Take the Steps to Become a Business Athlete

For the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of the “business athlete.”  I’m not talking about how to apply the principles of successful high-performing athletes in business—we get it; you worked hard on the field and now you work hard in the office.

What I mean is, that in order to run a successful business, you have to treat your body like a professional athlete.  If you want your body and mind to be working at peak performance, then you have to fuel it accordingly—especially if your business is fitness.

If you own a boutique fitness studio, you are expected to be a leader of your fitness community and you are also expected to literally work yourself to exhaustion during your own workouts.  If you thought Pure Barre was hard, try taking class with everyone staring at your every move!  Must not come out of thighs.  Must not come out of thighs.

How are you going to do that subsisting on protein bars, pots of coffee, handfuls of Cheezits, or whatever is convenient?  Are you sluggish all the time?  Do you blame it on just being overworked from owning your own business?  How much refined sugar are you eating each day?  Let me tell you a secret … refined sugar is in f*cking everything.  It’s in almond milk, oatmeal, protein bars, and countless other seemingly “healthy” foods.

One thing that separates business owners from the rest of the general population is a heightened level of stress.  Stress is a leading cause of chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation leads to all kinds of bad diseases like, diabetes, arthritis, IBS, general aches and pains, or in some cases, heart disease and cancer.

I’ve been struggling with two aliments as of late.  First, I’m tired all the time—like I can never get enough sleep.  And second, I’ve been suffering from a lingering shoulder injury that just doesn’t seem to get better.  I started to wonder if changing my diet might solve these problems.  Specifically, I started researching whether adopting the Whole30 would work to reset my body and help it heal.

What is the Whole30?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  It’s better to think about all the good, amazing things that you can eat while on the Whole30, otherwise, it gets a little overwhelming.  By committing to the Whole30, you eat only real food including meat, seafood, eggs, veggies, fruits, nuts, oils and seeds.  All foods are natural and unprocessed.  So, that means you’re cutting out all sugar, processed foods, dairy, grains, alcohol and legumes/beans.  You’re also not supposed to re-create junk food by making it healthy.

That’s a lot of rules.  But several of my friends have recently done the Whole30 and most of them had really positive things to say about it (minus the not drinking alcohol part).  I decided to try it out—but only for dinner.  If I liked the recipes, then I would add breakfast and lunch and officially take the Whole30 plunge.

For one week, I ate Whole30 dinners made from the recipes in the Whole30 books (see links below).  I stopped consuming dairy—no milk or cheese.  I did eat oatmeal for breakfast and a few sandwiches for lunch when I didn’t have leftovers from dinner or couldn’t get home to make something.  I also increased my veggie intake by drinking 1-2 juices a day, which I made in my new cold-pressed juicer (a gift to myself with American Express points).  And … I felt amazing!  I had tons of energy.  I didn’t need more than one cup of coffee.  My workouts improved and I felt stronger.  I got compliments on my skin.  I don’t know if I lost any weight, but my pants were looser.  And the best part, my shoulder no longer hurt when I was taking class.  This is all after 1 week of just dabbling in the Whole30 and increasing my veggie intake by drinking cold-pressed juice.  Amazing!

If that wasn’t enough to convince me how important food is for your body’s performance, when I went to Houston, I went back to my normal diet, ate whatever I wanted and felt terrible when I got home.  I had a headache towards the end of my trip and I didn’t sleep that well.  Of course, I ate fajitas at my favorite Mexican restaurant—wasn’t going to turn those down—had drinks with some great friends I hadn’t seen in years, and had to celebrate winning my award with a whole bunch of Coronas, so a headache and little lost sleep was worth it.

This totally unscientific experiment raises an interesting point.  How much better can my business be if I start to act like a business athlete?  How much more can I get done?  Will I be happier?  Will I lower my risk for heart disease or cancer?  Who knows?  But the recipes in the Whole30 books are pretty amazing, so I’m going to keep up with my Whole30 dinners at the minimum.  I’ve included links to the Whole30 books as well as the SKG Juicer I purchased and find super easy to use and clean.

When I was at the business conference in Houston last week, I heard an incredible speaker, Paul Dunn.  I even got to eat fajitas with him.  I’ll tell you all about his company, B1G1, and how his presentation has influenced me to make some changes in my business to matter more.

Until then, stay on your toes!


The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom-  Everything you need to complete the Whole30 is in this book including some great recipes.  So far, I have loved the Butternut Squash Soup (p. 266) and Cauliflower Mash (p. 270).  I eventually got tired of messing up my poached eggs and purchased some Perfect Poached Egg Cups.

The Whole30 Cookbook- More great recipes!  I especially enjoyed eating the Turkey Curry Meatballs with Roasted Vegetables and Lemongrass Cream Sauce (p. 174) and the One-Pan Herb-Crusted Roasted Salmon with Roasted Broccoli Steaks (p. 201).

It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways- This book delves more into the science behind the Whole30 and why some foods may negatively impact your body.  A must read.

