…and bullshit walks!”

May 30, 2008          Comments (5)

I recently wrote about how I’m ready to invest a lot of money into my business.

Why invest in someone else when you can invest in yourself?

I used to be really into the stock market. Actually, I still am. But after a while, I realized that as much as I may think I know what’s going on with a company, I have no idea.

I much rather invest in myself. (I’m not saying investing in the market is a bad idea but unless you are going to dedicate the time you should, you are far better off investing in an index fund as opposed to a single company.)

Anyway, investing in myself is scary. I have absolutely no one to blame but me. Am I really going to invest in myself over Sergey Brin or Howard Schultz?

Absolutely! As scary as it is, I am in complete control of what I do with my company. But it takes a lot for me to actually cough up some real money.

I need to be 1000% convinced. I need proof of concept. Anyone who knows me fairly well has heard me say something like, “If I believe in something with all of my heart, the sky is the limit, there is no stopping me!”

I can honestly say that I believe in what I’m doing as much as Howard Schultz believed in his little idea. Words do no justice to express how I feel about what I’m doing and where I intend to take MyBodyTutor.

But it took me a long time to get to where I am today in terms of belief.

So many people are so eager to throw money at anything without even testing it. How do you even know your idea works? I’ve been testing my idea since I first started and I now believe (and am fully convinced) I have something that is ready to be taken to the next level.

I believe the reason why there is a lot of bullshit walking in the business world is because when push comes to shove people don’t truly believe deep down in what they are doing or offering.

Why would you continue to do something you don’t fully believe in?!?!

They say that, “Money talks…

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The expectation paradox

May 28, 2008          Comments (3)

I find it amazing that tickets for Sex and the City have been sold out for weeks already. Groups of girls all across America are planning on seeing it and reliving their Sunday night tradition just one more time.

Here’s the problem though:

Everyone is expecting the world from this movie. Anything less than perfect is going to be a disappointment. But here’s where the paradox comes in. If you don’t promise the world then not as many people will see it.

Hype is a huge marketing ploy. “This is going to be the greatest fight of all time,” or, “The greatest NBA finals of all time,” or, “The funniest movie ever!” Companies and marketers are constantly faced with this challenge – How do I get more people to do what I want them to do. In this case, see a movie.

But the very dangerous problem occurs when you can’t deliver on what you promised. If you promise X, Y, and Z and only deliver X and Y, you’re breaking a promise and are going to disappoint people and make them angry. As they say, satisfied customers tell three friends, angry customers tell 3000.

The expectation paradox is at work all the time:

In the years that Joe Torre led the team, from 1996 to 2007, the Yankees went to the post-season each year and won ten American League East Division titles, six American League pennants, and four World Series titles, in addition to compiling a .605 winning percentage with them. But everyone expected the World Series title so it wasn’t good enough.

When Eliot Spitzer was caught in his scandal it was a media frenzy. Here was a guy who held such high standards for everyone else and insisted that people take responsibility for their conduct, as they should. But that’s exactly the reason why he had to resign. That’s what he built his career on. And that’s exactly why Bill Clinton didn’t. He never made promises like that.

It’s even at work when your boyfriend or husband buys you flowers. If he brings you flowers every Friday and one Friday forgets, you might actually be disappointed. Yet, on the other hand, if he never brings you flowers and out of the blue brings you flowers it’s going to be a lot more special…because you didn’t expect it.

The same thing happened with the Sopranos. People were upset because of the non-ending of the Sopranos. People are always upset when a TV show ends with a big finale, because it never meets the hype, never meets the expectations.

Cut to black. (Once again.)

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What it’s all about

May 23, 2008          Comments (3)

Literally just got this email that I was CC’ed on:

Hey Adam and Marissa,

Adam, thanks for the vacation wishes! Marissa, here’s Adam’s info. Adam, Marissa is my roommate and has a friend (Linda) who may be interested in working with you – I just wanted to give you the heads up. Marissa has been witness to my “life transformations” and is now talking you up as well. 🙂

I swear to God, no matter how big this company gets, emails like this NEVER, EVER get old. And if they do, I will stop doing this immediately because that means I have my head so far up my ass.

