I was in Chicago this past weekend for three days. It was my first time to visit and I'd highly recommend it as a destination to anyone else.
However the real reason for the trip was to attend Inside the Unicorn and hear Mark Fisher talk all about the best practices at MFF and how him and his business partner took what was a one man operation to a facility with over 1,000 Ninja's (this is what MFF refers to their members as) and more than 35 employees.
Not to mention they did this in New York - fucking- City! That shit is unreal.
But it speaks to the reason why I'd want to learn about building and running a success business from Mark.
I'd thought I'd give a run down of the event, highlights of what I learned, and why I think others should try to attend.
I gave you a bit of background about Mark Fisher Fitness's success, but if you'd like to read a bit more in-depth about what they have going on I'd recommend reading up here.
I'd also though like to tell you a bit about Mark Fisher and how I came to become somewhat of a stalker of his. Don't worry it's completely professional. Yeah professional stalking it's a thing.
At this point I was two and a half years into my career as a personal trainer with all of it being spent in the typical large commercial gym setting. I was already fed up and frustrated with that model of fitness, the culture around it, and the people I was working for.
I remember reading Mark's article and just being fucking blown away! It connected with me in a way only some of the most formative books in my life have connected with me. I remember saying to myself "fuck yeah!" again and again as I read it.
It was because everything about MFF, Mark, and the way they operate is completely authentic. Authenticity is what gets me. It's what inspires me and rallies me forward. That article did all those things for me.
In fact there are several quotes from that article that are part of my daily documents.
I first had the opportunity to meet Mark in 2013 at The Fitness Summit in Kansas City, MO. It was the first conference I attended and I was a bit star struck by being around fitness professionals that I idolized.
I doubt Mark remembers, but I did get up the courage to introduce myself, tell him how much I loved what he was doing, and how I really respected his Servant Leader mentality (it's probably still the thing I most respect the hell out of him for). I am sure it wasn't as smooth as I remember it to be.
I continued to follow MFF and Mark and again had the chance to connect with him at the 2015 Fitness Summit this past year. During this meeting I actually got to talk to him quite a bit and even ask a few burning questions I had about the specifics of how they do things at MFF. It was great!
And while I had always admired Mark as a professional and person from afar for his integrity and authenticity it just made me an even bigger fan of his work that he was willing to listen to my questions and give me his insight.
The dude is a kickass human being.
Then about three months ago my good friend Jason Belz of A Greater You (soon to be opening inOverland Park, Kansas City) Facebook messaged me and made me aware that Mark was going to be putting on an entire day of teaching in Chicago all about MFF and their business practices.
It was like a dream come true! And it couldn't have been more timely as I had just renewed the lease on the Lair of Awesomeness and was planning for how to take RSC to a whole new level over the next year.
As I mentioned before the seminar was this past weekend and it was fan-freaking-tastic. It was held at Spindle Fitness which is owned by Jeff Shapiro, who I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with for a while on Friday morning. Jeff is a really, really nice dude and fantastic coach. I'll be sharing more on Spindle later this week.
The seminar was Saturday and was actually Mark's first time to give an entire day's worth of lectures and he freaking killed it. Seriously he is a fantastic presenter and speaker and I bet before 2017 he will have his own speaking tour and will be fielding invitations from every major player in the fitness industry to speak at their events. That is if they are okay with Mark being Mark.
He was engaging, relatable, funny, authentic, informative, and one sexy motherfucking presenter.
He spoke from approximately 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm with a lunch break in the middle and a Q & A session at the end.
The topics of each presentation covered almost every aspect of starting and building a successful business and the content filled close to 6 to 7 hours so there is no way I can share with you all of the highlights or take-aways.
And nor would I anyways. I mean that is why you need to go see him speak!
To be completely honest there was so much great shit I had written and typed out from Saturday that I am still reflecting and thinking on much of it.
The greatest part though is that MFF gives every fitness professional out there a living demonstration of everything Mark speaks on. This isn't some theoretical, intellectual discussion, but is business information that has worked and is working. I refer to it as actionable knowledge.
But what I will share with you is some of the big rocks I brought back with me and some things I am implementing immediately into how I do things both professionally and personally (the line for me there is always a bit blurry at times.)
