Entrepreneurial Confidence: How to Change the Story You Tell Yourself

20220516-Skinner-TBR

Entrepreneurial confidence is key to sustaining success – but it’s something many gym owners overlook.

In this episode, psychotherapist and executive coach Bonnie Skinner breaks down exactly what entrepreneurial confidence is, how a lack of it shows up in your life, and what reps you should be doing to build that muscle. Making a concerted effort to boost your entrepreneurial confidence can result in a better mindset overall; this spills over into both your personal and professional life and will help you grow your gym business.

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1:30 – What is entrepreneurial confidence?

5:56 – Common areas of insecurity

8:59 – Confidence vs. Competence

11:21 – Overcompensating for lack of confidence

12:48 – How personal narratives become your SOPs

14:47 – Self-assessment

21:28 – Rate increases and how to deal

25:48 – How to build confidence

 

Announcer: 

Entrepreneurial confidence. What is it? And do you have it? If you don’t, why not? And the most important question of all: how can you increase your confidence as a business owner? This is Two-Brain Radio. Here’s Chris Cooper with psychotherapist Bonnie Skinner.

Chris Cooper: 

Bonnie. Welcome back to Two-Brain Radio.

Bonnie Skinner: 

Thanks so much, Coop. It’s great to be here.

Chris Cooper: 

Yeah, it’s so awesome to have you here. And every, you know, moment of the time that we get to spend together is just a moment of tremendous growth for me. And so one of the big things that we’ve been talking about personally over the last few months is entrepreneurial confidence. And after talking about it with you a few weeks ago, I thought everybody needs to hear this. So can we start with that? Like what is entrepreneurial confidence and why is it important?

Bonnie Skinner: 

Yeah, absolutely. We can. So entrepreneurial confidence is, it’s really, it really comes down to the story you hold about yourself. So as entrepreneurs, we’re , you know, we’re out there, we wanna create impact. We want to change the course of how things are for ourselves and our families. But what we don’t realize is everything we do as human beings is going to be limited by the story that we hold about ourselves. So for example, you’ll hear a lot of people mention struggles with imposter syndrome, right? “I don’t belong here. Uh , I , I’m not really this person. I’m not really gonna succeed. I can’t really do this.” And what they’re actually experiencing is a deficit in entrepreneurial confidence. So their picture of themselves is not as big as they want. They want to be able to see themselves, right. They don’t feel like there’s an alignment there, right? So if I am, let’s say I’m in my first or second year of business, and I’m sitting down with people who are , you know, 10 years ahead of me, I can become so focused on wherever they are that I think I should be there. And I start creating this new story about what I think I should be versus focusing on where I actually am. Does that make sense?

Chris Cooper: 

So why is that so important for business?

Bonnie Skinner: 

I think it really comes down to the pressures because business, we all know it’s highly competitive . We know that there’s a lot of stress. We know that there’s a lot of strategy that needs to happen. And what we actually do is we end up keeping our bodies in a more heightened state, right? So there’s not just more pressure on our time and our resources, but there’s more pressure on our minds. And when that happens , our brain has a whole variety of, we’ll call them, “self-protective mechanisms” that when they’re activated can really go against your ability to operate their business. So, for example, we know that when stress starts to mount, one of the things that’ll happen is people will fall into old historical patterns. But let’s say that, you know, my historical pattern or the way in which I’m used to doing things when I’m stressed is I I’m avoiding, right? I don’t wanna do anything. So all of a sudden, if there’s a whole lot of stress and somebody’s not paying very close attention to that, they may start procrastinating. They may start avoiding tasks , they may start letting things go. And so now you see this, this pattern show up in your business. That’s really a function of how you manage stress and how well you do when things get difficult.

Chris Cooper: 

I think this is really important to talk about now because more and more as entrepreneurs in Two-Brain mature, quite often, they’ll bring a question to the group or to their mentor, to which they might already know the answer. So, for example, “I’ve got two coaches who work at my gym. I know they don’t like the programming. I know they don’t really respect me. I think they’re probably talking about me behind my back. Should I fire them? What should I do?” What’s the function of entrepreneurial confidence in that situation?

