Thursday, January 9, 2014

What I Learned in 2013

1) I Love My Job.  While it is considered a "job" by most standard definitions, it is really a vocation, a true life-long pursuit morphed into reality.  When ASF opened in 2006, it was typical to put in 12-14 hour days and not even think twice how exhausted I was.  I would catch myself just looking around at the empty building before I left each night thinking, "This is it.  I made it".  I still do that now :)
2) Mistakes Are A Good Thing.  I have made so many mistakes running a business, I should write a book.  But, if it weren't for those mistakes, there would be no ASF, and no fun in the learning process of recognizing and seizing opportunities.  I will make more today, tomorrow and next month, but the key is to capitalize on them before they become problems.  I absolutely think that kids should not only be allowed to make mistakes, but encouraged to embrace the process of screwing up, learning and growing.
3) A Great Staff Is Everything.  How many times do you tell the people in your life how important they are?  If you are like me, it is not often enough!  I have become better, but still have some work to do.  Caitlin, Brian and Dave mean the world to me and have allowed me to step away from coaching somewhat and do the boring business stuff.  They are not only a huge asset to ASF, but great friends as well.  I certainly can't forget the real "boss" of ASF, my wife Suzanne, who cooks the books!!
4) Glutamine.  The last few years, from October to February, I have been sick.  Last December I was out for 17 straight days.  I decided to start supplementing with Glutamine, an amino acid, to see if it would boost my immune system, one of its many properties.  So far, I have not been sick (rapping on my head aka "knocking on wood").  Is it a coincidence?  Maybe, but I am also not going to stop if it's working.  if you want a simple, inexpensive way to increase your immune system, give it a shot.
5) It's About You, Not Me.  The greatest part of coaching is making so many great, lasting relationships.  I have always thought of everyone at ASF as one extended family, who gets together to  sweat, laugh, cry and hang out together.  It is never about the coach, or the facility, for that matter, but how the coach can be the liaison that connects people to people.  So many trainers think it is about them, and how awesome they are.  While we know our sh*t, it is about YOU and what YOU want.  You deserve all the returns on your investment and we are happy to stand by your side, not in the front.
6) We Are Coaches, Not Trainers.  Coaches are teachers.  We live for educating and nurturing the process of learning.  There is a great Wooden saying:  "You haven't taught until they have learned."  It is written in our staff room.  Great coaches love the challenge of teaching anything and everything, from simple to complex.  Great coaches know the correct language to use, motivational tactics to employ and the fewest words necessary to get the point across.
7) It's About People, Not Just Results And Numbers.  Similar to #5, while results may start out as a number ("I want to lose 30 pounds" or "I want my vertical jump to increase 5 inches"), it comes down helping the person, not just the number.  At the end of the day, numbers will change, but true change happens within a person, not on a scale, a track, a barbell. 
8) My Backyard:  Pioneer Of ASF Training?  At the risk of sounding really old, backyard pick up games are an endangered species.  Everything I learned about speed, agility, strength, toughness, came from the backyard.  Being small necessitated I become fast, not getting tackled honed my cutting skills, and getting my face smashed when I was caught helped me to get tough.  Are (your) kids doing this on a regular basis?
9) Software And Hardware.  One of the great concepts in the book, The Sports Gene, is software and hardware of athletes, and really anyone.  To paraphrase, the hardware of your body - muscles, bones, tissue, etc - are the raw materials that you are dealt, with limited trainability.  The software - your brain, nervous system - can download new information all the time.  It is where the magic happens.  Some of it is intuitive (take your hand off a hot stove) while others take repeated efforts over time, say hitting a 90 mph fastball.  As coaches, what we disseminate to our kids and adults to download is where the true learning occurs, thus results can happen.
10) ASF Is A Training Facility, Not A Gym.  Gyms are everywhere.  There are a lot of great ones out there, serving a purpose.  For a monthly fee, you use their stuff and leave.  I like to think that ASF is more than "just" a place to train (like "Cheers" was not just another bar).  It can be daunting to compete with the $10/month clubs around town who have the latest sparkly new piece of equipment.  Our Core belief has been based around the big 3:  Relationships, Experience and Results.  If we can provide you a great Experience, build a powerful Relationship, Results are going to happen.  Does it always work that way?  No, but we will always make those principles a top priority.

Another year gone.  The more I learn about running a successful business, the more I realize I don't know anything!  Thank you for your support and for taking time to read this post.  I love you!