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The Biggest Obstacle as a Gym Owner and How to Overcome It

By Sean Greeley

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Regardless of strategy and tactics, a lot of people get stuck because they aren’t internally aligned to confront and move forward as the situation requires of them.

The goal of this article is to share a process you can use to shift internally when you need to confront uncomfortable work. This process will show you how to realign internally (mentally and emotionally) to clarify your thinking and release the necessary energy to overcome the blockers and move forward toward your goals.

Over the last 13+ years, I’ve logged well over 10,000+ hours leading, advising, consulting, and coaching 45,000+ fitness professionals and business owners in 96+ countries to grow their business to the next level while creating a better life for themselves and their families.

With 100% certainty, I can tell you that at every level of business growth and development (from start-ups to 1 million to 300+ million in annual revenue), the biggest obstacle to making progress is always ourselves.

We want success to be a question of simple bottom line execution of tasks to drive results…


Sometimes we’re aware of this. But usually we’re not.

In either case, the BEST opportunities we’ve got to grow include 1) work on increasing our awareness and understanding of what’s going on within ourselves, others, and the environment around us 2) shifting internally (then externally) as needed to accelerate velocity with achieving our goals.

Here some powerful strategies and processes you can use to do just that:

1. Check your mindset 🔍

When facing a challenge… ask yourself…

What’s your current mindset?

The foundation for success, especially in working through any big goal or overcoming a challenge in your way, is adopting the right MINDSET.

And by mindset I am referring to how you are THINKING and LOOKING at a situation, along with how you are SHOWING UP with your attitude, energy, thoughts, and emotions to engage.

The good news is simple (not easy, but simple).

All you have to do is pause, take a step back, ask yourself a few questions, reflect on your answers, then (if needed) make some decisions to shift.

Because you are usually stuck within a box of your own making, it takes an openness and willingness to challenge our existing thoughts, beliefs, and initial emotional reactions.

It’s also VERY helpful here to consult with others who can share a different perspective for you to consider.

This is where you don’t want to just listen to people who tell you what you want to hear. While this often creates initial mental and emotional ‘discomfort’ (your ego wants to be right!), it’s VERY important to surround ourselves with others who can challenge our current thinking.

If your thinking is accurate, it will stand up to the challenge. If not, then you’ll then have the opportunity to better align to face the challenge head on (you of course must be willing to do so, regardless of the discomfort this will likely create for you).

2. Be Grateful 🙏

Whatever the gap between where you are right now and where you want to be, there is ALWAYS an incredible growth opportunity in front of you. And GROWTH is really the best stuff in life.

The winnings are great and fun. But the internal TRANSFORMATION process that allows you to become the person (business owner, human, husband/wife, mom/dad, friend, etc.) you want to be is the GOLD.

Caterpillar —> Cocoon —> Butterfly.

Be grateful for the cocoon and the opportunity to grow stronger, break free, and FLY.

When we stop fighting, blaming, and operating from a place of fear… and shift to embracing an attitude of LOVE, enthusiasm, and passion for the process… we are in the right place to not only make the good stuff happen, but to enjoy the journey.

Gratitude coming from a place of authenticity is a powerful emotional tool to dispel negativity. But it’s a good start. Your next step is commitment.

3. Be Committed 🔨

What are you committed to, really?

How committed are you?

How bad do you want it?

These are great questions to refocus and center us.

Regardless of your current circumstances, here’s the bottom line: When you are committed, you can never lose… you can only quit.

You will forever face setbacks and challenges along the way to accomplishing big dreams and goals.

Sometimes it’s easy to plow through them.

Other times it’s not. And when we face challenges that feel very heavy (and a lot of this is really rooted in your mindset and emotions, which are rooted in your ego and perspective), you will eventually find yourself questioning “Is this really worth it? Do I really want this? Am I actually willing to pay the price required for success?”

And if you decide to continue… you’ll need to recommit on a new level to your goals.

You’ll need to increase your intensity of focus and effort.

You’ll need to rework your schedule, time management, focus, discipline, and more.

This will require shifts within you. Some of which might feel uncomfortable (go back to #1 when this is the case!). Welcome to transformation!

Remember… if it really matters, and you’re really committed, then don’t quit!

This is where the magic happens!

NOT in avoidance, but in enthusiastically embracing the challenge and opportunity in front of you to grow.

Regardless of the time and effort invested or required, when you keep going… you will get there (somewhere different than here) eventually!

4. Be Patient ⏰

I don’t know many patient early stage entrepreneurs. I also don’t know many patient later stage entrepreneurs.

That’s because entrepreneurs don’t accept the default path. Refusal to just accept things as they are is a key ingredient in what drives entrepreneurial business owners forward.

BUT that energy and drive must be tempered with (usually uncharacteristic) patience on the journey.

The best things in life don’t happen in one week. You don’t hit three workouts in a row and all of a sudden wake up having accomplished all your fitness goals.

We know and remember this when coaching fitness clients. Why do we forget it when working on other big goals in business (and life!)?

We must balance our drive and commitment to move forward with patience for ourselves and others (and working through shifts in our environment).

5. Smile 😊

Sometimes it really is this simple. Try it.

Smiling, laughing, keeping a sense of humor about you keeps us in the right place to make heavy things light.

And you will need this skill, because going after big dreams and goals will require you to embrace heavy things often. 🙂


Mindset matters more than we think, because our ability to execute consistently over time and tackle “heavy problems” directly flows from our internal commitments.

When blocked, check that you’re not standing in your own way–that you properly align your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes required to best move forward with the work to be done.

Remember gratitude can quickly realign our attitudes and make what seems like a long slog through the mud into a growth opportunity to move forward. Commitments — making them, keeping them, and remembering them — means you can’t be defeated, only quit.

And transformational change doesn’t happen overnight, so practice patience, remember to SMILE, and have fun on the journey!

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