When and How to Say “No”— for Entrepreneurs Only

Josh Martin-BLOG

Mike (00:02):

We get it. You’re a hardworking entrepreneur with a host of talents. You can do pretty much anything. But should you? The answer is no. At some point, you need to say no to some things so you can focus on other stuff. In this episode of Two-Brain Radio certified mentor Josh Martin will help you figure out what to decline, how to do it with grace and what you should do instead. Josh says no right after this. Arbox is a leading gym management system offering a full suite of tools and features. Arbox provides gym owners with a dashboard that includes quick access to Two-Brain Business metrics that are key to optimizing your business. With a glance, you can usually review length of client engagement, average, monthly revenue, new versus lost members, and so much more. Visit arbox app.com /TBB to schedule a demo and learn how you can take your gym to the next level. For Two-Brain Radio listeners, Arbox is offering a special deal where you can save 50% off your first three months using the platform. Welcome to Two-Brain Radio. This is Mike Warkentin with Josh Martin. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, but he still says no when he has to. He’s going to teach you when and how to do that so you don’t end up burned out and bitter. All right, Josh Martin. Welcome to the show. How are you today?

Josh (01:11):

I’m doing great, Mike. I appreciate you having me back today.

Mike (01:14):

Always a pleasure. Is it snowing in Florida?

Josh (01:16):

No, it is not snowing in Florida.

Mike (01:19):

You’re set up to say no right away. Can I borrow 15 grand?

Josh (01:22):

No, you can not borrow 15 grand.

Mike (01:25):

You’re on a roll. Can I get your dad’s autograph? I know he’s a major league baseball pitcher. Can I get his autograph on a ball?

Josh (01:30):

I think if you said please, he would definitely give you a baseball.

Mike (01:33):

I will say, please. So I’ll give you there’s two nos and a yes. So you said yes to a reasonable request and no to unreasonable ones. That’s going to be what we’re talking about today. We want to help gym owners and entrepreneurs figure out when they should say no when say yes. So let’s set the table. Josh, we’ve got driven, caring people who dedicate themselves to serving others. They’ve got a job that can go from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM. What happens when entrepreneurs, especially fitness professionals take on too much?

Josh (01:58):

I think the simplest answer that I can give Mike is what we see when entrepreneurs and especially the majority of people who are gonna listen to this gym owners today is you become a martyr. You start posting on social media, you know, up and at ’em again, you know, I scrubbed the gym down at nine o’clock at night and you know, I slinked home to kiss my son, goodnight.

Josh (02:26):

He has already been in bed for three hours and, you know, kiss my wife, goodnight. And then I’m up at 3:34 AM the next day to do it again. And, yeah, it turns into a martyrdom practice more than anything. And that’s certainly not what you were called to do or who you were called to be. And it’s slippery slope because especially in our profession, you know, we’re trained to work hard and to be very, very driven. And if you don’t stop to look up and see what it is that you’re doing, you literally just paint yourself into a corner. And it’s really hard to escape.

Mike (03:02):

The martyr thing is, I mean, hardworking, there’s nothing wrong with hard work to start. We all know in the founder stage of entrepreneurship, you are expected and you signed up to take on everything, right? That’s just kind of what you’re going to do.

Mike (03:13):

You have to work long hours, but our goal at Two-Brain is to get people out of that stage as quickly as possible. And that means offloading and doing some different stuff. So the martyr thing, you know, it kind of kicks in after that original what’s called the honeymoon phase is over. I think when you’re like, man, I love, personal example. I used to love getting up at 5:00 AM, going to the gym, coaching, going to my day job, coach at the gym, the next morning, do the same thing. But after two or three years, it started to wear a little thing. Right. And that’s where you get to the martyrdom comes with some bitterness at times. Have you seen that?

Josh (03:42):

Oh, certainly. I mean, it’s funny. You talk about being really full of joy to get up early and go coach, full transparency. I was never that guy that I loved to get up early and go coach.

Josh (03:58):

I love to coach. So that’s really what drove me is I love being there being in relationship with people and having fun in the gym and the community aspect, but you’re exactly right. I mean, it does start to generate some bitterness and resentment, not so much resentment of the people, but just resentment of the, basically the duty that you have signed up to do over and over and over. It certainly exists. I’ve experienced it myself and it’s not a good feeling at all.

Mike (04:27):

So tell me a bit about that. You’ve been a coach gym owner entrepreneur for a long time and you’re a mentor now. So you see this stuff with your mentees all the time. Did you say yes to way too many things earlier in your career, if you did what happened.

Josh (04:38):

So I honestly, I feel like the right or obvious answer would be like to say yes that I took on too much, but I don’t think that I did.

