How to Be Happier with Your Fitness Business

By Sean Greeley

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Are you happier than this time last year? 

Do you expect to be happier this time next year?

Do you know what are the biggest threats to (and causes of) unhappiness with your fitness business? 

Many fitness business owners don’t have good answers to these questions. They feel like a prisoner to their business. 

They long for freedom to work on the big picture and pursue other passions. 

But they struggle because they 1) don’t feel like they’re making the progress they expect to with their goals and/or 2) they don’t have the support of a team with the same commitment to serving their clients (and growing the business) that they do. 

They feel stuck.

One surprisingly powerful tool to improve both your performance as an owner and your team performance is to measure how happy people are. If you or they are NOT happy, you can learn why not… and make adjustments to improve your score. It’s called a happiness metric.

The idea is that happy team members are more productive. Research backs that up. A massive meta-study of 275,000 employees (and since validated many times) shows that happy people are more productive (an average of 12 percent) than unhappy ones. 

And when tied to specific work goals, the results can be astonishing. Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of the Scrum performance management system, tripled his team’s productivity when he applied this simple metric. 

Why does happiness matter?

In business we often measure progress using hard metrics–our profit, our revenues, our client churn, our sales conversion, and the like. 

But we don’t talk about one of the most critical metrics of all … which is happiness. 

That’s a mistake. 

Your happiness relates to how excited you are to go to work, how excited you are in your role, how excited you are to bring positive energy and good feelings into all of what you do, and how well you enjoy the journey. 

If you’re not enjoying the journey, then what’s the point? 

There are too many business owners who have achieved their profit and revenue goals, but are miserable. 

You might ask “Well how can that be? If I was hitting MY profit and revenue goals… then I’d be happy.”

But many times as business owners we get stuck playing roles we don’t want to be playing. 

You get stuck working shifts to cover for sick employees.

You’re stretching your work hours in the early morning (and end of day) at the expense of your own health, wellbeing, fitness, and relationships.

You’re working in areas of the business (and on tasks) that are not your core strengths… and burn out your energy to do important work in other areas of your business.

And so on.

That’s ok for a short period of time, but if you stay in that pocket too long… it can cause a lot of ongoing problems… and growth plateaus (or backslides) quickly.

Which is why happiness should ALWAYS be measured, monitored, and factored into your plan for continued business growth and accelerating success.

Measuring Happiness

In our ACADEMY™ and PRO MASTERMIND™ programs, we measure and talk about happiness a LOT. 

Here’s how we measure it and open the conversation (in fact I invite you to take the test right now by answering the following questions for yourself):

Take out a piece of paper and write these questions down (we’ll wait).

Ready? Good.

Please answer the following statements, where 1 would mean you are “Extremely Unhappy”, 3 is “Neutral”, and 5 is “Extremely Happy”.

  1. How happy are you in your role in the business a scale of 1-5?
  2. What would make it a 5?
  3. How happy are you feeling about your business overall on a scale of 1-5?
  4. What would make it a 5?
  5. What factors are reducing your happiness?
  6. What is one thing you could do differently to increase your happiness?

Now take some time to reflect on your answers.

What do they tell you about opportunities for you to continue growing or improve?

What have you been avoiding that needs to be addressed?

Where will you need more support to tackle a problem?

Identify opportunities, remove barriers, get support where needed… but most importantly TAKE ACTION.

Don’t just let the issue of your happiness be vague or act like “it’s just feelings” and thus unimportant. 

Your happiness is a powerful signal that can be measured, and tells you whether you are doing the things necessary for long term success.

BONUS: If you have a team, then take these same questions to them for discussion. 

Your happiness as a fitness business owner is linked to your ability to lead others to success. 

Ask each Team Member at your facility the following questions. Discuss the answers. Are people happy overall? What are they happy about? What are they NOT happy about?

Attack challenges head-on. 

In another two weeks, use this tool again. See what has improved and what can be improved further. 

When this tool is working, you and your team should focus more and more on needed improvements–with the result being happier teams and more productive teamwork!

How it works 

Let’s take an example. 

A couple (he was a weight-lifter and she was a hockey player) purchased a gym together.

The client inherited from the previous owners were women in their 30s-50s who do light workouts. 

The couple continued to serve these clients while bringing in new clients who want to train harder. It created a conflict with the culture within the gym. 

Using happiness metric tools, they realize one of the biggest impingements on their happiness was they were not serving the clients they want. They are doing what they think they should do, which was to serve the existing clients. 

That led them to get clear about their vision and who they wanted to serve, the clients they love working with and problems they love solving, while aligning that vision to a business model that ensures they make a profit. 

Result: They shifted their marketing efforts to attract clients they really loved serving. As a result, they became way more more passionate about their gym and their clients. They became more focused in their marketing and service, and their total client numbers, revenue, and profits grew. And they were happy about it!

Increase your level of happiness

Happiness is crucial to your mental and emotional well-being and mission-critical to the success of your business in the long term. You can measure it by regularly using the Happiness Metric tool. 

While we all have ups and downs, good days and bad, the overall trend lines present an important signal to you as a fitness business owner. You’re either doing the right things or, if there’s a trend of unhappiness, you need to address something. 

You may need to get more clear on your vision … or you may need to increase your business skills so that you will have more confidence and control. Whatever it is, by measuring it and identifying it, you take power over it and can fix it. 

Your team’s happiness is similarly crucial to long term success. Use the tool to regularly measure their happiness and have them identify WHAT will make them happier in their jobs. Using the tool signals that enjoying the journey is crucial and you expect them to identify specific causes and actions that will keep them enjoying the journey. 

Finally, your level of happiness also determines the amount of energy and love you have to give to others in their life and in their relationships that matter … clients, team, friends, family, or yourself. 

To find out more to increase your level of happiness, please see Part 3 of our exclusive free online eCourse, “From 100k to 1 Million: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating More Profit, Revenue, And Happiness With Your Fitness Business.” Start the eCourse here. 

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