To be honest, I didn't expect to encounter 90% of what I have experienced this year but I couldn't be more thankful for every opportunity and headache that has come my way.
So what were the most important lessons I have learned in 2014?
Never fear competition, embrace it. In every business, in every job, and in almost every situation, you will come across competition. DC is saturated with fitness facilities. New gyms pop up every day and some might be right around the corner or across the street from you. It is really easy to be successful when you are the only gym in the area, you have success by default. But when more and more facilities open up, you need to be driven to continually improve your product and make your business stand out among the rest. If you fear competition from your neighbors, then you do not have a lot of trust or faith in your product. Use your competitors as a way to continually improve upon your product or service and strive to continually be the best for your business.
Change is scary but adaptation is easy. Not many people like change or embrace it. Most of us are afraid of it in fact. We think we will miss what we have left behind and don't like the uncertainty of a new path. This year I have made some big changes that have impacted my life and none of them were easy. Besides taking a huge risk by opening a new business, I have left a gym that I was a part of for many years. I have been in a waiting period for months now and it is only a matter of weeks before my life will change more than I can even predict. I keep waiting to be afraid and anxious, but I have learned that I will be able to handle whatever comes my way. Change is necessary for growth and while making the change is the hard part, you can easily adapt to your new surroundings and lifestyle. You just have to be open to it.
There will always be haters, let their doubt fuel your fire. Jealousy is human nature and people tend to be jealous of someone else's success. Think about how big and successful CrossFit as a brand is and how many haters and negative comments are out there. Any negative comments I have heard about mine and Rob's abilities have been channeled into fueling my fire to rise above and prove them wrong. It is important to be grateful for those challenges and not stoop to that level. Separate your emotion from your business and don't take everything personally. Like competition, the negative feedback you receive will only make you produce a better product.
Most people are out for themselves, focus on what is best for YOU. Then leave the rest behind. This holds true in all walks of life. Rob and I were lucky enough to get to meet many people this past year who have been involved in 202strong in one way or another. We have also been faced with many choices this past year and have always had to do what is best for 202strong. Essentially, that is our baby, and all parents know they would do anything and everything to do what is best for their child. Everyone else is out for themselves, so you have to be as well. Know what you want and stick to it.
Making mistakes and failing is the only way to learn. If you have never failed, than you have never taken a risk and you will never succeed. Not everything will go your way. You have to put yourself out there and have your idea fail in order to see what works or not. Each failure is another lesson learned. Instead of dwelling upon it, rise above, keep going, and do better. Be open to change, remember adapting to change is easy, making the change is the scary part.
Those are the five biggest lessons I have learned thus far in my one year in the business world. It certainly is a roller coaster ride and has taught me so much on how to make 202strong a huge success. Rob and I love what we do. We are passionate about the product we are going to put out and have a fire lit beneath us to deliver the best product we can each and every day.
I can only imagine what five business lessons I will learn in 2015.