I handed the man my business card as I studied his face. He was not the same man I remembered and yet not much had changed. What had changed besides time? He was older, yes, that much could be seen. It was subtle though, the aging side of things. His chest was soft like grandpa’s. His belly was the same sort of comfortable. He did not look like much a personal trainer, but he is, but he was. He was one hell of a personal trainer in his shining day.

He was not so shiny any more. I would never accuse him of it but I could tell. I was grateful to hear him admit that he wasn’t really trying anymore. He had lost his passion and was coasting. He had one foot in, with the rest of him out. He was considering leaving fitness entirely. I knew it after I asked him, “You are working two jobs right now if I remember correctly? Would you let the other job go if you had enough personal training clients? What if I could help you land enough clients? How would that change things?”

He looked up at the ceiling as he stretched his long arms behind his head in surrender to the truth. “To be honest Amber, I just don’t know. It’s hard to admit but I am feeling burned out. I’ve been doing this for a LONG time, thirteen years working for commission. I am tired of never knowing what’s coming, or if I will have enough. My other job is simple and it has benefits. I’ve never had medical before or anything steady to count on. I do not know if I am willing to let that go now that I have it.”

I knew exactly how he felt and I told him so, “I understand. It’s the same way for me as a photographer. I never know what is coming either and now that I am getting older I wonder how long this life will be sustainable. Right now my life requires me to hunt for each meal. If I fail at my business I do not eat and there are times I fail. Sometimes I am barely making it, and what if one day I can’t? What if the business just isn’t there? What then?

I did not need him to answer the question. The out was obvious. If I fail at my business I can always go find a job just like he did. I could let myself get comfortable. I could have a life with benefits. Failing at business is not the end of anything. It’s the beginning of a new option: 1)build more business 2) find a job instead.

As an entrepreneur I am mired to my choice. Every job I accept in my head leads to the same end. I would take the job long enough to learn how to start a business from it. Why is that? Why is it that my mind cannot imagine settling down into something easy and readymade? To me a job does not sound like an opportunity. It sounds like entrapment. How did it come to be that for me employment is metaphorical death?

Maybe it is my drive to create something out of nothing. It’s like trying to get a seed to grow in land parched without water. The seed must grow despite the ground or circumstance. The seed must grow because it is life. The seed must grow because it feeds all things. The seed must grow because I am already rooted to my course.

“Call me,” I said in parting to the professionally dead personal trainer. I knew he would not and yet I insisted. “Call me and we will set up a photo shoot for new business portraits. I won’t charge you anything to get started. All you need to do is pick up the phone.”

He raised his eyebrows as his mouth fell open, “Why? Why would you help me for free? What’s in it for you?”

I smiled, knowing that the issue was not price. “I don’t work for free. I am invested in the business owner. I am invested in the gym. You are the personal training manager, the team leader here. If you are not inspired how can you expect your team to be? I want to help you win because if you are making money we are all making money. I am in the business of helping business flourish. Your success is pivotal to mine. Let me handle the marketing so you can focus on what you do best, personal training. The first thing we need to do is a photo shoot.”

He was nodding now. “Ok.” He said at last. “I am going to need a little time to get myself back in shape.” He patted his belly, with a giant grin on his face. I could see that he was inspired, but I knew it was fleeting. I did not give him time to reconsider.

“You have three weeks. Three weeks to get yourself back into personal training shape. Let me show you what I can do for your business. Call me. It’s as easy as that.”

He took my card and when he did the death of a personal training salesman came swift. He was a new man. He was a free man. He was a man that no longer needed to sell. He could refocus on his passion. Personal training for the art of helping people achieve and reach their goals. Personal training without the worry of business.




Contact #AmberGaribay @asmilelikeyours

Business Owner/Artist/Entrepreneur


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