Achieving Work + Life Balance

Achieving Work + Life Balance

By Anastasia Bennett, TwoBrain Mentor


Having a balance between work and home can be challenging. But like any challenge it can be rewarding if done successfully.


By learning how to prioritize balance you will become happier, healthier (both mentally and physically), and be more productive at work.


“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.” ~Max Ehrmann


As business owners who are always busy taking care of their staff, customers, sales, bills, family and so on, we forget what should be our number one priority: OURSELVES!


You can’t pour from an empty cup.


Look after yourself:

  • stay active
    • Keep exercising – whatever form that takes. Change it up if you need to keep it interesting; do yoga, go for a run, do some strength training or CrossFit classes.
    • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • eat healthy food
    • Eating healthy will give you more energy and make you feel better
  • get as much rest as you can
    • You can recover from distractions faster
    • It can prevent burnout
    • It can help with memory and improve your decision-making abilities


Accept help or Delegate

Instead of trying to do everything, reassess your strengths and weaknesses. Carry on with doing what you are good at and what you love to do and delegate or outsource other things that you ‘waste’ your time on. Think about what can you let go and delegate to your staff in order to give them an opportunity to grow. It will give them the chance to learn and help them to feel valued while having the added benefit of freeing yourself up to concentrate on your priorities.


Stop trying to do everything perfectly


Are you a perfectionist? If you are reading this, you probably are. Stop trying to get everything done perfectly; no one is going to give you an award for it. If it is taking too long to make it perfect maybe it’s one of those things you should delegate to someone who is better at it.


Start by making small changes


Don’t set yourself up for the failure from the start. Committing to huge changes immediately won’t do anything other than add more stress. You already know that success doesn’t happen overnight, but if you start looking after yourself and learn how to balance your work/life better you will be setting yourself up to be a massive success.


You might be asking yourself: “So what should I do now?”


  • Make a list of jobs you love doing and don’t enjoy doing (a “love/loathe list”)
  • Make a list of all your staff
  • What can you delegate and who will benefit (grow) by doing it?
  • Catch up with your staff one-on-one and ask them what their perfect day looks like. Do they want to learn more?
  • Through a process of delegation reduce  your workload by 3 hours per week
  • Commit those 3 hours to looking after yourself (however that looks – gym time, seeing a movie, going for a swim)
  • Book time in your calendar with “ME” time and don’t compromise on that
  • Commit to a new change for a month and reassess after that.




270 people, all headed in one direction. That was the 2018 TwoBrain Summit for me.


For the first time, thanks to Mike and Joyce, I didn’t have to organize very much at all. Despite my frequent badgering (“A thousand bucks for PENS?!”) they carried off an amazing weekend that was 10x better than anything I’ve done before. That meant I got to watch, talk with and hug hundreds of people.


Dozens of great stories are percolating in my head right now. But these ones have stayed on top:


Oskar once wrote me an email titled “Thank You For 2012”. It was intensely personal, so I won’t share it verbatim, but he told me the story of moving to Zambia to adopt his daughter, Emma. He downloaded most of the Journal for his trip, and in the big stack was something I wrote about a client with MS. Oskar and his wife planned to stay in Zambia for 4 months; instead, they had to stay for 11. During that time, he decided that CrossFit would be his path to helping the world. I was intensely moved by his long email and think of it every time I see him.


But on Friday night, I met Emma. This beautiful kid came bouncing into the Wildwood Tavern with her mom, carrying stuff from the Disney store, and I immediately knew who she was:

I was so excited to meet her that I forgot she doesn’t speak English (her parents are amazingly fluent). She said “My name is Emma” but then politely nodded while I jabbered on. The next morning, Oskar showed me a picture of his hotel bathroom: Emma, wearing her Flash cape, had tried to do a few pull-ups on the towel rack and ripped it out of the wall. How could I like this girl any more?!?


And she wasn’t the only kid at the Summit. Carl and Phoebe Balentyne won the 2018 Owner Lifestyle Award AND had their baby with them all weekend! In fact, there were 3 babies circulating around this year, and we never heard a peep from any of them. Josh Price borrowed Coach Jess’ baby for a half hour to soak up some calming vibes before his presentation too.