SKG Wide Chute Anti-Oxidation Slow Masticating Juicer- I read reviews on reviews on reviews and decided this cold-pressed juicer was my best option.  It’s easy to use and easy to clean and reassemble.  I’ve had great success making kale, celery, cucumber and parsley juice.  Next up is carrot, apple and ginger.

 Epica 18-oz. Glass Beverage Bottles, Set of 6- These glass bottles were a recommended purchase and I’m glad I bought them.  Wasn’t thinking ahead to where I was going to store all this juice!  Easy to fill and clean.


How did I get here?

I’m here in Houston, Texas for the ActionCOACH Business Excellence Forum (BEF).  And I’m up for an award—Best Service Based Business with over 10 people.  Yeah, I know.  I forgot to mention that.

Honestly, I was just super excited to attend and have my business coach, Mary Ann, invite me to go with her.  All I cared about was listening to some great speakers and leaving feeling inspired to keep making positive changes in my business.  Maybe meet some great people.  Get my picture taken with the founder of ActionCOACH, Brad Sugars (he’s so tall!).  And of course, … eat at my favorite Mexican restaurant, El Tiempo.  Maybe more than once.

I didn’t really tell that many people about the award because I didn’t get what a big deal it was.  Oops.  So, as I’m looking out over the crowd of 500+ business coaches and their top-achieving clients all dressed up in black tie garb, ACCEPTING MY AWARD (which apparently over 400 businesses applied for) all I could think about was: How did I get here?

 What I mean is, what was the course of events that led me to get to this podium and accept an award that was judged and presented by the great grandson of Winston Churchill?  Oh yeah, that guy was pretty cool.  Got to talk to him after.  And as he was saying what I’m guessing are some great things about Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons—I don’t really know, because I was literally freaking out thinking, um, what in the world am I going to say at the podium when he’s done talking?  Yep.  We all had to give our “thank you” speech and being the moron that I am, I had nada.  Words came out of my mouth.  I’m pretty sure I thanked Mary Ann, mentioned that I wouldn’t be here without her help.  Oh, and in my stellar wrap up, told the whole room of brilliant business minds that I was thrilled to accept this award from the great grandson of Winston Churchill because I own 2 English Bulldogs.  Nice tie in.  Are you kidding??!!  Ugh.  But seriously, how the heck did I get here?

Financial Planner & Advisor, Josh Donley, Mosaic Capital

See, the reason I hired Mary Ann to coach me was because I wanted to sell my businesses.  Back in May, I had had enough.  I was having some cash flow issues and every month was super stressful to ensure that I had enough money to pay my employees, rent and our other expenses.  It literally got down to pennies making sure my accounts weren’t overdrawn.

It seemed like I was just spinning my wheels working to pay American Express.  I wasn’t having any fun.  If that was what business ownership was all about, that was not what I had signed up for.  And I was ready to exit.

I was talking everything through with Josh and he said, “This just isn’t worth it.  You don’t need all this stress.  You could get a job anywhere, make more money and be less stressed.  Let’s exit and figure out a way for you to sell.”  So, he called a Winston-Salem business broker, Ron Buck.

Winston-Salem Business Broker, Ron Buck, Murphy Business & Financial Corporation

For those of you who aren’t aware, a business broker is basically like a real estate agent for businesses.  You hire one to help you find a buyer or you can hire a broker to help you find the best business opportunity.  The broker keeps everything moving and is an intermediary between the seller and the buyer making sure the business valuation makes sense for both parties.

When Josh talked to Ron, he didn’t use my name or my business name.  Ron was very enthusiastic that he could find a buyer for my business especially because it is a membership-based model with predictable reoccurring revenue and relatively predictable expenses.  He suggested a number, which seemed fair.  But then he said this: “I mean, it just seems like she’s not as profitable as she could be.  If she made a few changes and got the business to a little higher level, I could get $XXX instead of the number I just mentioned.”  Um, I’m not going to tell you what the numbers were, but let’s just say that I wanted the higher one.  Like, really wanted the higher one.  Ron suggested that I talk to this business coach he knew, Mary Ann, who would help me create a plan to exit.

Business Coach, Mary Ann Hauser, ActionCOACH

My first meeting with Mary Ann required a lot of tissues.  I was just spent, exhausted and overwhelmed with all of the “un-fun” things I was having to deal with each day running my businesses.  I remember saying, “I have a f*cking MBA from Wake Forest.  Why can’t I make this work?  Please help.”  We talked a little more and as we reached the end of the meeting, she asked me if I was ready to start coaching and how I would like to pay for her services.  I had no extra money.  I handed her my American Express card and thought: “What do I have to lose?  If I don’t do this, I’ll probably be filing for bankruptcy.  If it works, then sweet!”

That is how I got here.  Josh, Ron, Mary Ann.  I’m so thankful that they led me to be on that podium holding that award.  Now I can sell, sit on the beach and never hear:

“The mic won’t work.” 

