Living Balanced: My Fitness Journey is Making Me a Better Founder
My decision to start my own company came with the decision to create a balanced life for myself. Little did I know that starting Perfrm would be the easier part of this decision. Over the last six months I started a fitness journey with the goal of losing 120 pounds. I also moved back to my home town in December, leaving behind the life I had built over the last five years in the Bay Area. From meeting with VC's at my heaviest weight to adjusting to living in a small town again to balancing every aspect of my life, the lessons I've learned so far are monumental.
In November I flew to Dallas to meet with three VC's. I was no where near prepared for what was coming and felt pretty uncomfortable asking for money at that point. I knew I had a great idea and I had even created a pretty good deck. I didn't feel comfortable in my skin and it was completely obvious to the people I met with. I took my last meeting on a Wednesday afternoon. I met with a entrepreneur, Josh Stramiello, who has now become everything I could ever ask for in a mentor. I started the conversation unsure that the very fit and charismatic 29 year old sitting across from me could see past my appearance. He already had successful companies, was entering negotiations for his first exit and to top it off he was picking apart my deck. I left Dallas feeling somewhat defeated but more than anything feeling like I had something to prove to myself. In doing so I would also prove all these men wrong.
After returning to San Francisco two things were very clear to me. One, I had to start getting social by in and pre sales. Two, to be taken seriously as a founder and CEO, I had to focus on my health. I had two weeks until my move so I made the decision to work on my website and continue working out twice a week with my current trainer. I would lose my website developer and gain four more pounds in the next two weeks. Proof life will happen unless you make things happen. I moved back to my hometown on November 30th and joined two gyms, moved into a shared office space and talked a friend into training with me the next day.
Over the next five months I would learn many lessons that have changed how I perceive business:
1.) The Real World has some very skewed views of Health and Success:
I soon learned that my fitness journey would be about so much more than a number on the scale. I started following health and fitness "influencers" on instagram and there was a common thread that bothered me, Everyone is very concerned about being perceived as FAT! Being fat immediately correlated to being unhealthy. It seemed any woman who wasn't a 0, 2 or 4 wasn't fit enough to be considered healthy. Had the world of high fashion somehow seeped into our real adult world. Well I haven't been a size 6 since I was 21, so if that was considered fat, would the world always see me as fat?
The 0, 2 and 4 rule correlates directly to our societies obsession with the Unicorns of the startup world. I was questioning whether or not I would ever be a Slack or Lyft of the sales world. What I was attempting to build was not meant to fix a functional problem as much as it was meant to fix a toxic culture that wasn't working in any way for any company. Maybe I would never be a size 4 or the slack of sales solutions, but I could be a size 8 and the Thrive Global of sales team solutions. Creating your own version of success and health goals is way more important and fulfilling than following the social expectations that we weigh against ourselves.
2.) Food is exactly like Clients
Yep in my head this makes sense and cents. I really love food and I really love my clients. As I started to launch my pre sale for site membership I also started to work on my relationship with food. Relationships with most clients has come naturally because it's easy to be kind to people. Most people are kind when you are kind. Unlike the people; food and I are not always nice to each other. I'm an emotional eater, food has a part of every failure and success in my life. Changing this relationship has been very similar to dealing with difficult clients.
Before my fitness journey I only saw difficult clients as dollars and put up with their negativity and bad behavior because I would make a sale and it would put money in my pocket. Bad clients are like junk food. Completely energy depleting and unnecessary 99% of the time. Taking on a client that is incredibly difficult takes 10x more work and time than any other client of the same size. I've done the math and it's always time sucking. I made a decision to clear out my leads just like my kitchen of junk. We have complete control over who we have as clients and what we put in our bodies.
3.) Yoga and Coding
Oh why can't all yoga be more like meditation and yin. And why oh why can't coding a website be like graphic design. Someone please come build my app because I want to do that as much as I want to run a 10k. Yep! That is how I feel about things I'm not good at immediately. This very convenient thing has happened in my life up to this point. I was good at almost everything I decided to do. Starting a company up to this point had been like when I started meditating, it was a mental battle to stay focused more than anything else but with minimal practice I was able to enjoy it and master certain aspects with ease. Now I was attempting to do something I had never even thought I would have to do. I wanted to build a tool, a useful tool I thought was very important.
Learning to code and build an app has been and I'm guess will be the most difficult thing I have decided to do for the foreseeable future. It's taught me to shut out the world and really work on something for long lengths of time. I keep improving in very small steps. It doesn't come naturally to me. Similar to vinyasa yoga it's something I'm having to work really hard at to get each "move" exactly right. When you can't hire someone to do it and you know it will make you and your company better, DO IT YOURSELF!
Over the last four months I've launched Perfrm, we're adding content weekly and have over 75 monthly users, 5 enterprise clients and I've lost 41 pounds. It's been an amazing journey so far and it's only just beginning. Working out hasn't just changed my physical appearance, it's taught me to enjoy the process of everything in my life. I have more energy, focus and true joy in my life than I have had at any point in my adult life.
Leave us a comment about how fitness has effected your life and if you'd like to see more blog posts like this one!