If you’re an entrepreneur, you are always looking to share solutions. When you share your solutions, you are able to turn your passion into profits. You can turn something that feels like a problem into a solution, and that solution can be a solution for a lot of other people.
So ironically, the business that has made me the most money, my fitness business, and – initially, anyways. Of course, now, we’re doing a lot of online coaching, and teaching people how to build their own businesses, and the income that Bret and I, today, earn, helping others build their own businesses has far surpassed what we earned in the fitness industry. And that’s kind of, like, here or there. That really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is solutions. You have to find solutions for people. And when you find a solution for people, you’ve got to share it. People always say, “What are you going to do next?” And I always answer, “I don’t know and I’m not worried about it,” whatever tough thing that I’m going through. I will then share whatever solution I stumble upon, and that’s what I’ll be doing. I will always be sharing my answers.
Ultimately, people don’t buy things based solely on features. Meaning, we don’t buy something based on the ingredients or the bells and whistles. We take action. We move. We decide to make a change in our lives when we are inspired by another person’s story.
And your story matters. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, you’re working in an office building, or you’re leading a team of people, all of us have influence. And we have influence over people who matter to us, especially the people that we care about. Those are people who have influence over.
And influence is, a lot of times, considered sales. Like, I have to sell my children on the idea that they want to hang out with good kids. I have to sell my kids on the idea that they want to put healthy food and nutrition into their bodies. Selling, influencing, they are two very different things. And one is much more powerful than the other, and that is, of course, influence.
So how do we get people to change?
How do we get people to do something other than just telling them what to do, showing them statistics and facts, and data, and then laying it out in front of them and asking them to make a decision? How do we do that? Because we know that does not work. It doesn’t work with the people that we love. It doesn’t work with us. It just doesn’t work.
That is called selling, and we know that selling doesn’t work. I don’t want to be sold to. You don’t want to be sold to. The minute we feel like we’re being sold to, our defenses raise. We’re off-put and we’re already thinking, “Don’t you even try it. I’ve already decided I’m not hearing you.”
You are a person of influence. You need to influence your boss, your partner, your friends, the people you care about. And the best way to influence people is not ever by telling them what to do, but to use your story. The story in which you share that dark place just before you found the solution, absolutely anything you want other people to know because it will save them time, and heartache, and pain, and financial strain. You can tell people there’s a better way, or you can simply share your story, no matter what that is.
In order for us to get people to move, in order for any of us to make a change in our lives, it requires the presence of emotion. And how do you trigger emotion with statistics, and data, and facts? Well, it can happen, but nothing engages our emotions more than story.
Story is how we engage the imagination of the listener. It’s how we allow them to make decisions on their own that feel as though they’re making the right decision for themselves, regardless of what you want them to do. Because stories go beyond facts and theories and data.
Stories actually reveal something about you, and it allows you to connect with the listener in a very personal way, where they actually are intertwining as they’re listening. They’re intertwining your story with their own story. They’re forming a new story in their head, and that’s how stories allow us to be conversational in our influence.
You see, I think a lot of people struggle with getting other people that we love to do what we know is best for them. You know, whether you are the leader in your organization, or in your home, or at the workplace. There are things you know are in the best interest of others.
And how do we get people to do that without pinching their heads off? We do that not by selling, not by lecturing, not by dictating. We do that by having conversations, conversations that stimulate people to react and to tell their own stories in their minds as you’re sharing yours.
Stories are memorable. People don’t always latch on to the facts and figures and the advice that we’re giving them, but I believe personally, many of us have been carrying a story around with us for years that is a false story. It’s illogical. It’s a story in which you are not the hero.
And that’s why you may be struggling with telling your own story because in your story, you’re not the person who gets to win in the end because maybe you don’t like the moral of your story.
So today, I want to challenge you to rewrite your story. I want to challenge you to think about a story you’ve been carrying with you perhaps for decades. A story that perhaps you started telling yourself as a child that is no longer serving you. In fact, it may be holding you back.
And today, I want you to examine those thoughts, those beliefs, those stories you’ve been telling yourself, and give yourself permission to rewrite the story.
You see, I grew up the daughter of a serial entrepreneur. My parents, as we were growing up, had clothing stores, tool store, antique store. My dad liquidated big businesses when they went out of business. He had those big events, remember, at giant convention centers where they would go, “Saturday, Saturday, Saturday.” He did those. Anything you can think of. Any way to make money, my dad probably did it.
So from the time we were really young, I can say that I had the advantage of having someone who was always teaching me about business. You know, as children, if we wanted something, my dad would never say we’re broke or we’re poor. “What do you think, money grows on trees?” Like I hear a lot of people saying.