“Do we have more batteries?”

“We’re down to 1 case of water.”

“Carolyn, we’re out of soap, paper towels, other paper towels that we use, World’s Best Glass Cleaner or fill in the blank _____.”

“You know what you really should do …”

Fade to black.

Just kidding!

Actually, the opposite.  I’m in the process of figuring out how to open more studios and keep growing.  I’ve realized that I’m just not done working on my business.  There are so many things that I need to implement.  We could be even better than where we are now.  Sure, one day I’ll sell.  But not today.

I have a lot of great ideas for future posts from hearing all the amazing speakers at the BEF.  You’ll just have to stay tuned for next week’s topic.

Until then, stay on your toes!

The 66-Day Habit

We’re heading into the 2nd week of February, where apparently 80% of New Year’s Resolutions start to crumble and fail.  After about six weeks, willpower is compromised and we can lose focus on what seemed extremely important on January 1st.  Researchers now believe that a habit takes, on average, 66 days to develop and cement in our daily routines.  So how do we get from ringing out around the 6-week mark to forming a life-long habit a mere 3 ½ weeks later?

I just finished an amazing book, The One Thing, written by Gary Keller, cofounder of Keller Williams Realty, which is currently the largest real estate company in the world.  Keller believes that in order to achieve success in work and life, you must find your “one thing.”  In other words, we’ve all been placed on this Earth to do one thing—and if you can narrow your focus to achieve it, you’ll live an extraordinary life.

Keller argues that “you can become successful with less discipline than you think, for one simple reason: success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.”  Identifying your “one thing” and then selectively developing one habit at a time will ensure you stay focused only on your “one thing.”  Allowing enough time for each habit to develop into a routine is critical—remember it takes 66 days for a habit to form.

So what’s your “one thing” for the year, month, week?

My one thing is to teach management and leadership.  Since I want to grow my business, I have reached a point in the business lifecycle where I cannot do everything myself and I need my Team to run the business for me.  This doesn’t mean that I’m not involved in running my business or not working, it means I’m assuming a new role of supporting my Team and then my Team is supporting our clients.  I’ll be working with each member of my Team to help them reach their goals.  Together we’ll figure out what I can do to help make each one of them more successful.

What am I doing to transition into this new role and support my Team?  First, I am no longer assuming responsibility for creating their sales or teaching goals—they are.  That’s right, each member of the Team is responsible for developing their “one thing” for each month and 3 quantifiable ways that they will track and reach their goal.  At the time of our next Team meeting, everyone will have been working on reaching their self-made goals for just about 66 days.  I’m really interested in finding out the following:

  1. Has setting your monthly goal, or your “one thing” become easier? By focusing on “one thing” do you know what you need to work on the most to become more successful at teaching or working at the front desk?
  2. If you failed to reach your goal was it because you weren’t focused? Or did you find your 3 ways weren’t easily quantifiable?
  3. Did working with another member of the Team help you reach your goal? Did the expertise or advice from someone on the Team to help you to re-focus your goal?
  4. Do you set easier or more difficult goals for yourself since you are responsible for creating them?

Second, I’m devoting time and money to develop my management and leadership skills.  I take at least one hour a day to read business leadership books and I’m registering for more business leadership seminars.  Creating a budget for training is in the works.  I’m actually going to Houston later this month to attend the Business Excellence Forum with my business coach.  I’m up for an award—Best Business with over 10 employees.  Good times!

When you sit down and define your “one thing” it becomes more clear what habits you’ll need to form to make achieving your “one thing” easier.  You won’t be wasting time trying to create habits that aren’t going to help you.  The habits you do form will become routine and instead of losing steam during week 6, you’ll reach that 66th day to make the habit lasting.

I’m only going to be posting once each week on Tuesdays going forward, because I have actually started writing a book.  So, next Tuesday I’ll share with you something that I learned at the Business Excellence Forum and hopefully a picture of my newly-won award-Ah!

Until then, stay on your toes!

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller

The MultiTasking Myth


“Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.”

–Steve Uzzell, Award-winning photographer, speaker and author


I love this quote because it’s 100% true.

Have you fallen victim of the multitasking myth?  Do you actually believe that you can do more than one thing at a time and do each to the best of your ability?

Multitasking is not a strength.  And the ability to multitask should never be used in a job description.  In order to be your most productive it’s important to pick one thing and do it well.  Then move onto the next.

There is one exception … laundry.  If you can put a load of laundry into the washing machine or dryer and also do something else, that is an amazing use of time and resources.  But technically you’re not multitasking because you’re using a machine to do the work for you.

We’re one month into 2017 and resolutions and goals start to crumble around week six.  Or conversely, many estimate that it takes 66 days to form a habit.  Are you starting to lose track of your goals or form lasting habits?  In my posts next week, I’ll discuss how I’m keeping motivated and on task as well as why I like to think big—thinking small takes just as much effort as thinking big, so why not go for it?!

Until then, stay on your toes!