I would have been the first to say, “Leave your kids at home if you want to get the most from the Summit”, but I would have been wrong. It was an excellent reminder of who we’re REALLY serving here, and I’m thrilled to know these kids will grow up in homes full of health, disposable income and an entrepreneurial mindset.


We also ate 250 pounds of meat. In an hour. This might seem like a big topic shift, but it’s not.


Garner arrived at 4 on Friday, lit the barbecues, and stayed up all night with his buddy Lowell to cook for the TwoBrain Family. The food was incredible. But even better, Garner stood up on Sunday and delivered his “Love and Logic” presentation. The presentation before his was also about finding balance between family and work. I sat in the crowd and marveled that “This is where we are now.” Even last year, most of our topics revolved around finding and keeping clients. There was plenty of that in 2018, but my feeling was that we had collectively leveled up: that our “WHY” was more clear than ever, and that we’d found our anchor: family. #tipofthetip


During Jay’s speech, I got to sit with a box owner who said her biggest problem was putting people in the right roles. She wanted her staff to LOVE their jobs, and was worried that some didn’t. One of her “staff” is her life partner, and who wouldn’t want their wife to be happy?

Across the room, her partner was saying the same thing to someone else, and when we connected the dots later, it felt like a miracle. Family > Fear of tough conversations.


Finally, this was Hayley’s first seminar as full-on CEO of Ignite. Hay has been working at Ignite for a couple of years, but when my former partner left, she stepped up and has already doubled its local reach. I put her on the Summit schedule without asking her, knowing it would be out of her zone of familiarity, and she stepped UP. It was great.

While she was away, a local 14-year-old tried to kill himself. In the hospital recovery area, he said, “I need to go to the gym.” Another Ignite coach jumped in and led him through a workout while Hay was with us in Chicago. Hayley flew home Monday, went straight to the gym and helped out a few clients, and then sent me this picture when she got home:

That’s Laney, who will have an amazing female role model for a mom. I texted her back: “Time to buy me out of Ignite.”  She’s ready.


…and then, as I’m writing this and avoiding all the Facebook posts about what an HQ staffer might have said, Jared and Peter from NapTown step up and show us all what care looks like in action. They welcomed 50 new CrossFit athletes to their gym this weekend because they’re open, tolerant and truly care about people. They’re an example to us all, and I’m glad they chose to share their story with the TwoBrain family, where they knew it would be welcomed and nurtured.


Talking to the mentoring team on Monday, I asked if anyone had noticed that more and more entrepreneurs with families are joining our own. Everyone agreed that most attendees–and most of our mentorship clients–had partners or families. And if they didn’t, we’ve got one here waiting for them. This is what “tip of the spear” really means: leadership through actions and support.


More to come, family.


Episode 121: Thief

Episode 121: Thief

Episode 121 – The Thief Phase


Now is your last chance to sign up for the Two Brain Summit! OVER 250 OWNERS AND COACHES WILL BE THERE THIS WEEKEND!!!

 This is going to be the most interactive Summit yet. Be sure to register here before time runs out!


Over the last few weeks I have been talking about the phases of entrepreneurship: 

The Founder Phase, Farmer Phase, Tinker Phase and now the Thief Phase. Today, we will be discussing this final phase and what do you do when your idea has reached the pinnacle of success.


In late 2016, my business was doing great and generating more money than I would ever need. I began to ask myself, “Why am I pushing myself so hard?” We all know, however, that the second you stop marching forward, you start sliding backward. I found myself a new mentor and made a very bold goal for 2017 (which I achieved.)


The “Thief” phase of entrepreneurship is when you take your idea to a new niche; partner with someone with a complementary service; or simply retire. The Thief moves assets from an area of high concentration to low concentration and, like Robin Hood, begins to build a legacy of service to his community.


To reach the Thief phase after the Tinker phase, an entrepreneur must have:

  • Cash flow assets that generate income with virtually zero time spent on delivery or management;
  • Three to five “Meta Roles” (or reports) who run her business(es)
  • Solid physical fitness, cognitive fitness and mindset training and habits
  • A personal mentor who has reached the “Thief” phase already.


