3 Business Lessons My Personal Trainer Helped Me Remember

running shoesOnce you’re focused on starting or building your business, it’s amazing how many analogies and lessons you can draw from other areas of your life that apply to being an entrepreneur! Five years ago I decided to take my health seriously, instead of for granted, and hired a personal trainer to “force” me to do the work.

Year after year, I paid for a gym membership and only managed to show up once a month, actually that was 12 visits spread over 4 weeks in any given year. Once the week was over and a few more went by, I barely gave exercise a thought the rest of the time.

There was no way this pattern was going to change unless I paid someone to hold me accountable. That’s like the role of a business coach and mentor, by the way.

While working out with my trainer, here are 3 business lessons I regained an appreciation for:

1. Having an appointment or a deadline keeps you focused.

I’ve blocked an hour off 3 times a week for my trainer. It’s an appointment I’m expected to keep and because I’m paying extra for it, deciding not to show up at the last minute isn’t an option. As a result, I’m in better shape than I have been in 20 years.

My “lizard brain” (as Seth Godin calls it), reminds me “This is too expensive and too time consuming.” But the reality is working out is keeping me in a better mood and cutting my cancer risk by 50%, so how can I afford NOT to do it?

This reminds me of all the times I hear a struggling business owner say, “I can’t afford to promote my business or learn how to charge properly for my services.” If you don’t do these things, you’re totally sabotaging your business, so how can you afford NOT to do them?

I’ve found over more than 20 years of coaching clients that having an appointment to discuss their business issues keeps them focused on getting things done.

2. Even the slightest adjustment can make a world of difference.

When I’m lifting weights, I might think I’m doing an exercise correctly until the trainer has me change an arm or a foot by an inch or less. Suddenly I’m using a whole new set of muscles. Without an expert who can see things I’m not aware of, I could easily have repeated my mistake for months with no results and concluded the exercise was a waste of time!

I see the same thing with entrepreneurs. Many give up way too early on a marketing initiative, thinking it’s a waste of effort when the problem isn’t with the tactic, but their content or the way they’re executing it.

Often all that’s needed is a little fine-tuning to get the desired results.

3. An objective third-party giving expert advice and encouragement keeps you motivated, no matter how overwhelming it feels in the moment.

Just when an exercise is getting easier, my trainer increases the weight, makes me do more repetitions or changes it up entirely. I get discouraged because then it’s hard work all over again and I want to quit.

The trainer’s role is to keep me going and push past the weight resistance. Little by little my muscles get stronger and my heart rate recovers more quickly.

That’s what it’s like in business.

You finally figure out something you were struggling with and it gets easier. You’re proud of yourself but you know coasting for too long will not generate more progress and growth. You have to take on new challenges.

Tackling each new hurdle builds strength and confidence. You feel like a genius and then you go through a period of feeling like a beginner again as you take on some new challenge.

Business success is a process, not a destination, and personal development never stops. Or I hope it won’t!

What do you think?

Debra Gould
About Debra Gould

Entrepreneur and marketing expert Debra Gould has reinvented her life many times—building 6-figure businesses around her passions— and she'll teach you how to do it too! Providing inspiration and practical steps, Debra has taught, mentored and coached 7,000+ small business owners in 22 countries.