Paul Chek - Conquering Obstacle After Obstacle On His Way To The American Dream

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Paul Chek is a fitness icon, a pioneer in holistic health and fitness education, the founder of the C.H.E.K Institute, trainer to numerous athletic teams worldwide (e.g., Chicago Bulls, Canberra Raiders), and author of more than 60 books, home-study courses, and certifications.

Watch Paul describe his entrepreneurial story, including a close call with bankruptcy, and how he persisted through to build a vastly successful enterprise.

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Transcript

Paul Chek
I grew up in a lot of different places. But I was born in Los Angeles, my parents moved to Idaho and started a pig farm. And we went from there to Oregon and had a sheep farm. And my parents bought up sheep that were known to produce black wool through crossbreeding. And we took a whole cattle truck load of sheep, and we immigrated to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. So I got there when I was 12. I live there from 12 to 22. Then I moved to Florida and join the army in Florida. And while I was there, I fought my way onto the army boxing team. And after a little while on the boxing team, I was asked to become the trainer of the boxing team. There I got to do two years of on the job training with an osteopathic physician and I got to work with 30 of the best boxers in the world. And my job was to take care of nutrition, writing their training programs, I was also the team massage therapist, and I manage the gym itself. And when my career in the army came to an end, I knew I didn’t want to be in the army anymore. My dream was to take my massage therapy skills and my conditioning skills and my diet skills. And I’d always studied holistic nutrition. So I had a very good grounding in what whole ism was and what that concept meant. And because my mother raised me that way, it wasn’t foreign to me. And then I wanted to move to San Diego because one I love San Diego. And every time I’d come here, I really enjoyed it here. And I used to be a surfer when I was young. And this was the training Mecca in the world for triathletes. So my original idea was to start a business to train and take care of elite level triathletes. Well, one thing led to another. And I ended up working in the largest physical therapy clinic in San Diego and it was the first massage therapist ever to be hired by physical therapy clinic. After four years of working there, one of my friends who has a very skilled physical therapist, and I decided to leave and start her own physical therapy clinic. So we started Golden Triangle rehabilitation. I took the profits from the physical therapy clinic we’d started I started the Czech Institute in 1995. And then I just built the Czech Institute up from there.

It wasn’t an easy go at all in the beginning of the Institute. For the first two years, I was teaching seminars, I lost $131,000. So I got some bad business advice, and was told I needed to file bankruptcy, which scared the hell out of me. But I hired the best lawyer and the best accountant I could. And they both made that suggestion to me, which resulted in a very, very challenging journey. So by the time I met my wife, Penny, I was flat broke. I was going through a bankruptcy. And Penny has a master’s degree in biological anthropology, a master’s degree in exercise and sports science and a master’s degree in business administration, an MBA. So she was my dream girl. She allowed me to focus on what it is that I really do. Because I don’t enjoy business. It was sort of like torture for me. I like to teach and I like to share, I don’t like to get involved in issues of money and all that stuff. It’s like two different kinds of mind. And it’s like living two lives at once. And I’ve watched a lot of therapists collapse trying to do that. So my career unfolded like that, and my wife was really the one that rescued the institute and put life back into it. But that said, we’ve both had to put up with a lot of challenging, scary times where it was hard to meet our overhead pay our staff and our instructors. And so we’ve had to give up a lot of sacrifices. We’ve Penny I’ve gone without paychecks for months and months at a time. Just barely surviving to keep the institute going. But you know, I’ve always trusted the universe and known that if it was meant to be would be and here we all are. And we’ve created a pretty big movement. We’ve got over 10,000 check practitioners floating around the world now. So I get motivated by all the letters I get from all over the world from people it was almost as though the universe wanted me to know that it’s not about money. It’s about the mission. Osho said never judge a teacher by how many students he has but I’m by how many masters he creates.

Unknown Speaker
And I had my own level of

Paul Chek
judgment and standard can say if I was to die today, I’ve left enough real masters behind to transform a large body. You know if you think one apple tree seed can grow potentially untold numbers of apples, right? Well, to me, each one of them is a seed with enough seed knowledge of the authentic things we need to know to live a full life, that they will continue the work that I started for a long time after I’m gone. That is what makes it worth it. For me. That’s where the medicine is for my soul. That’s what keeps me going.

