I was 19 in Ft. Bragg North Carolina going through training in the Army.
Together with 30 other guys, I was scrubbing various areas of the latrine (a really big bathroom).
It was a hot day, we all had our shirts off, and at one point -- as I was getting into an especially dirty part of the sink -- I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror…
I saw myself as a shirtless stranger, without realizing it was me.
I saw a skinny, weak looking guy -- someone who didn’t look capable or powerful.
I’d never seen myself like that… it shocked me. I saw stark reality in that moment, and I had a moment of disgust. How long had I been walking around like this!? 😂
Seriously though, that night I started working out… with focus.
I haven't stopped since.
Powerful, life-changing decisions often happen in moments of disgust.
Disgust is a harsh word, but it can be useful, productive, because its harshness breaks through the fog of life. It kills illusion.
You suddenly realize the truth… you hit threshold… you can’t take it anymore.
I had a similar moment happen in my business life.
I was about 4 years into gym ownership. Life was growing more complex. I had more projects than I could handle, and things just weren’t going well.
I’d been working with a client who was not a good fit. She was a problem client. I took her on anyway, frankly, because of the money. She bought a 24 pack of PT, paid up-front. Then 12 sessions in she wanted a refund for the remaining because an unexpected emergency came up.
I’d already used the money. The refund had to come from my personal account. Great.
Over the previous years, I’d built myself too many jobs. Stressed financially, emotionally, physically… I was burnt out. I didn’t know how to solve the many problems I had amassed over time.
And then I got an email from a member who was moving, and needed to cancel. Great.
Now, we know, refunds and cancels are just part of owning a business, it’s not a big deal … it happens. But the combination of everything took me out.
I’d had enough. Looking down at my phone, I felt sick of everything.
I hit threshold.
I was going to solve this or die trying. So I hopped in my pickup, and drove to a park to think.
Reflecting, I realized my business and my life lacked organization. I was playing at a low level, running around like a headless chicken … doing so much and getting so little done.
I needed to build space to think, breathe, and be creative. I needed to get organized.
That was the day I started building my personal system, and I haven't stopped since.
The personal COPE system completely revolutionized my business and personal life, because it made me more organized … more reliable, more competent.
A moment of disgust can be a powerful motivator to make decisions to change future reality -- whether it's about being skinny, or fat, overwhelmed, or just frustrated with your progress in life.
See things as they are, but not worse than they are. Be honest. Face reality. See what needs to be done, then decide to do it.
Along your journey, you might want a system to help you.
And that’s why I wrote the COPE series… specifically to help gym owners who are ready for the next level or who just want a serious competitive advantage over life.