Why Jocko Willink and Lisa Nichols Are Headlining the Two-Brain Summit


Mike (00:02):

Why should you attend the Two-Brain Summit online or in person on June 19th and 20th? Chris Cooper will tell you in just a minute.

Chris (00:08):

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Mike (00:32):

This is Two-Brain Radio. It’s Mike Warkentin and I’m here with Chris Cooper. It’s been a crazy year of masks, travel bans and government restrictions. With some parts of the world still in lockdown, the annual Two-Brain Summit will be held online or in person at one of 17 regional locations around the world where restrictions allow. Here’s the cool part. When owners purchase a ticket, their team members get access to special coach’s content. Staff can watch several keynote speakers as well as presentations on how to coach better and build a career in fitness. On the owner side, the lineup is stellar, and I mean stellar, it’s headlined by retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, and the dynamic and inspirational Lisa Nichols. She will blow your mind. I’m not kidding on that. Two-Brain founder, Chris Cooper, is also on the bill and he’s here to tell us why he knows these speakers will give gym owners exactly what they need to recover and thrive in 2021. All right, Chris, this has been the most challenging 18-month period in the history of the fitness business. In a period like that, what’s your overarching goal for this year’s summit?

Chris (01:29):

I really want to get people inspired. I mean, we’re very, very close to the finish line right now. We know from gyms that have reopened that there is a surge coming. There’s every reason to stay in the game, but really it has been a slog, as you said, and people are just getting burned out. And I think in some cases they’re giving up too soon. In other cases, as they’re about to experience this big growth. More than ever gym owners need to understand leadership. And what happened in the earliest phases of COVID, you probably remember was like the clients who were least attached to our gym, they faded away as soon as we pivoted. The coaches who were not quite on board, they’re gone now. And so many gyms have kind of brought themselves down to this skeleton crew or just the core. And this is the time that they’re going to start scaling up again. And so I wanted them to hear messages of inspiration and hope, but also leadership. And so that’s how I chose the speakers for the summit this year.

Mike (02:26):

Yeah. Because when I look at the lineup, there isn’t necessarily, aside from you, the two keynote speakers are not gym business experts, per se. They’re certainly leadership experts and they’re great at, you know, inspiring and things like that, but they’re not, it’s not like, you know, they’re just dedicated to the gym industry and that wasn’t by mistake, right?

Chris (02:44):

Not at all. I mean, you know, Jocko is somebody that I listened to and started paying a lot more attention to when things got down to their worst. And that’s always my trigger for who do we invite to the summit is who am I leaning on now? And Jocko was one of those guys, you know, in extreme ownership. You remember a year ago, you and I were writing these daily briefs at like 4:00 AM in July. And I mean, that was about as bad as it got, and Jocko was the person I just kept coming back to. And that was kind of that bedrock voice that kept saying, just keep going. And his phrasing, Oh, things are bad? Oh, things can’t get worse? Good. You’re surviving this. You’re going to survive for one more day and that’ll prove that you can do anything.

Chris (03:35):

Lisa Nichols, she’s just my gift to the fitness industry, man. I mean, you know, you and I are not the rah rah, hallelujah, you know, bleed it out to the universe kind of guys. And when we saw Lisa a year and a half ago in Toronto and the crowd was so engaged and they’re on their feet and they were like, we can do anything. I mean, that’s the kind of energy and belief that I want to bring to everybody at the summit. And I said, you know, I don’t usually have two big keynotes. I already had Jocko lined up. I already had Todd. And I said, I just can’t resist. Like I have to bring this gift to the fitness industry. And that’s Lisa Nichols.

Mike (04:18):

So we’ll circle back to those guys. We’ll get into them and just a touch more detail. But the question I’ll ask you here is the summit is priced at 399 and that’s US. And it comes with unlimited access for staff to the coaching side online. You’ve talked about ROI and use and finding ways. So there’s gym owners right now that are saying I’m coming through COVID and finances are tight. Why should they spend four hundred bucks right now? And how are they going to get that money back from the summit?

