I write today because I believe in my story. I believe my life is a testimony of the Grace of God. My hope is to inspire you to believe in your story. I desire is that you would step into the fullness of what is already yours by the finished work of the cross. So many people settle for cheap wine when they can have the new wine that has been aged by eternity. You have the whole Kingdom of God inside of you. What you chose to do with it is up to you. To embark on this voyage requires nothing but simple abiding faith. And when you set sails, the adventure of a lifetime begins.
I want to share a part of my life that has given me freedom to be about my fathers business. It has given me the greatest challenges and the greatest rewards. It was, and is a road that allows me to live out my passion, helping people live in victory, inspiring them to greatness and to be exactly who they are in Christ.
This is a story that will help you discover "how to start a business." I want to quickly take you on a journey of how i started a successful fitness business and how God continues to lead me down this path of business. You are going to see the challenges I faced and how I overcame them. When we defeat enemies, we have the ability to instruct others to do the same. We fight battles for generations to come.
There are many of you that are hidden entrepreneurs, business men and women, called to transform society with the kingdom values. You may not believe it yet, but nevertheless you are one. And today, you are going to be released into your destiny.
This is going to be a series of posts on how to start a business. Today we start with the first principal of every successful business man, PASSION.
Right now, there are so many people that are trying to do whatever they can to make a buck. They are basically selling themselves for money. But you aren't called to that. You are designed with a specific set of skills, giftings, talents, and desires. Some say that "you can do whatever you put your mind to." I think that is silly because you can't just do anything. A cat cannot be a tiger no matter how hard she tries. God has made you unique. He has made you for a special purpose. This doesn't mean you are bound to one occupation. I seek not to put you in a box. Rather, I would say that you have within you certain desires and passions. These serve as indicators of what you are "called" to do. Sometimes we get so religious by saying things like "well God, I just want to do your will. I just want to do whatever you want me to do." This comes from a great heart to serve The Lord, but He is more likely saying, "What do you want to do?"
It is scary to believe we have this kind of relationship with God, but He likes it. In His sovereignty, He has made Himself vulnerable to us. We have a God that is our friend, not our dictator.
"I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me." John 15:15
See, most of us still have this separatist, disinterested, esoteric, far away god that just wants to control us. Nothing could be further from the truth. He has made us in His image, not to be controlled, but to be just like Him. He gave us all authority in Christ. We are no longer slaves, but sons and daughters that get the honor of making decisions WITH God. When your hanging out with your friends, do you make them do everything you want to do? Haha don't answer that… Or do you actually have a real relationship, one where you want to do what the other person wants because you love them? This my friend, is a great picture of how our God relates to us.
Passion is something you care deeply about, it is something that moves you. It may even be something you get angry about. Things you hate are indicators that you are called to bring reformation and transformation to that area. For me, I have many. I hate the religious spirit that dominates our churches. I hate the fear that binds people. I HATE deception and love TRUTH. I hate the lies about who God is and who we are. I cry with tears of compassion whenever I think about the lost coming to know God.
So what moves you? When you find those things that can move you to tears, you know you have found your passion. When you can say, "I can do this for the rest of my life without getting paid for it" you have found your passion.
THIS IS WHAT YOU MUST CREATE YOUR BUSINESS, MINISTRY, AND LIFE AROUND.
If you have a business that you are barely interested in, even if your making millions, you will be doing yourself and the world a disservice.
I love what Steve Jobs says, "“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
If your dream is to be the greatest basketball player just to be famous, then you are in for a life of dissatisfaction. Its the kid that is out on the court day in and day out, rain or shine, simply because he loves the sport. That is the person that will put in the endless amount of time it takes to become great at something. Its the girl that has been whipping up dishes like its nobodies business. She cooks because its her mediation, its her way of manifesting the creativity of God. She thrives on inventing new dishes that just rock peoples tastebuds. She is the one that will end up with the prime time show on the cooking channel.
See, we are designed to admire passion. Our innermost being is drawn to those who are real, to those who are congruent, to those that are simply themselves. When we see someone operating in their full identity, it inspires them and it gives them permission to follow their dreams.
This is exactly what I did. When I graduated college, I was hungry to go out into the world and be successful. I was bent on going into the corporate world, and climbing that ladder of "success." Thank you Jesus, I did not waste years of my life going down that road. No condemnation if you have, God can always redeem time. But that was the road I was on until one day, while eating lunch with my dad at a nostalgic airport/restaurant (my dad is a pilot) I came across a table that was giving away free books. The book I picked up was called "Passion." Inside was page after page of peoples success stories in life. Each person's testimony was laced with the same principle. Follow your passion. Men and women told their similar stories of how, for 30 years they had high six figure incomes in the corporate world seemingly living the american dream. They ended up dissatisfied and unhappy. But they came to a place of epiphany, where they realized their calling. They then proceeded to give it all up to follow their childhood dreams of mentoring young children, or becoming teachers, and so on.
As I devoured this manuscript of life wisdom, questions began to stir in my heart. What is my purpose? What am I passionate about? What do I love? After graduating business school with a degree in marketing, I knew I was passionate about business. I nailed that one down. I knew I was going to be involved in some sort of entrepreneurial ventures.
The next question was, "how can I start a business and make a living at my passion?" What can I do that I am completely passionate about, where its not about the money, but its about serving humanity with something I am in love with.
This is where it got fun, I believe when you start asking questions, you get answers. My bible says that "ask and you shall receive." Even before I was walking the road of faith I am now, I got answers.
