Step by Step to Achieve Success

Like you, I have had tons of struggles with time issues, staying positive through challenges, raising a family, working, and multi-tasking just to keep up.  I do not have a lot of “me” time and I sometimes compromise sleep or eating well. Where does success fit into the picture?

If this is also you, don’t worry!  If you can carve a few

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Your Guide to Goals, Success, and Motivation

You probably have a hectic schedule, like I do.  If you are raising a family or building a dojo, working full-time, or teaching martial arts, life can be exciting, but draining.

Every morning you wake up with a list of “to-do” items that seems extremely long and you set your sights on accomplishing as many as possible.  Still, at the

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Explosive Life Powers – Mind, Body & Spirit

Imagine if you could take your physical strength and kick it up a notch by adding in a few other ingredients to the mix.  Wouldn’t that be an awesome combination?  That’s exactly what I did and I’m about to share the secret behind this explosive life-power that I’ve discovered from my martial art.

When you think about martial art strength, it is often physical strength that comes to mind.  Pick any martial art movie and you see it.  Look at any martial art poster or motivational picture and you notice it.  The physical empowerment of the martial artist is often depicted in media as a physically strong person.

While physical strength is an excellent byproduct of martial arts and a great personal goal, there are a couple of other strengths that produce martial art power.  What are these amazing strengths?  What more can you possibly strengthen if not the physical self?

How about the mind and soul?  The mental and spiritual? If you allow it, these creative and personal strengths can infiltrate your life through your mastery of martial arts.

 

Physical strength can wane.  It all depends on how many times you practice per week and if you supplement your practices with weight training.  What if suddenly you cannot practice due to illness or issues or commitments? The physical strength can diminish until you continue physical training again.

Mental and spiritual strength in the martial arts are completely different from physical strength.  You may call them a lifestyle or a mindset. You can always keep strong in these areas, no matter your physical health. They do not fluctuate depending on training times or how many days you spend on the mat or the gym.  Once cultivated they are there to stay. Combine them with physical strength and you have an explosive combination.

When you combine your martial art mental power and your spiritual growth with your physical strength, it is a trio of power. Even if the physical falls behind, the two remaining strengths offer you all the defense you will need against life’s daily struggles, or even the biggest personal battles and challenges that you might face.

I’ve experienced many personal obstacles and battles.  I know that while I pushed through and persevered, most would have given up.  They would have walked away, or said to themselves, “That is too big an obstacle for me to fight.”

Whatever dire situations you face and whatever destruction has funneled its way into your life, never forget that you have choices. The first decision to make is how you are going to face the obstacles. Will you use your spiritual and mental strength?

I often remind myself that if I can achieve a black belt, then later a second degree (while pregnant), then I can persevere through anything.  If these strengths could relentlessly guide my path in martial arts, then they can lead me in life, too. The mental and spiritual strengths are  difficult to develop, but as you achieve proficiency in martial arts, you recognize that you are reaching higher ground.

Think about each martial art struggle you have faced.  There was a day when you could not perform a certain skill or didn’t understand a concept.  But, you didn’t give up.  Over time you figured it out or practiced it enough that it finally made sense.  That perseverance and stick-to-it attitude is mental strength.

When you are totally focused, thinking of nothing but your technique, and when the world is quietly swirling around you as you practice your martial art, you are experiencing a spiritual strength.  It is a part of you that exists somewhere beneath the surface and as it emerges you see yourself in a new light.  Competent.  Proficient. True.

From one belt to the next you are more confident, self-assured, and you start to believe in your own power.  Your martial art spiritual side grows as you start to accept that you are just as good as any other martial artist.  You notice that each practitioner has his own weaknesses and no one is perfect, and there is a sense of relief in that. What a revelation!  Your mind is now free from the temptation to be like everyone else.

You learn to be yourself, work diligently, and never allow yourself to give up.  Your spiritual and mental strength starts to deepen.

As you age, or if you suffer from an illness or setback, physical strength may be difficult to maintain.  The spiritual and mental strength, however, will not let you down.  While strengthening your body is of upmost importance, working out the mental and spiritual muscles will bring life-long results.

It’s up to you.  Will you flex your mental and spiritual muscles?  You may not be in the next martial arts movie or on a martial arts poster, but there is one thing is for sure.  These strengths are definitely a part of your personal star power and worth exploring.

xoxo

Andrea

PICK UP ONE OF MY MOTIVATIONAL AND INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS! 

https://goo.gl/Yco5GF – Martial Art Inspirations for Everyone – This book is a series of reflections to read at your leisure in topics ranging from uniqueness, negativity, mindset, struggles, new beginnings, personal power, beliefs,instincts, and more. 

https://goo.gl/dGfX1q – The

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There is Power in You

Power grows during the difficult moments that consume you, big and small. For all the pain, grief, and lonely times, for all the moments you have questioned yourself or your worth, and for all the times you have worried that you were not good enough, there is, unequivocally and convincingly, power.

Your power is revealed through times of healing. If internal power were easy to achieve, it would mean nothing. Like anything good, it comes in time, and it happens after you are forced to deal with unexpected decisions, unforeseen situations, and abrupt endings.

Like the martial artist who tries repeatedly to perfect a skill, you will find yourself feeling inadequate. You will want these tender moments to pass as soon as possible, yet they take time. Similar to the martial artist who wants perfection in his skills first time around, disappointment and discouragement will prevent achieving success in one fail swoop.

You have to feel it. You have to live it. This is life.

But, power takes time to develop, especially when it emanates from the difficult times, the obstacles, and the fears. It builds momentum as you move through the situations in your life. You realize that you must be resilient. You cannot back down or give up. Some days are more challenging than others, but you begin to put a system into place to attack negativity in your life:

  • Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel
  • Allow

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Blank Canvas

Life. It is a big blank canvas. We do not know what each moment will bring. We do not know for sure where we will be tomorrow. Still, there are plenty of opportunities to create a path that is right for you.

Among daily chores, regular commitments, work, study, or martial art practice, there are moments ready to be filled with your hopes and dreams. There are hours to be consumed with passionate dedication, days to be drenched in joy, and months and years to reflect your unique spirit and personality.

You can look at life in two different ways. In one way, it is predictable. It is reality. Your responsibilities demand that you be at different places at certain times. You have habits, schedules, demands and rituals. You wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and head out the door.

The other way to look at life is a blank canvas. Although we have responsibilities, we also have opportunities to live life to its fullest, and to create moments that really mean something. If you talk to a cancer survivor, many come through the experience with a new sense about life. It is short and it is delicate. If you want to really live it you must stretch yourself and make each moment count. Wasted time is not an option for those who understand that life is a gift meant to be cherished.

Moving away from the martial art program that I taught for eight years was a difficult experience because I had watched many of the children grow up. Those hours of teaching were special.

I will not lie, though. Many times I was tired or wished to have a night off because of a long work day beforehand. It never failed, though. Every time I entered the dojang, and every time I saw the faces, I knew the moment was right and I was exactly where I was meant to be. It was as if the blank canvas was filling me, and not vice versa.

Today, I am creating a martial arts concepts program for a corporation to pique the interest of others in the martial art mind, body, spirit balance. Will the program be a success? I do not know. But, I am going to find out.

The blank canvas allows us to see each moment for its beautiful and powerful message. Sitting here writing a blog post is not a drudgery. Sometimes I think I will run out of things to say. Yet, when I begin, the words always flow. That is because I am filling the blank slate with something personal, powerful and meaningful to me – words that can touch and affect the lives of others.

However you decide to paint  your blank canvas and bring your life to creative fulfillment is personal, but not predictable. I would not be The Martial Arts Woman if I had not pushed outside of my comfort zone to write for magazines, create a blog, and write books. Ten years ago none of that existed.

