Announcer: 00:00:00 – It’s Two-Brain Radio. Every week we’ll deliver top-shelf tactics to help you improve your fitness business and move you closer to wealth. And now here’s your host, the most interesting man in fitness, Chris Cooper.
Chris: 00:00:17 – The 2017 Two-Brain Summit is coming June 3rd and 4th in Chicago. This year, our keynote speaker will be Dave Tate of Elite FTS, formally of Westside Barbell. I’ll be doing a lot of the speaking. The other mentors from Two-Brain, all your favorites will be there. Most of the Two-Brain family will be there too. But if you’re not a Two-Brain client and you want to attend, you’re still welcome to show up for the first day. The first day of the Two-Brain Summit is the seminar that we’ve been teaching now for the last year. It’s full of fantastic actionable advice that you can take and immediately apply to your business. Usual ROI on these seminars is about four times what you pay for them. This year for the first time, you can bring a coach. Coaches only costs 100 bucks after an owner registers. They’re going to have a separate stream of programming that actually lasts two days, so if you’re not a Two-Brain client and you’re an owner, you can attend the first day of business, put your coaches in school for both days and go to the fair if you want to. If you’re a Two-Brain member, we cannot wait to see you there, family. You will be busy for both days, coming to our private events on Sunday as well as our SMEs, our hot seats, our special lectures, our group break-out stuff. It’s going to be a fantastic time in Chicago. Whether you’re a Two-Brain family member or not, you are not going to want to miss this. It’s the best seminar for the year.
Chris: 00:01:33 – This episode is brought to you by One of the underlying things that we teach in the Two-Brain Business university and in our mentoring program is how to value your time, and that is spending time on roles that will actually grow your business and get you closer to Perfect Day instead of roles that just take up a lot of time.
Chris: 00:01:51 – Lot of people are scared to do this math, to figure out what they’re actually making and the hours that they’re spending doing stuff like cleaning and sometimes programming. The old way of thinking is that your programming is your secret sauce, but we all know now that that’s not why people come to your box. I’ve been writing programs for people for literally 20 years and Jason Brown is better at it than I am. Jason Brown’s saves me about five hours a week of coming up with optimal programming for people. It’s fun. People love it and I can use that time to build my business, do more important things, or just sit in a lawn chair. Frankly for 200 bucks a month, it’s one of the best investments you can make in your gym. Think about how much time you spent programming. Divide those hours into 200 and you’ll see how cheap the program actually is for the amount of value and care that Jason puts into this stuff. Go to to learn more.
Chris: 00:02:47 – Before I introduce Tate Stewart this week, I want to tell you a story about what happened after we recorded this podcast. The topic of this podcast is servant leadership, and Tate is a living example of service. Others before service to self. His ethos starts with a strong Christian faith and it is expressed through his CrossFit gym. You’re going to hear all about this. Right after we finished recording this podcast, I did two things. First was to buy the book “Silence” and send it to Tate as a thank-you for reminding me why we’re doing this. And the second thing I did was get in a car accident. As I was driving to the gym to participate in my beloved noon group, I was rear-ended by a big delivery truck. I was at a complete stop. He came up behind me and drove straight into my trailer hitch.
Chris: 00:03:34 – I got out of the truck, fight or flight kicked in and my first instinct was to fight this guy. I was on my way to do CrossFit. I was fired up and I was pretty pissed that I was going to miss my group. But the first thing he said when he got out of the truck was, “Are you OK?” And the second thing was, “I’m sorry, it’s my fault.” Looking at my truck, I saw that he had at most rubbed a little bit of the rust off my trailer hitch, but his truck was really damaged. His bumper had aligned right with the ball on my hitch and basically folded in on itself. It was going to cost thousands of dollars. I said, “Let’s start over.” I extended my hand and said, “I’m Chris.” He said, “Hey Chris, I’m Nate. I’ve never been in a car accident before. I don’t know what to do.”
Chris: 00:04:15 – And so I started walking him through it. So first we exchanged information as you normally do, and then he said, should we call the police? I said, “I’ll tell you what, Nate. We don’t need to call the police, but let’s move our trucks up the road and get out of everybody’s way.” So that’s the first thing we did. Then I looked in my glove box in the truck for some paper to write my cell phone number on and what I found was a thank-you card from one of the little hockey players that I’d coached all year. So I took the front of that card, wrote all my information in it and handed it to Nate, but what he saw was a blue piece of paper with thanks written on it, the front of the thank-you card. He said, “I don’t know if we should call the police here, but I’m not really sure how to explain this to my boss, either. He’s going to be really mad.” And I said, “Nate, I’ll tell you what. Call me later if you have any problem with your boss, I own a business too, maybe I can help.” I got back in my truck, I drove to noon group and I thank the universe for giving me the opportunity to be brought back to focus. But the story, of course, doesn’t end there. At five o’clock yesterday, Nate called me and said, “How are you feeling? Are you OK?” The first thing out of his mouth was concern for me, not for his own hide, and I said, “Nate, how was your day? How was your boss?” He said, “I’m sorry, Chris. I got to call the cops. My boss is really mad and he said that if our insurance won’t cover the bumper, that I’m going to have to come good for half of it.”
Chris: 00:05:41 – At that moment, I recognize that this struggle had given me an opportunity to serve somebody else. Nate obviously is a good guy. He’s also a cabinet installer. He might be the best cabinet installer in the universe, I don’t know, but do know that a cabinet installer probably doesn’t make insane amounts of money. If he had to pay for that bumper, his share would have cost $800, something that would have taken him months to recoup. But $800 to me is not a lot of money. And so I said, “Nate, if you have to come up with half, call me back. I got it.” Now, I don’t usually offer to lend or give money to strangers, but at that moment I recognized the opportunity to serve somebody else with what I had, in this case, money and patience, and what they needed in this case, money and a calming effect.
Chris: 00:06:33 – The second I offered to help Nate in his time of need, all my stress about this new building purchase, all my overwhelm with all these lawyers that are happening, all this stuff that I’m doing that I’m so busy with. Even the exciting growth of Two-Brain went away for a minute and my brain got to rest for the first time in weeks. I felt good. And this morning when I visited the police station, I found that Nate had mentioned my offer to the officer who would be inspecting my truck. She asked why I would do that, why I would offer to cover the debts of the guy who hit me with his panel van when I was stopped, and I said it just felt good. She said, “Where do you work?” And I said, “Catalyst gym, right over there on the corner.” And she said, “I’ve heard about that place,” and you can guess what happened next.
Chris: 00:07:23 – Tate and I talk a lot about influences and books in this episode. One of my favorite authors on service is Eric Greitens; “Resilience,” “Heart and the Fist.” Greitens was a Navy SEAL leader, he led a platoon. And he commented that he thought that BUDS training and hell week was actually easier for platoon leaders because they were worried about their men instead of being worried about themselves. He also noticed during his travels to various refugee camps in places of real desperation and destitution in war zones, that those who were most involved in service to others suffered less. They were outwardly focused. Instead of inwardly focused, just being busy serving, taking care of other people, kept their mind off their own problems and made them feel calm. I’m fortunate enough to help other people all day, every day. That’s my passion and my calling now. But sometimes you need a big dose. You need a big opportunity to serve. Tate recorded a fantastic interview. It’s one of the most important ones that we’ve done so far. I’m so happy to welcome Tate to our mentoring team. I know you’ll love this episode. Tate Stewart.
Chris: 00:08:33 – All right, Tate Stewart. Welcome to Two-Brain Radio.