Bonnie Skinner: 

In that moment, usually what happens when folks are asking questions on the surface, there’s a wavering that’s going on. So in the background they’re like , “Oh, I think I know the answer , but I’m not quite right.” And usually when you poke at that, there’s some fear of getting it wrong. And if you really dig down through all of the ways that our entrepreneurial confidence can waver, at the bottom you’ll find “what if I’m wrong?” Right? “What if I fail? What if I screw this up?” And so you’ll see these kind of self-protective measures like, “I’ll ask,” right? Or “I’ll outsource that decision or I’ll avoid it or I’ll leave it alone.” And really it comes down to not having a well-defined understanding of, “OK, what does it mean about me if I do well and what does it mean about me if I fail?” Right? So again, going back to that story of myself, some people hold the belief about entrepreneurship for example’s like, “Oh, you know, you get in you hustle, you grind. And then it just keeps getting better, better, better, better, better.” Right? So if that’s the story I hold and I think it’s gonna get better, better, better, and then it gets bad, all of a sudden I’ve got two stories that don’t go together. And depending upon how willing I am to incorporate a new way of seeing what the entrepreneurial journey should look like, then all of a sudden, my only question is “well, why can’t I do it? It’s not supposed to look like this. There’s something wrong with me. Everybody else is doing fine.” And that’s how we get into it. So if we’re struggling with entrepreneurial confidence, we either have a skewed version or an unrealistic story about ourselves, or we have an unrealistic story about the path of entrepreneurship.

Chris Cooper: 

I definitely want to come back to that. Can you give us another example of like how this, a lack of entrepreneurial confidence, might manifest if a gym owner is dealing with their staff or maybe with a client?

Bonnie Skinner: 

Absolutely. So one of the, the really common ones that I deal with in coaching is leaders who are not sure whether or not they should be able to give their staff direction. Right? So for example, most people, when they hire in the beginning as entrepreneurs, who do we hire? We hire our friend . We hire people we know. So we’re hiring based on personal relationships. Well , a personal relationship is very different from a professional relationship. And so you get to a point in your business where you have to make that shift . All of a sudden the things that work for the personal relationship no longer work for the professional relationship. And so if somebody’s not confident about how they maneuver through those two kinds of relationships, all of a sudden now you got people showing up in a professional relationship. Like they would as if they were talking to their friends . And that might mean, “OK well, you know, I’m watching somebody make mistakes or I’m watching somebody cause problems in my gym or in my business. But you know, maybe they don’t mean it or they’re having a hard time at work or at home or they’ve got stuff going on. So I won’t address it. I’ll give them some time.” Right. We’re all a little bit guilty of doing that somewhere along the way.

Chris Cooper: 

So if you’re listening to this, we’ve reached about the 10-minute point. And, when I’m working with Bonnie one on one , this is usually about the point where I just kind of go, “Oh, Chris!” And I think some of you might be doing the same right now because the scenario that Bonnie just outlined, I think we’ve all been through that. We hired our friends and now suddenly we have to become their boss. And we have that epiphany that like, “Oh no, I’m gonna lose a friend here.” But you talked about the entrepreneurial journey. And a lot of us start out feeling confident in the beginning because we are competent at our job. Right. I knew that I was a good personal trainer and so I must be a good gym owner. And then when I found out that they weren’t the same, my confidence was gone. Like, I felt like this hole opening under me. How does that translate?