And just this past Monday I got this email:

Dear Adam,

I know I have been MIA lately. My apologies up front about that. Since starting your program I have learned to handle situations that come along day to day not only with food, but with simple everyday things that can take away from our motivation and add to our stress. I know I do and feel my best when I eat right and exercise to my heart’s content. However, a few weeks ago, you said something to me that changed my life.

“Don’t do things that make me feel bad. Or if something is making me feel bad, change it.”

At that point, I had been drowning for weeks. Going to the studio everyday and singing nonstop is what I love to do best but I had huge bills as a result of it and it was all piling up before me. Getting home late, not seeing my family. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t feeling like I was making a difference. Not only in my own life, but more importantly in other people’s lives. It was time to change it.

I am about to ask you a favor. I know what I am capable of and I want to do for others what you have done for me. Being a Body Tutor would give me the greatest sense of pride because I feel that I can do it. I have reached so many personal milestones while on your program, I just wish I could help someone else do the same.

Again, emails and comments like this never, ever get old. In fact, I have every nice thing a client has said to me saved on my computer. Whenever, I need some inspiration I spend some time reading through them.

Changing lives and helping people is what it’s all about. This IS why I started this business.

I’ve talked a lot about making a difference and having meaning in my life. When I was working at E&Y, I just didn’t feel like I was making a difference or doing anything meaningful.

And it was killing me because I felt like a waste of space. I had ambition up to the sky, a ton of confidence in myself having started successful businesses in college yet not enough courage to quit my job because I was getting sucked into the system. Until I finally did. And it was the BEST thing I have ever done for myself!

I understand how writing blog posts like this might come across as arrogant. But you also have to understand my point of view.

I know what I offer works. There is not a question or doubt in my mind. (And that’s why I offer a 100% money back guarantee.)

I truly feel an internal pressure to help more people. I feel I have solved an enormous problem. And I want to offer my solution to as many people as possible.

The amazing thing is I have countless emails like this. To tell you the truth, as I’m working on my new website (I’ll tell you more about this next week and why it’s taking so long) one of the parts that is taking so long is organizing the testimonials. I have so many testimonials and emails like this that I feel are very important to share.

Again though, I am in business TO help people. TO help change people’s lives, TO get emails like this. That’s why I left E&Y.

Because when you feel good, you do good. And that’s what I help people do. I help people feel freaking amazing.

And that feels freaking amazing!

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Skip the tough times? Go straight to the top.

May 21, 2008          Comments (0)

I was watching TV the other night and the movie Click was on TV. Maybe I’m a huge softy but it totally ripped me a new one. And it’s a freaking Adam Sandler movie for God’s sake!

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It might change your perspective on life. It’s sort of like a funny movie version of Paulo Coelho’s must read, The Alchemist. Adam Sandler gets this remote that allows him to fast forward parts of his life but he doesn’t get back the time that he skips.

If a situation he doesn’t like arises, he clicks ahead. He winds up skipping through so many parts of his life to become a partner, then a managing partner, then CEO of the company he works at. But while he fast forwards through his life he’s on auto pilot so he doesn’t remember any of the times he’s had with his kids or wife.

When he wakes up and is like 60 years old he is the CEO of the company but he finds that his wife divorced him, his kids are all grown up and all he wants is his life back because he doesn’t remember any of it!

He skipped through all of the challenging parts in his life; the parts where he was working away at becoming a partner. Anything that was uncomfortable for him, he skipped. Unfortunately, he winds up missing so many parts of his life because he can’t control the remote anymore.

I guess the reason why this movie had such a big impact on me is because that’s a huge fear of mine: To just wake up one day and wonder where the hell my life went.

I’ve alluded to this fear here and here.

Because of this fear, I try to live each day to the fullest. To never take anything for granted. To appreciate the highs and lows. To enjoy the challenges that life throws at us. To actually lean into the tough times and embrace them! And most importantly, to never give up on my dreams. Ever.

I always tell my clients to appreciate the challenge of realizing their health and fitness goals. To enjoy the feeling of wanting to quit. To appreciate the annoying noise of the alarm clock. To embrace the cramps they may get while running. To anticipate the burn they will get when they can’t do that last rep. To enjoy saying no to that cookie.