Unknown Speaker
Probably five years ago,

Paul Chek
one of the things that kept coming up over and over again, with people that would look at my system, or were studying is, God, seven years of training, man, it’s so deep and so complex. And, you know, my, to be a Czech practitioner isn’t just to do what I say to do, and go repeat it. My whole philosophy is you cannot give you do not have. You can’t do emotional counseling, until you’ve healed yourself, to the degree that you’re more healthy than most of your clients. I say, if you’re not at least one armed, like more developed than your client, you’re not a teacher, you’re just getting lost with somebody, and you shouldn’t charge them for that. So because of the sort of the stigma out there that studying with Paul check is not easy. You know, it’s not like just going to school, you got to do your own work. And it can be like getting rototill, you know, I had to figure out a way to synthesize My Teachings into a formula that was easy for anybody to understand. And so as usual, I went and had a nice chat with my soul that day, I was told not to sit but to go for a walk in the hills. So I picked up a notebook and, and my soul said, write down 1234. So I did 1234. And my soul, said, Paul, the most important thing for you to do to help anybody is to find out what it is that they love more than they love their pain. More than they love their drama, more than they love their little story that isn’t working for them. Well, in psychology, that’s called motivational interviewing. So I learned that before I start teaching people, a bunch of stuff, even patients, I’ve got to identify what it is that they’re really trying to accomplish or achieve. And most people aren’t actually coming to achieve something that they want. They’re coming to achieve something that they think they need, because society has programmed them to believe that millions of people have told me Oh, you’ll never make anything out of yourself with a college degree. If I had a nickel for every time I heard that between the ages of six and 20, I’d be a multimillionaire, right.

Unknown Speaker
Well, I know damn, well, that’s not true.

Unknown Speaker
So

Paul Chek
my first objective for helping somebody is to help them understand what love is and how love works. And I’ve been able to go through what I’ve gone through, even though it’s been painful, because it has been a labor of love. I am doing what I authentically love to do. And what I authentically see is the most valuable with the knowledge and the wisdom that I have, then my most important thing to teach them is Okay, now let’s look at what love is. And what I teach people is that when you’re when you’ve actually found the flow of your own love,

Unknown Speaker
you’re not afraid of challenges.

Paul Chek
Any more than an athlete’s afraid to lift weights or climb a mountain or bleed because they got a blister, there’s always going to be challenges going into any of these things. The difference is if the challenge that you’re facing is detracting from your sense of connection to what life is in the quality of life, and your sense of inner wholeness, then you’re probably moving in the wrong direction. If the challenges are something that you can take in and grow from, and learn from and have a greater sense of awareness about what is really going on in your life, that’s when you’re in flow. I found out several years ago that the fastest way I could find help someone find what their love is, is to simply write down what you don’t like in your life right now with the highest priority being the one you don’t like. So if you’re angry as hell at your spouse, write that down. If I hate being married, okay, good. Write that down. I hate having a low paying job. Good. Write that down. If you don’t know what you love, tell me what you do not love that you’re willing to change. So then sometimes I get a laundry list, you know, like, whoo. So I say okay, let’s just start at the first one. If you know what you don’t want, all you got to do is flip it over. I don’t want to be fat. Okay, good. flip that over, I want to be healthy and thin, fine. So no matter what it is, if you don’t know what your dream is, all you got to do is know what you don’t want. And by getting your life, right so that you’re taking responsibility for creating a life that feels good, you find out that as you feel good, it’s easier for you to love. And as it’s easier for you love for you to love, it’s easier for you to be still inside and accept that there is love everywhere in the universe. And that process ultimately is like climbing an invisible ladder and all of a sudden you wake up one day, bang, I know what I want to do. I want to be a park ranger. I want to be a school teacher or whatever it turns out to me. But that process is absolutely essential. Otherwise, you can think you’ve got to love like a lot of men think they’ve got the love of their life just because their new girlfriend is a nice backside and pretty boobs and they have wild passionate sex. But as I say, there’s sex, and then there’s 23 more hours every day. So if you’re just flirting with your loves, they will be like girlfriends, but if you’re honestly interested and making a life that’s fun and enjoyable to live, and you don’t know what you want to do. All you got to do is go through the process to take the reins of your own life and create a life that’s enjoyable no matter what you do. Being a mechanic being a school teacher, being a scientist being a farmer, I don’t care. Most people can learn how to find their legacy just by taking responsibility for their own life and going through those steps. And once a person does that, it’s as though their inner self is sensitive to their life path. And they don’t need to be pulled around or pushed around like a puzzle piece or a checker on a checkerboard. They just feel the draw.

Unknown Speaker
And then off they go and I get to watch that.

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