When you enter into the Thief phase, you reach the “retirement point” and the focus now should be on your contribution and relationships. The goal of this phase is finding who you can partner with to bring your idea to a new audience, or combining your ideas to creating even bigger ones. It’s also to create a legacy of service within your community through volunteerism, philanthropy, endowment or mentorship.


Building something bigger than just your business so that you can leave a legacy and an impact on your community is extremely important. The ability to leverage your money or your expertise within fitness to those that need it is an extremely admirable and has the ability to make a lasting impact on people’s lives.


For example, one way in which I am using the Thief Phase to leave an impact is to continue to expand Two-Brain Business into other industries. Many other industries are lacking in the basic principles of Two-Brain, such as “Help First”. By bringing these strategies to other businesses such as dentist offices, I can help improve the businesses in my community and leave a lasting impact.


If the Thief Phase sounds kind of broad or too far away, that is fine! I just want you to be aware of what is possible and what you have to look forward to when you have a solid cash flow asset.



0:29 – Last chance to sign up for the 2018 Two Brain Summit!

10:34 – What is the Thief Phase?

13:40 – The story of Robin Hood and how it applies to the Thief Phase

16:42 – The importance of building a legacy after building your business

20:25 – Different ways to deliver on your legacy

22:56 – Combining projects to create an even bigger impact

25:29 – Other components of the Thief Phase

Then: TwoBrain Story: Shely Propst


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Episode 120: Farmer

Episode 120: Farmer

The 2018 TwoBrain Summit is 90% SOLD OUT! June 2-3 in Niles, IL!

Episode 120 – Farmer Phase  

After years of mentoring entrepreneurs, I can tell you there are four distinct phases of entrepreneurship: the Founder Phase; the Farmer Phase; the Tinker Phase; and the Thief Phase.

The Farmer phase is the most important for a gym owner. Some gyms struggle to ever leave the Founder phase, even after years in business. But after a year, most have achieved at least a nucleus of success; they have a small cadre of very loyal members, a backup coach or two, and they’re taking home a paycheck. These are the Farmers: the entrepreneurs who seek to make meaningful careers for their staff; who want to work more ON their business and less IN their business; who want to work toward a 33% profit margin and build a cash flow asset and someday retire.

In this episode, I’ll walk through the Farmer Phase, what it takes to make it through this phase successfully–and what comes next.


Then I’ll share our first TwoBrain story: Nick Willi, a carpenter turned gym owner.


The key to the Farmer phase is cultivation. At this point, you have planted the seeds and the focus should be on feeding and watering your crop and helping it grow. This phase has many goals and some of these include: improving your gross profit margin to 33 percent, creating a cash flow asset that can run itself, and limiting yourself to no more than 40 hours per week within the business. It is at this stage that you, as the business owner, should start to replace yourself in the lower value roles.


The first challenge of the Farmer Phase is to replace yourself in the lower value roles within the business. When I first started out, I was doing everything: I thought that it was important to be the mopper of floors and the coach of my clients.. However, I soon found out that I couldn’t spend my time on low value roles if I wanted to grow my business into a self-sustaining asset long-term.  At TwoBrain, we teach our clients to assign a dollar value to each role in their business and work on replacing these roles from bottom to top.


The next challenge within the Farmer Phase is client retention. Keeping clients for a longer period of time can vastly improve the profitability of your business. We did a study at TwoBrain on this subject and found that most gyms could add $45,000 of income to your business each year simply by increasing the average retention of their clients by three months.


The third challenge of the Farmer Phase is marketing. Affinity marketing is what we focus on here at TwoBrain because it is so much easier and efficient as opposed to targeting cold leads. If you have not every listened to the Two Brain Radio episode on Affinity Marketing, you should definitely go back and give it a listen. Only after completely exhausting the potential warm leads in and around your community should you move on to lead generation on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms. Of course, this presumes that you have a high retention rate and don’t run a “flow-through” operation, where new clients stay only as long as your “six-week challenge.”


