How to approach your fitness like a sales leader

I recently had a text conversation with a friend of mine who was struggling to find the motivation to go to the gym.

He's the VP of Business Development at a software company and over the course of his career has built and led several highly successful sales organizations. At his current company, he's in the midst of building his team from scratch.

So many men that I work with as a personal trainer and who reach out to me with questions are in the same situation professionally as my friend. They're successful in their careers, with many of them leading teams. They are smart, capable men. A lot of them are entrepreneurial.

And for a multitude of reasons, they can't connect the same way with exercise.

Back to my friend, at one in our text message, he jokingly sent back: "Motivate me!!!!!"

Aside from immediately singing the lyrics to the Good Charlotte song in my head, I tried my best to send my friend some encouragement and motivation in a way I knew he would best connect with — through the lens of a sales leader.

I told him to approach his fitness the same way he approaches building his sales teams.

  • Start with the foundation — Every good sales leader has a plan and a process, whether they're starting from the ground floor and building a brand new team, or they've inherited an existing team. They have an idea of what they want their future team to look like, how they want their team to act, and the steps they'll take to get there. They have a roadmap of the action steps it will take for them to be successful as a team.

It's the same for fitness and exercise. Before you do anything else, you need to create an action plan. How will you workout and exercise? Where will you do it? How will you make time for it? What style of exercise will you do (i.e. CrossFit, bodybuilding, endurance, etc.)?

And, just like you might hire sales reps and sales support staff to build your team, consider working out with a friend or hiring a personal trainer to round out your "fitness team."

  • Timeline and measurable goals and milestones — Every sales rep in the world has a monthly and/or quarterly quota, they know how much they need to sell to earn their bonus(es), they know what BANT (or some variation of it) stands for, and they all create pipelines and opportunity stages to assess the likelihood of successfully closing each individual deal. 

Sales reps and sales leaders measure everything.

Sales and fitness are remarkably similar in these ways.

Set a larger goal and break that goal into bite-sized milestones. Want an acronym like BANT? Make it SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). Reward yourself when you hit a milestone or goal, then set new ones. Constantly assess your progress to understand if you're working out and exercising the right way to reach your stated goals.

  • Start doing the actual work — In the business world, sales teams can become paralyzed by inaction. It's the clichéd "paralysis by analysis." If you don't constantly work to improve and get better and outwork your competition by getting out there and doing the work, you'll get beat. Nowhere is this more true than in sales.

With your fitness, get up every day and just go. Don't become paralyzed by trying to create the perfect scenario to get started. Even when you feel tired and you don't want to work on building something that day, have some mental fortitude and force yourself to go.

To this, my friend responded, "But some days, I go to work and phone it in."

Yep. We all do it. But you still go to work and grind on the days when it sucks, because if you don't, you'll either get fired or go out of business.

Do the same with your workouts. Going to the gym or exercising and moving your body, even if you're not 100-percent into it, is still 100 percent better than doing nothing at all.