I hate to say it but, no pain – no gain!

That’s all the stuff that makes you feel so incredible when you accomplish things. That’s what makes people so interesting. The tough stuff. The hard stuff.

It’s ALL about the journey…the thrill. It’s the same reason why people who sell a company for hundreds of millions start another company. It’s not for the money. It’s the day to day challenge and the grind and the ups and downs that they love. And pushing themselves to the limit.

If I had the opportunity to be handed my dream MyBodyTutor company, I’d honestly turn it down. It’s the creating part that’s so much fun. The ups and downs. The challenges. The pursuit of making this happen because I know I can. Growing personally and professionally. Evolving as a human being. To become a better person and entrepreneur each and every day.

I find I am, and I believe most people are, drawn to and very interested in people who went through uncomfortable things and challenges and persevered.

That’s what adds character and depth and perspective to someone.

And if you don’t have any of that…that’s pretty, pretty, pretty boring!


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How to get in amazing shape, Rule #2

May 15, 2008          Comments (4)

Continuing with my ‘how to get in amazing shape’ series (Part 1 here), the next rule is something that many of my clients are (delightfully) surprised at. The key isn’t to starve. Actually, that’s exactly what you don’t want to do. Rule #1 is to never let yourself get really hungry.

What you want to try and do is to eat something every 3 – 4 hours.

Think back to the caveman (sorry Geico cavemen!) days.

Back then, there were no supermarkets to get whatever you wanted, whenever you
wanted it. There weren’t bodegas on every corner like here in NYC either.

The caveman didn’t know when his next meal was coming. He only ate when he
made the kill and would literally stuff himself until he couldn’t move! Why? Because
he knew that he might not eat again for days or even weeks!

This made our bodies very bad at processing food. Since our bodies didn’t know
when we were going to eat next, they were forced to revert into something known as
“survival mode”.

Whenever you eat, your digestive system converts most of your food, especially
large amounts of carbs to glucose (blood sugar). It’s a very complex process but
basically anytime we eat we’re in ‘survival mode’.

Because of this our body converts most of the glucose…in conjunction with the
hormone insulin…to fat!

This is why people who constantly starve themselves can gain weight while eating
only one meal per day!

We’d all like to speed up our metabolism. Unfortunately, over thousands and
thousands of years our bodies haven’t changed much from the days of the
caveman. Every time we eat, our bodies are already automatically going to convert
what we eat to fat…even if it’s fat free!

So the million dollar question is, “Adam, how do I change my body from a fat storer
to a fat burner?” It’s all about proper nutrition.

The answer is simply this: 4-5 portion-controlled, balanced meals every 3-4 hours
throughout the day.

By eating this way, you’ll effortlessly speed up your metabolism. Think of this way. If
you have a campfire burning and you don’t add wood to the fire, eventually the
campfire will burn out!

But if you add a little wood every few hours, the campfire will continue to burn. And
burn hot!!! So, as you see, our metabolism is like the fire…never or rarely feed it
and it will slow down. Feed it every few hours and it has no choice but to speed up!

Burn baby. Burn.

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Book Review: Accidental Branding – How ordinary people build extraordinary brands

May 13, 2008          Comments (1)

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of David Vinjamuri’s Accidental Branding. What I really loved about the book is that it’s about the people behind these extraordinary companies and brands.

I find that to be so interesting. The first thing I do when I go to a website or read through a catalog, or a book, or anything for that matter; is to read the ‘about us’ page or to see if they have a blog. I want to know who I’m dealing with and what they’re about.

You’ll meet John Peterman of the legendary J. Peterman catalog; Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.org; Gary Erickson, inventor of the Clif Bar; Myriam Zaoui and Eric Malka, founders of The Art of Shaving stores; “Mother” Gert Boyle of Columbia Sportswear; Julie Aigner-Clark, founder of Baby Einstein; and Roxanne Quimby of Burt’s Bees.

Vinjamuri does an incredible job of getting into the personalities of these entrepreneurs delving into what makes these people tick, what their core motivations are, how they live, what they believe, and so many other fascinating things that you’d be curious about any mega successful entrepreneur.