The day I stepped forward beyond my fears of rejection was the day, perhaps even the very moment, when I learned more about myself than ever before. The big blank canvas was coming alive and I was the artist making it happen. I knew there was more work to do, and more to learn about how I can change the world for the better. Writing catapulted me into something far bigger than I ever imagined.

I believe most of us have predictability in our daily lives, but we do not always have the fortitude to make every moment count. Daily life can be tiring. It can push us to complacency. Personal greatness, however, requires you to push through what you find boring and trite, to something more.

This does not mean to you have to do something extraordinary every moment of the day. Rather, it is a reminder to make your moments count. Between the daily chores and responsibilities are wedged colorful opportunities, people, and experiences.

Life is not a perfect space. There are ups and downs throughout. Good and bad experiences come your way. Life hands you nothing. Take control of your blank slate. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new, or bring that one dream to fruition. Forge ahead. Everyone is different. No blank canvas will ever be filled the exact same way.

Tomorrow is not as important as this moment, right now. In one single moment, you can love, smile, dream, sing, dance, kiss, hug, encourage, believe, and give. These simple moments may even grow bigger and expand into hours, days, months and years of personal growth, achievement, and fulfillment. Your happiness and fulfillment can create ripples of positivity to those around you. The colors of your slate will expand and explode with these simple but very significant moments.

I cannot wait to see who you become. Your blank canvas is more and more valuable as it is filled. If you were to buy a one of a kind piece of amazing art by an incredible artist, it could cost millions. Your slate, your life art,  is worth no less. You are capable and worthy of transforming a blank canvas into a breathtaking, ever-changing, colorful and true vision of you.

Keep pushing through,

Andrea

PICK UP ONE OF MY MOTIVATIONAL AND INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS! 
https://goo.gl/Yco5GF – Martial Art Inspirations for Everyone
https://goo.gl/dGfX1q – The Martial Arts Woman
Keep your eye out for my next book:
****How to Start Your Own Martial Art Program****
In the meantime, keep inspired by one of my other two books:

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The Insecure Judge Others

Have you ever noticed them? The people who always have something negative to say about others? Maybe you are one of them.

Someone is too fat. Someone dresses weird. Someone is old-fashioned, a prude, too serious, too silly, too particular, shy, unhappy, and the list goes on. They have an answer for everyone and an inaccurate judgment based on what they see.

Usually our first inclination is to judge those who are different from who we are. After all, we all think others should be a little bit more like us, don’t we?

I admit it. I have done it, too. But, that was when I was insecure about myself and thought that I had nothing to offer this great, big world. I even did it with martial arts. I instantly judged my first class by what I saw. I was insecure in the moment. It was a place far from usual. I had been raised to not yell or be aggressive. So, I judge martial arts as too aggressive, maybe even violent, and not for me.

Little did I know then that martial arts are about defense. They are not about fighting, but they do teach you how to fight back if that is the only choice. I disintegrated my self-defined and inaccurate judgment about martial arts the day I realized that. Just imagine. If I had stuck with my original and incorrect judgment, where would I be today?

I was looking for definition and purpose, so I tried and I learned. Then, and most importantly, I realized that the only person I needed to judge was me. Clearly I was not living up to my own standards. Once I gained more self-confidence, I found it unnecessary to ever judge anyone else again.

Today, I find it difficult to judge others, even if I try. The reason is because I have so much work to do in my own life. And, I have been on the receiving side of judgment too many times. I have been judged incorrectly and it was a painful lesson. That is significant because it reminds me that my bitter judgments about others have little merit and are hurtful.

The simple lesson is this. If you find yourself harshly judging others, take a step back and look at yourself. I bet you will see that your own insecurities are prompting these thoughts and reactions. You may begin to see that if you took a little time to “judge” yourself, that there are some very positive changes that you can make in your own life.

Once you feel better about who you are, or at least decide to control your own destiny by taking responsibility for who you are and what you say, the need to judge others will diminish as will your own insecurities.

I am not here to judge, just remind. Thankfully, I allowed myself to see martial arts for what they were. I also see you for who you are. You are a unique and magnificent person and your strengths far outweigh your weaknesses.

A little less judging and a lot more encouraging will go a long way. It is your responsibility and mine to do what we can to make the world a better place, and less judgment is a great way to start.

xoxo

Andrea

PICK UP ONE OF MY MOTIVATIONAL AND INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS! 
https://goo.gl/Yco5GF – Martial Art Inspirations for Everyone
https://goo.gl/dGfX1q – The Martial Arts Woman
Keep your eye out for my next book:
****How to Start Your Own Martial Art Program****

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Martial Arts Develop Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Courage

Courage.  It is powerful.  So powerful, in fact, that there are very few occasions when we actually use it in our own lives anymore. What about it? Do we have even one inch of courage lurking inside?

Courage refers to overcoming something that frightens you.  Whatever your fears, they need to be attacked and overcome, and martial arts and positivity are both tools that work to help you overcome your fears and find your courage.

Your bravery and valor is reflected in how you speak and act. Through physical, mental, and spiritual enrichment, you transform that which seems impossible to a reality. You move from disbelief to belief. Your courage molds you and allows you to make a positive difference in the world.

If these are not courageous and brave transformations, then I don’t know what are.

A martial art is one of the few remaining traditions that still depends on courage as a practical experience. A martial artist needs the courage to step forth and try something new, to reach physical goals, and to fortify their mind.

How a martial art brings about physical courage is very simple. You must step out of the box from day one. Walking into your first class you do not know what to expect. You take the first step by just showing up. Most people have an element of fear, anxiety, or excitement about trying a martial art. Using courage they begin their journey.

Physical courage entails trying to overcome the fears you have about your physical being. I have always had difficulty with certain jump kicks or spin kicks.  I thought I would be judged based on my lack of perfection. Yet, I still worked to the best of my ability. I had to have the courage to try to become better.

I realized that no one can be proficient and perfect at every single thing, and that is what physical courage taught me. You suck it up and do what you can and giving up is never an option.

By being brave enough to try something new or to practice what is not comfortable or familiar, you slowly overcome self-doubt and fears. Once you realize that you have that kind of courage, you can apply it to other aspects of life. The little fears that creep up in your mind are pushed aside, and you use all your courage to break through that which stands in your way.

Mental courage is a big part of martial arts. Courage grows when confidence soars. I like to use board breaks as an example.  They require physical and mental courage. Technique alone will not do the trick if you do not believe in yourself.  When you combine any good technique with mental courage, you succeed.

As it suggests, “mental” courage involves pushing through barriers in your mind, such as transposing “I cannot” into “I can.”  This takes mental courage because you are re-programming your mind.  Major change often throws you off-balance and requires you to realign again. If you have a strong mindset, you will always rebound only to become stronger.

Mental courage increases as you learn a martial art because you eventually let go of your mental barriers and instead start to embrace and implement new beliefs about yourself and the world.

Like physical and mental courage, spiritual courage also involves overcoming a fear, stepping over a boundary, or breaking a barrier.  While a martial art is physical, you must use the power of your  mind to push through fears and self-doubts.  Physical and mental courage are not enough. Spiritual courage must be engaged, and it is the trickiest of all.

What does your martial art mean to you?  How do you take the physical and mental parts of it and apply them to your life, your personal beliefs, how you act, and what you say?  Your martial art spirituality infiltrates your very core as a person.  Integrity, dedication, and perseverance are some tenets of spirituality, but it runs much deeper.

Some martial artists openly share their religious philosophies or incorporate them into their martial art, which takes courage.  Their courage allows them not to worry about what others will think or say about their belief that their spiritual reflections make them stronger as martial artists. Other martial artists practice  meditation, reflection, journal writing, or sharing thoughts and beliefs with others as an outreach.

