If you’re familiar with some of my older articles and free PDF reports, you’ll know that I’ve compared the personal training and fitness business to the wild west before; I still stand by that.
It’s a shoot out-out. Where you went to college, your certification, or the size of your biceps DO NOT matter when it comes to the business side of this industry.
What matters is your hustle, what you’re doing now to make a name for yourself, your smarts, who you know, how you develop yourself, how you treat people, your drive, and your ambition; that’s what determines your success.
That’s why old school, old world business books don’t apply to the job you have in front of you (and the reason why I make the kind of products I do, and promote them so aggressively).
On that note, I found a book on the subject of power and hustling that I think will apply to every trainer following this site more than any general business book you pick up any time soon.
It’s THE 50TH LAW, from an unlikely combination of authors, Robert Greene and 50 Cent. The book is based on the comparisons between 50’s constant power struggles to survive the streets, get out, and get to the top of the music business, and how courage, fearlessness, and ambition have played a part in so many great successes through history.
I’ve read three of Greene’s other books and overall I thought they were very good, but this one would have to be my favorite. And I consider this book especially valuable to trainers looking to succeed in the fitness business.
For the trainer looking to get on their own, here’s a choice quote from the book that should help you out:
Make Everything Your Own – Self Reliance
When you work for others, you are at their mercy. They own your work; they own you. Your creative spirit is squashed. What keeps you in such positions is a fear of having to sink or swim on your own. Instead you should have a greater fear fo what will happen to you if you remain dependent on others for power. Your goal in every maneuver in life must be ownership, working the corner for yourself. When it is yours, it is yours to lose – you are more motivated, more creative, more alive. The ultimate power in life is to be completely self reliant, completely yourself.
That quote sums up the DUMP THE GYM message as good or better than I ever have!
Another message from the book is to be ruthless. It’s a cold, dangerous world out there full of unscrupulous people that have only their own self interests at heart. Trainers especially fall victim to this because being in a service industry, we often have a utopian worldview. A lot of times, we’re just too “nice”, and this hurts us from taking the action or doing what’s necessary to attain success for ourselves. This hurts our careers and leaves us vulnerable to being taken advantage of by people claiming to have the answers.
Here’s a quote from the book on how 50 approaches business that everyone can apply:
If a deal is not to his liking, he will walk away and not care. If he needs to play a little rough and dirty with an adversary, he goes at it without a second thought. He feels supreme confidence in himself. Living in a world where most people are generally timid and conservative, he always has the advantage of being willing to do more, to take risks, and to be unconventional. Coming from an environment in which he never expected to live past the age of twenty-five, he feels like has has nothing to lose, and this brings him tremendous power.
I’ve gotten to know two people that are extremely close to 50, his live-in trainer Jay Cardiello, and his band member Tony Yayo, who lived in my condo in Queens for a while, and both back up 50’s extreme focus and dedication.
(You can find the interview I did with Jay about what life on the road is like here.)
As for the overarching message of the entire book, it’s to overcome fear. The back of the book has the words FEAR NOTHING printed on it, and it’s a message that comes up over and over again. On that note here’s a quote from the book on the subject:
Understand: no one is born this way. It is unnatural to not feel fear. It is a process that requires challenges and tests. What separates those who go under and those who rise above adversity is the strength of their will and their hunger for power.
Here’s another one:
The greatest fear people have is of being themselves. They want to be 50 cent or someone else. They do what everyone else does even if it doesn’t fit where and who they are. But you get nowhere that way; your energy is weak and no one pays attention to you. You’re running away from the one thing that you won- what makes you different. I lost that fear.
If I had to pick a second theme throughout the book besides his “fear nothing” mantra, I’d have to say it’s the importance of REALISM. 50 constantly makes reference to this, and devoted an entire chapter to the subject.
You may have heard this before, in the book THINK AND GROW RICH by Napolean Hill, under the name ACCURATE THINKING. Both Hill and 50 point to this as one of the most vital aspect of success, and I’d have to agree with them. You have little chance of accomplishing much if you’re constantly deluding yourself and others. Here’s a quote from the book on the subject:
SEE THINGS FOR WHAT THEY ARE- INTENSE REALISM
Reality can be rather harsh. your days are numbered. It takes constant effort to carve a place for yourself in this ruthlessly competitive world and hold on to it. Peoople can be treacherous. They bring endless battles into your life. Your taks is to resist the tempation to wish it were all differentl instead you must fearlessly accept these circumstances, even embrace them. By focusing your attention on what is goin g on around you, you will gain a sharp appreciation for waht makes some people advance and others fall behind. By seeing thorugh people’s manipulations, you can turn them around. The firmer your grasp on reality, the more power you wil have to alter it for your purposes.
Bottom line is this involves knowledge of self, and then massive action based on that knowledge. Some more quotes from the chapter on realism are:
.. he would trust no one, he would conceal his intentions, even from friends and partners; and no matter how high or low life brought him, he would remain the supreme realist, keeping his hustler’s eye sharp and focused.
He would learn everything he could about music and the business. He would have no plan B- it was either make it there or die.
Reality is my drug. The more I have of it, the more power I get and the higher I feel.
Here’s his view on people trying too hard to please and displaying approval seeking behavior:
Trying so hard to please people can actually end up pushing them away – it is hard to respect someone who has such an ingratiating attitude.
I’m just scratching the surface here with these excerpts I’ve chosen. There are so many choice quotes in this book that I’d have a hard time picking my favorite or listing them all here.
This book is a definite must read for every trainer and bootcamp operator. It will show you the hand to hand combat world of small business, and teach you a lot about the confidence, desire, and fear-nothing attitude it takes to really make it in the world.
I also highly recommend Greene’s other three books, THE 48 LAWS OF POWER, THE 33 STRATEGIES OF WAR, and THE ART OF SEDUCTION. There’s an entire world of persuasion, influence, manipulation, and mindset between the worlds of fitness and business that we all have to maneuver through, and these books will show it to you.