Bonnie Skinner: 

What I usually tell folks to experience that. And it’s quite common in the gym industry. What I usually tell folks is not to make confidence the absolute goal. And here’s what I mean by that. OK, anybody who’s met me will know that I am not a confident ballerina. If you put me in ballet shoes, if get me in ballet shoes, it’s not gonna look good. Right? But that doesn’t bother me because I’m also not a competent ballerina. I don’t know anything about ballet. I don’t know . So where that’s going to show up for me is if I’m not good at something. So think if competence is your actual measure of how good you are at something. Confident is how good you think you are at something. If I am not good at something, e.g., ballet. I’m OK. If I know that I’m not good at it. I’m not good at it. I know why I’m not good at it. It’s no big deal. Now if I have the expectation that I’m supposed to be confident in all of my roles, then it means I get to beat myself up for not being good at things that I’ve got no business being good at in the first place. So let me give you an entrepreneurial example. We will have folks that, like you said, you know, they start being really technical. They start as coaches and they move their way up. And all of a sudden , now they decide to own their gym or whatever the case may be. When they move, say to areas of leadership, so instead of coaching, just this one class now, “I’m running an organization now.” One of the things that’ll happen is their confidence, their self-image will drop because they Have an assumption. They should be good at it, right? But based on what you’ve never done before. Unless it’s been a focus of your studies, like there’s no reason to assume that you should have the experience. But you’re walking in with the expectation of like, “Oh yeah, I should nail this leadership thing right away.” So the problem is not the confidence. The problem is that it’s a competence issue and people go, “Oh no, I’m not a confident leader.” No, that’s not true. You’re not a competent leader. So if you build, your confidence will go with it. The problem is when they’re not congruent, when I either, I think I’m good and I’m really measurably not, right. We all know a few of those people, or like most of us when “I might actually be good, but I don’t know how good I am or I don’t think I’m very good.” It’s when the two don’t align that we want to make an adjustment. More confidence is not across the board a bad thing. It’s when it’s not in line with how competent we actually are .

Chris Cooper: 

I know some people will actually overcompensate for this. So they’ll act more confident than they are. They might even bully other gym owners when the reality is their gym is not doing that well themselves.

Bonnie Skinner: 

Yeah.

Chris Cooper: 

Is this all part of this confidence kind of picture?

Bonnie Skinner: 

Yeah, absolutely. So not to beat a dead horse. But when you go back to that image of yourself, that’s paramount, it’s everything, right? Like your your brain, your nervous system , your perception of yourself in the world is your source of safety. OK. So when somebody is not confident, but they feel like they’re supposed to be confident, they don’t trust the people that are around them. Right. They’re feeling vulnerable. So, for example, you know, I have a lot of clients who will say, they’re like, “Well, you know, I don’t want my team to think I’m weak.” And I was asking the same question. I’m like, “What does that mean? What are you gonna think happened? What do you think happens if they think you’re weak?” Right. And so ultimately, usually what’s happening is, we have assigned some kind of a label to ourselves. We may think we’re weak. And because we think we’re weak, we treat ourselves a certain way. We go to bed, lay in bed at night and beat ourselves up and call ourselves stupid and all this kind of stuff. And what we’ll actually do is we’ll project that onto other people. And that will leave us feeling unsafe around the people that we work with. So what do we do? We just go and we just act like we’re big and scary and confident and got our stuff together.

Chris Cooper: 

But deep down, we know we don’t actually feel that way.

Bonnie Skinner: 

Yeah, absolutely .

Chris Cooper: 

So where do these beliefs come from ? Like, is it our narrative? Is it our history? Is it something else?

Bonnie Skinner: 

It comes from our experience throughout our lives. Right? So from the time we are , you know , born and onward, every experience we have, our brain has to make sense of. So we have to find a way. So if, you know, if I knock a glass of milk over as an eight year old , I might go, “Milk runs across the floor. No big deal.” But if I knock that same glass over as a very nervous eight year old, I’m like, “Oh God, I’m so stupid. My mom or my dad are gonna be mad.” And in every single one of those tiny millions and millions of experiences, we’re just writing a story of ourself and that story of our , of ourselves, right. When it goes really well, our brain writes a rule about what to do. When it doesn’t go, well, our brain writes a story , a rule about what not to do. So that is how we develop. That’s why the narrative of ourselves and our world is so important because it’s like our SOP. So the SOPs in your gym tell you what to do when to do it, how to do it. Well, this is what the beliefs do . And so if you can imagine what you should say to folks is like, imagine your beliefs is a set of train tracks. The narrative of yourself is instead of train tracks, the train doesn’t go where the tracks go. So if I have a belief that says, “I’m never really gonna make it,” then what can happen? Right. Cause our behaviors are always gonna be guided by those tracks. I then start to self-sabotage even if I do start to do good, I pull myself back. I start to self-sabotage.