Whatever spirituality you apply extends far beyond your physical and mental journey into a space within your heart and soul. It takes courage because looking inward highlights your weaknesses, but that is not a bad thing.  This allows you to strengthen that which is weak.

When you apply spirituality to your life and your martial art, you cannot  gloss over fears that dwell inside of you. Your spiritual courage allows you accept the good and the bad, which points you in the direction of improvement.

You may not consider yourself a “courageous” person, but I am here to tell you that you have already surpassed courage a thousand times over, but never realized it.  Pushing yourself physically when not knowing what to expect, learning to alter the course of your mind to positivity, and digging deep into your own psyche through your practice are probably some of the most courageous actions you will ever take.

Wherever you are in your current martial art journey or your life journey, don’t sell yourself short. You have the gift of courage whenever you want it. I guess it all depends on if you want it.

xoxo

Andrea

PICK UP ONE OF MY MOTIVATIONAL AND INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS! 
https://goo.gl/Yco5GF – Martial Art Inspirations for Everyone
https://goo.gl/dGfX1q – The Martial Arts Woman
Keep your eye out for my next book:
****How to Start Your Own Martial Art Program****

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Kick Your Doubt to Pieces

Doubt Sets You Up for Failure

Overcome self-doubt, or set yourself up for failure. There are no great options here. When you doubt, you are bound to become what you believe. That’s right. Once you start doubting yourself, you will fall into the depths of becoming the kind of person you NEVER wanted to be.

Doubt, like negativity, grows over time. Before you know it, you eliminate all the dreams and desires you ever had. Quietly, you slip into complacency, rather than being excited about all that life should offer.

It happens to everyone, but few ever address it. Aspirations quietly slip away until you gradually accept that as reality. You begin to ignore the dreams and plans you had planned for your life. I have been there, done that. I understand.

I’m here to tell you, however, that it is never too late to put your dreams back into action. You can start over. If you want to succeed, you must kick your doubt to pieces!

 

Starting Over 

It is time to put your fears, doubt, and even shame or shyness aside. You are worthy of being who you want to be.

The thing about starting over is that it does not happen on its own. You must first understand that doubt, despair, and negativity will prevent you from living the life you want to live. You have but two choices.

  1. Do nothing and believe that you can never change; or
  2. Realize

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Explosive Life Powers – Mind, Body & Spirit

Imagine if you could take your physical strength and kick it up a notch by adding in a few other ingredients to the mix.  Wouldn’t that be an awesome combination?  That’s exactly what I did and I’m about to share the secret behind this explosive life-power that I’ve discovered from my martial art.

When you think about martial art strength, it is often physical strength that comes to mind.  Pick any martial art movie and you see it.  Look at any martial art poster or motivational picture and you notice it.  The physical empowerment of the martial artist is often depicted in media as a physically strong person.

While physical strength is an excellent byproduct of martial arts and a great personal goal, there are a couple of other strengths that produce martial art power.  What are these amazing strengths?  What more can you possibly strengthen if not the physical self?

How about the mind and soul?  The mental and spiritual? If you allow it, these creative and personal strengths can infiltrate your life through your mastery of martial arts.

 

Physical strength can wane.  It all depends on how many times you practice per week and if you supplement your practices with weight training.  What if suddenly you cannot practice due to illness or issues or commitments? The physical strength can diminish until you continue physical training again.

Mental and spiritual strength in the martial arts are completely different from physical strength.  You may call them a lifestyle or a mindset. You can always keep strong in these areas, no matter your physical health. They do not fluctuate depending on training times or how many days you spend on the mat or the gym.  Once cultivated they are there to stay. Combine them with physical strength and you have an explosive combination.

When you combine your martial art mental power and your spiritual growth with your physical strength, it is a trio of power. Even if the physical falls behind, the two remaining strengths offer you all the defense you will need against life’s daily struggles, or even the biggest personal battles and challenges that you might face.

I’ve experienced many personal obstacles and battles.  I know that while I pushed through and persevered, most would have given up.  They would have walked away, or said to themselves, “That is too big an obstacle for me to fight.”

Whatever dire situations you face and whatever destruction has funneled its way into your life, never forget that you have choices. The first decision to make is how you are going to face the obstacles. Will you use your spiritual and mental strength?

I often remind myself that if I can achieve a black belt, then later a second degree (while pregnant), then I can persevere through anything.  If these strengths could relentlessly guide my path in martial arts, then they can lead me in life, too. The mental and spiritual strengths are  difficult to develop, but as you achieve proficiency in martial arts, you recognize that you are reaching higher ground.

Think about each martial art struggle you have faced.  There was a day when you could not perform a certain skill or didn’t understand a concept.  But, you didn’t give up.  Over time you figured it out or practiced it enough that it finally made sense.  That perseverance and stick-to-it attitude is mental strength.

When you are totally focused, thinking of nothing but your technique, and when the world is quietly swirling around you as you practice your martial art, you are experiencing a spiritual strength.  It is a part of you that exists somewhere beneath the surface and as it emerges you see yourself in a new light.  Competent.  Proficient. True.

From one belt to the next you are more confident, self-assured, and you start to believe in your own power.  Your martial art spiritual side grows as you start to accept that you are just as good as any other martial artist.  You notice that each practitioner has his own weaknesses and no one is perfect, and there is a sense of relief in that. What a revelation!  Your mind is now free from the temptation to be like everyone else.

You learn to be yourself, work diligently, and never allow yourself to give up.  Your spiritual and mental strength starts to deepen.

As you age, or if you suffer from an illness or setback, physical strength may be difficult to maintain.  The spiritual and mental strength, however, will not let you down.  While strengthening your body is of upmost importance, working out the mental and spiritual muscles will bring life-long results.

It’s up to you.  Will you flex your mental and spiritual muscles?  You may not be in the next martial arts movie or on a martial arts poster, but there is one thing is for sure.  These strengths are definitely a part of your personal star power and worth exploring.

xoxo

Andrea

PICK UP ONE OF MY MOTIVATIONAL AND INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS! 

https://goo.gl/Yco5GF – Martial Art Inspirations for Everyone – This book is a series of reflections to read at your leisure in topics ranging from uniqueness, negativity, mindset, struggles, new beginnings, personal power, beliefs,instincts, and more. 

https://goo.gl/dGfX1q – The

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Martial Artist in the Mirror

Martial artists often enjoy practicing while looking in the mirror.  It helps to identify areas of improvement because they can see where technique or form does not look quite right.  I always found looking in the mirror while practicing fascinating because it never matched how I thought I looked.

Have you ever practiced and thought to yourself, “I am finally getting this!” only to watch yourself practice in the mirror and realize that your technique or skill did not look as good as you thought it should?  In some of the Kung Fu classes that I took with Sifu German Garcia in the past, I had the chance to look at myself in the mirror while practicing blocking drills.  Honestly, I felt like I was doing much better than I appeared in the mirror.  The thing is, the mirror does not hide the truth, but without the truth, there is no ability to grow and improve.

The mirror is the point of reference, a moment in time when you realize that you still need a lot of practice.  The mirror guides you.  The person you see in the mirror wants to succeed and excel. The mirror reveals it all in a new perspective.

Analyzing your skills and weaknesses is part of being a leader.  Perhaps you self-lead or you lead others.  A martial artist self-leads, while an instructor leads others.  Either way, self-assessment is crucial for moving forward in a positive direction and becoming a better student, instructor, and martial artist.

I recently began college for my master’s degree in organizational management.  I had to do a self-assessment about some of my communication weaknesses and gaps.  It required a long, in-depth look in the mirror.  It is amazing what you realize about yourself when you take the time to review where you struggle in communication and how others perceive you.

