2020’s Hard Truths

2020 Hard Truths - interior of empty gym

None of us is as good as all of us.

2020 put my information cycle to the test. The Two-Brain Dashboard wasn’t built to be an early warning system. Two-Brain Media wasn’t built to be a fast-response reporting network. And my brain doesn’t do well in captivity.

But when placed under pressure, the systems worked.

When gyms in China were shut down, we saw it happen. Our mentors spoke to the Two-Brain gym owners immediately and began brainstorming ideas to keep the bills paid. Some of those ideas worked really well. So when Italy and Germany began to shut down, we had a few bullets loaded in the gun already. Our success in those countries was even better, and by the time the COVID shutdown reached North America, we had a plan.

We published what we knew to be true in a super valuable guide. We interviewed experts in the strategies we were promoting. We built courses for gym owners and published them. And we did it all in the first couple of weeks—before some gyms were even aware that a problem existed.

2020 taught us a lot of lessons. Here are my Top 10.


Lesson 1


You don’t have time. You don’t have time to guess. You don’t have time to “figure it out” or “build wings on the way down” or any of the other business catchphrases people use to excuse their dawdling. You need to solve problems fast to survive. That means leaning on your community, leaning on your mentor and finding the people who have already solved the problem you’re facing.


Lesson 2


When time counts, mentorship becomes more valuable. Several times during the shutdown, I asked myself “who has already solved this problem?” and just paid to buy their knowledge. Then I turned around and taught it to gym owners. My mentorship budget went from $100,000 to $230,000 in 2020.


Lesson 3


Communication is everything. 2020 was filled with examples of people communicating badly. The gyms that did best in 2020 were in constant communication with their staff members and clients. They had clear visions, constantly kept people aligned with their visions and told stories to make everything stick.


Lesson 4


Your business is only as strong as your team.


Lesson 5


Your team is only as strong as its tools.


Lesson 6


Your tools are only as strong as the systems you’ve built to use them.


Lesson 7


Be antifragile.


Lesson 8


The first to evolve wins.


Lesson 9


Forgiveness is important. People act out of character when they’re under stress. They say things they’d never say in normal times. 2020 required a lot, but it required forgiveness most of all. Forgive your clients, your staff, your family—and yourself.


Lesson 10


Leadership is even more valuable in a crisis. In the darkest night, a beacon becomes the most important thing. You need to know what your clients need now and pivot toward it. People don’t know where you’re going unless you tell them. If you tell them, they’ll follow you.


Other Articles in This Series


“Is It Over yet?”
“Top Books of 2020 for Gym Owners”

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