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Don’t Work Hard, Work Different: 7 Powerful Questions To Help You Build A Successful Career In Health & Fitness

By John Berardi, PhD

Career Planning

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Becoming the ultimate health & fitness change maker requires you to think differently about who you are, why you’re here, how you can make a great living, how you can make a real difference. Here are 7 powerful questions to help you do just that + unlock your potential.

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A Person In Such A Hurry Seldom Gets Good Results

There was once a young man named Matajuro. Like his father, he wanted to be a great swordsman. So he packed his things and went to Mount Futara to find the famous swordsman Banzo.

“You wish to learn swordsmanship under my guidance?” asked Banzo.

“Yes,” said Matajuro. “If I work very hard, how long will it take to become a master?” he asked.

“Oh, I see that you cannot fulfill the requirements,” said Banzo and, with that, he rejected Matajuro’s request.

“But…” he pleaded, “I’m willing to pass through any hardship if you’ll teach me! If I become your devoted servant, how long will it be?”

“Oh, maybe ten years,” Banzo relented.

“But my father is getting old and soon I must take care of him,” said Matajuro. “If I work more intensively, how long would it take me?”

“In this case, maybe thirty years,” said Banzo.

“What?!? First you say ten years and now thirty years. I will undergo any hardship to master this art in the shortest time!” exclaimed Matajuro impatiently.

“Well,” said Banzo. “In that case you’ll need to remain with me for seventy years. A person in such a hurry seldom gets good results.”

Calibrating How Difficult And How Long

I share this story—one of the world’s most loved Zen koans—as a reminder that as passionate as you are for all things health and fitness, and as excited as you are to take on this life-changing work, your path to mastery will also require strategy, clear-thinking, and lots of patient practice.

If that sounds like challenging work, it is. Although, as I teach my students, we all—like Matajuro—tend to overestimate how difficult things will be and underestimate how long they’ll take.

That’s why I wrote my new book, Change Maker: Turn Your Passion For Health and Fitness Into A Powerful Purpose And Wildly Successful Career. It’s also why I created this website. It outlines a curriculum to help you calibrate both.

My goal: To share strategies that’ll help you minimize time-wasting, dream-squashing detours on your road to success by constantly drawing you back to what’s most important. To the few things, carefully chosen, that can make all the difference for you and the people you hope to serve.

But, First, Some Important Questions

Becoming the ultimate change maker will require you to think differently about who you are, why you’re here, how you can make a great living, and how you can make a real difference.

This begins with asking new questions like:

And don’t forget these most crucial ones:

Don’t Just Work Hard, Work Different

I grew up in an immigrant family. My parents came to North America from a tiny farming village in central Italy, one in which most of the homes, including theirs, had no electricity or running water.

As a child I watched them work tremendously, sometimes back-breakingly, hard while expecting, and receiving, very little in return. It was the same with most of the other families I knew.

This is one of the reasons I continue to be astonished by the rich rewards I’ve received by following the lessons in Change Maker.

Now, this isn’t me trying to seem humble.

I am legitimately in awe of the kind of alchemy that can transform a little boy with a funny accent growing up in a tiny apartment over a run-down garage into… me.

My daily commute is ten steps to my home office. I have a healthy family that I can spend as much time with as I choose to, and I choose to spend a lot. I have interesting friends and deep friendships.  I’m paid handsomely to consult with the largest companies in the world. I started, and stay involved with, one of the largest and most respected health and fitness organizations. I’m passionate about what I do. And I believe my work has made, and will continue to make, a difference.

While the work ethic I learned from my family certainly has something to do with this magical life, I’m also certain that success is about a whole lot more than “embracing the grind.” Because every immigrant I grew up around worked 10 times harder than you can possibly imagine. Every morning, noon, and night. Weekends too. And most barely earned a living wage.

Observing this mismatch between “work ethic” and “success” made me realize that if I wanted to do better, I couldn’t just try harder. I’d have to try different.

In the beginning I had no idea what this “different” might look like. Now, nearly three decades later, I’m starting to get it. In fact, I’ve come to believe that, if there were a “formula” for personal and professional success, it might look like this:

Strong personal mission and deeply held motivation
(based on your purpose, unique abilities, and values)
+
A high level of competency and skill
(built from countless hours of patient practice)
+
System for executing every day
(a strategic, clear-thinking plan to apply your craft)
=
Personal and career success

Let’s Find Your Different

I spent the last two years working on Change Maker.

In it I tried to outline, with as much clarity as I can muster, the rationale for each element in that formula. Some days the writing came easy. Other days it was challenging. I continued on because I believe these lessons have the power to not only change your life but reshape an entire industry.

Yet learning isn’t the same as doing. Not for your clients. Not for you.

That’s why I encourage you to pick up a copy and start working through the resources, thought questions, and worksheets I created.

They’re there to transform your knowledge into career-changing action. To show today you the path to future you. To bring forth the ultimate change maker you’ve set out to be.

As you work through them, always remember this: It’s not a race. You’re not behind. And there’s nothing to “catch up” to. As Banzo wisely knew, patience, mastery, and success walk hand in hand.

Want to learn more? Dive deeper?

Then download this FREE sample of my latest book, Change Maker.

Change Maker shares the tips, strategies, and lessons I learned growing Precision Nutrition from a two-person passion project to a 200 million dollar company that’s coached over 200,000 clients, certified over 100,000 professionals, and revolutionized the field of nutrition coaching.

Whether you work as a health coach, strength coach, nutritionist, functional medicine doc, or rehab specialist, Change Maker will help you discover the right direction to take, the fastest way to make progress, and the practical steps required to build the career of your dreams in health and fitness.

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Change Maker: Turn Your Passion For Health & Fitness Into A Powerful Purpose and A Wildly Successful Career.