Life offers many moments of mirror-looking.  I certainly appreciate it when the reflection is perfect, but most of the time the mirror reveals an ambitious woman who grabs opportunity when she can, who sometimes succeeds and sometimes fails, but always tries.  On some days, she looks tired from all the effort, and on others she seems to shine and sparkle with enthusiasm.  This is the ebb and flow of life.

We should all stop for a moment and look in the mirror and analyze more than how our hair looks, or if the outfit we are wearing is appropriate for the situation.  We should take a look at what is really going on in our lives.  Have we taken the time to share our love, our gifts and talents and our dreams?  Have we stepped outside of our own wants and desires for a few moments to help someone else?  None of this takes a lot of time, nor does it interfere with following your goals and dreams.  In fact, you will learn a lot about yourself in this pursuit of seeing a clearer picture in the mirror.

I love martial arts, especially when my learning makes sense and I see improvement through practice.  I enjoy seeing the focus of my approach in the mirror.  It is neither good nor bad; just one view that can help me improve my weaknesses so I can find personal happiness and success.  If you want to improve in martial arts and in life, take a look in the mirror from a few feet back. Who do you see?

Martial arts parallel life in many ways, from how we treat others, to how we feel about ourselves, and our perspective on the world around us.  The best reflection in the mirror is a person who desires to make a positive and powerful change in themselves and the world around them.

xoxo

Andrea

https://goo.gl/Yco5GF – Martial Art Inspirations for Everyone – This book is a series of reflections to read at your leisure in topics ranging from uniqueness, negativity, mindset, struggles, new beginnings, personal power, beliefs,instincts, and more. 

https://goo.gl/dGfX1q – The Martial Arts Woman – This book

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Four Powerful Words That Will Change Your Life Forever

It might as well have been a trunk of wood of magnificent stature.

I stood there facing two 12 by 12 inch boards a couple of inches thick. I had no idea how quickly my confidence would drain when staring down a couple of pieces of wood.

I was at a my green belt martial art exam, which is a belt level between beginner and black belt. I had done well through most of the test, although hours earlier I faced uncertainty and a lot of anxiety about it. I’ve never been a good test taker. I never realized though, how important facing your fears were until that day.

There was a large audience watching the test. They came to see their friends and family perform and demonstrate all of the cool martial art skills and techniques. For me, it was just me and my husband who were both testing.

At the very end of the test, I was unexpectedly called up by name in front of the crowd. It was a surprise, because just moments earlier I was sitting comfortably on the floor with the rest of my peers, assuming the test was finished and that we had all passed the rigorous challenge. As you know, life often throws you a curve ball when you least expect it.

“Andrea, do a jump front kick, and break these boards,” my instructor stated, holding the two boards together, back to back, directly in front of me. I just looked at the boards and felt my confidence quickly fade. I thought to myself, “I cannot do this!”

I jumped up, and sure enough, my foot bounced off, and the boards did not even bend. The quiet hush of the audience smothered me like sticky failure. During the second attempt, I told myself that my instructor believed in me. Still, I kicked and left two boards completely intact. I know that the audience was holding their breath, in desperate anticipation of what may or may not happen.

This third attempt was all I had left. While my instructor believed in me, I knew there were four words that I needed to say to myself if I wanted to succeed. I turned my back to my instructor and the boards in order to regroup my thoughts. I began to whisper to myself over and over, “I CAN do this!”

I turned back around, jumped, kicked, and smashed through the boards with ease.

The lesson was quickly revealed. This was not about martial arts at all. It was about life. It was about believing in myself. My instructor knew it all along. It was not a test to break boards, but a test to break negative thinking and a test to break self-imposed limits.

Every day, you face the task of crashing through life’s big, thick boards. They come in the shape of obstacles, difficulties, and discouragements. You may think that these negative barriers control you, but the truth is that you can control them. Feeling like a victim or giving up are negative options that will never help you improve or overcome. Staring down the barriers with confidence and a strong belief in yourself, will allow you the opportunity that you need to break through. Push fear and anxiety aside, and instead focus on knowing that life’s unexpected “boards” can be overcome, if you believe.

I readily refer to my green belt board break experience as my “I can do it” story. Every time I face a new obstacle, I remember the moment when I crashed through two boards, which at the time seemed like an impossible task.  This moment carries me through and allows me to face each new obstacle with a positive attitude.

Today, think about a time in your life when you persevered or crashed through an insurmountable situation and forever use it as your “I can do it” moment. If you cannot think of one, you can always use my green belt board break story as an example. I’m sure you can feel the tension of the moment and understand how the pressure of performing this break in front of an audience may have felt when I was unexpectedly called up to demonstrate. Then, as I finally crashed through after three attempts, I recognized the true lesson, and this aha moment belongs to all of us.

If you want to live a positive life, you will be required to break through the negative.  It may take a few attempts, but that is okay. The important thing to understand is that personal success requires positive action. The most important part of this lesson is that you can start right now to make this powerful change in your life. The first step is to whisper the same four powerful words to yourself that I finally whispered to myself. They will always remind you that you can push through and succeed.

xoxo

Andrea

https://goo.gl/dGfX1q – The Martial Arts Woman

This book shares some of my personal stories about being a woman in martial arts, but more importantly has chapters from more than 25 other women martial artists that explores applying martial arts to life. Some of the stories are amazing and unbelievable. You

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Gently Does It Wins The Race For Gym Text Campaigns

Gym woman smiling at receiving a text message and looking at her phone

Most people have some sort of mobile device connected to an SMS text-messaging network these days. That creates an opportunity for the enterprising fitness center owner to use text messages as another medium in their marketing strategy, with which to engage with gym members. The question is how does that fit into your marketing and how do you get the most out of it?

Is Texting The New Email Marketing?

As I’ve stated before, email marketing is a really powerful tool to increase your fitness center’s profitability. Health and fitness are such an important marketing demographic that, as an owner, it’s the competitive edge on the guys with the gym down the street that aren’t paying quite as close attention. And it works too!

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What Is Your Story?

A "prince frog" looking on an over-sized book that says, "Once Upon A Time."

Do you have a back story to how your business started? Do your employees know the why and what-for of the enterprise they work for? Employees need a story that they can focus on and a reason to identify with your small gym business. If that story is something that new employees can buy into, they will become a more effective part of your team more quickly.

Meaning is a higher human need that will override many failings. It help’s people understand what you’re trying to achieve and work harder to get you there. It frames the challenges and purpose that you’re pursuing. It’ll help your team understand the business.

Stories Build Teams

Now remember, you’re telling your company and business story for a reason. There are three things that you need to build in, to make it compelling. There has to be a reason or justification for starting the business. There has to be a struggle or threat to the existence of the business that you fought against or are determined to overcome. The third part is to explain how business answers the call and provides a result or solution to the problem.

I’m not going to repeat my story here; you can link to it and read it in full. But I’d like to use it to illustrate my point very briefly.

The Reason – I was asked to build a system to run 24-hour unattended fitness centers. It got off to a great start and showed lots of promise. That was the reason for Insight.

The Struggle – Putting it into practice, making it work and launching it as a business proved to be an epic struggle. For a while, it could have gone either way. There really was a danger because that’s what happens with a startup; you work all hours of the day and hang on while no one seems to appreciate the great value-proposition you offer.

The Result – With a lot of hard work we persevered and Insight is now working for more than a thousand customers. That number is increasing every day. It took the faith, conviction and passion of everybody involved but we pulled it off! Now we have an exciting and fun business that is winning friends and satisfied customers across the United States, Canada, Indonesia, and most recently, Ecuador.

What you know about a lot of organizations comes from the stories that have been told about them in the media. What you know about successful companies often comes from biographies of their founders. The best ones are where the founder tells their own story. For example, the way that Joe DeSena tells his story in his book SpartanUp!