Chris Cooper: 

I think down the track here, we’re gonna talk about imposter syndrome because it seems like that’s where this track might lead. Even if you are successful. But what people are wondering right now is like, how do you change that track? Like what’s the antidote to your personal beliefs, the self-limiting beliefs or the narrative that you’re telling yourself?

Bonnie Skinner: 

I usually encourage folks to identify the narrative they have first because too many times what’ll happen is, you know, I call it “toxic positivity,” but it’s really when we go in and we write down these beautiful lines of affirmations, right. And they’re just random. They sound fantastic, but they’re random. And we try to shove that in our brain and our brain will just reject it and make us feel worse. So what I usually say is, well, start with awareness, right ? What do you do when you fail? What do you, what do you say to yourself? What do you, you know, what are your behaviors? Do you withdraw? Do you get angry at other people? Do you blame? You know, is the world the problem? Are you the problem? Like what is the current narrative? Because once most folks see what the current narrative is, the next step is to show is to see how it actually impacts their behavior. So for example, you know, I’ve got one client who’s doing magnificent work with me and , he was looking at, you know, how he moves through the world. And we talk about ways in which he didn’t necessarily feel safe in dealing with others and even working with, you know, members of his own business. And so once we identified that narrative of “I gotta watch my back,” we started to , find processes where that narrative had shown up, right. Things that affected the way that he would meet with staff questions, things he would and wouldn’t ask of his staff, everything based around that one belief.

Chris Cooper: 

All right. So what if there is actually something in our past where we’ve screwed up and you know, we’ve legitimately failed. We’ve got a skeleton in the closet somewhere. I know a lot of gym owners are reluctant to close their gyms down even when it’s not doing well. They might even hang on too long when in reality and logically speaking, they would do better to shut it down, take a year off and start from scratch with a model that works. But they don’t wanna do that because they’ll always have that skeleton in their closet of having failed before. How do we deal with that?

Bonnie Skinner: 

The biggest problem is going to be the label. It’s the label of failure that right ? Most people don’t stop when they go, “oh yeah, I failed.” They don’t stop there. Most people go, “I failed. Therefore I am.” And that’s the problem. As they start, even if they started out confident, what they do is they use that one undesirable outcome to start to renarrate who they are, how they see themselves. They say, “oh, I failed. Therefore I suck. I failed. Therefore I , you know, I’m never going to make it.” So they start creating all these other stories. What I usually say to folks is it’s very hard to judge ourselves or others with context. So I can look at anybody’s behavior and go, “oh my God, that jerk or that this , why would they do that?” And that’s silly. But what I’m doing is I’m eliminating context. I don’t know anything about happened before or after. So if we have a business owner, for example, who, like you mentioned they made some decision in their gym or their business and it didn’t work out. It caused a bigger problem. If they look at that and they say “that should have never happened to me. Or that only happened because I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m stupid. I’m this I’m that.” It’s, it’s not the pain of the failure. Failure’s never killed anybody. We’re not afraid of failure. We are afraid of what’s going to happen if we think we fail. And usually that’s because either somebody else is gonna, you know, treat us un-nicely, or we are going to beat ourselves up. And mostly that’s the situation. So I ask everybody, I’m like, “What happens ? What, first of all, what is your definition of failure ?” Because it’s really important that we have one . Cause if we don’t, it’s a lot easier to just assume that everything is failure. Anything that doesn’t go my way is failure. And so once we do have a decent or workable definition of failure from then it’s like, “Well, what does failure mean about me?” And you want to, as much as you can, disconnect the two, right ? And so that’s when I go back to telling the story in context. So again , go back to the business owner who, you know, they’ve done something they’ve identified that it’s failed. Now what happened? So, for example, a lot of gyms closed during, during COVID. OK. Now those gym owners can say, “I didn’t know what I was doing. I was never cut out for this in the first place I sucked, blah, blah, blah.” And they could run down that whole gambit. OK. What they won’t do a lot of the times is say, “but there was a global pandemic. I think that didn’t help. But I was going through a really difficult time for my family. Right. I was actually burned out from my previous experiences.” So to a lot of people, these things sound like excuses, but it’s not excuses when we’re looking back and trying to understand why we got an outcome that we got. So it’s to be able to tell the story in context. So if I go back and I made a decision at the time that I would never make, which is called growth by the way, but if I go back and I made a decision I would never make, then I have to understand the context under which I made it. Otherwise. I’m just judging myself unfairly. I’m ignoring a whole bunch of other information and just judging myself based on this one decision. And that we’ve gotta be really careful about doing that.

