We live in a world of "quick starts", "guides" and "career hacks". This article is not one of those. It's a different kind of success story. And a powerful lesson on how to advance in health, fitness and wellness, or any other area.
Secrets of Success.
Tips, tricks and quick formulas.
I am often asked to share this as advice. The inquiries come when I am interviewed on podcasts, speak at conferences and speak to journalists.
Here's what people who want to get ahead in health and fitness – or in almost any other area – want to know:
How did you get into starting a health and fitness website with your buddy?
… To run a $ 200 million company with around 100 team members and over 100,000 customers in 120 countries.
… To advise companies like Apple, Equinox, Nike and Titleist.
… To be selected as one of the brightest / most influential people in the field?
And they really want to know:
What tip, method, and shortcut do you recommend to help others do the same?
As you can probably see, I'm not a huge fan of these types of questions.
I can't blame people for asking.
Finally, I want to learn from the people who have gone before me, from the people who have been as successful as I hope they will be.
But here's the problem:
I could rhyme up a few tips about my morning routine that will enable me to run a business while I have four children. But I don't think they'll matter much unless you're also a father of four and already run a successful business.
Likewise, I don't think it was magical morning routines or growth hacks or tricks and tips that got me on my path to success in the first place.
In fact, I think it was something completely different.
Something that isn't often talked about.
I call it "going down the rabbit hole".
I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was a crisp autumn day.
I was 21 years old, it was my first semester at university and I had an appointment with my very first advisor.
I was ambitious, had big goals, and looked forward to receiving advice on planning my future.
I figured the meeting would go something like this: he listened to me talk about my passions and goals, and he helped me create an academic plan. Maybe even make suggestions for volunteer or internship opportunities.
When I gushed about my love of exercise and nutrition, and what my goal was to have a successful career with professional sports teams, athletes, and exercisers who wanted to eat, exercise, and live better ©, his face was firm.
I was completely unprepared for what he said next:
"That's nice … but that's not much of a career for you. We have to be realistic here. There are too few jobs and the chances of getting one of them are almost zero. You're a smart guy. Why are we reporting Don't you sign up for Pre-Med? Medical school will be a great path for you. "
I went out with my head bowed and pulled the backpack behind me.
Days went by and yes, the fog finally lifted.
I thought … maybe he was wrong. Maybe I needed a second opinion. So I asked around for the next few weeks. Looking for a glimmer of hope.
Almost everyone gave the same advice.
Be sensitive. Become a doctor. Forget that strange obsession with exercise.
I was 21 years old and came from an immigrant family. Who shouldn't I take advice from all these educated people? So I did the responsible, sensible thing. I signed up for Pre-Med and planned my course for medical school.
At the same time, part of me was crazy. Really angry.
Who should tell me what my potential was To crush my dream?
Partly out of defiance, but mainly out of this magnetic point of attraction that I felt for health and fitness, sport and performance, I began to lead a double life.
I scraped together every dollar I had. In the evenings and on weekends I took part in seminars on fitness, nutrition and sports topics. I've read everything I've written articles for free; I volunteered for gyms and sports teams.
Meanwhile, I still expected to go to medical school.
But at some point some strange and interesting avenues opened up.
I found a peer group that was passionate about the things I was interested in. (Surprise: I didn't find them on my 4th year chemistry and physics course.) And I came across formal and informal mentors.
Almost magically, more opportunities emerged, including offers to attend a graduate school in Exercise Science and Nutritional Biochemistry. Invitations to train top athletes. Contracts to write for influential publications.
Even so, after graduating with the Pre-Med degree (and minors in Philosophy and Psychology), turning down Med School's offers was not an easy task. The voices were still in my head. But I did.
And instead of going to med school …
…I fell into the rabbit hole for health, fitness, and nutrition.
Nearly 100,000 Health and Fitness Professionals Certified
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I realized the following:
Before Doctor Berardi, before Precision Nutrition, before I could ever see where this would lead me, I did something that many people found unwise: I followed my passion.
Not because it was part of a master plan. But because everything I've learned about health, fitness, and nutrition made me want to learn more.
Although I haven't quit my job, I haven't stopped dreaming either.
Instead of fighting my own intrinsic motivation, I went with them.
Instead of paddling upriver, I went with the current.
I rode the horses in the direction they were going.
I went down the rabbit hole.
And here I am today.
The hidden costs for a “master plan”.
When it comes to our careers, our relationships, even our health and fitness, we are often taught to plan very strategically.
Whether it's consultants, business consultants, teachers, courses, e-books, blogs, podcasts, well-intentioned parents, or (seemingly) the entire internet, we've learned that we need to plan our path to every step.
("Life hackers" and proponents of "accelerated learning" teach us that we can even skip some of these steps. Bonus!)
So that's what we do.
We create checklists, tap off each item, hurry to finish, and pray that our calculated maneuvering will lead to success or achievement or connection (or whatever we think we need to feel happy).
Unfortunately, this particular approach can be costly.