Tate: 00:08:34 – Thanks for having me, man, I’m excited.
Chris: 00:08:34 – It’s my pleasure, man. So listen, I’d love to hear the whole story. You know, tell us what brought you to CrossFit, what made you open a box and then bring us right up to today.
Tate: 00:08:44 – Oh geez, man. So I guess the story really starts my senior season playing college football at the of University of Houston. Having a great year. My whole life is just positioned around getting to the next level, get into the NFL. And first play, literally first play scrimmage, my hand’s on the ground, the ball snapped. They run a hard force and an aggressive fricking football team, you ever want to feel like you just got your butt kicked in an alley, go play one of the academies in football. And those guys are freaking tough man. They’re all undersized and man like, you know, we ended up winning the game but man, this first play hit us so hard.
Tate: 00:09:28 – They explode from line of scrimmage. One of our guys gets slung, he misses the tackle. Three-hundred pounder just get slung like a ragdoll by a little full back and just rolls up my leg. And I kind of black out for a second and I open my eyes and I notice—I taped my ankles in a very certain way cause I have very weak ankles. And I was the only guy on the team that Doc O’Shea would let tape over my shoes. And I look and I’m like, why is my ankle next to my eye? And it was a really weird thing. That’s my shoe, yeah, that’s definitely my shoe. And then I realized the position that I’m in and the pop I felt was my ACL and MCL, and they unpiled, I flop on the ground.
Tate: 00:10:13 – I look up and I see Doc O’Shea running out, had on his fanny pack and I’m like, oh crap, it’s over. You know, like a logical next move, everyone, all my friends are getting ready go into training, right? So ballgame’s over, now you start train for pro day. For me, I was like, I’ll help them train. I’ll connect with the strength-and-conditioning coaches and I’ll be one of the trainers. I won the—my senior year, I won the Tom Wilson Weight Room Off-Season MVP so I was a meathead through and through. All the time I could put in in the weight room that’s what I did. So it was a very natural transition for me. I started doing that. The line coach comes to me that spring. He’s like, hey, I want you to help me.
Tate: 00:10:52 – So, I’m immersed in this world of college football. I’m doing some work with the defensive line, I’m breaking up film. I’m coaching on the field, I’m in the weight room at 5 a.m. setting up training the team. It was awesome, man. I was kind of in heaven. I graduated, did that for two and a half years, and there’s an old ball coach named Lee Hays. He was a quality-control assistant at the University of Houston. If you know college football, he’s making nothing. Forty-five years old. He has a family, two kids. He’s driving from Huntsville, Texas, two hours every day because he can’t afford to move his family down. He had been as high as office coordinator at Baylor University making, you know, probably 200,000, 300,000 a year. Now here he is making $800 a month. And at this time, this is 2008, so CrossFit’s just starting to mainstream.
Tate: 00:11:41 – And he’s getting interested in CrossFit. He had a brother that was on the Olympic bobsled team, so he kind of knew his way around the weight room and he’s interested in CrossFit, he’s always talking about it. I’m like dude, Lee, that’s the stupidest stuff I’ve ever seen. We’ve got a couple interns in the weight room at the time doing CrossFit, and I won’t even say the word on this podcast that I used for these guys. I thought CrossFit was, I’d look at them, I thought it was burpees in the corner. Right. Cause that’s what I saw. And he’s like, can you do one of these workouts? And he’s showing me that heroes and the girls. I’m like, yeah. So at this time I’m like 250 lb. With like a 365-lb. power clean and a 600-lb. back squat and run 4-6-4 yard dash. Good athlete, trained with the guys.
Tate: 00:12:28 – I’m in tip-top shape in my life and he pulls Badger out of the bag. So 800 pull-ups, which I’m doing strict, and squat cleans and it just kind of crushes my soul. And he’s like, yeah, that’s what I thought. So now I’m interested. Next weekend I’m in my car driving to Dallas to CrossFit Strong to get my Level 1. You know, so I’m still not interested in CrossFit. They’re still that category to me, but I’m just interested in the training. I learned a lot, and Lee Hays is telling me, “I think you should think about opening a gym. I think you’d be good at this.” And I’m like, “No way, man. You know, I’m like the next great college strength-and-conditioning coach. There’s no way I’m going to waste my time on CrossFit.” He’s like, “Yeah, how much do you make?” I’m like, “Well, yeah, nothing right now.” “Well, you know, this may be a more stable future for you. You know what I make?” I’m like, well, yeah. He’s like, “This is a rough road, man. You know, are you gonna marry that girl you’re dating?” I was like, “I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet.” He’s like, “Well, that’s something else you should figure out, but you know, you need to be thinking about a real career.”
Tate: 00:13:36 – That just stuck with me, man. So, I started researching it. I started doing some boot camps and some stuff around, started using the training, started getting around people who aren’t athletes. You know, it’s the NFL lockout is going on at this time, so we’re in like a mecca of NFL training. So we’ve got all these NFL athletes hanging around on the athletic facilities. So I’m working with those guys and just trying to get out of my own way to open this gym. I’m like, well, I don’t know. I think I’m really good at this sport stuff. Anyways, so as I just kind of looked at it, the decision came down to, I was like, all right, you know, I see people in the college strength-and-conditioning world, it’s fast and furious, fun, but most of these guys don’t seem to be in happy marriages.
Tate: 00:14:18 – Took a hard look at who the girl is now, my wife, Amy, and I was like, well, here’s the deal. She’s leaving for California this weekend. She’ll probably never come back. She’s got nothing here but a crappy house, crappy apartment, crappy car, crappy boyfriend. I was like, you know, she probably will just never come back. And I was like, dude, here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m going to marry Amy. I’m going to turn all this around. I’m going to start this gym and it’s going to be great. So that’s what I did, man. I tried to turn on a dime. It turns out it was a big ship and it took some time to turn that lifestyle around and get to where I was a halfway decent husband and all those things. But so I started the gym, that was, it’ll be six years ago in February, you know, here I am. Long road.
Tate: 00:14:59 – You know, we had our first partnership split before we ever opened the doors. A year in, you know, it’s tough. We have baby on the way, just being the kind of guy that I am, l problem solve, I critical think. I was like, dude, I’m not gonna coach 50 hours a week with a baby. So I’m going to find a gym and merge with them. So I did, it will work great for about 18 months. And then that partner made some choices that didn’t align with direction I was going. So we split again, you know. So we’re actually on our third CrossFit brand, I was CrossFit B3 then we merged with my ex-partner. We used his affiliate name/ by the time he was gone, CrossFit B3 had been relicensed. So now we’re CrossFit 1420. And I’ve got two great business partners that I did meet along the way who are aligned with the mission, the vision and the values. It’s awesome, man. We’re down here in Katy, Texas, 30 miles west of Houston. It’s a hot as heck. You know, but we’ve got big fans and we work hard and it’s a bunch of good people around here.
Chris: 00:15:58 – That’s awesome. And the funniest part here is that I’ve been in Katy, Texas, and did a seminar there, met some wrestlers, did an article for CrossFit Journal on a wrestler training with CrossFit. But we didn’t meet a recurring theme that we’re going to come back to over and over is mentorship, because you like a lot of great leaders in our field, have never shied away from turning to others for help. Right. Seeking to, to learn from others. And you mentioned that Lee Hays was maybe your first professional mentor. Would you agree with that?
