The Real Barrier to Entry

The Real Barrier to Entry

“Hi, tell me about your gym!” she said. She had just walked in off the street—but our street didn’t have foot traffic. She’d driven across town, found us despite the poor signage and boldly walked up to the front desk.

I was desperate for new clients. But still, I had no idea what to say.

“Well, we’re a CrossFit gym,” I started. “Have you heard of CrossFit?”

“Just heard of it. How does it work?” she asked.

I went into the description of “constantly varied functional movement” and so on.

She looked at her watch. I was losing her.

“Sorry,” I said. “I’m the world’s worst salesman.”

“Well, sell me.” She replied. “I don’t have much time.”

I told her about classes and gave her the rates. Miraculously, she signed up. I was surprised: My usual “sales pitch” took almost an hour and didn’t always result in a new membership. My “short form” bullets of price and schedule were actually successful.

It was my first inkling that maybe my normal “sales pitch” wasn’t the best.


The Hard Truth About the Gym Business


Looking back over the years and data now, I can see that my fear of “sales” might have been the biggest barrier to entry to my gym. I thought I had to convince skeptics with facts and data. What I really had to do was say, “Here’s how I can solve your problem for you.”

When you’re trying to convince someone to do something, you’re selling.

Selling gets a bad reputation because it’s a tool often used for evil. When we think of a “salesperson,” we sometimes think of someone dishonest: a man or woman who wants to trick us. We think of a one-sided deal: a lemon that’s going to break down as soon as we leave the parking lot. We think of a character we don’t want to play: the poorly dressed shyster who’s going to leave town as soon as we write the check.

But if you’re trying to convince someone to join your church, you’re selling belief.

If you’re trying to convince someone to stop doing drugs, you’re selling sobriety.

If you’re trying to change someone’s life through diet and exercise, you have to sell fitness.

The uncomfortable truth in business is this:

If you can’t sell them, you can’t save them.

All that money spent on Facebook advertising? It’s a total waste if you can’t convince them to sign up. Only Zuckerberg benefits.

All that time spent researching advertising, listening to podcasts and even going to gymnastics clinics? A waste of time if you can’t get someone to pay you for your service. Sorry.

All the technical expertise in the world won’t help your business if they won’t pay you for it.

Maybe you should get good at this part.

Maybe you should spend one-tenth as much time learning how to convince people as you do learning how to teach the clean.

Maybe you should get more reps in growing your business and fewer reps in the butterfly pull-up (or arguing about the butterfly pull-up in Facebook groups).

Maybe you should spend twice as much time selling as you do advertising (or, as we teach, 20 times).

Maybe you didn’t think about this when you opened a gym. It’s time to think about it now. Because the stuff that makes you a good coach doesn’t really make you a good business owner. If you’re not training your sales process, the biggest barrier to entry in your gym is you.

We teach the sales process step by step in the Incubator. Then, in Growth Phase, you can have our sales specialist, Jeff Burlingame, train you and your staff to be even better.

Pat Sherwood: The Diabolical Science of Suffering, SEALs and Snatches

Pat Sherwood: The Diabolical Science of Suffering, SEALs and Snatches

Sean (00:00):

Hi everybody. Welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. On today’s episode I speak with six-time CrossFit Games athlete Josh Bridges. Over the years I’ve covered dozens of fitness events all around the world and I’ve seen the best of the best work with coaches to find success. Yet many business owners don’t think coaches can help them. If you want to hit a revenue PR, visit to book a free call and find out how a business coach can help you. Josh Bridges has been one of the most popular CrossFit athletes since making his debut at the Games back in 2011. He is also a former Navy SEAL and father of two young sons. We talk about his career in the military, how he found CrossFit, some of his more memorable moments competing on the tennis-stadium floor in Carson, California, and coffee. Thanks for listening everybody. Josh, how you doing man? Thanks so much for joining me.

Josh (01:01):

Thanks Sean. Thanks for having me on, brother. Appreciate it.

Sean (01:03):

Let’s go back in Josh Bridges’ life. What sports did you play growing up?

Josh (01:08):

Oh man. Everything as a kid. But like organized sports. I played baseball and then soccer, pre-high school. High school hit, I started wrestling and then baseball, did a little cross country just to stay in shape for wrestling, played rugby. Yeah, I mean, but then like, you know, like back on the streets as a kid, you know, roller hockey, basketball, football, everything.

Sean (01:41):

I know you have a pretty extensive wrestling background. What do you think it was about wrestling that hooked you?

Josh (01:47):

You know, I don’t know. I just loved it. It was a love-hate relationship. It’s a sport that is easy to not love. But it’s, you know, if you actually have a little bit of success in it and you realize like it’s just the hardest sport there is. And so, I dunno. I mean, I loved pushing myself and I loved like seeing what I was capable of doing and, you know, so wrestling is just a great sport and it builds a lot of character.

Sean (02:21):

What motivated you to join the Navy?

Josh (02:25):

In the Navy, you know what, at that point in my life, I was a loan officer and so I wasn’t really doing anything competitively. So that was, I think, a big motivation for me. I’d always had this little bit of interest as a kid wanting to like, see if I could push myself through, you know, what I thought at the time, like boot camp, oh, the toughest thing, boot camp, you know, any boot camp. And so, now after, you know, going through college sports and then getting out and not being really like, involved in anything competitively, losing that, you know, like thing that I loved the most was competing. So, you know, a buddy told me about being a Navy SEAL and what it was. I started doing some research and I was like, Oh, this sounds like cool. And it sounds like something pretty fun and something cool that I could, you know, go and try to push myself to do. And so I gave myself a year to train for it and then went in.

Sean (03:24):

What was that experience like going through BUD/S?

Josh (03:29):

Amazing. Awesome. Really fun. You know, BUD/S was, you know, it was a kick in the nuts and it was tough and it was hard, but loved every second of it. You know, enjoyed the process of it and then enjoyed once I, you know, getting through it, you know, and then realizing that Hey, OK, like the confidence you get from it, you know, being like, this is the hardest military training there is out there. And I just went through it. So, it was a lot of fun, though. I mean, you get to shoot guns, you get to run and we get to exercise. It’s tough. It’s hard, but it’s also really cool.

Sean (04:07):

How did going through wrestling prepare you at all for that experience?

Josh (04:14):

Yeah, a lot of people actually ask me, you know, about like that, like, Oh, did you get, you know, your toughness from the military or whatever. And you know, for me, I always go back to wrestling. Wrestling is where I felt like, built my mental toughness from. Wrestling is the most demanding physically and mentally sport there is out there. You can’t have a bad day; if you do have a bad day, you get your ass kicked. So it’s not like a team sport where you can hide in the, you know, in the outfield or you can hide in, you know, and just not be involved in the play where you’re always involved in wrestling. You’re always the person. It’s only you. You have no one to rely on but yourself. And you know, like wrestling is the sport where I feel the most like you can outwork your opponent, right? You might not be the most talented, but if you outwork them, there’s a possibility you can beat these guys. So, yeah, I felt like that really helped lead into to the Navy where, you know, I wanted to be the best for my teammates and you know, never wanted to let them down.

Sean (05:18):

How did that lead you to CrossFit?

Josh (05:22):

So I started CrossFit in 2005, really early January, 2005, and it was from the same guy who actually told me about the Navy and Navy SEALs. You know, interesting story. I told the story a few times, but his name was Mike and he was like, Hey, I’m going to go be a Navy SEAL. And this is how some of those guys train. It’s called CrossFit. And at the time, you know, I was really not doing anything physically. After college wrestling, I kinda like let myself go. I was like, I’m gonna take some time off and get fat and drink beer, you know, eat pizza rolls every night. So, at that point it was like, OK, let me check this out. And like immediately fell in love with it. I was like, wow, this is really fun.

Josh (06:10):

Like, it’s intense, hard workouts, just like wrestling, you can push yourself, it can actually be competitive. Which was weird, like how quickly you realize how it was competitive before it was even a sport. And so, yeah, like that was—so January, 2005, Mike was like, Hey, let’s give it a shot if you want to work out with me. Great. And I was like, OK. And I did. And fell in love with it and used it to train to put myself, you know, get prepare myself for BUD/S.

Sean (06:42):

When did you realize that you wanted to be a competitor in CrossFit?

Josh (06:47):

Pretty early. You know, actually, so I enlisted in January—in March, I’m sorry, March of 2007. And so they had already sent out like the flyer or whatever for the 2007 Games. And I was like, Oh man, they’re actually turning this into a sport that’s really cool.

Josh (07:08):

Or they’re doing a competition. And I used to post my times and scores on the main website and you know, there was like a few people that you would look and see their times to see like how comparable you were with them. And one was like James Fitzgerald, the guy who, you know, won the first CrossFit Games. And so we used to email back and forth and stuff actually, after like, you know, looking at each other’s scores and knowing we were looking at each other’s scores, it was like, oh, we started emailing and talking and you know, and he’s like, yeah, you see that they put out the flyer that they’re going to do the CrossFit Games or a competition out in California. And I was like, Oh, that’d be really fun. Needless to say, I couldn’t go to that one.

Josh (07:53):

And I enlisted in the Navy. My first few years, obviously there was no chance of me being able to compete, you know, going through BUD/S and getting into my first platoon. And, you know, as a new guy in a platoon, you’re doing all the extra work so you’re working even longer than everyone else. And so in 2011 I remember looking at the dates of everything, of the Open, the Regional and the Games. And I realized that my schedule really wasn’t—it wasn’t that bad cause I was actually at home at that point. I wasn’t on a deployment and it was a workup, but our workup schedule just allowed me to compete in 2011. And so I always wanted to compete throughout the years. I just couldn’t. And I had a different goal in mind. And so I was, you know, doing that and then asked my chief and I was like, Hey, I think I want to go try and do this CrossFit Games, you know, they put up this huge prize purse now and it’d be kind of cool if I could do it.

Josh (08:52):

He’s like, well, what’s your Fran time? He knew very little about CrossFit, but he, you know, he knew enough to ask that question and then I was like, Oh, 2:02, and he’s like, OK, you can give it a shot. So that was how I began competing.

Sean (09:11):

what were your expectations when you showed up to the Games in 2011?

Josh (09:15):

I wanted to win. I wanted to win everything. I remember my goal was to win every workout and win the CrossFit Games and, you know. I remember people always ask me like, what’s your goal? I’m like, to win everything, you know, like I set my standards really high. I thought I could do it. You know, I should have won the Open, Dan robbed me. Got 13 times and I put my score on a little too early, you know, won the Regional and I was like feeling really confident and happy and excited for the Games and when the Games showed up, I mean for me, like I don’t even remember having nerves that year. Like I was just like excited to be there, excited to do the competition and excited to be on the floor with a lot of these people that I’d watched their videos and seeing how well they’d done in the previous years past. And for me, I was just like, I know I can beat these guys. I knew I could. And so, obviously Rich, you know, had something else to say about that, but yeah, so it was fun. But my goal was to win it.

Sean (10:15):

You finished second, which was impressive. How did that result motivate you moving forward?

Josh (10:23):

It was a big motivator for me. I remember being like angry, you know, when I got second. I was sitting in the back with I think Rich and Ben and you know, being like, your medal looks so much better than mine does. And I remember like feeling really good and I continued to train and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be at the 2012 CrossFit Games due to I was going on deployment later that year, in 11, I think I left actually in 11 before and so it was supposed to be like a longer deployment. I think it was supposed to be a nine-month deployment that time. So I knew I was not going to be able to compete in the 2012 Games, but I was still continuing to train and like everything was doing great. Numbers were going up and I felt better and you know, then I dislocated my knee in April, so that put a hold on everything.

Sean (11:19):

What was it like having to watch that competition from the sidelines knowing that you were probably the best version of yourself at that point?

Josh (11:27):

Yeah. You know, that was interesting. Well at that point when the Games had come around, I had already injured myself. So it wasn’t really that big of a deal. For me it was just like I actually got to go, I got to come down. Cause I was home obviously at that point. So I injured myself on deployment, came home, flew home, got my surgery and actually when the Games was happening, my second son was being born. And so, I want to say the day that they did the Camp Pendleton triathlon, I was in the hospital watching it online while my kid was, you know, like being born. So that was really cool. And then we had a bunch of family in town and so I got to come, I drove up to LA for a day, just for one day, but you know, got to actually see a little bit of the 2012 Games and then came home.

Josh (12:20):

So, yeah, you know, it was tough. Obviously I wanted to be out there and knowing that you know, if this injury hadn’t happened, you know, who knows what would’ve happened. But, you know, either way it is what it is. And the fact that I came back in less than a year after that, or a little over a year and took seventh in the 13 Games was super—for me, it’s one of the things that I look back on, like damn, I can’t believe I actually did that. Like, it’s a tough thing to do. And that was probably one of the things I’m more proud of.

Sean (12:52):

You had to compete in that Southern California Regional and the California Regional at one of the—it was one of the marquee Regionals in Southern California. What stands out to you about the years that you spent competing in Del Mar against that field?

Josh (13:07):

It was just really fun, you know, and I felt like every year, new guys were coming or it was getting tougher because they kept expanding our region. It was like, Oh, this region isn’t like, I dunno. It’s not tough enough. So we gotta keep making it bigger and bigger and bring more guys in. I want to say the final season, the final Regional season when it was the West, you had all of California, all of the Northwest and then half of Canada and you’re like, this is half a continent. This is insane. And so there were, I want to say it was 16 individual CrossFit Games competitors at that Regional and knowing that only five were getting to go to the CrossFit Games. It’s like, wow, 11 prior CrossFit Games individuals will not be going to the Games this year.

Josh (14:04):

So it was crazy. It was cool. Yeah. I always loved it. I loved the competition. I loved, like Del Mar is just like hands down, you know, besides the actual home Depot Center or whatever—SubHub, you know, besides that is like by far my favorite venue. I mean, it’s an amazing venue. It’s, you know, open, it’s kind of outside, kind of inside. The crowds are so big and so loud and so it was, yeah, it’s a great place to compete.

Sean (14:41):

Dan Bailey once told me that he thought that Regionals were more pressure-packed than the Games. Would you agree with that?

Josh (14:50):

I would agree with it in the sense that it was a qualifier. And so you had—and you knew there was only six events and the fact that if you made one big mistake there was probably a good shot you weren’t going to the Games. So yeah, in that aspect, yes. Personally for me, you know, like whenever I went to the CrossFit Games, I wanted to win it. And so the pressure was there anyways. You know, going through Regionals was always tough and exactly like, you know, I had the year, you know, a year where I stumbled and I didn’t qualify, 15, where you know, I didn’t deserve to be, I wasn’t fit as I should have been. So, but yeah, you know, in a way, definitely more pressure. But for me, I put so much pressure on myself anyways at the CrossFit Games it was pretty similar, you know. And so for me, the Regionals was just a stepping stone to get there, to my ultimate goal.

Sean (15:41):

We’ll let Josh Bridges take a quick break while I tell you about 500-pound deadlifts. To get a big deadlift, you need to follow all the steps in order. It’s a journey. You can’t just step up to a heavy bar every day and pull. Same deal with business. So Chris Cooper has mapped out the exact steps a gym owner must take to level up and eventually reach wealth. All these steps are based on research and data. There’s no guesswork anymore. A Two-Brain mentor can help you analyze your business, figure out where you’re at, then tell you the exact things you need to do to grow. It’s all in the new Two-Brain roadmap available to clients. To find out if working with a mentor is right for you, book a free call at Now, more with Josh Bridges.

Sean (16:30):

You mentioned you make it back to the Games in 2013 after missing in 2012, finish seventh, you win three events including two in the tennis stadium. What was it about that setting that brought the best out in you?

Josh (16:44):

Yeah. I don’t know. I just loved it. I mean, it was amazing. It was at night, the under the lights. You know, hopefully I was in the final heat. You know, there was a couple of times where I wasn’t, but it didn’t even matter. You know, and I think that those, I don’t know if it was so much like where it was at or if it was the workouts that Dave program for those evenings that just really suited me or I just really enjoyed it, it was typically more organic CrossFit and more like grassroots CrossFit. And so I love those, you know, style of workouts and it was just so loud and so packed and you’re like, it was a bowl, right? And you’re like, all the eyes are on you. And it felt a lot like a wrestling match where like, it’s you against these, you know, other athletes, these Goliaths, and you know, I just wanted to prove everyone wrong that, you know, you don’t have to be this big huge guy to be fit. So, it was fun. It was like, I wish, you know, I hope one year it goes back and some these other athletes, these younger athletes get to get to feel that, you know, because it’s nothing—like Madison’s awesome in its own way, but it’s nothing like, you know, that setting.

Sean (17:58):

Yeah. That tennis stadium is something special. After your performance in 2013, how are you feeling about your chances of getting to the podium in the coming years?

Josh (18:09):

Yeah, I felt good, you know, 13, I was happy with where—you know, I wasn’t—obviously at the end of the day I was, I wasn’t happy with seventh, but looking back on it, I was. I knew that if I trained the right way, if I put in the work, I could get back to the podium. And then 14, you know, I mean going into Sunday I was only, I want to say 17 points behind first place, behind Rich. And so, and Mat was like nine points ahead—nine points back. So sitting in third, going into Sunday, I felt really good. I was like, I could win this, you know, like this is, you know, I’m in the podium position. That’s great. But obviously the ultimate goal was to win. So yeah, I felt good about it.

Josh (18:50):

Ended up losing it on the last day, didn’t have a great Sunday. Some events came up that I should have done well at that I struggled at because I didn’t put the right work in like, GHDs. Oh yeah. I didn’t really do a lot of those. And then Sunday morning it’s like, we’re going to do a lot of GHDs and then lunge, and then, yeah, the overhead squat event at the end. And the double Grace just didn’t go the way I wanted them to go. And so, you know, fell back to fourth, in 2014, but, you know, it is what it is. And that was a learning lesson for me. And, I felt like my fitness was there. I knew that I was, you know, I could taste it. I knew that it was reachable again. So that was a good feeling,

Sean (19:34):

You had, I think to me what was one of your most memorable performances in push pull that year. It’s still one of my favorite events of all time. What do you remember about what transpired on the tennis stadium or that night in that event?

Josh (19:48):

Yeah, that event was awesome. It was, I mean, people always ask me, what was one of your favorite events? And obviously that’s one of the first ones that always comes up because it was such a battle and was such a fight. You know, I remember going into that workout being like, man, that was like a lot of weight on those sleds. Like I have no idea how that’s going to go. And we didn’t get to touch it. We didn’t get to feel what it was gonna feel like. So I just remember like being down there and being like, OK, let’s just go. You know, I knew I was going to do well at the handstand push-ups. And I didn’t know how the other guys would hold up with it. So, I loved that the fact that it was strict handstand push-ups, there was no kipping yet, which was amazing.

Josh (20:28):

And so, yeah, it was great. I mean, and then I just remember on that last pull just kind of like, I didn’t come out hot. I just kinda, I wasn’t in the lead for a while. I want to say Ben was in the lead for a little bit and then maybe even Rich. And so I just remember coming off that final handstand push-up quite a bit ahead of everyone and I’m just watching and pulling and I see Rich come down. I’m like, OK, here we go. I know he’s gonna pull the sled a little bit quicker than I am. So I’m literally, I wasn’t even looking at where my sled was at I was looking and watching Rich’s the whole time and just being like, why is his moving? I just kept pulling and pulling, and I wasn’t going to let it go because of some heavy weight. So it was that—the feeling that went through my body after that, like nothing about that celebration was orchestrated. It was just like this pure rush of like adrenaline that like hit me cause I was so fired up. So, yeah, that was such a great moment.

Sean (21:35):

Yeah. It’s still one of my all-time favorite moments in the tennis stadium. You go from taking fourth and then you mentioned failing to qualify in 2015. What was going through your head at the California Regional when you realized, all right, I just took sixth and I’m not going?

Josh (21:49):

Yeah, it was, you know, it was a humbling experience. It was something I needed at the time. Looking back, I kind of I started to rely on like, oh my past accomplishments and not realizing like, Oh, I still need to put the work in. And that was the first year, 15 was the first year where they put the super Regional and, hey, go, go, go lay down, go lay down. Ah, sorry. My dog just wants to be petted. Yeah, I just need pets, man. Go, go, lay down. Go. And so I started to rely on my past accomplishments and really wasn’t putting in the work that I knew I needed to put in. And, I just remember reading an article about someone saying, you know, it was a professional, I think, I want to say it was Jeremy Shockey and I’ve read this quote where he said, you know, “I remember after losing a football game, I went home and ate dirt because I wanted to remember that taste in my mouth.”

Josh (22:49):

And, you know, I kind of had that same feeling. I was like, yeah, all right. I never want to feel like this, like I’m feeling again right now. And someone had a video, I want to say it might’ve been Sevan, of like the moment I actually like looked up at the screen and realized I was in sixth place, and I snapshotted it and I kept it in my phone and I like looked at that picture a lot so I could see like, Hey, remember that feeling right there. And so I don’t think I’ve ever trained as hard as I have—the volume, the work that I put in from 15 to 16. And so yeah, it was, you know, 16 was a fun year. Getting back to the CrossFit Games and going through that season, the Open and the Regional and you know, getting to the Games, I kind of fell short of what I really thought I was capable of doing. I don’t know what happened. But yeah,15 was a good eye-opening experience and it was a great, you know, like for me it was a great motivator.

Sean (23:44):

Yeah. You answered my next question, which was how did that affect, you know, going forward the next two years cause you smashed the Regionals of the next two years in California.

Josh (23:51):

Yeah. It felt good, you know, I mean 16, there was nothing stopping me. I was going to go through any brick wall that was there. 17 felt good, too. 17 was the year of all the dumbbells too, right? Was that the year where the region was all bells I think. Yeah. So yeah, that was fun. It was interesting year and so no, it was great. Yeah. And again, like nothing will teach you more in life than failure. Right. It was a great motivator for me.

Sean (24:23):

Are you done competing?

Josh (24:23):

Never done. Not until the wheels fall off, Sean.

Sean (24:29):

What are your plans moving forward now for competition?

Josh (24:31):

So, yeah. I had two surgeries this year. Knee surgery and elbow surgery and you know, starting to come back, starting to feel good. And so, I’m gonna, you know, make a run at trying to go to the Games again. If I could sneak in this year and get in a late Sanctional, then that’d be awesome. But if not, you know, I’ll move on to 2021.

Sean (24:57):

Let’s say you make it this year. Realistically, what would be your expectations in Madison?

Josh (25:02):

You know, right now, like I think I’m in the stage of my career where like my expectations are—I’m trying to be realistic with myself and so I’m not going to say I don’t want to win cause I do, but, you know, I’m trying to be realistic, especially coming off two surgeries and things like that. So, you know, just getting there would be a big accomplishment for me right now. But I wouldn’t want to go there just to participate. I’d go there and you know, I’d put the effort in and you know, see what happens, but I don’t think I’d have any expectations on myself to be honest.

Sean (25:34):

Your sons are getting old enough now to start to understand what you did during your CrossFit career. What do they think about you as an athlete?

Josh (25:44):

My boys are awesome. They’re great. They’re both athletes themselves. And so, you know, we have to have a lot of discussions when things don’t go the way that they want it to and things like that. And so, but they’re awesome, you know, and I don’t push them out in the gym. They don’t like train with me or anything like that. But sometimes I’ll come out there and there’ll be like their barbell out and stuff like that. I’m like, who let the barbell out? And it was like, Oh, you know, I did. And I’m like, ah, there we go. I like it. I like that, you know, like, it’s cool and it’s been a fun experience. And, they’re starting to realize, yeah, like Dad was a professional athlete.

Josh (26:21):

Oh, Dad was on TV. And my younger one will come out and actually he’ll like, you know, I’ll see him out there and I’ll kinda like come out and kind of watch him without me knowing and he’ll be doing like CrossFit-style workouts where going from like different things to different things and so it’s really cool, but they’re hard. They’re not easy on me, you know, we were at Mayhem, they were like, they were like, like I want to say we came back to Rich’s and we’re watching the video just to see how it looked of the first night, I didn’t do it. It was the dumbbell snatch one. And my oldest looks up and he goes, oh Dad, if your knee wasn’t hurting, you would be out there and you would have kicked their butts. And he goes, but in real life you’re a loser.

Sean (27:04):

Thanks son.

Josh (27:06):

I like it. Keep me on my toes. Good. I appreciate it. No, they’re awesome.

Sean (27:11):

You offer some mental prep courses on your website, What are the main things that people need to know in order to have a strong mental game?

Josh (27:23):

Yeah, that’s tough. I like to give people just like things that I use in certain instances in life where it gets like things get tough and like where it would be easy to be like, Oh, this isn’t worth it. I’m going to give up. Right? And so, I don’t know if you can actually, like—I can’t make you be mentally tough, right? I can give you the things that I have used in my past to help people be mentally tough. And so, you know, that’s kind of what that is. It kind of gives you my story. And then the things that I’ve been taught from other people, right? Like, I mean, one of my favorite things was when an instructor looked at me and he’s like, he brought us into a classroom and we had this great mentor and who was just like lesser men than you. And you know what? The fact that he said lesser men, it didn’t even really matter. He didn’t have to say lesser men, but I think it was more of an impact on us, was lesser men than you’ve come through this programming and gotten through it. Either way you, other men have gotten gone through this program and done it.

Josh (28:26):

Why can’t you? And so for me in my life, that’s something that I’ve always used is like, if someone else could do this, why can’t I do it? And so I think that that’s helped a lot and you know, mentally being like, why do I need to give up? That guy’s not giving up. Why do I gotta quit? That guy’s not quitting. So, you know, for me that’s always been huge. And just and knowing that, and then another thing is knowing that no one can stop time. So whatever it is that you’re doing, whatever moment you’re in, no matter how bad it sucks, how bad you hurt, like it’s going to come to an end. That pain will go away. And whether you’re there or not, if you’d quit or didn’t quit, then you have to deal with those consequences right. With your decision. So, I kind of take that in stride is where it’s like no one can stop time and no one can make me quit. And so if I can use that in life, then that’s great. And so I, you know, that’s like, that’s the kind of stuff that you get on that, you know, mental prep course that I put out there.

Sean (29:32):

What does it mean for someone to be mentally tough?

Josh (29:37):

You know, that’s a great question. It can mean lot of different things. It doesn’t have to be in the physical aspect. It can be in, you know, your everyday life, right? Life’s tough. Life’s hard. It’s not easy. You know, just getting through day to day, it can be a grind sometimes. I mean, there’s a lot of things happen in life. Life’s not challenging. It’s going to knock you down no matter what it is that you’re doing. So, just being able to push when you don’t want to push or getting up and doing the things that you know you have to do, even though you maybe you don’t want to do them, I mean that’s mentally tough. So, there’s a lot of different meanings to it and each person has their own.

Sean (30:18):

How did Good Dudes Coffee come about?

Josh (30:20):

Good Dudes Coffee. Here we go. Very serious talk to let’s talk coffee. So coffee became something of a passion of mine ever since I was in the military. I needed it in the military. I didn’t drink coffee prior to, so when I had to start using it on, you know, using the caffeine to keep myself awake at night and things like that, I was like, OK. And whenever I get into something, it’s like we’re going full throttle, we’re going pro in this, I don’t care what it is, whether coffee or CrossFit or whatever, we’re going to go pro, we’re going to go all the way. And so when I got into coffee, I started looking up, you know, like, Oh, what’s the best coffee? And started ordering that. And then one time, so I’m over in Iraq and I’m in my room and I’m in my trailer. We lived really rough over there, let me tell you. I had a full trailer to myself with wifi. So, I’m ordering coffee offline and like to get shipped over there. And I hit this drop down box and I was like, OK, I can get five, 10, 15 pounds of coffee and then there was this had little print that said green next to one of them. And it was like on the cheap, it was the one of the cheaper sides of it. And I was like, OK, I’ll get that one. And it shows up and it’s unroasted coffee beans. And I was like, what the hell? I’m like, OK, what am I going to do with $150 worth of unroasted coffee beans. Obviously I’m going to buy a roaster, Sean, and I’m going to sit it over—roasting my own coffee in Iraq.

Josh (31:56):

And so that’s exactly what happened. Bought an air roaster, which is like, basically it’s like a popcorn popper that you put your coffee beans in and, you know, fell in love with the passion of coffee at that point and like, thought it was really cool and I enjoyed it. And, later on down the road, you know, like Rich, Dan and myself are in the barn at you know, at Rich Senior’s and we are just coming up with an idea to like, you know, us go do these seminars, or not seminars, but athlete camps where, you know, people get to train with us. And then we’re like, well, what else could we do with Good Dudes? And I was like, well, I’ve always wanted to open up a coffee shop or some sort of coffee, you know, whatever brand or whatever like that. And so that’s really how it started. And then it just kind of, I kind of figured out logistics of it over the past couple of years and finally launched it this year. It’s going great. And yeah, It’s amazing.

Sean (32:52):

Are there plans to possibly open an actual physical brick and mortar location?

Josh (32:58):

So we’re going to launch—so Mayhem is going to be the first actual like Good Dudes Coffee shop and so it’s going to be only Good Dudes Coffee there and it’s going to called Good Dudes Coffee. So yeah, that’s the first location. But yeah, we actually, you know, we want to get in and like, you know, get a location and have like a roaster and everything like that. So yeah, that’s all coming.

Sean (33:24):

Oh, I can’t wait. You will always be remembered not only for your ability on the floor, but also the fire and the passion that you always showed during competition. Where do you think that came from?

Josh (33:38):

I just, I don’t know, to be honest. You know, like, I mean I’ve always been a pretty outwardly emotional guy. Like, I don’t hide my emotions in anything, in any aspect of my life. When it came to wrestling, when it came to other sports, when it came to, you know, just anything. So, it’s just who I was. It was just who I am. Like I’m not, you know, I put myself out there. I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not. And so competing was just something I loved and it, you know, it gets me more fired up than competing in anything. So like, I, you know, my kids beat me in sports and so, cause I know there’s gonna be years down the road where they’re going to beat the crap out of me at a lot of stuff. And so I’m getting my W’s in right now. And it’s just, you know, that emotion just came from years of, you know, hard work and just enjoying it, you know, just enjoying it so much. Like, you know, I love sports. I love all of them. And that fire just comes from within, I don’t know.

Sean (34:45):

Final question. What are you the most proud of when you look back on your career?

Josh (34:52):

That’s a great question. There’s a lot of things I’m proud of, you know, just, the work that I’ve put in, you know, the hard work and the sac— don’t even like to comp sacrifices. I don’t feel like I was sacrificing cause I wasn’t doing anything that I didn’t want to do. Like I loved doing all of it and but yeah, you know, just going out and competing and putting in the work in and enjoying the process and trying to do it right, so I would say that’s the thing I’m most proud of, not at any single like event or anything like that. It’s just the years of sacrifice, or not sacrifice, but the hard work and you know, and so, yeah, probably that.

Sean (35:41):

Josh, I appreciate your time. Best of luck with everything with the kids, with Good Dudes Coffee. Hopefully I’ll be walking into one of those establishments soon.

Josh (35:48):

For sure. Thanks for having me on, Sean, I appreciate it.

Sean (35:49):

I want to thank Josh Bridges once more for taking the time to speak with me. If you want to follow him on Instagram, he is @bridgesj3, and his website is This has been another episode of Two-Brain Radio. If you’re a gym owner and would like to add $5,000 a month in revenue, visit to book a free call. We’ll tell you how a mentor can help you level up fast. Thanks for listening, everybody. I’m Sean Woodland and we’ll see you next time.


Sean (00:05):

Hi everyone and welcome to another edition of Two-Brain Radio with Sean Woodland. Today I talk with current director of media for CrossFit Health Pat Sherwood. Over the last month, I’ve interviewed some truly amazing guests like Stacie Tovar, Tanya Wagner, Adrian Bozman, Chris Hinshaw, Rory Mckernan, and Julie Foucher. If you’ve missed out on this stuff, check out our archives for the best stories from the fitness community, and to avoid FOMO, please subscribe to Two-Brain Radio. I’ve got spectacular guests coming every single week, and speaking of spectacular guests, Pat Sherwood: He has worn just about every hat you can wear in the world of CrossFit. He has been a member of the seminar staff, an analyst on the Update Show, and he still runs his own online affiliate CrossFit Linchpin. We talk about his experience going through BUD/S to become a Navy SEAL, how he got involved in CrossFit, what it was like becoming one of the first members of the media team and what he defines as good programming. Thanks for listening everyone. Pat, thank you so much for doing this, man. How are you?

Pat (01:11):

I’m doing well, Sean. My pleasure. Thanks for having me on board.

Sean (01:14):

Let’s start way back in the life of Pat Sherwood. What sports or athletic endeavors did you pursue when you were younger?

Pat (01:22):

Oh my goodness. I was born with no athletic ability in any way, shape or form. I as a young kid just played a little bit of little league baseball. That was about it. But that was before sports were crazy. I’ve got kids now and sports are crazy. I don’t want to be that old guy that’s like, I don’t think it was the same, but I don’t think it was the same. We just, you know, we got a T-shirt from like Frankie’s pizza and we went down to an old ball field and hit it around. And anyway, now it’s crazy. So I did that. I ran track in high school and in college I didn’t do anything other than just train every day to go into the Navy. So that was about it. But I was never good at any of them.

Sean (02:08):

So before CrossFit and before the Navy, what did fitness look like for you?

Pat (02:12):

Oh man. We used to get after it, we had a Gold’s gym in the town next to mine in high school, we had the high-school crew that would go in, and Monday, Thursday it was chest and tris. Tuesday, Friday back and bis. And then Wednesday and Saturday must’ve been legs and abs and somewhere in there I’d hit the elliptical or maybe the stair machine and thought I would just turn into a ferocious animal.

Sean (02:36):

How’d that work out for you?

Pat (02:38):

I was wonderfully mediocre and I was eating, you know, just a horrific diet at the time that I thought was healthy. So I had isolation movements at low intensity mixed with a poor diet; shocker, like I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted.

Sean (02:55):

You mentioned preparing, ?going into the Navy, but what motivated you to join the Navy and become a SEAL?

Pat (03:00):

I don’t know. I have some military in my family, but like not a huge presence and it was never ever like a thing or talked about or pressure, you know? I just, for whatever reason, even just from the time I was a little kid, I think I knew that I wanted to go in and serve. I don’t know why. Just felt like that was the right thing to do. Probably watched a lot of Chuck Norris Missing in Action movies and too much of the A Team. But I just wanted to go in. And then when I wanted to go in, I just—this was of course pre-internet time, I just started reading books on the different branches of service cause I didn’t know a lot about any of them. And then I learned about special operations community in the various branches.

Pat (03:49):

Started looking into that and figured, well if I’m going to go in I might as well try to do what would appears to be the most challenging. And then I read about the SEALs and BUD/S and I was like, well I guess that’s it. So that was kind of the—that was my simple decision-making tree.

Sean (04:02):

How did you prepare for that?

Pat (04:04):

I prepared OK, but man, if I had a time machine to go back and talk to myself there’s so many things that I would do different, which is cool because I’ll get—people will reach out to me now and I can give them far better advice than I did. But I did just death by volume. I did so much training, you know, those were the days of long slow distance. So I ran every single day. You know, a short run was three miles, a longer run was 11 miles.

Pat (04:37):

There was, you know, mile repeats at the track. There was just going to the pool three to four times a week, putting on swim fins and just finning for 75 minutes. There was, I mean hundreds and hundreds of dead-hang pull-ups and push-ups and flutter kicks mixed in with all the classic, you know, bodybuilding stuff that I said before. And it, you know, it was adequate for sure, but I could have made my life a little easier if I knew then what I know now.

Sean (05:07):

When you get to BUD/S, what was it like going through that training

Pat (05:18):

It was unpleasant. BUD/S was—that’s a great question actually, and it’s tough to articulate. I mean, BUD/S sucks, I mean that’s just the easy way to say it. It really, really, really, really sucks, which is, you know, as somebody who speaks for a living, that’s a great sentence, right? It’s just, they don’t teach you how to be a SEAL in BUD/S. BUD/S is just six to eight months of them trying as hard as they can to get you to quit within the confines of the law. You know, they can’t kill you. They can shoot real bullets at you, but whatever they can do to make you just get in your head, beat you down, to wear you down, to make you question why you’re there. And it’s just a very long time to get kicked in the teeth, you know, half a year or so.

Pat (06:08):

And the cold is such a unique aspect of BUD/S. I mean when in doubt, they can just freeze you. It doesn’t matter. You know, it doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of summer, somebody sticks you in 75-degree water on a summer night, they just keep you in longer. It will still drop your core temperature to the point that you’re jack-hammering and freezing and you go hypothermic. So I mean they have it down to a science, a diabolical science where given this ambient temperature, this temperature of the ocean, we can keep them this long in the water before somebody dies. And so we will pull them out right before that point and have probably had a bunch of quitters before that. And then when we pull these frozen zombies out of the water, you know, roll them around, get sand in every crease and crevice of their body, and then to heat them up, we’ll just put boats on their heads and run them for four miles down the soft sand.

Pat (07:03):

And then when they’re warmed back up and dying, well then we’ll just put them back in the water until the brink of hypothermia, then we’ll pull them back out and run them. And we’ll just do this until people just quit left and right. And so it just sucks, you know? But it’s one of those things where they just have to make sure that the people that graduate training to the best of their ability are those people that, heaven forbid, if they get into a situation down the road, real life, that they won’t quit then. And so it is a very effective selection process, I would say. I didn’t like it.

Sean (07:37):

Given all of that, what are some of the mental tricks or things that you told yourself that allowed you to keep your head during that time and not quit?

Pat (07:46):

Man, I don’t think you can casually want to be a SEAL or fill in the blank, you know, whatever your goal happens to be. So I don’t think you can do that. So for me it was an obsession. It was literally an obsession to a clinically unhealthy point. I mean, it’s all I thought about, all I read about, all I trained for and somewhat of an identity and probably not making it through training would have bestowed upon me a level of shame that I didn’t want to have. And so on top of that, on top of being my life dream, everybody knew that I was there. You know, there’s a peer pressure there, but of course the people who quit had peer pressure also, but for some reason they tapped out. But I also had every now and then in the back of my mind, my grandfather, who was just the coolest dude to ever walk the face of the Earth, he was a Navy vet, World War II, very rarely talked about it, but his ship in World War II got kamikazed, it went down.

Pat (08:47):

They had to abandon ship, the whole nine yards. I mean, like literal, terrible war. And I couldn’t imagine ringing out, seeing my grandfather, who would never hold it against me, ever, you know, would love me the same no matter what. And telling this guy who survived something like that and I’m saying, Hey, you know what? You know, it was just too tough, Gramp, you know, it was really cold and I was tired. And so I decided it was more than I could handle. You know, my life’s not genuinely in danger. No one’s actually shooting at me and I decided to quit. So that was always in the back of my head. And then there was one other thing, you know, it’s kind of like coaching a movement. Like you might give somebody, there might be 10 different cues that you could give, but one hits home with that person and the other nine just fall on deaf ears.

Pat (09:38):

There’s this one thing an instructor said that it hit me like a ton of bricks and this was leading up to hell week. I think hell week was the fifth week. It’s when most people quit. And the week beforehand there was an instructor giving us like a little pep talk, which was rare because usually they don’t care if you quit. And he said, look, here’s the deal. You guys are all sitting here and you know months from now what your graduation date is, which I think was February 27th, 1998, was the day that our class would graduate, which seemed very far away and he’s like, so February 27th, 1998 is coming no matter what. No matter what happens, you can’t stop the hands of time and you are going to be somewhere on February 27th so right now you need to choose where you want to be. Do you want to be standing with your class on graduation day full of all the pride of having endured what we’re about to throw at you, or you can quit and when February 27th comes, you’ll try really hard to act like you don’t know that the rest of your class is standing in their dress uniforms and they sucked it up and had you sucked it up, it would all be over.

Pat (10:49):

And they’re like, he’s like, you know, God forbid you’re not where you want to be on February 27th and I was like, Holy crap. After he said that, I couldn’t imagine that date of the calendar coming and just saying to myself, the time went by, like had I just sucked it up, it would all be over for the rest of my life. And it’s funny, like when you’re there, seconds seemed like hours, like time’s not going by, but now in the blink of an eye, that was 22 years ago, time flies by. So anyway, that one stuck with me.

Sean (11:21):

What did you learn about yourself after not only making it through that entire ordeal, but also from your time serving in the Navy?

Pat (11:28):

I have no idea how I did it. I don’t know if I was in a different phase of my life where I’m just a soft civilian with a couple of kids right now. But I think back, that’s definitely like, how in the name of—how? How did that happen? If there’s a cold rain outside right now, I will push women and children out of the way to go inside.

Pat (11:53):

I cannot stand being wet and cold and maybe it’s cause I went through all that stuff, but I think about just what I endured, and man, I don’t know. I do think it is just, you know me, Sean, I’m a slow, dumb animal. No one has ever described me as you know, a talented athlete or a beautiful mover or technically proficient. But I think I can just grind. I think I can shut my brain off and just suffer. And so I think in an environment like that, I just learned to tap into that place of just enduring the suck and somehow telling yourself that the seconds will tick by, you know, breakfast will come, then lunch will come, then dinner will come, the sun will come up the next day. Even though the night seems really long and really cold, the sun will come up in the morning.

Pat (12:43):

And I dunno, I think I just learned to grind, quite frankly.

Sean (12:47):

What did you do then when you got out of the Navy?

Pat (12:50):

When I got out of the Navy, man, I didn’t know—I got hurt. And that kind of helped that decision for me. I thought I’d be in 20 years and that, that took us a sidetrack, which turned out to be a blessing. But then when I got out, I didn’t really have a back-up plan, you know, cause I barely graduated college with a degree in sociology, which was not a really sought-after resume. Oh, you’ve got a 2.5 in sociology, let me get you a corner office, Sherwood.

Pat (13:23):

So I wasn’t sure what to do. And I had what I felt anyway was a limited skillset. And so I went and worked for a company that now has become a bit infamous, you know, bad press and whatnot, but Blackwater out in North Carolina. So I went down to—I was in Virginia Beach in North Carolina, which is just a few hours, hour-drive away. So I went down and just continued to, you know, do a line of work that involved carrying a firearm for probably the next, at least three years, maybe a little bit more than that. It was three to four years. I was down there with them doing stuff overseas. And then when I figured out I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life, because while it was decent money in overseas contracting, you can’t spend your money if you’re dead. And so I figured out this is not what I want to do long term. And so I got out of that line of work and then that’s when I started to get involved with CrossFit and you know, opening an affiliate and CrossFit HQ and all that kind of good stuff.

Sean (14:30):

How did you find CrossFit?

Pat (14:32):

There was a gentleman by the name of Dave Castro, I think you’ve heard of him. He’s a positive motivational speaker. Dave and I went to BUD/S together back in 1997. Class two and five. So I met Dave in 97 and you know, we went through BUD/S together, graduated together. We both ended up at our first command together at SEAL team four, we were there for years together, hung out together, you know, outside of work became buddies and he’s from the area out in California that HQ was at and he went back out to California and he was always a climber. I think there was some famous climber working out at the original CrossFit and he wanted to go meet that guy and sought out the original CrossFit gym and then just by happenstance, got involved, fell in love with it. And then he called me, I was still on the East Coast. He called me and turned me onto CrossFit, I started doing it for training.

Pat (15:32):

And then when they slowly started having seminars on the East Coast again down in North Carolina, I was asked to like just drive down and volunteer, you know, take out the trash, get coach Nicole coffee or whatnot. And that was kinda how it all started.

Sean (15:46):

What then led you to the seminar staff?

Pat (15:48):

Well through helping out at the level ones, I just, I didn’t screw it up so they just kept giving me a little bit more responsibility and a little bit more and OK try running a group, you ran a group, try this, you know, relatively easy lecture. OK you did that and just did another lecture, another lecture, run more groups. And then little by little that went from volunteer work to part-time independent contractor work to full-time occupation work. So it just kind of baby stepped from one to another.

Sean (16:23):

I’ve asked this of every seminar staff member who’s been on here, Zach Forrest and James Hobart as well, but what is your craziest story from your time in the seminar world?

Pat (16:34):

Oh man, the craziest story. You know, there was one or two times at a physical altercation. Due to a participant not treating a staff member with kindness. Luckily that didn’t occur, but actually one of the craziest ones occurred with James Hobart. I don’t know if this is the same story that Hobart said and he might have already talked about it, but James, I, and several other people, Austin Malleolo was there, were doing a seminar up in Canada. We were doing a lunchtime workout, doing a run. And while we were doing a run, we saw a guy, you know, we’re running through a neighborhood, we saw a guy in his driveway basically physically abusing a woman, kicked her in the chest, and while we were running by. And we’re like, Holy cow. So we went over as good Americans would do, you know, the world’s police. And we decided to take matters into our own hands. And we, you know, let the gentleman know that we didn’t think that that was appropriate behavior and he disagreed with us and you know, a hullabaloo occurred at a small degree and then we went back and you know, the police were involved and whatnot. But that was probably a singularly bizarre, unique experience that occurred during a level one, but overwhelmingly fantastic. But yeah, if you do enough of them and you cross paths with enough people, you’ll see some wacky stuff.

Sean (18:18):

You competed at the CrossFit Games in 2009. A lot of people don’t know that. What was that experience like for you at the ranch?

Pat (18:28):

Man, it was—at the time, I mean, it was great. The short answer is fantastic. At the time, just didn’t really know, it wasn’t obviously what it is now, with the recognition and the pageantry and everything else that goes on. It was still just, even though it was in its third year and it grew each year, it was still just a very gritty, dirty throwdown behind the ranch with nothing fancy going on. And I had no interest in really like competing, like being a competitor because that kinda wasn’t the vibe back then. It was just this fun thing that Hey, if you happen to make it out there, come on out and throw down. And so I went through the qualification process, somehow qualified, so blows my mind, went out there and just had a blast throwing down with my buddies and even a lot of, you know, names that were starting to make themselves something out there in the community at that time.

Pat (19:27):

And you know, Chris Spealler and people like that. And I finished wonderfully, I think middle of the pack, you know, I did not do, you know, I didn’t crush it in any way, shape or form. I think I made it through four workouts and then got cut, and was honestly stoked to get cut, and that was plenty of working out for me. Like, I’m tired, I’m ready to go, you know, grab a hot dog, get in the crowd, cheer for somebody else. But it was a blast and obviously it’s cool just to now knowing what that event has become and the worldwide recognition, it’s cool to at least have somehow been involved in it on the competitor side, even if it was quite some time ago.

Sean (20:12):

You go from seminar staff to the media side of things with CrossFit. How did that whole thing come about?

Pat (20:17):

Oh man. I think it was just right place at the right time. So when that occurred I was starting to get a little burnt out from all the travel with the seminar staff. It’s a rugged schedule. It’s fantastic. But it’s tough. I mean you’re in a different city or country every weekend of the year other than Christmas and New Year. So if you’re full time, that’s 50 trips a year and it could be just going to Perth, Australia, for the weekend, which messes you up for 10 days. And so it’s rugged, and I’ve been traveling basically since I entered the military cause that’s a bunch of travel. Then I did the overseas contract work. So I really started living out of a suitcase and airports when I was 21 and never stopped. So after four or five years on the seminar staff, I’d been traveling almost continuously for 13 to 15 years and I was starting to just, you know, blur.

Pat (21:14):

There are points in time where I wasn’t in any one particular location for more than 10 days for like three years. And so that’s tough to put down roots, tough to have any kind of normalcy. So I kind of let Dave and Nicole know like, Hey, I’m not there yet, but I feel the burnout coming and if it does come that doesn’t benefit anybody. Obviously the participants won’t be getting what they deserve. I won’t be having a good quality of life. And so just putting it out there, if there’s something else, it’d be great. And the company was still, you know, growing, and different departments were still very young. So there wasn’t really a huge media department that I could easily transition to. But there was one starting to emerge. And again, just through good timing, you know, I spoke for a living, so I was comfortable doing that.

Pat (22:01):

I’d done some of the like Zone Chronicle videos, just very low budget Blair Witch Project and I was looking at my phone, which back then that was a lot of media experience and so they kind of offered me the job there in the media department, which was more of a regular commute to work, show up to HQ. You know, if you work for CrossFit, you’ll always travel to some degree. But it was significantly less travel than being full time on the seminar staff. So I accepted that and it was a blast and a heck of a run. You know, I met fine characters like yourself over there.

Sean (22:34):

What were those early days like for you guys covering the emerging sport of the CrossFit Games and not having a ton of experience doing it?

Pat (22:41):

Man, I think potentially ignorance was bliss. Meaning I didn’t know what it took to be a good media professional, so I probably didn’t know what I was doing wrong. So we would just go down there and click on cameras and it was the wild West. And you know, whether the transitions between talking or packages were smooth or professional or whatever it was, we didn’t know, we were just throwing it out there. So it was very, very real, very authentic, very, you know, just off the cuff. And it was again a blast just to be a part of something growing. Every year that went by, we got a better idea of what we were doing or we’d get somebody in that knew what they were doing or give us a little bit of counsel or refresh or professional development and we’d get a little bit better at our craft and a little bit better at our craft. And the graphics got a little bit better until, I mean, you can go back, if I went back and looked at some of our early Update Shows, they would be tough to watch.

Pat (23:45):

I mean it would make me just uncomfortable seeing how many things we were doing wrong or how terrible we were on camera and to where we eventually wound up with such a polished, smooth production that still allowed everyone to be authentically who they were with their personality and delivery but done in a way that still makes a good show and the packages were slick and I mean there was just so much, I mean you well know there was just so much progress that occurred in a relatively small period of time. It was great.

Sean (24:21):

Out of that chaos, like you said, emerged some order. What were some of the things that you did to make sure you were as successful as possible anytime that you were on camera?

Pat (24:31):

Oh man. I would just, you know, peer pressure is an amazing thing, and so especially when I was on the desk with you, Tommy or Rory, each one of you guys pushed me to get better in a different way that you just don’t want to be the weak link in the chain. And so you would just put in monster amounts of preparation because there’s no hiding. If the camera clicks to you and you just stand there like a fence post and everything that you say is wrong and you deliver it poorly and your points aren’t coherent and you don’t know the package that’s coming up like you can’t hide, like it’s very exposing and you, I’ll give you a compliment, you’re so astonishingly good at what you do and it’s obvious because you make it look like it’s not hard.

Pat (25:26):

And that’s the trick right there. You just up there talking and Hey, let’s throw to this package and here’s a break. We come back from the break and catch up on what’s going on. And people at home are like, Oh, that doesn’t look that hard. It’s profoundly hard. I’ve had to host every now and then and it’s absurdly hard. So I knew that you were going to be squared away. I knew that Rory was going to be handsome and so I had to make sure my makeup was right and my hair was done because you don’t want to look ugly next to Rory. I look ugly and short next to Rory. So I was screwed there. And then Tommy is just an idiot savant with Games knowledge and facts and what color was so and so’s shoelaces in 2010, he just had all of that stuff on the tip of his tongue that you knew if you didn’t have your facts straight you were going to look not good cause he was going to have his facts straight. So it was just the crew that we had. I mean everybody that was there on the desk was ready, rockin, squared away and so help you God, you better have your ducks in a row.

Sean (26:30):

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Pat (27:33):

Oh man. You know, just to let the listeners at home know, you know, before we started recording this, we were talking about Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm. And I kind of feel like a lot of my media stuff was Larry David-esque nature, and what I mean by that is people would die and kill to get on camera, right, in front of that big audience. And in a funny way, I’m actually relatively introverted, believe it or not, and I don’t like being the center of attention. With my small group of people that are my close friends, yeah, I’ll open up, we’ll be silly and cut it up. But like if I’m at some big party with a bunch of people that I don’t know, I’m in a living hell, and absolute living hell, I just want to run away. And so being on camera in front of thousands of people, like I never ever sought it out.

Pat (28:30):

Not by a long shot, but for some crazy reason people kept putting me in front of large audiences. I don’t know why, I never asked for it. And they’re like, now you’re on ESPN. And I’m like, ah, all right, I guess. And you know TV networks as well. And again, it’s just funny because yeah, it’s almost like Larry David when he’s writing Seinfeld, he kept hoping that the show would get canceled so he wouldn’t have to go to work anymore. It’s like, cause some of that stuff, it’s just funny because I would’ve never sought it out, but I just kept getting these opportunities and I guess we kept doing well so they kept growing and you know, for me, you know, you were there as well. For me getting on ESPN or you know, one of the television networks. It has a cool factor, right? So it has a cool factor but it wasn’t any different to me than anything else cause it’s still just the black circular lens of the camera, you know, and you don’t know, are there seven uninterested viewers at home watching or are there 7 million, you know, it’s still the camera. So I just tried to always, I tried to not let it get into my head, the size of the audience, cause then I didn’t want to just, you know, freeze up on camera, do something. But I had a definite appreciation and gratitude for the experience for the opportunity. And I can tell you a story to make fun of myself, which was I think the first time that we were on ESPN, we were at the StubHub or I guess it was the Home Depot Center then at the Games, and we’re having a production meeting in the morning before we go on, we’re going through the rundown, which I didn’t even know what a rundown was at that point in time.

Pat (30:17):

And there’s all this, you know, these are all professionals and so you know, you’re going through this multiple-page rundown and they have everything abbreviated in shorthand. I don’t know what any of it means. And something goes to me and again, I don’t want to look like the idiot on camera. So next to it it says this one word all together. HILITES. I didn’t know I didn’t have any coffee in the morning. I was looking at it, but in front of, I don’t know, 30 people there that were doing it forever, I’m like putting my hand up like quick question, you know, line item 41 throws to me and it says that I’m on the hell-eet-ees, and what are hell-eet-ees? Whoever was running it was very kind instead of just, you know, stomping me into the ground. Said that says highlights. Ah, the highlights. Luckily I just identified myself as a veteran professional in this room.

Pat (31:17):

I’m sure that meeting ended people were like, is this the guy we’re putting on? Do we have anybody else for when he freezes up that we can stick on there in a commercial break? Time’s gone by, my friend.

Sean (31:31):

One of the things that you did during your time with the media team that I thought was fantastic was that road trip through South America. How did the idea for that come about?

Pat (31:37):

Wow. Yeah, that was 2013 I want to say. You know, I was talking to Ian Wittenberg and we were both into motorcycles and we loved Latin America and Spanish. He’s obviously a filmmaker. And I’d done some seminars down there and I knew that the emerging CrossFit community culture in Latin America, it was phenomenal. And it was strong and passionate and full of enthusiasm. And I felt like it needed to be highlighted more. And at that time, I think I had also watched The Long Way Around with, you would know this, the guy who played in Star Wars, McGregor—

Sean (32:19):

Ewan McGregor?

Pat (32:19):

Yes. You know, he did a motorcycle trip, like around the world. He’s a millionaire so he could pull it off. And it was amazing. And he documented his adventures and I was so envious of—I wanted to have an adventure like that, but I’m not a millionaire. And I was like, you know what? What if we did it for a work trip? This is so crazy. What if we get two guys on motorcycles, minimal gear, and we drove from basically a road from the Canadian border all the way down through the US down through Mexico, down through Central America to the bottom of South America, popping into affiliates along the way, telling the stories. And you know, when I presented this, it had all that and I said, there’s just no way that you’re going to ride a motorcycle 13,000 miles and not have 57 things go wrong. Like so there will be unscripted adventure and action and heartbreak and comedy all mixed in with telling the story of Latin American affiliates that inevitably when myself and Ian get into trouble, those are the guys we’re going to call.

Pat (33:25):

So like there’s going to be this real thing happening and it somehow got approved. To this day I shake my head. I don’t know how I was paid to do that for a job for four months, but it was one of the richest, most rewarding, fulfilling experiences of my life, and that’s no exaggeration, it was through all these places in the world that the news would tell you not to ride through and don’t you dare do that and you’re going to meet these bandits and terrible people, and don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of danger and dangerous areas, but no matter where we were and no matter what country we were in, the overwhelming majority of the time the people that we met were so giving and open and welcoming and friendly that it just, again, it made me feel good about humanity again. It was awesome.

Sean (34:25):

You also started CrossFit Linchpin while you were on the media team. Why did you decide to go down that road?

Pat (34:31):

Man, I started Linchpin—I love programming. Always have, there’s the quick answer. Absolutely adore programming. I don’t know why, but it makes me happy. And I was always posting on my personal Instagram the workouts that I did, which was just something written on a dry erase board, like very low production value and it was gaining a very good following. So it must’ve been because they were good workouts, cause I don’t think they would gain a following if they were bad workouts, and people started to enjoy them more and more. I started to post more and more and then since I was programming for myself anyway, and posting anyway I figured why not affiliate my garage and then at least post these workouts through what would be my garage affiliate.

Pat (35:23):

And so I just decided to affiliate my garage and continue with the same posting and programming that I was doing but now do it through an affiliate. I didn’t know, maybe down the road I’d want to you know, open a bigger one and have clients. It’s nice to always have that opportunity. But in the meantime I could have the garage affiliate. So I just pulled the trigger on that. And it turned out to be a really good decision. It’sman absolute blast.

Sean (35:46):

One of the most popular things that you would post was the monster mash. How did that get started?

Pat (35:51):

Good Lord. I mean it started because people are crazy. People are crazy and even though they don’t say it, they love to suffer. People love to suffer. I don’t understand it, Sean. And that started with, again, back at CrossFit HQ with a few of our knucklehead friends, Heber Cannon, a young filmmaker in desperate need of a proper haircut.

Pat (36:19):

Marston Sawyers and Tommy Marquez and they were all competitive against one another. They’d all been doing CrossFit for a decent amount of time, so they had some capacity, and once a week they would, they would program something and want to throw down to see who is who in the zoo and who is the top dog. But obviously if you program for yourself, even if you’re very unbiased, you’re going to tilt it a little bit towards what you like, you know, chances are you wouldn’t program a 5k in something that you were doing.

Sean (36:45):


Pat (36:45):

And so they trusted my abilities and they eventually said, well, will you program this for us once a week, so I said sure. And it was three workouts they hopefully could accomplish within the course of an hour and you know, varied each week but try to be unbiased and cover a broad range of movements and time domains and rep ranges and loadings and capacities.

Pat (37:09):

And then at the end of it they could kind of look each other squarely in the eye and say, I got you today, I’m the best today. And I started posting those on my personal Instagram as well and they were wildly popular. And so that got transferred over to Linchpin as well. And the term monster mash, I’m sure it exists in various places, but that was also something back to the SEALs, which was every Friday we would normally have a monster mash and a monster mash was just, you know, we’d work out PT every day, but whenever a monster mash came up, it was a particularly grueling, long, miserable PT session. And so I thought that was a very fitting name for these workouts. And then doing them on Monday had the added alliteration and there you go.

Sean (37:57):

What do you define as good programming?

Pat (38:02):

Ooh, good programming—good programming, it obviously increases your fitness, work capacity across broad time and modal domains. It obviously increases your fitness and fitness is obviously not just your engine. Fitness is not just your deadlift went up, your back squat went up. It’s also your body-weight stuff, so it moves the needle forward on all of those things simultaneously. It does so at a pace and frequency that pushes the athlete just hard enough and challenges them just hard enough to get the adaptation from the workout because that’s what you do, right? Like you stress the system, the system recovers for a bit and it adapts. You stress the system, recover and adapt. So you have to stress the system, but good programming stresses it enough to get the adaptation and allow them to recover; to come back in the next day, the next week and hit it again with intensity without overstressing the system, which might lead to some short-term gains but then doesn’t allow for adequate recovery.

Pat (39:14):

Hence it does not permit long-term gains in any way, shape or form and overstressing the system could be potentially injurious to shoulders, knees, backs, things of that nature, which you don’t want, but then overstressing the system and the athlete also could have the potential negative effect of what happens between the years. Now this athlete’s overtrained, they’re tired all the time, their muscles ache, working out doesn’t seem fun anymore. I don’t want to go into the gym. You don’t go into the gym as frequently, now you start to backslide and when you do go into the gym you’re not fired up so maybe you don’t or can’t bring the intensity that you should because the programming was improper. Now you’re backsliding. So good programming, while obviously covering all of the facets you would have to, like I mentioned before, of loadings, rep ranges, time domains, the way that the body and the external object move from pulling off the ground to below parallel to overhead to various planes of movement, like all of those things going together but then have to go together in this beautiful symphony that’s just enough to get what you want and keep the athlete healthy and happy and not too much because bad things happen. But then it can’t be too little because then all you’re doing is delaying progress as well. So I know this is a very long convoluted answer, but good programming has to take—or maybe you could say that’s great programming, but it has to take all those things into consideration, which is why I think there’s far more that goes into it than most people realize. It’s not as simple as, well, yesterday we went below parallel, so today we’re not going to. OK, true. That could potentially be a good place to start, but there’s 500 other facets that have to get taken into and a whole bunch of big-picture stuff and then a whole bunch of nuanced items as well that I think separate what people can do and sustain for a week, a month, or can you do it for a decade and be still hitting PRs and feeling great. So that’s my really short, concise answer.

Sean (41:28):

Along those lines, what makes someone good at programming?

Pat (41:31):

Oh boy. I get this question a lot. I don’t exactly know and here’s the only reason I’m going to say that. You have to have a baseline competent technical knowledge of how the human body works, of all those various different pieces and components that I mentioned a second ago that have to be taken into consideration. You have to understand how those interplay with each other, how much is too much, how much is a little bit. But then after you get all of that, you could have all of that basic knowledge, which potentially you could get from a book or an article or a website. But that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be a good programmer, because there is, you know, what’s the phrase, like it takes 10 years to become an overnight success? Like you know, 10 years of experience takes 10 years.

Pat (42:32):

So, OK, great. You read all that stuff, fantastic. But now, even though you have that knowledge, you have to start to apply it to different groups of masses of people and what you think might happen may not happen when you have real, live human subjects. And you might find out that what seemed like it was too little is actually too much or vice versa or this isn’t enough rest or this was too much rest or fill in the blank. So even once you get that technical knowledge between your ears, you have to then begin programming. And that’s how you can become a good programmer is you have to begin programming and you’re going to be a beginner, or novice programmer that makes a fair amount of errors for a very long time. There’s no escaping the novice programmer phase and it doesn’t last a month.

Pat (43:20):

It lasts a very long time. And then you don’t jump to expert, then you barely squeak into intermediate and you’re there for years. And then you get glimpses of being an expert and then you still screw up every now and then and little by little you just gain—again, you can’t buy experience. So you have to have all that technical knowledge and then you just have to do it for a very, very, very long time to become profoundly good at it. And some people love it and some people hate it. I think I’m just lucky in the fact that I really enjoy it.