Chris Cooper: 

I thought of a good example of this. So one of the hardest things for gym owners to do is to raise their rates. And in the CrossFit space people to do what they call a quote unquote “grandfathered rate.” You sign up for my gym in 2008, and I am so grateful to have any client, any money coming in that I will allow you to, or I’ll promise that you can, you can pay that rate for the rest of your life. And then 10 years later, you kind of realize that that’s a little bit ridiculous that now you have this person who’s paying less than half of what other people in your gym are paying. And it’s still, you know, it’s probably about a third of what you should be charging and you realize you’ve made a mistake, but you’re too embarrassed to have this conversation with people. What’s the value of having that conversation anyway? Should you not have the conversation? Should you honor your grandfathered rate promise that you made on your first day as an entrepreneur? How should you deal with that?

Bonnie Skinner: 

I think the first thing you gotta do is figure out where the embarrassment come from. Right? Cause that’s gonna set you off again. So is the embarrassment from, oh, you know, “I just forgot to do something and you ended up with the same rate”? Is the embarrassment from, “I actually don’t wanna approach you and tell you it’s gonna cost more because I’m expecting you to have some kind of a response”? Like I always say like feelings first :a feeling is going to tell you where your vulnerability is. So go there first and then, you know, yes, if you’ve decided that listen, your organization needs to be, you know, this is the rate that we’re going with, then that’s where you put the rates . So you figure out how you’re going to have that conversation, right. Usually straightforward. This is our policy. This is what it’s gonna mean for you. Any questions? That kind of stuff. And then trust that if you’ve got the right people in your organization, they’re going to support you in the direction that you’re going. So you’ve done a great job in building the culture and you’ve got a good, solid vision of what you wanna be able to offer the value you wanna offer to your client. You have to believe in that .

Chris Cooper: 

I’ve got another example that, that flows through this rate increase because this is a very stressful process for a lot of people. And , in this example, the gym owner had a rate increase that was long overdue. She was wildly undercharging. She brought the rate up by, let’s say that it was $20 per month. And that was a bit of a jump, but still it was nowhere near what the rate should have been. And , on the eve of presenting this rate increase to her clients, her staff actually rebelled and her staff started saying they’re all gonna quit. “We’re gonna quit. This is unfair. There’s no reason for you to raise this money.” Now of course, the staff had no context on how little the owner was making, but she took it back. She said, “Forget it, forget it, no rate increase. I was wrong.”

Bonnie Skinner: 

Yeah.

Chris Cooper: 

How can she ever increase her rates again? You know, her clients and her staff know that she tried to increase her rates again. And she caved. How does she ever develop the entrepreneurial confidence to correct that mistake?