Adopt A Story To Adapt A Culture

If you don’t do the telling, then your employees and members will tell each other a story that you don’t control. There’s always going to be chatter at the water cooler if you have more than two employees. The hazard of not having an official story of how the company started is that one will grow up by rumor and gossip.

Telling your story proactively will help you prevent the spread of rumors and help boost morale. The following three examples show how having a clearly articulated company back-story will make a significant difference and put you in better control:
• You’ve just taken over a facility that already has a team and culture in place and you need to take control.
• You’re starting a new business from scratch and you want to build the best culture from the start.
• You’ve just hired a new employee and you want to indoctrinate them into your culture.

It also helps to have a story that you can use for publicity, in your dealings with the media and any interested parties outside the gym. You certainly don’t want them making things up and sourcing your story from hearsay or third-party gossip. It also helps to have a story that you can include in press releases that announce new activities and events at your gym.

Telling my story has been a very effective way to connect with my team and my clients. When you put a human face on a business it helps people to align with your purpose, because it helps them know what that purpose is in the first place.

Source:

http://blogs.hbr.org/2008/02/aesop-inc-using-stories-to-per/

Over to you…

What’s your story?  How did you get involved in the fitness industry?  How did your fitness business get started? read more

The Top Reasons Gyms Succeed

Nerd Businessman standing in front of a chalk board with Chalk Drawn Arm Muscles

A while back I wrote an article about the ten reasons new gyms fail. It was well received by the readers of Gym Insight and the discussion was very gratifying for me. But as a believer in fitness and getting results in a positive way I feel compelled to balance it out with an article about the positive side of gym startups and success. I admit that there is likely plenty of overlap between this and the previous article. These things are worth saying over and over again and doing more reps never hurt anybody.

Arm Yourself With The Most Important Reasons Gyms SucceedNerd Businessman standing in front of a chalk board with Chalk Drawn Arm Muscles

Have A Great Business Plan
The power of business plans is that they work whether you follow them or not. The difference is not following the plan to the letter but making the plan in the first place. In the military leaders understand that once the battle starts the plan goes out the window. In business, as in war, it is the discipline of making the plan and putting preparations in place that sets you up for success.

 

Give Your Finances The Full Attention They Require
I’m talking about capital here; funds that you can use to buy the right fitness equipment, create marketing and branding materials of all description, the capital to invest in refurbishment and fitting out of your gym before the launch. It never hurts to try to be frugal and spend as little as possible, which leads to my next point, but you have to find the capital to do the things that must be done to make a professional and clean environment. Skimping on the things that you truly need is not the same as bootstrapping up from the absolute minimum.

 

Make Sure You Have Deep Pockets
Having adequate capital and what Dave Ramsey would term a three month emergency fund is a deal maker or a deal breaker. It makes the difference between making payroll (or any other expense that can shut you down if you miss it) and locking up and walking away. Maybe this should have been the first point… and the second… and the third.

 

Select The Right Location
It doesn’t matter if all of the other local gyms are in the same location as the one you think is the right place then so be it. All it means is that you came to the same conclusion as your rivals. I would rather have a gym in the crowd in the right place than being alone in the wrong place. The trick is to have a competitive offering and great service.

 

Grow At A Rate You Can Handle
Expanding too rapidly has killed many ambitious small business operations. The two keys to this are that you want to have the cash flow to cover all of your costs when you expand and you need to have the human resources to cover the business with experienced staff. Of course, there is always the chance that taking a big risk will bring a big reward. But in my experience you are much more likely to crash and burn.

 

Keep Your Eye On The Competition
Understand the other gym’s business model to judge whether they really are competitors or in a niche that could some sort of alliance.

 

Keep An Eye On Your Employees
Make sure that you provide adequate supervision for your staff. It is very true that some people can work better unsupervised than others. Supervise your staff according to their needs and abilities.

 

Develop A Kick-Ass Marketing Campaign
Assuming all other things are equal, great marketing materials and presentations can set you head and shoulders above your nearest competitors. The headphone company Beats by Dre has been in the news lately, having been sold to Apple for $3 billion(those tech sales numbers always amaze me). Get creative in marketing your gym and get the most value out of the least capital.

 

Change With The Times
Understand that the times are changing mighty quickly these days. Try to keep up with the trends. This could be fun if you can find the time to go to conventions and other networking events that feature innovation.

 

Go Beyond A Mere Web Presence
Web presence is another mandatory resource these days. You need to have a unified web and mobile presence as the biggest area of growth in Internet access is predicted to be through tablets and other mobile operating systems.

 

Some Bonus Reasons Gyms Succeed
I had some great suggestions in response to the previous article that are worth mentioning. It was suggested in the comments that customer care and retention has to be number one; be passionate about the business you’re in; hire the right staff members and trainers. Finally, pick the right partners or none at all; that probably means not linking up with friends or family. The only reason to get into a partnership is if all parties contribute equal, unique skills and knowledge.

Over to you…

What are other reasons gyms succeed?

 

Sources:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/29/technology/apple-confirms-its-3-billion-deal-for-beats-electronics.html

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Las Vegas Athletic Club Versus Life Time Athletic

There’s no time like the present to prepare for storms on the horizon. I’m reminded about this because one of the big boys has just arrived in town in a big way. The launch of Life Time Athletic into the local Las Vegas market has been a wake-up call, announced with all of the glitz and fanfare people expect of this town. I would like to use it as an example of how established local gyms can respond effectively to big-box corporate competition.

The Las Vegas Athletic Club Value Proposition

When the big national or multi-national brands move in, you are either going to fight based on price point or value proposition. You have to differentiate yourself from the competition by focusing on and promoting the things that you have that are unique or proprietary.

Ultimately it will likely be a combination of price and service that wins the day. The top end of the market will skim off the most hardcore workout fanatics, and families that can afford the best. That leaves a healthy chunk in the middle of the market, where consumers watch their budget but value fitness and make it a priority over other activities.

Las Vegas Athletic Club (LVAC) exploits the home-court advantage and loyalty of their members, of which they currently have a little over 20,000. LVAC was formed in 1977 and has been under the current ownership since 1991, they now haves six locations around town.

LVAC can compete with the national chains on price as well as their large clean and modern facilities that are well equipped. LVAC has a long list of positive reviews on Yelp.com, which indicates that its local reputation is an asset. It is a 24-hour operation, in the low $20 range with a 26-month contract, as of this writing. Life Time Athletic is more expensive at around five times the price of LVAC for monthly memberships.

LVAC also takes a page out of the playbooks of some of the higher priced gyms by offering a choice of classes that they can upsell to members for additional fees. CrossFit gyms charge more than $200 per month and attract dedicated gym users who want to train hard and have intense peer pressure for support. LVAC offers a full range of high intensity classes that appeal to the dedicated member on a budget.

The Corporate Achilles Heel

Apparently Life Time Athletic does a great job of providing clean well-equipped gyms. They have a high monthly membership fee but additional classes and optional extras are priced in addition to it. There are always going to be some members who will pay the premium price for premium service. The best way to compete as a small gym is to provide premium service at a moderate price, in the same way as LVAC.

Life Time Athletic is a public company so you can get some insight into the finances and it looks like they have peaked. The numbers show that in spite of the growth in the number of locations the membership is not growing as fast.

The secret weakness of the big-box corporate gyms is that they rely on their brands but they have huge overhead costs to pay. As long as you provide professional service and clean modern facilities you should be able to compete effectively. LVAC are easily able to compete with a giant moving in to the neighborhood. That should be encouraging to all of the independent gym owners out there.

Fighting The Good Fight

The big-box national and multi-national brands are a fact of life that you have to deal with. If you don’t have to compete directly with them, yet you may find that you may have to do so unexpectedly some time soon. Local companies can compete effectively like Las Vegas Athletic Club does here.