One day, my personal trainer, the guy I loved and hated, asked me," have you ever thought about being a personal trainer." At first It did not register, I seemingly had no desire to be a trainer. But that question was like an arrow that went straight into my heart. I couldn't get it out of my thoughts. Then, on another random day, I am taking my grandmother to the cell phone store. As I am waiting in line I strike up a conversation with a gentlemen that owned a gym in my town. He began to tell me about becoming a personal trainer and how its such a great industry to be in.
Think God was trying to tell me something? I later found out that I didn't get the corporate job I applied for. I was very dissapointed at first. But I just said to myself, " whatever door He closes, its for a reason. I know the right opportunity will open."
Sure enough, the faithfulness of God always comes through.
By this time, the whole personal training thing had become a dominant thought of mine. I started to realize that fitness has been a passion my whole life. I have spent hours and hours in the gym just because I love it. I loved the way it made me feel. I loved how I connected to God when I hit the weights. I loved the times of meditation I entered through the high intensity workouts. I loved the conquering feeling I would get by pushing my body past my comfort zone.
I began to have "ah ha" moments of how I could use this passion of mine to help people better the world.
My next question was, "how to start a business" as a personal trainer. I began to dream and explore different opportunities. I explored the idea of getting my feet wet in the fitness industry by going and selling personal training for a corporate gym. I interviewed and didn't feel any peace in my spirit about it, so I moved on. My honest to God thought pattern was this, " I don't really want to work my butt off just to have some greedy corporation make all the money." Now, this may not be the greatest motive of heart but Im just being honest.
Serving is a core value of mine but I am not in the business of slaving away to feed the world system of greed. Jesus is all about freedom.
After this interview, I gained greater inspiration to go into business for myself. Even with his ranting of how tough it is to own your own business, and "oh you don't want to be in business for yourself, its so hard." Its a pauper mentality that tries to prevent others from becoming your competition. There is more than enough in the Kingdom of God. An endless supply of resources. Thats how I live my life because its true.
So I came away with two questions. How do I train people myself and how do I start a business so I don't have to "work for the man." The pieces began to fall into place, I finally decided, I was going to start a fitness business!
Now you may think that this worked out all peachy… and well, it did.. lol well not without overcoming fears it didn't. For example, my perception of self was far from being a trainer. I was not a motivator, I wasn't the guy who cheered people on, I didn't see myself as a coach, after all, I was the quite guy on the football team. I just played my part and never really took my place as a leader. So who am I to think I can do this?
These are all lies that the enemy will throw at us to deter us from stepping into our destiny. He would like to skew our vision of God and ourselves, always doubting our abilities, confidence, and self worth. He is the devil, he doesn't play fair. On and on the lies bombarded me, I would compare myself to other fitness businesses and other trainers and say to myself " I can never be like them, they are so energetic, motivated, and so on. I began to feel the condemnation of not measuring up to what it means to be a personal trainer.
This happens to all of us, we have this stupid box in our head of what a trainer looks like, what an evangelist looks like, what a business man looks like, what an apostle, a preacher, or whatever looks like. Instead of being ourselves, we try to put on someone else's armor. That never works out. You are the only you in this world, you will have your own style, your own armor, your own personality.
When you know who you are, you will never want to be anyone else.
Once again, this all brings me back to passion. Passion trumps obstacles. It compels us to go past the fears and doubts. Most of us in life stop because we believe the lies that come our way. But the passion inside of me to serve people, to see their lives transformed through what I have to offer, outweighed the cost. I didn't care if I didn't see myself as a typical trainer, I was going to go after it no matter what. Opening day came and yes, I was scared and nervous. But I stepped past the chicken line for the reward ahead of me was way to powerful to give up now. I had a handful of people to train, I was intimidated but pressed on. 5:00am in the morning we began the warm up, and all of a sudden it was like the real me came out. The irrational fears disappeared and passion took over. I was having fun, I was engaged, time went away, I was in the zone. And best of all, I was serving my clients in the greatest way possible. I was giving them my everything.
I realized that this was I was created for. To coach, to motivate, to lead people to victory. At that phase in life, it looked like personal training. It can take many forms throughout your life, but the core is still the same.
This is what passion has the power to do. Nobody wants to be apart of a business that half heartedly serves you. You are depriving the world if you chose not to follow your passion. It is selfish to not be what you were designed to be. But religion emphasizes duty and discipline without passion, desire, and fun.
That changes today. You are released in the name of Jesus to be who you are.
If you are called to the business realm, you are called to excellence. The only way you will be able to provide a product or service that goes above and beyond the norm is to be in love with what you do. It's how Steve Jobs created such innovative products. He says this,
“We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.
When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
This really exemplifies the passionate heart, not to make money, but to do things with excellence and passion.
My life is a testimony of trust and grace. Following my heart has lead me to some of the greatest adventures in my life and I am just getting started. I believe that Holy Spirit is the greatest leader of all time, He stirs up certain passions within you at the right time to lead you to places of greatness. Trust your heart, trust your instincts, that my friend, is how He guides us.
You should now be clear that you must pursue business opportunities that line up with your passions and desires. This is the only way to be about your Fathers business. Its the only way to true fulfillment. Its the way you will serve humanity, which is our purpose. Don't listen to the lies. Overcome the fears and doubts by focusing on how your passion will serve the world. Its when you realize its not just about you, but about the greater good, you will find the strength to blast through walls.
Above all, realize that the greatest sign of passion was the incarnation. God became dirty ol us so that we would become His righteousness.
In the next post we will talk about how to start a business in a more practical sense. I will expound upon my story of how I followed timeless success principles. After all, success leaves clues, tap into that natural curiosity within and you will find what you are looking for. I will go more into trusting God, because it is purely by His Grace that we are successful. We live not only by our principles and skills but by the spirit of The Lord.
Till next time,
COMMENT if you have questions or would like to suggest a topic for me to write about.