Instead, my dad would say, “I love it. How much does it cost? Great. Let’s come up with a plan and figure out a way that you can make that money.” And we started having little businesses from the time we were very young, and saving that money, and building a respect and awareness, not just for money, but for our ability to create it ourselves. And it was very powerful.
And I was proud of myself because I wasn’t good at very many things. I wasn’t good at gymnastics, or softball, or basketball, or athletics. I wasn’t good at the things that I saw other kids doing, but I knew I was really good at coming up with ways to make money. Even as a kid. And it got my dad’s attention, and I felt so proud, and I felt so mature, and it just was a really important part of my childhood and I learned so much from them both.
But when I was 12, my parents had a fire. One of their businesses was burnt to the ground and they didn’t have business insurance. And I’ll never forget my dad calling me into his office, and we lived in this big old Victorian mansion. Like, it was a mansion, a run-down, dilapidated mansion. And that too was a business idea that my parents had to restore this old haunted house into its original condition.
And it was kind of a scary place to live in as a kid. And I’ll just never forget walking down those creaky wood planks into his office, and sitting in his big leather chair. And then he knelt down in front of me and he was holding a little, tiny blue book. That little blue book was my bank book. And my dad looked at me and he said, “Chalene, do you know what interest is?” I said no. He said, “Well, interest is a way for you to make money with your money. You see, if someone needs to borrow money from you and you have that money to loan them, you can loan them the money and then they will pay you more money in return. And you see, your mother and I, we’ve had this fire. And everything’s going to be okay, but we would like to borrow your money and we’re going to pay you back with interest. And this is what that would look like.” And he went on to detail that arrangement.
And that was my dad’s noble attempt to teach me, again, something about business. To teach me about interest. It was also his way of borrowing my money and being honest about it. I mean, I was kid. They kept my bank book, I wouldn’t have known. I wouldn’t have known.
And there were a lot of lessons I took away from that experience, but I just remember thinking to myself, wow. Here I am, 12, and I’m kind of saving my family right now. I’m like – I’m saving the day. This must be why I’m here. This must be what’s special about me. This must be why I’m valuable. This must be what makes me worthy. And I really didn’t see anything else ever after that day about me that was as special as my ability to save the day with money.
I know that wasn’t the message my dad intended for me to take away, but that was a story I continue to tell myself for years. And it really sparked a fire in me. Like, Hustle, with a capital H was my middle name. I started businesses in high school that helped, you know, raise money for my senior class. I earned enough money to put myself through college. I had all of these business ideas from flipping cars to a auto-consignment lot that I had in the State of Michigan. I started personal training businesses and I wrote how-to books on how to start your own personal training business. And I started Powder Blue Products. And I created a certification company. And then an apparel company. And then a motivational camp. And I was doing all of these things and every time everything had to be bigger, because I didn’t want that feeling to ever go away. I didn’t ever want to feel like I wasn’t valuable. I personally didn’t feel like I was good enough or there was anything special about me except for this unique ability that I had to save the day.
And I would work myself to the ground because the only thing I could do was more. I mean, I couldn’t earn less each year. I had to earn more each year. And I had to help more people make money or I felt like I was going down in my own personal value. I mean, you’re only as good as your last thing.
And eventually, Turbo Jam, Turbo Kick caught the attention of infomercial companies and we signed a deal with Beachbody. Beachbody at that time wasn’t the biggest. And as a matter of fact, they were in trouble. Shortly after we signed our deal, they ended up laying off tons of people that I had just met. They were new on the scene. They had Power 90 and I think Slim in 6. And then we started working on Turbo Jam. And I have to tell you and you probably already figured it out, what was most exciting, most exhilarating for me was an opportunity to again prove my worth and save the day. That’s what I do.
So not only was I running my own company with Bret and an apparel line and fitness camps and creating music for all these different programs now, because we had PiYo and Hip Hop Hustle and Turbo Kick. And now I was creating workouts for Turbo Jam. And I was doing all this all myself because I couldn’t let anybody else take credit because then I might not be valuable. And so I was doing all of these things and there was really no way to work any harder. I just had to work more. And so, I started working more hours and sleeping fewer.
And then that first check came, our first month’s royalties. And I went to the mailbox. Aahh and I was nervous. I wasn’t excited. I was really nervous to open up that envelope. And I opened it up. And there it was, a number I had never seen before. A number that represented more than the money we used to buy our first home. It was a big, big check. And it was just amazing to see Bret’s face. He was so excited. He was so proud. He was so relieved like this was really going to help us. This is going to help so many people.