Josh (04:50):

I think that I took on a lot of things, early on in my career and especially like when I was much younger, but I think that that was kind of necessary. And here’s what I mean, we’ve all heard the idea about being a generalist versus being a specialist. And I think that when you’re young and you’re first getting started and you’re not sure exactly where you fit in the world and what you’re kind of put on earth to do, I think it is important to try a lot of different things, right. But when you start to get some momentum and get some success behind you, then I think that that’s where it’s really important to not take on too much. And so when you’re young, for instance, when you first open your gym, you’re knocking on doors, you’re canvassing the neighborhood, looking for opportunities to get people, to come into your gym and to train with you and to get all these great things in their life because of what you could do. But after you’ve had some success, what happens is the tables kind of get turned, is that opportunities start to show up on your lap all the time. Right? And so that’s, for me, at least personally, when the gym really started to pick up some momentum and I got a ton of opportunity that I was having trouble saying no to things. And so I would just say yes to everything.

Mike (06:09):

OK, well, let’s take a step back. So some people it’s, I don’t know how university works down in the States, but here,they required first year university students to take a bunch of stuff like science, arts, you know, elective stuff, but a smattering of things to kind of figure out what you want to do. It kind of sounds like you’re suggesting at the beginning of your career, you kind of want to do that. And you do want to say yes to things because as a younger, you know, business professional entrepreneur or coach, you might not get a ton of opportunities. You’ve got to seize the ones that are there, smash them out of the park. Maybe in a couple of cases, take on a little bit more than you can bite off, a little more than you can chew just in the short term though, because eventually it starts to become a situation where to level up,

Mike (06:46):

and we’ve seen this with countless of our clients to level up, you need to start making changes. You need to start saying no. And as you reach the third stage stage of entrepreneurship, which is the tinker phase, that’s where you have people throwing all sorts of ideas at you where it’s like, you’ve got some money, you’ve got some experience, you’ve got some spare time. Everyone wants a piece of that. And they start throwing, invest in this, buy this real estate deal. Right. I got all this stuff. And that’s where, like, if you don’t start saying no to stuff there, you can make Titanic like career-sinking mistakes. Right. So maybe, maybe it’s more important to say no later on, in the entrepreneurship game, would that be true?

Josh (07:22):

Yeah. I definitely think that it can cost you a lot more from a career standpoint, but I do think it’s important to make this one distinction. Cause I thought about it as you were just talking there, you know, even as a young entrepreneur and in my case in particular, I quit my corporate job when my wife was seven months pregnant to open the gym seven months pregnant with our first child. And I told this story on here before, right. And for me it wasn’t sink or swim. It was just swim because your child is going to be here in two months. You’ve got no safety net, nothing. So for me it became vitally important to learn that lesson of saying no early on, not because of the big career implications. I mean, yes, that was important, but I could always go back into corporate America and make money there, but more than anything is I didn’t want to alienate my wife and child at that time. And so some of the decisions was, well, do you want to have a 7:00 PM class? And you get done at eight clean up, you’re gone by e830. By the time you get home, cause you live an hour away, it’s 930 and everybody’s asleep. So do I say no to that? Or do I say yes to it because we’re still trying to grow. So I think it’s different at different stages for sure.

Mike (08:40):

  1. So I guess the biggest lesson here for people who are listening is probably to, you know, early on say yes, maybe to more things potentially, you know, not at the expense of your health and your family and your life, but a few extra things just to kind of cast a wider net. As you start, as the stakes start getting higher, as you start to climb the pyramid and so forth, then you want to probably start saying no more and more often. And I know like Chris Cooper has talked about this, a number of times, Two-Brain founder, there are so many things that he could do with his time. He needs to find the best thing to do with his time. And that means saying no to a ton of stuff. So when you started, when you started getting to this phase, like we’ll call it the sink phase or the swim phase. Pardon me where you could not sink because you had a family growing. Was it hard to start saying no to more things? Like I know you’re a super nice guy, but you’re also, you’ve got a spine and you make good decisions. What was it hard for you to do that though, to start saying no more often?

Josh (09:33):

It really was. And it goes back to something that you said early on in our conversation, Mike is I don’t want to disappoint anybody. You know, I know that when I was still coaching everything and doing private training group training kids and teens and the weightlifting, my thought was that if you have a solution that health and fitness can, or excuse me, if you have a problem coming to my gym can be solved by that, I want to be that guy for you. And I wanted to do it, you know, at any cost, so to speak that I could. So it, yeah, it was hard because I don’t want to disappoint people. And I knew that what I was able to do and what now the gym is able to do is so powerful for somebody’s life that we didn’t want to let somebody down, you know, by saying, I’m sorry, we’re not the right fit for you or something like that.

Josh (10:26):

It was really difficult.

Mike (10:27):

It kind of comes down to like the greater good, in some cases, right where, you know, you want to help everyone. So in the short term you can, right. You can work 13, 15 hour days and help every single person and do all and go just to the nth degree everywhere. But the burnout on that comes for everyone. No one can sustain that. No coach can do it. However, if you step back, grow your coaching staff, train coaches to be better than you are becoming an entrepreneur business leader, all of a sudden you’ve like broadened your umbrella. So to speak where you’re now able to help all sorts of people, whereas you would have helped a smaller number and you would have burned out. So it’s kind of that longterm investment. Whereas maybe you have to step back and say no short term to have 10 other staff members saying yes. Long term. What do you think of that?