Chris (04:42):

There’s literally nothing else that you could spend 400 bucks on that, you know, you can get a faster ROI on, in the fitness industry. Working with a mentor, that ROI snowballs, and it gets leveraged to become bigger and bigger and bigger. And you get an exponential ROI on mentorship. You get a fast ROI on summit for a couple reasons. Number one, it’s direct action. And we’ve carved out time for you to work on things. So it’s never like here’s a speaker get fired up. Here’s the next speaker, you know, it’s, here’s Jocko, here’s his message. Here’s his activity. So you’re working through something, you’ve done something before the next speaker, Todd comes on the stage and then Todd talks about how to set up a 90-day sprint and you work through that sprint and then the next speaker comes on the stage. So it’s really all about, you know, maximizing your time. It’s like compressing a year of possibility and action into two days.

Mike (05:41):

And that’s interesting because a lot of summits that I’ve been to you sit in a giant conference room or a, you know, a theater auditorium and you just sit and watch and watch and you take your bathroom break, then you watch and watch and watch. And by the end of it, you’ve got so much stuff in your brain. You can’t remember half of it and you haven’t done anything. You’ve actually written about this and saying that, you know, you left summits to take action on a great idea right away. But instead of, you know, getting people to do that here, you’ve actually built in the time into the proceedings so that people can now literally take action with their teams after the summit speaker goes, correct? Yeah.

Chris (06:10):

When we built the summit lineup this year, I wanted people to say, I would be crazy not to do this. And so, you know, we’ve added every possible feature that we could, it is being delivered online. So if you’re somewhere like me, that’s still locked down, no problem. You can still attend, participate and get the work done. If you’re in a place where you can have gatherings, you can come to one of our regionals or you can host your own. And this was something that the Two-Brain mentor Brian Strump did last year. He rented this beach house. He took his staff there. They went through the summit together, did the activities. And when they left that summit, every staff person was empowered. And it was like having five mini Strumps working. And dude like that has paid off. If you look at leaderboards for who is getting the most value for their time, who is making the most money, who is getting the most out of their staff, like Strump is there. And last year’s summit was a massive pivot point for that.

Mike (07:10):

Five mini Strumps would be a pretty epic thing, I’d like to see those guys running around fixing spines and running gyms, all wearing nano ones. And if you’re listening, click the link in the notes for the summit. You can find the 17 regional locations if they’re close by to you and you’re allowed to travel and so forth by all means, get there in person. If you can’t, hit it online with us and you will still be able to interact and work through stuff. Let’s dig in Chris to, we talked a little bit about, tell me a little bit about Jocko. You said you’ve leaned on him in tough times. I know you’ve had some chats with him in advance of his presentation to the summit. He’s an inspiring character, what’s he going to do for gym owners?

Chris (07:51):

The one thing about Jocko is that you think you’ve heard his core message and then he says something else that’s really profound. And if you read a lot of leadership books, the leader will have like one good concept that they’re going to hang their hat on for the next five years. But after you read “Extreme Ownership,” you think like, Oh, there were actually a couple of good concepts in there. And the biggest ones were, you know, I need to own this. And then you read his second book, “The Dichotomy of Leadership.” And you’re like, this guy’s actually pretty frigging deep. And you know, so the key is that you read his two books, you get a lot of knowledge, but you also get perspective. What you don’t get is a takeaway, like go do this right now. And so what I wanted to do with Jocko was bring him onstage.

Chris (08:38):

Actually treat this as almost kind of like an interview. Like I’m prompting him a lot in our conversation this year, so that we make sure everything’s relevant to gym owners, but then we can turn and say, go do this. And I don’t think that you can get that from any of his books. It’s something you would normally have to work with him in person to get his echelon front staff like mentoring package. I mean, that’s like an $80,000 experience that you’d usually, you know, and we’re just going to give it to people for 350 bucks. You really cannot get this out of Jocko any other way. Now I will say that we’ve had a couple of preliminary conversations. I don’t want to give anything away, but some of the stuff that he has said as a gym owner who made it through COVID who got COVID himself, some of this stuff is way better than anything that’s in his books. And he’s getting ready to share that with gym owners in June.