Lower price points, combined with great value and innovative thinking, will mean that you are more of a threat to them than they are to you. Just make sure that, in the nicest possible way, you are prepared to fight for your members, have contingencies and be smarter than the big corporations can ever be.

https://www.gyminsight.com/index.html

 

Bibliography

Las Vegas Athletic Clubs. Las Vegas Athletic Clubs. https://www.linkedin.com/company/las-vegas-athletic-clubs. 2014. (accessed July 21, 2014).

Lax, Rick. Workouts Getting Stale? Find Your Perfect Gym. April 11, 2012. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/apr/11/five-gyms/ (accessed July 21, 2014).

O’Rourke, Bryan K. Differentiation Strategies For Health Club Competitors. January 4, 2011. http://www.bryankorourke.com/journal/2011/1/4/differentiation-strategies-for-health-club-competitors.html (accessed July 21, 2014).

Robison, Jennifer. Vegas Fitness Industry Is Bulking Up. July 18, 2014. http://www.reviewjournal.com/life/health/vegas-fitness-industry-bulking (accessed July 21, 2014). read more

Building Strong Reputation Foundations From Membership Testimonials

Taking Your Reputation Forward By Asking For Testimonials

If you have a system that currently gets testimonials and positive reviews from your membership that is a gift! If you can get testimonials easily, you’re golden. If not, join the club! It’s not usually easy to elicit praise from customers on the record, even when they are completely happy with your service. The secret is to ask, and to ask at the right time.

Two Words Explain Why Customer Testimonials Work

So, the question is: What do testimonials matter? Getting testimonials and positive reviews from your membership is worth a lot of advertising. That’s because of the way that consumers judge the word of third party opinions. The concept in play is something called social proof. It is the natural human tendency to follow the actions of others, the instinct to copy.

Have you ever had a choice of restaurants, one busy and the other empty, and instinctively felt drawn to dine at the one that was busier? That is social proof. It’s one of those things that have been used by marketers for many years. It is the reason fashions catch on and why pedestrians cross against the light, following the person who impatiently stepped off the curb first.

Even if members are happy with you all the time, they’ll be much more willing when they feel good because they just hit a challenging fitness target. If you have personally trained clients successfully, you’ll know that there is a point at which they experience a peak state of satisfaction with their results. That is the time to ask, in a friendly and respectful way. In fact this is easier to judge in our industry than in others. If you have been working with a client or they happen to mention at the front desk that they are thrilled with the results those are the times to ask.

Finessing The Upside

Share the victories and handle the challenges in private. Once again, it’s like you have to be like a swan on a river, apparently coasting along while paddling furiously below the waterline. Testimonials must be handled in an authentic way that doesn’t undermine their value but at the same time you share in the victory and do the hard things out of sight.

Your front desk staff should be alert for the right time and if they can secure a short written statement from a member they should be just as eligible for a reward as the training staff. Be careful that it doesn’t become a competition, where trainers and desk staff become adversaries. Remember, they’re doing your marketing work for you so even if you have to double up on the bonuses you’re paying to encourage teamwork; try to keep the dynamics of the incentives positive.

It might be that the trainer put the thought in the customer’s mind, and the client then returned and innocently mentions it at the front desk. Conflicting incentives are a dangerously effective way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory every time.

Incentivize Your Staff

When a staff member brings one in you have the perfect opportunity to verify it by approaching the customer to personally thank them. Once you do confirm it make sure you follow through and give out the reward, what ever it may be, in a timely manor. Staff members also appreciate it when you recognize them for having gotten the testimonial. This is another case where social proof can be won by making an example of desired behavior.

The Practical Side Of Testimonials

How can you determine the value of a testimonial? There is a value based on the publicity and social proof that good testimonials can give. If you have an explicit marketing budget, and you should, assume that the customer who gave you the review or testimonial is the ideal customer. Then you can match the testimonial to the cost of gaining one ideal customer.

The fact is that small successes can be multiplied and major successes can be celebrated. After all, most people are happy for the success of other, especially in the fitness profession. The best part is that if you manage the good times properly they are circular; good feelings lead to good results, which in turn lead to feelings of well-being. This applies for customers and staff in equal portions.

https://www.gyminsight.com/index.html

 

Bibliography

Fagan, Lawrence. How Health Club Management is Like a Swan on a River. https://blog.gyminsight.com/759-how-health-club-management-is-like-a-swan-on-a-river/ (accessed November 16, 2014).

Robbins, Anthony. Awaken The Giant Within. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1991. read more

Seven Sources Of Authentic Seasonal Gratitude

The Thanksgiving Gym Insight Blog Post

It’s Thanksgiving again, one of my favorite times of the year. It’s the time to be with family and enjoy the harvest we’ve reaped. Even if it’s been a tough year and there’ve been so many challenges your head’s spinning, it’s important to count the blessings and keep the situation in perspective. So there are no references or links for this post, I’m just going to pitch it from my heart.

When I say to be grateful facing challenges I mean it literally. When the chips are down that’s the best time to take inventory and count your blessings, it helps you keep the positive outlook and focus on solutions. So, here are seven reasons to be grateful this season.be grateful

Blessed To Own A Gym

Whether you’re starting a gym or just thinking about it, the opportunity to be in the position to seriously do so is a great place to be. Owning your own gym is an ambitious aspiration. It takes you beyond the vast majority of dreamers and workers, who would love the opportunity but who, for whatever reason, don’t do it.

Helping People To Find Fitness

There will be moments when you want to quit, but by sticking in there and weathering the storms you’ll find that you’ve created something that is valuable beyond the bottom line. You’ll have built a place in the world, one that you can share with people who count on you for work as well as members who willingly pays for the privilege of spending time in your place. At the end of the day any business is about people and when you can help people be stronger, leaner and healthier it’s one of the most satisfying feelings.

Giving Thanks For Digital Resources

It occurred to me the other day that I’d have a tough time going back to the twentieth century, say before 1995. There are so many things that are easily taken for granted these days. Yes, I do mean things like broadband Internet! That is not a small thing because there are so many things that depend on software as a service in one form or another.

Information today is close at hand and easy to find. This has only been true recently. To find out something that you needed in decades past required at the very least an encyclopedia or a trip to the library, for anything more vital you were going to have the cost of consulting an expert of some kind, whether they were professors, professionals or private detectives.

Gym Management Gratitude

In the gym we have some great equipment that has evolved over the last few years and systems, brands and workouts that make training fun more than any in the past. These systems and creative ideas about fitness make it easier to attract members.

A Dynamic Exciting And Rapidly Changing Profession

There are resources organizations, and turnkey solutions the chance to express your own ideas as enterprise and innovation within the industry that make it possible to start a gym or studio with a pre-designed  package that is backed up by the infrastructure so support the new business owner and a proven, duplicable business model.

A Business Environment That Rocks

If you know what you want to do and it is original it has never been a better time to finance an original project. Investors are willing to risk the kind of money required to set up a gym business. There are investors at every level who appreciate that diversifying their portfolios with businesses that are likely to be in demand for the foreseeable future.

Thanks To All The Insight Gym Users And Employees

But for me there is something more to be most grateful of all: My deepest thanks and appreciation to all of the clients who have taken a chance on a small business model like Gym Insight and to my employees who have stuck it out with me through the hard times of starting the business and helping to turn it into what it is today. I wouldn’t be here to write about this without you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your families!

https://www.gyminsight.com/index.html read more

The Gift Of Membership And Other Gift Card Things

There are lots of interesting ways to do promotions. Once again, with the holidays upon us, I think it’s time to take another look. One of the most accessible is selling gift cards as part of your retail operation. Even if it means just a desktop display at your reception you can boost your return on investment by offering this popular, high margin product to your membership and the general public.