Bonnie Skinner: 

It’s quite possible that that mistake is going to be the source of her entrepreneurial confidence. Because what happens is you see what happens when you pull in and try to please everybody. So what, you know, there’s a saying that like “what got you here might not get you there.” Which means what got you to this level might not get you to the next; the people that got you to this level might not be the one that are gonna stay with you when you decide to grow to where you’re going to . So when she encountered the staff and the staff was like, “Oh my goodness, here’s what is happening.” What it sounds like didn’t happen was she couldn’t sell the vision either because she didn’t believe it, which is quite possible. Right? So if I am worried, if the story I hold is if I install this policy rate , change, whatever it is, I’m gonna lose everybody and it’s gonna kill my business, it means he doesn’t believe in it. If he doesn’t believe in it, he can’t sell it to the staff. Right. And again, you know , he may not believe it because he’s like, “Oh, I think everybody will quit .” Well, there’s an adjustment that’ll have to be made in the entrepreneurial story. Right. Which means the entrepreneurial story says, “Yeah, you , you may lose some people. That’s true. That’s a part of the journey. And if you can accept that, then here’s the next, here’s the next step for you.” Right . But it’s really gonna come down to like, you see what happens now, you see that if you don’t move forward with the decisions you need to make in your business, then you just always are held hostage by the person. who’s a little bit more afraid than you are.

Chris Cooper: 

That’s amazing. Very insightful, Bon. So one of my favorite things about you as a coach and a mentor is that it’s not just that you can tell me what’s wrong or what’s happening, but it’s also that you can tell me how to fix it. And some steps that we can take. So I think by now, everybody listening to this podcast understands that they could probably use a little bit more entrepreneurial confidence, or maybe that entrepreneurial confidence is really what’s holding their business back. What are some steps that they can take to start building that step by step and eventually grow with it?

Bonnie Skinner: 

Listing coaching and mentorship is always great at the top. But if we’re talking about, you know, kind of steps that they can actually take right now, what I would do is like close your door, sit down with a piece of paper and write out why you’re going to fail . And most folks are like, “Why would I ever do that?” Right. But what will actually happen if you, commit to doing that is you’ll start to identify some of the beliefs that are going to show up, right ? These are gonna be your psychological blind spots. And when you’re rational, and you’re trying to think about something from a logical perspective, they’re not gonna show up. They’re gonna show up when you’re stressed, when you’re overwhelmed, when you’re upset, when you’re ranting. Right. So really start to say, “what story am I operating from?” Is it too rose colored? Is it, “Oh, I think it’s gonna be, if I just put in the work, everything’s gonna go fine all the time”? Or is it, “I actually don’t believe that I can do well”? So is it somewhere in between? And then label, sit down and write out like, “where do I struggle? What are the things I’m afraid of?” And if you know how to adjust those things, or you know what you need to do. Cause sometimes we do. That’s very , very common. But if you don’t, that’s when you reach out for help, you say, “This is what I’m experiencing, what do I do?” They can call me. They can go to you. They can go to their mentor, but don’t sit with it. The worst thing you can do for that entrepreneurial confidence is make the assumption that you said, “no.” That is the number one pitfall. If you haven’t done it before you haven’t watched anybody else do it before, or you haven’t studied it, there’s no reason for you to know. to check those two boxes. Go get help. Don’t sit there .

Chris Cooper: 

I think one tendency that a lot of us have that maybe undermines our confidence is that we ruminate long and hard on our failures, but we fail to recognize our wins. And the reality is that for most of us, the wins outnumber the failures 10 or 20 to one. Is there a way that we can kind of balance these things out in our brains?

Bonnie Skinner: 

That’s a really good question. Our brains are gonna be designed to see failures or the things that we label as failures as being more significant. And that really comes from, you know, the negativity bias that keeps us safe. So for example, if I’m, you know, the way our brain see the world is if I’m out and I miss something positive, that’s no big deal. But if I’m out and I miss something negative, I miss something threatening. That’s a big deal. And that’s why our brain prioritizes, you know, negative or painful events, much more higher. Right. So we actually have to work harder to log our wins. So there should be at the end of every week some space where you take time to go, “What went well?” And even, I’ll even say to some folks like do that in the middle of your week or the end of your week, but also do it at the start of your week. “What went well last week” so that you start from a place of competence from the previous week. Like, “Oh yeah, I nailed that this week. Yeah. Some things went wrong. You’re right.” But what you’re doing is you are telling your brain where to start, where to start its focus. And you may have to do that, you know, 3, 4, 5 months. But at some point what will happen is it will become a norm, right ? Every time you identify something you didn’t do as well as you wanted to, you automatically will start to move towards. Yeah. But this happened as well.