The last challenge of the Farmers Phase is to build meaningful careers for your staff. The staff within your business are extremely important and as a result it is important that they feel they are making meaningful contributions. At TwoBrain we are big fans of intrapreneurship, where employees take ownership of portions of the business and help lead the business and act upon their own ideas. The incubator  program  dives into this concept in depth and if you have not been a part of this yet, I highly recommend you sign up!


Don’t forget, the Two Brain Summit is coming up June 2ndand 3rd . This is going to be the most interactive summit yet where you will have the opportunity to improve your business while you are there!  In addition, there is an entire component devoted just to CrossFit coaches so be sure to bring them too. Be sure to register here before time runs out!



3:57 – A brief recap to the four phases of entrepreneurship

5:08 – The keys to the Farmer Phase

8:53 – The First Challenge of the Founder Phase: Replacing Yourself

13:01 – Defining the “Gold Standard” for each role within your business

16:02 – Do not be afraid to work with powerful people

19:35 – Client retention within the Farmer Phase

21:50 – Affinity marketing for the Farmer Phase

25:33 – How to build meaningful careers for your staff

32:50 – Two Brain Story with Nick Willi

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Episode 119: Founder

Episode 119: Founder

The 2018 TwoBrain Summit is 75% SOLD OUT! June 2-3 in Niles, IL!

Episode 119 – Founder Phase


After years of mentoring entrepreneurs, I can tell you there are four distinct phases of entrepreneurship: the Founder Phase; the Farmer Phase; the Tinker Phase; and the Thief Phase. Each phase requires a different mindset, different tactics and different types of help.


Today, we will be discussing the Founder Phase and what it takes to make it through this phase successfully.


The key to this phase is innovation. You either have a great idea or you have the ability to expose a new market to a great idea. There are many important goals of the Founder Phase. The first is to achieve “breakeven plus.” This means that the business needs to earn enough money to be in the black, including paying yourself. Additionally, you can expect to be working around 60 – 70 hours per week during this phase. Let’s be frank however, this needs to be vastly cut down as you advance in your business.


When I opened Catalyst in 2005, I didn’t have much going for me. I also had the burden of my family to feed and the mortgage to pay. These parameters however defined the limits of what I could do and to some extent helped narrow the path in which I was able to go down. One of the disciplines that needs to be developed in the Founder Phase is to make sure that you are able to take a paycheck from day one. This was an absolute must for me and I am sure it is for many listeners as well.


The Founders Phase has many challenges. In this phase you must define your niche and also define how many clients and what to charge. This can be difficult but there are many equations that include looking at your niche, number of customers, and what you need to earn to support the lifestyle you want to afford.  


Despite all the challenges, there are many bright spots and attributes that can be brought to the Founder Phase. The first is excitement. You are an entrepreneur and you are pumped! Now you will be bringing a lot of energy to your own idea and build the life that you want to live. You are going to be hustling here and you are going to be grinding but you won’t be doing just for the sake of doing it. See my article: The Hustle is a Lie. Anyone who has been in business for a while knows that constant hustle is unsustainable and the goal should be to get out of this phase as quickly as possible.


Be sure to take good notes during today’s episode as we dig into the steps of the Founder’s Phase in more detail. For additional help you can always book a free call or come to see us at the Two Brain Summit this June!



The Two Brain Summit is coming up June 2nd and 3rd . This is going to be the most interactive summit yet where you will have the opportunity to improve your business while you are there!  In addition, there is an entire component devoted just to CrossFit coaches so be sure to bring them too. Be sure to register here before time runs out!




3:57 – Introduction to the four phases of entrepreneurship  

6:25 – My story of entrepreneurship

7:57 – The important goals of the Founder Phase

10:06 – The big challenges of the Founder Phase

13:06 – What are the bright spots or the key attributes that you can bring to the founder phase?

17:02 – The first step of the Founder’s Phase: Identifying your Niche

18:25 – The second step of the Founder’s Phase: Asking your niche what they want

20:35 – How many clients can your business reasonably serve?