Promotions With Gift Cards

  • Sell gift cards in your gym
  • Sell gift cards at the local sporting goods store
  • Distribute them through your trainers

 

There is a reason that you see so many different types of gift cards at the grocery and drug store checkout. Consumers love them. People like to give and receive them. They are inexpensive advertising. Once you have mastered the process behind this stream of income and it’s paying for itself you might consider using it for promotions and marketing in more creative ways.

Apart from putting them on a shelf in your merchandise section you can sell them at a discount to businesses such as locally owned sporting goods stores. You’ll be getting cash up front and it brings people in so you can help them figure out what they really need.

Alternatively, offer the cards on consignment; give them out with an agreement to share the proceeds and collect the leftovers the next month, along with your share of the revenue. You can do the same with your associated trainers and local studios that specialize in such things as yoga and boxing. It helps your peers because they can provide expanded service, it helps you by bringing customers to your door.

The Good Stuff

  • Data, information and numbers
  • Public Relations and word of mouth
  • To sell guests anything

read more

What Is The Deal With Google These Days?

You Cannot Avoid The Google

There are so many things a small gym or fitness center owner needs to be aware of, most of which are not directly related to the gym business. Hopefully, articles such as this one will help you to keep up to date and informed about the state of the industry. I have some pretty good sources on the inside of the tech industry and I like to think that I can help gym owners learn what they need to know. So, here is a quick overview of what is in the works and what we are going to be dealing with sooner than you might expect.

The Pursuit Of Authentic Search

It all comes back to search and Google has the objective of improving it to the point that the absolute best result for what you want will appear, as if by magic, every time you search. This is a stated aim in the company’s mission statement. Essentially, the point is to create a search for the authentic search engine results page.

Google may be at the top of the pile right now but like most smart tech companies they realize that it can change overnight. They are pinning their hopes on the belief that the best search result is the most authentic. That is what most people are looking for: We want what we want without being manipulated or distracted by someone’s agenda.

The really clever part about it is the way that Google and the rest of the companies on the leading edge are going about it. They are looking at the associations between what searchers are seeking and the common traits and meaning behind it. Keywords don’t tell that much about the context of the search it’s what goes on in between. A keyword index is just a big list, like an extended dictionary.

The future of search lies in the knowledge that surrounds the keywords and what is really needed. That forms something called a knowledge base. A thing I am proud to say that Insight is developing right here, relating to our software. That’s not so impressive in itself (but hopefully useful all the same) it’s a fundamental requirement for the service moving forward and we are doing everything we can to keep our clients supported with the best available service.

When Everyone Has A Knowledge Base Google Wants A Knowledge Vault

Google has begun adding information from its own knowledge base to the search results that they post. First you will find that it responds better to natural language questioning, you can even speak your question, given the right prompt. Presently, most of the information in Google’s knowledge base has been collected and aggregated by humans.

They’re developing a machine-based advanced version that they call Knowledge Vault, which uses logic and diverse sources including the existing Google knowledge base to match up search and learn the associations and connections contained within the data, without human help.

The force that’s driving this is the competition in consumer markets. If a company isn’t prepared in advance of a customer making a purchase they will lose out to the one that’s anticipated the customers next move before even the customer knows they are going to decide to buy. When it comes to big-ticket items such as cars this is where the state-of-the-art is headed very fast.

This will also spill over into the marketing of gyms and fitness studios. I am confident that smart gym owners will be able to fight back against the big box chains and franchises. The big guys can throw money at the problem but there are thousands of start-ups out there that are likely to disrupt the status quo. Gym Insight will be right here to pass along the latest tips and hints to help you out.

The Solution Is Simple When You Know What To Share

So, the thing to focus on in your blog, website and social media offerings is the content. Don’t worry about the keywords or the format so much as just attempting to concisely express the point you want to make. For a gym owner that is likely to be a discussion about the services, facilities and knowledge you can offer. The way that things are moving forward the searchers will find you because of the quality and authority of your offerings. Just like the business model for your gym the most important thing to offer is authentic service.

https://www.gyminsight.com/index.html

 

Bibliography

Google. Our Products And Services. https://www.google.com/intl/en/about/company/products/ (accessed December 1, 2014).

Hodson, Hal. Google’s fact-checking bots build vast knowledge bank. August 20, 2014. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329832.700-googles-factchecking-bots-build-vast-knowledge-bank.html#.VCSKWildXBd (accessed December 1, 2014). read more

Standing Up To The Big Boys

Because The Bigger They Are…

As the big guys get bigger, and keep pouring cash into their fitness center locations, you might think that they would be impossible to beat. It’s just a fact that large corporations have all the money and other financial resources at their disposal that anyone could wish for. That does not mean they have a monopoly on innovation or competitiveness. The independent gym owner can still do much to fight back effectively because having capital resources is only part of the equation.

You have to have a human side that doesn’t crush customers in the process of daily operations. That is problematic with large corporations because of the abstract metrics available to the decision-makers and pressure for blame avoidance at the lower levels. There are plenty of resources that help to give the advantage back to locally owned small gym companies, in opposition to the big box franchises. Many are free or inexpensive, or just require a little bit of lateral thinking to your multiply effectiveness.

Ivory Towers And The Blame Avoidance Game

The weakness that large companies have in this area is that decisions are often made at such a high level that executives are looking at abstract data and making policy decisions by the numbers. Without realizing it, they are causing unintended consequences down at the membership level. An example is where a package deal is split up or changed because the numbers say that there is a more profitable way.

Somehow the charges to clients get duplicated so they are double charged and then, when the member calls to investigate and fix the problem, no one is willing to take responsibility because it puts them under the spotlight in management reports. There are thousands of variations on this theme as big companies find it all too easy to keep their employees nervous and afraid of rocking the corporate boat. The source of this kind of pathology is, as companies scale up, they have to add layers between the decision makers and those who are most likely to be impacted by them.

The Ultimate Resources

An attitude of discovery and exploration is something that the twenty-first century demands of everyone. When you engage your curiosity to find out what is out there two things happen: You discover the joy of finding things out and you find out there are a lot of free and inexpensive resources available that will give you the leverage you need to build a place in the market. This attitude will serve you well these days because whatever facts and skills you learn as part of your formal education are likely to be obsolete by the time you know what you want to do with them.

Disruptive technologies are making it easier for the little guys to compete. But you have to be able to recognize opportunities when they appear. This doesn’t apply just to small business or gym management, they apply to every aspect of our lives in the modern era and we should be teaching children to be creative, curious, and comfortable with complexity. In this case it means always be on the lookout for new apps and trends to jump on and drive your business.

Building Your Business On The Right Software Platform

The final point I would like to make here is that Gym Insight gym management software tools are designed from the ground up to be exactly the kind of application suite that owners and managers need for any small gym situation. Gym Insight will address the issues of customer service and scheduling that could easily cause chaos. It is also easy to learn, and adapt to your gym’s particular case.

We have years of experience now, helping customers of all sizes and gym types. I developed this system as a solution to my own situation so I know what it is to struggle to bootstrap your way up from the bare bones of a business idea. My knocks and hard lessons are there to help you get through it more easily. If I had been able to sign up for software like Insight it would have saved a lot of time and energy in the process. The good thing is that extra work is now saved for everyone who has the chance to save time and money because of that long arduous path to delivering the final product.

https://www.gyminsight.com/index.html

 

Bibliography

Richardson, Adam. Where No Child Left Behind Went Wrong. 17 October 2011. https://hbr.org/2011/10/where-no-child-left-behind-wen (accessed Jaunary 12, 2015). read more

Funding Your Gym The Silicon Valley Way

Stages Of Building Your Empire

The readers of Gym Insight are a pretty diverse group of people; some have aspirations to gym ownership and others are already there. So let’s look at one of the sexiest ways to get business funding. This is how the tech startups go about bootstrapping up from nothing and how the process can be applied to your situation. The levels of investment and startup success that have come from the tech industry works in stages as follows:

  1. Seed Money from your own pocket
  2. Friends and Family investment from

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Podcasts For Gym Owners And By Them Too

Sharing The Conversation With Podcasting

When you own a twenty-first century gym you really should support it with all the up-to-date media resources you can get. In my opinion, using the available tools of the Internet is the best way you can leverage even the leanest budget; many of them for free or less than the cost of an ad in the Yellow Pages.

