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The Lottery Winner's Curse

In 2002, Jack Whittaker won $315 million in a Powerball jackpot. Within a decade, his daughter and granddaughter had died of drug overdoses, his wife had divorced him, and he had been sued several times. Once he was robbed of $545,000 in cash that had been sitting in his car while he visited a strip club. When interviewed after the robbery, he sobbed to reporters, “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.” Every picture of every lottery winner is the same: big teeth, blown-up check, clean slate. The winner is thinking, “All of my past mistakes are erased. I’m out of debt. I have a clean slate. I can do anything I want. I won. I’ll be a winner forever.” But pictures of lottery winners taken three years later show the opposite story: more than half are broke. Nearly 50% get divorced. And almost none of them are smiling. Money didn’t solve their problems. More than anything else, money just poured jet fuel on their problems. Here are ten more examples out of thousands. As my friend Jarret Perelmutter once told me, “Nobody cares about money until they don’t have any. Then it’s ALL they care about.” Many lottery tickets are sold to people who don’t have money. What does this have to do with CrossFit gyms? Well, there are a host of new “marketing consultants” out there. And many of their programs generate revenue. The gyms who are most likely to sign up for their services are those in triage: they need money NOW or face bankruptcy. And, thankfully, sometimes they GET the money to keep going. Does that solve their long-term problems? No. Clients upset about “bait-and-switch” tactics leave horrible reviews on Google. High turnover rates mean gyms owners must always recruit at a high rate, even when ad prices rise (and what happens when Facebook is replaced by the next platform?) Coaches struggle under the sales pressure. ...
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The Scariest Answer We Hear

We’ve been running our Gym Checkup for two years. Thousands of gym owners have completed it. Most finish the checkup and book a free call with me to discuss their answers. Sometimes we invite those callers to mentorship. Some of these guys are generating over a million in gross revenue per year. Some are looking for a lifeline to make it through the month. Most are in the middle. But almost ALL gyms, rich or poor, give us this answer on at least one of the questions in the Checkup: “I don’t know.” “I don’t know my goal for this business. I haven’t really thought about it.” “I don’t know how long a client stays with me.” “I don’t know what my coaches want.” “I don’t know my profit margin.” “I don’t know how I’m going to retire.” ….in fact, many gym owners bail out of the Checkup partway through, use the “phone a friend” button, and book the call anyway, because it’s obvious their business is out of control. You manage what you measure. You control what you know. As a coach, you’d never let an athlete post an estimated score. “I think I did Fran in under 3:00.” You’d never guess at their body fat percentage. “I think you’re around 30%, and I think you used to be around 33%. Great work.” You’d never accept a guess. “I bet I could lift 500lbs.” You would test, and retest. You would KNOW. When you open a business, coaching isn’t your job anymore; it’s your service. Your business provides a platform for that service. Your job is to build that platform. That means it’s your job to know your ARM, your LEG, your profit margin. It’s your job to know what your coaches want: is to more work, or less? Has that answer changed in the last two months? We can blame poor software options for our lack of knowledge, ...
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Control the outcome

By Jay Williams, TwoBrain mentor “I think i’m gonna cancel my membership” – a random member   “Some of the morning crew are asking why we are doing so many power cleans” – your morning coach   “How can you charge that much, you’re crazy!” – A random email from a prospect   “I don’t know how to do it” – Your evening coach, when you asked them to do some simple task you thought you explained to them.   You ever have one of those days?   Nothing by itself is too serious, but all together it just beats you down.   At the end of a day like this, you want to throw your hands in the air and say “f— it, I’m done”   Been there…last Thursday, in fact.   What do you do when you have a day like this?   How do you handle stress?   For me, it used to be a beer or two.   Then, it became a workout, or meditation.   All these things work to make you feel better, but they don’t fix the problem.   When you’re dealing with all these little things, you have no control over the circumstances.   Lack of control causes stress.   So how can you get your control back?   Two simple steps: control your day, and control the flow of information.   To break it down: 1) Control your day (especially the start) Go back up to that list and imagine that all that bad stuff happened on the same day you signed up 10 new clients. Do they cause you the same amount of stress? Or do you have a different perspective? They are still annoying, but maybe it’s not so bad if OTHER things are going well. What if you focused the first half of your day on making things like this happen? There are a dozen things you could ...
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How To Trap A Mule

“This is all I know. This is all I have. And I’ll die in this gym if I have to.”   I had that mantra stuck to my desk for a couple of years. It’s a song lyric–I can’t remember the band, but Jim Wendler quoted them in one of his blog posts. And it’s all you need to know about my mindset as a young entrepreneur.   “I will lead this horse to water and hold its head under until it drinks.” I actually wrote that on a blog post in 2010. I still believed in martyrdom then. I still believed that the hustle was the answer. Gary Vaynerchuk wasn’t a household name then; no gym owners were talking about “the grind”. But every morning at 5am, before the lights at the gym even warmed up, I’d press my cheek against the front window and look down the street to make sure my gym was open first.   I wanted to believe that the hardest worker would win. I told myself that lie because I know I can outwork anyone. If putting your head down and trudging forward, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse–if that made a business successful, I was a born winner.   If volume of work was the answer, I had a huge advantage: I’d been trained for work since birth. Trudging through snow to a frozen stream in the dark; chopping a hole through the ice with an ax; hauling pails uphill to meet thirsty animals that wanted to butt me aside? Yeah, I did that. At age eight. I’ve been on sinking boats. I’ve followed the blood trail of a wounded bear without a rifle. I’ve passed out in hayfields from heatstroke, and then finished the day. I worked on a logging crew in college. I have frostbite in both ears and most of my toes to remind me of ...
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Episode 105: Giant Hybrids

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What got you here…

…might not get you where you want to go. by Jay Williams, TwoBrain Mentor Do you have any coaches that just aren’t cutting it?   When you see them, or take their classes, you just sigh?   Maybe they USED to be great, but they’ve fallen off.   And because you have such a history with them, it’s really hard to get through anymore.   The hardest part of running a business is people.   Finding them, hiring them, and motivating them.   and letting them go.   Sometimes talking to them doesn’t work.   Motivation tactics don’t work.   Uncomfortable conversations don’t work.   Sometimes you have to realize that the people who got you to where you are NOW aren’t going to help you get to where you need to GO.   This is especially hard if you’re the kind of person who feels like you can make a difference in anyone’s lives.   A compassionate, caring person, who is not willing to give up on people…even when they give up on themselves.   You know, Like a gym owner…   But sometimes, those people have to go.   When (not if) you find yourself in this situation, ask yourself a few questions.   1) Have I had the difficult conversation and honestly told them what the problem is?   2) Has the problem improved? or has it repeated itself multiple times despite my best efforts?   3) Is this person improving or reducing my vision of what I want my business to be?   4) Would I hire this person again, knowing what I know now?   5) Am I happy to see this person every day?   If you don’t have a positive answer to at least 4 of 5 of these questions (especially the last one), it’s time to let go.   Be nice about it.   Maybe offer them a month or two of ...
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