Josh (11:05):

Absolutely. You know, I remember early on in my career, I was in awe of some of the coaches that were giving me opportunity just to kind of be on their coattails and shadow them and sit in on their sessions. And I would show up at the gym at 6:00 AM, you know, bright eyed and bushy tailed and clean what needed to be cleaned and just sit there and watch the way that these coaches interacted with, you know, the clients that they had with them. And so when I finally got the opportunity to kind of step into a coaching role, it wasn’t too long after that, that I realized the opportunity that I had been given. And I was like, man, I really want to kind of pay it forward. So I was super anxious to get other people to kind of have that same experience with me. It felt like I needed to pay it forward. It was just my duty.

Josh (11:54):

And so, yeah, I realized early on that, like, let’s just say for numbers sake, that my gym can manage 150 different clients, but if it’s just me, OK, well, if I bring on these specific coaches, now they have an opportunity to manage, you know, 50, a hundred, 150 clients, and now the reach can be so much greater. So I was super excited to be able to offer that opportunity and kind of grow the reach that we had.

Mike (12:20):

Have you had a chance in your mentorship, leading your clients to have them stop and kind of just realize that and say, OK, look like, I know you can mop the floor. I know that you can answer the phone. I know you can do sales calls. I know you’re a great coach. I know you can do all these different things, but I want you to say no in the short term, I want you to hire a cleaner. I want you to offload this task and I want you to spend more time doing X. Like if you have been able, like, I’m sure you’ve had to do that. Have you been able to implement that with success? Like what’s the response to a gym owner who just always wants to say yes and you say dude or sister, you got to say no.

Josh (12:53):

Yeah. So yes, we’re definitely able to do that. It’s not easy because being type A owners, entrepreneurs, like we are, we have this tendency, to believe that nobody can do it quite as good as we can. And so if I’m mopping the floors, you know, gosh, darn it. I’m going to be the best floor mopper that anybody has ever seen. Or if I’m responding to the email or answering the phone or coaching that class, nobody is going to do it better. And that’s just not the case. And that’s a really big hurdle to get over. But I actually find what is the most successful way to kind of get that mindset shift is to get somebody to describe to me the amount of joy that they get out of coaching. Right? What, tell me, Mike, what is it that you love so much about coaching and you just cause we do all of our mentoring on zoom calls, so, you see their eyes get big, they just get so excited to talk about it.

Josh (13:54):

Like everything about their body language, just you see them light up when they talk about how much they love impacting other people. And then the question that I usually get around to asking is don’t you want somebody else to have that same experience and feeling of joy coaching clients that you do? And they get it at that point. And they’re like, man, you’re so right. And that’s what it is because, you know, I might not get that experience from cleaning my gym, but I can tell you having hired cleaners that come to my gym, they do have that experience. Like that’s their pride and joy when they leave the gym and they can say, man, this was a job well done. I know that the people that come into this space are going to be happy and comfortable in a clean space like that lights them up. And so it’s not easy to find those kinds of people. You do have to have an active role and dig, but they are out there, but you’ll never find them if you keep saying yes to yourself.

Mike (14:55):

Yeah. And you know, that’s interesting cause you got me thinking there. And the thing for me that’s really motivating is won’t call it a fear of failure, but it’s fear of delivering a subpar product, so for me, I hate saying no to stuff, you know, like at Two-Brain Media, for example, someone said, can you do this? I’m like, yeah, I can do that. I can do that. I want to keep saying that I want to keep delivering. But when I have to say no, and when it really becomes apparent for me is when I know that if I say yes to this, I’m going to have to deliver a subpar product because I just don’t have the time, the energy it’s just, and that’s unacceptable. You know? So for me, it’s kind of comes down to that one. And if I could maybe get a little bit in front of that, I’d probably be able to say no a little bit sooner and have a little bit more spare time.

Josh (15:33):

Yeah. Because for everything that you say yes to, you’re saying no to something else.

Mike (15:37):

Yeah. Yeah. So people who are listening, how do they determine when to say yes when to say no, like, is there a system they can implement? Like, is there a pros and cons checklist or a thought process they can follow? Or, and I’m talking about maybe not decisions that are like, you have to make it on the spot, like decisions you have to think about how can people figure out what to take on and what to pass off.

Josh (15:58):

Yeah. I think the most important thing that people can do is define their values. What is it when you just kind of strip everything away, what is it that really defines you and who you are and how you live your life? So you have to define your values. We actually walk people through this process in Two-Brain Coaching. We have the first degree course and the very first module that’s in there is called self discovery. And part of the self discovery process is, you know, defining your values and, you know, looking back into your past and people that you really admire, what are some values that they have and people that maybe you didn’t admire so much, what are some values that they had that maybe you want to, you know, turn the other way from? And I didn’t mean that to be like a shameless plug for the Two-Brain Coaching first degree course, but it is there. So I would say that you need to define your values and then make sure that when it does come back to those, I need to sit down and make decision like, and think about these decisions that you’re putting it up against that, that you can hold a candle to your values and to the decision that you are making and that they actually line up.