Podcasting is one of the most intriguing of these potential resources. It’s under-utilized as yet but it could be a really powerful voice for your business. It’s a way to connect with likeminded business owners and gym aficionados. Even if you don’t want to make one yourself it makes a great source of information that make the best use of long commutes and your half hour on the elliptical machine.

If you haven’t had the experience yet, podcasting is a recorded format that’s a cross between talk radio and audio books. They are great for periods when you are physically occupied but your mind is free. Working out is one of those times to which the medium is suited. If you listen to industry related files you can pick up a lot of knowledge and ideas from what others have tried, what works and what doesn’t. It’s amazing how freely podcasters will share information about their experiences.

Podcasts About Business And Marketing

There are thousands of great podcasts about business in general. For example, the Entrepreneur On Fire podcast is a high power production that gives out vital information and business insight. Another is the Marketing Lifestyle Show by Amy Schmittauer, a great source of information on marketing and how to promote a business.

Fitness Business Podcasts Of Note

The SpartanUp Podcast is the talk show component of Joe Desena’s Spartan Races Empire. Desena leads the show himself, posting new episodes every Tuesday, all of it great stuff! The Barbell Business is a no-holds barred podcast about the experience of operating gyms and people in the industry as guests. This doesn’t even scratch the surface for what’s out there. If you check out some the directories for podcasts such as iTunes and Stitcher.com you’ll find almost any topic in fitness covered in detail and they are relatively easy to produce yourself.

Do Your Own Podcast

You can do a basic podcast with some simple equipment but you may find that to get the sound quality you really want you might want to get a good quality mike and digital recorder. Just recording a Google Hangout or a Skype conversation can set you up with material that is compelling enough to pick up an audience over time. What would you talk about? Well that is up to you, who you know to interview, and your innate creativity.coffee

You might want to post a podcast to your website but it actually requires a special form of hosting. It is the one thing that tends to be excluded by your hosting company’s terms of service, even if they don’t readily admit it. But once the server detects the traffic pattern of podcast downloads they will shut it down fast. You need to use a service like Stitcher.com or Libsyn.com to host podcast files posted on your website. These services are configured specifically to handle the sudden bursts of traffic from a podcast that’s picked up a following.

A headset will work if you are on your own and recording audio from the web or Skype. Alternatively, you can get good USB mikes such as the Snowball for under $100. For even better equipment you will likely pay $400 for a professional quality mike alone. Cliff Ravenscraft is the guru to turn to for advice on equipment, although there are plenty of other good sources.

No Limitation But Imagination

What you say and with whom you say it is entirely up to you. Whether it catches on and helps to market your gym business depends on if it’s entertaining and relevant to your audience. The best way is often to find people who interest you, actively show your interest by asking questions and giving them the space to answer. Above all, make it fun because if your audience knows you are having a good time they will find it much more enjoyable to follow along. After all, to be successful in this business, you have to make people feel good just as much as look good, to build their minds as well as their bodies.

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Bibliography

Greenfield, Rebecca. The (Surprisingly Profitable) Rise Of Podcast Networks. September 26, 2014. http://www.fastcompany.com/3035954/most-creative-people/the-surprisingly-profitable-rise-of-podcast-networks (accessed June 3, 2015).

Ravenscraft, Cliff. Podcast Equipment. http://podcastanswerman.com/equipment/ (accessed June 3, 2015). read more

Moving Your Gym And Surviving A Change In Gym Location

When You Have To Do What You Would Rather Not

One of the biggest challenges that a gym owner can face is moving the physical location of the business. Perhaps this is even more of a pressing issue if you already have a location that your clients love. Everything else being equal the best advice is to stay put; don’t, at least unless you have to.

Of course, there are many reasons that you might actually have to move, so I’m not going to go into the whys and what-fors. Assuming that it’s a necessity that you move your small gym business as a going concern the only discussion to follow has to be about how to get moved efficiently and launched at the new location.

The most successful approach in moving your business is mainly procedural; do the right things at the right time and it will minimize the disruption. The secret behind it is organization and a project management mind-set.

The Document That Helps You Get Through The Move

Long-term followers of the Gym Insight Blog won’t be surprised when I somehow work in a connection to checklists in gym management. Yes, I am going to recommend that you use a checklist to prepare to move and then to execute the operation. In fact you can go one further than develop the checklist into a project management chart that lists the objectives and the times at which they have to be completed.

This is a critical one-time set of events and the stress and confusion can easily cause something to get missed on the day. If you‘ve taken the time to think through the process and listed all of the things that must happen to consider it to be a success, then there is no greater tool than a checklist.

Manage A Move Like An Event Or A Project

This is what PM types love to do to get from the start to the finish in any complicated project in business or engineering. Moving your gym is definitely stressful enough to qualify for a PM approach. Work all of the events that must happen to get moved successfully and determine what order they must happen in.

When you’re moving there will be some things that must happen and other things that must happen fast. The plan for moving has to make the most of timing such that all of the critical elements are dealt with in such a way that you close out the old location one day and then open the new one as rapidly after that as possible.

It goes from one operational phase, through a project phase; the move and then into the operational phase of the new location. So it can be treated like a project. This is where lists become most helpful. They form the basis of your project definition and execution. As such, you are working to find the path that has the least amount of down time.

Event Dependent And Time Dependent Events

Significantly, some events are dependent on other items getting completed before you can start them or timing that is dictated by outside demands or deadlines. An entire sequence of events that has to be completed before you execute a critical step, like signing a lease, getting the keys and redecorating the interior, all before you close out the old site and have the movers pack their truck and head across town.

So the most critical things are those that are most time critical and important to the completion of your project. This would be a thing like picking up the keys to the new gym or closing down and packing the equipment from the old gym. Don’t forget to schedule the announcements and email blasts to keep your community in the loop.

Draw A Line Under It

Finish with a grand opening that makes a ceremony of the opening day at the new location. Something that says, “we did this, it was hard work but now we begin a new chapter”. Be prepared for a dip in attendance and sign-ups. This is to be expected and happens in relation to the amount of business that you get from walk-ins. For more advice, the Small Business Administration has some really useful resources about moving a business.

You can get past the stress and the drama if you manage your move carefully and proactively and work hard to minimize the losses and rebuild when you reopen. Nobody wants to wreck a good thing but there are times when events force you to make a move and other times when your situation just couldn’t get any worse. So, when you must, plan it carefully, treat it like a project and hope for good luck and better fortunes in your new location.

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Bibliography

Beesley, Caron. Is Your Business Moving? 6 Tips for Attracting Customers To Your New Location. Mrch 21, 2013. https://www.sba.gov/blogs/your-business-moving-6-tips-attracting-customers-your-new-location (accessed July 30, 2015).

Fagan, Lawrence. Why Having Checklists Will Benefit Your Gym Business. October 16, 2013. https://blog.gyminsight.com/2013/10/why-having-a-checklists-will-benefit-your-gym-business/ (accessed June 19, 2014).

Henricks, Mark. How To Relocate Your Business. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/81406 (accessed July 30, 2015).

Portny, Stanley. Excerpt From Project Management For Dummies, 4th Edition. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/project-management-for-dummies-cheat-sheet.html (accessed July 30, 2015).

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