David defines an accidental brand by the following 3 characteristics:
1. An individual who is not trained in marketing must create the brand.
2. This individual must experience the problem that the brand is solving.
3. The individual must control the brand for at least 10 years.

He also has 6 rules for you to follow to increase your chances of creating an extraordinary brand.

Rule #1 : DO Sweat the small stuff – Every single entrepreneur is a perfectionist. And not just when it comes to the big stuff. It’s also very important to delegate but only to people who are just as detailed oriented as you are and training them to see things as you do.

How do you make that happen? Only hire people who experience the problem your company solves. (And any great company solves a problem.)

Rule #2 : Pick a fight! – You have to create something genuinely new. You can’t just create a me too product. They all took a stand against something. Whether it’s against another company or an entirely new way of doing something. For example, Gary of Clif Bar couldn’t stand to eat another Power Bar.

Rule #3 : Be your own customer – Every one of these people solved a problem they experienced themselves. Enough said.

Rule #4 : Be unnaturally persistent! – Most of the brands in this book took between 10 and 20 years to reach the $20 million mark having had exceptionally slow and humble beginnings. Most people give up or just don’t have the patience to build the company of their dreams. How much do you believe in what you’re doing?

Rule #5 : Build a myth – What David means is to create a story behind your company and why you started it but that doesn’t mean you can just make something up. Consumers are looking for authenticity and consistency in brands.

If you’re an entrepreneur solving your own problem, you do have a story! Why did you start your company? What’s the pain you’re solving?

Rule #6 : Be Faithful – David says, “Stick with the one that brought you to the dance.” Brands constantly forget about the consumers that made them great. They get into trouble when they forget about their core consumers and try to be everything to everyone.

Should I buy this book Adam?

Yes! Without a question. David is an incredible storyteller and if you find yourself very interested in extraordinary entrepreneurs this book is definitely for you. It’s entertaining and very detailed making for a great, interesting and fun read!

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Third Eye Blind and associations

May 9, 2008          Comments (2)

I saw Third Eye Blind last night at this bar type place called Mulcahy’s in Wantagh, Long Island. I’m a big fan of Third Eye Blind and I’ll go see them whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Whenever I listen to 3eb it makes me think of kickin’ it by the pool and lounging on the beach and barbequing and driving with the windows wide open and playing sports. All things I love to do during the summer.

It could be torrentially pouring, snowing or hailing and I can instantly escape to the beach with sand between my toes.

For me, Third Eye Blind = Things I love doing during the summer; the beach, the pool, driving, barbequing, sports = Fun!

What does your company = to people when they think about your company?

In my case, I want MyBodyTutor to = extreme trust, extreme reliability and consistency.

Anyone who has ever had any sort of interaction with my company would have to agree. I don’t give them any other choice.

What do you want people to think about your company? Are you giving them any reason to think otherwise?

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Lessons from the happiest 81 year old waitress I’ve ever met

May 8, 2008          Comments (2)

Last week I was in Florida enjoying the gorgeous weather. We also celebrated my Nanny’s 85th birthday! No birthday celebration in Florida is complete without a visit to Verdi’s which I wrote about last year because I couldn’t get over their singing waitress Adriana.

[This entire story is crazy. I first wrote about Verdi’s on May 6th, 2007 just because I wanted to. Then in late July of 2007, I got an email from Nancy and a comment on this blog from Linda (Adriana’s daughters) about how they came across my story.]

I’ve been writing about happiness lately because I believe that is the point of everything we do. In fact, writing this blog makes me happy whether 1 person reads it or 5000.

I also believe that the pursuit of happiness is flawed. True sustained happiness can only come from with in.

Adriana is one of a kind. Never in my life have I had a waitress that sings while she’s serving, is always smiling, tells hilarious jokes, never misses a beat, goes that extra mile, has a great voice, loves what she does, has faced a ton of adversity, is truly happy and is 81 years old.

She really is incredible. She is a superstar in life.

Adriana instantly remembered me as did Nick and Josephine (the owners of Verdi’s) because of my blog post and I spoke to Adriana a lot more in depth this year about happiness.