It could prevent us from having some of the best, brightest, and most unexpectedly rewarding moments in life.
Even worse, it could prevent us from deeply learning and mastering what has been shown to give us satisfaction and meaning, and, if you are a competitive person, a "head start on the competition".
Here's an approach that I like a lot better.
I have found that there is tremendous joy – and surprising, unexpected rewards – in "walking down the rabbit hole."
When you are intensely involved in something that you are really passionate about.
From learning all you can about it.
And from the "all-in".
If there's a formula for the success that most people want, even if they don't already know what it looks like, it could look something like this:
Strong personal mission
System of execution
Personal and professional satisfaction
You will find that there is almost nothing more powerful than someone with you ingrained motivation to do their job plus high skill Plus one Blueprint or system for running every day.
Most people (in any field) only have one or two of these.
In some cases that might be enough.
However, when you have all three you will be amazed at what happens.
It doesn't matter where you start or what career you start in.
It's interesting to note that most of the people up the Precision Nutrition Team started in completely different areas:
- Phil Caravaggio, Co-Founder of Precision Nutrition:
Started as a software developer.
- Curriculum Developer Krista Scott-Dixon:
Started out as a college professor in another field.
- Trainer and Exercise Leader Craig Weller:
Started in the special forces of the Navy.
- Coach and account manager Krista Schaus:
Started out as a cop.
- Trainer Brian St. Pierre:
Started in his father's paint business.
- Customer care specialist Sarah Masi:
Started in a home cleaning business.
Then there are the thousands of Precision Nutrition Certification Graduates.
In the past 6 months I've met:
- Mothers exercising online on maternity leave,
- Graduates fresh out of school ready to do something useful
- Boomers who are coming out of retirement to give back
- Surgeons drop their scalpels and turn to prevention.
- Investment bankers are leaving the financial world and helping others live healthier lives.
Neither of these people would have thought that their future would include working in health and fitness, coaching clients, and making life changes.
But here they are today.
And let's not forget why you are here …
Everyone did something that most people don't.
They went "all in" to learn about their passion.
Even before they quit their day jobs.
Before you decide:
"Yes, this will be my next career!"
They learned everything there was to know out of sheer joy. You spoke to the best experts. You have taken courses and certifications.
They went down the rabbit hole.
And they had a great time doing it.
Then came the unintended, unexpected rewards.
The inevitable ways and possibilities that magically appear; the stuff you may not know about if you are just starting out.
- The satisfaction of learning all there is to know about something that matters to you.
- The deep personal pride that arises when you invest countless hours and finally master the thing.
- The surprising career paths that almost magically open up opportunities that you never knew existed or were never thought to be right for you, and
- The unexpected joy you never thought you could get from work.
However, that's all for later.
For now, all you have to do is start from anywhere.
Take whatever your passion is, what you look forward to, what you hesitate to, whatever your inner voice tells you to explore and …
… explore THAT thing.
Go down the rabbit hole.
You won't be any worse.
Chances are, it will change your life.
What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition
1. “Make yourself comfortable.
You probably already know what that "thing" is. the one who makes you glow and makes you tick.
It's what you can't stop reading and researching about just for fun, even when it's late at night and you know it really is time to go to bed.
It's the thing you can't stop talking about … maybe the thing that you drive your family members crazy about because you just can't shut up.
It's what you're totally fixated on. You can't get enough. You might even say that you are a little bit obsessed.
The thing? Embrace it.
You don't necessarily have to plan a career change or take drastic action. Just give yourself permission to learn, explore, and experiment through the rabbit hole.
2. Look for role models.
Who does what you would like to do? Who inspires or fascinates you?
Pay attention to the people in the field or on a topic that interests you.
Is there some way to learn from them, watch them, talk to them, or ask questions?
Don't just expect them to give you the magic formula. But use every opportunity to observe and learn.
And don't discount people who aren't on Instagram or who get all the attention. Ask yourself: Who else works in this industry? Who else can I learn from?
Throw a wide net. The goal is to observe everything and learn what you can do.
3. Raise your hand.
Look for opportunities to ask questions, get feedback, and learn all you can.
Attend a lecture and take part in the questions and answers.
Write letters to your role models.
Doing things: writing articles, participating in projects, conducting experiments. Do it for free in your spare time. Do it in the name of learning and for the joy of it.
Don't worry about the withdrawal now. Just plant the seeds.
4. Continue your education.
Education doesn't just have to come from traditional school (not that there's anything wrong with that). Nowadays there are numerous options available for almost every industry.
If you ask me, there has never been a better time to learn anything. Courses, books, certifications, master classes … the world is your educational oyster.
The trick: choose educational opportunities from proven locations that you trust and respect. Take your time and do your research.
And after you've signed up, you absolutely have to show up.
And go all in.
If you are or want to be a trainer …
Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes – in ways that are tailored to their unique bodies, preferences, and circumstances – is both an art and a science.
If you want to learn more about both of them, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification. The next group will start shortly.