Mike (09:32):

So he’s actually a gym owner, a lot of people don’t know that.

Chris (09:35):

CrossFit affiliate.

Mike (09:36):

So that’s pretty, so, you know, again, as a military guy, an ex military guy, people think of him as, you know, the writer and the soldier and so forth, but he’s actually a business guy with echelon front, but he’s also a business guy running a gym.

Chris (09:49):

Yeah. He owns a gym. He has good systems. He understands SOP and so the interesting thing was I thought he was going to come on and talk about the stuff that he talks about in extreme ownership, and he casually touches on it. And then I thought, OK, well, he’s going to talk about some of the stuff from dichotomy of leadership. And he leans on those stories a little bit, but what he has planned is very specific to gym owners and it’s way more than just the rah rah own it. It’s like, here’s exactly how you deal with it. Here’s, you know, man, it’s hard to not get specific, but there’s some stuff that he said to me right away that in the weeks since our last conversation has improved my cycling, has improved the metrics at the gym. I get up out of bed with like energy at 4:00 AM and I’m like fired up. And, yeah, I won’t give that away, but he shared it with me and he’s going to share with gym owners on the 19th.

Mike (10:46):

I’m going to guess that he probably doesn’t have a problem kicking lients out of his gym. He’s one tough dude. I imagine when there’s a tough decision to be made, he probably makes it and goes.

Chris (10:56):

It’s interesting, like in a dichotomy of leadership, he talks about that and how it is really, really hard to fire another SEAL because they have given up everything to be a SEAL and you’re firing them from their career, but also from their identity and how hard that actually is, but what to do when you can’t avoid it anymore, you know, but more than anything, like the topics Jocko’s going to cover are why this is the best time ever to own a gym. It blew my mind.

Mike (11:23):

I’m fired up about that. And then Lisa, I haven’t had the privilege of seeing Jocko speak in person, Lisa Nichols, you and I saw 2018 or 19 in Toronto at the Archangel summit. And she stole the show. There were a number of really great speakers there, a whole laundry list, you know, and she was just a show and she had the entire place screaming. And there were people that were screaming and excited even before she even like, started into it. By the end, it was pretty much all of us. Tell me about, again, I don’t think she’s about gym ownership necessarily here, but why is her her words? Why are they gonna inspire gym owners now?

Chris (11:59):

I mean, Mike, you and I had very similar upbringings, right? We were around old farmers a lot. And my father, his favorite saying was, you can wish in one end and piss in the other and see which one gets full first. And, you know, he was not a big, like, make your dreams come true kind of guy. And so I’ve carried that kind of skepticism with me my entire life. And so when they introduced Lisa at Archangel, it was like she was featured in what was, the secret, that book. And I’m like, Oh man, here we go. She’s been on Oprah six times. I’m like, Oh, OK, whatever. And then she gets up there and she starts telling her story. And she’s a better storyteller than Seth Godin. And he’s my hero. I don’t say that lightly. She starts telling her story.

Chris (12:45):

She starts telling you that you can do this too. And you believe it. And I have never experienced self-belief as strongly as I did in the hour that Lisa Nichols was in front of us, honestly, it was therapy. It was like enabling, activating. It felt like everybody’s birthday party. It was just crazy. And, you know, as I said, like, she’s going to fire people up. She’s going to make you believe that you’ve got everything that you need to do it in a way that I never could. And, she’s really just my gift to the fitness industry this year.

Chris (13:21):

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Mike (13:47):

She’s dynamic. Like she’s just such a speaker. Like she really can hold a crowd and there’s lots of great speakers out there, but she did such a good job of making the engagement with the participants so natural and spontaneous, rather than some of the stuff that felt a little scripted. Of course, she’s got her, you know, she’s got her whole thing rehearsed, but it was such a dynamic presentation. And I’m sure on video, even online, it’s still going to translate because her energy is just palpable.