She shared 3 things with me that I really liked:

1. Life is too short to be unhappy. Some people choose to be unhappy and only focus on the negative things in their life while others choose to happy and focus on the amazing things in their life. The choice is simple.

2. The best things in life are free. This is so true. If you think about your most enjoyable experiences you’re not thinking about money, clothes and material possessions. Adriana believes that most people don’t realize this. I agree.

3. It’s all in your attitude. Adriana, who should be on Broadway, has been a waitress for 31 years at Verdi’s (I think that’s what she said) and I’m sure she has seen it all. I was a waiter (for only 5 months) and I saw a lot. She says she always tries to out happy someone.

If someone is miserable she’ll kill them with kindness. She won’t ever stoop down to their level. She always laughs at how people go ballistic when they spill something on themselves. It’s only a piece of clothing.

She also told this story of how a little girl told her class that her favorite activity while in Florida was going to Verdi’s and seeing the singing waitress. Adriana, has a lot of fans (myself included, obviously!) as many of the regular customers tell her they go there just to feel good. Her positive attitude is contagious.

Adrianna said making people happy, makes her really happy. It’s a gift she has and she loves every second of it.

I, too, love making people happy and writing this will hopefully make Adriana happy.

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Tuesdays With Gilby: A Play In Three Jokes on How to be Remarkable

May 6, 2008          Comments (2)

(The curtain rises. We’re inside the Home for Retired Funnymen, an assisted-living facility for comics in their sunset years. Sitting in a La-Z-Boy chair, staring out the window at the Catskill Mountains, is Uncle Gilby. He’s wearing a tattered robe and chewing on a cigar. Rushing into Uncle Gilby’s room is nephew, Ben.)

Ben: (out of breath) Uncle Gilby what’s wrong? I got your call and came over immediately.

Uncle Gilby: Ben, my boy, I don’t have much time left. So I’ve decided to let you in on some wisdom-to convey to you the lessons of my life and teach you the three secrets of being remarkable. Listen carefully.

Ben: (surprised and slightly overwhelmed) I’m all ears.

Uncle Gilby: Yes, I’ve noticed that since you were a child, Ben. You know, your cousin Jerry is a very well known plastic surgeon. He does excellent work. He could help. But I digress. Ben, there are three secrets to being remarkable.

Ben: What are they?

Uncle Gilby: A guy walks into a doctor’s office. He says, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” And the doctor says . . . Ben what does the doctor say?

Ben: “Don’t do that.”

Uncle Gilby: Exactly! Now to the next secret. A guy is walking to work one day and right outside his office he sees a penguin. He’s startled, doesn’t know what to do. So he takes the penguin into his boss’s office and asks his boss, “What should I do with this penguin?” The boss looks at him and says, “Take him to the zoo, you idiot!” A few days later, out on the street, the boss runs into the guy and he still has the penguin. The boss is shocked. He looks at the guy and says, “I thought I told you to take the penguin to the zoo!” And the guy looks at his boss and says . . . (a pause as Uncle Gilby waits)

Ben: “I did. But we had such a great time, today I’m taking him to a ball game.”

Uncle Gilby: Precisely! Oh, Ben, I’m so proud.

Ben: Thank you, Uncle Gilby.

Uncle Gilby: Now the last secret. A woman from Ohio is walking in midtown Manhattan. She’s a bit lost. She sees a man carrying a violin case, walks up to him, and asks him, “Excuse me, sir, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The violinist looks at her and says . . .

(not waiting for the prompt) “Practice, practice, practice.”

Uncle Gilby: Right! And those are the secrets to being remarkable.

Ben: Uh, I don’t get it.

Uncle Gilby: Stop doing things that hurt; do what you love. Ignore what authority figures tell you. And most of all . . .

Ben: Practice, practice, practice.

Uncle Gilby: That’s right, Ben. (Uncle Gilby clutches his chest.)

Uncle Gilby: (in a weak voice) You’ve been a great audience . . .

Ben: Uncle Gilby?

Uncle Gilby: (his voice weaker still) Thank you . . . Good night . . .Drive safely.
(The curtain falls.)

(hat tip: Big Moo for inspiring this post)

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