Chris Cooper: 

That’s interesting, Bon. So when you’re working with an entrepreneur and you start digging down and finding out like here are the reasons that you’re not confident or you’re finding these self-limiting beliefs, how do you keep the conversation focused on growing a business instead of just, you know, devolving into therapy?

Bonnie Skinner: 

I think it’s really about understanding that, like you , you can’t separate the humanity from the business. Like we are people doing business, right. We don’t get to be like professionals at work and then humans at home. So I usually say to folks like, you know, like stop this whole “you need to separate work and whatever thing.” How I usually do it as I go back to the pattern. We all have patterns of behavior. We all have patterns that show up when we’re happy and content and feel safe. And we all have patterns that show up when we feel stressed and overwhelmed and threatened. And if you know those patterns and you know how those patterns are going to affect how you move through your day, then we’re not really talking about business or home. We’re just talking about you. And then that becomes applicable to wherever you are. If you’re sitting down, hanging out with your kids, or if you’re, you know, running a staff meeting, it’s really gonna come back to, you know, what’s going on with you in any particular moment. That is the thing that is always gonna be the most important. You know, yesterday we were talking a little bit about, you know, things like the impact of knowledge and the impact of mentors and the impact of mental fitness. Like , well, you can know everything you need to know. Right? You can have somebody helping tell you how to put it into place, but the second you feel threatened or stressed or overwhelmed or nervous will trump all that. So if you’re not building the mental fitness, then you’re vulnerable. Right? And so the entrepreneurial confidence, you know, is a piece of building that mental fitness. It requires us to look at how we see ourselves and how we see the world and what it is that we expect from this thing. We call the entrepreneurial journey.

Chris Cooper: 

I think it’s really important at this point to share like why we’re having this conversation today. And so, years ago, when I was selling courses on how to run a gym , we sold a bunch of them , like 50 people bought the course. And then when I followed up with the people, I found that like, that wasn’t enough. The knowledge didn’t change their gym. And so I realized that we needed to have a mentorship component. And so now for the last seven years, we have been a mentorship practice that delivers knowledge. Uh, but we also guide people through change, but still, there’s a very, very small percentage of clients who need—there’s still this gap. And one reached out to me yesterday and said, “Chris, I really wanna get back into Two-Brain.” They had been in our Growth program and, uh , pulled out about a year ago. “I really wanna get back into Two-Brain. It’s so valuable, but I’m embarrassed.” And I said, “What do you possibly have to be embarrassed about?” And he said, “Well, you know, I was getting the mentor and I love the mentor. And I got the information and it’s so great, but I just wasn’t taking action on any of it. And it’s like, it wasn’t a time problem. I just felt like paralyzed. And then I’d get on a call with my mentor and I’d be embarrassed that I hadn’t done my homework. And eventually that’s why I pulled the plug. It wasn’t a value thing. It was just like I wasn’t doing it. And I blame myself. So how do I know it’s gonna be different this time around?” And so I called Bonnie and she said, “The gap is mental fitness.” So Bonnie, maybe you can dig into that for me a little bit, like knowledge is necessary, but it doesn’t solve the problem. Mentorship takes most people the rest of the way. But for all of us, there’s a mental fitness gap that is at least limiting our, our progress, right?