Chris (14:11):

Yeah. I would not be surprised to get pictures and texts of people like dancing or hugging at our regional events while she’s speaking, when you and I were closer to the back than to the front and stuff, but even back by us, the energy was so palpable. And, you know, I the thing that kept going through my mind, Mike, was like, I am so glad I brought my daughter to this event. And Avery would have been about 14 at the time. And it was just like, awe inspiring for her.

Mike (14:39):

Lisa is something you have to see to believe. So we won’t go into that more than just saying, like, you guys got to come and see it. And if you want a taste, check her out on YouTube or whatever you can, wherever you can find her, she is a force and you’ll want see her. Todd, you’ve had a close relationship with Todd Herman for a while now, tell me about what he’s going to do with the alter ego effect.

Chris (14:58):

So Todd is actually going to talk about his best program, which is 90-day year. So Todd’s most popular book is the “Alter Ego Effect.” That’s what made me seek out Todd. We’ve had a great relationship. We’ve hung out a few times in Manhattan. He’s actually back in Canada now, but what he’s going to do at summit this year is talk through the power of a 90-day sprint. So Todd’s biggest business coaching program is the 90-day year. He puts thousands of people through a 90 day year program. It totally changes how much action and results they get in their business, and he’s going to teach it to us. So this is like one of the most enabling workshops that gym owners could possibly attend. And it’s just included in there.

Mike (15:42):

He charges probably more than 400 bucks for the 90 day year program. I’m guessing.

Chris (15:47):

The entry level for this program is about two grand. When you get up to the kind of stuff that he’s doing, which is like, you know, third tier, which is what our gym owners need, honestly. I mean, you’re looking at easily $25,000 a year to go through this program.

Mike (16:04):

So basically at the summit, gym owners are buying the accelerator, right? They’re just going to step on the gas and crush a ton of stuff very fast. And he’s actually going to help people work out and create plans, correct.

Chris (16:15):

Yeah. So they’re going to work on their 90-day plan. And the amazing part is that after they’ve been at the summit, they can just, you know, email that plan to their mentor if they want, and their mentor will hold them accountable to it. So it’s even more powerful than just doing it on your own, which is what Todd usually does. What he usually has is a program where he teaches you how to do it. He helps you break down your 90 day goals, eliminate objectives and all that stuff. And then there’s some kind of group accountability in the Facebook group. And it’s so powerful that that’s worth like 20,000 a year because people get an amazing ROI on it. But we’re actually going to pour like gasoline right on that fire. Because if you work out your 90 day plan, first, your mentor is going to hold you accountable for attaining it. And second, I’m going to teach you how to activate your staff to achieve even more and get them working on that plan.

Mike (17:06):

I’ll skip ahead. I was going to leave you to last, but you hinted at it. Tell me about it. Cause I’ve had, I’ve taken a look at some of your workbooks and resources that you’re gonna use at the summit. Tell me about how we’re going to pour gas on that fire with the stuff that you’re doing with staff activation.

Chris (17:20):

You know, it’s hit me through COVID a lot, just through my own businesses in the last six months, that what really has to happen here is I need to take a step backward and really lead these people. And something that I’ve been guilty of my entire career is advocation instead of delegation. So, you know, I built my gym up to the point where it was paying me really well. I wasn’t coaching any classes and OK, I’m going to hire a general manager. Here you go. Here’s the playbook, peace out. And like, not talk to them for a year when really my role there should have been to mentor the general manager. And, you know, I went through a couple of GMs. Now I’m on my third. He’s doing a great job, but a lot of the times he’s just had to guess at stuff.

Chris (18:07):

So if I had been mentoring him this whole time, you know, his life could have been a lot easier and the gym would probably have grown faster. You know, even within Two-Brain, like I should have been mentoring my team more. And now that I’ve started doing that, I’m seeing the results, everything’s scaling faster, everybody’s having fun and loving their job again. And so I realized like, it’s really my duty to help people activate their staff by mentoring them. The first thing that they need to do is figure out how to give their staff focus, guidance, resources, and then eliminate barriers, just like we’re doing for gym owners. So what I’m going to do at summit is teach gym owners how to mentor their staff.