Mike (17:13):

You know, that’s a good point. That was really driven home for me during the COVID crisis, where we were all forced to make some huge decisions as entrepreneurs and business owners. And some of them had to be made very fast. Some of them had to be made in the medium term. But the people who had values and their missions and visions laid out were able to make those decisions much easier than people who didn’t have those things in place. Because that’s really the cool part about the exercise where you go through that values, mission and vision is you kind of figure out in a calm, collected, cool, reflective place, what you believe in what you stand for, what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to get there. And then when stuff gets chaotic as did in the COVID crisis, like you said, you can look back and that, OK, I already made these decisions.

Mike (17:54):

I know that we’re going to do this. And we said, when we were calm that we would never do this, therefore we’re not going to do that in a panic right now. You know? And that was really, really cool during the COVID crisis, see people. And I saw the in Two-Brai, in the growth group in the private Facebook group with a lot of people talking about, well, our mission and vision values are this. So here’s what we’re going to do. And it helped them navigate some crazy situations with government regulations and disease and all this other stuff.

Josh (18:16):

Yeah. It’s not only good just for you as the entrepreneur and the leader of your organization, just for yourself to understand why you’re making these decisions, how to make them effectively, but it also pays dividends for your team. You know, if your team can see that you are being consistent with how you do things, what that provides for them is a level of safety that like, OK, you know, Josh is always acting in this specific way based upon his values. We can count on him being there for us as a team as well.

Mike (18:48):

And some of that too, that consistency probably eliminates a lot of questions for you too, because it’s like, I know you’re not going to, certain people when they know what you stand for. They’re not going to ask you, you know, to go steal a car or whatever. There’s some of the things that you represent in your character kind of gets rid of some, like, if everyone knows you don’t offer discounts at your gym, you’re not gonna really get questions about discounts very often. You know? So there’s a consistency element there. $15,000. Josh. I know you said earlier, any chance I get that now?

Josh (19:14):


Mike (19:14):

  1. So you’re standing your ground, which can be very tough for us right after this. We’re going to talk about how to stand your ground when someone gets a little pushy. Two-Brain Radio is brought to you by Driven Nutrition. If you’re struggling to develop a profitable retail program, you need to contact Jason Rule’s team at Driven. Driven puts customers first and provides a huge product line with some of the highest margins around. They’ll even provide training to help you grow your retail program. Curt Hendrickson of Iron Jungle CrossFit says Driven “has you, the affiliate owner in mind. Driven nutrition has some of the best support I have seen from any company we have partnered with.” To find out how to make more money with supplements, visit driven nutrition.net. and we are back. So Josh stood his ground. He still will not send me $15,000. I might try for 20 later on in the show, but we all have been in tough spots where we go in and we know we need to say, we say yes or no or whatever, but then we get into negotiation and it can be often with a family member. It can be with someone who’s very good at getting what they want. How do you stand your ground in a tough spot?

Josh (20:13):

Number one, it takes practice. You have to just have experience in those situations. You could do that with role playing. You know, we do a lot of role-playing, you know, on the mentoring side, when we work with clients, whether we’re talking about pricing, if we’re talking about, you know, stuff to do with your staff, how you’re going to structure, you know, your roles and tasks, like all these things can be roleplay. So I would say number one, that’s how to grab some, you know, easy, maybe not real world experience, but it is going to help you, you know, whenever you do get into this situation. So you

Josh (20:48):

need to get some experience. But again, it really comes back to what we talked about is knowing, you know, what your values are and what you stand for and something that you hit on quite a few times during that last bit was consistency. One of the values at our gym is be consistent and that’s just as much for the staff as it is for the members that go and derive some sort of service from our gym is we want you to be consistent in showing up whether that’s in person or virtually with our online remote coaching. But we also want our staff to be consistent in how they show up. So showing up on time, starting class on time, same policies and procedures and pricing, things like that. So it’s really fundamentally having a good grasp and then being confident in what it is that you value.

Mike (21:40):

It seems obvious when you say it, but it’s not intuitive for me to practice, like to role play difficult negotiations and emotional situations, but it would have been great. Like if I had, for example, if I knew, and actually I had one at my gym, a car dealer at the gym, it would’ve been great to sit down with him before I was going to buy a vehicle, before I buy my next vehicle. And just say like, walk me through how this is going to go and tell me, like, you know, where I can stand up where, you know, what’s gonna happen here. And if I had gone through that or if I do, I will be much more prepared for the inevitable negotiations where I say, I’m going to spend X. And he’s like, well, I can give you X plus this, you know, for more and all this, it would be really fascinating.

Mike (22:18):

And it’s really interesting that you can actually take these like complicated emotional situations where there can be a lot of anger or fear or, you know, all these different emotions and you can practice these things and make some progress. And that’s the same thing with all the different things. Like even sales meetings that we’ve talked to that if we flip it around a little bit of sales meeting at your gym is actually trying to get a client to say yes, instead of no. Right?

Josh (22:39):

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That’s what you’re trying to do there.

Mike (22:43):

That’s fascinating. So I would encourage you guys, whether you’re doing sales or you’re talking about like declining things, try that exactly what Josh said. Say no to some things like set up a scenario with a partner friend, coach, colleague, whatever, and practice some situations where someone puts some pressure on you.

