Once again I sit down to write and can’t decide what I want to write about. I also can’t decide if I want to write “articles” or “blogs”. And to that end, I’m not even sure what the difference is. Maybe it’ll just be like a blog post that reads like an article or an article that reads like a blog. David suggested I write something about how I built everything I have with GEAR’D Up and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’ll go with that this time!
So here is a list of some of the lessons I’ve learned over the last few years. These lessons pertain to my business with GEAR’D Up, my training and diet, and life in general. Hopefully you can take something out of this and apply it to your own actions. I’m also going to give credit where credit is due because… well, let’s just make that lesson number one:
1) Give credit where credit is due: This applies in many areas. I remember before having Matt Jansen on GEAR’D Up I had to have a Skype meeting with him because a few big-named and well-respected people in the industry (who shall remain nameless) were upset with Matt making social media posts espousing training and dieting info that was basically regurgitated. These big wigs, at one point or another, put out original information and Matt took it and used it as his own without giving credit to the creator. I’m not putting this out there to ruffle feathers. It wasn’t my info, after all. Rather, I want to drive home the idea that most of the info we have in this “sport” is already written. It’s extremely rare that someone comes up with something new; and when they do, rarely is it better.
Another example is John Meadows. John came to me in the very beginning and has backed me ever since. I tell everyone that if it wasn’t for him blessing me with some degree of credibility, there is no way in hell I would be where I am today. After Meadows sponsored the show, everything snowballed, and I owe the man more than I can put into words. Which leads me to the next lesson…
2) Loyalty: I’m not sure If David still thinks loyalty is a man-made disorder invented to give people a reason to turn a blind eye to logic, but I for one believe in loyalty. I am a loyal friend, and I’m loyal in the business world. Using the example I provided above with Meadows, where he goes, I go. Matt Porter is another one. Matt hasn’t done much to help my success per se, but he has always been there when I needed help and I feel very loyal to him. I allow Matt to promote his MPA Supps and Vasoburn, and ask nothing in return. Why? Because I know when I need something, Matt will be there for me, whether that be dieting help, “supp” advice, whatever. He is someone I consider a friend and it goes without saying he has a huge heart. Lastly, David. I’m loyal to David like you wouldn’t believe. David will be my friend for life because he’s the one person who saw something in me and believed in me from the day we met. Even when I was drinking, drugging, and chasing tail all the time, he still believed in me. And instead of telling me how to live my life, he set an example of his own and just stayed around so I could see what he was doing, until I believed that I could do it too. There are many others—Dante Trudel and Joe Binley to name a few. All of these people gained my respect by using their hearts when deciding to back me and GEAR’D Up.
3) IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE, YOU MUST GIVE FIRST: Bodybuilders are selfish motherfuckers. I know because I was one. When I started this it was all about me. I wanted popularity in the sport. I wanted to make money in the sport. I wanted to interview my heroes. But as time passed I paid attention to what the aforementioned people all had in common. They were GIVERS. And they were all successful in doing so. Matt Porter and John Meadows would put out tons of information and not charge for it. Dante created DC training and put it out for free. All of the people I look up to were givers and they gave and gave and gave. And what happened ultimately is that it all came back to them tenfold. At one point I was going to charge a dollar an episode for GEAR’D Up—glad I didn’t! Don’t be selfish if you want to succeed in life. All successful people are givers.
4) TRY, TRY, AND TRY AGAIN: If you’re reading this and want to be successful in bodybuilding, try everything! You can’t be afraid to fail. We have tried several segments on the show. Some have tanked fast; others, like “Who You Crappin?”, are mainstays. Some of the posts I make are friggin’ stupid, others are homeruns. I’ve had a couple sponsors that weren’t the best fit and I took them anyway; now I’m very picky who I allow my baby to be associated with. You have to be willing to take chances.
5) MEET PEOPLE, AND BE RESPECTFUL AND KIND: My wife gets so pissed when I’m taking another trip to another show. All of this right now is ground floor and it’s all coming out of my pocket. There have been times when going to a big national level show may not have been the best for our family, economically speaking. But I believe it has paid off in dividends. Social media provides people with a glimpse into your life. People form opinions of who you are based on your posts and 99.9% of the time they will be wrong in their assumptions. That’s okay. What’s not okay is failing to get your ass out there and shaking hands and kissing babies. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had at shows and people left saying I’m nothing like they thought I’d be. I also make sure that I don’t turn anyone down for a picture, and even if people don’t want to talk to me because they’re nervous, I still go out of my way to at least try to have a conversation with each and every listener of the show. When I went to the Arnold the first time, I tried to get a picture with Shawn Ray and he was a total asshole about it. I don’t want to be that guy. I’m lucky to be enjoying a small amount of popularity in a niche hobby. There is no reason to act conceited or be a dick. When I was at the Arnold I was getting asked for pictures left and right. The people I was with were frustrated because we couldn’t walk twenty feet without me being stopped. I wasn’t frustrated in the least. Of course I had people to see and business to do, but without the people listening to my show and reading this, that business means jack shit. So just be a good human being and not a dick and people will get a better idea of who you are and be left with a lasting impression and a positive memory. Let’s face it, when we are old and gray and laying there waiting on the Reaper to come tap our shoulder, positive memories is all we will have!