22:45 – Generating cashflow for your new business

24:46 – The dark side of cashflow at startup: Taking customers from a previous employer

28:23 – Quitting your job and taking the full leap into your new business

30:53 – Replacing yourself in lower value roles


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Episode 118: Tinker

Episode 118: Tinker

The 2018 TwoBrain Summit is 75% SOLD OUT! June 2-3 in Niles, IL!

Episode 118 – Tinker


After many years of mentoring entrepreneurs, I now see more clearly the maturation process of starting and growing a business. Today I will be discussing the various stages of entrepreneurship and how they apply to owning a gym.


The four stages of Entrepreneurship are:

  • the Founder stage
  • the Farmer stage
  • the Tinker stage, and
  • the Thief stage.


Most of this episode is going to cover what to do in the Tinker phase. This is when you enter the realm of success with your first business and you are pondering what to do next!


A quick summary: the first phase is the Founder phase. This is when you jump off the big cliff and leap into entrepreneurship. Back in the old days, you used to have to quit your job and take massive risks just to get your business off the ground. Now, however, entrepreneurship can take many different forms. Side hustles can be built that can make a great living and career. The goal in the Founder phase is to break even. For example, when I opened Catalyst, I knew I needed to be paid on the first Friday because I had a family to feed. In the Founder phase, you are doing everything yourself,because you can’t yet afford to pay someone to help you. This stage takes innovative ideas to leverage your time and small cashflow to get started.  


The second stage is the Farmer stage. At this point you have some basic systems down and the business is starting to run itself. During this phase, you are cultivating your business and determining how to optimize your systems within your business. Your time towards your business in this stage should steadily to below 40 hours per week. The goal here should be to shift from practitioner (like coach) to owner; to move yourself to higher value roles by replacing yourself at the lower value roles. Higher value roles can include sales, marketing, and training for your staff.


The third phase of entrepreneurship is what I call the Tinker phase. This phase focuses on optimizing what you already have and turning your business into a cash flow asset to create the perfect day for yourself. When you are in this phase, you should be able to choose whether or not you want to show up that day as the business can run itself. The time spent in the business on a mandatory basis should be near zero. This is the stage where you are moving from a small business to a medium size business. Roughly speaking this is usually characterized by the growth from about 1 million dollars in revenue to about 3 million dollars in revenue in the gym industry.


Within the Tinker stage there are four priorities. The first is what is called asset priority. You want to make sure that your business is a true cash flow asset. That means the business runs itself but still pays you. The biggest asset you have is your time, and you need that to be freed up to work on the most important tasks. The second priority is leverage. Leverage is the way you use your time best. Is it easier to start a brand-new business, or would it be easier to use the niche that you already know and start a new business and serve them? Leaving a niche can be very difficult. Leveraging your audience, clients, and skills is using your tools in the most effective manner. The third priority is what I call low hanging fruit. This is simply asking yourself, what is the easiest new thing to do? This might be adding a dietician practice to your gym or improving a spreadsheet that you share to another gym. The fourth and final priority is asking, “What do my best clients want?” At this stage you want to say, “how else can I serve my clients?” You should care enough about your clients that you are willing to solve other problems for them on a continual basis.


I hope this episode can act as a guide towards starting or progressing your gym. Believe me when I say I have suffered through each of these steps and learning from a mentor is invaluable. To learn more about the process or to see where you are at be sure to visit us at!



2:46: – Introduction to the Tinker Method

3:54 – The First Phase of Entrepreneurship: The Founder Stage

8:19 – Why do so many gym owners stay in the Founders Stage?

8:47 – The Second Phase of Entrepreneurship: The Farmers Stage

11:46 – The changing role of mentorship within the phases of entrepreneurship

12:58 – The Third Phase of Entrepreneurship: The Tinker Stage

16:12 – What do you need to grow in the gym industry?

17:43 – The Meta roles that need to be developed during the Tinker Stage

18:43 – The necessary skills that you will need for the Tinker Stage

20:52 – The importance of having a mentor while in the Tinker Stage

24:28 – The four priorities of the Tinker Stage








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