Sean (43:51):

What is your current role with CrossFit Health?

Pat (43:53):

So my title is media manager, but what occupies the overwhelming majority of my time is once every four days on you will see a video of an older individual or a, you know, an individual that doesn’t appear to be in your classic ripped, shredded 10-pack abs, you know, shape, be it physically or the age range is greater than we normally see, in a living room set, working out with milk jugs or whatever it happens to be.

Pat (44:28):

So I’m in charge of creating that content. So there’s a never-ending every four days for perpetuity, there has to be a video up there. So I’m regularly flying down to HQ, setting up filmings, putting the athletes through that stuff, making sure that it gets edited, uploaded, all that good stuff. And then on top of doing that, you know, we have, you know, one day to two day courses which occur for physicians that have attended the MD L1 course and hold that credential. They all come back to CrossFit HQ for a series of speakers involving you know, how you should eat, good science versus bad science. All kinds of fascinating things that occur. There’s a lot of networking interaction that takes place with that. And so I’m intermingled with all those physicians and speakers and helping those events be successful as well. And just whatever miscellaneous stuff crosses my inbox.

Sean (45:24):

Sorry to interrupt, but you mentioned the doctors who come through that level one seminar. What’s the reaction you get from them after they’ve gone through that for the first time?

Pat (45:34):

The docs are great. They really are. They are just as fired up and you know, most of them that come through are, they’ve already bought into the fact that doing functional movements with variance and intensity, that’s the way that you get fit and eating unprocessed foods. That’s the way to long-term health. So it is great to see an orthopedic surgeon or you know, fill in the blank, your favorite specialty that understands deadlifting and squatting aren’t actually bad for your back and knees. They’re a physician who will be telling you this is what you should be doing to keep your body healthy long term. So that is such a breath of fresh air. And it’s very interesting, you know, I feel very lucky to get to interact with these individuals so regularly and hear their stories and maybe some of their frustrations that they’re dealing, with potentially their hospital administration or the old guard that’s in there, still not on board and thinks that if you deadlift, you’re going to blow your back out. And you know, blahbity blahbity blah. So it’s interesting to see this new upcoming wave of people entering the medical community, which hopefully will slowly start to take over and we’ll be getting not only the treatment that you would like to get at a hospital if you happen to break your bone, they put it back together, but then when they say, Hey, what should I do for physical therapy and how should I eat, move? They’ll be giving you some pretty darn solid advice.

Sean (47:04):

This is a question I asked to Julie Foucher and I’m curious to get your reaction on it, but it always seems that whenever we talk about health care, especially in the United States, the part that gets left out is personal accountability. Why do you think that’s not part of the bigger conversation right now?

Pat (47:21):

Personal responsibility in the age of Instagram and the Kardashians. I mean personal responsibility is something gentleman of our age talk about, Sean, we say what’s happening in America right now? I agree. I think you nailed it. I don’t know. We could have a very long conversation about this. I don’t know when personal responsibility just fell to the wayside and I think it’s mixed in with far too many people wanting to hit the easy button on something that you can’t hit the easy button on. A pharmaceutical intervention of taking some sort of pill that will supposedly do something to your health is a lot easier to do than a lifestyle modification. It’s far easier to just eat what you’re normally eating, sit in the couch and just pop the pill and hope for the best than to say all these delicious, tasty foods that I’ve become accustomed to eating for decades, I now will have the mental fortitude to never eat them. You have to work hard. There’s going to be some sweat pouring down your face and your lungs are going to be going and there’s going to be some muscular discomfort. To some degree, it’s not a pleasurable experience in the moment, but the results that you get from that hard work are increased health and wellness. So you’ve got to make difficult choices with food, which is as addictive as any other drug. And then you need to make a choice to not sit on your relaxing couch and watch Netflix, but get up and put yourself through an uncomfortable scenario more often than you don’t. And I think—I don’t know what it is. And in today’s culture they’re like, can I just take a pill instead? And they’ve been told by plenty of people and advertising that yes, you absolutely can.

Pat (49:13):

So go ahead and pop that pill. And I think, hopefully we’re starting to turn the tide and let people know that, A you haven’t been told the whole story. B, it’s not as effective as you hoped that it would be. And C, some good old fashioned hard work works just as well as your grandparents knew that it did.

Sean (49:30):

Your latest job now is fatherhood. What has that taught you?

Pat (49:35):

Oh man. Fatherhood is—so I’m the stepdad to two amazing boys and they are absolutely phenomenal and I’ve been in their lives for about five or six years now. They’re eight and 10 and they are absolutely the coolest thing in my entire life. My everything, hands down. And it’s taught me that I wish they’d came into my life a whole lot sooner, first and foremost. But then it has taught me patience to a degree that I just didn’t have before.

Pat (50:14):

You know, you just have to be patient with kids. And it really has made me a better man for sure because it has made me more self-aware. I reflect more and pay far more attention now to my behavior, to how I’m conducting myself to the words that I use because they’re also a little sponges. And so if they see me not working out and you know, stuffing Junior Mints into my face and washing it down with a Mountain Dew and just sitting on the couch and watching Netflix, that’s going to be what gets into their brain versus do they see me making better decisions? Do they see me going out into the garage and working out? Do they see me reading a book more than watching Netflix? Like all of these little things mold these little pieces of clay into something. So that is a profound responsibility and an honor as far as I’m concerned. And then the other part about kids, which is so cool is that they think work is stupid.

Pat (51:15):

Which is awesome, because by my nature, I’m a workaholic and I could just be at my computer or immersed in something. I like to be busy. I like to be productive, so I could work myself to an early grave. And it’s good to have these two little crazy people that sanity check me that wander into my office at five and they’re like, are you still working? And I’m like, Oh yeah, I got something I could, you know, I could finish up real quick. And they’re like, you said you’d be done at five. It’s five isn’t it? And I was like, you know what? It is five, so let’s pause the computer and let’s go throw the ball around. And that’s, I needed that in my life, you know? So they have given me probably far more than I have given them. They’re awesome, man.

Sean (51:58):

Throughout your kind of time at CrossFit, it’s been like, OK, I want to do this and I’m moving here and I’m doing this and now it seems like you’re settled. What’s that feeling like for you right now?

Pat (52:10):

Settled is great. So I’m 44 now and I just think I was a very late bloomer in life. Just you know, so like I said, had these kids in my life and done this stuff for probably the last five or six years, which means I didn’t really settle and have some sort of sense of normalcy until I was 38, 39 years old. Most of my time before that was, you know, bouncing around the planet and living out of a suitcase and all that and you know, being solo. So going back home at night and to an empty house and you just got nothing to do so you just, you know, watch Seinfeld until you fall asleep after four hours and now life is—I can’t imagine, I had no idea that life could be this hectic and crazy and there’s just kids going in different directions with school and sports and I got to hop on a plane and fly somewhere and my wife has something going on and you get them to their friends appointments and so-and-so is going to the dentist.

Pat (53:12):

I mean it is nonstop burning the candle at both ends from the time I get up to the time I go to bed. But with that being said, all that craziness and hecticness comes a life that is full, like it’s full of people who you love and they love you and it’s full of experiences and it’s full of laughter and that chaoticness, well that’s life and it’s a household full of life and so I mean I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Life is busier and more crazy than it’s ever been, but at the same time better than it’s ever been and the two are definitely linked.

Sean (53:50):

Well listen man, I appreciate you taking the time to do this and best of luck with the family and best of luck with everything professionally that you have going on as well.

Pat (53:57):

No worries man. I appreciate the opportunity and I look forward to linking up with you guys next time I’m down there in California.

Sean (54:05):

All right man, take care. Thank you.

Pat (54:08):

All right brother. Thanks.

Sean (54:09):

Big thanks to Pat Sherwood for joining me today. He is a great follow on social media. Check him out on Instagram. You can find him at @Sherwood215 and you can also check out his programming at CrossFit Linchpin. He is simply @CrossFitLinchpin. Thanks for listening to Two-Brain Radio. If you’re a business owner who craves actionable advice that can move you closer to wealth, you’ve got to pick up Chris Cooper’s book, “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief.” It is on Amazon today. We will see you next time, everybody.


The Secret Sales Script

The Secret Sales Script

The potential client is sitting in front of you.

You’ve done some uncomfortable work to get the person here. You’ve asked a client how you can help his or her friends. Or you’ve been sending texts and emails and double dialing to urge a person to show up for an appointment. Or maybe you’ve spent $100 on Facebook ads just to get a good lead. Whatever the situation, there’s a lot on the line.

Now what do you say?

That depends on the client. As you’re about to read, no secret sales script, no memorized lines and no “gotcha!” close will solve all your problems.

There is a proven process—we teach it in the Incubator—and great ways to overcome objections to price and schedule. Those are also in the Incubator. But the real truth we teach—the best way to sell anything—is this:

– Make someone comfortable.

– Ask what the person wants to achieve. Get a clear picture of his or her vision of success.

– Using your expertise, show a clear path to success.

– If you can, give the person the first step right away.

– State the price.

– Ask how the person would like to pay.

We teach this in a “tree” format: If the person gives X objection, ask Y question next, etc. But the core of a good sales process is care: If you care about the person, you’ll be curious enough to ask the next question.

The process should feel normal, not rehearsed. So the real secret isn’t a script: It’s reps.


The Real Game Breaker


In fall 2019, we tracked sales conversions in Two-Brain gyms. A few dozen did a “specialist” call with one of our mentors to focus solely on sales. And while every call showed a good return for a month, conversions actually dipped back to baseline after two or three months.

But why? The gym owners had the knowledge forever; they didn’t magically forget the questions to ask or how often to follow up with their leads.

I was happy to see the short-term improvements in conversions, but I wasn’t satisfied. So I started digging deeper. What I found was that it’s not really the script that matters in the long term. It’s not the knowledge of how to overcome objections. It’s the reps.

When we assigned Two-Brain gym owners more reps at selling, their conversion numbers came up—and stayed up. If they stopped practicing, their conversion numbers dipped again.

Like a tennis backhand, if you don’t practice your sales process, you get rusty.

To be effective at sales, you have to be comfortable selling.


Practice—Then Practice Some More


In 2008, when every client who came in the door at Catalyst represented money I desperately needed, I had a pretty poor close rate—maybe 70 percent. Keep in mind that these folks were sold on my service until I talked to them. Facepalm.

By 2018, I was so comfortable with selling that many new clients would say something like this while handing me a credit card: “Thank you! I was worried this was going to be a sales pitch!” The sales process felt completely natural to me by then because I’d done it 1,000 times.

The fastest way to increase your conversion rate is to practice doing conversions. That means getting your reps in.

We now prescribe practice reps to gym owners in our Incubator and Growth programs. We make it fun—we have a scenario card deck so people can “play” at sales. Here are five sample scenarios from our deck of over 50.

We also make gym owners practice sales before we teach them how to run ads because we don’t want them to waste money. On the Two-Brain Roadmap, we guide gym owners through everything in the correct order. For example, they have to reach Level 7 in Sales before they start Level 1 in Paid Lead Generation. That means reps.

Just like there’s no secret program or diet, there’s no secret sales script. Just reps.

The Dark Side of Your Business

The Dark Side of Your Business

When you get a coaching job, you should try to be the best coach you can.

When you open a business, you have to sell.

Fitness is a hard business. No one is compelled to work out. Most people don’t want to work out. No one wants to do meal prep on Sunday nights.

Like it or not, you have to sell people on the idea of doing something they don’t like. Then you have to sell them on the idea that they will like your service better than the alternatives. Then you have to sell them on the idea that your price carries better value. And then you have to sell them on continuing—every damn day.

In this series, I’m going to shine light on the “Dark Side of Your Business.” I’ll tell you:

– Why you don’t need secret scripts (and what you actually do need).

– Why you don’t have to feel like a slime ball to sell more.

– Why I write about “selling” more than anything else these days.

– The huge epiphanies I learned from my first coach, Joe Marcoux (he’ll actually be on Two-Brain Radio with me).

First: the two sides to your business.


Operations and Audience


Your business has two parts.

First, operations. This is how you actually deliver your service. Great operations mean excellent coaching and care for your clients, consistency in your pricing, and clarity in your processes. A great measure of your operational excellence is how long people stay with your gym (we call that length of engagement or LEG).

Second, audience. This is how many people pay attention and how many of those people pay you money. Great audience building means high-value sales, following a Prescriptive Model, and using the Help First philosophy. A great measure of your audience-building excellence is how much people pay for your service (we call that average revenue per member or ARM).

Now, most coaching businesses and certifying agencies don’t tell you about the second part.

