Building the Spartan Mindset

I'm proud to announce that I've decided to share the first section of my Spartan Plan 101 program for free on this blog!  I feel like information should be free!  Not only am I sharing video presentations, but the accompanying written materials will help you level up, and it's all free!  No strings attached, just do me a favor and tell your friends and family. 

Nobody Cares About Your Startup

I had to give a pitch yesterday.  I was invited at the last-minute, and it was hosted at a rambunctious venue, so I expected things to be haphazard.  I was scheduled to deliver a 2-minute pitch; then it was cut to 60-seconds.  The event was at a bar, so the audience was tipsy and mostly inattentive.  It’s a scene I’ve witnessed several times in the startup community.  Some poor sap steps on stage and tries desperately to woo a crowd who couldn’t care less, only this time I was the poor sap.  I was scheduled to go on last, and as other speakers poured their hearts and souls, I noticed the crowd growing less and less interested.  Let's just say it wasn't my favorite public speaking experience, but it highlights something we often forget.  Nobody cares about your startup.  

Look I’m sure your new company is lovely.  You’re going to, “change the world,” but understand that no one loves your baby the way that you do.  Your friends may encourage you, but they don’t spend much time thinking about your pet project.  Even your loyal customers, they aren’t staying up late thinking about your product iteration, and you know what?  That’s just fine!  What happened at that event wasn’t the organizer’s fault.  They fell victim to the same aspect of human psychology that many of us do.  They assumed that other people shared their excitement for the project.  

I get it.  I get it.  You’re trying to hustle.  You know that people don’t care as much as you do, but that’s why you’re always talking about it!  Here’s the thing, if you’re product was so earth-shattering, wouldn’t other people already be talking about it?  Being your own hype man not only makes your company look shabby, but you run the risk of believing your hype.  Being blinded by ego is a business’ kryptonite.  It causes you to ignore market feedback.  If you’re the only one talking about your business for too long, you won’t have a business to speak of.  Focus less on talking about your work and more on working.  

“But what should I do during networking events?” Good question!  Start conversations about shit people want to hear about!  If someone’s genuinely interested in your product, have at it!  But the second you notice they’ve stopped asking questions about your project, stop talking about it.  Nothing kills a conversation faster than a jackass yammering on about himself.  Try asking the other person about their interests.  Maybe you have something in common.  They’re far more likely to remember you because you both enjoy horseback riding than because you droned on about iterating on your newest app feature.  

Passion Project

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted on this blog.  I used to write very regularly here, but for some reason, I just haven’t lately.  South by Southwest is underway in Austin.  I’ve been catching up with friends, and the same question keeps popping up, “How is Spartan Plan?”  It’s an understandable question, given that I recently launched my first course.  I’m proud of my work, but starting a business has had some unintended consequences.  I’ve set expectations, both for my friends and myself.  Spartan Plan was just a blog, now that I have a product it’s business.  Once I started looking at Spartan Plan as a business, it changed how I felt.  It was at that point that the words stopped flowing.  I even considered hiring a ghost writer to produce my essays.  

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around why I haven’t felt like writing.  I guess it’s because of those expectations I set.  There’s nothing wrong with starting a business.  People need to make a living.  I just never saw Spartan Plan as a way of making money until recently.  It was just me sharing my thoughts with the world.  Now I’m supposed to turn it into a brand.  I have to make products.  Increase profits.  Yadda yadda yadda.  I have a lot of ideas swirling around in my head.  Tons of ways to make your lives better!  But I don’t want to focus so hard on the business side of things.  I’d rather treat Spartan Plan like a passion project.  So please forgive me if some of the stuff you see here is a little rough around the edges.  I’m an ordinary guy trying to find his voice.  That can be a little messy. 

So here’s my plan.  I’m going to start posting essays like crazy.  A good friend of mine talks about passion, and how it’s not always fun.  Sometimes passion is just getting it done, even when you don’t want to.  There’s so much I want to share with y’all, and I don’t want profit to get in the way.  Spartan Plan 101 is all about health and wellness, but I cut my teeth as a dating coach.  I have a lot to share in that space.  I currently manage a nationwide team of career coaches.  I know a thing or two about getting your career off of the ground.  I want to talk about that too.  Lastly, I have a personal philosophy I’d like to share with the world.  I don’t see a point in creating different websites for each of these topics.  I’m just going to use Spartan Plan as a single platform for everything I have to offer.  

Normal People Normal Results

Working as a coach means I'm always looking for ways to improve.  I want to be smarter, faster, and more effective.  In constantly training myself to be better, I think it's important to stay cognizant of my ultimate goal, to positively influence 40 thought leaders by 2026.

The trap that most people fall into is creating goals just to create goals.  I've been guilty of it too.  The other day I was pondering the possibility of parenthood in my future, and I thought to myself, "I want to be the best father possible, so I should work now to become that man."  In considering this, I adjusted some of my reprogramming.  Specifically, I decided to stop cursing.  My loved ones know that I swear like a sailor.  I also considered the prospect of dressing formally on a regular basis.  I wanted to be "classy."  

Fast forward to today, and I'm listening to Joe Rogan interview famed powerlifter, Louie Simmons.  Simmons is unapologetically vulgar, and I can't picture the guy in a suit.  And you know what?  He's effective, and I like him!  As I continue listening to the 68-year-old Simmons talk about training techniques, I find myself nodding in agreement.  Then he hits me with a quote that I'll never forget, "Normal people give you normal results."  

I'm a heavily tattooed, former pro wrestler, who likes to drop the occasional f-bomb.  I'm not ordinary, but then again, I get extraordinary results!  In the past year alone, I've helped approximately 1,200 individuals transform their careers.  I've helped over 1,000 men and women find romance.  Countless others have become healthier following Spartan Plan.  I thought about all of this and wondered, do I need to stop using curse words?  Do I need to wear a suit and tie every day?  Are these things required to achieve my objective?  Fuck no.  

Be bold.  Be unapologetic.  Be Spartan.

Spartan Plan Reborn

It's been a minute since I posted here at SpartanPlan.com.  I've spent the past few months exploring myself, and I've learned quite a bit.  I can't wait to share my findings in the blog entries that follow.  I hope that my words will help you live a better life.  I don't pretend to have all of the answers.  This blog is merely my attempt at sharing the lessons I learn throughout my life.  

I should restart this blog by establishing exactly what I mean when I say "Spartan Plan."  Many readers will assume that it's a fitness plan.  While at first glance Spartan Plan has all the trappings of a fad fitness program, it's very different.  I created Spartan Plan to help keep myself physically and mentally healthy regardless of the challenges that life throws at me.  I wanted a plan that was simple and sustainable.  I needed a few simple guidelines that would take the guesswork out of holistic wellness.  

While I intend on exhaustively describing the logic behind each step in Spartan Plan, I want readers to understand that they needn't read too far into each step.  They are obvious to most of us, but few of us actually embody their spirit.  Is it possible to be even healthier if you follow a more granular program?  Sure, but I'm not so confident that complicated regiments are sustainable.  

In my next post I'll start breaking down each piece of Spartan Plan, and explain why it will help you live a better life, but for now, here it is: 

1. Eat only whole foods. 
2. Exercise daily. 
3. Meditate (or pray) daily. 

Minimalism isn't a competition

If you’re familiar with the simple living movement, you likely know about a variety of “minimalists.”  Minimalist has many definitions, but I define it as an individual who focuses only on persons, commitments, and things that are necessary or bring joy.  They don’t waste their limited resources on that which doesn’t bring them value.  

I consider myself a minimalist, but I don’t know exactly how many possessions I own.  I’m sure there had been times when I owned fewer than 100 things, and there had been times when I held a few thousand.  To me, it’s a state of mind--not a checklist.  People who stress about counting their possessions suffer from the same problems as hoarders.  They let acquisition take control of their lives.  

Rather than counting your socks, spend time counting your blessings.  Minimalism is the ultimate first-world problem.  I don’t fault those minimalists who focus intensely on their possessions.  At least, they recognize the problem.  But using minimalism to fill the void left by consumerism is like pouring gasoline on a bonfire.  People often make the mistake of assuming that advertisements create our consumer culture.  Advertisements only capitalize on preexisting insecurities.  Marketers are smart.  They see that most of us are unfulfilled, so they sell us the appearance of a satisfied life.  Strip away the fancy ads, and it’s just stuff.  Some of it will bring value to your life, and some of it won’t.  It’s not the stuff that’s the problem; it’s what we attach to the stuff.  

Priority versus priorities

The other day I was working with a client who asked me to help her map out priorities.  Most of my clients ask for help prioritizing.  They want to know how to allocate best their time so that they can accomplish some tasks.  For me, you can only have one real priority, and it should be specific.  If you’re a job seeker, your priority should be to find employment that utilizes your skills and offers appropriate compensation.  If you’re an athlete, your priority might be to lead your team to a winning season.  

I'm not saying that we can only put our energy towards one thing in life, but there should be a singular focus.  That objective can change over the years, but by spreading ourselves thin, we accomplish nothing.  I see this pattern in struggling businesses.  The company has a small team, but they’ve got big dreams.  They burn the midnight oil to accomplish a set of goals, only to find that they weren’t able to compete with larger organizations who had the bandwidth to outwork them.  Smaller companies tend to beat bigger companies when they focus on a single priority that separates them from the pack.  Individuals are much the same.  

Examine your life.  What is your priority?  If you knew that you only had one year left to leave an indelible mark on society, what would you do?  Maybe you don’t have an answer yet.  That’s okay; you can spend some time thinking about what you want.  Those of you who do know how you’d spend that last year shouldn’t waste a moment.  Write your priority down in a place where you’ll see it daily.  Remind yourself of its importance, and build habits around the priority.  You’ll take occasional breaks from this mission, but it should account for the majority of your time. 

What do you want?

I’ve spent the last 13 years designing the ideal lifestyle.  I’ve tried countless diets, exercise routines, romance strategies, and business plans.  I’ve spent time meditating in the mountains and brokering deals in boardrooms.  Through it all, I’ve made some realizations.  The most important thing I learned is that much of what I’ve spent time on had little to do with what I want from life.  

There’s something special about building a life where you genuinely don’t have to answer to anyone.  I’m not quite there, but that’s where I’m aiming.  For too long I spent time trying to be “well-adjusted” or “successful”, but I was letting other people define my success.  Eventually, I found that success is different for different people.  Language is funny like that.  We use words and assume they mean the same thing to other people, but who’s to say my “happy” is the same as yours?  

In this amorphous peregrination, we call life; people are always looking for something solid to stand on.  We invent words to describe ourselves.  To show that we are different from everyone else.  Minimalist.  Healthy.  Wealthy.  Educated.  These words seem concrete, but they are just comparisons.  Wealthy compared to whom?  I believe that we innately understand that the phrases we use to describe ourselves are just comparing us to each other.  So we strive endlessly to represent those adjectives.  They cease to serve us and instead become prisons of our making.  What if someone is more minimalist than me?  Who am I if I’m not considered educated enough?  One can see how this way of thinking generates unease.  

The key to determining what you want is to take time away from others.  Pause and reflect on the times in your life when you’ve been most happy.  What were you doing?  Determine your definition of the words that describe you, and don’t let it be altered by what other people think.  When you master this, others will notice, and they’ll start to try to be like you.  They’re trying to be like you because they’re still playing the game of comparison, but you’ve escaped your prison.