Mike (23:02):

A member asks you for a discount. You say, I don’t want to do discounts. Well, come on Josh. I am an active service person or something like that. I got a big family. Like you sure you can’t offer me something? Do you just kind of restate things calmly and clearly, what do you do?

Josh (23:15):

So I have a real world experience to share with you about this, actually this is from years ago. It was late one night. We were just finishing up with like one of our evening classes. And there was a handful of members together in a group. And they were all looking at something on their phone. And I guess one of the other gyms in town had just posted that they were offering a groupon, or they were offering, you know, a year and half price or a free month or something like that.

Josh (23:45):

And so they came over to me like a group of them, like they already own a mob mentality. And they said, Hey, you know, have you seen this? No, I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff. Well, what do you think about that? Like, I think that we’ve decided, and they were like half joking, but serious at the same time. Like, Hey, we think that we’re going to go and give this a shot unless you want to match, you know what it is that they’re offering. Let me, before I tell you what I said, let me caveat this by saying, you gotta know your audience and know how you can be perceived with the way that you say certain things. And so I have a very good relationship with pretty much all the members that come into the gym.

Josh (24:30):

I know what I can get away with saying and joking and have some fun. And so with a straight face, I just looked at them and I said, Hey, I’ll make you a deal. If you go there and you come back because you didn’t have a good experience or you didn’t like it, you agree to pay me double what our current rate is. You’re free to go. You’re not going to hold my feet to the fire. We’re not going to honor that. But if you go and come back, you agree to pay me double from here on out. And they sat and thought about it for about a split second. And said, nevermind, we’re not going to go.

Mike (25:01):

  1. So you pushed a bunch of chips in the middle and called that hand right there.

Josh (25:05):

Yeah, absolutely. And so, I know that I could get away with saying things like that, just because of the relationship and truly what it boils down to is the value that I’m confident that we are giving to our clients.

Josh (25:19):

Now don’t take this as a blanket directive from a certified Two-Brain mentro to go and tell somebody that, but in that situation, it worked out quite nice.

Mike (25:29):

Do you remember how many of them, how many was it in the group?

Josh (25:31):

There was at least four or five.

Mike (25:34):

Wow. So this is like, a five on one, essentially where they carry like barbells and pitchforks and stuff.

Josh (25:41):

Yeah. They, I mean, it looked pretty powerful.

Mike (25:43):

So that’s a great example of how you could kind of stand your ground. And that comes again. I think part of that probably comes from a place of confidence where, you know your value, you know what you’re delivering, you’re running great business, you’re invested in your coaching. So you can stand up yourself there. How about a person, what about a situation where let’s say it’s a newer business owner. It’s someone who maybe doesn’t have the confidence, in the first year of opening this gym, you still feel like, Oh man, I’m still learning how to teach the squat really well. I’m doing my best here. And that’s when a lot of us made mistakes. Like for example, when I started the gym in 2011, we got our physical space. It was very difficult. I knew we needed every member. So when people say, Oh yeah, there’s like dozens of us who want a 9:00 AM class, would you put a 9:00 AM class in for us? And I’m like, Oh yeah, I’ll totally do that. Then of course, you know the story, two people show up in the classes is a dud and you lose money on it for eight years. And that kind of thing. How do you start? Like how do you find that place of confidence where you can respond and say no at that point, is that like, is that a mentor’s job to show you that? Or is it something you’ve kind of figured out on your own?

Josh (26:41):

Yeah, don’t do what I did, Mike. And when it sounds like you did is try to figure it out on your own. There is tremendous value in learning from a mentor’s mistakes. To me, that’s the most valuable thing, especially as an early on entrepreneur is figuring out because what they can do is show you not just from an emotional standpoint, you know, like here’s why you shouldn’t do discounts for this reason, but from a logical like numbers perspective, you know, I can recall several times where I’ve shown people, what their discounts are actually doing on an annual basis. And it’s come to the point where if you weren’t offering discounts, you could pay for your affiliation and insurance for three years because of one year’s worth of discounts that you’re given and that’s eye-opening.

Josh (27:31):

So, yeah, number one, I think that definitely learning from a mentor, having a mentor that can walk you through it. If you’re just looking out there, you don’t have a mentor. And you’re wondering what you can do is put pen to paper, figure out what the numbers actually look like. And then again, line those up against what your values are. If one of them is be consistent, then the way to think about it is this don’t do for one, what you can’t do for all. So if you can’t start a new class just for these two people because you wouldn’t do it for the other 50 people, that are at your gym don’t do it for those two, you’ve gotta be consistent.

