I took part in a powerlifting meet recently. It was the first time I’d ever done such a thing in my entire life. While I have gone road cycling for 20-30 miles at a time or run 12-15 miles in an afternoon, this was such a different type of athletic endeavor.
Now I realize powerlifting, bodybuilding, weight training, gym life, etc., is not for everyone (hey, I love nature too!). Yet there are some incredible lessons I’ve learned about myself, my business life, and life in general throughout this entire process.
And it is a process.
Look, you don’t go from one day in the gym to a powerlifting meet in 24 hours. Nope, it does not happen that way.
In business, you might hear all the time about “self-made millionaires” and success stories. While it’s nice to “believe” that happens, the hidden truth is there probably were one, two, or more men and women who played a role directly or indirectly in the person’s success.
Getting to the point of taking part in a meet took coaching, training, effort, focus, intention, and confidence. Let me break each one down and draw parallels between powerlifting and entrepreneurialship:
Coaching – As much as I wanted to “get it done” in my own way, I realized early on that good coaching would help me learn about my form, types of lifts, and the key ingredients to my personal success. Two men, Chris Greene and Ed Brown, helped me tremendously. The support and encouragement of many others did, too. Entrepreneurs who think they can “get it done” all by themselves do a disservice to their business and their clients. It’s extremely helpful to seek out others who have walked the path you are following, and learn from them.
Training – I had to go into the gym and put in the time. There are no if’s and but’s around it. Constant repetition in lifting, foot placement, leg movement, and body motion click between the mind-body connection. This type of repetitive nature is also true for entrepreneurs. Writing, reaching out, connecting with current or future clients, getting out of one’s comfort zone – they are all important. Doing the “training” for an entrepreneur’s lifestyle does get messy. Training in the gym does, too.
Effort – If you want success (however you measure it) in powerlifting, then you have to put in the effort. That means going to the gym 4-5 days per week, getting under the bar, going over the squat, bench, and deadlift process continually. As my form got better, I felt more confident in myself. Entrepreneurs have to put effort into their business. It cannot sit static. Either it grows or dies, so grow!
Focus – When I was out there on the platform at the meet, I knew there were people out there watching me. To be honest, though, I didn’t “notice” them” at all. My focus was on doing the lift and listening for the judge’s commands. That was it. Imagine getting in front of 150-200 people and squatting – as a powerlifter – for the first time in public. Thankfully, I did not “bomb out” on the first lift. Entrepreneurs have to focus (hello focus!) on their business, what new services or products they want to offer, and just how in the world will they offer great service and content to their particular market. It takes focus to get it all done.
Intention – A while back, yes, I did set an intention to do a powerlifting meet. Yet, life itself got in the way (or I let life get in the way) and slacked off from coaching, gym time, etc. Once I reapplied myself to the process, I reconnected with that intention and moved forward. Author Jack Canfield in his book “The Success Principles” talks about intention, as does late author Wayne Dyer in his book “The Power of Intention.” Entrepreneurs can set intentions about their business clientele, financial success, goals, dreams, and inspirations. Intentions are powerful tools to use in and out of the gym.
Confidence – “Can I do this?” It’s the question anyone asks about taking a risk in life. Sometimes, taking the risk will lead me to fall flat on my face. I’ve done this enough, so feel free to ask me about how it felt (not good, thank you). Yet through the struggles and failures, I have found the confidence within meet to keep moving forward. Yes, I’ve failed in the gym. Yes, I’ve failed in business. Yes, I’ve failed in certain life aspects. Have I given up on myself? No. Entrepreneurs far more successful than I am have found the path to their success filled with potholes, too. Confidence is pretty cool to have and maintain.
Find these six touchstones within yourself, power through your own limitations one lift (or step) at a time, and enjoy the journey. Life itself is meant to be enjoyed, not endured.