The Pulse - Iron Sharpens Iron

The message of today’s article is this. Iron sharpens iron. Or, in my experience, investing time and energy with another great facility owner sharpens my want to be great as well.

You may recall from my last article that I mentioned several ways to become a great leader. One of them was to invest in a business mastermind group. My discussion today will center around how this strategy most recently played out in a very meaningful way for me.

March of this year, I invested in a mastermind group. It was a big deal. I’ve known about the group for nearly 10 years. I’ve followed it’s creator via social media and attendance at numerous conferences for even longer. I just never believed when it comes down to it that I was important enough to make the investment required for me to become a member. That mindset was replaced with one of value I know I possess and a want to share and learn from others. After 10 years of sitting on the sidelines, I became a member.

My first experience with my newfound group was at a 2 1/2 day retreat. Within the first 30 minutes I knew I had made an incredibly valuable decision as I got to know the background of all the people at my table. I felt connected as I realized how much we all had in common as fitness business owners. One of the people I met shared another layer of commonality with me. He too was a fitness business owner in Arizona!

His name is Bobby Kelly and not much after I met him did I also meet his business partner and, as he shared, partner in life, Kelly. At first chat, Bobbie was sarcastic and actually somewhat crass. But as I observed his interactions with others in our group, I quickly surmised that was a part of his personality. I share this now because it will come back into our story in a little while.

Over the next couple of days as I got to converse with Bobby and Kelly further I knew I could learn from them. Throughout the weekend one or both, usually Bobby, would provide some kind of perspective or point of view from their own experiences, of which I discovered they had plenty. I learned that, combined, they shared 28 years of fitness business experience at varying levels of ownership.

As the retreat headed to a close and we all put our sights on implementing the incredible information shared at the retreat I asked Bobby if he’d ever be open to me driving to Phoenix to check out his location. Without hesitation, he invited me to come anytime.

My any time was last Wednesday. I arrived at Bobby and Kelly’s facility around 9:15 in the morning. It’s called Results Only Fitness and I was fascinated to discover that it was strictly providing group fitness only and had been doing so since it opened 10 years prior. Literally within seconds of walking through the front door I felt welcomed. Bobby had clearly let both his staff and his community of members know they’d have a guest joining them from Tucson.

My time at Bobby’s facility started with participation in a 9:30 group class. The energy was awesome! The other part I found awesome was the culture. Remember earlier when I spoke to Bobbie’s personality as being sarcastic and somewhat crass? That same vibe permeated the facility and it spoke to the blood, sweat, and tears Bobby and his partner Kelly had invested day in and day out to create it. It was actually endearing to experience the authenticity of the environment.

My day continued at 10:45 when Bobby’s self-professed old people arrived for their session. Again, the energy rocked and the sarcasm flowed. I had so much fun listening to each of these regular participants, anywhere between one and five years as steady members, as each of them received playful sarcasm and then dished it right back.

Even at lunch, Bobby’s character showed. We went to a fabulous Mexican restaurant with Kelly and their head trainer, a solid guy named Frank. As we ordered, I saw how connected to local community Bobby and Kelly were when both owners separately made points to come say hi. I learned that a few times each year both Bobby and Kelly host happy hours for the Results Only members at the restaurant. They have created ongoing business for the restaurant as Results Only members go there on their own. In fact, the restaurant values the business relationship Bobby and Kelly have cultivated so much the discussions are presently going on to have their business logo next to certain food items in order to designate their health quality! That’s another extension of the culture bouncing off their facility’s walls!

After we got back from lunch, we talked business. Both Bobby and Kelly were completely transparent as I asked them questions about financials, marketing, staffing and so on. I was so impressed with their want to help. They even challenged me with some takeaway considerations of my own to implement at my facility.

Being a leader can be a very lonely place sometimes. You’re making decisions that may not always make everyone happy in the short term. You’re trying hard to develop strategy that will deliver a vision. Having others, like I do with fellow master minders Bobby and Kelly, that you can share with on a business to business level is invaluable. I encourage you as you seek to deliver greatness to consider joining a mastermind of your own.

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