Mike (28:11):

So that sounds a little bit like Chris has written an article called “The Five Filters”. We’ll get that in the show notes for you guys. If you’re not ready to talk to a mentor right now, start by reading that article. And in that article, Chris talks about different filters. You want to put ideas through that will help you make decisions. One of them is the math filter, which is kind of what you just went over, Josh, where you’re looking at in this situation, especially with members and classes, things like that. There are easy ways to find the math, to decide whether it works or not. And if you go through it and it doesn’t work, it’s easy to say no, because it’s a bad business decision and you have the data. There are other filters in there that’ll help you figure it out. But for certain things, especially in business, there are often ways where you can find numbers and data that will really help you make decisions. And, you know, we just recently changed houses, for example, making a budget, helped me be able to say yes, because until I got all the numbers in the spreadsheet, I didn’t have a clue if it was even a possibility, right. Then of course you get into all the other things, but you have to find your ways around, navigate all the other elements that are in play, where it’s like, spousal relations and things like that. And you’ve got like moving costs, all these different things you can do, but there are filters to help you figure out how to make ideas a yes or no. So do check those out. Chris wrote that article. It will be in the show notes for you. Let’s talk about this one, FOMO, the fear of missing out, the fear of letting people down, fear of delegating. We talked a little bit about that, but there is really, especially right now with social media, there is this real thing inside us where it’s like, I don’t want to be left out. I don’t want to be behind. I don’t want to step outside the circle and do something different.

Mike (29:40):

And it’s tough to be an entrepreneur right now. How do you look at everyone doing whatever that is like, everyone’s doing a Groupon. How do you look at that? And not jump on those bandwagons. Is it going back to that confidence and values or how do you eliminate FOMO?

Josh (29:55):

Yeah. So it definitely goes back to that, but I was reminded when you were talking about that, there’s an author named James Clear and he wrote a book called “Atomic Habits” and I’ve wanted tp read it for a while. You’ve probably told me about it. Chris had told me about it. Every one in the Two-Brain group has told me about it over the past, like 18 months, well I finally read it. In like 10 days, right at the beginning of like the shutdown and the coronavirus crisis. And if you haven’t read the book, highly recommend it.

Josh (30:27):

But anyways, in the book, he talks about opportunity costs. And to me, this is what this boils down to. And the way that he looks at opportunity costs is if you spend too much time working on good things, you don’t have a lot of time to work on great things. And so, you know, it would be great or it would be a really good thing if you, the gym owner could coach all the evening classes. But if that means missing out on, you know, it, especially, this is what I thought about in my case was when my son was born and three or four days a week, I was leaving before he was waking up and getting home after he went to bed. If I continue to say yes to the good thing of coaching, all these people, I’m saying no to missing out on these great opportunities, you know, that I can potentially have, or that I would have with my young family at home.

Josh (31:23):

And everybody’s situation is different, but that’s really how I think about, you know, the fear of missing out thing. What I do know is this, after having done, I think I added it up. I think I’ve done like 2000 calls with gym owners. And, you know, in this mentorship career that I’ve had, thanks Two-Brain, I have never been on the phone with one who is short on an amazing list of ideas that they want to use within their business. Everybody’s got plenty of ideas. So you missing out on one or 10 or even 50, if you close off social media for a month and you miss out on all of those ideas, I guarantee you, you’re still gonna have way more than you could ever execute on in a lifetime, but you have to be confident in, you know, your ability to execute because it’s not so much the idea. It’s the execution on one idea at a really, really high level that matters.

Mike (32:18):

I’m going to give you a couple of things. We’ll just riff on this for a sec. I just pulled up Chris’s article here on a building filters in your business, because some of these things are really what we’re talking about. The other ones we talked the math filter, one of them is the priority people filters, so what Chris is talking about theres is giving more priority people more attention and saying yes, more often to your seed clients, your very best clients. So that’s really cool, and it’s like, you know, Josh,

Mike (32:40):

If you told me to do something, I’d be more inclined to agree with you and say yes than some random guy. I don’t know who’s never run a gym and just tells me to do something. You know? So that’s that’s the priority people filter. That’s an important one, right? Another one is the precision filter. And this is the one Chris’ example here is everyone is complaining about our programming. And I’m sure you’ve heard that one. What that means is literally one person is complaining.

Josh (33:00):

Give me the list of people, the names and what exactly are they saying? Oh, it’s one guy and it was offhand.

Mike (33:07):

Right? So that’s the precision filter where it’s like, there’s a BS element to that one, you know, where people exaggerate and so forth. The proposal filter. And so this is where Chris is talking about how, and these were tinkers. This is the tinker, those upper level entrepreneurs. They get tons of ideas thrown at them and they have tons of ideas. And you really need to start making some tough calls there and start asking people to like, you know, give you a specific pitch and then evaluate it and really decide whether this is reasonable or not. And a lot of times it’s not, you know, like, I’m sure, you know, you start a number of business. Now you’ve got Two-Brain Coaching going. I’m sure you get partnership ideas and pitches now like, Hey, do you want to promote this product? Right.

Josh (33:48):

So I have a funny story. When Two-Brain coaching was, it’s still very much in its infancy, you know, but it’s going great, but I’ll never forget when we were, you know, putting the initial pieces together. And Chris and I were talking and I asked him because Chris has been a mentor to me for years now. And so I trust his judgment. And I said, Chris, what do you think is going to be the most difficult part of all of this for me? And without hesitation, he said saying, no, and this is true story. And I said, well, what do you mean? And he goes the hardest thing for you to say no to is going to be saying no to me, when I pitch something to you for Two-Brain Coaching. And it was exactly what you were saying, it would be a partnership opportunity. It would be, can you take a look at this? Do you think we can integrate that? And it certainly was, you know, hard to say no, but after a while, I really realized what he meant by that. You know, that even if I get pitched this amazing thing, and even if it’s Chris pitching it to me, if it’s not in line with like what the fundamental values are and what we’re working on, that’s going to have an even more massive impact for people that we’re helping, I have to say no to it.