Tate: 00:16:30 – Absolutely. When I talk about him I say my friend and mentor, Lee Hays, definitely. He was a guy that just took an interest in me. I say mentors believe in you more than you believe in yourself and you know, so Lee Hays saw—it wasn’t that he didn’t think I’d be a great strength-and-conditioning coach, it’s that he thought I had the potential to open a business and that I could go make a different kind of life for myself than the path I was on. Yeah. So first mentor, Lee Hays, absolutely.
Chris: 00:16:56 – What about mentors when you were growing up? Like going back into playing football, I’m sure there’s a standout coach there or a teacher.
Tate: 00:17:04 – Yeah, so I’ve got two big ones. My dad was always an outstanding leader and mentor for our family and I played for a legendary high-school football coach named Mike Johnston here in Katy. He won 300 football games, ton of state championships and I think they’re building right now, like the biggest high-school football, most expensive high-school football stadium ever. That’ll be Mike Johnston field. So I played for him in high school. He was actually my position coach, so I got a level of mentoring from Mike Johnston that most of the athletes in the program didn’t even get. So I got to sit in his office every day after practice just to watch the way he led the team. Such a humble dude. Such a humble dude.
Tate: 00:17:44 – So a big one there. You know, the biggest thing with some of those guys, Lee Hays and Mike Johnston both, I think my biggest—the only regret I have with those guys is not staying in touch with them and continuing to access their wisdom and their mentoring as the years went on. I didn’t understand how valuable that was. I do now. It’s the most valuable thing I think a young man can come across. I say this all the time about my dad and I go, you know, I think where I’m a little bit ahead of where my dad was is I have these guys around me that have taken interest in me and started pouring into me and starting mentoring, you know. So kind of back onto my story, during that partner split, it was shaping up to be a nasty partner split, and two of the main influencers in our community, one of them rolls up in his, you know, he had like an AMG with a beach well Mercedes and he whips into the parking lot one morning.
Tate: 00:18:37 – I’m just getting ready to work out at 7 a.m. I had just finished my 5 a.m., 6 a.m. class. He was like a wrestler and in college and I’m like, this dude’s here to fight. Had had come from the other gym. And I was like, he’s here to fight me. He’s a wrestler. He’s going to go for the legs, just stay low, keep him away. And he’s like, “Tate. Let’s go outside.” I was like, “Yeah, all right. I knew it.” And he gets me out there and he’s like, “Listen man, you’re a good dude and you know, your character’s been under assault, and I just found out that half of it’s lies. I want you to know I’m here to support you.” I was like, “Oh, all right, OK. All right. It looks like we’re not going to wrestle.” You know, after that. And then he said, “Listen man, I’m lock and shields with you. Anything you need, man, I’m here to mentor you and help and support you.” And he did, man. He turned into just the best friend and mentor I think I could ask for, a successful business owner himself. Thirty minutes after him, another guy rolls up, Les Stretch, and he goes, “Hey, I know Mat already talked to you. Listen man, I’m here for you. We’re locking shields with you, anything you need.” So those two guys just took me to lunch, coached me, mentored me, just built me up as much as anything the last three years. He runs a senior living company and I don’t know how I’m gonna handle, thinking I’ll be trying to fly to Atlanta like once a month or something and just sit in his hip pocket and receive that mentoring.
Tate: 00:19:52 – But those two guys have shaped me over the last three years. You know, at some point I’m starting to realize the value of mentoring, right? So I go looking for, OK, well if I can get this from these guys for free, you know, what can I find that actually is specific to my industry. So that sent me down the road. My first professional like hired mentor was some business coaching from Southwestern Consulting. I signed up there. It was OK. They had mentored like Iron Tribe, they had worked with Iron Tribe Fitness, they had D1 sports, so similar, similar—I thought there was going to be some expertise. It wasn’t what I was hoping for. I did about six months of it and then kind of disengaged with them. It just wasn’t going anywhere. After that I connected with Mat Lab.
Tate: 00:20:36 – That was good. Mat Lab was more of a systems approach. That being said, I tried to turn him into my mentor. I pestered the heck out of him, tapped him for all the knowledge that I could, you know, it was good. That kept the ball moving. So then keep fast forwarding, you know, in October of last year, my wife and I—I had started seeing Two-Brain stuff. My wife and I take a—we found out her grandmother is extremely sick. We have a 4-week-old baby, we can’t get on an airplane, and this is like the key relationship in Amy’s life. And I’m like, well, let’s go. Let’s get in the car and go. She’s like, you can’t be serious. Yeah, I’m serious. You want her to meet the baby? Let’s go. So we get in the car at eight o’clock at night and we head for Northern California. Twenty, 30-hour, 37-hour trip.
Tate: 00:21:23 – Like I said, I just kind of engaged with Two-Brain content and as I’m chugging Monster energy drinks, you know, about midnight, I’m like, Amy, see if you can find a podcast for me. So she starts downloading Two-Brain episodes. So for, you know, Amy is probably to this day, hates your voice. But it was so engaging for me that it just kept me wired and awake. I literally just listened to every podcast, I think, on the way there and the way back. By the time I was done, I saw the level of connection that I got on the phone with you. You know, again, the level of interest in me personally, I remember the first thing you did was like, “Whoa, hold on, slow down. Tell me about that road trip.”
Tate: 00:22:08 – And so you took this level of interest in me personally. And so that’s, I knew right away that was the key. And you’re like, “You know, Tate, I just fired like 50 people from my mentoring organization so that I can do this. I want to take an extra 30 minutes with you and hear about your road trip. I can.” So it was great. I went through the Incubator with you, you know, again, did the same thing to you. You have to set boundaries with me because I if you have a wealth of information and knowledge that I think I need access to, I will pester the heck out of you as I’m sure you’ve learned. And as Jay Williams who’s training me in the mentor program has probably learned. He wakes up every Monday with an email from Tate. And then last week he texted me and was like, hey. I was like, “OK cool. So now I’m allowed to text him. So now it’s easier for me to access him.” You know, again, I do try and respect my mentors’ time cause I know it’s always extremely valuable, but at the same time I, you know, it’s hard for me because the value is so much.
Chris: 00:23:16 – I get it, man. So I think one of the things that is going to make you a fantastic mentor to others is that you’re such a fantastic student. What is the greatest lesson you ever learned from your father?
Tate: 00:23:28 – Oh man. Hard work. You know, I’ll put in context of a quote from another friend of mine, but the lesson was learned from my dad. I have a good friend who has been a small mentor to me, in a really tough time he stepped in and mentored me and met with me a few times. And he said, “Tate, there’s two things in life that will always work. It’s just the way God made the world.” But it doesn’t matter if you’re a believer or not because it holds true for anyone. He said, “Hard work and honesty, you know, that’s why your successful and you’ll be successful, cause hard work and honesty, it’s the way the world works.” And so that’s that was my dad. You know, my dad was the kind of guy that would like give a penny back at Walmart.
Tate: 00:24:07 – He’d be like whoa, this is 36 cents. You know, literally, I’m not kidding. It would snow. We grew up in the Texas panhandle, so it actually snows there unlike in Katy, Texas. He’d take us out and we’d go snow shovel the widows’ driveways. The best story I have is one summer I was going into sixth grade. So it’s like kind of going from elementary to junior high. We just moved into this new house. There were like some girls in the neighborhood and my best friend lived down the street and I’m like, this is the summer of Tate.