Bonnie Skinner: 

Yeah . Hundred percent . We will not outdo an activated brain. Here’s what I mean when I say that. So if I, so let’s go back to like the person that walks through the gym door , January fourth, fifth, whatever it is . And they’re like, “Hey, I’m going to lose a ton of , I wanna lose a ton of weight for my wedding” or whatever the case is . OK. Now what your coach is gonna do is they’re gonna say, “Here’s what you do. And here’s how you do it.” But what they’re not gonna say is, “Here’s the things that are gonna get in the way when you see the person next to you. And they’re, you know, four percent body fat, and they’re working out like pro. You’re gonna wanna go home and that’s normal.” And they’re not gonna say, “Well, you know, when you go to your friend’s house and like, you’re having a salad and this person walks over with piece of chocolate cake, you’re going to want to have—you’re gonna have a tough time.” Right? That’s what they’re not gonna say. But 100 percent of the time, if that person does not have the mental fitness to know and understand that there are gonna be moments when they’re just not in control, then they don’t know what to do, and they’re less vulnerable. So we give them the knowledge we tell them what to do and how to do it. But we don’t ever talk about, “here are the , here are the things that are gonna sabotage you. Here are the pitfalls. Here are the things you need to look out for.” And that’s important. So like without that third piece, we leave people vulnerable to their own humanity, their own human experiences. And all of us have human factors that are gonna shut us down, whether it’s, you know, anxiety, depression, uh, problems at home, just plain overwhelm , you know, uncertainty, confidence. Doesn’t matter what it is . All of us have these human factors, and mental fitness is about learning how to control the human factors that would get in the way of your success.

Chris Cooper: 

Can I just share one little tidbit that I’ve learned from you that’s been so, so, so helpful? I just wanna give people like a little glimpse of what it’s like to work with Bonnie. So first of all, you know, I usually wind up ranting and Bonnie listens patiently, and then she says something that’s a massive epiphany that just makes me smack my forehead or swear. And then she says, “Here’s how you fix it.” And so this is, this is just such a wonderful example. Several, several weeks ago I was feeling really overwhelmed and , you know, Two-Brain’s a big company. I never meant for it to have 65 staff on, you know , every continent in the world and like a quarter million dollar a month payroll and all this stuff. And sometimes that adds up, and something that Bonnie said was “before you do anything else at the start of the day, do one thing that’s going to grow your business.” And it hit me like, “Oh my goodness, that’s so obvious.” Like, that’s what I used to do back in 2009, before I coached my first class, I would write a blog post, but it’s that kind of epiphany. That’s so powerful. And the genius in that, in that instruction is that it’s so simple. So now before I look at my email, before I open Slack, before I think about problems that I have to solve as CEO, I ask myself, “What is one thing that I can do that will make my business better or grow my business today?” And I do that before I allow myself to do anything else. So, Bon, that just some tremendous mentorship that I’ve received from you. I know a lot of our Tinkers work with you to develop their mental fitness. Where can people get some resources or some other free help?

Bonnie Skinner: 

Yeah. They can go to the website at yourmentalfitness.ca in a couple of weeks. I’ll be releasing some information on some confidence-building groups that we’re going to run as well, but they can always also find me find me on Facebook. We’ve got a Facebook group that is at mental fitness the number 4 CEOs. I usually post in there a couple times a week as well.

Chris Cooper: 

Wonderful . I will. Yeah . So that’s a free group, right?

Bonnie Skinner: 

Yeah .

Chris Cooper: 

Perfect. I’ll share links in the show notes , but, and we will have you on again, if you have questions for Bonnie or you love the show and, you know, you want more information, you can find it in her free group. We’ll link to that. You can also send me questions and I’m happy to bring Bonnie on again and just like do a Q and A and answer the questions from the audience. This is something that affects every single entrepreneur. It underlies most of the problems that entrepreneurs have. And I wanna make sure that people know how to solve the problem because it’s a solvable one, isn’t it?

Bonnie Skinner: 

For sure. For sure.

Chris Cooper: 

All right , Bonnie, thanks so much for coming on and sharing with us.

Bonnie Skinner: 

Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. Appreciate it.

Announcer: 

Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Be sure to subscribe for more shows. Now, Chris is back with a post script .

Chris Cooper: 

If you aren’t in the Gym Owners United group on Facebook, this is my personal invitation to join. It’s the only public Facebook group that I participate in. And I’m in there all the time with tips, tactics, and free resources. I’d love to network with you and help you grow your business. Join Gym Owners United on Facebook.

Thanks for listening!

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