And I thought for a moment about the folks at Beachbody and how this was – maybe here I was saving the day. Maybe they could hire some of those people back. But in a moment, aahh, I went from feeling elated and happy to sick really. I mean, my stomach dropped. And I felt shaky and faint. And I remember lying down in the coach and pretending that I was just overwhelmed with joy. But the honest truth was, I was so scared, so scared. Because in my mind, I didn’t know how I would ever maintain this, let alone top it. It was a scary feeling. I didn’t have much left in me.
But I didn’t have any other choice, because in my mind, this is how I was valuable. So the only option I had in my mind was to keep that story going and to work more and to work harder and to be created and to create another program that could outdo this program. And I did man. I poured my heart and soul into my next program which was ChaLEAN Extreme. And some of you have done that program and you’ve had amazing results. As I always say, that program freaking works. It’s legit. It works and people have had amazing results from it. And a lot of people have done that program.
However, that program did not work on TV. Beachbody, try as they might and let me tell you, they dumped millions into trying to make the ChaLEAN Extreme infomercial work, but people would see it on TV and they didn’t pick up the phone. So now you can imagine what I was feeling. And that people would say to me like, “I’m getting amazing results from it. It’s changed my life.” I couldn’t hear any of that. I couldn’t receive any of that, because all I could feel was worthless.
Because the story I’d always told myself was that I am valuable because I save the day, because I can make people money. And how here I was costing people money. Now here I was taking money out of the pockets of the people who I so wanted to help, and it killed me. It really mentally destroyed me. I tried to put on a happy face. I tried to forget about it. I try to just move forward and work harder, but there was no changing the fact that I wasn’t making people money in that moment.
And it was in my deepest, darkest moments, time when I’ve never been so sad and depressed and feeling unworthy that I looked at myself and realized that the story I’d been telling myself for so many years didn’t even make sense. It wasn’t even logical. It was a story based in the logic of a 12-year-old girl and it wasn’t serving me. It wasn’t serving my family. And it wasn’t helping me to be the person God intended me to be.
And it wasn’t overnight, but in those rock-bottom moments is when I decided to change my story, to let go of the lies I’ve been telling myself, a story I created myself and create a new story. And I set out to work less and to serve other people with the intention of serving them, not trying to make them money. And I set out to say no to most – everything and yes to the things that really mattered and yes to the people who really mattered. And I stopped trying to work like a dog and out-hustle everybody. And I started realizing that if I really, really wanted to take care of the people who mattered most, I needed not to give them money to spend, I had to give them my time. I had to spend my time with them. I had to literally, mentally be present.
And that meant I had to learn how to let go. I had to learn how to outsource. I had to learn how to empower others. I had to learn how to say, “Thank you so much for thinking of me, but unfortunately, at this time, I have to politely decline.” I had to learn how to get serious about what work really did matter and what things I was taking on just because it fuelled my ego, just because I wanted to feel valuable and worthy and realized that those things will never be satisfied. I had to realize that I was trying to live my purpose as opposed to what God intended my purpose to be.
And I set out to do that with my husband’s help, with the help of therapy, with the help of a lot of self-reflection. And with the intention, fully aware that I would probably make a lot less money and that would be okay.
And the irony of this story is we have never been more financially secure. We have never been more financially successful than we are today since making those changes. And the reason why I tell you that is because it allows me to serve other people and take care of people in a much different way, in a way that doesn’t sacrifice my soul and the people who I care about, in a way that makes me feel fulfilled. I’m more than a paycheck. My value comes because I am a child of God. My value comes in abundance when I look into the eyes of my kids, when I spend time with my children, when I’m able to hold my husband’s hand, when I know I’m doing right by the people who matter most. I had to learn to say no to most, everything.
I had to learn how specifically to evaluate each and every opportunity so that the things that I said yes to actually moved us forward, but forward with a purpose.
Today I challenge you to take a look at the stories you’ve been carrying forward perhaps since your own childhood and ask yourself, “Am I the hero of this story? Do I like the way this story is going to end. Does this story inspire other people? What is the moral of my story?” And when you have those answers, if you’re not completely satisfied with them, if it doesn’t make you proud, if it doesn’t want to make you stand from the rooftops and know that you’re living your purpose, then I’m telling you it’s time to rewrite your story. The story that inspires others. The story where you are the hero. The story where you’re past, your challenges, the things you’ve had to overcome now makes sense because they’re there to help someone else. Story is powerful.