Here is though an outline of everything that was covered during the seminar:
Big Picture Thinking
The Care and Feeding of Superheroes
Creating a Culture
The More The Merrier
Time Management Ninja Skillz
Yeah I know it was pretty freaking epic and it sucks you weren't there, but don't worry I know you'll have an opportunity to go soon enough.
Want to know how Mark opened things up?
With this quote from Earl Nightingale:
Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.
I knew immediately I was in the right place, with the right people, and the right teacher.
I mean seriously my stoicism senses were just going crazy!
And we were only 30 seconds in and I was already ready to run through a wall and change the world.
The biggest take-aways for me from the entire seminar weren't just business related. In fact they were actually things that everyone could stand to use and remember regardless of whether they have a business or not. Or as my wife, who sat in on the last two hours of the seminar, put it "That stuff mark said at the end is shit everyone needs to hear."
The first thing that Mark spoke about that had my pen scribbling was the idea of addressing your biggest limiting factor and attacking it with everything you have. But the trick part as Mark pointed out is that this limiting factor usually has more to do with you then your business. Or as mark put it:
The biggest limiting factor in your business will always be your biggest limiting factor as a human being.
Gah that cuts right to the heart of it doesn't it? No where to hide.
Which means that if I truly want my business to take off and be uber successful then I have to continue to turn the magnifying glass on myself and dig deeper into who I am. I have to get my bullshit sorted out and make sure my mindset is right if I want to bring the truest version of myself to my business, my partners, and clients.
Mark also talked about the idea of having a clear and specific 5 year plan. That is where the heck do I want to be and what do I want to be doing in 5 years and how do I want to get there. It's not that I haven't spent time contemplating the future, but I have never taken the time to sit down and really write it out in a detailed manner. I got to correct that Saturday and I also plan on taking Mark's advice and redoing it every 3 to 6 months.
The importance of this in business is having a destination in mind that along with your mission will help give you a criteria for evaluating whether the tactics and choices you are making are actually moving you closer to where you want your business to be.
There was also speak about what it means to create a narrative around your business that truly connects with the people you want to help and that you want to help you help others.
Mark did a fantastic demonstration of this by sharing his own personal story about his journey into the weight room and ultimately the fitness industry and how MFF was born.
He talked about how human beings are hard-wired for story telling and narrative and how crafting this narrative is an essential part of building a culture, community, brand, and ultimately a thriving business that will help change the world and which people are dying to be a part of.
Yeah and the list of glorious shit Mark talked about goes on and on and on!
Don't worry either if you are someone who likes to dig into the nitty-gritty of specifics you will get that too. Mark lays out specific strategies and tactics you can use to build a brand, create a safe place for a community to form, create a kick-ass team, and much more.
I just don't want to give away any of the specifics without Mark's approval.
So go to the Seminar! I'll make sure and definitely let you know the moment he announces additional speaking engagements.
Before I wrap up I want to talk about one last thing that continually came up during Mark's talk.
This was our mortality.
That is Mark was very upfront that a lot of his productivity, success, and desire to achieve comes from his "painful awareness of his own mortality." That is Mark knows full well that he is going to leave this earth someday and he does not want to leave without saying what he needs to say and leaving the world better than when he arrived.
I completely and deeply feel Mark on this.
It's one of the thing that drives me forward and drives my wife mad. I am constantly reciting the following quote by Benjamin Franklin:
Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.
But I can't help it. I don't want to waste a single freaking minute I have on this planet because I am reminded every weekend as I witness people die that there is no guarantee that tomorrow will come, but there is a guarantee that death is waiting for us. It's why I don't like it when people waste my time and why I feel like such an asshole when I rarely waste others.
I want to make the biggest impact I can on the most people I can in the time I am given.
I felt kin to Mark when he was expressing this part of his being and this complete authenticity is what makes everything about this awesome seminar that much better.
Seriously this seminar is jammed pack full of delicious content and not to mention the all the glorious f-bomb dropping and sexual referencing that occurs.
Oh and then there is the Unicorn you can ride. Okay I am kidding there isn't a unicorn. Or is there?
Please. Please. Please if you get the chance to go don't pass it up.
It will be the best money and time you spend all year.
Mark has important stuff to say and share that people and especially fitness professionals need to hear.
Thank you Mark for being you. Thank you for living a life of integrity. Thank you for demonstrating what it means to lead. And most importantly thank you for coming to Chicago to spend your Saturday with 20 trainers who desperately just want to be and do better.
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training