Tate: 00:24:41 – Like this summer of Tate, this is going to be awesome. And it was probably like the first morning of summer, I wake up to beep, beep! And my dad’s going “Hey, I’ve got this great project for you guys this summer, I’m having two tons of dirt delivered. You guys are gonna level the backyard.” I’m like, oh OK. You know, we grew up on hard work. We built the fence, we mowed the yard, we did it all. I’m like all right, no big deal. I’ll be waking up at 6 a.m. knock that out, I’ll have all day to myself. As I hear the beep, beep, I’m like, “Why is the truck in front?” And I go running out there and my dad’s waving it in right to the front corner of our lot. It was this long triangle-shaped lot. I’m like, “Ronson, get down here. The truck is in the wrong spot. Dad’s confused.” So we go running out there we’re like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is going in the back. You can go up the driveway. Dad’s no, no, no guys, chill out. He’s putting it right here. And we’re just like, you know, are we doing the front yard? And now we’re confused, we thought you said back yard. And he hands us a wheelbarrow, two shovels and goes, “Have a good summer, boys.” Again, the value of hard work is, you know, just the word work ethic, right? The very definition of work ethic says that that hard work in and of itself has the ability to forge character. Like all other things aside, just the work itself, work ethic, is character forged just by hard work. And so that was the lesson we learned with the wheelbarrows and shovel. There was no real reason. There’s no benefit to that other than just working hard. And he definitely belabored that point throughout our childhood. But, you know, my dad grew up in the oil field, worked hard for everything he ever had, so he made sure to pass that lesson along, and obviously just an uncommon level of honesty that he’s always had. So hard work and honesty.
Chris: 00:26:39 – OK, man. Well, you certainly picked up the trait of hard work from him. I can remember getting on a mentoring call at 3 a.m., you know, and not everybody does that, dude. So moving on to Lee Hays then, I mean was he kind of the next iteration of the same lessons from your dad or was he a contrasting type of mentor? Did he teach you different lessons or was it more of the same?
Tate: 00:27:03 – You know, a lot of it was more of the same. Again, we’re talking about a guy that’s driving from Huntsville, Texas, an hour and a half each way every day for $800 just because he knows the opportunity of the coaching staff that he was getting to work with. So the guy, his back was so jacked up that he couldn’t hardly stand on his feet to coach practice. And he was in the gym trying to do CrossFit cause he thinks this is the answer. “I got 150 air squats today,” he’s trying to follow main site, but at the same time he’s like looking at Kelly Starrett and he’s like, he’s putting some things together. He was a smart dude, but you know. Neither of them taught me the lesson—the contrasting mentor that maybe I’m still waiting for, or I guess didn’t come along until Two-Brain is the work smarter, not harder. It’s not that hard work isn’t valuable, but valuing your time, right? Like kind of step one of the Incubator was like, hey Tate, stop doing all the hard work just to do hard work. Like you’re past that stage, maybe. You know, I would say you guys were probably the contrasting mentors. Les and Vern had started to bring some of that value-your-time-type stuff. Sorry, go ahead?
Chris: 00:28:18 – I was just going to say probably, because that was a hard lesson for me, too, you know, also being brought up on a farm, your day just fills with work. So I know what you mean, too, but, sorry man. Carry on.
Tate: 00:28:28 – No. Yeah. So the contrasting mentor, the big contrast to that is I think it’s been Two-Brain and higher-value roles, value your time. You know, Dan Martell talking about divide your gross revenue by 2,000, that’s what your time’s worth. And that blew my mind. Oh my gosh. So it’s just, you have to find higher-leverage work. So again, you know, I’m learning.
Chris: 00:28:56 – OK man. One of the things that’s always impressed me about you from day one is that you will go to work for your team before you’ll go to work for yourself. You’ve always been a really amazing leader and a collaborator, you know, for all the people that you work with. How does that structure look now at your gym? Who’s with you?
Tate: 00:29:17 – So I’ve got my general manager, my head coach. These guys are my business partners. I brought them on. We’ve been together three years now. They actually came into the old picture with the former business partner. And then, whenever he left, we all remained. Those guys. And then we’ve got a team of eight coaches and complemented by a kind of marketing and event planner, social media girl. One of our coaches serves as the Two-Brain Joy Girl we call her the director of goals and success. So she helps people set goals and you know, celebrate success. And then we have a kind of merchandising retail specialist who make sure that we all look sharp in our 1420 gear, and that’s our team.
Chris: 00:30:04 – Wow. That’s a huge team. So where a lot of gym owners really struggle is instilling their values in a team, and what they don’t understand a lot of the time is like how a team member could walk past an unclean bathroom and not be compelled to clean it up. How do you get all these people on the same page, moving in the same direction and doing what you want?
Tate: 00:30:26 – It’s tough, right? So actually, there’s two things I would touch on here, right? So there’s—my whole view of leadership was not reshaped, but well-defined just, man, I guess it was last week. On Tuesday I read a book called “A Tale of Three Kings” that a friend of mine had passed along, and it talks about these contrasting styles of leadership. So it’s talking about authoritative leadership and authoritative leadership, you know, kind of delves down into rules and regulations, right. So I’m going to create these rules and regulations and then it goes on to say, you know, rules were invented so that people can go to bed early.
Tate: 00:31:09 – People that talk about authority usually don’t have it. And then it’s interesting to me, especially in the CrossFit world and so many people, it’s a big thing for your coach to go to start another gym. Right. Super common. I think a lot of gym owners live in fear of that. And whenever you’re ruling in this authoritative-style leadership, one of the things you will do is always fear rebellion. And you know, so this authoritative thing leads to jealousy, self-importance, trying to create rules and regulations to make people submit. And you know, then you’re constantly living in this fear of rebellion. Whereas a submissive style of leadership is one that, you know, I’m giving to my people, not taking from them. I’m here to work for you. I have patience, I submit to you, you know, what can I do for you? I want to shield you from suffering.
Tate: 00:31:59 – I want to shield you from all those things. You know, surprisingly, you know, we talk a lot in Two-Brain about stoicism. I believe wholeheartedly in it. But whenever it comes to a staff-facing issue, you know, you almost want a complete lack of Stoicism. One of my mentors, you know, he’s getting ready to be the CEO of a huge corporation. He’s like, talking about his kids. And he’s like, you know, you know, some people are like, I’ve never seen my dad cry, and he’s like, my kids are going to be like, oh my dad cried all the time. And whenever you’re facing your kids or your employees, I think it’s OK to be this submissive leader. And now, again, now whenever you’re on the front lines and ready to go to battle, this isn’t the time for that.
Tate: 00:32:47 – But you know, so having it in control as well is one place that I’m learning to balance and go, OK, I’ve mastered the lack of Stoicism and people respect that and they value that, and my staff knows that I’m being authentic whenever I’ve got tears in my eyes and I’m talking to them about, you know why this core value is so important, how we dropped the ball on it. And so that authoritative leadership versus submissive leadership and the book uses a biblical story of just kind of Saul and David. But, you know, another good example that I love is Jon Gordon. Jon Gordon I don’t think gets enough pub, but you talked about servant leadership and one of his quotes is “Titles don’t matter. The one with the servant’s heart is the leader,” right?
Tate: 00:33:36 – That’s Jon Gordon. And again, it’s easy to think of this as a soft style of leadership, but it’s really not. You know, another, I always give people two Jon Gordon quotes that, I mean, they don’t think Jon Gordon is soft. Because another Jon Gordon quote says, “If you forge a strong culture, it will force out people who don’t belong.” Right? So this is, I mean, those almost seem contrasting, but they go together, you know. So by being submissive and pouring into my people and living my values and building this culture, I don’t have to make rules and you know, decide who can come and go. The culture will literally forge that itself. So we’ve seen that at our gym. It’s a really powerful thing. As you see a culture start to solidify and you see the people that exit and even tend to do it respectfully and appropriately just because the culture is so strong.
