What I Learned About Business From 30 Days of Training Like an Elite Warrior
I’m struck by how many business lessons you can learn from attempting to get in better physical shape. I’d heard people talk about it, but didn’t give it much thought until I signed up for a 30-day Navy SEAL physical fitness challenge.
If you aren’t a gym rat (and I’m not), it’s easy to feel intimidated by programs used by the fittest, most dangerous warriors in the military. That brought back memories from my restaurant manager days, when I thought owning a business wasn’t for me.
Closer to the truth, it was far less challenging to disqualify myself. What do you think is more difficult – saying the words “Not for me,” or training yourself to do hundreds of push-ups? Right from the get-go, I was on mentally shaky ground when I started my business.
Some people go through reverse circumstances, where they do a physical transformation first, and then go into business. For me, it was bringing my physical condition forward to match how mentally fit I’ve become as an entrepreneur. The two go together.
No matter which order you put them in, however, each one will prepare you for the other. If you’re thinking of starting a digital marketing business now, you might want to consider the physical route first. You can still do it while working a job, and mindsets shift more easily when the body is already evolving.
You can learn plenty of practical mindset secrets by subscribing to my podcast as well.
Why I Did the SEAL Workout Instead of a Jog Around the Block
You might read this and think, “Come on, Gaddis, I can go for a jog around the block … why go to extremes and train like SEALs?”
You don’t have to do what I did, but there’s something to be said for throwing yourself into the “deep end” of fitness training. I could have started jogging around the block. But the business parallel of a light jog reminded me of how I started by dabbling in internet marketing.
Coming from a scarcity mentality, I had nothing to invest and didn’t want to spend what little I earned in salary from my job. So I resorted to pirated versions of online courses, which worsened my psyche because I felt like a thief.
I wanted all the benefits of being in business online, but none of the challenges that go with it. I had to abandon that thinking, so I could set personal standards of behavior as a businessman that would lead to success. I committed myself to finding ways to afford things I wanted.
So when it came to personal fitness, the attitude I’d developed in business “spilled over” into my thinking. I wasn’t going to demand a fit, muscular body in exchange for a light jog. If I was going to shed unwanted body fat and become stronger, I was prepared to pay a much steeper price.
(None of this is a knock against neighborhood jogging, by the way. It’s just that you need to go “all in” if you want to win in business, especially now. For practical tips and strategies on going “all in,” I recommend you subscribe to my podcast.)
Another reason I went the SEAL route is I’m sick of caring what others think about whether I succeed or fail. I didn’t catch myself thinking the words, “What will the neighbors think?” But I did find myself trying to short-cut the process, so I wouldn’t look like a failure if I burned out.
It’s kind of silly, don’t you think, to worry about opinions of people who aren’t even doing the training program? How often have you held back on starting a business, because it might fail? Have you stayed safely at a job you hate because it provides a meager wage?
Now, don’t get me wrong … you need money to live on. I’m not suggesting you quit your job right this moment without a plan. There’s a process to follow to migrate away from the nine-to-five. I spell out how you can position yourself to do that with the M.I.L.K. It Method.
But there’s no point in permanently sticking with work you hate, when you could start a business you’d enjoy. Especially because of what fellow subsistence wage earners, who aren’t even attempting the leap, might think. That doesn’t come close to qualifying as an excuse.
(Another disclaimer: I know plenty of people do very well and earn good money at their jobs. I’m not knocking W-2 employment or being a non-business owner. Context, people. Con-text.)
How to Swim Like a SEAL
I regret to inform you, I don’t have magic pills or performance-enhancing substances to sell. Your body will backfire on you, at any rate, if you use them. It’s your mind that has the power to propel you through a training program like SEAL workouts.
These are my top takeaways from going through their program for 30 days. It’s your lucky day – my takeaways become your strategies. If you can get these ideas firmly planted in your head, you can also go much further, physically or in business, than you might think.
- Just Get Started. When you find a compelling offer the market would buy … you simply get started. You provide the product or perform the service. For free, if you need to, until someone offers to pay you.
- Set Short Goals and Exceed Them. Running 10 miles sounds daunting. But running one-quarter mile? I thought, “I can do that.” In fact, I was so sure I could do it that when I reached the quarter-mile mark, I wasn’t even tired … so I kept going! Gradually, as I improved, I set longer goals, but I never reached them and then stopped. Performing with “excellence” every time you do something programs you to do everything else that way – above and beyond your goal.
- Dream Big, Execute Micro. I dreamed of being able to do 100 push-ups in a day. That number was HUGE for me. But the most I could do in one sitting at the start was 20, so I broke it into five sets of 20 over the course of the day. It wasn’t long before I found myself at 60 push-ups before lunchtime … and soon enough, I could do 100.
These are essential business principles, if you haven’t noticed.
You toss out concern over what others think, and you make an offer to the marketplace.
You set short goals and exceed them. Say you only need to make five sales calls, but you make 15 and net one or two additional appointments.
You dream of a large business with a dream team of employees and the privilege and respectability of a CEO … but you are one person with a skill, so you play the role of the dream team employee and over-deliver with the work you love.
Finally, you subscribe to the “What’s The Secret?” podcast, where you get all kinds of useful mindset and tactical advice for starting your online business today.