A number of years ago I managed co-ed recreational softball team for a company I did marketing for. Our first year in the league we played in the lowest level the City leagues had to offer. It was our first year and we had no gauge to measure our abilities, or lack thereof. That year there was two teams which dominated the league. Ours and another team called the Diablos or Blue Devils or something like that which I can’t remember.

After the playoffs it was our two teams playing for the championship of that lowest level league. Sadly we got beat up pretty good in that game and the Demons or whatever won the championship.

The following year we decided to try our hand at the next level up in the City league. The competition was harder and the games were a bit more challenging. But the lowest league was simply too easy for us. Our second year we won just over half our games, still made the playoffs, but didn’t win past the first round. The rest of the time we had that team we remained in that second tier division. Some years we did better than others – but it was the best league for us to compete in that was actually a challenge.

Here is the interesting thing. That team we lost the championship to in the first year, the D-jerkfaces or whatever, never moved up leagues. For the years following they stayed in the lowest league and continued to beat up on every other team.

Why is this important? It is in fact tremendously important because it raises the question of what mountain are you trying to climb?

Consider the fitness competitor who is the champion of a small federation that no one has ever heard of, who refuses to move to a bigger federation because the competition is harder and they might not be the champion any longer.

Consider the other fitness competitor who prays that there are not too many others put into their division and class so they have a higher potential, percentage wise, of going home with a trophy.

Consider the modeling talent who continues to shoot with amateur photographers and never actually put their work in front of an agent or a magazine editor for fear of rejection – yet still does photo shoot after photo shoot for guys on social media to like and comment on.

Consider the photographer who never grows as an artist, no challenges himself or herself to improve technique and abilities to pursue a higher level of clientele.

Not a single week goes by that I don’t receive an e-mail, a DM, a Facebook message, a text or a call from someone asking me to give advice on how a modeling talent could be successful in the health and fitness industry. My answer has been the same for years. Read my blog as there are hundreds of articles about it. Listen to my podcast as there are hours upon hours where we talk about this. Read my two e-books I wrote on the topic. And finally, go to my annual FITposium conference. I never hear back form about 95% of them.

The answer, and the solution to their inquiry, was not “easy” enough for them to pursue.

Nearly anyone that books me for a photo shoot has the same goals of growing their brand, getting published and developing a career in the health and fitness industry.

Yet when I talk to some people and tell them about the upcoming FITposium conference, I am stunned at the excuses people construct to get out of it. Signing up for an event like this means you are trying to climb the big mountain. The scary mountain. The mountain you might not make it to the top of.

So many people have changed their story from wanting to grow a brand and be published to just doing this all as a hobby. That is a polar shift!

Why do they do this? Hobbies are easy. Hobbies allow you to have deniability. If you are just doing this as a hobby then you are not on the hook to succeed. You can fail and no one would notice.

So if most people only want to be the king or queen of their small tiny ant hole and never attempt to climb the big mountain, that means there will be less people you have to face as you try to climb it yourself.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto