The greatest lesson I ever learned from Dave Tate had nothing to do with a barbell.
In November 2015, I mustered every powerlifting connection I could find to get me an interview with Dave. I set up my recording equipment, made a long list of questions, and paced for a half hour before starting the call.
The podcast interview was recorded and published here. But then I made the podcaster’s biggest error: I stopped recording before we hung up.
After saying my thanks, the conversation continued. Dave asked ME a few questions, and we chatted a bit about TwoBrain. I asked him a question about how he protected his intellectual property: Dave publishes a LOT of content online, and I’ve seen verbatim copies of his blog posts everywhere. In 2015, that was already happening to me. So I asked, “How do you stop the copycats?”
He said, “I don’t.”
And that’s when I should have hit “record” again. But I was too enthralled by what he said next.
“The best people will find you, Chris. They’re going to try other mentoring programs first, and that’s okay. The top ten percent will jump from coach to coach until they find you, and then they’ll stick.”
This way of thinking is called the Abundance Mentality, and it’s common among all the mentors I’ve had in my life. Here are the main points:
1. You don’t need everyone.
2. Excellence is your baseline, but it’s not enough.
3. People are smart.
4. The best will find you.
This has been a hard lesson. Every few weeks, I get a friendly message from a friend:
“This guy is copying you. See this screen shot.”
To those who care enough to mention it, thank you for your diligence. You already know this lesson, though I struggle to learn it daily–and have been for years.
When I opened my first CrossFit gym, it was actually my second location. Our PT studio was doing really well. But our “box” was slow to grow.
I thought the usual niche clients would jump all over the CrossFit idea. Firemen, in particular, seemed to form a large portion of box clientele everywhere else. But our local firemen were all fans of P90X.
So I wrote a bunch of blog posts telling them how wrong they were.
Anyone visiting the Catalyst site around 2008 would have seen them: “Stop Wasting Your Time”, “You need a REAL coach, not a DVD”…and worse. The message, to the readers: “You’re dumb. I’m smarter than you. Stop being dumb and pay me instead.” Of course, that didn’t work, and I missed a massive opportunity: firemen quickly got bored of P90X, and instead of seeing CrossFit as the next logical step, they looked for someone who made them feel smart.
That last story is a prime example of the Scarcity Mindset: the opposite of Abundance. Scarcity tells us:
1. We’re playing a zero-sum game (there are only so many people who want our service)
2. People aren’t smart enough to see the difference between our service and another inferior one
3. No one will ever change their mind.
4. We need to fight to get (and keep) everyone we can.
Dave was right: over the last decade, many people in Sault Ste. Marie have “graduated” from bootcamps or P90X to our gym. Many have started with a diet or “cleanse” before they started CrossFit. We weren’t the first step in their journey; but we didn’t need to be.
And we now have members of the TwoBrain family who have been through virtually every consulting platform, business system and marketing plan on the planet. When the best join our group, it makes us stronger.
This is why I don’t send legal letters for IP theft: readers of copied blog posts eventually find their way to the source, even if it takes them years. Clients of local “bootcamps” eventually want more novelty and challenge than burpees alone can provide. And some actually NEED bariatric surgery to gain the courage to join my gym.
Emerson said, “Heartily know, when demigods go, the gods arrive.” To me, this means it’s okay to pass on some good clients, because they’re probably stopping the perfect clients from joining.
Dan Martell told me, “Five years from now, these other guys will be gone. They’re not the best, so they won’t be around unless you want them to be.” He was buying shares in a CrossFit gym at the time.
Denis Turcotte (my first business mentor) asked, “Do you want to spend your time helping people, or spend your time in court?”
And Tate said it best of all: “The best will always find the best.”
Dave will be our Keynote Speaker at the TwoBrain Summit in Chicago (June 3-4.) It’s the only large-scale gathering of Affiliates that’s hosted by real gym owners. But if you want to go to another one instead, that’s cool.