My father-in-law is 75. He spent his life in a steel mill, raising five kids on a tiny salary and running a small farm in the valley.
When he retired, he started working on old cars. Restoration is his vocation.
If you’ve ever heard Johnny Cash’s “One Piece at a Time,” that’s Russ.
Russ doesn’t build “kit cars.” His Model A has been chopped down, souped up and customized from head to toe. Most of the pieces don’t match the original design. He dropped a larger engine inside. He changed the original seat configuration. When he was younger (age 70) he used to spin the tires at the end of my driveway on his way to car shows.
He liked the shows because he enjoyed seeing the work of others. But he stayed away from the “polishers”—the guys who bought their cars pre-made and just ran them out of the garage for show. These are the guys who (like me) can barely change their own oil.
He doesn’t dislike their cars. He doesn’t think “the polishers” are bad people. He just knows there’s a difference between what he’s done—built a car—and what they did—bought a hobby.
Russ’s cars are awesome because he builds them with imperfect but continuous action.
He works a little bit every day. Usually less than hour.
Russ’s cars aren’t perfect. They don’t completely match the original specifications. But they run. They go fast. They look cool. His grandkids play in them. Neighbors complain about the noise. In short, Russ build cars for all the reasons you really want to own a classic car.
Consistent, imperfect action is the recipe for success—in relationships, in business and in fast old cars.
Always, Always Moving Forward
I write “love letters” to my mailing list almost every day, and, well, they stack up.
Russ’s story reminded me of how “Two-Brain Business” was published in the first place.
In a nutshell, I was invited to speak at an affiliate gathering in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I knew the other speakers (Ben Bergeron and Forrest Walden) would have some good material. I put my top 20 blog posts from DontBuyAds.com into a self-publishing platform and shipped 30 copies of the resulting book to the gym. It was the cheapest way to print them. There were no page numbers or chapters, no table of contents.
I’ve changed the cover since then—but nothing else. And it’s sold over 23,000 copies. In fact, it’s the bestselling fitness business book of all time.
There are about 40 reviews on “Two-Brain Business.” (You can read them here.) Most are five stars. But a few buyers gave it a mediocre review. Some were legitimate (“There is some good information in here, but you have to dig for it. The book is poorly organized with no table of contents, chapters or index.”).
One was a bit funny:
The important thing to realize is that none of my critics have ever published anything.
“Two-Brain Business” is wildly popular because it works. The stories leave the reader with actionable lessons. While I think “Two-Brain Business 2.0” is actually a superior book because it provides step-by-step instructions, the original is more popular precisely because of its rawness. It took years to write because it took me years to fix the mistakes I’d made in my gym. But the successful gym Catalyst became—like the book—was the result of consistent, imperfect action.
Catalyst is not the cleanest gym you’ll ever visit. It’s more than clean enough, but it’s not perfect. The ceilings are 14 feet, not 15, so our rope is a foot short. But it’s incredibly fun, the hugs are genuine and we make people fit and happy every single day.
My staff playbook doesn’t have a beautiful cover. There are no page numbers. But my staff members know what to do and they do it consistently well.
My website isn’t artistic. But people can book a free No-Sweat Intro in two clicks or less.
Strive for excellence. But when you can’t be excellent, know this: You’re more than good enough already. Ship, publish, hit “send.”
Consistent, imperfect action will carry you further than brief moments of perfection.
You can polish the headlights again or you can go out and spin the tires.