They say, “Just be a great coach and your clients will refer their friends!” or “Follow the path from Level 1 coach to Level 4 coach and you’ll make more money.”

Of course, they’re selling certifications. But I don’t need to give you my opinion on the value of this advice: Just ask yourself if it’s been true for you.

The truth reported to us by thousands of gym owners is this: It’s not enough to wait and hope. Your clients aren’t salespeople. You have to take control of the conversation and build your audience. As a business owner, that’s your job.


How to Build an Audience


First, you need to know exactly what your “core” audience wants. Then give it to them. This almost always results in your clients paying more (an increase in their ARM) for longer (an increase in their LEG).

Tip: They don’t all want the same group classes forever.

Second, you need to know what the people closest to your clients want.

Tip: You can give these people what they want, too.

Third, you need to tell strangers how you’ll solve their problems.

Tip: If you can’t actually solve their problems, don’t waste money on marketing.

Start from the inside out. Most gym owners don’t actually know what their best clients want from them or how much they’re willing to pay for it. Why would they start spending money on marketing before they figure this out?

You don’t need to hire a special “sales training” or “marketing” program. We teach you how to do all of it in the first stage of mentorship, then give you access to sales specialists in the second stage.

“Don’t find an audience for your product. Find products for your audience.” —Seth Godin

“Your Gym Sucks”: How to Deal With Comments on Facebook Ads

“Your Gym Sucks”: How to Deal With Comments on Facebook Ads

Mike (00:02):

Oh, this is a great comment. “Love your vibe. Another good one. “This gym is fire.” I agree. Oh, another good one. “I can’t wait to get her done at your gym.” Ah, this is. Wait a second. “Hey loser. Your gym sucks. You suck. This ad sucks and your program sucks. I hate you and hate your logo.” Mateo, you see this comment on my ad? This is open hostility.

Mateo (00:26):

That’s pretty brutal there.

Mike (00:29):

I’m going to respond. I think I’m just gonna do something super defensive and obscenely passive aggressive. What do you think? Just go with it?

Mateo (00:37):

Well, as satisfying as that may be, I don’t know that that is the best course of action.

Mike (00:45):

All right, I’ll just delete this jerk store comment I was going to write. OK. All right. OK. Let’s talk about it. I don’t know what I’m doing. In this edition of Two-Brain Radio, we’ll go over dealing with comments left on Facebook ads. Should you delete them? Should you respond? What should you do? We’ll be back with marketing expert, Mateo Lopez right after this. Want to add $5,000 in monthly revenue to your gym? You can. If you want to know how, you can talk to a certified Two-Brain Business mentor for free. Book a call at today. And we are back.

Mike (01:17):

I am still bummed about this brutally hostile comment on my ads. So we’re going to talk about how to deal with it. Mateo, you’ve run a lot of ads. Have you seen some just vicious trolls coming out from under the bridge to rip into your ads?

Mateo (01:30):

I actually haven’t seen anything too vicious, but I have definitely seen like—personally, but with clients in other parts of the world and parts of the country, I’ve definitely seen my fair share of some weird comments.

Mike (01:45):

What kind of stuff have you seen? Was it as bad as the one that I just got?

Mateo (01:50):

Sometimes, you know, thinking this is like some kind of scam or I’ve seen someone just like hate on the image, especially if I use one of the stock images. I’ve definitely seen people just like hate on like, I hate this branding. I hate this image. I hate this like headline. Like this is so slimy or whatever. Like I’ve seen that before. Some people just like don’t like the—like you’re saying attention Hoboken locals. You ready to get fit? Like some people just hate that.

Mike (02:27):

What’s there to hate there? I don’t get it.

Mateo (02:31):

I don’t either. But you know—.

Mike (02:34):

Trolls gotta troll.

Mateo (02:35):

People online are strange these days. People are very strange these days.

Mike (02:39):

Yeah, I’ve seen some nasty ones. Again, personally, I haven’t had a whole lot of bad ones on stuff that I’ve done, but I haven’t done a ton of advertising. I have seen some other ones, and sometimes on Two-Brain Business we’ll get some people coming out and grinding axes and so forth. And then you’ll often see just on, you know, just on Facebook pages, you’ll see sometimes people roll in, not even on ads, just rolling in and dropping, you know, nasty stuff all over the place. So we’ll ask you this question. When you get cranky people on your ads and they leave comments, should you engage them? What do you think?

Mateo (03:12):

Honestly, I think it’s dealer’s choice on that one. The one I’ll see the most, what’s the price, what’s the price? What’s the price?

Mike (03:19):

Let’s get to that one in a bit.

Mateo (03:21):

And so if it’s something like that where it’s not openly hostile, you know, it’s just a question. If it’s a question, yeah, go ahead and try and do your best to answer it. You know that that’s an opportunity for you to start a dialogue with someone. So yeah, if it’s a question, feel free to start engaging and getting them to either start a DM with you or to book an intro with you, direct them to your scheduling link.

Mike (03:48):

I’ll ask you a quick question right about that. So would it be better to respond to that question in the thread and try and share with the world or would you recommend that people kind of, you know, hit like and go to DM? What’s better?

Mateo (04:01):

Yeah, it kind of depends on the question. If it’s something that you think people would benefit from knowing the answer to, like, this program is for everyone. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be in shape to start, click here to book your intro. That’s something that you can post publicly in response to someone asking you, Hey, this looks intimidating, a little scary. Or, Hey, should we do it? I’m scared. I’m nervous. Yeah. So that’s obviously a response that wouldn’t hurt for everyone to see. But yeah, something on pricing, that’s something like, yep, our programs are, you know, tailor-made for every person. They’re fully customizable, the best way to understand what’s gonna be the right package for you or right fit for you or right program for you, let’s take this offline. You know what I mean? But then in terms of the negative ones, you know, I’ve never really found a way in which you can turn that one around into your favor. I’d rather just not engage. Do not engage, do not engage.

Mike (05:01):

Yeah, it generally, and I’ve dealt with this more with nasty comments on blogs or things like that or articles that I’ve published in this or other jobs. There is rarely a way to engage people on the internet that doesn’t devolve into some sort of like, you know, mudslinging or passive aggressive or you know, whatever it is, it’s usually a bad deal. But at times there is a place for that. And I have waded into a few discussions and just said, like, you know, that is flat-out wrong when a guy has, you know, stepped out of line and is doing disservice to the readers. But in general, and that’s in an editorial context, in an advertising context, it’s even more different because you’re not looking to spark the best debate in the history of the internet in your ad, right?

Mateo (05:40):

Yeah, exactly. No, you’re not. You want people to take an action. Anything else is a distraction from that action. For some of the articles this happened last week in the CrossFit affiliate owners group, someone put this article about snatches or some post about snatches and it just fueled this a hundred-comment-long debate, which was the point. I think the point was to generate some engagement around this company’s, you know, brand or whatever. They were trying to get people to talk about this issue or whatever. But yeah, the place for that is not on your ad, not on your direct response ad.

Mike (06:17):

Along those lines, did you happen to see the Morning Chalk-Up the other week where there was that keto post? It was an op ed.

Mateo (06:26):

No, I did not.

Mateo (06:26):

Oh man, it got lit, my wife was telling me about it and I guess they put something up as an opinion editorial piece and the comments were savage and there were like some decent players in there, like a Layne Norton showed up and Patrick Vellner was in there and there was a bunch of people and it got heated to the point where they, I think they shut the comments down for a period just to cool people off.

Mateo (06:44):

What was the headline?

Mike (06:46):

I don’t remember, but I think someone was saying that the keto diet, you need to do it if you’re doing CrossFit. And there were people saying that this is irresponsible advice and all this other stuff. And again, I haven’t read the article so I can’t comment on it, but I know that there was a massive debate and again, on an opinion editorial piece, that’s where debate works and this one got out of control.

Mateo (07:05):

I think that was 100% on purpose. If I were to guess, that is 100%, that was very much probably, you know, they knew, I would be willing to bet they knew that saying something like that was going to be divisive and cause some outrage. And that’s the point with something like that. I mean, that’s how people sell newspapers. That’s exactly, you’re selling outrage one side or the other, or it’s keto is bad. Change my mind. You know, like that’s entirely the point of saying something like that.

Mike (07:41):

I wrote an op ed calling for about five years in a print paper a long time ago, and you literally some days will just pick an issue and take a side and write. And you’re trying to stir things up, but exactly what you said, getting that going in your ad when all you want people to do is click through and give you their contact info and book an appointment, getting people scrolling through these horrible comments and trolls is not going to do anything. So that is your first lesson here from this podcast is don’t start an angry debate in the comments of your ads.

Mateo (08:08):


Mike (08:08):

Let’s move on to the one the one you spoke about before, cause this is the huge one. And I had this happen on an ad that I put up. It’s the price stuff. We were offering a program, a six-week challenge, but the idea is that it’s customized to you. All our stuff said it’s customized to you. We find out all about you and it’s the stuff that you’ve written, Mateo, and we’re just trying to figure out what you need. We’re going to assign a challenge to you. And I got price, price, price, price, price questions and they spiraled. And as soon as there was like five or six, I think it turned into like 30 or 40. And all of a sudden that’s all anyone wanted to know. No clicking, no appointments booked, nothing. Have you seen that before? Yeah. So what do you do? What’s the way out of that?

Mateo (08:54):

So, you could go line by line and reply to each one and basically give your same canned to answer, which is this program has different levels depending on your needs. The best way to find out which program is going to be the right fit for you, book your No-Sweat Intro to find out, or you know, something along those lines, right? You could ahead and do that. Now there’s another option. And this might also help when you’re dealing with nasty comments and things like that. You can set up, at least at the time of this, recording, you can, I don’t know, people are gonna listen to this 10 years from now, this will still be the case. You can set up some moderation, I guess settings for your pages and that carries over into your ads.

Mateo (09:56):

So if you go into your business’ Facebook page, your business page in Facebook, you can actually go into settings and then you can scroll down. There’s something called page moderation. And then from there you can actually select words or phrases that you want to block. So that comments that contain these words, if someone replies to your page posts, for example, and they comment, if their comment contains one of these words, that comment will be blocked or need to be reviewed by you, right? So then you can put in words like price or scam, or this is bullshit.

Mike (10:39):

Or even designer sunglasses or Viagra or all the other stuff that shows up on my blog.

Mateo (10:45):

Exactly. There’s also a profanity filter as well. That’s a separate setting, but it’s right underneath where it says page moderation. So this will apply if someone comments on a post or makes a comment on your business page. But if you have these filters set up and you’re running ads on behalf of your business’ Facebook page, which in most cases, if you’re running ads, most of you out there are doing, those features will carry over. So if someone makes a comment, and they say one of your trigger words, there’ll be a blocked.

Mike (11:18):

And so you said they’re held for moderation. Like can you decide to let them go or how does that work?

Mateo (11:26):

I know they’re blocked. I have to see if you can actually moderate them, I know that they get blocked. I think you still get a notification. But I have to fact check that, don’t do a fake news on me, I have to fact check it. But I’m pretty confident you get a notification that Hey, someone commented on your ad, but I gotta double check that for you.

Mike (11:52):

So when you, and you can do this, like you can go through it without that filter. You can still go in and you can hide comments, correct?

Mateo (11:57):

Yeah, you could still go in one by one and do it. But if you don’t want anyone mentioning the word price or you know free, asking if it’s free, for example, you can block those two words and then that way no one will ever see those comments or think to ask it themselves, hopefully. Or maybe they will, but then they’ll get blocked.

Mike (12:21):

We will circle back in just a minute. First, this podcast is all about actionable steps and we always want to give you stuff to do. That is the Two-Brain Business way. Chris Cooper has created the new roadmap to wealth. It is an incredible app and it will literally tell you step by step how to create an amazing business. The best part, it is all based on data, the things the top gyms in the world are doing. There’s no guesswork. Just action and results. For more info about how a certified mentor can help you improve your business, visit to book a free call. Now, more actionable marketing stuff. So we’re talking about comments. And my question for you here is are there any issues, does Facebook look down upon thy ad if you block or delete or hide comments, what happens?

Mateo (13:07):

Yeah, I think that, you know, most of the business owners that we work with, they’re running ad campaigns and their spend is relatively small compared to the big players in the space. So, you know, I don’t think you’re generating enough traffic where you’re going to see a huge impact here. But yes, you know, Facebook wants to prioritize content, whether it’s a post or a paid post or ad. They want to prioritize the content that’s engaging, that people are looking at and sharing and following and commenting on. And so one of the metrics they use to judge engagement is comments, right? So if your ads aren’t receiving any comments whatsoever, they might rank a little lower. They might get a lower relevancy score. They might not get shown to the people in your audience as much as they would if the content was proved to be engaging by the Facebook gods.