Mike (34:58):

And you hit on the last one, which is the perspective filter and what that is, is looking at the annual plan, looking at the overall vision and deciding if any decision fits with that. So it’s not just like, it’s not having that, you know, people vision where you’re just like looking at one tiny little segment, it’s seeing the entire landscape and then figuring out where this individual decision fits in there. So those are some interesting things that kind of really puts in perspective, all the things that we’ve been talking about and ways that you can kind of step back and find the right decision. I’ll ask you for some more resources. Are there any books, courses, websites, articles, we’ve, I’ve just given one Chris wrote anything that you’d recommend that people can and get better at this kind of thing.

Josh (35:38):

Yeah. So I mentioned this book earlier and I definitely think it’s a must it’s “Atomic Habits” by James clear. I think that’s a great one. But if you’re not sure if it’s like, this is the right thing for me, go to his website and sign up for his newsletter. I think he sends either one or two emails a week. They’re very short and straight to the point. And they’re very actionable and he talks a lot about this concept, you know, with his idea of how to build habits effectively. So that would be the resource for me. And then selfishly, of course, if you want to go through the self discovery piece on the first degree course, then navigate the, Two-Brain coaching.com for some more information on that.

Mike (36:21):

Excellent. We’ll put that link in the show notes. And then there’s also Atomic Habits, that made audible mention on the 11 best books of 2019 from micro gym owners, Chris Cooper’s definitive list. So it wasn’t in the top 11. So there are 11 other interesting books for gym owners on that list that you might want to check out, but do start there because that’s a really cool, and that’ll help you figure some things out. Let’s challenge our readers for today to take a step, coach them up, be a mentor here, the next decision they have to make, whether it’s a bigger, small decision you’ve got, let’s say a mentee comes to you with a problem and they need they’re like Josh, I don’t know what to do. And let’s, you know, we don’t, we can make it a fictional problem, or we can just do a general one, but what do you do to help them get through this and find clarity and make the right decision?

Josh (37:04):

What I would do is ask them, OK, when we say yes to this idea that you’re pitching to me, tell me what that looks like, and they’re gonna just hit the ground running. Right? Cause they had thought and thought and thought about this thing. And so they’ve been, you know, fully fleshed out. So they’ve dedicated all this time and energy to, you know, kind of making this thing a potential reality. And so then I tell them, OK, if we say yes to this, we have to say no to something else because we can’t do these two things. What’s that something else that we’re going to say no to, and I would hold their feet to the fire until they give me something and not something, you know, out in the ether that like, Oh, well maybe I’ll say no to this thing. No, tell me if you say yes to opening up this Olympic weightlifting specialty course at eight 30 at night, you are saying no to being there at dinner with your family, which you’ve told me is a priority, you know, and part of your perfect day. So are these things in agreement in alignment? So if we say yes to this thing, you have to write down what you were saying no to, cause that makes it real.

Mike (38:15):

That’s a really interesting one. It goes back with entrepreneurs we’re making tons of financial decisions. So that’s an interesting one where you only have X dollars. So if you choose to spend this on something, you can’t spend it on that other thing. Do your kids play video games?

Josh (38:32):

They just started throughout this COVID crisis thing they love Minecraft.

Mike (38:37):

  1. And how about fantasy baseball or football or any of that? You play that at all.

Josh (38:42):

So I am involved, I’m embarrassed to say in a fantasy football league for my gym solely because my gym’s name is attached to it, but I don’t like it at all.

Mike (38:53):

  1. Fair enough. But in those, in video games and in fantasy leagues and so forth, and even in like in the real professional sports world with salary caps, you have to make decisions. And if you signed Tom Brady for this, you are saying no to a running back or wide receiver or whatever the analogy is, same thing in video games, all these different things. So that’s a really, that’s a really powerful one. And I don’t think a lot of people realize that that’s a great point where rather than fixating on the thing that you want or the, you know, the yes. Look at what you’re passing up if you say yes. Because as soon as you said, like, cause I’ve made this mistake adding an 8:30 PM Olympic weightlifting class, I got a little bit of squidgy in my tummy there because I know what that means.

Mike (39:34):

It means like, Oh man, there’s only three people here and I’m going to be here till 10 o’clock and they’ve got to finish their hypo complex. So we’re going to go over time and you know, like the whole deal. OK. Is there any other, that’s a great one. Do you have any other techniques that you use for people? Like what if,you know, what if, what if the yes and no exercise doesn’t work and they’re still on the fence? Like the, what if the yeses and no’s balance out? Is there anything else like, cause I know you, you ask a lot of questions you use like motivational interviewing and really dig into people. What’s your next rung down to try and get deeper on this one.