Tate: 00:34:29 – I didn’t come down on them and make them leave or make their life miserable so they left. I just poured into the culture and eventually it was just obvious to them that they wouldn’t fit. And so servant leadership is what has worked for me. And just, you know, as you said, just I work for you. Whenever I talk to my team, it’s like, hey, what can I do for you? So you know, this stuff is all through Two-Brain Business content, is I work for you. What can I do for you? How can I help you? What is your Perfect Day? How can I help you get there so that, you know, I have connected so well with you guys and your content and just what you teach because it’s everything that I’ve ever tried to tried to practice and learn to execute myself.
Chris: 00:35:18 – So Tate, and you know, right from the early days, I kind of recognized that you would be an amazing mentor to others, but what really solidified it, and this might be a great example of these different types of leadership, is when you had to raise your rates a few months ago. You exhibited that authoritative leadership when you had to, but also servant leadership, you know, with your staff. So can you walk us through how you approached that first with your staff and then with your members?
Tate: 00:35:47 – Yeah, for my staff it was very simple, I told him it had to happen. What we were doing was unfair, inconsistent, and had been on my heart for a long time. Told them it wasn’t going to affect them at all. They were going to be, you know, they were going to be shielded from it. If there’s anyone that we can carve out, it’s the staff and go, hey, look, you your spouse, whatever’s in your contract, that is not changing. That’s unaffected. So tried to shield them from that, you know. Laid it down for them, sent them an email just saying, hey, if you have questions, just point them back to me. And very simple. The next step was the emails to the members. And I tried to be as transparent as possible. I didn’t worry too much about is that phrased the right way? How is that going to sound? I worried more like is that authentic? Is that what I’m trying to say? You know, we’ve grown—I was just looking at pictures from my daughter’s baby shower that we had here for my wife, you know, whenever she was pregnant. So that was over four years ago and I’m like looking at pictures of the place and I’m like, it’s all concrete floors. We’ve got a 20-foot infinity rig. I was the only coach, I had one CrossFit certification, you know, and I look at the place now and I’m like, we had fans sitting all over the floor. You know, I think we had like 10 medicine balls and I remember we didn’t have 14-lb. medicine balls. And I look at the place now and I’m like, you guys, this is a top-notch facility.
Tate: 00:37:24 – It was always big. But now it’s finished. It’s nice. You have the best of everything. Primarily the best coaching, right? I mean, a huge part of our expense is pouring into our coaches and their continuing education and then providing the best floors. So tried to lay that down for them, tried to make it authentic, tried to say, look, you know, we have the best people and it’s expensive both to groom them and feed them. And we try and provide the best experience on a daily basis. We have the best events, we have the best everything that we can possibly produce. And this is how much we charge for it currently. And you know, and we have about half of our current membership paying these rates. Our rates are 230 at unlimited, 198 for 13 visits per month just to make sure we don’t lose them.
Tate: 00:38:13 – They don’t lose their third visit on an odd month. But you know, so it’s about a 30% premium over anybody else in town? You know, we do our goal-setting sessions. We have an InBody that we use to take body metrics four times a year and the value’s there. It’s very simple. You know, there’s a consumer spectrum in any market. Right? And that’s do you want the Kia, the Honda with leather seats or the Lexus? Right? And you know, our general service I think is like the Honda with leather seats, and in CrossFit, you know. Now, we have some Lexuses on the lot and we have some Ferraris, too, you know, so we offer that service. But our general people, we’re not Equinox, you know, we don’t have like platinum toilet seats.
Tate: 00:39:00 – But it’s a really good car that can handle a lot of miles and you can put every add-on you want on it. And that’s what we try and provide, you know? So if you’re selling Hondas with leather seats and all anybody wants is a base-model Kia, you know, you’ve got an issue on your hands. So, you know, the consumer spectrum is in any service. What kind of restaurant do you want to go to? You know, your article talked about it in the CrossFit Journal. “Discount Night at the Two-for-One Steak House.” It’s the same deal. What do you want? Do you want fast food? Do you want a nice sit-down restaurant or do you want the top-notch stuff? And so that’s what we’re trying to provide. We try and provide, you know, nothing less than halfway, nothing less than a Honda with leather seats and everything above that.
Chris: 00:39:57 – OK. So then you had to practice some Stoicism in that context too, when the rate hike was going out, because not everybody wound up sticking around. The message you sent me was, “My seed clients are coming through with strong words of support, not light-hearted stuff, declaring the leadership and telling me to be proud of my decision. The ones creating issues are not people that we would build a business around. And it’s till tough, but if we come out even financially and prune these individuals, then we killed it.” How tough was that to go through at the time, Tate?
Tate: 00:40:33 – It was brutal. It was brutal, man. I wish I had managed expectations with my wife a little bit better. Anybody who’s been a gym owner knows, you know—for me, my wife’s not in the day to day with me, so she’s literally sitting at home during this time reading my emails, right, I send the rate increase email and it comes back like 40 emails in an hour and she’s reading every one of them. She’s just losing it at home. She’s like, I trusted you. This is our livelihood. You screwed it up. And it’s like I said, I said, “Amy, you know, we did this seed client exercise. Again, one of the first things I did in the Incubator was make this list of—and it’s not like, who do you like the most or who are the better people, it’s who are you going to build a business around, right?
Tate: 00:41:17 – Like your business and what you’re delivering and who’s it fit for. That’s all. We lost some great people that I love, great people, not bad people. But they weren’t a fit for the service we were providing. When it comes to gyms, they didn’t want a 30% premium gym. They wanted a discount or better and that’s OK. That doesn’t make them bad people, but it makes it really hard to build a premium service around them because they didn’t ask for premium and they don’t want premium and they didn’t want to pay for premium. So it’s a hard thing to—the pruning was the word, to prune them away, both so that they can go be transplanted somewhere that they’re going to be happy paying the rates that they want to pay for the service they wanna pay for.
Tate: 00:42:02 – And we don’t get pushback whenever we try and provide a premium service. Because in my world, I go, well, who doesn’t want the sunroof? Right? Everybody wants the sun roof. Well, guess what? There’s people that don’t want the sun roof. They’re like sun roof for $800? No thanks. And you know, so it just comes down to your business and who are the people that you can serve the best and that you can help the most. For us, we do the best with the high-touch premium service. That’s where we’re the most effective. And so obviously we’re only going, you know, so we miss on people that don’t want to meet with us four times a year. They don’t get the value out of it. If they don’t want to come sit with my ugly mug four times a year, then yeah, you know, it’s not a great fit.
Tate: 00:42:49 – I have other coaches that are better looking, but you know, Danny, he’s the good-looking one. So all that exercise is, you know, but whenever we’re building these businesses, so often it’s take whatever we can get, you know. We’re young entrepreneurs, most of us this our first business that we’ve started, and we’re not crafting our service and positioning it properly for the right clients. We don’t know what the heck we’re doing. We’re just hey, who can I get through the door and whether that’s $100—I started out with my original business plan, I’m embarrassed to admit it, like I actually wrote this on paper and showed it to a bank, it was 300 people paying $100. Like prototype, right? Three hundred people, $100, we’re going to make $30,000 a month. It’s going to be awesome.