Mateo (14:07):

So there is a little bit of a downside there. However, you know, I think you just have to weigh out the pros and cons. I think it’s beneficial to not have a bunch of bad comments cause that’s the flip side, right? You allow all the comments. Yeah, Facebook’s gonna see that people are engaging with your ad, but it’s in a negative way, right? If it’s a bunch of like a price or scammy or troll comments. So there’s a give and take.

Mike (14:35):

Yeah. The strategy that I use was exactly that where when I noticed that a number of price comments were triggering just a whole bunch more, I hid them and I messaged each of the people back directly and just gave them the pitch. And then I just put up a comment myself, just saying, here are answers to some common questions that people are answering. Or asking, pardon me. And I put up, you know, the same pitch that I was sending people by DM and that seemed to take care of a lot of it. And then what I was getting after that was legitimate comments about like, you know, when can I start or you know, do you still have spaces left or you know, I love that picture, whatever it was and that stuff, then I would obviously respond and that seemed to do the trick where I got rid of the nasty stuff and I was still generating some engagement.

Mateo (15:19):

Oh, now I’m learning from you, Mike, that’s a pretty good tip there. That’s a hot take there.

Mike (15:21):

Ah, I took all this, this all comes from your program, the Two-Brain Marketing stuff. And it was your ad copy as well. So that’s the stuff that was working, but I did get people, you know, once you see the price crew comes in and I’ll tell you this, I don’t think even one single time that I have messaged someone on price and I’ve tried like 10 or 12 or 15 different like schticks, not one has ever booked an appointment.

Mateo (15:47):

Oh yeah, no, I can speak anecdotally. I think that’s probably pretty true for me too. Yeah. If someone’s opening with that line, they’re probably not going to be—

Mike (16:03):

I tried, you know, it’s a premium service and it’s a 12 or $1,500 package. I’ve tried, we have things to suit all budgets. I’ve tried like our lowest offering, which is, you know, I think it’s about a hundred bucks up to, you know, it ranges from here to here. Literally nothing works. And the question that I ask is like, what do they actually want to hear? And I think what they want to hear is free.

Mateo (16:25):

Yeah. Yeah. Or if someone had a set price in mind that they knew they wanted to spend, then you just miraculously guess that.

Mike (16:35):


Mateo (16:35):

Exactly. Exactly. What you just said though, putting your comment as the top comment and in that comment a little mini FAQ there, I think that’s awesome.

Mike (16:52):

It seemed to help and that’s certainly, it’s like when I did that, it stopped the string of price comments and we started getting more appointments. So it seemed to work in this instance. And if you guys try it out and it works, leave us a comment and let us know. And I saw this in our private, marketing group, a question about, asking about comments popping up and so forth. And so I’ll ask this to you and you can answer it publicly. If you get a bunch of comments on an ad, should you try running, you know, copying that ad, running it again without the comments to see if it does better?

Mateo (17:29):

Yeah. 100%. You can just shut her down and try it again. And once you relaunch it, as long as you’re not, depending on the way you duplicate it, you can launch that ad on clean slate. So you definitely try that out for sure. You know, the way Facebook, it changes, but at one point, Facebook, the way they kind of presented your ad was, you know, you have your audience of a hundred people. It would, let’s just say for this example, it’s going to show it to that, you know, that, 20 in the corner over here and they’re going to laser focus in on that group. So if you were to restart it might choose a different pocket of that hundred, a different 20 or whatever it is, to show your ad to, so you might have better results showing it to a different cohort in your big audience if you have a large audience. So that could definitely work.

Mike (18:36):

So it’d be something to try, but again, it’s not foolproof, but if you’re out there and you figure that like the comments on my ad are the thing that’s preventing my ad from succeeding, you might just consider duplicating that thing and starting fresh.

Mateo (18:51):

Yeah. I mean, I rarely look at them. I rarely look at the comments. So, I don’t think that would be the make or break. Unless the first one was like, anyone who sees this do not click on it. It’s a scam. You might have to deal with that comment. But besides that, yeah, I wouldn’t stress out too much. Focus on your offer, focus on your copy, your image, focus on your lead nurture. Don’t stress about the comments.

Mike (19:26):

Haters gonna hate, trolls gonna troll. The last one I’ll ask is something we kind of talked about already, you said that engagement on an ad or any Facebook thing is a good thing. Does Facebook like it when you respond and interact with these people or do they just care that you got a comment from an organic person?

Mateo (19:45):

I don’t have a definitive answer for that, but yeah, if there’s a back and forth going on, I think that, yeah, if there’s some, any kind of engagement’s going to be going to be good. Having said that, if no one’s commenting and all the comments are just from you, I don’t think that’s good.

Mike (20:05):

It’s just talking to yourself and no one’s listening,

Mateo (20:08):

I don’t think that’s going to help. That being said, if you can generate replies right from people and they’re generally positive, right? That’s a good thing, right? If you’re getting the conversation going, people coming back for more, you’re gonna rank a little bit higher.

Mike (20:24):

And it still is a way to potentially, I mean, what we’re trying to do is start conversations. So if you can potentially start a conversation in a comment, continue in a DM and then finish it off in a sales meeting at your business, maybe that’s a win. So, the first thing that will tell you is do not, you know, fight the trolls. It is not the time to pull out your battle ax and slay a troll in the comment section of your ad. Do not do that. But comments are a good thing in general, unless they’re bad and if they are a bad thing, you can start looking at hiding. And you can also start using some of the filters that Facebook offers, with the caution on that is that if you hide every single comment on there, you’re killing your engagement. And Facebook may not be totally thrilled with that. So go case by case. Pretty accurate summary of what you advice you’ve got?

Mateo (21:12):

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Mike.

Mike (21:12):

There you go. Thank you for listening. I’m Mike Warkentin with Mateo Lopez and this is Two-Brain Radio. Please remember to subscribe for more great shows. If you’re a gym owner and need some help growing your business, Two-Brain mentors can show you the exact steps to add $5,000 in monthly recurring revenue. Book a free cal on to find out more. Thanks for listening guys.


Two-Brain Radio presents marketing tips and success stories every Monday.

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Clarity: The Greatest Gift You Can Give

Clarity: The Greatest Gift You Can Give

In this series, I’ve been telling you how to get clarity in your business.

Now let’s talk about how to give clarity: to your staff, to your clients and to your audience.

All the people around you want you to be reliable: to do things the same way every time. They want you to be predictable: to apply yourself fairly to everyone. And they want you to be clear: to help them gain direction in their lives through your expertise.

Here’s how to do it.


Clarity With Your Clients


You need to provide the same excellent value to everyone.

That means your operations must be excellent always—for everyone.

That means your prices should be the same for everyone at each service level. No discounts, no special deals, no trades, no “I’ll tickle you there if you kiss me here” deals.

That means clear and even application of your policies, rules and standards.

If your policy says “two weeks’ notice for cancellations,” you have to uphold that rule every time. Otherwise you have no rule.

If your policy says “class starts at 7 a.m.,” you have to start at 7 a.m. Not 7:02. Because if you don’t start at 7 a.m. every time, you don’t start at 7 a.m. ever.

If your standard is “squat below parallel,” you have to squat below parallel every time for the rep to count. Every time. If one rep is a maybe, then every rep is a maybe.

If a client is negatively affecting the experience of another client, he or she has to go. If you don’t have clear values, you don’t have values.


Clarity With Your Audience


Are you a coach or are you a “functional movement specialist”?

Everyone knows what the first thing is. No one knows what the last thing is.

Maybe you’re trying to say “I’m different from other fitness coaches!” And maybe other fitness coaches can tell the difference between a Core Vibration Expert and an Animal Utilitarian Movement Expert (Level III Certified). But other fitness coaches are not your audience.

Your audience needs to know “that girl can help me lose weight.”

Your audience doesn’t need to figure out what your logo means, what your name means, what your certification means, what your philosophy means, what your religion means.

When they look at you, do they see themselves?

What they see (or hear) is your brand.

Clearer brands are better.


Clarity With Your Staff


First and foremost, you have to get everything out of your head and onto paper.

No one can read your mind.

No one sees things the way you do.

There’s no such thing as “common sense.”

If you’ve been unclear with your staff, you have some detangling to do.

You’ll have to edit the things you’ve told them before—or maybe stuff they’ve tried to figure out on their own—and put them on the right path. That should come as a relief to everyone. But change is tough: If you need to radically edit what they’re doing, you’re going to have a tougher conversation. This is my weakness, but I’m training hard to make it my strength. Here’s what I’ve learned:

I hate confrontation.

I build things up to be too big in my mind. I’m a “people pleaser,” and I want everyone to like me. And I know that arguments usually distract me from doing the real work; I can’t resist them when they happen, so I try to avoid them.

But as I grew from Founder to Farmer to Tinker, hard conversations became more important. And they just got harder.

As a Founder in the gym business, firing a client was very hard. There were hundreds of dollars at stake, which was big money back then. But, more important, I worried about the client’s reaction: How would she feel? How would she react? What would she say in my gym? What would she tell people on Facebook?

In the Farmer Phase, I had to start managing staff. That meant evaluations and correcting their actions—and even firing a couple of people. Those conversations were harder by an order of magnitude: The decisions affected the staff people and their families, and sometimes my clients, too.

And in Tinker Phase, every conversation set the precedent for the company, hundreds of clients and dozens of staff. Most decisions were held with tens of thousands of dollars in the balance; some literally had hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting in the balance. And some were more important than any amount of money.

One of my mentors, Marcy, was chosen precisely to help me with leadership. And leadership means having hard conversations. On our first call, Marcy told me:

“Chris, sometimes you’re being tactful. But sometimes you’re just hiding.”

And it’s true. Sometimes I do avoid tough conversations and tell myself to “cool off for a bit” or “phrase this politely.” Both are wise—but not when they’re avoidance techniques.

Thanks to years of experience, dozens of hard conversations and Marcy, I’ve learned a lot about hard conversations. Here are some things to keep in mind for context before you start:

1. Anticipation is always worse than the event.

2. Every tough conversation you have is just practice for a tough conversation in the future, when the stakes will be higher.

3. People aren’t really paying much attention to you. You might be staying up all night worrying about The Big Talk, but they probably aren’t.

4. The greatest gift you can give the other person is clarity. Respect him or her enough to say what you mean.

Here are my action steps:

1. Hold the conversation at the highest possible level of the communication hierarchy. Face to face is best. If that’s not possible because of geography, use a video call. If that’s not possible, call on the phone. Email is poor for having hard conversations because it’s very hard to read intent into the written word. And text isn’t an option at all.

2. Be sure but act quickly. Get the facts. But be aware of procrastination strategies like “I need more information” or opinion gathering. This isn’t a democracy.

3. Avoid emotional language. “I feel like … ” and “I think you should … ” completely dampen your message. They say, “I’m unsure.”

4. If you’re talking to a staff member, client or friend you’d like to keep around, work through this next step. If you’re going to end your relationship, skip to No.5.

Let the person release emotion first. Picture the person’s anger, frustration or sadness as a big black balloon that’s floating between your faces. You can’t really see each other while that balloon is there, so let the air out of it—slowly. Get right to the heart of the concern by asking a pointed question: “So you’re worried about this rate increase?” Then let him or her vent all the emotions.

When the balloon is a little deflated, poke it again. You want it completely empty. “You’re concerned you won’t be able to afford the gym anymore?” You might have to poke it a third time. Only when the emotional content of the speech is gone can you begin working on a solution. This was outlined in Chris Voss’s excellent book “Never Split the Difference.”

5. Then lay out your case clearly. “More words don’t make people feel better,” Seth Godin wrote in “This Is Marketing.” If you’re breaking up with the person, start the conversation with, “We’re breaking up.”

If you’re removing the person as a client, say, “I’m so sorry this isn’t working out. We do our best to please every client, but we’re just not a good fit.”

If you’re firing the person from your staff, say so. Don’t do him or her the disservice of hiding behind stock language like “we’re going another direction.” Say: “I can’t have you coaching anymore because you haven’t corrected X and Y.”

6. Give the person a cool-down period. “I’d like you to take a day or two before you respond. Think about what we’ve said. Then, if you want to talk some more, we can set up a phone call. In the meantime, I promise to be discrete about this conversation and trust you’ll do the same.”

There’s a lot more to it, and nothing beats practice. You’ll get better as you go. Luckily, you can practice on your loved ones or your staff (we made a deck of cards called the Two-Brain Scenario Deck for this precise purpose).

You’ll feel funny asking others to role-play with you, but it’s worth practicing, and practicing on neutral parties will save you painful and expensive practice in real life.


Other Media in This Series

How to Get Clarity
Building Filters in Your Business
Filter, Don’t Find
Clarity: The Two-Brain Roadmap and Mentorship