TIME TO READ: 5 minutes
Friday morning, in between goblet squats and v-sits, I was discussing risk with my longest standing client. She’s been somewhat of a second mom to me over the past four years, seeing the ups, the downs, the sideways, and the flip-outs.
We started talking about how I ignore everyone’s advice—something I’ve personally always been proud of—which she disagrees with. I brought up the idea of expanding PRYMAL into a second location and she pointed out how risky that is now that I just bought a house. I’ve always been comfortable riding my finances to the very edge, sometimes not being able to pay rent on time, while other times taking week long trips to Costa Rica, or buying custom art.
I didn’t see the problem with PRYMAL Numero Dos, pointing out how I’ve made it this far, relying on my own intuition and skills. If I listened to others (like my boss or the other trainers at my previous big box training job) who told me to shut down PRYMAL or I’d be out of a job, I would still be stuck working for others, slaving away for their business, following rules I didn’t agree with, for a boss that was an idiot (and a horrible trainer). No thank you.
I’ve always been one to shoot first, ask questions later. It’s how I operate. I’m willing to risk it all because PRYMAL and training clients is what I believe in and love the most.
I thought about it more, though, on my 30-minute drive home.
To my clients (and to others, as well) I take a lot of risks. To myself, I just live my life.
The difference is in perception.
In some cases, risk is fairly universal. The probability of dying in a plane crash next week when I fly to New York is the same for me, as the person I’m sitting next to. Stocks work the same way. It’s pretty much the same for everyone in that situation.
Sometimes risk varies based on the individual. I eat healthy and exercise so my risk of dying of a disease is lower than average. I drive a motorcycle, a high-risk activity we’ve all heard horror stories about. However, a little known fact is that 50% of crashes occur because of alcohol and since I can’t remember the last time I was drunk (maybe 3 years ago?) my risk is cut in half.
There are also cases where outcomes can be either good or bad depending on the individual. If my flight home next week gets delayed, as it often does (because LaGuardia is a war zone), I get to stay in the city for a few more hours. If I was a busy executive that had an important meeting, that same delay could be dangerous. Same situation, different outcomes.
School is another example. My outcome post grad has been very different than most. To me, getting a job was the worst. I’d much rather go completely broke chasing a dream, striving to live life on my terms, with my rules, than be tied to a desk wearing a suit. But to my friends, they saw opportunities in the corporate ladder, as they lined up for job fairs I’d skip it because either a) I forgot or b) they interfered with my workout.
And that’s just me. There are plenty of people who think I’m crazy to color so far outside the lines that I bleed onto the other pages. My like three friends are more than happy to work their stable jobs and have weekends off and I love them for that. They are genuinely happy.
I openly talk about how I was a poor student. A couple F’s, some D’s, a couple B’s. The way school is set up didn’t work for me. Some of my classmates soaked up everything and utilized every single extra thing the school offered. They got their 50k worth. I, on the other hand, had a very expensive gym membership. I noticed, being an only child, I learned the best on my own. I didn’t like lectures or study groups or any of that. No one is good or bad, just different.
For me, school had a negative effect. I was depressed, as “the system” told me I sucked because I couldn’t remember the Pythagorean theorem. On the other hand, I felt confident, almost natural, starting my own thing. My only A’s were in my Entrepreneurship class, and my final project was starting a gym. Funny how life comes full circle.
The punch line is that it’s important to make your own decisions. Always. Individuality makes the world go ‘round. And making informed decisions is a combination of looking at the data and the stats, while also applying it to your own situation. When looking at risks, ask yourself what does it mean to you? What outcomes are good for you? What outcomes are bad for you? At 30 with no kids, wife, or student loan debt, my risk tolerance is still high. At 22, in the same situation, it would be through the roof and I would probably have opened 5 gyms now. When I’m 45, say with kids and a wife (ha), my risk tolerance would be on the ground, maybe even in the basement.
The reality is that fitness is something I’ve done since I was 12. It’s in my bones. Opening a second gym, being risky with stuff like this, seems like a natural progression of growth, as I see myself doing nothing else. Contrast that with the 38-year-old executive who spent most of his life working at Bank of America and decides to one day open his own fitness studio. Same situation, different outcomes.
Not saying it can’t be done, but there is a different risk associated between them. The stats show this industry is extremely competitive, studios fail every day, but the jockey is more important than the horse.
Regardless with where you stand with my risk analysis, the one thing that we all can probably agree on is that not taking the time to think about your life, and the direction it’s headed in (based on the decisions you make today), is really the ultimate risk.