Tate: 00:43:36 – And people actually agreed with me, they’re like yes, Tate, that looks good. And you know, you get into it, you start realizing what the variable expenses are and what it looks like to maintain those relationships and you learn a little something about business and you go, whoa, OK. So again, the numbers are so simple, you go, well I could do that same thing with 150 people paying $200 a month. So I go well—I realized really quickly, OK, I have to provide more value and I have to charge more for it because I’m just getting overrun with people that are here a week and gone. Here a week and gone. So I figured out how to raise my value and I raised my prices accordingly. Kicking it on down the road. Well, grandfathered rates, there’s that word that is so popular in CrossFit. And a friend of mine as we were talking through this goes, “Hey, I’m an engineering. In engineering, whenever you grandfather something, you know that you better start planning to fix that thing, because standards change for a reason, because something broke somewhere and we change the standards.”
Tate: 00:44:41 – So it’s just a strategy of when is going to be the cheapest time to fix this? When is it gonna be the best time to fix this? Again, it makes total sense, right? Like grandfathered is never a permanent solution. It’s a temporary solution to strategically fixed whatever is now substandard. That’s what it means. It’s substandard. So we had these grandfathered rates, that was the big one for us, especially with so many iterations of the business. So we had my day one, we had the new business partners’ day one, my head coach at one time ran a boot camp. We had all his people and their varied rates. So we were a mess, man. We were a mess. And, you know, so we just, I was like, man, what we got to do is take a big bite out of it.
Tate: 00:45:22 – We didn’t make it perfect, we took a huge bite out of it and go, you know, what we have to do is pose the question, do you see that this is a premium high-value service and are you willing to pay for it? That’s the question that we had to put in front of people. And that’s a—man dude, that’s a tough question to ask. But you gotta—I looked hard at the business for six months. I was like, what’s the value? What’s the value? Is the value here? And if not, we have to fix it. Told the guys right out of the gate, we’ve got to deliver six months of whites out service. Six months of whites out service where we did this. And so that’s what we did, and posed the question, hey, do you believe this is a high-value premium service?
Tate: 00:45:59 – And are you willing to pay considerably more for it? Like all the people around. We had about 250-plus members. So, you know, you’ve got a whole lot of whole lot of those $100 rates. We had hundred dollar rates, you know, charging 238 now. So it was a big gap. And again, in our case, I’m going, you know, I think the grandfathered rate, it’s OK, it’s not ideal, but it’s a common practice that someone, that an older client’s paying a little bit less for a service. It’s common in a lot of industries. A little bit less, not $138, not 130% less. Right? So I was like, man, we gotta take a big bite out of this thing and get it closer and you know, and then what does the policy and procedure look like on the backside?
Tate: 00:46:51 – I was like, look, if I had raised rates five percent on the year every year, like Lifetime does, this is where we’d be, you know, I just held on for you as long as I could. So, you know, most people, a lot of people—the seed clients, it was interesting because a lot of the seed clients were going, it wasn’t lighthearted, it was like—the thing got kind of nasty, you know, some people went full-on character assault. People get emotional. And that was the hardest thing, you know, for the wife and whatever. And I was like, look, Amy. I’m not gonna say they don’t mean it because they did mean it, but it’s not true. We did the right thing for the right reasons. And, you know, people are going to get emotional, they’re going to get upset, and then they get caught in this loop where now they just want to justify their actions so they keep trying to villainize you, and uh, and it was a nasty, painful deal.
Tate: 00:47:38 – Long answer to a short question, it sucked. But it’s so necessary. You go, hey, if we’re really talking about 30 years, what does this thing look like? Every year, every day that goes by, it’s just a harder thing to solve. I think as well that if I’m a discount member, I’m paying a hundred dollars a month, it’s gonna be really hard. Even I go Tate’s the best trainer in town, it’s the best gym in the world, am I really going to bring my friends to pay two and a half times what I pay? Probably not because they’re going to look at me and go, can I trust you? Are you sure? Are you working for this guy? Like what’s going on? What do you mean you pay a hundred you want me to pay 230?
Tate: 00:48:22 – Ah, it’s just how it works. It’s CrossFit. You wouldn’t understand, you know, like, no you’re not, you’re just not going to bring it. You’re just going to avoid that conversation by not bringing your friends or maybe you just bring them to the free workout. And then, you know, if they end up getting plugged in, that’s kind of their own accord. But you’re not really going to give like hard referrals. Like, dude you have to come see this guy, he can help you. And so that’s getting in the way of us actually be able to help people that our clients know we can help. On the other end, even if you are somebody that just stumbles through the door and is paying 238 and you find out person X, she’s paying $100. Well, you may still be happy with your service, and I had these conversations. They go, Tate, I’m fine with it.
Tate: 00:49:00 – I pay what I pay, they were here first, whatever. I don’t like it. I wish I was paying a hundred. But the value’s here for me, I’m good. But at the same time, are you going to bring your friend? No. Cause your friend’s gonna look at you and go, hey, why don’t you get us the good rate? What the heck? It’s $300? You know what are we, suckers? No. So you may be OK with what you’re paying, but again, getting that true referral culture to start steamrolling is really tough when value is anchored all over the place. So, I think this is a more important piece, man, for gym owners than we can fathom. And it’s not a financial solution to me, at all. In fact, you know, I mean you run the risk of it being the opposite.
Tate: 00:49:38 – And you know, for us, we took a little step backwards, but man, what we opened up on the back side is so much bigger. Just in terms, again, of a whole culture. You know, I used to talk all the time, our gym is built on culture. Our gym is built on culture. And I was watching your webinar and I’d never seen the pyramid that you use, but you got consistency layered below culture. And I was like, I had known for a long time, we had to fix this. I had known for about two months. Or sorry, two years. And then listened to the Two-Brain podcast on it. I knew it made me mad. I didn’t like what you had to say, but I knew it was true. Then I saw the webinar, and for me I’m visual. So whenever I saw, well there’s my culture, that’s why I’m always repairing it.
Tate: 00:50:28 – That’s why I’m always rebuilding it is because it’s there’s a foundation under culture that I didn’t know about. It’s like pyramids in Egypt, right? Like if you brush the sand away, they say they’d go down, you know, like four more layers. So the bottom layer of our pyramid was buried in sand. I didn’t know it was there. And it was all beat up and broken. And so we go in and do what we could to repair that level of consistency. And especially when it’s regarding money, man. You know, you need to be consistent in customer service as well. You’ve got to treat everybody the same way. I mean, money is the most sensitive thing. So if there’s anything that’s going to erode your culture, I’m telling you, it’s inconsistency of money. And so it was a big enforcement.
Tate: 00:51:08 – It was, like I said, I knew it was gonna be painful. I knew it was going to suck. I didn’t know how bad it was going to suck, but it did suck. But so imperative. I knew it had to be done. The timing, there’s never gonna be good timing that, you know, some of the push back, they were like “Tate, just it would have been different time. A better time.” I’m like, “Really, that would’ve made a difference?” You know, I don’t know. People are like, well, you should’ve called me personally. And I was like, you know, I wish I would’ve had the bandwidth to call you personally. I do. You know, we’re talking about 125 people. So by the time I get to the 10th person, this would have been all over the wire and I wouldn’t have had a chance to communicate what I was actually trying to say.
Tate: 00:51:49 – So, you know, the rollout, you know, personal letters in the mail. I don’t know of a different way to roll it out. We just sent a mass email, we sent to everyone because I also wanted people that had been victim of the inconsistency on the other side to know that it was being remedied. And I got a few of those messages, “Hey, thanks, Tate.” and I got several lighthearted and nonemotional. And then it was interesting though, the clients going, “Hey, this is good, man, this is right.” Like, I mean, I was getting everything from Bible verses to paragraphs, and long-winded emails, you know, with people weighing in on it. So it was good man. And you know, there’s no doubt in my mind that we did the right thing and the upsides from it is big.