Mike (18:51):

It’s great because Todd is going to give you, help you put together a plan and you’re going to have the structure and the accountability built in. And then what you’re doing is going to, you’re going to help people push harder, right? So instead of just, you’re pushing the cart by yourself, now you’ve got your staff and your staff is gonna, you’re gonna delegate teach them and help them grow and move faster. So by pouring gas on the fire, you’ve now got a bigger fire going and you’re pouring more gas on.

Chris (19:14):

Yeah, I’ll give you an example. So I mentioned Strump earlier, he did the staff retreat thing last year. And, so he’s been working on staff empowerment. And if you say like, wow, why is your gym growing? Even during COVID shutdowns? He can point to a couple of examples. Well, you know, Buffy who is my GM, she was going to a client’s house and they were working out in their driveway and sooner or later, you know, within two weeks they had seven of her neighbors joining her for this class in the person’s driveway,

Mike (19:44):

It’s gone viral. So to speak.

Chris (19:46):

I mean, OK, yes, Buffy is incredible, but everybody has a Buffy or, you know, a close to Buffy person at their gym. Everybody has that idea, but nobody knows how to do it. And it’s because nobody’s mentoring their staff, giving them like access to people like Jocko and Lisa and Todd, and then giving them a playbook and resources. And so what we’ve just started doing is allowing gym owners in Two-Brain, for example, to put their teams in their own coaching program so that they get access to like practicing sales reps and growing their personal training and like growing the pie for the whole business, getting access to the Growth ToolKit resources. And once they’ve got that, Holy moly, there’s like five leaders in my business growing my business, you know, and it’s really powerful.

Mike (20:35):

And guys, along that side, if you’re listening, the coaches side is going to have speakers such as Mike Watson. Josh Martin is going to be there. And the idea is they’re going to teach your coaches how to lead better sessions, program better. Shawn McQueen will also be there. That’s in addition to what we’re talking about here on the owner’s side, you get both for the same price. And the coach’s side. I’ve had the privilege of watching three of those videos already. They are spectacular. You’re going to see some really, really great stuff about how to retain clients longer, how to be a better coach. Josh Martin is doing a great recording right now that’s going to blow your mind. You also get the two or the three keynote speakers with that, that your staff will watch. But that’s online. Back to the owners track. We talked about staff, Laurie Drummond is going to talk about finding and hiring some of those people. Tell me a little bit about why she’s on the roster.

Chris (21:22):

Laurie one of the most interesting people in the world really. I mean, she trains special forces units in countries. I guess I probably can’t mention the specific countries, but in more than one. She’s like a professional spy really. And so countries hire her out to come in and train their special forces units. She has a gym called Ultra CrossFit in Australia. She lives away from the gym six to eight months of the year. The gym grows without her. And it’s because Laurie is amazing at identifying people and what motivates them. That makes her an amazing leader, a formidable opponent and a great teacher.

Mike (22:03):

I’m excited. We had a chat with her in locations undisclosed on zoom the other day, just getting her stuff together. And she’s got a great presentation plan and she’s a very dynamic speaker as well. Great sense of humor. And I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun, which is kind of interesting, you know, her persona and her sense of humor, despite the fact that she’s out there training special forces.

Chris (22:27):

Whenever we’ve been together with her in person, the group just kind of like centers around Laurie, because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but something’s going to happen. And it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun. And we’re going to come out of this with a great story. And I bet that’s what she’s going to have teams do. So if you’re bringing your team to the summit, you know, get ready for Laurie, because she’s going to have you guys doing something that’s going to leave you going away with an amazing story.

Mike (22:54):

Yeah. And if you’re listening and you want a little bit of a sneak peek into what Laurie’s going to be talking about, I interviewed her on Two-Brain Radio months ago. We’ll get the link in the show notes for you. And you can talk a little bit about hiring the persona and getting a preview of what she’s going to have you do at the summit. It’s going to be a great presentation from a great mentor. Now, finally, this one I’ve left her to last only because I think she might be the one that I’m most excited to hear from, even though Lisa Nichols blew my mind last time, Bonnie Skinner, I’ve met her last year at your place in Sault Ste Marie when the summit was there. Tell me about her. She’s amazing.