Josh (40:04):

I love to always bring things back to your perfect day. It’s such a powerful concept for people to consider. And it’s a difficult one for people to wrap their heads around. And it’s something that evolves and changes over time. Like the perfect day that I have for myself now is very different than it was when I opened the gym, you know, nine and a half years ago. So, it always goes back to that, like that’s the most base, you know, the biggest base that you should be making decisions from because your values are kind of centered around your perfect day in their most primal form. So getting back to that, so if I can’t make the connection or if they can finagle a way to where it’s, well, I can still say yes to this thing and no to that thing and feel OK about it, I would take them back to the perfect day and then if they can still kind of finagle their way through that, then I would say, you’re not going hard enough at the yes thing then. Right? Like at that point you’re, you’re, you’re kind of multitasking and, and famous for parlance, there’s no such thing as multitasking, there’s doing a bunch of things really terribly at the same time.

Mike (41:20):

The perfect day exercise guys, if you haven’t done this or read about it, the short version is you sit down and describe exactly in detail what you want to do with your entire day. When do you get up, what do you eat for breakfast, what work do you do? Who do you do it with? How much do you get paid? Everything. And it goes all through. So it should be as detailed as possible. And if you don’t define perfect, you won’t know what it is. And therefore you’re probably settled for imperfect or good as opposed to great, done this exercise, super powerful, all Two-Brain mentees go through it. And it’s fantastic because what it does is really lets you figure out what your perfect day entails. And if you know that your perfect day entails all these things and this yes decision is going to add something that does not fit with that, becomes an easy decision.

Mike (42:05):

One of the things that I thought was really interesting is in a lot of business decisions, it’s important, I think to know, yeses is should be more, it should be very obvious in a lot of cases I think. And Chris has written about this, where if there are so many opportunities that come up as an entrepreneur, you’re going to get more than you could ever possibly say yes to. So if you get one and it’s not a home run, you might just want to let that pitch go by, right. Because there’s probably another one coming.

Josh (42:29):

Yeah. Years ago. I don’t remember who it was that told me this, but it stuck with me. When we’re talking about decisions and stuff like that, he said, if you’re presented with an opportunity and it’s not, if your immediate reaction is not, hell yes, it’s no.

Mike (42:46):

And isn’t that interesting when you think about it, like, you know, in dating and relationships, should I get married? If it’s not hell yes. It’s probably no=., that’s an obvious one. Should I have a baby? If it’s not hell yes, probably no.

Josh (42:59):

That’s a great perspective.

Mike (43:01):

No, those are, those are obvious ones where you kind of, when you think about it that way, but in business sense, we get wrapped up in it. We don’t know. We’re really worried about that gym down the street is doing this or you know, these clients are going to leave, but like again, if it’s not, hell yes, I want an Olympic weightlifting program at eight 30 because it’s going to drive revenue and I have the data and I have this many signups and I know my retention. I know my LinkedIn engagement. I know what the specialty program is going to do. Yes, I’m doing it. And I can staff it with a coach is gonna allow me to get home, to be part of my perfect day, then it’s a no. And there’s probably a number when you take the emotion out of it. It’s probably a number of, you can go through almost any scenario in a gym and come to probably a better resolution.

Mike (43:37):

If you just go through those steps. So listeners, if you have a decision on your plate right now, I’d encourage you to go through the steps that we kind of laid out here. If you’re really struggling, you probably need a mentor. And again it is a plug for Two-Brain, but you can book a free call with a mentor, find out if it’s right for you, but it will really give you outside perspective. And you know, speaking as a Two-Brain client, there has been many times where I’ve leaned on the mentor to say guy like, I don’t know what to do here. And you know, the mentor will lead me through the exact processes that you’ve gone through, helped me make a better decision, help me at least evaluate and see the data that’s super helpful. And I, as a mentor, I’m sure when your clients make the right decision, they come back to you. It’s probably part of your perfect day.

Josh (44:16):

It is. And probably more so when you know, they thought they were going to say yes to something they decided to say no, and they come back and say, man, I’m so glad that you talked me out of that.

Mike (44:30):

Yeah. Cause those things are there. Right. Where you think back, if I had said yes to this, wow, that would have been just a gigantic mistake. I’m so glad I didn’t buy that $50,000 or $2,000 Eleiko barbell. Right. There’s a good one.

Josh (44:46):

Yeah. I mean, like you said the nos, I think are obvious for people, you know, like that. Absolutely not. You know, I’m not going to do this, but it’s the difference between, you know, the good or the great thing, you know? Say a bunch of nos so that when you say yes to something, it’s like, man, this is utterly amazing.

Mike (45:07):

You’re totally amazing here. Josh, will you come back on the show and talk to us again?

Josh (45:11):

Absolutely. I love talking to you, Mike.

Mike (45:13):

See, you got to say yes at the end to close it out after saying no the whole show. I won’t ask you for money anymore. Thank you so much.

Josh (45:19):

Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

Mike (45:21):

Thank you for tuning in Two-Brain Radio. I’m your host, Mike Warkentin and I’m going to say no to something today. Thanks to my guest, Josh Martin. Want more directive advice based on data? Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper hands it out daily at twobrainbusiness.com. Head over there and check out the blog for everything you need to take daily action to grow your gym business. Thanks for tuning in. Please subscribe for more episodes, wherever you get your podcasts.


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