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Mind Over Market: The Predictability of Success

Ah, the world is filled with mysteries, but few as perplexing as why “some do” and “some don’t.”  In the field of Personal Training, we can find hard working individuals with advanced education who barely skate by and we can also find determined professionals with nothing more than a single certification earning 7-figures out of 800 square foot training studios.  If we knew “the difference,” and adjusted our actions and behaviors accordingly, we could all stack the odds in our favor.

In order to get to answers, there is a bit of exploration required.  We’re in a field where longevity and financial freedom are far more elusive than most would admit, a field where a feasibility study might show both, saturation in the marketplace and a very hungry audience with disposable dollars.  If we’re truly looking for the factors that make up “the winners” we’d certainly find individual gifts and skill sets lined up beside elements of strategy based on “the landscape.”

What makes “the winners” win?

There is the Darwinian idea of “survival of the fittest,” and there’s also the theory that “it’s just plain luck,” but for those seeking fulfillment in the world of business (a quest more personal trainers should incorporate in their vision as they build their ventures), the answer to the question, “why do some folks find the highest levels of success while others are doomed to wallow in their discontent and wish for more” becomes highly valued.

While the complete answer would require volumes of insight, with 30 years of experience in working with fitness entrepreneurs of all levels, I can, in very short order, share some valuable light.  As a matter of fact, while we can isolate our field by exploring its unique character, everything I say from this point forward will likely relate to any entrepreneur in a service-based field where the aim is “bringing each individual client a beneficial outcome.”

We, all entrepreneurs, begin with passion.  The Lifecycle of Business always begins with the rising up of a passionate desire to create and to serve.  Somewhere, the human psyche creates or accepts an idea and the condition of mindset determines whether the new idea is accepted as possibility or rejected.  The entrepreneurial spirit, an innate force that inexplicably drives many of us to seek out opportunity, often opens the gates and allows the idea to enter the framework of “a potential business.”

The idea must be nurtured in order for it to come to fruition.  This is “The Courtship Phase.”  The entrepreneur shares his or her idea with others, at times seeking approval, sometimes progressing to seeking partners or investors.

Once the idea takes shape and the first dollar changes hands, the business exists. Every business, in that moment, is a true creation, brought from the ether of nothingness to an actual entity, and that’s where it begins, the journey, travel along a course many will attempt but few will master.

If we set out to separate “the likely victors” from the rest, we’d look for three distinctive traits:

  1. True innate passion connected to the delivery of the product or service
  2. A genuine belief in the “need” for this offering and a certainty that it can better the lives of others
  3. A financial strategy with a crystallized vision of how and when the “business” will become a self-supporting entity that feeds its founder, owner, and operator

If any one of the three traits is absent, the likelihood of success is significantly reduced.

As we move further down the road, and evaluate the likelihood of a business moving from inception to “Prime,” a condition where it thrives, we’d have to be a bit more objective and ask the following questions:

  1. Is there true feasibility in the marketplace?
  2. Is there sustainability and/or growth potential?
  3.  Can the business establish and hold a position of superiority, niche appeal, or uniqueness?

Here’s where it gets interesting.  The first three traits are related to the mind of the business owner. 

Better said, we can link those three traits to mindset.

The three questions that followed have little or nothing to do with mindset.  They are purely linked to “the marketplace.”

Of the two, mindset and marketplace, the one that appears to be a greater predictor of success . . . and this may surprise you . . . is mindset!

That doesn’t suggest that a strong mindset and a bad plan lead to success, but rather suggests that without the passion and belief, failure is almost imminent.

Here’s the beauty in understanding this.  If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, whether you’ve just been bitten by the bug or you’ve been in business for decades, knowing that mindset is pliable allows you to realize, your future begins as soon as you’re willing to “re-wire.”


Mindset might be defined as the interplay between three critical components of the brain-mind, the Emotional Experiential Memory, the Pre-Frontal Cortex where imagination creates vision, and the Reticular Activating System which regulates and controls Focus.  If we think of each of these components of brain-mind as muscles (they aren’t, but it’s a valuable metaphor), we recognize that we can strengthen “the Power of Mind,” and with that, significantly strengthen our likelihood of succeeding in any entrepreneurial venture.

“Mind and market” are the two areas of study that have allowed me to establish a success blueprint, a filter for prediction, a solid and reliable model for separating “those who will’ from those less likely.  Beyond, however, the prediction of “who will take their ideas, determination, and visions to fruition” comes the question, “which businesses will thrive regardless of shifts in market, climate, economy, and competitive landscape?”  That sets the stage for an upcoming article.  I’ll share just one more bit of insight so I’ve presented a balanced portrait of the inner workings of those best positioned for long-term success.

The elemental force that ensures an entrepreneur’s ability to ride the waves of change and see continued and ongoing growth is the force I refer to as “Creative Tension.”  Quite simple, it is the force that runs the gap between “where you are” and “where you want to be.”  If you can envision your desired outcome as being housed in a box up in the sky, miles away, and you can connect your “now” with that elevated future in the sky with a giant bungee cord, the tension in that cord can become a monumental line of pull, a true force drawing you closer to that outcome with each action.

If doubt, insecurity, uncertainty, or any level of a sense of defeat make the “future vision” cloudy, the cord snaps. The tension becomes the resolve.  The business moves along the Lifecycle to its inevitable death.  Creative Tension gives life to that cord, fills it with the spirit of forward motion, the manifestation of your passion, and incredibly answers to every perceived dilemma allow the obstacles to become milestones.

I know these concepts may be a bit abstract when presented in a short article, but I assure you, they underlie virtually every business success, every single entrepreneurial victory, and while our egos might want to scream, “but the fitness industry is different,” our willingness to accept the realities of ALL business development will allow us to see the true edge. 

The passion that drives you comes from inside.  It is innate.  It lives along the spectrum of mind and spirit that makes you who you are.  The “market” is the variable we can’t control, but we can observe it, assess it, and prepare to optimize our relationship with it.  The “mindset” element and our ability to discover and create “Creative Tension” are controllable.  Fully.  Master mindset and Creative Tension and you write the script for your own future.  All it takes is a shift, a willingness to accept that business isn’t purely formulaic.  Your success will rely upon your willingness to see and manage the intangible forces, the invisible but very real keys that keep the winners winning.


Phil Kaplan is a serial entrepreneur who found his ascension within the health and fitness fields.  Fueled by an undying desire to help others, he grew from humble beginnings to find recognition as an author, speaker, health club owner, and visionary growing his reach into creating new coveted models within the highest reaches of the medical field.  He’s become a “best kept secret” of icons and legends in the health arena and today, coaches passionate men and women to make their dreams come true.  As an eternal student of human betterment, he conducts electrifying workshops in persuasion, human influence, mindset, and the elemental and advanced keys to personal development and business growth.