Tate: 00:52:37 – Not in terms of those people, ah, we can replace them with higher-paying members, it’s just not it, it’s just a little consistency and being able to get the right people to the door that we can have a major impact and we need the referral culture for that. We need the affinity—we need the people that are closest to our members for that and if our people aren’t bringing us people that are, you know—I want the soft toss. I want somebody to lob me one, you know. Someone that’s already connected that has already seen our results that has already bought in that already thinks we can help. Whenever that person walks through the door, we can help them. We can get the weight off of them, we can get the stress off of them, we can support them with community. We can do so many things for them.
Tate: 00:53:16 – You bring me the one off the street, that’s a little skeptical of me, that has no connections in the community, man. We can’t help them the same way. We don’t have as—we’re not as consistent in the results that we get. So being able to, you know, and that takes, we can only help so many people per month. Right? So that takes one away that we could have helped. So man, it’s just about finding the right people that we can help the most. And you know, again, obviously that’s how a good profitable, sustainable business is built also. So these things aren’t different. They’re one in the same, but it’s important how you look at it and what’s your mindset and what your thinking process is like.
Chris: 00:53:50 – Yeah, that’s true brother. And the pyramid that you’re referencing, I’ll put it in the show notes, but we walk through it step by step when we do our summit and Tate will be there this year in Chicago, which is awesome. So yeah, man. So one thing that I think is common to all mentors, all good mentors, is that they’ve been through some troublesome times themselves. The very first article that was ever posted on the site was called “Lead.” And the last line was “Is a lion untested a lion at all,” and you are a lion. You showed it through this whole, you know, rate increase, but really like your leadership was forged partially through trials like that. So the other mentors that you’ve had in your life, have they been through low periods? Have they overcome other things too?
Tate: 00:54:45 – Oh man, I wish I could pull Les Stretch in here to tell his story. You know, the guy got—somebody bank rolled in one year at Baylor University, just some kind-hearted dude. And he’s like, all right, so he spent that year just hustling, trying to make money. He’s like, I gotta make a degree out of this one semester that I got paid for. And, but man, you should listen to this guy’s story. So many trials, so many, and you know, even in this season, I just had breakfast with him two weeks ago, he’s just telling me all this craziness that’s going on in his life with his family, and he’s like best season by far. It’s awesome. You know? So we gotta learn to take joy in these things, man. You take joy in trials and testing and hard work, right.
Tate: 00:55:40 – So, I realize now, whenever these tough decisions come up and it’s uncomfortable and it’s man, this is brutal. It’s emotional. Trying to keep Amy out of it. I don’t want her to see the emails and I just wanted her to stay out of it so I can handle it, and you’re going and why, man, this is like—no, no, no. This is what we asked for. This is business, this is what we signed up for. That’s important to remember is like these hard decisions, this emotional dragging, head hurting. That’s what we wanted. That’s what business is. It’s not hard work. It’s not cleaning the bathrooms and scrubbing the floors, and how many hours can you put in. It’s how well can you bear the major burden, right? And how good is your critical thinking when it really matters?
Tate: 00:56:26 – So, yeah, no good mentor of mine has ever not been through tough times. They’ll all sit there and tell you war stories of marriage and life and business and I agree with you. It’s what can you learn? You’re being forged. You’re being tested. That’s where we grow. It’s no different than CrossFit. Right? Nobody likes an easy CrossFit workout. That’s not what it’s about. Whether it’s challenging, we all have our own challenges, right? Whether it’s, you know, for me, a serious Murph is coming up and I’m just like, oh God, here we go. Dude, I am 6’3, 230 pounds. Like, this is not my jam, but I know I’m going to be tested in a way that I don’t get tested often.
Tate: 00:57:15 – My conditioning doesn’t have to be on par to mop the floor with everyone else in the room because it’s light weight to me. I’m a strong guy. You know, but again, so much of that comes back to our thinking. How do you think about these challenges? The same mentor I keep referencing and he’s just been the architect behind a lot of what’s been good in my life and just teaching me the models he uses. But he talks about, you know, you mentioned growth, you wanna talk about growth and you know, what is growth? Well, it’s mindset, right? Growth mindset. We talk about this in Two-Brain all the time. OK, well, mindset, that infers thinking, right? Thinking. Well, what is your thinking like? Right? Well if you draw a graph and you write thinking at the top and an arrow down to actions, your thinking determines your actions.
Tate: 00:58:00 – OK? You ultimately will act on things that go through your brain. So if those things or you know, whatever they are, whether this is your bad habits or you know, the words that you use or whatever it may be, your actions are the results of your thinking. Your habits are results of your actions. So the things you do will become habits. So things you think will ultimately become your habits and your results ultimately come from your habits. We are creatures of habit. Our results, whatever we accomplish in life, can be a result of the things that we’re able to habitually do. That’s, you know, I look at you and you get up at 4 a.m. every day without fail. I know the first thing I see on my phone is Chris Cooper poster in Two-Brain Business, and you know, it’s something I’ve come to rely on.
Tate: 00:58:49 – I look forward to seeing what it is and it’s the first thing on my phone every day. So that’s a habit that you have. Your results are determined by that. So then it comes back to if we want to produce results, we have to work on our thinking, right? Growth mindset. And what are the things we can do to change thinking? Changing thinking is the hardest thing. The hardest thing we can do is how do you change your thinking, and the thing my mentors have taught me is if we’re trying to—if we have an employee, we’re trying to change their thinking. We have a client, we’re trying to change their thinking. The best way to change thinking is asking questions and trying to again, tying that back in the leadership and how do you lead?
Tate: 00:59:34 – Well, I invite people into the conversation, hey, what do you think? How would you handle this? What would you do right here? How can I get you to clean the bathroom every time you walk by? Why do you think cleaning the bathroom is important? You know whenever we ask questions, we invite someone into the process, and it’s the only way we’re ever going to change their thinking. Again, that ties back into authoritative, submissive. Me telling you the bathrooms have to be cleaned every time you walk by, you may do it when I’m right there, but you’re not going to do something you don’t want to do for very long, right? No one is. We’re going to default back to things that we want to do that we think are important. And now if I can change your thinking, if I can ask you enough questions and get you to go Tate, you know what we need, we need a checklist.
Tate: 01:00:19 -If I had a checklist, I would clean the bathroom. If you would just write it on paper for me. Now that’s your idea. Now I design the checklist and I give it to you and I served you. If I come in with my checklist in hand and go, hey, you’re doing a terrible job cleaning the bathroom, Chris, here’s a checklist I want you to use. You’re not gonna look at that checklist the same way. Right. So inviting people into the conversations and asking questions to change thinking to either learn from them or help them align with my way of thinking. You know, sometimes I ask questions and I’m the one that learns and I change my thinking. And so that’s another thing that pass along that I learned from my mentors is thinking actions, habits, results.
Tate: 01:01:02 – That’s a good one. Changing. The way to change thinking is asking questions. That’s been a game changer for me. And that’s something I write on probably every whiteboard at every coaches’ meeting. You have to remember thinking! You’re like, well, you’re not changing thinking. You ask them why they don’t care about pull-ups. That’s perfect. Instead of telling them why they need to be able to do pull-ups, they only care about back squat, well you got to support the upper back, it’s the number one assistance exercise to the back squat. If you started with, why don’t you want to do pull-ups. “I don’t think it’s important for my back squat, I only care about being strong.” “Oh great. Did you know that it’s actually the number one assistance exercise for the back squat?” “Oh, I didn’t know that.” Now this guy is in there working on pull-ups every day after class. So asking questions changes thinking, get you actions, your habits, results is a good lesson from Les Stretch that I would pass along to all the gym owners and listeners out there.
