developed my confidence and passion towards what I do. I don't like to do anything else. Helping people online and in the gym is the first thing that I found that has scratched the same itch as lifting weights for me.
You can’t deny the gifts and passions bestowed on you. At 20 years old, I surely wasn’t deny them. I believed in me, even when others around me had no fucking clue what I was doing.
So, if I could fly back, I would say, "Double down, keep believing, act crazy, and do your thing. It's all going to be fucking worth it."