Chris (23:25):

Yeah. So a couple of years ago when we were making up the tinker program, I said, OK, well, the purpose of tinker is to create wealth. And part of wealth is like happiness, right? At the tinker level, it’s you don’t just define success by the size of your bank account anymore. It’s like, how happy are you with your life? And so, Bonnie is a local psychotherapist. I asked her these questions and she said, Oh, here’s how you get happy. Here’s how you measure happiness. And like, here’s how you decide what tools you need next. And it blew my mind. Like in two and a half minutes, she gave me a Growth ToolKit to happiness. And I mean, I had read dozens of books on this stuff, you know, great books. Bonnie changed my life. And, you know, she’s got some good videos that we use in the tinker program. She’s got some great exercises called the personal check-in. Earlier this year, I approached her and said, Bonnie, this has been incredibly stressful for me. Can we work together in your psychotherapy practice? And she said, yeah. And, so I sat down, literally she has a couch. I sat on her couch and it wasn’t like tell me about your mother. It was, let’s talk about the building blocks of entrepreneurial confidence and leadership. And, shit started to change, Mike. I mean, things have changed so much. I’ve got so much clarity from her. I’m happier in my life. My family’s happier. I’ve got better like work-life balance. And it’s not like I had trauma that I needed to release or anything like that. But what I have now is this tremendous gift of clarity and, you know, between Bonnie and Jocko, I’m a completely different leader than I was even three months ago.

Mike (25:05):

I got a chance to watch a dry run of Bonnie’s presentation for the summit. We were just going over the technical details and all that. And it was last week or the week before. And just watching her rehearse this thing, wasn’t wasn’t completely finished. I got something out of it, right? Like I was at the end of it. I’m like, wow. I thought I just paid $400 for a psychotherapy session. I felt better about myself. Exactly like you said, you know where I was like, wow, that was just a rehearsal that I did as part of a job. And I took something away from it. So guys, when you see Bonnie, she’s really going to teach you some important stuff and I’m not blowing smoke here. Cause I tend not to be the earthy kind of emotional guy about that stuff, but she really gives you some great, great stuff to take away from this. It’s actionable, it’s insightful. And it’s really going to help you become better leaders at your gym and go forward with more confidence, get past imposter syndrome and figure out that the problem that’s holding you back is probably you. And you can fix it pretty quickly, which is, it’s just a fascinating mindset change that she’s going to offer people. And you have the privilege of having her just down the hall at the Two-Brain workshop.

Chris (26:08):

Yeah. She might be listening. But the thing that Bonnie has taught me is that leadership is a fitness. And most of us, when we open a business, we think about, we’re going to coach all day where we buy ourselves a job and then we hire somebody and we’re like, Oh, we’re leaders. And it’s like walking into a CrossFit gym and doing Fran the first day, you know, and instead of that, Bonnie teaches the air squat, and then she teaches you how to do a push-up. And then she teaches you how to do a proper deadlift. And you get these building blocks of leadership that eventually turn into like elite fitness, honestly. And I have never found this stuff in books. I’ve never found it from military guys. It’s all within me. And it’s really Bonnie like pulling those blocks out of me. I think people are going to be blown away by this.

Mike (27:01):

I agree. And I love going through this, it’s why I wanted to have you on the show here to go through each of these speakers because you really see the links and how they relate to each other. And I love the concepts that you’ve got, leadership and inspiration, delegation, hiring the right people so you can delegate, getting your own self together. Like there really is a cohesive action plan here. And the coolest part is, again, I’ve seen the worksheets, you are going to watch the stuff and take action. And you’re going to make that money back probably by Sunday evening, if not Monday morning or something like that. So, Chris, thank you so much for putting this thing together. We’re online or we’re in person, please check the links in the show notes and we will see you at the Two-Brain Summit. Thank you, Chris. I’m Mike Warkentin on Two-Brain Radio. Do not miss the Two-Brain Summit, June 19th and 20th. It’s online or in person as restrictions allow. For more info and tickets, click the link in the show notes, do it now. And I will see you there.


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