Chris: 01:02:00 – Love it, buddy. OK, so it’s obvious to the listeners now why you were selected as one of the first two to go through our mentor training program. So you know, several months ago we put this in front of you and said Tate, there’s a place at the table we’d like you to take it. It’s important to me that everybody understands that there is a process to training mentors at Two-Brain. Can you just kind of walk us through your experience, Tate?
Tate: 01:02:26 – Well yeah, you told me about it, it sounded awesome. They sent me the email with the outline and the commitment. I was like, dude, holy crap. You know, I mean, Jay had to follow up and he was like dude, are we gonna do this or what? Because I had to sleep on it. I was like, dude, this is a big commitment, you know? And it was, I didn’t even realize that. I don’t think, I guess I glazed over the reading assignments and you know, first phone call, Jay’s going, hey, you got to read this, this and this. And I’m like you gotta be kidding f, you know? So fortunately I’d already learned the skills of how to move on to higher-level work. So revisited my schedule. It’s a major skill when you learn how to take a schedule and apply it to what you need it to do.
Tate: 01:03:14 – We only have so many hours in a day. So learning how to manage a schedule a is such an important tool. The process, yeah, so it started with reading assignments and then notes on every content module in Two-Brain. How I would apply that to my business, which just turns into an exercise in actually applying that to my business because if I’m going to write this I’m obviously going to try and execute it. After that we went into a learning phase where I was listening to recorded phone calls, answering series of questions. Man. I mean, it’s tedious work. It’s fascinating. But you’re going, dude, I’m sitting here in front of a computer screen. And Jay’s phenomenal on those calls. The level of engagement on this stuff, Chris, blows my mind. I mean to sit there and watch.
Tate: 01:04:05 – I knew as soon as I watched these videos, like the first time you shadow a class, if you ever shadowed CrossFit class and you’re like, man, there’s so much going on right now. For so long I didn’t even realize. I go shadow my guys now. And I’m like, dude, they’re machines. They’re just on point. They’re all over the place. They don’t stop, they’re relentless, they’re focused. And I’m watching Jay on these calls, and I’m like dude. He’s typing, he’s capturing bits of information and putting it in the right column. And, you know, you got gym owners like me, they’re just and he’s filtering it an siphoning it and making something out of it. And you know, just it’s laser focused. You got to just be like locked in a room. No interruptions, you cannot lose focus. You got one hour with these guys.
Tate: 01:04:49 – Anyway, so watching Jay do that, I forget the hour count on that. There were several different clients going through, you know, the Incubator process, the phone calls, and then we went into the shadowing process. So I got to be on the phone, you know, with Jay and started out, you know, just kind of listening, and then we got to where he kind of invited me in the conversation, things that he knew about me. He’d say what’s it like at your gym? You want to speak on that? And then finally, you know, there’s tests. We had tests along the way, too. For level one there was a written test before I got to go into the shadowing process and actually go on a live call. I had to pass a written test. Level two test obviously was doing a demonstration call or a demo call.
Tate: 01:05:43 – So we got on the phone with or on a Zoom call with Danielle Brown, and she played, you know, a green gym owner, you know, just tried to kind of hammer me with the questions and distractions, I guess. They come onto these calls and I got to—that was the first time of getting to practice that laser focus, a headphones in, engaged with the gym owner and man, it’s a cool way to spend an hour, dude, especially if you can help them at the end of it. If you don’t help them at the end of it, then it turns into tedious, boring crud. But as long as you can, it’s an intense way to engage. It’s so personal, so intense. You know, reminds me a little bit of like a really well-delivered personal-training session, but such a high level.
Tate: 01:06:34 – There’s so much thinking about a personal-training session. And if you look at that as this mom and this transition is going to impact her family and her kids and all this stuff, that’s what those were like, because you’re engaging a business owner and that interaction is going to trickle down to their staff and their clients and their community, maybe their local CrossFit. And so it’s a huge responsibility. And you know, the thing I’ve learned from being on the phone with you, with Jay, Brian Alexander, Danny, Laris, I think I’ve been on the phone with all of them now. No one takes this stuff lightly. The standard is incredibly high. Every time I’ve gotten on the phone with another mentor, my mind has been blown at the standard that exists. And so to be ushered into that is humbling for sure.
Tate: 01:07:28 – It’s my goal to hold that standard and to deliver that level of focus and excellence and value and help gym owners. But so now I’m on live calls and now I’m getting to lead calls right now. Josh Pinson at CrossFit Jerusalem, leading calls with—so this is me and Jay on the call, but I’m leading. And it’s awesome. Josh is awesome, we did call one last week. We got call two tomorrow. He’s got huge potential over there at CrossFit Jerusalem man. I’m excited for Josh and his wife, they’ve got massive potential. They’re doing some awesome stuff already and they’re just waiting to flourish for sure. Sorry, what was that?
Chris: 01:08:16 – I said it’s perfect match too, that when that when that opportunity came up, it was just a no-brainer for me to say the person who can probably help Josh the most is Tate.
Tate: 01:08:27 – I’m honored. Can’t wait to see what he can accomplish in his six to eight weeks So the process, I’ll do these calls with Jay. This is kind of a level three test because Jay’s on the call evaluating me and yeah, so it’s been intense. It’s been rigorous, it’s taken longer than I imagined. I don’t know, what is this, going on six months now? Five months. Five months. That’s with me in Jay’s inbox every Monday morning. Like, hey, what’s next? What can I do next? Believe me, I’ve been trying to speed this thing along. I want to do this in the worst way. I just, you know, I love this stuff. I love personal training, but now I’m like, hey, it’s leverage, right? How can I leverage my time? I love staff meetings, but this time, my head coach can do it as well as I can. My staff meetings are an hour of my time, so where can I leverage my time more? And this is it for me, so I’m excited. Can’t wait to keeping on with it.
Chris: 01:09:34 – OK man. Well, you know, the attitude of servant leadership is a great one. And I actually had never heard that phrase before we got on the phone today. You can’t see it, but right behind my laptop is just the word serve. And that’s what I look at it for the 10 seconds before every call is how can I serve? And that’s a character trait that we recognized in you right from the beginning, Tate. And that’s how we select the personalities who will be Two-Brain mentors and then put them through hell week for six months. So, yeah, we’re proud of you, bro.
Tate: 01:10:12 – Servant leadership, my head coach, Brian Palma, he’s got a story. I learned a lot of it from him. He had a personal mantra or a personal mission statement. Love plus service equals leadership. And man, he just embodied it, dude. I was like, I own the business. I run the building and this dude is the leader, so I need to emulate him. What is he doing better than me? And it was his was just a humble servant. And, you know, so it’s awesome. And so I give a lot of credit to my head coach Brian Palma for teaching me about servant leadership and of course all the other guys along the way, yourself included.
Chris: 01:11:06 – Well, Tate, thanks for that man. So if you’re listening to this podcast, you will be hearing a lot more from Tate Stewart. Just follow the Two-Brain blog, come to the summit in Chicago. You’ll meet Tate there and the other mentors too. Tate, it’s been an absolute pleasure, man, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Tate: 01:11:23 – Thanks, Chris, me too, man.
Chris: 01:11:23 – All right. Talk to you soon, brother.

Chris Cooper delivers the best of the business world on Two-Brain Radio every Thursday.

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